Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Super-Glam "Love Wins" Party Tonight at Bently Reserve

Another uber-fab party from the folks behind the Gorgeous and Green events, tonight at the Bently Reserve!

You are cordially invited to the Love Wins party on February 24 with Van Jones, Julia Butterfly Hill, Darryl Hannah and Seane Corn featuring cocktail receptions, an organic dinner, live music, performances by Michelle Shocked, videos, dancing, entertainment, cupcakes, sparkling wine, hoopers, an amazing silent auction, and other lovely eco-friendly surprises celebrating innovations in social change networking.

An evening with Van Jones, Seane Corn, Julia Butterfly Hill, Daryl Hannah
and benefit for the Engage Network


Tuesday, February 24, 2009
5:30 pm    VIP Reception with Honorary Hosts
6:00 pm    Pre-Event Reception
7:15 pm    Delicious Dinner, Program & Live Music

The Bently Reserve
301 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA

Van Jones, Julia Butterfly Hill, Seane Corn, Michelle Shocked, Daryl Hannah

Katchie Ananda, Michael Anders, Josh Becker, Amber Marie & Christopher Bently, Andrew Blau, Lisa Conte, Tim Dale, Amy Darland, Ari Derfel, Oronto Douglas, Eric Fenster, Lindsay Firth, Alissa Hauser, Hala Hijazi, Marion Hunt, Jonna Hunter, Taj James, Dorka Keehn, Kerri Kelly, Danny Kennedy, Hala Khouri, Lauren Klein, Michael Klein, Roxanne Klein, Laura Loescher, Monica Maduro, Marianne Manilov, Anna Hawken McKay & Rob McKay, Ina Pockrass, Erin Potts, Rose Pritzker, Katie Redford, Paul Saccone, Suzanne Sterling, Joslin Van Arsdale, Elissa Van Deursen, Tom Van Dyck, Francesca Vietor, Nadine Weil

Honorary Hosts
- Cocktail Receptions
Organic Dinner
- Performances by singer Michelle Shocked
Silent Auction including trip with Julia to visit Luna
- VIP eco-gifts
Live Music & Dancing for Mardi Gras
- Update on Luna Major Motion Picture
An Eco-Friendly Event

Cocktail Attire

All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Engage Network
Individual Tickets:
$250:  Individual
$500VIP with Reception with honorary hosts, VIP gifts

$2,500 - 8 regular, 2 VIP, program recognition
$5,000 - 10 seats, all VIP, premier seating, program recognition
$10,000 - 10 seats, all VIP, top seating with Van, Julia or Seane at your table.

Please respond online or by calling
The Engage Network, PO Box 6783, Albany, CA 94706

For questions, please email:  info@engagenet.org


About Seane Corn:
Seane Corn is an internationally-celebrated yoga instructor known for her passionate, dynamic and inspirational style of teaching that incorporates both the physical and spiritual aspects of the yoga practice. Seane has been on the covers of Yoga Journal, Nike Goddess, Inner Vision and Healing, Retreat and Spa Magazine and has been featured in Glamour, Fitness, Self and Allure.  Seane serves as the National Yoga Ambassador for YouthAIDS and is the resident yoga expert for Dr. Caroline Myss's web site.  http://www.seanecorn.com and http://www.offthematintotheworld.org

About Julia Butterfly Hill:
Julia Butterfly Hill brought international attention to the plight of the world’s last remaining ancient forests in 1997 when she climbed up 180 feet into a 1000-year-old redwood tree. Her historic 738-day crusade against environmental destruction caused by clear-cutting ancient redwoods culminated with a negotiated agreement that provided permanent protection for the tree – Luna - and a nearly 3-acre buffer-zone. She is author of the national best seller The Legacy of Luna and One Makes The Difference. For the past 7 years, Julia has toured the world giving presentations at universities, conferences, concerts and community events about each person’s power to change the world. http://www.whatsyourtree.org

About Van Jones:
Van Jones is founding president of Green For All and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. He is the New York Times best selling author of The Green Collar Economy, which is endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, Tom Daschle and Al Gore. Green For All is a U.S. organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged. Its mission is to build an inclusive, green economy that is strong enough to resolve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty. A 1993 Yale Law graduate, Van is a husband and the father of two small boys. He is a tireless advocate, committed to creating "green pathways out of poverty” and expanding the coalition fighting global warming.  http://www.greenforall.org

About The Engage Network:
The nonprofit Engage Network is an innovation in social networking.  They help everyday people create social change by equipping them as leaders in their communities.  They develop curricula and trainings to build local leadership one person, one small group, and one community at a time.  In their first year, they trained more than 200 leaders and launched 35 social change circles in 7 regions.  To date, the Engage Network has partnered with three remarkable visionaries, Seane Corn, Julia Butterfly Hill, and Van Jones. Come hear about their innovative strategies for moving people from inspiration to long-term engagement and celebrate the power of bringing people together around positive change.

Special Thanks To:
Organic Vintners Cava Sparkling Wine, New Leaf Paper, Frey Vineyards, New Belgium,
Forty Oaks Farm, Coracao Confections, EO, GreenerPrinter, Green Carpet Limo,
Peace Love & Cupcakes


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Celebs Michael Pollan + Harold McGee at 826 Valencia on Feb 25!

Yet another of Chris Ying's fabuloso, star-studded food writing seminars at 826 Valencia (a.k.a. McSweeney's, a.k.a. the place where celeb author Dave Eggers hangs his hat): 

Food Writing: the politics, the science
w/Michael Pollan, Harold McGee, and Bonnie Azab Powell
moderated by Chris Ying
February 25, 2009
6–9 PM

Join us for an evening discussion on writing about food, and publishing your work. Our first food writing seminar, held in November, proved so popular that we wanted to have a second. This time our focus will be narrower, concentrating on the politics of food, its impact, and the science behind it. The conversation will range from discussing the themes addressed as well as how to turn thoughts, arguments and theories into palatable prose.
In addition to reflecting on the writing process, the panelists will address issues related to the publishing aspects of food writing, such as contacting agents, working with publishing houses and newspaper editors, and running a successful blog. Each panelist comes to 826 with a unique experience and approach, and their combined expertise should prove an invaluable resource for aspiring and seasoned writers alike. No details will be spared, all pertinent secrets will be revealed.

About the panelists:
mp_author.jpgMichael Pollan is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, published in January 2008 by The Penguin Press. His previous books include The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post; The Botany of Desire; Second Nature; and A Place of My Own, pictured here. Pollan is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and is a Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He started out studying physics and astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, and then English literature at Yale University. In 1984 he published On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, which he revised and enlarged in 2004. In 2005, Bon Appétit magazine named him food writer of the year. In 2008, Time Magazine included him on its annual list of the world's most influential people. He writes a monthly column, "The Curious Cook," for The New York Times.

Bonnie Azab Powell is a freelance writer and editor who has written about food politics for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Sierra, Gastronomica, Meatpaper, Grist.org, and elsewhere. She is also the editor of the group blog Ethicurean.com, which she started in May 2006; the deputy editor of Edible San Francisco magazine; and manager of Clark Summit Farm's meat CSA.
Chris Ying will be moderating the event. Chris is an editor at McSweeney's, where his current projects include writing a children's book about where food comes from, tentatively titled What If I Ate This Boot?. In addition, he manages the Voice of Witness oral history book series, and is developing a how-to guide on hosting "miracle berry" flavor-tripping parties. While in college, he worked as a line cook in Bay Area restaurants for four years, and now cooks once a week for Mission Street Food. He is also an editor of the journal Meatpaper, and tries to maintain a food blog called Plebiscite.

* * *
You may reserve your spot for our upcoming Adult Seminar by check or with a credit card through Paypal below. The cost is $100. If you have questions, please email seminars@826valencia .com.
To pay through Paypal, check the title, date, and cost of the seminar and then click 'Sign Me Up!'
Food Writing: the politics, the science
February 25, 2009


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Even Brunch Suffers at Cavallo Point in Sausalito

 Fancy Sunday brunch in a historic fort beneath the Golden Gate Bridge? Count me in.

Brunch Adventure!
My fun, up-for-anything friend Jessica and I picked up our super-sweet pals Jeffrey and Ava, avid brunchers and promoters of the Blow Up dance party at Rickshaw Stop, and we headed out of town to the old military base.

Dressing up for brunch is Fun with a Capital F!

Especially when you're excited to check out THE most hotly anticipated resort property to open in Northern California in years.

Cavallo Point
I've been meaning to check out Cavallo Point, the new eco-resort opened mid-2008 on Fort Baker by Passport Resorts, the folks who run the super-tony, hippie-chic Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

(The Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact, in which Clint Eastwood says, "Go ahead--make my day," was filmed in part around Fort Baker, a little closer to the bridge.)

 I loved the Post Ranch Inn. That place sets the bar for pampering *pretty* high.

With such a pedigree, brunch on the view-soaked veranda (or even in the adjacent dining room) at Murray Circle--Cavallo Point's posh dining room--should be something else.

Meh. It was fine.

The Chronicle's Michael Bauer gave Murray Circle's chef Joseph Humphrey 3 stars in July 2008 despite spotty service, but reports from user review sites note that the prix fixe tasting menu at dinner might not necessarily be worth the investment, so brunch seemed the obvious choice, especially on a sunny day.

While the food was ok--not amazing (only a lovely poached cod with brussels sprouts and parsnip puree really shone)--I'm sorry to report that the service was so discombobulated, amateurish, and puzzling, frankly, that we didn't even feel comfortable having dessert there.

To the Spa!
So we took a stroll around the property, with eyes toward the day spa and its patio with a heated basking pool.

Leisure hounds should note that there's no cocktail service at the pool; it's a healing center. The upside? None of the potentially obnoxious distractions of a traditional hotel pool deck are present.

However, after 3pm, neither is the sun. Once the sun drops behind the steep hill into which the spa facility is tucked, it's curtains for sun worshipping.

However, the fire is a nice touch and the spa seems well-appointed. We'll come back for a $140/hr massage some other time when an indulgence is called for, and when we've had an earlier start to the day.

One More Try
We decided to give Cavallo Point one more shot and hit the comfy, Smith + Hawken-ish seating on the sundeck adjacent to the Murray Circle building for a bottle of something bubbly.

They don't offer service out there, so we sent an envoy inside to Farley Bar to bring back an Iron Horse sparkling wine.

Here's the Rub
After a long wait, the bottle was brought out with four large Burgundy glasses--you know, big old red wine glasses. "Oh," my friend said, "Actually, we'll need Champagne flutes."

At which point--I kid you not--the employee responded by holding the bottle out in front of her and pointing to the words "Sparkling Wine," noting that the bottle was not a Champagne. All my friend could stammer in reply before returning to the sundeck empty-handed was, "You're absolutely right."

Seriously? Really?

*This* is who you've got manning the ship at a restaurant and bar that has bottles on its list that are literally hundreds and even thousands of dollars in price?

Imagine if a high-roller with a temper had the same experience? I mean, we're just some globetrotting city kids up for the day to enjoy brunch and a round of local bubbly in the sunshine--no way are we going to be this resort's toughest customers.

Unfortunately, it's apparent that the service program at Murray Circle is desperately in need of retooling. I can't recommend dining there at this point; at high-end resort prices, you expect a certain level of service.

The Verdict
For my local fancy tourist dollar, I'll be escaping down to the Four Seasons in Silicon Valley, where there's a fab restaurant, a sweet outdoor pool deck (mit cocktails, dahling), and that consistently excellent--if a bit robotic--Four Seasons service that always significantly muffles the sound of vacation dollars flying out of one's pocketbook (or murse, for that matter).

There's no sweeping view of the bay down there, however. So if that's what you want...

...A round of cocktails on the deck at Sam's in Tiburon (where the service is salty, thorough, and quick!) can be a wonderfully corrective measure.

photos: TB