Archive for the ‘Roslindale’ Category

Boston Bone Quest

May 5th, 2010

In what I’ve come to view as my mini-safaris, I got another chance to go on a Boston search over the past few days. This time, it ties into the too much that I know about the grocery biz.

In the years I was a grocery trade magazine editor I saw again and again why stores lose regular customers. We can and do often overlook rude and incompetent clerks; I suspect many of us treat such experiences as free theater while we are on a line. We also are pretty tolerate of high prices; we can justify modest ripoffs as stocking exactly what we want or being nearby.

What we won’t tolerate and consider cause for not returning are OOS — out of stock.

Where’s My Stuff?

It can be something you use regularly and expect to be there. It can be an advertised special. Customers going into a store with reasonable expectations leave steamed and may not come back if what they want isn’t there.

In this case, it was my bone drugs, or really minerals. Since my broken leg and surgery, I’ve supplemented my diet with calcium capsules. My wife is of course a person of the female persuasion and takes them for her own internal purposes.

As we got into our last jug of them, I could have ordered some, but the local groceries have all advertised that their house brands or some major brands were two for one. A quick calculation put that below the unit cost of stuff ordered, including the shipping.

So, it was off to Stop and Shop, which has their house brand, Care One, on twofer this week. Easy, eh?

Not so fast, Calcium Kid!

I amused myself when I had other tasks by careering from one S&S to another to another. I didn’t get my hopes up for any one and that was wise.

First came the rebuilt gem on American Legion Highway in Rozzie. It’s new, has big aisles, and looks efficient. Well, I already knew they were too dumb to put in a fresh-fish counter.

Having lived in lower JP for many years, shopped at the Purity Supreme long before it became a Grossman’s Outlet, I knew that the locals like their fish. Particularly those from the Caribbean are pretty demanding, loved PS’ selections, and still support free-standing fish stores in that same strip mall, in Eggleston Square, Dudley Square and many more places. Why S&S wouldn’t accommodate that speaks volumes on corporate mentality.

That new supermarket has numerous other shortcomings. For example, we buy quarts of non-fat plain yogurt weekly. They badly understock those. They invariably have low-fat plain, vanilla and other variations, but they clearly get as many non-fat plain quarts as the other types. They run out first and I often find none or one there.

This is not hard to predict. I can go on at considerable length about the innovations of the grocery industry in materials handling and inventory control. For the purpose of the yogurt example, the key factor is that the secret is in the cash register. As well as plugging in the unit price for an item, scanning the bar code adjusts the inventory level for the store. They know when they are getting low and can easily run reports on items consistently OOS.

Back to bone capsules:

S&S American Legion — a whole health-and-beauty-aid aisle, but heavy on baby butt products, moderate on makeup and extremely low on vitamins and minerals. They didn’t have squat and there were no places for what I wanted anyway.

S&S Truman Highway — just as masochistic amusement and because it’s a vigorous mile and change walk each way down and up the mysteriously named Summit/Washington/Wakefield street, I checked. This sad little store allegedly will get a larger replacement but is now like a double convenience store. I suspect any New Ager’s medicine cabinet has more minerals and vitamins. No dice.

S&S Dedham — I allowed myself to hope for success at this very large store. They can also run out of my yogurt, but they almost always stock enough advertised specials. They had labels for the big calcium bottles on the shelf, but alas, some other questing sorts had beaten me. A couple of sizes were OOS and there was one bottle of one variety remaining. A twofer doesn’t work with one, which must be why it was there.

I checked a few other where I don’t usually shop, but had reason to be nearby. Harvard Ave. in Brookline isn’t much of a store and didn’t have it. The northern JP one near Jackson has few vitamins or minerals.

S&S South Bay (Allstate Road) — the mother lode is here! I don’t know that I’ve bought any minerals here ever. I’ll keep it in memory. They had several times the shelf-space devoted to their food supplements as any of the others in the chain. I had a choice of numerous capsules per bottle, various milligrams per capsule, and with or without vitamin D.

I came by bike and my selection pretty much filled the spare space in my shoulder bag. It was two 500-capsule jugs. I’m not only set for awhile, I also know where to go next year.

Inventory by Caprice

You would think that Stop and Shop, or any major grocery chain would be more consistent. You’d think that they’d have similar stock store to store.

Of course not and part of that is reasonable. They expect their local managers to understand their customers enough to tailor the stock to their tastes.

You also have to wonder what would make managers in Roslindale figure their customes don’t want a real fish counter instead of shrink-wrapped, maybe long dead, stuff. It’s probably the same attitude that figures their customers don’t want a selection of vitamins and minerals.

At the least, I expect them to read their own weekly fliers. If they advertise food supplements at two-for-one, it’s essential to have a full stock for customers who walk in the store expecting that. If customers get their two of this or that, they are almost certain to pile a cart with all that other stuff. If they don’t, they’re likely to exit with only car keys in hand.

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Cooking the Ugly

January 30th, 2010

root veggiesA fellow Stop & Shop-per was my guide to using some of those particularly ugly veggies today. That’s fair enough. Dozens of times, grocery and Haymarket browsers have rushed to me when I turn with a vegetable or cut of meat and they ask what I do with it. In fact, that is a real community benefit from food shopping.

I have largely looked at the bins of uglies for a long time. Lately, I’ve been buying and then researching this or that. Latino markets, like Hi Lo in JP, the Haymarket, and more recently Stop & Shop have produce bins of the funkiest looking roots — stuff that seems to come out of an animator’s spare cycles.

Unfortunately for us ignorant sorts, the markets are generally not much help. I’ve asked. At Hi Lo, Latino shoppers would say they don’t use something, that their grandmother did but they never liked it or just “boil it.” Haymarket vendors are even less help as is Kenny and the other Italian-American staff at Baby Nat’s at the top of Roslindale.  They sell the stuff because, well, it sells. They don’t know what to do with it.

I’ve been a Haymarket regular for 30 years and Nat’s for over 20. I recall asking owner Kenny about some of the root vegetables and about the huge tins of ackee.  They move many cases of ackee on American Legion Highway to native Jamaicans. “I don’t know what they do with it, but they buy a lot of it,” he said.

My family has its own love of various uglies. After most of them migrated to New Mexico a long time ago, they got me into jimaca.  I used to think this frightening looking thing was a real ugly, like a bloated shrunken head. Yet, Texans, New Mexicans, Mexicans and Californians have it all the time and know just what to do with it. There are even website pages with details.

It’s a generally difficult with the Caribbean roots. Big sites like Epicurious don’t deign to deal with non-European specialty items like batata (top lump in image above; click for detail) or malanga (bottom thingummy). Similarly when I brought home a hunk of nãme, I was stressed and pressed to find out what to do with it. Even the few the Stop & Shop signs had any description of would only uniformly say to boil it. That reads like a stereotypical joke about Irish cooking — “Bile it.” “What if it ain’t done?” “Bile it some more.”

It’s a hard net search, particularly as search engines, as well as Wikipedia and so forth, treat nãme as the word name. That’s about as common in a string as and or the. Adding terms for recipe, Jamaica and so forth didn’t help. Eventually, I stumbled in the Brazilian link to the root (and the root of the word for the root). Nãme is the Portuguese version of nyam from several African languages, where it originally just meant to taste. It’s also were we get our word yam.

Well, sort of…the African, Brazilian and Caribbean yam is nothing like the misapplied term to a sweet potato. These nãme things are big and not at all sweet, and toxic. They can grow to six, eight or more feet long. They are highly starchy. They also require considerable boiling to remove the natural, and even fatal, toxicity, but a simple prolonged boiling neutralizes the poison.

Nãme has long been a subsistence food in Africa and is particularly useful where they don’t have rice or grains for bread or our New World potatoes. It’s grown in tropical regions in all the Americas, is available all year, and having cooked and eaten it, I don’t have to do that again. It is starchy, but neither savory nor sweet. It seems to be a vehicle for herbs, spices and main dishes.

My take-an-ugly-root-home version today was both batata and malanga. Batata is more common and better known. The woman in the store today suggested thinking of it as a white fleshed sweet potato. She boils and slices it before serving it as a side dish, generally tossed in butter. Next up will be the malangas (I bought several). She recommended first peeling and dicing it. Then cook it with chicken or other meat in a spicy stew. She said she also likes to chop it long, boil it until tender and use it with meat in a sauce where you might use noodles.

I intend to go through all the ugly root veggies I can find. Then I’ll give them my best shots at  getting advice in person or online, getting the family to join my adventure and then posting a short list with suggestions and comments. I don’t know that any will be a stand-alone delight. Then again, I haven’t tried them all yet.

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X Marks The Nice Spot

November 7th, 2009

wolverine, not necessarily Boston driverThe politest intersection is Boston is remarkable in several aspects. First of all, let’s consider that a four-way stop in the city, this city can honestly have the attribute of polite.

Not only in this era but in New England in general and Boston specifically, we are not known for our social graces. From the way we drive to how we respond to questions from distant tourists, outsiders would reasonably expect us to have been raised by wolverines or something in the weasel family.

Yet, in the wilds of Stony Brook at the bottom or Rozzie and HP, a small plat of mannered heaven hides. Where Enneking turns hard and meets the other parkways of Dedham and Turtle Pond, an Eden of consideration and kindness exists.

From any of the four directions, drivers stop, wait for each other, pay attention to the rule that first-come/first-go or even the law and courtesy that the driver on the right gets to go when cars arrive simultaneously.

Whether I bike or drive. no matter what time of day, whether it is rush hour with jammed Enneking traffic, or regardless of the weather, drivers are polite to each other. I have never heard a blaring horn nor seen anyone demand and take an out-of-turn shot.

polite Boston intersection

Could it be something in the oxygen from all the foliage? Might some nearby unknown native American burial ground be affecting Bostonians as they arrive at the intersection? Would the bucolic nature of the park all around calm the savages?

The cause is far less important than the mere existence of the magic intersection.

Go then when you despair of your pushy neighbors or aggressive bozos on the roads. There is a remarkably low JQ (jerk quotient) at Enneking and Enneking. Bless that X.

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Boston Firefighters Smother Wee Blaze

July 10th, 2009

How many firefighters does it take to douse a small triple-decker fire? You can choose eight trucks full or just enough today.

fire localeAround 1 p.m. on the tiny Carlford Road at the JP/Roslindale line on Hyde Park Avenue, response to a 911 call brought eight trucks, three police cars, and two fire commander SUVs. They were ready for anything and apparently didn’t mind coming for very little.

Amusingly enough, with the firefighters missing their overtime pay under Mayor Menino cutting back (brownouts, as they have it) on subs for those calling in sick, there were no shortage of jakes and supervisors.  It was somehow comforting, as had it been a real fire, the cheek-to-jowl wooden houses there and on the avenue could literally have been toast.

fighter watching

outfitted firefighters

I sweat in long-sleeves on sunny warm days like this. These guys seemed plenty jolly enough in their boots, super gloves, heavy suits and oxygen tanks.

Pix Trix: Click an image for larger view or go here for the Flickr stream, including the house in question at 6 Carlford.

The operation was a little over an hour, with more time devoted to repacking unneeded hoses than setting up. These guys are very efficient at getting to the task at hand.

Amusingly enough, on the corner of HP and Carlford is one of those huge Flaherty for mayor signs. The firefighters didn’t seem to notice.

Southbound traffic on HP Ave. diverted through Woodbourne, a twisty little neighborhood whose non-rectilinear layout seemed to befuddle local drivers. (Where next? How the hell can I get out of here?)

The elderly residents across the street at the Woodbourne Apartments, as well as the passing teens on their trick bikes all seemed to enjoy the show. No one seemed overly disappointed at the lack of flames and smoke.  We saw what skillful drivers the jakes were to make U-turns on HP Ave. or to back up a ladder truck a block past parked cars and other red trucks.

Boston Arriving, One Bike Lane at a Time

October 15th, 2008

alhi.jpg As is my wont, I went to the annual Moving Together Conference. I’ll post some lore learned and some observations.

The first useful snippet came from Boston’s director of bicycle programs, Nicole Freedman, a.k.a. bike czar. She shared a session with Cara Seiderman, her Cambridge counterpart. There will be more on their show later, but the first thing to note is that Seiderman is the pro and we are the farm team. Freedman is working to change that.

Cambridge in an order of magnitude ahead of Boston in bike accommodation. We are still largely in the hatin’-them-Spandex-dudes cliché class. This is despite Mayor Tom Menino’s relatively new rotary joy.

Cambridge has bike lanes seemingly everywhere. They treat cyclists with respect and responsibility. Hell, they even ticket bike guys who run stop signs.

Freedman, the former Olympic and world champion biker, is, if nothing else, competitive. She wants us up and out quickly, chasing Seiderman’s rear wheel.

The former failed, fired bike czar, Doug Mink, was there as usual too. Freedman notes with affection and respect that he developed the major cycling plan she uses. Through circumstances and personalities downtown, he just didn’t get a chance to implement it. His office was dissolved; he was robbed.

She can point to many quick successes, maybe because we started from zero. That was zero bike lanes, almost no public bike racks and on and on. It’s facilities that encourage cycling and we didn’t have any.

nicolef.jpgFreedman is a perky and jolly sort. She notes with glee that she can and does plagiarize freely. Cities like Cambridge, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have done what we need to. She’ll take the best and avoid their stumbles.

Here, I’ll point to bike lanes. They make cycling more desirable. Cyclists ride the direct routes, which generally means the main thoroughfares and not the buckled and often slow and few paths. She’s trying to use efficiency, common sense, and cheapness, while obeying the laws.

As noted in some of the earlier years’ postings on this conference, when a road gets rehabbed or even re-striped, it has to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists unless that is wildly impractical (like stone walls in the country). That’s required to get the state and federal highway funds. Freeeman is doing her damnedest to make sure that really happens and cycling considerations don’t get waivered out.

An example of her what’s-possible and low-hanging fruit is bike paths. A few major avenues, primarily around the central fist of the city and near universities, have already gotten them. Another is in the shot above, American Legion Highway in Roslindale.

This two-plus-mile stretch of the pretty straight thoroughfare is known as a death highway in my parts of JP. There are quite a few pathetic carnival-class plush animals in colors that have never appeared in nature. Tied to phone or light posts, these memorial artifacts mark where some late night or early morning drunken or drugged up driver raced down the road before careering into a tree or median.

It has four broad lanes with trees in the middle and on each curb. Now it suddenly has a bike lane next to each curb running from Walk Hill to Blue Hill. In typical Bostons fashion, if you bike to Walk Hill Street, you’re on your own from there, but let us praise two miles of relative safety.

The stripes went down in a recent resurfacing. As you regular readers know, I can quibble, as in:

  • There are no markings or signs of any type indicating what the bike lanes are.
  • Drivers don’t get it and many encroach into the lanes.
  • Neither side has NO PARKING signs, and many cars use the Blue Hill end by Franklin Park as a parking lane, endangering both cars and bikes.
  • The newish 30 MPH limit is, shall we say, not fully in the public consciousness. Biking the route today, I estimate that the average speed was 45, with many going faster.
  • Cyclists don’t yet know it is there.
  • It’s not the best example of where people live to where they want to travel.
  • The bike lanes are broad, as in the picture at Walk Hill (click for a larger view) where they piggyback on a bus zone, but narrow in the Northern region to perhaps 3 or 3.5 feet, not really adequate.
  • The travel lanes are quite broad and should have each given another foot to the bike lane to make it safe.

All those listed, I’m delighted to see it and shall use it more. It whets the cycling appetite for accommodation.

Peering at Peer Bloggers

May 7th, 2008

Blogger neighborhoodsSurely every blogger from Roslindale, JP or West Roxbury wants to put a face with some other particular bloggers from these parts. We can do that next week.

Our first area blogger social gathering — in a bunch, in a bunch — will be Wednesday, May 14th, at Doyle’s. We’ll gather in the big back room around 7 p.m.

Doyle’s location and a link to directions are here. I guess I’m co-host. Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub and I each consider this the other’s idea. At the very least, come buy Adam a beer for all the extra hits he’s given us when he cites one of our posts.

There’s no entry fee or other cost, except for whatever you order to eat or drink.

Apparently, WR only has a few bloggers. So, if you are one, you absolutely must come.

For some unknown reason, JP has a lot. Those from the two other neighborhoods have to be there next week to make sure we don’t dominate.

It also won’t be out of place to suggest that if this one is fun, we should have the next one at the Pleasant or wherever your favorite is that has a big room.

If you’ve never been to Doyle’s, feel free to gawk at the mayoral memorabilia, going way back. There’s murals of the many politically famous gents and ladies who have bent an elbow in the joint.

Food is fairly cheap. There’s quite a few drafts available. Doyle’s has the longest list of single malts I’ve ever seen. No one ridicules you if you want coffee or tea or club soda.

Stay as long as you find it amusing. Then feel free to post about it.

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Blob of Bloggers in Two Weeks

May 1st, 2008

laptop keysIt’s a beautiful evening in the neighborhood(s). Bloggers from Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury sections of Boston have their first (but not ice cream) social in two weeks.

Wednesday, May 14th, starting at 7 p.m., we’ll meet at Doyle’s to put faces and names to bloggers we read. Maybe we’ll brag and lie to each other too. There’ll be:

  • No test
  • No lectures
  • No entry fee (pay for what you consume)

Doyle’s is a bar and restaurant, famous for its many taps, its Irish pizza, and paintings and artifacts of the many Boston and Massachusetts pols who’ve warmed a bar stool here.

The idea is to meet and greet, to order some food and drink, and to indulge in talking about blogging with people who do it and who care about it.

Your blog or blogs may be about politics, history, nature, gardening, family, or whatever. You’re welcome.

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Water Heater? Not for You!

April 7th, 2008

Word is that the standard water heater in Europe is on-demand. I lost a second time in my effort to get one.

Heater Naysayer

forbidden signSeven years ago, when our water heater dumped 40 gallons on the basement floor, I tried, as I did at the end of last week when the replacement tank was leaking heavily.

Plumbers think of water heaters as commodities. They break and you just replace them. When the tank’s glass liner goes, you can’t fix it. Around here, the new unit is $250 to $600, plus $150 to $400 for labor, extra valves and such, and in Boston fees for an inspection permit, an electrical permit and other occult documents.

Tank heaters are like a car’s muffler and exhaust system. You’re supposed to use them and just pay big labor and parts bills when they fail. Of course, there’s the additional joke with mufflers. They are under the car, exposed to moisture, corrosives and things that can puncture them. Sure, they fail.

As with auto mechanics and exhausts, plumbers shrug. What are you going to do? You need to take showers and wash dishes. With a pool around the heater and only cold water on tap, I was again at the mercy of plumbers.

I think they definitely do not want to install a water heater designed to last 20 or more years. They really don’t care how much energy you’d save.

Tempus Fugit (Lente)

Seven years ago, the game was supply. There were damned few plumbers who could get any on-demand heater. After numerous calls, I went back to the overlords of Boston plumbing, Trethewey Brothers. They brushed us off with no-can-do/no-can-get.

They are an amazing bunch over there. Behind their very plain storefront on Washington Street in Roslindale Square, they are a veritable SWAT team of pipes and toilets. When you absolutely need someone over quickly, they’ll do it and you’ll pay a healthy premium. Their work is solid, but pricey. They rescued us before when another pair of plumbers just disappeared halfway through a bathroom rehab.

The last time our water heater ridiculed us, other plumbers say they had no way to get an on-demand heater and had not installed them. TBros, as they self-lovingly call themselves, said they could get one…in three weeks. I imagined heading to the Y for 21 days for showers and shaves, and heating water on the range to wash dishes with, and taking the boys on a second personal hygiene trip in the evenings.

Bosch water heaterThis time, they had refined theater for me. Armed with availability and prices from the internet, I knew that even the local home centers now stocked these wonder boxes. Granted, they were $800 to $1,300 for the heater, roughly twice the price of a lame tank unit. So, I naively figured I had a shot at getting the 21st Century version.

What a fool I was, again.

This time, it was whining, moaning and poisoning the pot with installation woes and charges. Bob told me:

  • Each installation is unique (code for this is really gonna cost ya)
  • You’re certain to need an electrician and maybe a 240-volt special line…at extra cost
  • You’re certain to need a larger capacity, separate, new gas line run from the meter…at extra cost
  • You’re almost certain to need new gas and water lines run to the unit on a distant exterior wall (not the chimney) to vent
  • Oh, and you’ll need mounts and a hole through that outside wall…at extra cost

The cheapest the installation could possibly run was $2,400 and it might be a lot higher.

A couple of things became clear:

  1. TBros truly didn’t want to install this type of unit
  2. The Boston market is nowhere near mature enough to make this easy for consumers

Like a Funeral

The right times to do this are when you are building a home or rehabbing one. If everything is torn up or not installed, the incremental cost should be pretty low. The wrong times to do this are when you need the damned hot water or when you have a good tank system, which may last another three or six or eight years…you just don’t know.

Tankless is definitely the place to end up for water heaters. I ran across several comparisons. One that is biased because the company is selling on-demand units is here.

If installation was commonplace and the units popular enough to make plumbers savvy and eager for the business, the ROI might be fast enough to encourage getting one. As it is, I’m harrumphing again. The heater went on Thursday. I could have called more than the four plumbing contractors and gotten several in for estimates into this week, and done without hot water for a week or two. If I lived alone instead of with a wife and two kids, I might well have been cantankerous enough to do so.

I feel like I’ve been had again. If you have a tank water heater coming up on the end of its warranty period, this might be a good time to have a couple of plumbers over for estimates.

There are electrical units that are not as energy efficient and do require the high-power lines. Instead, if you have a newer home than ours, you might already have big enough gas lines. You may even have a boiler close enough to an outside wall to avoid the big costs of lots of water and gas lines.

Keep in mind, when your basement has a couple of inches of water on the floor is probably not the time to think about your options. I think this is what the morticians refer to as pre-need planning.

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Incidental Rubifying in Rozzie

December 2nd, 2007

Japanese maple in Roslindale

Another color attack today in the cold was abutting the arboretum of recent mention. Leaving the South side of Peter’s Hill and onto Arborough Road, I got a red shock.

One small lawn had a ruby carpet — and no corresponding tree in the yard. The few small bushes and tree there were all evergreen or nude and with no red leaves.

Instead, a large Japanese maple on the next yard was the source of the beauty. It still had about one fifth of its leaves, and both those on the ground and still on the branches were bright red. Its own lawn had virtually none of the delicate, small red leaves.

I must say I am somewhat jealous. Our neighboring trees drop or blow oak or locust or maple on our little lawn, all large, brown leaves.

A friend who was by for Thanksgiving said he was removing volunteer Japanese maples from his lawn in Connecticut. When I said how beautiful I thought they were, he told me that he’d save me one with a root ball.

This is the way to prepare for winter. I don’t think I’d even rake these beauties. This is art.

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Rozzie Wine Evangelist

November 30th, 2007

What’s Spanish for zaftig? Does de buen tipo cut it?

Regardless, when my uxorial unit and I headed to (ta da) the Roslindale Public Library for a wine tasting, we met the full-figured and relentlessly enthusiastic Maria Valencia (as she says, “Like the orange”). The owner of the nearby Solera wine store wowed the seniors gathered with hints on what sauces to serve for the holidays.

We have sommeliers as touchstones and used to share a house with the food and beverage manager of the Ritz (back when there was a Ritz here and back when Johnny Carter was in charge of the cellars). Johnny was as much plain folk as a life-long Beacon Hill guy can be, but many wine professionals are not. Maria was in the casual mold, with her insistence on enjoyment over snobbishness.

She quickly pegged the crowd and played to it. Of the perhaps 25 of us, most were seniors and not the Harvard Law graduates from Dover either. They seemed not to know a Pinot from pickle juice. No worries, the broad smile and encouragement put them at ease.

Amusingly enough, Maria even elicited a gasp from the audience with with a ho-hum technique of boomer and younger generations. She showed how to open a wine bottle with a waiter’s corkscrew. waiter’s corkscrew

She cut the foil with the blade, inserted and turned the spiral and used the arm as a lever, as most of us, but apparently not those in the room, have done many times. When she extracted the cork with a light pop, an appreciative huzzah arose.

What a delighfully receptive group!

Maria’s business that night was familiarizing the Rozzie natives with wines for holiday visitors. She brought a sparkling (cava), a white and red Washington State bottles, and a Port. Everything was under $15 and drinkable as is. The approachable wine lady brought approachable potables.

She tied each wine to various foods, including recommending the cava with seasonable creamy soups. The whole evening was how to feel confident matching the wine to the food so you didn’t have to fret.

Incongruously, she did not come from a wine making or loving family or area. She grew up in Colombia. The only wine around was the sweet white stuff her father brought home from the local priests. A nice piece on her background and how she got to America and became a wine expert without going to sommelier’s school appeared in the Parkway Transcript. Some raves for her wine biz at 12 Cornith are here and here.

She also apologized for her hoarse voice. She’s a worker bee as well, with a job translating in downtown courts.

None of the wines in the backroom of the library was breathtaking or inspired those silly adjectives. My wife and I are relative winos contrasted to the sedate crowd in the room. I would have no problem getting more memorable wines at that price, at Solera or elsewhere. However, I bet she has the same enthusiasm in store and would turn over some great stuff I never knew.