Wine & Food

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

My Dinner with Michael Pollan, your dinner with...

Posted by Richard Foxall, Feb 27, 2011.

Too bad there's not a category like "Wine and Celebrities" that I could post this in, and you all could ignore, but NapaGirl wanted me to expand after I name-checked in another post.  I bet there are other stories more interesting, but I'll invite them by kicking it off here.

I cultivate obscurity, but my wife is a pioneer in her field, so she gets invited to interesting conferences.  A couple years back, she was invited to be a fellow at a conference on the East Coast where MP spoke.  She found herself behind him in line at lunch, and struck up a conversation.  He recommended the salad for lunch.  (He recommends that you eat mostly plants, remember.)  A few months later, the San Francisco wing of the organization put together a pot-luck dinner for the fellows and a few of the speakers who live here.  (MP lives in North Berkeley.)  We brought a salad with persimmons and steak (mostly plants, right?), a bottle of something red from somewhere less than 50 miles away, and the hosts had a bunch of other wine brought in.  The wine provided was a Morgon and a Bourgogne Aligote--both French, not exactly locavore. Both were pretty unexciting IMO.  Lots of folks waiting to see what MP ate, but also so many people wanting to talk to him that it was a while before he got near the food.  I was busy talking to a guy who was promoting bio-char and didn't see what he picked up.  But later, I walked over, and he was shoving down bites of our salad between adoring questions from the othe invitees.  Yay!  However, my wine was gone by then, so he was drinking the provided wine.

One of the attendees started going on about sugar and fat.  MP was patiently saying that he's no fanatic, everything in moderation.  Apparently she did not see him when he walked in.  His contribution to the dinner:  A fabulous plate of cookies.  Real butter, real sugar.

So share a story of spotting someone in the food or wine world, or any interesting celebrity, drinking or eating and the ironic conclusion if you like. 


Reply by napagirl68, Feb 27, 2011.

Thanks for sharing...  sounds like a fun gathering. 

I have no special story to tell.. the closest I've gotten to celebrity was getting a hug from Clint Eastwood at his restaurant in Carmel about 14 yrs ago....

Reply by bropaul, Feb 27, 2011.

Oooo . . . that's a tough one. Today being today as the Italians say, I think my choice would be Lidia Bastianich. Ask me tomorrow and I'd probably have a different answer.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 27, 2011.

I went through High School with Anthony Lapaglia - does that count?

Reply by dmcker, Feb 28, 2011.

How about his brother, Stephen?

Lots of food celebrities over here that I've hung with, though they don't travel so well across oceans. Pretty much normal humans, though one TV epicure is a bit full of crap, and always gets his wines totally wrong. Sommeliers-of-the-year in French competitions, strangely enough, get their wines right and do great food combos. Have had meals in the US and UK with famous restaurateurs thre, both at their places and others, but again they're pretty much normal folk, even if occasionally jaded when it comes to food experiences. Interesting the comfort foods they sometimes go for, yet also the creative, exotic combinations they can recommend even at someone else's establishment.

So Foxall, I hope he wasn't drinking the Aligote. The only excuse for that grape is it's role in fomenting Kir....

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 28, 2011.

I think Tony has two brothers, a younger one Michael who was a very good middle ditance runner as a kid, he would be around 48-49 these days and an older brother who I have never met. 

Mind you I have not spoken to Tony since 1976  - long time ago

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 28, 2011.

Lapaglia, cool.  Hope you snuck off and imbibed with him, or other cool consumable.

dmcker--I didn't catch what he drank.

Okay, here's a  celeb drinking wine sighting that was interesting: My wife was invited to a board meeting held at Calistoga Ranch.  It's owned by the Auberge people, and she checked in minutes after Barbra Streisand checked out.  Neither of us particularly care for Babs, so no big that we missed.  I arrive later, and find my ratty old Volvo parked next to an Aston.  Never did figure out whose it was.  Next day, we take our bikes on the Silverado to go tasting.  First stop, Duckhorn--I hadn't been there, and it was close, so thought we'd give it a try.  We sit down for the regular (non-reserve) tasting at a table and I look to the table next to us.  The guy looks a lot like Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke basketball, but I'm not such a big fan of college hoops that I can feel sure.  On the other hand, he's pretty inescapable if you watch sports at all.  I'm trying not to stare while I figure it out.  The size, the face, the hair (famously dyed, if it's even real). He kind of nods, and I really don't want to blow it for him if he wants to be left alone, and I don't want to be embarassed if it's not him at all.

Two weeks later, his AmEx ad comes out, with the line:  Biggest Indulgence:  Fine Wine.  Yep, it was him. 

That was the same weekend I realized I just don't really like Cal merlot, and I don't like much of anything that Rombauer makes.

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