Ends are beginnings, and vice versa.

Dear Feastlings,

We’ll start here: this is not a complaint.  I’m sitting at my desk, trying to knock out this email before most of you go home from work, and scrambling to get all the last puzzle pieces of 2023 put into place.  The final wine for this week’s wine tasting came in during my six appointments, and once I’ve hit the “send” button, I’ll be tasting it to write a food pairing so I can update the page on our website about this week’s end-of-the-month wine tasting.




Based on my past experiences with TOR wines, I expect it to be rich and ripe and plump.  No wallflower here.  But I’ll get it tasted, get a food pairing written, and tomorrow, when Gaby and I (no one here would dispute that Gaby is currently the glue that holds the kitchen together) go over everything- the Saturday tasting menu, the New Year’s Eve menu that happens the following day, and the January menu that comes a scant two days later- go over it all, everything will fall into place, however awkwardly, and we’ll put together three different menus for three consecutive work days, and breathe a collective sigh of relief.

We’ve covered the shifts of the two staff members who disappeared without notice, a pantry cook who saw the writing on the wall after a written reprimand and his dishwasher friend, and hired a couple of new folks who appear to be enthusiastic about working here.  All that remains is to get through the end of the year unscathed despite seasonal maladies having infected two of the management team.  We’re all crossing our fingers and hoping to get out from under that still-fullish moon and whatever other cosmic abnormalities have afflicted the planet and our little corner of it.


Okay, I’m tasting the wine.  Multitasking shouldn’t necessarily include wine tasting, but there’s a lot left to accomplish today, so I’m taking a fairly scattershot approach, so dense, juicy Paso Robles Grenache and Syrah will simply have to interweave a bit with menu writing, email sending, and getting ready for the dinner rush.  I can tell you from first taste that there are half a dozen of you whose faces immediately pop into mind as it rolls across my palate; I look forward to telling you each about this jammy and unctuous beast of a wine.

Still, there are plenty of you who just want to know what’s up this week *besides* the wine tasting, so I’ll give you a link to the New Year’s Eve menu,




and I’ll promise you that the January menu lies only 48 hours behind it.  No, we’re not the sort of place that stays open to encourage you to ring in 2024 here with us- my New Year’s resolution 24 years ago was never to be working at midnight on New Year’s Eve again, and I intend to hold fast to that dictum- but we’ll have a special menu that night, one worthy of bidding farewell to 2023, and while we’re mostly full up, there may be a table to two to be had, perhaps early or perhaps late, or maybe even right in the thick of it, depending on whom it is who gets that last-minute flu bug or Covid, or who’s decided they’ve had enough of humanity for the year and just wants to relax quietly at home to welcome 2024 while the neighbors set off rockets and bang pots and pans together.

There’ll be a new note next week with a January menu link included, and a wish to all of you for new year of abundance, both given and received, and a renewed attempt at peace on earth, happiness, health and prosperity for each of you and all of you collectively, with no one left out and everyone happy for one another’s good fortune.  Thanks for sticking with us this year, all of you kind people, and may 2024 bring you whatever you’ve been missing of late.





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