2007-01-28

attack at cia headquarters

I can neither confirm nor deny that members of our party were in any way responsible for several unfortunate events which occurred last Friday evening at the Culinary Institute of America (California Branch) in St Helena. Because I plead the Fifth, my comments may not be construed to support any of the alleged acts, including but not limited to: (a) the disappearance of a wrought-iron rooster from the wall ("Sir, we know that you have the rooster"); (b) contributing to the delinquency of a wait-server by suggesting to bribe said CIA employee in the face of mounting distress on the part of the maître de ("Only if it comes from Humbolt"); or the willful inciting of a "cougar" attack ("Gee, you smell great!") on our way out the door. I can confirm however that two of my friends, the aforementioned rooster rustlers and designated "cougar" bait - to whom we shall refer by the utterly fictitious pseudonyms "Karsten" and "Charlie" - did in fact score an autographed chef's hat for somewhat less than the winery price of a Stag's Leap 2002 Estate Grown Petite Syrah.

A member of our board has a bed and breakfast in the family, located on a beautiful stretch of Silverado just a few clicks up-valley from St Helena. They graciously hosted our firm's first "off site" week. We initiated festivities with a visit to Dean & DeLuca which involved intense negotiations en français followed by dropping a few bills (non-expensable) and holding up the checkout line for nearly an hour. Our ensuing ratatouille feast and successive raids on said family's mountain cellar provided fine food, wine, and conversations all week long, fueling some amazing sorties into the metaverse, which I hope we can begin to share with the world soon.

After months of crunch time, preparing for a wide set of technology demos, we deserved a little pampering - so we availed ourselves of the local terroir. In a private room at Tra Vigne we learned the intimate details of Pighed's recent forcible detainment by LAPD for running a red light after midnight on a girl's bike. For the up-scale down-home version of local fare, various attendees made excursions to Market throughout the week.

Lobster Roll at the latter was so amazing that Erin and I missed our flight home from Oakland. I've reviewed it for a first contribution at Lindsey Simon's new Dishola site. And as I type, our girlies are both nearly unrecognizable after munching on their chocolate duck bling-bling from Woodhouse, right near Market. Be certain to check out The Olivier next door.

Ah, Napa! Not quite as dear as my home terrior in Edna Valley, but the best thing this side of Tuscany. Moreover I can confirm that thanks to the oneological genius of Opus One, I got more smashed than I've ever been outside of Russia or Japan, and the Scallop Gnocci at CIA alone is well worth an immediate trek up to Napa.

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