Sep 1, 2010

September 2010 Rants and Raves

Hi All you Lunatics;

Gawd: what a month we have much has happened in the last 30 days, it would take a long, long note to tell you: so here goes.

I know, I know....I am a month or two late....but it is so crazy outside, that I had to fix my drip system at the house, re-organize all my outside potted plants, pot up all my summer starts, walk the dog, and....those were the priorities needing to be dealt with.....and I love doing them this time of the year.

Gary had his very first-ever-in-his-life surgery last month...his retina all of a sudden detached itself from his eye, and luckily he went to the doctor, and the doctor scheduled him for surgery the next day. He was out of the restaurant for three weeks. And of course I got a bit nervous: me? have to be out front and be nice at the same time? I don't know about this Lucy....

So, all of a sudden I kept feeling a bit sick to my stomach, tired, and just under the weather. And it kept going. And then all of a sudden Mother Mary and her infamous family seemed to visit me and I got on the scale and had lost 12 pounds. Worrying about Gary was paying off in the must-lose-weight department. But so tired? And not hungry on top of that? There must be a balance....
So another week goes by, and another 14 pounds have melted off my perfect body. So I think to myself "this is not because of my steadfast goal in life to set the perfect example of cooking for our customers, cooking for our friends, drinking wine, loving appetizers all hours of the day, and never gaining a pound (damn you Giada..)....", no - me thinks something might be wrong. So off to the doctor I go, get tests, and come home and lose more weight in four more days.

(NOTE: one good aspect: for a couple of weeks, I was able to go to the other side of my closet - you know the one reserved for your Angel Flight Pants, your bell-bottoms (they might come back...) and medium sized shirts...the ones you just can't part was like memory lane for a bit...)

The good doctor tells me that I need to go to the emergency room at the hospital NOW, and to find out what the heck is going on. So I do, and what do you think they do? Hold me hostage in their resort for 7 nights! Only with promise of hospital-red jello would I approve...

And so, long story short Gary's eye is healing (his vision will be fuzzy out of the operated eye for several months - I put on some of the bell-bottoms and medium shirts and asked him to cover his good eye and tell my how I looked using his 'fuzzy' eye....NOTE TO MYSELF: if you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question....he could have been gracious at least....)
And me? It seems as though I have an extremely rare blood disorder with a very unromantic name of "Hyper-e-o-sin-o-phil-ic syndrome". Just kind of rolls off the tongue, huh? Major elevated white blood cells that are kind of destroying all the good parts of my white blood cells. Have had to commit to the doc's for 10-12 months just for observation. It is that rare, where they are just trying to find out the right kinds of therapy for it: drugs, radiation, what-ever. At this point the "Big C" is off the table, but treatment might be somewhat in the same vein. We are fine, I have to go back to my regular side of the closet, and Gary keeps squinting at me with his 'fuzzy' eye....

But having to close the restaurant down for 12 days??? Dear gawd in heaven: My financial solvency is a myth!!! Still we are on the way to recovery, and just hope that business stays as steady as it has been lately. Thank you all for your kind letters and will be a long, drawn out process, but I am strong....and wine makes me stronger.....

I am not a VEGAN!!!

Recently, we had some people coming into the restaurant who talked to Richelle and basically chastised her because Cafe Luna was not catering to Vegan's. A vegan does not eat anything from animals: meats, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. Strictly vegetables, whole grains, etc. Usually not any processed foods of any kind. (NO Potato Chips?? no way...)..Soy or rice milk is fine, plant-based foods the standard, etc.

But we are not a vegan restaurant.
I make my polenta with cheese. My pasta's are made with flour and eggs. I am not sorry for this, because I love the taste that cheese and eggs give an item.

But VEGANS:: we can make you happy. The kindest thing you can do to a restaurant is call ahead and tell us you are coming: I then get to brain-storm with myself how to take care of you and make you happy! Our curry dishes are vegan. Made with coconut milk, vegetable based curry pastes, and vegetables. Perfect. And we can always just add vegetables or grains to them to make you a happy camper. We have many sautes we can make for you.

And yet.........
This particular night, we offered to make them a perfectly VEGAN vegetable curry but my two Vegan Warriors hated anything spicy, so of course we were terrible people who are prejudiced against their beliefs, are purposely trying to make their lives miserable, and do not care.
So Richelle came in the back room, rolled her eyes (yes, we are allowed to do that you the back room....) and she suggested we do anything to make them happy: so we did a quick vegetable and grain saute, using olive oil and tomatoes fresh off the vine with the wonderful basil we get and served it beautifully on a platter that make them very happy. But somehow I wanted to slip in a hot chile just to see what would happen (I didn't....but I thought about it...).
Bottom line: Don't be rude. Restaurants bend over back-wards for our customers. We aim to please you and your tastes, dietary restrictions, and likes/dislikes. But you must also be courteous to us. Let us know what we can do for you, make a special purchase if necessary and keep you happy and within your food margins. Just call ahead!! (Note: we have a customer that is so alergic to anyking of pork product, that she brings in her own saute pan for us to cook her meals on. Now that is planning!!! She tells us she could literally die from pork, but she still goes out, and trusts us. We love her thoughtfulness and trust.)
And you know, MY body is also a temple: it just happens to have a lot more seating than others....

Along these same dietary restriction lines, we had this wonderful couple in a couple of weeks ago with their own restrictions: they needed GLUTEN-FREE foods due to their own allergies. We talked about last months menu at great lengths, and guess what? Our menu is basically GLUTEN-FREE!! Now don't get crazy on me, we do have gluten products, of course: pasta's, Panko bread-crumbs, flour, etc. But these are specifically noted on each dish.

Most of our dishes are saute's, grilled, or roasted. We do not use breading on most of our dishes, we do not use processed items, and we do not use pre-made items. So there are no "hidden" ingredients we need to worry about.

We also served several gluten-free desserts!!! Our Coconut Flan with Bananas, our Creme Brulees are all gluten-free. And we always have fresh fruit available for you.

So, in our own way, we are patting ourselves on the back being able to make another group of people happy!!!


On a Personal Note: The passing of Jeff
Gary and I lost one of our very best friends last month. He was a man who has been mentioned many times over the years in this Rants and Raves blog. Jeff was one of those opinionated people who made you crazy and giddy at the same time.

Jeff loved to eat, yet his eating habits were not normal. He loved junk foods, loved processed foods, and hated anything green. Baloney, Cheetos, Fritos, candy bars, pork rinds, Cracker Barrel Cheeses, canned get the drift. Yet, he had an opinion on each and everything we ever fed him.

To rich.
To spicy.
To much tomato.
To much olive oil.
To much meat.To much vegetables.

"I loved everything but......"
Always the "but" with Jeff.

He was probably the funniest man we have ever known. As he got older, his stories were told and re-told so many times, that we always looked forward to hearing the new versions. He could tell a joke with the correct accents, and always with the proper pauses ("for effect, my dear, for effect...") to provide the perfect punchlines.

He and Gary talked every morning at 9 AM. He moved to Hawaii for a couple of years, and his thriftiness caused him to buy a cell phone that was able to make his long distance calls to us part of his plan and thus saving on that is thinking ahead.

Jeff lived with Gary and I for several months before he moved to Hawaii and when he moved back from Hawaii. He always joked about living with us was not what he thought it would be: he envisioned loads of foods and left-overs in our refrigerator, yet, he was only able to find condiments, and yogurt. He forgot we ate at the Cafe five nights a week, and usually ate out the other nights. So he was on his own for food. We would bring him meals to eat, but this was like feeding a ten-year old who hated everything. But he did live for our dinner parties and gatherings.

Jeff had a circle of friends that was endless, and encompassed so many people. And yet, his "core" friends - about five of us - were the ones who talked to him daily, took care of his errands, and kept him company. He was the best of friends to us. We were the ones that usually never received an invitation to one of his events, because he expected us to be there. And yet, to his other friends, a beautiful invitation was issued. he was funny that way. But we were his family that should know what he meant.

Jeff was a gatherer of people. He loved to host events, and parties, and get-togethers that included people just conversing, something that he believed was becoming a lost-art. He believed himself to be "Victorian" in his thinking about manners, and correctness. He loved to have new people to be included in his circle. Jeff and four of us went on a cruise to Mexico several years ago, and I swear by the end of the cruise, he had engaged in conversation with everyone on that ship. He waved and told us the gossip about people just passing us by. He was amazing about meeting people, and it came so easy to him....Me? I never saw the point. I just wanted to spend time with the people I knew rather than strangers. And yet he was able to explain that they were only strangers until you met them. At-Sea-Logic I guess.

Jeff was the "Dr. Doolittle" of animals. He lived in this house on Hi-way #49 in Placerville, and had at one time, three dogs - 2 pit-bulls, and a terrier, 6-10 cats, geese, turkeys, pheasants, cockatoos, exotic birds, and fish in a pond. And the incredible thing about his animals: they never fought, and they all played, slept and came into his house, and never made a mess! We asked him how he did this, and he just looked at us with a very sarcastic stare and said "you mean yours don't?" and left it at that.

Jeff was high maintenance as a friend. He loved to have us cart him around all over for his shopping, his site-seeing, his party-going. The reason for this? Jeff hated not to look a person in the eyes when he was speaking to them. Thus, we never let him drive, because God forbid anyone was in the back seat: he would be steering his car on the free-way, turn his head backwards to talk to his back-seat passengers, and careen off the road. But he was able to maintain his manners even though the other passengers were cringing......
But in the back of my mind, it may be because he wanted to say on his gas....he was cagey that way: scare the heck out of someone and he would never have to worry about that task again...

Thrifty? Gave the word new meaning.
While living here in Placerville, he discovered "Big Lots" and the heavens opened for him. He loved perusing the aisles looking for some new bargain or item that he could use.
He was an eBay seller that bought and sold from people all over the world with his antiques, his silver collections, his vast collections of Asian artifacts, his Indian and Mayan ceramics and his vast knowledge about these era's. He loved history and his place in it. Jeff and I often got into conversations about his not having any interest in the present, but loved the past. Not his past, by thousands of years ago past. He believed he was not of this generation but of another....

Jeff could knock a person down with one of his scathing remarks.

And yet he was one of kindest people we have ever had the privilege of knowing.

He put color in our lives.

He made the rainbows brighter and the glitter in our lives more relevant.

He brought the sparkle out in us. In a lot of us.

We loved him, we love him.
And to all of those who knew this wonderfully complicated diverse man, we will miss him. He was a great friend.


Cafe Luna came in 1st Place on Sacramento Magazines Best Restaurant for El Dorado County!! (Double click on it to go there) This is the current August Issue on Best Restaurants....Thank you for your support on this, what we are amazed about is we have never advertised with the magazine, and it is great to know that the voting was based on public opinion, and not advertisers. Thank you!!!

We are on Facebook now, and I try to post all of our daily changing specials and notes....if you are interested, sign up for these notices, and I promise not to make you crazy....John told me no more that 4 a week!!!

Scroll down this page to got to our new menu and this months promotions and recipe. This is the fun part!

Enjoy our weather, go to the wineries, go to the nurseries, get involved in what is the rest of our summer. Come to Cafe Luna, see Gary and Richelle and Maria, and Courtney and say hello. We love to see you, and I love to hear back from you. We love being your guilty pleasure.

Thank you for your business and your continued support. Hope is eternal for all of us!

Take care.
David at Cafe Luna

This months menu and our By-The-Glass Selections Pairings

September 2010

Just Double-click on the "Menu" Icon above to preview or download.

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