Charlie’s Musings

This page features what we like to call “Charlie’s Musings”…

Reflections, daydreams, recommendations, thoughts and considerations…

More from Charlie on the current issues confronting all of us…

As we hit the half-way mark, I think it’s safe to say 2020 has been a year most look forward to letting go. And yet, even in its strangeness, its darkness, its sorrow, we’re being called to get clear about what we want, how we want to design or lives and our realities.

Quarantine has been difficult, stressful, trying, tedious. It has also been a time of discovery and rediscovery — of hobbies, passions long forgotten, doing mundane chores such as yardwork or cleaning closets, drawers, the garage — at ones’ leisure, finishing projects that were started long ago and left to languish in a Tote.

I believe this is a Universal Wake Up Call, and after much reflection, have decided this column will be my last in the Nevada Appeal. I began this endeavor in 2000, and the 20-year mark seems a good place to stop.

I have decided that I want a life without deadlines. I want to focus on writing my cookbook and on my family. I want to travel. I want to have the freedom to do and help where I can and when I want. I want to continue to consult, as I am on a project for Mark and Jenny Lopiccolo who are soon opening a wine bar in McFadden Plaza at 3rd Street, Carson City, offering a great menu centered around small and shareable plates.

I want to be engaged in things that feed my creativity and my soul. I plan to spend time supporting The Greenhouse Project, which needs each one of us more than ever due to the pandemic and “new normal” which precludes gathering for concerts and such, the mainstay of TGP’s fundraising. Those with a heart to provide for our food insecure and educate our young people about sustainable agriculture and more, and who would like to be monthly or legacy donors please visit . Financial support of any size and duration is greatly appreciated and stays local.

Charlie’s thoughts for this unique time in our lives…

Traditionally, this recipe has been used for Easter Sunday brunch, but under today’s situation, this is not going to be possible.

This year more than any this Easter season and rebirth, we are being called to remember we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. And while we may have to shift family traditions at the moment, I selected a recipe that will work for gatherings of one or two and can be used once we are free to gather in larger groups again.

Find what you can in our local markets, and while there practice social distancing, wear your masks or bandanas and wash your hands. Be kind to our grocery workers as they are providing us with all we need in difficult times.

Karen and I dug our masks out of the Burner Mobile and are wearing face coverings when we go out. Remember, these precautions are about keeping all of us safe. If we all do our part, we reduce the risk. Follow the CDC’s guidelines.

This is not about being hard-headed or having an idea that someone’s an iron man, People MUST understand the gravity of the moment we’re in: husbands, mothers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles can not be with their loved ones when they are passing away. Medical workers are getting family members on face time to say goodbye to their loved ones. This is not how this moment in a person’s life is supposed to go, but in this COVID-19 era, it is the harsh reality.

Having just lost our son, the pain is not something I would want for any of you. Coming through this is going to take all of us. It is on all our shoulders to do our part to keep us all safe. Even those showing no signs can test positive, though given lack of testing, we don’t know actual numbers of who is affected. And the more data comes in, we are realizing this can affect every age group.

With so many out of work and resources strained, The Greenhouse Project’s mission of providing fresh-grown produce to the community’s food insecure is more important than ever. Families who were already in need and challenged in their access to food are facing even more dire circumstances, and those who have lost jobs or been temporarily laid off may also be facing financial challenges.

It is important that TGP carries on working with organizations that distribute food, and in order to meet rising demand, plans are underway to increase the amount of fresh produce being grown.

Concert Under the Stars, which has been conducted the last 11 years as a benefit event to support TGP’s work, has been canceled this year. The board decided that this was the only responsible decision at this time. The event sponsors, however, have generously kept their funding in place as without it, TGP would not be able to pay operating costs. We are grateful for their belief in the work TGP does.

Gratitude to headline sponsors NVEnergy, Carson Tahoe Health, Western Surgical/Dr. Freida Hulka; supporting sponsors Carson Toyota/DRDTA and Laura and John Fitzsimmons; contributing sponsors Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority, Mayor Bob and Susan Crowell, RISE, Top Notch Distributing, Southwest Gas, NV Fence LLC/Rob McFadden, Silver Bullet NV LLC, Waste Management and in-kind sponsors Foothill Electric, Fox BrewPub, SGWS, Tito’s Vodka and Duncan Golf Management.

Anyone wishing to support TGP, please visit . Every donation regardless of size helps and is appreciated.

I encourage all of you to stay positive, follow the guidelines, don’t hoard and reach out to old people.

Here is an example from a couple of years ago when thinking about Thanksgiving:

As I sit down to write this, it occurs to me it doesn’t seem as though a year should have already passed.

My wonderful Carson City community knows I have a long and passionate love affair with music, and as I sit here, snippet’s of Chicago’s, “Does Anybody Know What Time It is,” and Al Stewart’s classic, “Time Passages,” travel through my brain. And of course, those of us of a “certain age,” know too, coming upon us on Thanksgiving Day, is the inevitable playing on some radio stations of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” an accounting of an event that occurred Thanksgiving Day 1965, in which Guthrie was cited for littering, a ticket which inevitably led to him being refused for the Vietnam draft. He was deemed to not have the moral character to go to war, due to his “crime.” Guthrie’s satirical recounting of a time of unrest seems just as applicable today, reminding me in the simplest terms, history repeats and somehow, some way, we always find our way through. I encourage you younger ones out there to give this work a listen, as both a way to remember where we’ve been and a sign of hope we do survive. Plus, it’s just a great piece of art, so to speak.

This past year, as too many times recently, our town has experienced a year of goodness, which we welcome, combined with some challenges. The most difficult this year, has been the passing of Carson City Sheriff Deputy Carl Howell. If there’s one positive to come from this, it’s perhaps the greater conversation about domestic violence, which has started. I encourage everyone to take a moment and remember amidst the busy-ness of the season, to count even the tiniest of blessings.

For the first time in a long time, Karen and I are going to be home this year, cooking for our family. While I love serving others, I’m looking forward to a close gathering infused with joy, laughter, good food and drink. Making memories with the ones we love really is the heart of Thanksgiving, as is remembering the less fortunate in our community. Because at the end of the day, it’s always about the time we have.

I encourage everyone to do what they can to help those in need. Every contribution of time, money and food adds up to making a difference in the lives of others. Local organizations such as the Ron Wood Center, Friends in Service Helping (FISH), various churches and Advocates to End Domestic Violence have resources available for those in need and they also welcome the support needed to provide such services. In Dayton, the Food Pantry is also taking up collections. Turkey collections by all these agencies are underway. The Carson City Nugget’s annual dinner, served to anyone needing or wanting Thanksgiving Dinner on Thanksgiving Day, can always use volunteers. The dinner is co-sponsored by FISH and those wanting to volunteer can call 775-882-3474.

Thoughts for 2018 Thanksgiving…

Every year is marked by certain, reoccurring events. Sitting down to write my annual Thanksgiving column is one of those things, and I am always surprised the time between one Thanksgiving and the next seems shorter each year.

I think as we get older the idea that time is truly precious is underscored. Suddenly things that have been pushed to the side — creative endeavors — new or returning to things we loved as kids and had all the time in the world to do, unexplored adventures, heck, just taking time to enjoy the beauty of a craft beer or the feel of a crackling fire on a crisp Nevada night, all become more meaningful.

The recent loss of loved ones and watching the horror unfolding in California — the devastation that is hard to conceive, lost lives, entire towns decimated — besides saddening and maddening, has brought into very sharp focus that which matters most.

Even though I try to live daily a life that is intentional and gratitude-filled, these occurrences as well as the time of year we’re in, I find myself focused even more in that direction.

This uniquely American holiday called Thanksgiving is set aside for the sole purpose of counting our blessings. Family Day, which follows, calls us to remember and share time with those closest to us.

We are at a time when more than ever, it is important to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, to invite them in, lift them up by supporting the food pantry or outreach program of your choice. A bag of groceries, cash donations, or inviting someone to share Thanksgiving are all wonderful options. Look down your street, and if you see or suspect there is a need, leave the makings for dinner on the doorstep. Let’s share our gratitude and spread some love. God knows we need it, now more than ever.

Recipes deeply rooted in a rich tradition and a long family history…

As most of you know, this cooking I do is deeply rooted in rich tradition and a long family history, which formally goes back three generations.  My family, of Lebanese descent, has long honored the traditional recipes and ties to the old country, while finding joy in interpreting and integrating the “old” ways into our lives as Americans.  My dad, Paul Abowd, first had a restaurant in The City (San Francisco). My folks came from San Jose to Carson City in 1977,where they opened Adele’s, named for my mother.

Karen and I bought the restaurant in 1997 and have passionately pursued this love of food and the familial and social aspects of it, daily. It has been one of our greatest honors to share our family recipes with the community.

And so it is always a special treat when I reach for Mom’s worn, black Rolodex. It is in this small box that she kept her favorite recipes. Some she conjured up, refining each one over time until the end result matched her commitment to excellence. Others she gathered along the way, while traveling with Dad.

Being able to open the box, to have her recipes written in her own hand and on her signature stationary, is comforting in its continuity. Her heart and soul was poured into her family, her love of cooking and into her community. A small part of that love, passion and commitment is captured on each page.  There are moments when I go about my daily duties here at Cafe at Adele’s, that her inspiration and presence is palpable. I hear her voice…add a bit of this or a pinch of that….an acknowledgment that we have done well, Karen and I, by our community, and sometimes as moms are want to do, I hear her say, “that is not the way I did it.”

 She is here every day in the little details, in my decisions and in the execution of her recipes.

Added March 29th, 2018… (Published in the Nevada Appeal)

We’ve been experiencing the joys of springtime in Nevada these past days, with all its unpredictability and days that bring us everything from sunshine and warm temps right back to snow, “snain” and everything else. It’s certainly never boring! And while our local weather folks are predicting sunshine for our Easter weekend, anyone who’s been here more than a minute knows the odds of hunting eggs in the snow or not are about equal.

Either way, Easter is a time for family and friends and a priceless opportunity to make memories, full of color and smiling children super-charged on too much sugar and bunny-induced excitement. Enjoy every moment!

Speaking of enjoyable moments …

Tickets for the 10th annual Concert Under the Stars, A Benefit for The Greenhouse Project, July 11, are on sale now at Carson City welcomes Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s Jefferson Starship and Midnight North, led by Grahame Lesh, son of The Dead’s Phil Lesh … yep! I’m looking forward to this. Thanks to John Procaccini and Chili Bop Entertainment for your professionalism and generosity each year. Putting on this show requires a lot of planning, energy and heart from a lot of people, mostly volunteers, and thanks to the community, the show has grown every year allowing TGP to continue its mission of “Growing a Greener & Healthier Carson City.”

Thanks to each of you! And happy Easter.

More from Charlie – June 5th, 2019 (as published in the Nevada Appeal)

Here we are with 2019 half over and moving along, and the joyous experience of dealing with our insurance company and other entities in the wake of the fire has been one hell of a learning experience. A lesson we never wanted, but since we’re going through it, we may as well try to take something away from the experience. Many of you are wondering what’s next or “when.” Here’s what I know for sure: We’re working diligently each day to get Cafe at Adele’s up and running and as of last week, thankfully have a reconstruction plan in place.

Meantime, I am cooking for friends and family, putzing in the garden and coming up with new and interesting recipes. I promise to try them out on our patrons as soon as the doors open.

The inspiration for today’s recipe has in fact been the time I’ve been home, the street food movement and the things I’ve had the opportunity to taste, and the Junior Livestock Auction, which recently happened.

Karen and I sponsored a lamb and a pig this year, and recommend everyone give this a shot. If you can’t do a whole animal, next year get together with like-minded family and/or friends, pool your resources and sponsor a project. You will not only get farm-raised, chemical-free meat, you will also be contributing to a young person’s success and quite possibly their post-high school education fund. Our participation ensures our FFA and 4-H programs continuing success.

This is a win for everyone.

This was either our fifth or sixth year sponsoring Sierra Coleman’s pig.

Adele’s sommelier Steve Sanchez and I walked into the Livestock Convention Center Exhibit Hall and I said, “That’s a beautiful pig; I wonder who’s pig that is?” And here came this voice, “How are you doing, Charlie? It’s my pig, but with the fire and everything, I didn’t want to bother you (about sponsoring).” Sure enough, it was Sierra. I asked if she had a sponsor and lucky for us, she didn’t. This big, beautiful pig was the best in its class and let me tell you, that’s a well-deserved title!

Speaking of successful ag programs, we’re about a month away from The Greenhouse Project’s 11th annual Concert Under the Stars, which takes place Wednesday, July 10 at Eagle Valley Golf Club. Owner Tom Duncan has generously offered this new home for this growing event. We are hosting three bands that helped shape American music for every generation since – Poco, Pure Prairie League and Firefall. To understand the contribution of these bands and who their players have been over time, do a quick web search. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised. This will be a night of one hit after the other, and every dollar raised continues TGP’s mission of Growing, Giving & Teaching for a healthier and greener community. A limited number of Gold Circle tickets at $65 remain, and reserved $45 tickets and $30 SRO tickets are available at

In addition to a stellar evening of music, this rain or shine event, offers the live auction, featuring many experience packages including a trip to Ireland, (again, a great way to participate is by pooling resources with friends and/or family). Also, our Carson City High School award-winning FFA students will be selling raffle tickets for a Lake Tahoe wine cruise for two. Food trucks and full bars will be on site so you can all have a kitchen pass for the evening. What a great date night or fun time with friends.

See, summer’s not here for another two weeks, and it’s already popping!