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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Author Archive: Susan Leonardi

Wineaux: Good deals off the beaten path

My father used to sigh when I asked for 60 cents to go the movies. “When I was a kid,” he said (more times than I can count), “admission was 5 cents — and you got a free candy bar.” I remind myself of these predictable — and so very annoying to 10-year-old me — […]

Wineaux: Drinking on the road not taken

When we decided to come back to California after nearly 20 years on the East Coast, my partner and I made a list of possible cities — based on things like walkability and access to art/music/books. Sebastopol was high on our list and we nearly moved there, but Davis won out. And we’ve never regretted […]

Wineaux: The many pitfalls of aging

You’ve no doubt seen a ceramic dish or a T-shirt or an apron inscribed with “Friends and wine — the older the better.” Well, not always. Some friends (none of mine, of course) become, with age, crankier, preachier, more stubborn, more opinionated, more self-centered and less fun to be around. A bit sour, you might […]

Wineaux: Pickled onions, chocolate bread and Italian wine

Daughter Allegra presented us with a jar of her home-made pickled onions, which we proceeded to eat with almost every meal. Breakfast? How about a toasted bagel with goat cheese, lox and pickled onions? Lunch? Simple. A cheddar cheese and pickled onion sandwich. Dinner? Lots of picked onions on top of the green salad or […]

Wineaux: Getting outside the comfort zone to find an exciting red

A recent New Yorker carried a piece about countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and his mission to engage kids in music. The story focuses on his visit to a Bronx elementary school, which he concludes by singing to the students a poignant Handel aria. The reporter describes the scene: “The children were rapt … a boy […]

Wineaux: Deciding on wines in the Year of the Horse

The Year of the Horse has just trotted in, replacing the slightly unsavory Year of the Snake, which despite attempts to present it positively (“a year of steady progress”) carried with it that frisson of distrust generated by the much-maligned reptile. The horse promises “fast victories, unexpected adventure and surprising romance.” But, astrologers say, you […]

Wineaux: Savoring the present in a glass of wine

On Jan. 2, my partner and I hopped on an early morning train and headed west. By 10:30 a.m. we were sitting on a bench overlooking the San Francisco Bay, drinking a pot of Snow Leopard tea and munching on an Acme Bakery roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich. The sun was shining. When we […]

Wineaux: Resolve to keep old acquaintances in mind

Both the melancholy music and the wistful, mysterious lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne,” that iconic New Year’s Eve song, predetermine the answer to its opening question. “Should old acquaintance be forgot?” No. Of course not. And the more glasses of bubbly we consume, the more determined we become to keep in mind the significant people, […]

Wineaux: To hibernate or celebrate, that is the question

I live with Scrooge. The good news: It’s temporary. “Bah, Humbug!” becomes a refrain in late November but lasts only through December. And Scrooge has, over the years, grudgingly come to enjoy our 2½-foot-tall Christmas tree and to admit that “Happy Holidays” isn’t always an oxymoron. The bad news: Whenever she witnesses an argument, hears a […]

Wineaux: Holiday gift-giving made simple — and local

Organize a white elephant exchange? Limit gifts to home-made and/or consumable? Draw two names? Fill stockings? Every year at one of our November gatherings, we have a lively family discussion about holiday gift-giving. I’m especially pleased with this year’s decision: no gifts at all. Instead, we each concentrate on making a special dish for the Christmas […]

Wineaux: The many joys (and wines) of procrastination

Maybe you’ve left your Thanksgiving and wine purchases to the very last minute. Or the wine you really wanted from the last column has sold out. Or, now that the tree lots are dotting the landscape, you want to start right in on filling your cellar with December holiday wines. If so, I (and my […]

Wineaux: Wines for giving thanks, part II: The Reds

Before the skeletons, tarantulas, ghosts and pumpkins go back into their closet, red, green and silver blanket the cityscape. I’m actually quite fond of sparkling lights (especially as the daylight wanes), holiday trees and Christmas carols (though I do wish they wouldn’t blare, Muzak-style, for two entire months, from every store and restaurant speaker). But […]

Wineaux: The other coast makes wine, too?

A young man (we’ll call him Rick) appeared in my University of Maryland office to ask if I’d direct his senior thesis — a series of short stories he had been writing for several months. Since he’d never been in one of my classes, I asked to see his portfolio and then set up a […]

Wineaux: Hats off to a prolific writer — and wine drinker

“Insanely prolific,” multiple-award-winning British author Peter Ackroyd has written two dozen books in the past decade. He gets up early every morning and writes all day. Afterward, according to a New York Times article aptly titled “Man of Many Words,” he goes out to dinner. Alone. Every night. He has given up “spirits” with his […]

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