BR Cohn Fall Music Festival 2013

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I’ll take you from Bad Company to Richard Tyler in the blink of an eye. Mission Impossible? Not for this global food trotter! There may be days when my fingers feel like they are going to fall off, and I am exhausted beyond belief, but it’s all worth it knowing I’ve got rock star followers like YOU! Let’s get one thing straight…it’s not my first day at the rodeo! This Stalker’s urge is like a jungle fever that won’t break until the last encore.

Once I get Sonoma Wine Country on the brain it’s hard to redirect. Combine that with BR Cohn’s kick ass Fall Music Festival and my boots were packed faster than you could say Pablo Cruise. It’s been one of those months and the hits just keep oncoming, literally! While cruising the highway at eighty miles per hour jamming to old 70’s rock and roll, I was rocked (literally) right back into reality as a baseball size projectile hit the windshield, right between my eyes causing it to shatter. Was I scared? Hell no! Several hours later Mr. Windshield man was installing new glass and I was unloading gear at the winery. Come on, you know me better than that by now – wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this annual shin-dig!

Ah yes, the 1970s, when music mattered and made sense. No cell phones, no personal computers and video games were incredibly rudimentary. If you wanted the latest hit record by The Doobie Brothers or Bad Company you could plunk down $6 and get a penny back. Cassette tapes were a couple bucks more and a pair of bell bottoms were $15.00! The 70s were the transition from the 60’s to what we wear now, it was the era of punks, bikers and a of myriad subcultural groups like geeks, yuppies and new romantics. We had flared trousers and “It’s a Knockout”! Yea, those were the days my friends.

Enter Bruce Cohn. Raised in a family of music and Manager of The Doobie Brothers since 1969, he’s the Proprietor of BR Cohn Winery and holds his passion for wine-making and music close at heart. In 1974 he started growing grapes and after ten years started his own label at his Sonoma ranch affectionately called “Olive Oil”. He inherited olive trees on the property and currently produces both balsamic vinegars and olive oil. The Doobie Brothers are legendary, making great music for over 43 years and whether it’s wine, olive oil, or music, Bruce is committed to creating legendary products.

The 27th Annual Fall Music Festival and charity dinner was held at the winery’s 140-year old Olive Grove September 20th to 23rd 2013.  Pablo Cruise found their place in the sun with a magical performance including three of the original band members. Preparing a five-course meal under a star lit sky was James Beard nominee and award-winning Chef Mark Stark. Chef Stark and his wife Terri are owner’s of  Willi’s Wine Bar, Stark’s Steak and Seafood, Monti’s, Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar and Bravas and Bar Bravas. Lordy, when does this guy sleep? I pulled him away from the madness to chat poolside with the house pup at our feet. He shared inspiration for the menu – Mt. Lassen smoked trout & haricot vert salad with Laura Chenel Goat cheese ranch and Coffee crusted Angus Filet of beef, sweet corn, roasted radish, snap pea succotash and Faux Bone Marrow. For desert? Chocolate wickedness that even the Wicked Witch of the West would have approved of – Warm Valrhona Chocoate cake, peanut butter mouse, salted toffee peanuts, vanilla bean creme fraiche. Oh baby baby, I’m melting! Here’s a guy that reaches for the chandeliers rather than be ordinary. Truth be told, my knees buckled at the impact of his Mark-Starkness. (So just what did those socks look like under those boots?)

In the spirit of shit happens, I arrived Saturday only to discover my name was not on the VIP list, nor did I have a Press Pass or ticket. (I get it, there are lot’s of moving parts with a gig of this magnitude).  A kind gentleman remembered me from the evening before and gave me a “general ticket”.  Say Whhaaat? Mother nature had her way Saturday morning with buckets of rain (Lordy, what to cover my camera with?) and a muddy mosh pit front and center to the stage certainly would not make my leopard boots very happy (Woodstock flashback). Male, and sometimes female moshers are frequently shirtless (total nudity is frowned upon my dears) and this Style Spy needed to document behind the scenes, not create one. Since it was far too short notice to get a job with the catering crew I did what any professional Food Stalker would do – spoke to the man in charge, gave a wink and a nod and promised the gate-keeper a beer and my first-born.  No Press Pass? Not a problem! Voila, I was in!

The weekend line-up included The Doobie Brothers, Bad Company with Paul Rodgers, Pablo Cruise, Kopecky Family Band, Lara Johnston, Pat Simmons Jr., Heart, Gin Blossoms, FightClub, Lara Johnston and Heart (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). This Fashionista saw it all, distressed leather boots, hippie dresses, top hats and low-cut jeans revealing women’s lingerie – or none at all. I captured highlights from my privileged vantage point swinging from the stage rafters (that yoga sure comes in handy). The highlight for me was intimate one on one time with band members sharing their views on the world of music today. So much has changed yet one thing remains constant, music can change history and rock and roll is here to stay.

At the end of the day, a road trip lets you unwind while exploring unknown territory. You set out on a mission for a bounty of stalker tales wandering impulsively off the beaten path, getting lost on purpose, capturing all the moments. Hey, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Once you tire of being lost you slap in a new windshield, activate your cell phone GPS and find your way back…

Peace Out!

* Charities include Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Guardsmen, Field of Dreams, Station Foundation, American Legion Post 489 and our Veterans.

* Special thanks to Bruce Cohn and Michael Coats of Coats Public Relations.





With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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