February 15-21, 2006

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San Jose: Leaner, Meaner

By Stett Holbrook

THERE WAS some good news for San Jose, believe it or not. Turns out the city was a fitter, healthier place to live in 2005 than it was the year before. According to the Feb. 6 issue of Men's Fitness, San Jose ranked 17th among America's 25 fittest cities in 2005. That's up from 20th in 2004. The fattest city in 2005 was Houston and the fittest was Seattle.

According to the survey, which was based on an array of sources including the U.S. Census, the Centers for Disease Control and the EPA, San Jose has great weather and air quality, but few places to enjoy it. The city got D- and F respectively for its parks and recreational facilities. (Hey, what about the Guadalupe River Park trail?) San Jose also gets an F for its number of fitness centers and sporting goods stores.

On the plus side, the survey found the city has relatively few fattening food outlets, earning it a B for its junk food risks. Bar hopping is reportedly down on the list for San Jose as well, which is news to me.

Meanwhile, Men's Health magazine recently ranked San Jose as the city with the "most iron men" in the nation in its fifth annual survey of best and worst cities for men. In spite of its computer nerd reputation, the city apparently takes it workouts seriously.

One question: How can the Men's Fitness survey give San Jose a failing grade for its number of gyms while Men's Health says the city is the most musclebound in the nation? Is the whole city on steroids?

YOUR TICKET TO PINOT PARADISE: Based in part on the popularity of some movie that celebrated the virtues of pinot noir, last year's first-ever Pinot Paradise event at beautiful Testarossa Vineyards in Los Gatos was a huge success. It was also so crowded that it was hard to move around and make your way to the dozens of Santa Cruz Mountain wineries that had set up tables to pour their wares. This year the event will be held March 26 at the more spacious Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

The event will feature more than 30 local wineries as well as food to match from several top restaurants. The cool weather of the Santa Cruz Mountains is particularly well-suited for growing the notoriously fastidious pinot noir grape and the event is a great opportunity to sample some truly great wines. For true pinotphiles, this year there will be barrel tastings and wine previews at select participating wineries on March 25.

The event is sure to sell out. The main tasting event is $50 and $65 after March 1.

The March 25 "Pathways to Pinot Paradise" barrel tasting is $20. There are also technical sessions about winemaking on March 26 that include a box lunch and vineyard tour before the tasting event for $50. For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.scmwa.comor call 831.685.8463.

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