One of my favorite sunsets in Istanbul, complete with Turkish crescent moon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Merhaba! I am back from three glorious weeks in Turkey, a country that totally blew my mind. There was so much natural beauty, I can’t believe how many well-preserved ruins I visited, I encountered such kindness and genuine hospitality, and hello, the food was just beyond. Those people know how to EAT. Talk about a food-obsessed culture, whoa. Looking forward to writing my trip recaps within the month, but first, I have 2,000 photos to sort through. I know, shutterbug gone crazy here. I blame you, Turkey! It was a trip of a lifetime—and I am so grateful for how smoothly it went considering all the moving parts! The kindness of strangers always makes such a difference.
I’ve been spending the past four days wading through the 2,200 emails I came home to (oh, joy), which is probably what crashed my Entourage database on Friday night. I KNEW I should have stayed on vacation. Fortunately I had many, many cocktails waiting for me at the SF Cocktail Week Legends Awards on Saturday night. I had a good time presenting a few winners with host Duggan McDonnell, but my favorite part of the night was seeing how truly touched the winners were with their awards. Winners Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods for the Trailblazer Award, Lance Winters of St. George Spirits for the Renegade Award, Jordan Mackay for the Scribe Award, John Burton for the Mentor Award, and Harry Denton for the Lifetime Achievement Award all expressed such genuine gratitude for their awards—it obviously felt good to have many hours of hard work and late nights to follow their passion honored by their peers. Congrats to all, it was a lovely and unexpectedly touching night. And thanks for the drinks, fabulous bar folks!
No rest for the weary: I am back on the road this weekend, heading down to Paso Robles on Saturday to attend the Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast event, and judge the LA vs. SF: Food Town Smackdown—Cocktail Edition competition on Sunday. I am then scooting back to SF in my car Sunday evening, because someone needs to get home and pack her bags again. Yeah, it’s a good time to start hating me again, because Tuesday I leave for a week-long press trip to Piemonte, organized by Beni di Batasiolo winery. It will be my first time visiting the region, and I can’t freaking wait; I also can’t believe Barolo and Barbaresco are in my binoculars. Pinch me (and trust, there’s plenty to pinch right now).
Man, this column is full of a lot of catch-up—three weeks worth of news. Almost killed me. It’s gonna hurt you too. Fortunately my colleagues at all the various news outlets were still churning out the stories while I was eating kebaps and drinking ayran (a salted yogurt drink). Get ready.
Cheers, gang—you’re so nice to come home to. Mwah! Let’s get to this, shall we?