Sausalito Art Festival 56 Years Of Eclectic Excellence, Opulent Art, And World Class Music

"Drive-Thru Gallery"

Sausalito 2008 Festival Poster “Drive-Thru Gallery” Thomas Barbey

The Sausalito Art Festival in beautiful Sausalitio, California is the premiere Art Festival in the United States. As usual 2008 will be a banner year for music, entertainment, and artwork from a world class group of artist. Although I have been many times and seen talent like Santana, Los Lobos, War, Journey, the Starship, Sammy Hagar, Todd Rundgren, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesch, Marshall Tucker Band, and the Doobie Brothers to name a few.

When: Labor Day Weekend Saturday Aug 30 9-6pm; Sunday Aug 31 9-6pm; and Monday Sept 1 9-5pm

Artists and Exhibitors: page

Musical Entertainment: page

One of my favorite performances from Sausalito 2007 was turned and burned in by Quicksilver Messenger Service:

Best Bet

This year the music is happening Sunday with Al Stewart, of “Year of the Cat” fame and 1970s pop icon, opening with Commander Cody, and headliner the Neville Brothers.

The following video is a tribute to my favorite cartoonist Phil Frank the creator of “Farley”; Phil passed away but remains the heart and soul of Sausalito to this day

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Buena Vista’s 2004 Chardonnay: The Greatest Value Chardonnay You May Never Taste

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Chardonnay, easily one of the most controversial and popular grapes harvested , has many superstar offerings. Wines such as Kistler, El Molino, Beringer Reserve, Martinelli, Rombauer, Patz and Hall, Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch, and Ramey are bursting with multiple flavors, structure, and balance. The problem remains the price as most of these offerings begin around $30 skyrocketing up to the triple digit level. For everyday sipping, these fantastic chardonnays can become a bit pricey.

The most economical, rich, and elegant chardonnay (everyday tasting) we have tried is Buena Vista’s 2004 Sonoma Chardonnay. Crafted from Carneros fruit, this chardonnay is very smooth and creamy. It is reminiscent of Rombauer’s smooth malolactic mouth feel without a 2×4 oak log beating you over the head as you pull splinters out of your tongue.

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Mind you, I love Rombauer Chardonnay! Yet many self proclaimed “experts”, the folks who can detect 29 different and distinct tastes from moldy sweat socks to a hummingbird’s vapor trail, believe that oak in wine is an affront to mankind! A little oak never hurt, as long as it’s not coming from a wood shampoo, and in wine it can provide a fantastic background flavor.

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All fun aside, Buena Vista’s 2004 Sonoma Chardonnay tastes like a superstar’s $50 per bottle offering. Yet, it is priced just right! We found this wine at various locations. The best price? At our local Longs Drugs store of all places. Long’s price: $10.99.

Please enjoy your wine responsibly: with a very close friend!

MK Restaurant Chicago: What Does Quagmire and a Former Beauty Queen Have In Common?

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Editor’s Note: This post was written in 2007. We have not visited MK restaurant since that time and they may have greatly improved their service and polices. Please give them a chance and take this review with a grain of salt. We are hoping that they have improved and are now reaping the benefits of growth through experience.

I recently visited my parents in Oak Brook a suburb 22 miles west of downtown Chicago. I came to Chicago because I had not seen my parents in months and I wished to introduce them to my new love interest. During our five day jaunt, I planned one day and evening in Chicago. With Priceline’s help, we snagged a 4 Star luxury hotel suite for less than half the original price at the Westin River North. The room was fantastic and the location was next to the river, the House of Blues, and Harry Carey’s.

Our big treat was a trip to Restaurant MK (Michael Kornick) not far from our new digs. In 2002 I ate at MK and loved every bite and gulp. Fantastic food, huge portions, a electric room and crowd to match. The place oozed New York “It.” Everything was pure pleasure. Then it happened.

Like “Family Guy’s” Quagmire or a former beauty queen past her beautiful stage in life, MK has become clueless to it’s decline. The food still remains a solid bet as it is both tasty and plentiful. But there have been major changes that prevent me from recommending it to anyone.

1. The Staff has the attitude that they are “doing you a favor” by allowing you to dine at THEIR place.

2. The Sommelier constructed his wine list as if Quagmire took over his brain. Too many white wines on the list were from Red winery specialists. Likewise there were red wines on the list from white wine producers who make poor red wines. Add to this weird mix, the fact that there is no value section at all unless you think that a $35 per bottle corkage fee is value? Like a 3rd World country, this list has it’s downtrodden poor and it’s super rich. Consequently unless you are willing to spend $60+ per bottle, very few selections are worthy of the food.

3. The Service and Attitude was both over the top and under the table. The waiter acted like a snooty society snob. He had NO clue about wine or wine etiquette. No restaurant should ever assume that it is their right to pour the wine. They should ask if the patrons would like to control the wine or if the waiter should pour away. At MK they get pissy if you tell them hands off the bottle. The other etiquette breach? They took our bottle off the table and then expected us to wait for our server to go find it to then pour it. That is a terrible idea and one I quickly squashed. The whole issue made for an uncomfortable experience.

At the end of the night, I tipped but it killed me. I was kind of wishing I could pull a dine and dash like the good ole high school days when the local bowling alley guy was too hammered to chase us. But this time I would have been the bowling alley guy and I would have never made it out of my seat.

If you are looking for great food in Chicago try Charlie Trotter’s, Greek Town, most any Steak House, or something eclectic. Just save yourself, and that Brinks roll, and avoid MK for now. Maybe in the future they will wake up to the fact that their beauty is gone and it costs dearly to be a Quagmire!