As a native San Franciscan food and drink have always been at the center of my life. From the annual trips with my father to the vineyards and cellars of France to our family’s Sunday dinners at the celebrated restaurants of the day — Ernie’s, The Blue Fox, Doro’s, Amelio’s, The Mandarin and Vanessi’s — life at the table was always an adventure and an event not to be missed.
My working career began at my family’s restaurants La Bourgogne and Delices de France. There I learned the basic skills of service and hospitality. After university (UCSB) my direction turned to wine and I along with a partner developed the wine store Singer & Foy where the imports of Kermit Lynch were a specialty. Eight fortunate years at the amazing Chez Panisse Restaurant & Café followed and then the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself: the formation of a project, both bar and restaurant, known as César. It was truly an innovative amalgam and perhaps could have only occurred in Berkeley. Simple but authentic Spanish tapas served alongside a world-class list of wines and spirits and a cocktail service that anticipated and perhaps accelerated the raging cocktail phenomenon of today.
Next up came a project very dear to me, Mighty Tavern. It was founded in the small community of Fair Oaks, California near Sacramento. There I learned the importance of biodynamics from its practitioners and teachers, the staff of Rudolf Steiner College located less than a mile from the tavern.
Love and marriage have since taken me away to my current life in Geneva, Switzerland where I reside with my wife Veronica and dog Felicia. I look forward to discovering the best there is to offer here in Switzerland and sharing with you, my readers, what I find.
14 thoughts on “About the Author”
Hi Dennis. It’s me again, Martin Reingold. After finding your blog about six months ago I have to say you’re quite the wine writer. What amazes me is that you can make little details, minutiae almost, fascinating. I just finished your article on Dugerdil and Sophie the winemaker and am ready to hop on a plane for a taste! I’ve told fellow wine drinkers I’ve met in LA and Berkeley and SF about you and your blog but I’m never sure they actually check it out. Do you know how many readers you have? I hope a lot. I was talking with my ex wife, an accomplished cook, and told her your attention to detail is like somebody writing a long book about zucchini but one that you can’t put down. She laughed and knew exactly what I meant. Well, I’m off to an Italian dinner with my son at Corso in Berkeley. If there’s any Swiss wine on the list I’ll give it a try. Happy Labor Day weekend.
Thanks Martin, those are kind words. I enjoy doing what I do, it’s a lot of fun. It’s really in preparation for a book I’ve begun on Swiss wine. Stay tuned.
I hope you are doing well and enjoy Corso with your son. Those are the best times
Dennis, I’m sitting at the bar in Cesar Berkeley and just met a guy named Cedric. He said he’d been coming here for years so I asked him if he knew you. He did. And I told him I used to see you here but met you at Singer and Foy. I think it was in the mid 80’s, Friday after work I would go to taste the wines of Raveneau, Chave, Chevillon etc. Then not that long after the quake you and Steven closed, I moved to LA, had kids, sold my cellar of 800 bottles at Christies first auction in Beverly Hills and started drinking martinis! Up with a twist. I visited Berkeley now and then and ran into you a few times at Cesar. Then I heard you left Cesar and that was the last time I saw you. Not sure when that was but it was a long time ago! So Cedric told me you’re living in Geneva and I googled you and found this site. I quit martinis and am somewhat back into wine. Not like before but still looking to see what’s out there. Unfortunately Raveneau, Chave etc. aren’t that easy to come by these days. But I do have a somewhat new interest, watches, and just last year was in Geneva. I was invited to visit Patek Phillipe, five days. Also spent a day in Montreaux. In 2015 I visited Audemars Piguet in the Vallee de Joux and FP Journe in Geneva. And about a week in Bern. Switzerland is quite lovely and I’m a clean freak so it’s my kind of place. To bad it doesn’t have LA weather. Anyway I hope all is well with you and I just wanted to say hello.
Haha. Hi Martin. Thanks for thinking of me. Yes, I’m in Geneva living the life. Am married to a great woman and we are both retired. Of course, I got into the wine scene here which is small but really emerging and quite exciting. I love traveling around the country meeting the new young guard. I’m actually one of the few people in the country who does move around. The French speakers stick to their turf, the German speakers to theirs, etc. Anyway, good to hear from you and I hope you are doing well.
And lay off the martinis . . . Wine is better.
Thanks for reading. Cheval Blanc is iconic and Basel a beautiful city. Glad to hear Roger is recommending my blog. Hopefully some Swiss wines will show up in US soon. Happy holidays.
Great place to try Swiss wine. Cheval Blanc is legendary and Basel a beautiful city. Glad to hear Roger is recommending my blog and that you enjoyed Jeanty. Season’s Greetings and thanks for reading.
Very funny story. I remember the slot car track and John Rodiak, and I believe I remember you, but I don’t recall the incident you mention. Sounds like me though, so you may be accurate. Yes, life takes many turns and some of them are interesting. I can’t complain about my life and I hope you can say the same. We’re all lucky to be here. Happy New Year.
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I may have been the tall, very talkative girl who wrote your name in a heart with mine on the wall of the slot car place in chalk. And you may have come to my front door on Chico Court to demand I erase it. I think I also wrote the name of your best friend (whom I don’t remember – John?) in another heart; I remember the pair of you coming to the door, which was a bit nightmarish, as I knew I liked you both, but I just wasn’t sure which looked better on the wall. Why I imagined you wouldn’t guess I’d written it is…well, in my defense, it WAS 4th grade. And my grasp on reality versus warm, cozy fiction was always a little tenuous. I’d always wondered what had become of you after you’d gone off to school in France. Very glad to see the food and wine gene predominated and that you’re clearly well and happy. Cheers!
Same question as Jenny Tripp’s-
Had you attended Buri Buri School with us in South San Francisco in the early 60s?
You’ve lived quite an exciting life, it would appear.
Oh my, yes I did. Now I’ going to have to go back and really search the memory bank.
Dennis L, whom I remember very well from grade school? How pleasant to see your very much unchanged face, and to catch a glimpse of your further adventures. I had no idea. Happy New Year.
Refresh my memory. From where do we know each other?