Food and Drink Festivals

Sipping on Hello Kitty Wine

by Robyn Wyman-dill

Hello and welcome to 2017. Shall we commence with a quick reality check before we cultivate ourselves. As kind of a warm-up to the New Year.

Marking this calendar week, we have the raging United States of Russian relations and a storming Helena – spreading ice and snow across our vast nation. Like old
man winter sweeping across Red Square. Meanwhile, a cold, cold war – in the words of Nobel for Literature-Elect Bob Dylan ‘is blowing in the wind.’ (Does anybody really know when Bob Dylan is going to accept the award?) Okay. If life insists on imitating art badly, may I recast my presidential vote in favor of Princess Leia, posthumously, before it’s too late. She is someone who has proven to me that she can guide a ship to greener pastures with the goodness in her heart, a light saber by her side and a sassy sense of humor. Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for inspiring girls like me to think large. May the force be with you and your unsinkable mother, Debbie Reynolds. Salute. Cin cin. I raise my glass to you, sipping on Hello Kitty sparkling white wine…from the Lombardy region of Italy. Made with love by the Torti family.  At last. Read the rest of this entry »

In Funober Month

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

October is kind of a rich, toasty, full-bodied, coppered-colored month for many people around the world. Largely because it is loaded with Oktoberfests from start to finish. The Bavarian-style merriment gets re-created in places like – Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, Palestine, South Africa and hundreds of cities throughout Canada and the US – every year.  In celebration of German beer.  Read the rest of this entry »

In the Mix

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

Along southern California’s coastline, toes are tapping to the beat of night music this week.  There’s summer concerts in the parks almost every night, stirring up the dust with happy feet.

Last eve, The Ritz-Carlton/Laguna Niguel rolled out the red carpet for doggie night on Dana Lawn.  Yappy Hour is a monthly event for a ‘pedigree’ crowd and their devoted companions. (With the Hotel’s 4.5 star service in attendance to pamper the guests with assorted biscuits and treats. Bacon, cheese, chicken, meat and liver flavored waters were also on tap. The proceeds are slated for the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence and Canine Companion’s Southwest Region puppy raising program.) While next door in Bluff Park,  Moonsville Collective was sending a string medley – rooted in American music –  across a silver and blue ocean.  Bound for Catalina.  As the pink sky fades to black, a feeling of carefree blows in the wind.

I decide to make a blue cheese grilled sandwich. Read the rest of this entry »

Religion in the Kitchen

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

Some people are in the habit of going to church on Sundays. Where they pray before an altar.  My altar is my refrigerator.  God’s house of all things delicious. Amen. Read the rest of this entry »

What Makes Good History

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

It’s full speed ahead with February hosting the Winter Olympics. While it is all snow and ice for the eastern and southern parts of the US, Russia – a country known for severe winters – is having to manufacture snow at SOCHI.  To raise the red flag of ridicule even further,  Sochi generally never gets snow.  It is one of the very few places in Russia with a subtropical climate. Consisting of hot summers and mild winters. I ponder the red flag question,  “Is there a connection with no-show snow and warmer weather at Rosa Khuto, fifty miles yonder and; bordering the subtropical vacation spot, or is this global warming?” Spinning the story further.

In the end, the climate will never fully be addressed by the press because well…news is fleeting.

And, to be fair, ‘hotter’ topics like potential terrorist threats and soviet cyber hacking were going viral.  While snowboarders quietly adjusted to the ever-changing conditions of the slope and soldiered down it.  Such was their quiet determination to make history at the first Olympic Slope-style Snowboarding Competition.

Indeed, they have soared.  Becoming the Olympian poster children for a new culture of young and fearless competitors.

And speaking of blazing new trails, Los Angeles Union Station will be moving transportation into the 21st century with high-speed rail service. What’s exciting is it will be constructed with net-zero emissions and operate 100% from renewable energy. As part of California’s landmark effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.  Read the rest of this entry »

Off Center in Costa Mesa with Die Roten Punkte

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

In a story about a pet rabbit who ended up in the stew pot, a writer writes an essay about his exuberance for life being sucked right out of him – by modern times.

“I doubt I could even fish today without a feeling of remorse,” he said with downcast eyes.  So deep was the wound of Beanie the Bunny and the others that followed in his path.

Oddly enough, my social conscience and a natural talent for cooking meat are sparring with each other. And I worry.  Will my meat-eating ways take me down a similar dark path, converting me into a vampire?  This mental torment doesn’t give up. I defuse it with other brewing unsettlements.

Like my insatiable appetite for finding art that stretches my boundaries so I can feast on inspiration. Coupled with the fear I will not find the right sustenance to satisfy me in Orange County.  Where art likes to play it safe.

That starts me yearning for the offbeat.  Well, someone must have caught that thought before mine because suddenly an infusion Off Center performances are rolling into town. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet Potato Dreaming

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

I’ve always felt a little like an outsider living in a world of inside people.  And like a gypsy, I imagine I am a bit of an outcast in the shopping mall of popular mindsets too. Let me give you an example.  I think the word ‘humble‘  is a defeated verb and not a gentle virtue.

“I feel very humble. But I think I have the strength of character to fight it.” Bob Hope said once.  Or maybe it was twice.

And since I care about words, I want them to reflect in my head the way they were intended.  So before we whip up our tasty side dish I want to clear up the confusion.  Is humble a good thing? Because I am trying to use it to humble my angst while I bake a potato. Read the rest of this entry »

Humor In the Universal House

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

A rainbow of people gathered a few days ago to say their final goodbyes to Nelson Mandela.  Noted among them were a gang of four U.S. Presidents, a posse of world dignitaries, the usual Royal suspects, a partridge in a pear tree and a felon.  I believe that is the correct label for a person accused of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.  And before that, rape, theft, housebreaking and malicious damage to property.

Who would have imagined a character like this had a promising future? Read the rest of this entry »

The Difference A Plate Makes

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

We’ve all been there before.  Be it at a backyard barbecue or the event of the century. You’ve got a drink in one hand.  A plate of food in the other.  And you’re trying to figure out how to eat with both of your hands already occupied when suddenly your boss appears and introduces his wife. Awkward.

You search for somewhere to set your drink down but the nearest high top is across the room.  You vacillate between downing your drink or whipping out a few dusty waiter skills. Sensing a dilemma, she smiles and tries to make it better, shaking your pinky finger.  It’s humiliating.

A stay-home-mom with no business experience decided to fix that problem.  She was so determined to find the right solution, Homemaker Nancy Kerr set out to research the entire world. While balancing a remodel and a family. Read the rest of this entry »

From One Naan to Another

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

I had been delighting in exotic foods from far away places for decades. Earning a fully-developed habit for culturally-infused foods – spiced with traditions and flavors. This sustenance gets my creative juices flowing. Encouraging me to take risk.

‘A creative change to one’s taste buds can transform everything,’ I thought, envisioning a thoroughly modern hybrid lunch.  I open my refrigerator and spy the forging of a gourmet alliance on the second shelf.  The blending of ‘east’ with ‘west‘ culinary accouterments. Read the rest of this entry »