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Monday, September 26, 2011

9/27 - Preserving Your Back for the Good Life

George N. Lendaris
Physical Therapist

When our backs are out, we are out!  In this episode, world renowned Physical Therapist George Lendaris gives us strategies for maintaining the health and integrity of our backs and good posture.  From stretching to exercising, to recognising when it's time for therapy - exercise therapy, chiropractic, yoga or other means, and for every body shape size and age.  Learn how to keep your back free from injury so you can enjoy an active and free from back pain life, tall and straight!

George Lendaris gives Stephen some posture tips.

As of March 2011, for the second consecutive year, George N. Lendaris' clinic was rated as the foremost physical therapy clinic in the Bay Area; a region that incorporates 9 counties and 14 million people.  One of the primary evaluators is the Physical Therapy Providers Network, whose members are ranked as the top 3% of physical therapists in the State of California.  Physical Therapy Providers Network is also in 25 other states as well. The other collaborating  partner/ evaluator is a group that does statistical work for medical groups, physical therapy groups, insurance companies, and various networks, Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO). The seven indices used by PTPN and FOTO are generally considered very significant, reliable, and practical in the considerations of who is doing what, to whom, and in the best interest and welfare of the patients.  In August 2011, George received a 2011 Gold Star Award for clinical excellence from the Physical Therapy Provider’s Network.

Chef Bob Hurley

Extreme Adventurer 
Chef/Owner of Hurley's Restaurant in Yountville

Bob and George enjoy a laugh on Slow Living Radio
Chef Bob Hurley of Yountville's famed Hurley's Restaurant & Bar, then tells us his strategies for enjoying life, not only the 'back straining' rigors of the chef life, but as an outdoor enthusiast.  He'll give us tips on where to go for rapid rafting, seeing wild game in real life and a taste of his many other ventures around the country and world.

Over two decades ago, Chef Bob Hurley planted roots in the California Wine Country, first as a chef at Domaine Chandon, then as Executive Chef at the Napa Valley Grille.

In November 2002, he opened his own restaurant, Hurley's Restaurant, in Yountville, California. Chef Hurley describes his menu as local California cuisine high in flavor and influenced by the Mediterranean so that it fits very well with wine. It is creative food done simply and he always has two or three wild game selections as well. The menus are revised about three times each year to take advantage of seasonal changes, particularly with produce and seafood.

Bob fishing in Alaska

Chef Bob Hurley is a world traveler and a devotee of the culture, cuisine and lifestyle of many other countries. His years of trekking and working around the world provide the basis for his theory that Napa Valley is no longer a melting pot of cuisines from the rest of the world. But they have come together to create a Napa Valley regional cuisine.

Bob has always had a strong belief that the use of regional, seasonal ingredients is important on many different levels. It promotes sustainability, showcases local producers and provides the finest dining experience to the customer. He says that the Napa Valley is particularly blessed with a wide range of such products, from produce and meats to fish and fruits, as well as artisanal breads, cheeses, oils and much more. This philosophy is a guiding light behind the menu development at Hurley’s Restaurant.

Hurley’s Restaurant is located at 6518 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599.
Online reservations are available at or by calling 707-944-2345

Monday, September 19, 2011

9/20 - Bringing a True Taste of Japan to the USA - Sushi and Seaweed

Yoshi Tome
CEO, Sushi Ran, Sausalito

With a top Bay Area restaurant ranking from both Michelin and the Zagat Survey, three stars from SF Chronicle Food Critic Michael Bauer, and president of Northern California Japanese Restaurant Association, Yoshi Tome one of Northern California’s most respected restaurateurs.
A native of Okinawa, Japan, Yoshi earned a bachelor’s of education degree before coming to California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1981 for a six-month teacher exchange program. That’s when he fell in love with the United States.

After his teaching stint, Yoshi relocated to Sausalito, where for three years he managed the restaurant he would later buy and rename Sushi Ran.

In 1986 Sushi Ran was a 26-seat sushi bar restaurant with three sushi chefs and a three-person wait staff. By 1996, Yoshi expanded the kitchen and restaurant to add a 25-seat dining room with six sushi chefs and 45 total employees.

To add depth to his exceptional cuisine, Yoshi hired a classically trained, credentialed culinary chef to create an inventive menu featuring a sophisticated fusion of traditional Japanese sushi and Pacific cuisine, and pair it with an extensive list of premium sakes and wines. For this, he would need more room.
In 2000, Yoshi took over the space next door and transformed it into a sophisticated wine and sake bar with outdoor patio to expand Sushi Ran’s seating to over 90.

Giving back to his community, Yoshi is a director with Sausalito Chamber of Commerce, five-term president of the Japanese Restaurant Association of Northern California, and a key member of the Asian Chef’s Association. A total jock at heart Yoshi loves coaching rugby as well as yoga, hiking and cycling.

Recent Recognition and Awards
2009 Tome receives Distinguished Citizen award from Japanese Government
2009 Sushi Ran earns Michelin Recommendation
2008 Sushi Ran earns Michelin Recommendation
2007 Sushi Ran earns Michelin Star
2006 Sushi Ran earns Michelin Star
2005 “Business Citizen of the Year” Marin Chambers of Commerce
2005 “American Dream” Award, Golden Gate Restaurant Association
2001 “Volunteer of the Year” Sausalito Park and Recreation Department


Yoshi Tome, receives his award from
Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Sausalito, CA—6 July 2009—Yoshi Tome, a native of Japan who has lived in the U.S. since 1981, was given a prestigious award by Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for his accomplishments in the restaurant industry and his role in helping to bring Japanese culture and cuisine to the world.

Tome, among five honorees, was praised for the success he has achieved in his own high-profile restaurant, Sushi Ran, and for service for the past years eight years as president of the Northern California Japanese Restaurant Association. According to a statement by the Minister, the award is given annually “in recognition of individuals residing outside Japan who have made substantial contributions to introducing, popularizing
promoting Japanese cuisine, food ingredients and other foodstuffs overseas.”

The award ceremony took place in Tokyo on Monday, June 29. Other award recipients were Hideki Kato, Thailand, Iwao Komiyama, Argentina, Yoshio Nogawa, Singapore and Hajime Miyamae, Luxembourg.

Among the dignitaries who took part in the event were former Prime Minister Koizumi, actress Julie Wong, and the selection committee, Miyuki Adachi, Ph.D., Kagawa Nutrition University, Dr. Miyo Iwata, editor and senior writer, Nikkei, Inc, Isao Kumakura, Ph. D., National Museum of Ethnology, John Gauntner, journalist, and Yukio Hattori, Ph. D., president, Hattori Nutrition College.

Larry Knowles
Owner, Rising tide Sea Vegetables

Rising Tide Sea Vegetables is a locally owned cottage industry on the Mendocino coast in Northern California. Since 1981 we’ve been fine-tuning the techniques involved in wildcrafting, drying, and storing sea vegetables. We are one of only a few operations that harvest seaweed along this coast, and one of only two companies in the United States offering a full range of local and imported seaweed products.

Our business employs locally and maintains an active role in Mendocino’s community, participating in fundraisers, engaging in local decision-making, and supporting culinary entrepreneurs with Chubby’s, our commercial shared-use kitchen.

An Ocean-friendly Business

We’ve developed our harvesting techniques based on sound science, but our work is deeply personal too. Spending as much time as we do in the Pacific’s intertidal zones and witnessing the intricate balance of life there, we can hardly help but learn to revere these ecosystems and to respect the creatures that depend on the sea vegetables we harvest. Returning year after year to the same locations, we’ve come to know these places intimately, and to feel a personal responsibility for ensuring that they continue to flourish.

Unlike industrial-scale seaweed companies, we never use machines, motorized boats, or other harvesting equipment that could adversely affect the ocean environment. We are careful never to take too much from one area. We’ve perfected our hand-cutting techniques to leave the least impact, so that our seaweeds can continue to grow and reproduce. Owner Larry Knowles is a member of the Mendocino Seaweed Harvesters Stewardship Alliance, and respected advocate of sound environmental policy for seaweed harvesters.

In addition to our sustainable harvesting practices, Rising Tide has instituted a number of initiatives to lessen our impact globally. For one, we practice a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. To avoid excess packaging, many of our seaweed products are sold in bulk, which also brings down the cost for our customers. Finally, our wholesale business is concentrated on the U.S. West Coast to minimize transportation impacts.

Harvesting Sea Veggies  /  Rising Tide Sea Vegetables

We’re often asked how we actually collect our sea vegetables. We do it entirely by hand, on coastal rocks, and without machinery. But that doesn’t give you much of a picture, does it? Here’s what we’re really doing out there in the frigid Pacific waters along the Mendocino Coast

A harvest day begins before dawn, during the lowest tides of spring and summer. Three of us squeeze into wetsuits, pile ourselves and our gear into the Rising Tide pickup truck and set out for the coast.

Rising Tide’s owner Larry Knowles has been monitoring our sites both from the cliffs and by kayak for weeks, and has chosen a seaweed bed that’s in prime condition for harvest. (We return to the same harvest sites year after year and keep records of the seaweed growth on each rock so that we can see for ourselves that we’re harvesting sustainably and not depleting the seaweed beds.)

We park as close as we can to a trail to the water, since we’ve got a bunch of stuff to haul down the cliffs. Each seaweed species grows differently and each requires unique equipment, but if we’re harvesting Kombu, we’ll unload wheelbarrows, a kayak, a kayak trundle, backpacks, knives, buckets, and large recycled bags. We wheelbarrow all this along trails, sometimes for a quarter of a mile, to get to the bluff overlooking the harvest location. Someone paddles the kayak out and anchors it. And then we grab our 30-gallon cork bags, and wade or swim out 100 yards or so to the Kombu bed.

In waist-deep water, we take out our special seaweed cutting knives and start harvesting the Kombu. On each plant, we cut only a portion of the blades, leaving a full-length section intact. Cutting this way allows the plant to reproduce and keep growing, and also leaves a very small visual footprint. Leave no trace!

We load up the kayak with our full bags of seaweed and ferry them back to the beach, where we deposit them on a sheet to keep them well out of sand and gravel. Then we load up the wheelbarrows with the seaweed and push them — 200 lbs each! — sometimes across sand (groan), then up the trails and back to the truck.

Amazingly, everything fits in the truck, even with 700 lbs of seaweed. We definitely notice weight difference driving back.

Back in the warm, sunny drying yard, that same morning, we spread out our vibrant, freshly harvested sea vegetables, covering 2,000 square feet of prepared drying surface. We get the last bit of seaweed laid out in the sun by 1:30. By 5:30, it’s almost dry, and we pull it into our drying room, where solar heat, fans and dehumidifiers finish the process. Rarely do we need to turn on heaters, but if we do, we’re sure to keep the temperature at 90 degrees.

Next morning, what was 700 lbs of seaweed is now about 100 lbs. We bag it up into large, food-grade bags that will go into the cool darkness of our dedicated storage room at Chubby’s Shared Use Kitchen, then packaged to send directly to you.

Voila! The finest seaweed products you can buy.

The reward for all this work — besides the satisfaction of offering some of the highest quality sea vegetables in the world — is the joy and privilege of spending time in these spectacularly beautiful, complex, and amazingly productive intertidal areas. What we harvest from this magical place is truly deserving of seaweed’s ancient renown as a food fit for the gods.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13 - Exploring Pizza and Charcuterie

Chef & Winemaker Dario DeConti

Recently returned from a trip around Italy, Dario will bring us up to date on how pizzas have evolved over time, as well as give us an insight into their rustic beginnings and adapting to meet the American palate. He'll also give us some regional differences in pizzas around Italy and some great wines to pair.

 The Ca' Momi Story -

Welcome to a small slice of Italy in the Oxbow Market. Ca’ Momi Enoteca is proud to offer authentic Italian food, including Neapolitan style pizzas from our wood-fired brick oven made with organic, local and Italian ingredients. We also offer delightful authentic Italian sweets from our master pastry chefs. To complement our menu, we feature a unique wine list of our own wines & artisanal Italian producers. We invite you to celebrate life, our wines & food!

A Dario original at the Enoteca
at Napa's Oxbow Market

All of our ingredients are: organic, local or Italian.
Menu items may vary based on availability.
All pizzas made with: Giusto organic flour, Christina’s
organic pureed tomato, & Whole Spice organic oregano.
Personalized Gift Baskets are available by advanced order.
Our menu changes daily based on availability of ingredients and specials.
To maintain the integrity and authenticity of our recipes, we do not allow changes or additions to any of our pizzas. Sorry… we do not have red pepper flakes. We do not use them on pizza in Italy, and that is why we do not have them here at Ca’ Momi Enoteca. Grazie!
Obsessively Authentic Italian

And for dessert...
the amaretti!

At Ca’ Momi we use only the freshest & organic ingredients grown locally or in Italy, focusing on the most traditional Italian recipes. Obsessively Authentic Italian is our motto. To complement our menu, we feature a unique wine list of artisanal Italian producers. Salute!
In Italy, food and wine are a part of life, and one needs the other one. An Enoteca is place to taste and buy wines, and grab a quick bite. “We want this Enoteca to bring the real Italy straight to Napa,” says winemaker and pizza maker Dario De Conti.

Experience la Dolce Vita for yourself ! Authentic wood-fired, thin-crust pizza Napoletana, wholesome soups, fresh salads, wood fired panini, wonderful Italian pastries, and a staff that loves to see you happy. Buonissimo!

C.T.  Chef and Charcuterie Maker Extraordinaire!

Join us with C.T. who is making all the charcuterie for Villagio Inn and Vintage Inn's amazing breakfast buffets, and for some of Napa's finest restaurants. You'll find him in the kitchens in the wee hours curing bacon, making jerky and turning out all manner of charcuterie.  Listen as we discover why a talented chef turned in his apron to focus full time on this reviving art.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9/06 - A Taste of Spain in Napa

Emmanuel Kemiji , Proprietor

Born in the United States and raised in Spain and England, Kemiji is a graduate of the University of California at Davis. In addition to his Economics and Spanish Literature degrees, he studied Viticulture and Oenology, expanding his interest in wine and eventually leading to the formation of Miura Vineyards in 1995. Soon to follow were Candela in 1998, Almvs in 2000, Antiqv2s in 2001, and two projects in Spain – Arrels in 2003 and Clos Pissarra in 2005.
Kemiji acted as Ritz-Carlton Director of Wine & Spirits from 1988 to 1999, first at Laguna Niguel and then at the renowned Dining Room in San Francisco. In 1989 Kemiji became the twelfth American to pass the Master Sommelier exam in London, England and one of only nine to date to pass on his first attempt. In the same year, he received the “Sommelier of the Year” award by the California Restaurant Writers Association. Kemiji was also chosen “Wine Director of the Year” in the Critics Choice Awards, and was honored in the August 1999 issue of San Francisco Magazine. The San Francisco Chronicle named Kemiji as one of the “10 Winemakers to Watch for 2000.”
In 2006, Kemiji received the Wine Industry Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League for exemplary commitment to community and charity. In the past he has also been a wine judge at the Los Angeles County Fair and the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

MIURA VINEYARDS, PO BOX 6617  NAPA, CALIFORNIA 94581     TEL 707-566-7739     

 Thalassa (“Lassa”) Skinner
General Manager, Oxbow Cheese Merchant (Napa, CA)
Founder, culture: the word on cheese (national cheese magazine)

In freshman year of college, Lassa landed a summer job in a start-up gourmet food store in Brookline, MA called ‘The Market.’ Fatefully, she was assigned to the cheese counter managed by a woman who had spent several years making cheese in the Loire Valley. After tasting an aged, raw milk crottin and real Brie de Meaux (unpasteurized milk), she was hooked for life.
Though majoring in archaeology, Lassa started a cheese and wine group at Yale and worked in a homemade ice cream store. After graduation, she stayed on in CT to write the operations manual for Ashley’s Ice Cream, which then franchised into four shops.  But the travel bug had taken hold and, along with a classmate from Yale, she spent a year circumnavigating Australia to research and write the travel guide Australia: Where the Fun Is! (Mustang Publishing, 1990). While down under, Lassa was contacted by the Smithsonian anthropologist that she had briefly interned with and accepted a position on his field crew in Kenya for the following year.
For the next 6 years, work was centered on Kenyan anthropology and archaeology (human origins) but the cheese and wine group ensued while in Washington, D.C. In fact, it became increasingly important to Lassa, who decided to leave academics and pursue the hands-on food world after a year-long trial stint in the South and West Australian wine regions. She returned to Boston and enrolled in Boston University’s 6-month Culinary Arts program with Jacques Pepin as one of its primary instructors. The transition from a tent in the Rift Valley to a commercial kitchen wasn’t an easy one, but she was determined to learn by doing. She graduated and immediately began working in a local restaurant, first on the line then taking on pastry and special events/catering, plus freelance catering jobs in both back and front of house for various Boston-based companies. At the same time, she began working at Formaggio Kitchen, a renowned cheese shop in Cambridge, MA—and was one of two women ever hired to work in this department. It was a crazy but formative time in her life.
Simultaneously, Lassa published food-related articles in numerous publications in local newspapers and magazines. She took a food-writing class from John Willoughby at Radcliffe and started up a long-term writing and food-sharing group with fellow students that was dubbed ‘Carpe Vino.’ Cheese was, of course, a large part of Lassa’s contributions every gathering…along with many bottles of carefully paired wines and beers.
Craving the warmer weather and locally grown produce, Lassa moved to northern California in the summer of 2000, where the produce and much of the food she had been working with in the east was actually grown. Through her Australian friends, she had contacts in the Napa Valley. She settled there and began working at Tra Vigne’s ‘Cantinetta,’ a local wine bar/restaurant in St. Helena, CA, where she was able to start up a cheese program to complement their wine by the glass program. Soon she was writing locally about food and wine in earnest.  Within two years, she became manager of the St. Helena Farmers Market and became very active in the community and local food systems. It was here that she became fast friends with farmers, cheese and charcuterie makers and other food producers—another formative time in her life.
Several years later, Lassa moved to the Barossa Valley, South Australia and helped start and run the Barossa Farmers Market, which was an instant success.  As in Napa, she became very active in the community and in regional outreach, coordinating numerous media days, local food/valley-related events for the general public, writing a weekly column for the local paper, and building connections with other farmers markets in the state and beyond.
She moved back to the Napa Valley in 2006 and joined forces with the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant (San Francisco) to take on their new venture at the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa as their General Manager of the Oxbow Cheese Merchant, a cheese shop within a wine shop. It was here that she found Ricardo Huijon, who was in the cheese and deli department of St. Helena’s Dean & Deluca--and this team is currently building a formidable cheese store and reputation in the Napa Valley.
In Winter 2008, the first issue of culture: the word on cheese--the first national cheese magazine for general consumers—was published, co-founded by Lassa and two others (one in magazines and the other in cheese along with Lassa).  Its 11th issue (Fall 2010) has just been released and can be found in bookstores, cheese and gourmet food shops, and a selection of supermarkets nationwide—as well as in Canada, the UK and Australia.
Cheese has, ultimately, become Lassa’s main focus--with a dedicated local connection and a love of pairing, education and simple enjoyment that this very basic of fabulous foods can inspire.