Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

Name: Alan Kantor
Age: 48
Hometown: Mendocino, California
Occupation: Chef
Status: Badboy

1. Where do you like to flirt?

I flirt for fun, for the moment, whenever there is an esprit between me and a woman. It isn’t about going home with someone…they may be clearly not in that category…between 7 and 70. I think the true esprit of flirting is that it happens because you feel good about yourself and you see someone else is feeling good about themselves too, and so there is this little mutual acknowledgement.

Maybe you both went for the same perfect peach at the Ferry Building organic market. (www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com) I remember a moment in a Union Square department store, seeing a young girl extra pleased with her own reflection in a mirror in her first prom dress…or a glance on the street, a couple of phrases exchanged waiting at a Giant’s game, or on the ferry after the game.

2. What are your favorite places to eat and drink?

These change frequently as eating is the activity around which my life revolves as a professional chef. (I manage to stay on the thin side through bike-riding with my Rhodesian Ridgeback and the kitchen work.) I would say anywhere that is noteworthy from Healdsburg to San Francisco. I always stop at the Downtown Creamery in Healdsburg, but I love to eat in Napa and Sonoma, too, which covers quite a range.

Right now I am into Vietnamese noodle houses and am always up for fine dim sum when I hit the city at Ton Kiang or Yank Sing. Locally, I like to hang out with my chef friend at his Mendo Bistro and have a good meal.

3. Where should we stay when we visit?

Downstairs in my Victorian the cat and dog take up the bed. Seriously, since I work at MacCallum House, I would recommend the rooms in the Barn or the Water Tower.

4. What qualities do you find irresistible in a woman?

Brains, Armani White, enthusiasm, socks with purple dots, a tender heart, being able to pack light, impeccable knowledge in one’s area of expertise, being able to say “I think you were wrong,” being able to say “I think I was wrong.” And a passion for organics, sustainability and a world where fair trade is the rule, not the exception, not being afraid to cook for a chef.

5. Where can we find you on a free Sunday afternoon?

I am usually on my bike going through the mountains when I’m not working, or foraging for wild mushrooms in season. When the weather’s good I like to go for a ride up or down the coast on my vintage Triumph motorcycle.

6. What do you love most about your hometown (besides our arrival)?

Next to your arrival and stopping by the kitchen to say ‘hi,’ what I love most about my town is a list a mile long—crystal clean air, the absence of a freeway, world-class culture and arts in a small population, the gorgeous surroundings.

7. What should we bring when we visit? What should we leave with?

As I said before, pack light. Mendocino dinner dress-up is your best pair of jeans and a sweater. Leave feeling sated—with good food and wine, a lovely chance encounter with someone new or a great time loving the one you’re with, and an appreciation for the beauty of the North Coast.

8. What do we absolutely have to see while we’re there?

Whales on the headlands, a walk to the Russian Gulch waterfalls, a bike ride up the Big River estuary or looking for seashells on the beach in the village, a stroll around town to check out the historic village that Mendocino is, kayaking up the same Big River or in the ocean in the underground caves.

Any areas of town we should avoid?

Don’t avoid anything.

Any local secrets you want to share?

Beautiful naked girls at the Sweetwater hot tubs!

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