||Second Time Is A Charm
Thank you to everyone who came to the first AWC Garage Sale this past Saturday. Loot got unloaded, and there's still more, including lots of Free Stuff. I'll eventually have to do the Alameda Thing and just put it on the sidewalk. And who already took the watering can? And the basket that held my own organically grown Alameda Free limes?
I'm doing it again tomorrow, Saturday the 17th, 11:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M. There remains plenty of Fortessa dishes and silverware, artwork, small appliances, etc. Everything has to be gone two weeks from today. So, come on in and pick out a momento of AWC.
I guess someone decided to pick up their own momentos as all my plants were stolen Thursday night! I was giving most of them up, minus a few favorite pots, but oh well! At least our mascot, besides Pepper the Dog, Mr. Penis the cactus, was saved as a good customer took him safely indoors last Saturday night.
I recall when Dog Bone Alley closed several years back on Park Street. The owner was so kind and nonchalant, "Hey, Karen, take this, take that." I took the door mat, which still graces my entrance. One material leaves, finds life elsewhere.
But what made last Saturday special was the people who showed up, bringing their own wine, their own food, while I plated the rest of the comestibles. It showed, it proved, AWC was not about me, but about the space, where people could gather, comfortably, and converse at ease. These spaces are rare finds. And these customers really have no place else to go to now.
The Community Wine Bar Open Until . . .
Of course, we were all reeling from the fires both south and north and reliving memories of last year. Wishing I could do something for the victims, but put in place to sell off items, I thought of the ideal contribution to Alameda and to those helping others; to have AWC remain as a community meeting space until the end of the month.
No money exchanged. Bring your own wine, bring your own food, but please let me know. I'm not there continuously anymore, obviously, but if you have a party that warrants me putting the key in the door, I'm here. Just fill my cup and plate!
I can still get sound from the Mac for your music pleasure, and one refrigerator is still turned on. And who forgot their J.P. Seafood Co. halibut from Saturday? Not claimed by tomorrow, I'm eating it.
This is the kind of place I ran for ten years, four months, and so many days. Unpretentious to the hilt, full of good will. I watched my customers' kids grow up, and become customers! And I watched others have children, who will have to tell the tale of their parents loving this place, and how the wine brought them into this world. And I hope it will be a better world.
Aside from my attention to Pepper & Smokey, I'm here to communicate anytime, home: 510-814-8043; business: 510-510-523-9463. And of course, there's my personal email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Stay Of Execution
I asked for a simple extention to take AWC through the holidays. Alameda Deputy Attorney, Michael Roush, asked if I could provide a cashier's check of two months rent payable by November 15. Can do! I finally slept well.
And then I received the news earlier this week via Nanette Mocanu, Economic Development Division, City rejected my plea to not have a dark space during the holidays. You may well know I have a stellar reputation for being open during all the holidays. I don't think there is a restaurant or bar in Alameda that can lay claim to being open Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year's Eve and Day. I remain open because I have no family. My customers are my family.
Well, that was squelched. City doesn't even want the space to remain a wine bar, for the community, for you, and your dogs. Talk about slicing off your nose to spite your face. And now City is offering the new tenant a reduced rent, something I asked for in early 2017, only to have fired back at me City's desire for a higher rent. Maybe those more than two dozen empties on Park Street got them to now think otherwise.
I did not like the article in East Bay Express about my situation. Like my former lawyer's assertion people lie on the stand all the time, City, Nanette, lied too. I was only three months behind in rent. Once I was served the summons, City could not accept rent before trial. So, I was squatting. The deposition reads so ridiculously.
"Did you not pay March rent?"
"My check was returned."
"Did you not pay April, May, June rent?"
"City would not accept my credit card."
"Did you not pay July, August rent?"
"I was served a summons and my tender thereafter was refused."
This is our legal system. Pretty pathetic.
The allegations of aggressive behavior came out of left field. Had there been any such behavior I should have been notified. City in the past had a stealth reputation of sending me official letters whenever I opened three minutes late or put an unauthorized sign in my window.
And when did Yelp! become a legal volleyball?
(My rebutal to the article will hopefully come out in next week's EBE.)
I think the thing that hurts me the most in the article and in Nanette's latest email is the idea, the intimation, that I am an elitest. I appeal to a high-end, sophisticated palate of mostly European wines.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. My ethos had always been affordable, everyday wines that joined rather than overwhelmed food; wines that had pure drinking pleasure and not fawning contemplation and wines that didn't have scores, but hard working small family estates behind them.
The City always had a lot of misconceptions about AWC. Only a handful of employees/elected ever made it to my business to see who I was about, who my customers were, and the convivity and friendships my space induced.
So, This Is It.
The stereo system is gone. The gentleman who dismantled it today said, "Whoever installed this system knew what the fuck he was doing." Of course, that was Jim, the master engineer. I didn't have the heart to play one last song this morning.
While the big ticket items are about to go live on Craig's List, there are still a lot of ancillary items available for sale starting tomorrow.
There are the logo gal posters and artwork in the restroom, lots of Fortessa plateware and silverware, and some small appliances.
And then that's about it. There is a lot of free crap as well. It's amazing how much accumulated in a decade. AWC was like having a second house. "Never really used this, but I'll keep it. Why did I buy this ten years ago, I never used it." And so on.
Come on. Come all. It's cash only, and I am wheeling and dealing.
For those interested in the poster work, the logo gals, please contact Jan Lekas of The Word Factory, 510-522-3124. She has all the pdfs and can print you a poster of the original size. The ones remaining, cuffed and framed, will go the the top bidders.
|| "The Restaurant Business Has Too Many Headaches And I Just Ran Out Of Aspirin"
That's Sammy Hagar talking after closing his Mill Valley restaurant of ten years, El Paseo, this summer. It went through three incarnations. Jim and I dined there years ago when it was a steakhouse.
It's a challenge to figure out what works in a microscopic situation such as AWC. I can't cook, with the exception of the pizza oven and panini press, so I am left with finding those tasty comestibles I can easily plate and that will somehow salve a savage palate.
New on the docket is Abba Herring With Dill, from Sweden, naturally. It's the real deal that's slightly on the sweet than vinegary side.
Sheep cheese, goat cheese, washed rind cheese, blue cheese, and fresh cheese. These are all my problematic cheeses, after ten years of buying the stuff. But like Sammy, I keep trying. There is not a cheese quite as satisfying on a warm day as Kourellas Organic Feta from Greece. Typically made from sheep's milk, the addition of goat's mik here lends an extra creaminess, lactic tang, and less of the traditional salty, briny flavor. I like to serve it up with Basque olives and a bit of Persian cucumber. $6.25 for a 150 gram package if you choose to take some home for your own Greek salad.
It was sad news to hear my favorite gourmet almond, Miller Farms of California, is no longer available and completely out of stock at World's Best Cheeses West. Apparently they lost their processing facility, and I'm back to Spanish marcona almonds, blanced and salted. They're still quite tasty and a perfect snack with 7 Cepes Albarino.
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Cheers from the Queen at AWC,