"Chatanooga Choo-Choo," will racket out its train-wheel rhythm Nov. 9 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the second Wine and Food Festival in the tented parking lot of the Parkway Grill in Pasadena.
The music, covering a 50-year span, will be the work of the Musical Medics, an orchestra made up of members of the Huntington Memorial Hospital medical staff. The creators of this prime-time music are Dr. Ted Burdomy, anesthesiologist, on drums; Dr. Larry Jones, urologist, on trombone; Dr. Allen Mathies Jr., former hospital president, on vocals; Dr. Malcolm Mitchell, internal medicine/oncology, on piano; and Dr. Patrick Plunkett, orthopedic surgeon, on saxophone.
The remarkable thing is that the food and wine hits the same excellent pitch as the music. Eleven restaurants and 36 wineries will trot out their showpieces; for $40 for tickets bought in advance and $45 for those bought at the door, guests can try something of everything.
Gregg Smith is the handsome boniface who presides over the Parkway Grill. He thought about doing something for the hospital when he was a Huntington patient for knee surgery. His father had been there in 1980 for successful triple heart-bypass surgery and Gregg wanted to show his appreciation.
Last year's Food and Wine Festival was a happy success.
This year, the money will go to the Huntington Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Unit where doctors, nurses and technicians work to bring people who have been incapacitated by illness back to their fullest capacity. Physical therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists--whoever is needed to bring the patient into the everyday world as a fully participating member--all work together.
Probably the most widely loved member of the rehab team is named Mandy. She is a black-and-tan shepherd who lives in the rehab unit. Maureen Wells, a recreational therapist, read about the benefits animals bring to patients and discovered Mandy at the Pasadena Humane Society. A friend of mine, a retired nurse named Mabel English, now works as a volunteer in the rehab unit. She said, "Mandy seems to know which patient needs a little extra attention, a little affection, a little fun. Then she heads right for them. She has never jumped up on anyone. She seems to know just how to treat the patients."
Another friend, Don McNeil, is a graduate of the rehab unit following a stroke. He played football at USC in 1936, 1937 and 1938. He was a member of the USC Rose Bowl team in 1939.
Asked on his first day in the rehab unit what his aim was, McNeil replied, "To get out of here."
And with the wonders the unit performs, he did in a very short time. He and his wife, Aleene, just came back from an autumn tour of New England.
Restaurants that will set up shop to serve the guests at the festival are Beckham Place, Pasadena; Cafe Jacoulet, Pasadena; Chez Melange, Redondo Beach; Lalo and Brothers, Encino; La Toque, Los Angeles; Lozano, Sierra Madre; Panda Inn, Pasadena; Parkway Grill, Pasadena; Reflections, La Canada; the Crocodile Cafe, Pasadena; and the Chronicle, Pasadena.
A flavor fillip will be added by Esprit de Cuisine, Pasadena, which will offer exotic mustards, salad splashes and dessert sauces.
For $40, you can sample the finest dishes in Los Angeles and top it off with Pasquini cappuccino and espresso. Besides enjoying a delicious afternoon and early evening, you will please Mandy and her friends.