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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. With so much happening over the next week or two around these parts, particularly for Memorial Day weekend, it would be very heart-warming if there were to be a good turnout for the one event that actually commemorates Memorial Day, and the reason we get the long weekend to enjoy all of these events in the first place. I’m talking about the service put on by the AV Veterans that will be held at the Memorial Wall in the Evergreen Cemetery on AV Way at 11am on Monday, May 27th to commemorate US soldiers who have died while serving in the military. This day was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War and it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars. With US servicemen and women continuing to perish in various theaters of war, a good turnout at this short ceremony would surely be a sign that their efforts have not been in vain and are deeply appreciated by those of us who live on. The general public is encouraged to attend this brief service before going on to their other holiday weekend festivities and I sincerely hope to see many of you there.

The annual AV Pinot Festival took place this past weekend, greeted among Valley folks it seems by some mixed feelings, although overall it is seen as a positive thing even if many locals do not take part in any way. On Friday evening, with connected events elsewhere, the downtown Boonville eating and drinking establishments were fairly quiet. Like the Sierra Nevada Music Festival and The Beer Fest, these large Valley events are not the huge boon to local business that organizers would have you believe. I am sure there are exceptions at various times, and some extra business is inevitable over a whole weekend, yet according to some local business owners it is just not nearly as much as one would think. However, the Valley ‘scene’ gets to be enjoyed by many outsiders and this will surely have a positive knock-on effect for local businesses in the future. As for the event itself, it is one for the wineries and their employees to share and sell their splendid wines, for tourists to embrace the Valley’s natural beauty and produce, and it’s undoubtedly an excellent opportunity for local wine and food lovers, like myself, to get out and about to enjoy the veritable feast of edibles, libations, and entertainment provided on our doorstep.

I did not attend the $105 main tasting event held at Golden Eye Winery on the Saturday afternoon, nor did I attend any of the extravagant, yet no doubt enjoyable, winemaker dinners held that evening. However, following a Friday night spent at first Aquarelle and then Lauren’s Restaurant, I was ready to participate in the festival on Sunday afternoon and zoomed around the Valley accompanied by The Barn Owl. We visited many of the winery Open Houses and enjoyed some wonderful food pairings. After much deliberation we awarded our Top Three Pairings as follows. (Please keep in mind we did not get to every Open House; that would have been greedy and dangerous.)

In third place was Brutocao where we sampled the best dessert of the day: brownies made with Tawny Port, served with strawberries steeped in Merlot Mistelle and topped by their Cabernet Sauvignon Chocolate Truffle Fudge. Served with their Reserve 2009 Pinot Noir this provided a superb end to the day. Runner-up was Phillips-Hill’s 2010 Boontling Pinot Noir paired with some delicious Beef Cheek Bourguignon cooked beautifully by the talented Natasha Durandet. And in first place, and doing what all Pinot Noir pourers are advised to do (i.e., pairing their product with lamb), was Balo. Their 2010 AV Pinot was paired with the lamb chops served up by Kurt Morse and Bill Teague — some of the best lamb that the Barn Owl and I have had in many a long day. This dish was a runaway winner, and that was before we tasted the sumptuous smoked salmon and local Penny Royal goat cheese pizza produced by local chefs Corey Morse and Diana Charles that was also served at Balo. Honorable Mention should go to the wines of Knez, Signal Ridge, and Drew, whose winemaker/owner Jason Drew was our Host of the Day. Can we do it all again next weekend?

Public Service Announcements, calendars and pens at the ready. #341/ The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will return to the Valley on two more Thursdays this month: tomorrow, May 23, and May 30 — 2-3.30pm on each occasion. You do not have to arrive early and then wait a long time; everyone showing up at anytime before 3.30pm will be seen. #342. Coming up this weekend it’s the AV Art Guild’s annual Open Studio Tour: May 25-27 from 11am to 5pm each day. Visit the artists and view their paintings, glass, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, and more. Call Peggy at 895-2493 for further details. #343. This Sunday the Lion's Club prepares their delicious chicken and TriTip BBQ in the Redwood Grove at the Fairgrounds from 4:30 to 7:30! All proceeds will benefit the AV ElderHome. There will be the usual unique silent auction and for this year a small live auction. DJ Pete will be spinning the tunes so bring your family, your friends and your requests! Advance Ticket Purchase at All That Good Stuff and Lemon's: $15 and $12 for Seniors (62+) and children (6-12). Children under 6 free! #344. And as always, the Memorial Day Flea Market, benefiting the Senior Center, will run all weekend from Friday 24 to Monday 27 with a breakfast and snack bar open at the Veterans Hall. Gina at 895-3609 has all the details.

Here’s the menu for the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $5 donation from Seniors and charges $7 for Non-Seniors for lunches; for dinners it’s $6 and $8, respectively. Tomorrow, Thursday, May 23, the 12:15pm lunch will be Chicken Enchiladas, Rice, Black Beans, Corn, Salsa, Kasha Salad, and a Cherry Crisp dessert. Then next Tuesday, May 28, at 6pm, the dinner served by Marti Titus and her crew will be Country Captain Chicken, Brown Rice, Peas, Rolls, Raspberry Gelatin, Tabbouleh Salad, Triple Lemon Dessert. This is also Game Night so bring your favorite game to play or hang out and visit with friends. Hope to see you there.

Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge – yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…A continuing topic of discussion among the regulars at The 3-Dot is the rapidly increasing number of tasting rooms and restaurants in the Valley. I personally like to have such choice but until we have more places for visitors to stay overnight, where will all the money come from to support so many businesses? Perhaps it really is time for that ‘tastefully designed and appropriately located motel.’ Over to the Valley’s wheelers-and-dealers with a few dollars to spare.

…Talking of new businesses, I see that the location formally occupied by ‘All that Good Stuff’ in the Farrer Building is soon to become an antique store run by members of the Pronsolino family. We wish them well and hope they can make a go of it. This means that the ‘reliably rumored’ charcuterie idea for that space has been put on hold for now, which is fine with many local folks, I’m sure.

…And that segues nicely into another ‘reliable rumor’ – the one that the new high school Principal is a current member of the faculty and potentially being selected without the full participation of the School Board, his erstwhile employers. Believe it or not, I regularly speak with high school students and many of them are not happy with the recent developments at their school and see a definite need for significant changes. Perhaps the potential new Principal from the faculty will be fine, and I am sure that ultimately the Board will have a final say. But one has to wonder, ‘Is there nobody from beyond the Valley, without any baggage/connections to the previous regime, who will take this job and introduce some new ideas, someone who will arrive like a breath of fresh air, with enough vitality and vigor to blow away the cobwebs and quickly earn the respect of both staff and students alike? Maybe not, or are such candidates just not even considered?

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at PPS. Keep on wagging that tail, Fred.

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