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Vineyard 511

From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}

Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel

Irene Ojdana
 
March 23, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Catch Me If You Can - The Musical

On Saint Patrick’s Day, Ed and I navigated our way through all the street closures for the Los Angeles Marathon to see Catch Me If You Can--The Musical, at the Pantages Theater, in Hollywood, near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  Needless to say, Hollywood was flooded with those wearing green – and green beer!

Catch Me If You Can – The Musical is an adaptation of the Dreamworks motion picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, as Frank Abagnale, Jr., the real life person on whom the film and musical, as well as the original book (by Abagnale with Stan Redding), was based.

The music, lyrics and dancing were all delightful. For those of you who didn’t see the movie, the plot revolves around how a sixteen year old boy, Frank Abagnale, Jr., (played extremely well by the talented Steven Anthony), leaves home and makes it in the real world by impersonating an airline pilot, lawyer and doctor, forging checks and ID’s, and charming the world. The print ad for the movie says it all: "If you wanna make it, make it up."

Eventually, when Abagnale is eighteen, the law catches up with him via a zealous FBI agent (played by Merritt David Janes in the musical and played by Tom Hanks in the film). Abagnale serves seven years in prison and then, amazingly, is hired by the FBI to help it fight fraud and embezzlement. Currently, Abagnale is one of the world’s leading authorities on secure documents.

When Ed was CEO of Experian Interactive,  we met Abagnale a couple of times as he is a world-renowned public speaker on the topics of check fraud, embezzlement and secure documents. Meeting him in person motivated us to see the musical. We weren’t disappointed!

 

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Ed Ojdana
 
March 16, 2013 | Ed Ojdana

Death of a Napa Valley Icon

I just heard the sad news that Jimmy Barrett passed away on Thursday, March 14, at the age of 86.  Jimmy is an icon in Napa Valley and best known for producing the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that shocked the wine world in 1976, particularly the French, when it won a blind tasting in Paris beating out a lineup of French wines.   Now known as the “Judgment of Paris,” this competition helped to put Napa Valley on the map.  It was also the basis for the movie Bottle Shock, starring Chris Pine, Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman.  Two of the producers of Bottle Shock, Marc and Brenda Lhormer, are the founders of the Napa Valley Film Festival.

I did not know Jimmy very well and first met him playing in the men’s Saturday morning tennis matches at Meadowood Resort.  Although in his 80’s and not very agile, the result of several knee operations, if the ball landed anywhere near him, he would return it.  Like his underhand serve, his returns had a lot of spin on them.  It took me quite a while to adjust to his returns – more than once I could only laugh as the ball curved away from my racket and I was left swinging at air.

Photo: SCOTT MANCHESTER/Press Democrat

A few years back, Irene and I sat with Jimmy and his wife, Judy, at the wedding reception of our friend, neighbor, and Reverie Winery owner Norm Kiken and wife Suzie Donahue.  I remembered one scene in Bottle Shock where Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his son, Bo Barrett (Chris Pine), don boxing gloves to settle their father and son differences.  Naturally, I had to ask Jimmy if he still boxed.  To my disappointment, he said he had never boxed in his life.  Unlike movies based on true stories, where fictious events are added to enhance the entertainment value, Jimmy was the real thing in life.

 

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Ed Ojdana
 
March 13, 2013 | Ed Ojdana

Tony Hseih and the Downtown Project

I was fortune to be invited to the Montgomery Technology Conference held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, CA, on March 6 and 7.  This is the 10th year of the conference, and I’ve attended most of them.  The keynote speaker on March 6 was Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.  Tony is also the author of Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, which debuted #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List in June 2010 and stayed on the list for 27 weeks.  I knew of Tony but had never heard him speak.  He’s an evangelist for corporate culture.  As Tony puts it “…if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”

I was expecting to hear a lot about how corporate culture shaped Zappos.  And while I heard some of it, he was really there to talk about the Downtown Project.  He’s taken what he has learned about company culture and is applying it to revitalizing the Fremont East area of Las Vegas.  The goal is to restore this overlooked local community north of the strip through investments in startups ($50 million), real estate ($200 million), small business ($50 million), and education, arts and culture ($50 million). A large portion of this investment has been personally funded by Tony. This is no ordinary redevelopment project but a carefully thought out project designed to transform the area into the most community-focused large city in the world.  I was fascinated as he talked about “serendipitous collisions” – the interactions between people that drive learning and innovation.  Sounds like pie-in-the sky, but Tony related how these collisions are facilitated at Zappos and at the Downtown Project including the metrics to measure how many collisions they are facilitating.  Go to DowntownProject.com for more information and a great slide presentation on the project.  I’m looking forward to reading his book as well.

 

 

Time Posted: Mar 13, 2013 at 7:45 AM
Irene Ojdana
 
March 3, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Dining at Redd Restaurant in Yountville

Last night,  we had dinner at Micheline-starred Redd, in Yountville, with the mayor of Yountville John Dunbar and his wife Robin Dunbar, host of Verve curated wine country tours.

Chef Richard Reddington turns out amazing dishes, such as the delicious Prime N.Y. Steak with short ribs, which paired perfectly with our Vineyard {511} . Robin loved her Petrale sole with coconut jasmine rice, clams, chorizo, and saffron curry nage.

We originally met John and Robin at the Sundance Film Festival, celebrating the announcement of the opening of the Napa Valley Film Festival, of which the four of us are founding patrons; we've been good friends since then.

Time Posted: Mar 3, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
March 2, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

San Tung Chinese Restaurant

On our way back to Napa Valley from San Francisco, we ate lunch at San Tung Chinese restaurant,  1031 Irving Street, recommended by Butterfly's Rob Lam. Charles, the owner, served us the chicken wings and pork and leek dumplings, which we loved. I can't wait to eat my leftovers tomorrow for lunch!

Time Posted: Mar 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
March 1, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Dinner at Butterfy Restaurant

Ed and I finally got to eat at our good friend, neighbor, and Reverie winery-owner Norm Kiken's beautiful waterfront Butterfly Restaurant, located at Pier 33, at San Francisco's Embarcadero.

We were welcomed by Norm's business partner and talented chef Rob Lam, and feasted on his delicious pan-Asian fare while gazing at the sunset over San Francisco Bay. Our favorite dishes were mushroom cappuccino soup, with white truffle oil and porcini powder; smoked salmon chips; kalua pig with butter lettuce cups; and banana bread pudding with coconut ice cream. We ate the whole thing!

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM