Sat08022014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Expanding your wine-aisle horizons


Photo By: Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Christine Moore/Special To The Town Crier Escape your wine comfort zone with advice on comparable bottles.

For years, I bought from basically the same two shelves in the wine aisle at my grocery store. I did this in part because I knew what I liked, but primarily because I was too intimidated to try other wines. I imagined a perfectly good summer’s evening ruined by having spent my wine dollars on a poor choice.

Then I started learning more about wine and trying new things. Wow – a revelation. I reflect on the one-trick wine buyer I once was and can’t help but feel some regret. Sure, my standard Chardonnay was great with the Thai coconut shrimp, but what if I had known to try Viognier?

When it comes to the vast world of wine, ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Following is a foolproof plan for expanding your wine-aisle horizons.

Our neck of the woods is extraordinary in terms of wine choice, accessibility and information. I was reminded of this fact on a recent trip to Draeger’s Market in Los Altos. It’s not in every part of the world that you can pick out a head of organic lettuce and get lost among nearly 2,000 bottles of wine in one convenient stop.

The grocery stores in Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto have incredible wine selections ready for you to explore. Plus, the folks working in said sections are interested, approachable and knowledgeable. They want to help their patrons make great choices, so ask away. Stacy Ahrweiler, wine department manager at Draeger’s Los Altos store, said spending time talking about wine is a pleasure.

“The thing is, everyone working in our wine department loves wine,” she said. “How can we not be happy sharing that passion with our customers?”

Of course, there are the moments when you just need to fly in and out of a store and stopping to ask for guidance is not a possibility. Or, perhaps when you ask for a recommendation, the associate responds with, “What are you looking for?” Ummm …

Whether you’re in a rush or confronted with a question about your tastes, preparation will get you through. Take the time to think about what you do and do not like. Are you a big-bold-red-with-heaps-of-tannin kind of person? Or do you prefer something soft and subtle? Make note of what it is about the wines you are buying that appeal to you.

Finally, and somewhat paradoxically, if you want to have the confidence to try different wines, you need to try different wines. I’ve developed a cheat sheet of sorts that does just that. It’s an “if/then” approach to wine that will help you choose wines based on what you already appreciate.

 

If you love Sauvignon Blanc, then try:

• Albarino: Creamy white with peach, lime and honeysuckle

• Pinot Gris: Kiwi and honeydew abound

• Semillon: Grassy with stone fruit characteristics

Note that sometimes California producers call their Sauvignon Blanc “Fume Blanc.”

 

If you love California Chardonnay, then try:

• Viognier: Aromatic and peachy

• Pinot Blanc: Apple and citrus notes

• Chenin Blanc: Hints of pear and peach

Also, look specifically for an un-oaked California Chardonnay – there’s a big and delicious difference between the oaked and un-oaked versions.

 

If you love Pinot Noir, then try:

• Gamay: Juicy red wine with cherry and red fruits

• Grenache (or other Rhone blend): Raspberries and a bit of spice

• Pinotage: Earth driven with abundant berries

If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, then try:

• Bordeaux: 2009 and 2010 vintages are stellar; black currants with dried flowers

• Zinfandel: Jammy fruit like blackberry

• Tempranillo: Plum and oak with tart berries

 

Explore the wine aisles of your local grocery store and let me know what you discover.

My column will return next month with more of my thoughts on wine.

Mountain View resident Christine Moore is learning more about wine every day. To read her blog, visit sheepishsommelier.blogspot.com.

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