Mark Derry
music in the park san jose

Claddagh unveiled a new menu Tuesday and our lovely waitress, under the watchful eye of hard-working owner Leslie Benson, pitched a mound of “Ultimate Fries” to our weary group. The verdict: “killer.” Healthy? No – but more than a wee bit tasty. Mixture of ranch and blue cheese dressing, Frank’s hot sauce, a few other “secret” ingredients and bits of crispy bacon. Messing with the menu never tasted so good. A tip of the green Claddagh cap  in order …

Order up some tickets now before the sellout for the annual Tequila tasting event at the Willey Cultural Center. It’s Saturday, May 18 (tickets available soon on the web) in the garden, under a warm Gilroy sun with great food and music to raise cash for a good cause, the Latino Family Fund which falls under the umbrella of our wonderful charitable conduit, the Gilroy Foundation. It’s a certified “Give Where You Live” event from 3 to 7 p.m. There’s an educational session on tequila and a nice silent auction during which the effervescent Annie Tomasello lets everyone know what she’s bidding on and good-naturedly guards the table …

Sorry to say that good-natured customer service is, unfortunately, not the norm up at Eagle Ridge Golf Course. It’s such a shame because it’s one of Gilroy’s nicest amenities. But c’mon people, don’t close the snack bar at 3 p.m. or earlier, and don’t put up a sign that says you’ll be back in 5 minutes when you’re gone for the day. And, if you’re going to force people to hit range balls off the lousy plastic mats, make sure they have plastic tees installed in all of them so golfers can hit their drivers without moving mats. And the club scrubbers provided to wash that crummy plastic matt stuff off your clubs, how about changing the brushes in those more often than every five years. Last time my buddy Ernie and I played Super Twilight after work, a “marshall” came up to us on hole #10 and abruptly asked Ernie with an angry first-grade teacher intonation, “What time did they tell you to have the cart back?” “7:15,” gracious Ernie said. “We’re just going to play 10 and then 7 and come in.” We got to the 10th green and the marshall speedily drove up and said, “Time to bring it in.” Customer service Eagle Ridge style … five minutes on their clock takes precedence. There are some good people there, but there needs to be a major culture shift and an understanding that customer service comes first. Then they’ll be able to get the rocks out of the bunkers and pay for real sand and somebody to work in the snack shack.

Publicity circuit snack more like a meal for Robert Guerrero these days. Headline: “The Ghost is Everywhere.” He appeared with his wife Casey on “Good Morning America” Tuesday talking about her successful bone marrow cancer treatment and then reappeared later on ESPN’s Sports Center in a verbal sparring session with his May 4 world title boxing opponent Floyd Mayweather. Later in the evening, there he was again doing an ESPN sit-down interview. I like that headline so much that I think our local up-and-coming cutting edge sports and fitness apparel company, Hard Ninety, should whip up a batch. Black and white with the cool Hard Ninety logo and the slogan “The Ghost (insert graphic boxing glove here) is Everywhere.”

Not everywhere, but 50 years ago Mel was there – at the University of Rhode Island (URI ’63 – home of the Rams) where he’ll be again in May celebrating a 50-year class reunion with his bride. Now, Mr. Mel Rodinsky is here running his local business “Wine Directions” with the mantra “Boutique Wines Direct to You.” He’s an engaging conversationalist, and if you want to know about the best wines and wineries in the area, introduce yourself to Mel at a local winery event. Mel knows.

Missed Mel at Martin Ranch Winery this weekend at the wineries’ Passport Weekend event. Throngs on Saturday with limos and buses galore, with Sunday being more mellow. Highlights at San Martin’s Lightheart Cellars – tasting the mead, owner Sheldon Haynie’s enthusiasm and a really tasty Carneros-bred Pinot Noir. Highlights at Solis Winery, besides the crisp and always delightful Fiano vino, were Rich Arioto’s appetizer – creamy polenta smothered in a wonderful bolognese sauce with a pineapple sausage snack bite – and the Frantoio Grove olive oil being poured by sunny Pam Martin – a flavor- bursting drizzle over a chunk of parmesan cheese. Buy this oil at Rocca’s Market in San Martin, you will not be sorry.

So sorry, but I’m not writing off the Sharks. Maybe the Doug Murray trade will wake up this slumbering team. They have a run in them, but the fire has been missing. Last chance, boys, it’s Sharks put up or shut up time.

Times are pretty tough in the newspaper business, but I wanted to take a few letters to say thanks to our readers for supporting the local newspaper through all the changes. It matters, and it’s much appreciated.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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