Paella ain’t Italian, but iPad says it’s over 70 years old

Best wishes to soon-to-be Santa Clara Valley Water District
Board member Don Gage who apparently scared the bejeezus out of his
potential November opponent, Cy Mann.
Best wishes to soon-to-be Santa Clara Valley Water District Board member Don Gage who apparently scared the bejeezus out of his potential November opponent, Cy Mann. The Mouthful Mann chose instead to run for really high office, the Santa Clara County School Board. That’s the only group more obscure than the school bond oversight committee. We’ll miss Mann, though. Nothing like a guy who gets appointed, buys an expensive iPad on the taxpayer’s nickel, blows off paying his own water bill even though he’s a water district board member and shoots his mouth off more often than a 6-year-old with a toy rifle at his first arcade gallery … Meanwhile, Gage moves pretty deftly for a big guy … IBM to Gilroy City Council to Gilroy mayor to Santa Clara County Supervisor to Santa Clara Valley Water District Board member, but where will Cy Mann’s iPad go when he leaves office?

No official office, but happy 70th birthday to Sam Bozzo, who holds the unofficial ambassador’s office for all things good about Gilroy … 70 couldn’t happen to a nicer, more genuine fellow. Sam and company enjoyed his day at the Giants game Thursday (8-7 over the Cubs) and yes I am sure Sam could make better garlic fries than the AT&T park variety.

An amazing variety of Italian products is what’s up at Star Market. Every time I’d speak cooking with 70-year-old Sam, he’d say, “Found it at the Star Market.” So, while Miss Jenny grouchily uttered, “Tell me again why we are going to Salinas to grocery shop?,” I forged on. Went in the left door at the nondescript store in a strip mall, and Jenny spotted Sam and Gene’s “Any Bozzo Can Cook” on a shelf near the entry. “Imagine that,” I said. Then came a display filled with Italian products. Still, she didn’t get it. It took a whole aisle and a few cans of chopped tomatoes with an obviously throwback Italian label before the Capri sun dawned on her. The next hour, filled with cannellini beans, homemade Italian sausage, gnocchi and a separate cheese counter, made it worth the trip. Just wish Star Market would land in Gilroy, we’ve got plenty of Italians …

Hey, Vito, how about an Italian section at Nob Hill? The best sandwiches in Gilroy are already there. Check out the lunch lines – it’s the best deli in town. But Nob Hill needs some competition. Gilroy needs a deli, the kind with salami hanging from the ceiling, the smell of fresh bread in the air and homemade ravioli in the freezer, a place where you’re happy to take a number and wait for the delicious “SakaBozzo” sandwich …

No deli yet, but we are getting a Fro-yo near the Hot Wings place and Panera, so frozen yogurt fiends won’t have to travel to Morgan Hill to pile Butterfinger candy bar bits all over their healthy, tasty yogurt …

Tasty it would be, and Alan Heinzen could build ’em. What’s needed are huge paella pans, the kind that it would take a whole crew with heat-resistant mitts on – to hoist shoulder high – good stuff for the TV news crews. The calamari flame-up chefs could use a little visual competition. In the last decade the Gourmet Alley food introductions at the Garlic Festival have been, well, milk toast. There’s been nothing bold. Paella, the Spanish rice-based dish originally cooked on open fires out of doors, is anything but. It’s a virtual cornucopia of Mediterranean flavors – Spanish chorizo, green olives, shellfish, garlic, fresh vegetables, onions – which can be tailored to just the right combination for a Gourmet Alley hit. The Alley should be visual as well as delicious – the presentation complements the dish – and paella would fit perfectly. Seeing the Sportsman Chefs tending the garlic-smothered tri-tip for the peppersteak sandwiches with the heat waves rising off the grills and the crew tending the fire, makes one yearn for a bite. But it’s also about appreciating the process and technique. Just ask Peppersteak Chef Vince Costello how many festival goers he spoke with about tri-tip cooking G-Fest weekend. Paella could be huge. It’s trendy, but with long-term potential, and once it’s cooked, just scoop into a bowl and serve. Dennis Harrigan, Cook-Off Stage chairman and manager, and Al Alcinti, Gourmet Alley scampi sauce boss, could head up the Paella Development Group and enlist the help of the chefs at downtown’s Lizzaran Restaurant who have spent hours perfecting their paella …

No paella, but plenty of good corn-fed beef in Omaha, Nebraska where Gilroy’s famed former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia is headed to play football for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League this fall. Cool, another “JG” hat to add to the collection – and, hey, “JG” fans make plans now – the Nighthawks play on the road in Week 4, Friday night, Oct. 8 in viva Las Vegas against the lamely named Locomotives. Whatever, have to love that quality about Jeff – he plays the game because he still can and he loves it. Having been through the glittering glamour and the dark caverns in his career, he clearly realizes that Father Time waits for no quarterback and is neither gracious nor forgiving, so each snap missed is a snap gone forever.

Forever searching for the weekly bumper snicker … this one, displayed in the requisite typeface of course, fits the bill: “My poodle is smarter than your honor student.” Wonder if the poodle thought it up …

Up to me? Mark Sanchez, commercial real estate broker for Colliers International, and his partner Jeff Barnes would contend for Gilroy EDC Partner of the Year Award for bringing jobs to Gilroy – 250 or so and $10 million in new investment come along with the move of Monterey Gourmet Foods, Inc., a maker of prepared pasta meals, from Salinas to a 120,000 square foot building on Rossi Lane. What, there’s no award for EDC Partner of the Year? Perhaps ExecDirector Richard Spitler should consider that addition. We need all the good partners we can get.

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