What the Manolo Is…

Manolo says, it is Tuesday, time to see what the Manolo is…

Watching…

Reading…

The Manolo cannot believe that he has not seen the Sideways movie before this. Truly, this was the significant gap in his cinematic education, now rectified by the Argentine cable channels’ mania for showing movies in their entirety, uncensored, in the original language with the subtitles.

The movie was enjoyable and well-made, and rang mostly true, if annoying in places. However, what made most enjoyable for the Manolo was how well it shows one of the Manolo’s favorite places in California, the Santa Ynez valley in the northern part of Santa Barbara County, where the Manolo has been many times since the early 1980s, and where he has many friends.

Prominently featured was the justifiably famous Hitching Post in Buellton, where the Manolo has eaten many times (although not nearly as many, it should be noted, as he has eaten in the remoter original Hitching Post in the tiny hamlet of Casmalia).

Until the Manolo’s recent removal to Buenos Aires, the Manolo considered the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys to be the place where one could obtain the best steaks in the world, and ranked three of the steakhouses in that region: The original Hitching Post, F. McClintocks, and the Far Western Tavern to be among the top four steak restaurants anywhere, the lone outsider being Peter Luger in Brooklyn. (Other contenders for the throne, drawn chiefly from among the over-priced and masculinely kitschy New York and Chicago steak houses, whom the Manolo declines to name, are more for the show than the actual go, being more for taking the clients to impress them than otherwise. And do not get the Manolo started on that entire Ruth’s Chris nonsense.)

These past few weeks in Buenos Aires are forcing the Manolo to reevaluate his opinions regarding beef and how it is to be eaten. And he has not even tried those three our four restaurants which are considered the best parrillas in the city! Still, seeing this movie the other night has invited this comparison, one which the Manolo is still weighing.