Camino de Santiago

21 01 2018

Many years ago when I started out in the wine business and began to learn about Spanish wines I heard talk about the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Western Spain.  It would probably have been in 1992 that I first learned of it.  When discussing the region of Rioja in particular it was mentioned that a lot of the indigenous varieties could have been derived from other grapes brought as vine cuttings from the pilgrims who came along this route, or sometimes referred to as The Way or El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  Vines are very resilient and small, when dormant they are basically a stick that would be easy to transport and offer as a gift to those that would house these walkers.  I was so intrigued to hear that people would make this pilgrimage to the Cathedral.  While raised Roman Catholic and somewhat spiritual I at the time did not find myself to be very religious, so I did not bother to learn about St. James, one of the apostles of Jesus, who is buried there, or to learn much more about the journey, but in the back of my mind I always said, you know, someday I would like to walk that route!  I placed it on a bucket list way in the back of my brain where it sat there mainly dormant like those vine cuttings for many years.

As my career in wine went on I worked in Nantucket the summer after college at the Brotherhood of Thieves and Island Spirits, then onto NY at Windows on the World and the Vista Hotel at the World Trade Center, Myriad Restaurant Group also in Manhattan (Montrachet, Nobu, Tribeca Grill and Reebok Sports Club) until I decided in 1996 to move to California to work at Rubicon in San Francisco.  All this time I was in the program studying for the Master of Wine, starting of course with the other courses and getting my Diploma shortly after my move to SF.  I left Rubicon to work at Jardiniere, my first Wine Director position and after a few years there jumped out of the nest to become a consultant.  One of my first big consulting jobs was with Wines From Spain working as their Rioja Ambassador in San Francisco.  I did this job for five years, and traveled to Rioja, twice I think.  My favorite city there?  Of course Logrono known for the incredible tapas bars where 10 cents gets you a tumbler of wine and the tapas are different in each bar, and absolutely delicious.

 

Throughout these journeys I visited wineries, walked amongst the vines and saw ancient Roman ruins.  I stepped on a snake in the wet underground cellar that housed an ancient spring at CVNE and ate great meals throughout the region.  Not once did it cross my mind that I was basically on the Camino right there.

Years after the Rioja program I worked with Ribera del Duero for two years, never crossed my mind that Ribera is also on the Camino.  Never got to visit that region though despite my time spent working with them.

So as time does move along I flitted about with writing, teaching, other trade jobs and event management for SF Chefs, also called Eat Drink SF.  In more recent years I found myself shifting most of my time to the east coast and working the seasonal life out on Nantucket, which is a big challenge as the winter doesn’t offer much possibility.  I started going back and forth continually between SF and Nantucket, but soon found I was missing out on the height of the season the lucrative summer on the island.  From 2015 to 2016 I took on jobs at a cheese shop, waiting tables, craft fairs and the farmer’s market, sommelier stints and even working at the Nantucket Whaling Museum I tried to piece together a bi-coastal life, fighting to find something sustainable year round.

Finally this past spring something unimaginable occurred when I bid on a small snack bar/gift shop owned by the Town of Nantucket and got the opportunity to make it my very own business.  Located right on the water at Children’s Beach I was able to make this small shack my very own, but as with any business the first year is all about learning.  It was not lost on my that our own customers were also doing things for the first time.  Babies learning how to eat, little kids learning how to count money and get change.  The restaurant The Hungry Minnow was born when I wrote the proposal in late February, I was told I got the contract on March 1 and the new born minnow was shown to the world on May 27, not a lot of time.  I worked the first 20 days completely solo, no helpers, except Madison Joslin and Shannon Considine and two workers who helped me get the health permit and the tireless efforts by the Department of Public Works to help me with structural and equipment issues, but on a daily basis just me.  It was kind of good because it helped me streamline the flow of the restaurant.  Eventually I hired kids, literally, with help part time from one 21 year old the rest were 17, and 14.  I had a 19 year old for a bit too, but that was short lived.  103 days of straight work and some time over the fall but no heat in the building means that now the restaurant is shuttered.  Literally boarded up.  And so once again I found myself struggling to figure out what I am supposed to do over the winter, how to make ends meet and get through the debt and uncertain times.

Now over the last few years it seems that there was a budding of this idea in my head that was growing without me even knowing it.  Years ago I was invited to see a movie premiere in SF called “The Way”, I happened to be on some press list.  I had no idea what it was about but I was intrigued because Emilio Esteves and Martin Sheen were going to be there to discuss the film.  I’d had a crush on Emilio ever since I met him at a Cesar Chavez rally in NYC in the late 80’s.  Towards the end of the film they turned up to get our reactions, no doubt trialing a few different endings, meanwhile I was sobbing with emotion, and I could feel that first tendril of an idea creeping out of that bucket list that I must do this walk sometime.

I discussed this walk with my dear friend Elmy Bermejo and her daughter Elmy Junior, proprietors at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant and almost family to me.  We had always talked about how amazing it would be to go on this journey together…

Just this past September I was surprised when in the vineyards in Napa I overheard one of the other sommeliers in our group say, “I sold everything I owned and went on the Camino”.  It piqued my interest and as she looked at me she said something like, “You are already going, so stop asking and just do it.  Buen Camino.”

Fast forward again to this place of insecurity, this November or December I awoke (and as is my bad habit) went to Facebook to see what was up and my friend Suzy had just posted that she was going to do the walk and who would want to go.  Here it was my calling.

Suzy lives in Morocco, and we met in a very interesting way, which I will tell you about a little later, but because of that interesting way we know each other it seemed exactly the right thing to do.  How could I leave?  How could I afford it?  How could I afford not to.

It is becoming clear to me that I really have no choice in the matter, the idea to walk that came to me many years ago was dormant but was firmly planted and it only needed time and watering to start to grow.  It is my job to do this journey, no doubt there is a higher power calling me to do it.  Ever since I decided to go and book the tickets I have felt more peace than before.  I am not meant to work 100% of the time, this off season is intended and given to me as a gift so I can care for my roots, water them and let them bud in the spring.  I need to stop fighting the seasonality and embrace it, it is a gift.

Almost every song I write has an element of this message, and calls me to walk, it’s so funny that I could write these songs yet not listen to my own words!

 

Carpe Diem:

“Well I can’t tell you where I’m going, I don’t remember where I’ve been storm clouds seem to be blowing, I’m walking straight into the wind.  I feel just like an apparition, a pilgrim in purgatory, on the way to the next Mission, seeds to sow and crops to reap.”

 

 

Yesterday I arrived back in SF from the east coast for a few weeks.  I opened up my closet and found a brand new pair of Vasque hiking boots just waiting there for me.  I started my training leaving home at 12:15 pm and walking 8.39 miles straight up and across San Francisco, getting to the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers tasting at Pier 27 at 4pm.  About an hour into the walk I found myself doubting my abilities, I can’t do this, my toes are numb, I must be horribly feeble, I for sure have a nerve injury, these boots are going to hurt, my shoe is untied, this hill is crazy.  But as I crested that first big rise I felt empowered looking down at the Pacific sweeping in and out of the San Francisco Bay, and so I kept on walking.  I pinged my friends with a #Chapachat video and found support from them…  and onward I went.  So please join me on this journey, this pilgrimage I am going to make, we will see what I discover along the way and I look forward to sharing it with you.

 

Sleepwalking:

“If I’m scared and second guess and feel like giving up, remind me it’s not where you end just walking is enough, miles to go, off road.”

Road to Know Where:

“It’s not the destination it’s the road, on the road I’m free, I could keep on driving can’t you see?  The future morphs with yesterday, nothing matters but today, it’s ok if I never get there, but I’m on a road to know where.”

Missing Someone All the Time:

“These boots weren’t made for staying, so I gotta get going, but I’m missing someone all the time”

 

Where My Soul Belongs:

“And so today the more I roam I know that I’m always home, where my soul belongs.”

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The Hungry Minnow at Children’s Beach

7 04 2017

Crazy things are happening here on Nantucket!  I have been given the opportunity to run the concession and gift shop at Children’s Beach!

I am so excited to soon share a full menu with you as well as some more about the concept.  Basically The Hungry Minnow will feature family friendly, delicious and healthful food with a little bit of a twist.  While we will have some favorite snack bar classics, we will also take a spin on some innovative items that I have come to love in my culinary journeys!  Think street tacos, fries with eyes, skinny dips (dips you can dive into!), great baked goods and more!

Although the space is cozy there will also be a retail area featuring my recycled crafts as well as some art and crafts from local Nantucket artisans.  Expect to see a few of my favorite gourmet pre-packaged foods from my talented friends in the industry and a few select gift items.  Just as the whalers of Nantucket’s past have done I have sourced ingredients, recipes and souvenirs from across the world and look forward to sharing those with you!  We will be renting beach toys and chairs and be a one stop hub for all your beachy needs!

With a lot of work to go, The Hungry Minnow is slated to open in time for Mother’s Day, or maybe sooner if the universe will cooperate.  There is a lot to do to get ready.  This all fell into my lap so quickly (sent in my bid on February 27, chosen March 1 and confirmed it was a go with the Board of Selectmen on March 22!) so to help finance things I have started a Go Fund Me account, anything helps, but honestly your positive intentions from around the globe help too!

Can’t wait to share some photos with you once I get the place spruced up!

Keep swimming,

Rebecca

FEED THE MINNOW!

To help fund The Hungry Minnow click here.

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Headed in the Write Direction

2 02 2016

Chapa14751 1 1

Hi friends and subscribers!  I am sorry I have been neglecting my blog posts, but I do want you to know I have not stopped writing.  You should be hearing a lot more here very soon.  I have been incubating ideas and trying to put them on paper, or to music, so the news that I just received is really inspiring!  It came at a time when I was really questioning my path and whether I should put down my pen and guitar.  So the news is:

“American Songwriter Magazine has announced the results of their March/April 2016 Lyric Contest awarding Nantucket based singer songwriter Rebecca Chapa an honorable mention for her song “Carpe Diem”. Winners and honorable mentions are now listed on the American Songwriter website and will be in the print copy of the March/April 2016 issue expected to be released in early March.”

I can’t wait to share the finished song with you when I have it ready, it’s in the works.  Until then you can listen to some of my other songs at ReverbNation or come see me at Open Mic either in Nantucket (Fridays at The BOX) or San Francisco (Tuesdays at Ireland’s 32).  Yep, although they made me pick one location for my town, I am still doing the bicoastal thing, and loving it.  You never know where I may be!

http://americansongwriter.com/2016/02/lyric-contest-winners-marchapril-2016/

Read the full press release here!

MASSACHUSETTS SONGWRITERS GAIN RECOGNITION

 





MASSACHUSETTS SONGWRITERS GAIN RECOGNITION IN AMERICAN SONGWRITER LYRICS CONTEST

1 02 2016

Download Here: MASSACHUSETTS SONGWRITERS GAIN RECOGNITION

NANTUCKET, Mass February 2, 2016

American Songwriter Magazine has announced the results of their March/April 2016 Lyric Contest awarding Nantucket based singer songwriter Rebecca Chapa an honorable mention for her song “Carpe Diem”. Winners and honorable mentions are now listed on the American Songwriter website and will be in the print copy of the March/April 2016 issue expected to be released in early March.

http://americansongwriter.com/2016/02/lyric-contest-winners-marchapril-2016/

Two additional Massachusetts songwriters also fared well in the contest. Christa Joy of Easthampton won second place for “You Don’t Know” and James Pimenta of Taunton an honorable mention for “I’ve Seen It All.” Perhaps they were inspired by Stoughton, Massachusetts resident Lori McKenna. McKenna with co-writers Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose won the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year and Single of the Year for Little Big Town’s recording of “Girl Crush”. The song is also up for three awards at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

“This could not have come at a better time” Chapa says, “Many artists and writers have less traditional jobs, so there are times when we question our lofty aspirations, and consider getting a “day job”. I was hitting one of those lows and needed the inspiration to keep writing. I needed some guidance and faith and it was delivered overnight… I got the news the very next day.”

Chapa’s song itself is evocative of those themes as it laments,

“I can’t tell you where I’m going

I don’t remember where I’ve been

Storm clouds seem to be blowing

I’m walking straight into the wind.”

Chapa is currently working on an album called Road to Know Where. While this contest was based on lyrics only, Chapa does have music that accompanies Carpe Diem. “This was such a huge surprise that I haven’t recorded the song yet, but that’s what winter in Nantucket is for. We have great musicians on this island and a good deal of time on our hands.”

###

For more information, contact Rebecca Chapa Music at 415 378-1674 or email rebeccachapamusic@gmail.com.

Rebecca Chapa writes and sings from the heart. A mix of Folk, Americana, and Country with a just a dash of spirituality. She is also a published wine and spirits writer.  Booking: RebeccaChapaMusic@gmail.com or call 415 378-1674

Twitter: @RebeccaChapa Facebook: Rebecca Chapa Music

Instagram: @RebeccaChapa You Tube: rchapa1

Listen to Music: https://www.reverbnation.com/rebeccachapa





Protected: Death on the Grounds

25 10 2015

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It’s Just an Elm

27 01 2014

It’s Just an Elm

by Rebecca Chapa

I knew you when I was younger girl it’s been a long long time

Your leafy branches shading me as I took names from the line

On sunny days we would sit together waiting for the rush

You said goodbye on that fall night rustling your leaves in the cold hush

 

I never knew when I‘d return but thankfully I did

I was glad to see you once again and thought you looked quite big

But now they plot to cut you down and I am overwhelmed

To hear them saying casually, “Well, it’s just an elm”

 

Were you there to watch the whaling ships return once more to shore?

Peering towards Easy Street climbing as tall as widow’s walks soar

Did I dream I met you lifetimes ago or is that reality

To me you are my oldest friend, so much more than a tree

 

I thought we had a lot more time, to grow old and settle down

Things won’t be the same without you towering over the town

Just know that you will be missed by many more than me

I pray they leave your stump for us to sit when we grow weary

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Last Minute Holiday Gifts

21 12 2013

Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thanks for all the support in 2013!

All my love to you and yours this holiday.

Rebecca

Need a last minute gift?

Winter Wine Wednesdays at Nantucket Vineyard in 2014!

Support your local winery!

Join Certified Wine Educator Rebecca Chapa for her

“Winter Wine 101” series held at Nantucket Vineyard


Whether you are just starting out or a pro, this fun and informative series will prime your palate.  Expand your wine vocabulary, and discover how your individual sense of taste works. Tasting our wines in this educational setting will enhance your overall appreciation of wine.  Enjoy drinking our Nantucket Vineyard wines and some camaraderie with friends new and old at our cozy winery.  Join us!  It’s the perfect recipe to cure the winter doldrums.  Plus students get half off their wine purchase the night of the class!

 

January  29 – “Tune into Your Senses”

Ever hear “wine people” rave about the bouquet of elderflower or fine saddle leather in a wine?  WHAT?  Learn how to detect flavors and aromas in wine and explore how your nose and brain work to decipher them. 

February 12 – “Taste the Place / Terroir”

Terroir is loosely defined as “Sense of Place”.  Learn how factors such as growing conditions and winemaking can enhance or detract from “terroir” as we share the unique story of Nantucket Vineyard wines.

March 5 – “Blind Tasting”

Blind tasting is the act of being able to decipher the origin, grape variety, sometimes even the year of a wine by using your palate to gauge its unique characteristics.  Not just a fun trick at parties, it also helps you understand your palate!

March 19 – “Spirits 101”

Nantucket Vineyard, Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery produce a plethora of quality libations, so any educational series would not be complete without exploring the unique distilled spirits we produce.  Learn how these classic spirits are made and discover for yourself our unique offerings as well as some recipes for winter warmers which combine spirits and wine.  A definite cure for winter woes.


NEW Price = $20 per class or $30 for two!  All classes held at Nantucket Vineyard at Cisco Brewers

                                    A great gift for yourself and a friend!

To Sign Up: Call Mike @ 415-548-0374 or email wineguy@ciscobrewers.com

But Tickets Here : http://www.eventbrite.com/o/tannin-management-2524391908?s=

Also consider visiting our Square Up page for fun crafts inspired by the ocean…

https://squareup.com/market/sand-dollar-dreams

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