By Stett Holbrook
In what has become a time-honored Silicon Valley tradition, laid-off tech worker Joe Carpenter parlayed his newly empty schedule into an opportunity to pursue what he really loved. He partnered with friend and former techie Lori Leahy to create A Guy, a Girl and a Bottle, a free podcast on South Bay wineries.
Matching the Silicon Valley-born audio file technology with Santa Cruz Mountain wineries is a natural. While many of the wines produced in the South Bay are top-notch, their sometimes out-the-way locations and low profiles make them hard to get to know. Carpenter and Leahy's weekly podcast is a homespun Internet radio show of sorts that aims to introduce the public to local wineries with a decidedly unsnobby, layman's approach to wine.
"There are great wines right here in our backyard that almost nobody knows about," says Carpenter.
Since the duo started in August, they have released 10 podcasts and visited wineries such as Thomas Fogarty Winery, Savannah Chenelle Winery, Byington Winery and Hunter Hill Winery. The format of the shows consists of a review of the particular winery, its attractions, picnic site potential, etc., as well as "live" wine tastings.
Neither Carpenter nor Leahy is a wine "expert." Carpenter acknowledges wine tasting can be intimidating for newcomers and one of the purposes of the show is to demystify wine for the uninitiated.
"We went through that ourselves," he says. "Even we were intimidated."
Over the course of the show's 10 episodes, the audio and editorial quality has improved. Carpenter and Leahy are happily learning as they go and hope listeners will come along with them. Check them out at www.gngnb.com.
Uncle Frank will see you now: The word is out about Uncle Frank's BBQ. Because of the crowds that flock to his new Mountain View restaurant, there are often long waits and he sometimes runs out of food and has to turn people away. To solve this problem, Uncle Frank's has started taking reservations. While it's a bit incongruous for a no-frills, back-of-the-bar roadhouse like Uncle Frank's to take reservations, he hopes it will save customers a lot of frustration. To reserve your plate of brisket and beans, call 650.964.4476.
Rachael Ray and "Queer Eye" guy heading to San Jose: Santana Row's Sur La Table will host two celebrity cooking events next month. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Ted Allen will appear at Santana Row Dec. 3 from noon to 2pm for a cooking demonstration and to sign copies of his new book, The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes. The event will begin with a short cooking demonstration, immediately followed by a booksigning. Rachael Ray, star of Food Network's 30 Minute Meals and author of 30 Minute Meals and More 30 Minute Meals, will be at the store Dec. 5 from noon to 2pm to sign copies of her new book: 365 30-Minute Meals: No Repeats. She'll perform a cooking demo and then sign copies of her book. Seating for both demos is on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 408.244.4749 for more information.
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