Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When I was a kid, we celebrated Abe Lincoln's birthday on February 12th....

and George Washington's birthday on February 22nd....

My father sketched these pen & inks while attending art college in New York City--and sold copies for 25 cents apiece to keep himself in pocket money.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


All I ask, at 5:33, when I amble into the Casket after a busy day, is a fresh glass of wine.

And unlike the crockies around me, who drink happy-hour plonk at five bucks a pop, I pay premium—fifteen smackers for a glass of wine that would cost $22 a bottle at the local supermarket.

On this day, the bar, as usual, is chock-a-block with wine uncorked yesterday, the day before, and the day before that…

And so, as usual, I try to work with Eddie the bartender on exactly what I can order that is fresh i.e. a bottle opened, not necessarily in front of me, but on this day.

“Let’s start with chardonnay,” I say. “Foley or Louis Jadot?”

“I have a half of bottle of each from yesterday.”

“And you can’t pop a fresh one?”

Eddie shakes his head.

“Okay,” I say. “Let’s try red. Any Ridge?”

“I have three bottles already open.”

“From yesterday?” I say.

Eddie nods. “And older.”

“That won’t work. How about Beringer cabernet?”


“Anything else I might like?”

“I’ve opened a bottle of Malbec,” says Eddie.

“I’ll try it.”

Eddie pours a taster.

I sip. It tastes like Welch’s grape juice without sugar.

"You sure you can't open a new bottle?" I ask.

"I'm sure," says Eddie.

I grab my jacket.

“Where are you going?” asks Thom Steinbeck.

“Lucky’s, for a fresh glass of wine.”

On the way out, I run into Brainy Bill, just arriving. “Where are you going?” he asks in surprise.

“They won’t open a fresh bottle of wine,” I say. “So I’m going to Lucky’s. The Casket can screw itself.”

But the Casket is already screwing itself... shut.

Montecito Wine Bistro - Montecito, CA