business news in context, analysis with attitude

This was the kind of week that I live for.

Started in Barcelona with a wonderful dinner last Saturday night at a hilltop restaurant called La Venta. The appetizers alone were amazing, including these wonderful sautéed peppers that melted in my mouth – some were hot, some were sweet, and they are were fabulous. The entrée was veal cheeks served with beans and Catalan sausage – all of which was flavorful and tender almost in the extreme. The red wine was a robust 2001 Vina Salceda Rioja Crianza, and dessert was maybe the best crème brulee I’ve ever had.

Sunday night was an event hosted for the CIES Future Leaders Conference hosted at the amazing Codorniu vineyards near Barcelona – we toured the cavernous cellars and enjoyed some terrific food and a dozen different versions of Cava, the winery’s version of champagne. My favorite was a sparkling version made from Pinot Noir.

Tuesday night, while at GEMCON, I had the chance to join friends in Las Vegas at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Caesar’s Palace – and once again, it was a home run. I started with a blue corn pancake served with barbecued duck and habanero chile sauce, and then had Ancho Chile-Cumin Rubbed Pan Roasted Rabbit served with a butternut squash wild mushroom risotto. The wines were perfectly matched to the foods – starting with a 2003 Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’ Alba, followed by a 2003 Forefathers McLaren Vale Shiraz from Australia. Just unbelievable.

Finally, Wednesday night, it was time for something familiar and low key – so I went to an old favorite, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House. Started with seafood gumbo, and used a couple of hunks of French bread to wipe my bowl (“good for the body, good for the soul”). And then, for the entrée, Sweet Barbecue Atlantic Salmon on a Homemade Andouille Sausage and Brabant Potato Hash with Spicy Onion Crust and Emeril's Worcestershire Sauce. The wine was a 2003 Rex Hill Pinot Noir from Oregon. And dessert was something I’ve never had before – Raspberry Sorbet drenched in something called X-Rated Liqueur, which was sweet and refreshing and just extraordinary.

Tough life. But somebody has to live it.

And thanks to the folks at CIES and GEMCON for making it all possible.

Other random notes…

I keep hearing complaints that a blonde Englishman, Daniel Craig, has been hired to be the next James Bond.


Let’s face it. Sean Connery was bald and wore a toupee in all his Bond films…and was the definitive Bond, never really replaced by George Lazenby, who couldn’t really act, and Roger Moore, who was better at arching his eyebrows than throwing a punch. While Pierce Brosnan was fine as Bond and certainly gave the series some spark, I’ve always felt that probably the best actor to play Bond was Timothy Dalton…who only lasted two films (that didn’t have very good scripts).

Want to see why Craig will make a terrific Bond if the script for the new film, “Casino Royale,” is any good? Just watch “Layer Cake,” a movie that I really had trouble following but that features a performance by him that just hints at what he’ll bring to the 007 role.

Who cares what color his hair is? Bond is all about attitude.

Ironic, by the way, that Sir Roger Moore has gotten involved with a campaign urging Britain's top chefs to stop using foie gras, and has narrated a video showing geese and ducks being force-fed to enlarge their livers.

Contrast to that to the scene in “Never Say Never Again,” in which Sean Connery seduces a woman by feeding her foie gras.

How times have changed.

With all the stories about the late Wellington Mara that ran this week, none were as touching or as revealing as the pieces that detailed how he took bad-boy player Jeremy Shockey under his wing, coaching him to be a better, more mature man.

By the way, we got an email from an MNB user that made a good point:

A big man was Mara. Imagine what they are going to say about George Steinbrenner from Yankees.

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend.

KC's View: