All You Can Eat
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.
April 20, 2009 12:38 PM
Posted by Nancy Leson
And now, from the you've-got-to-be-kidding department, this just in from Steve Winston, owner of The Spanish Table: He's being sued in California Eastern District Court by E. & J. Gallo Winery -- for selling pasta imported from a 50-year-old Spanish company named Gallo (no relation):
Gallo (pronounced "guy-oh" in Spanish) translates as rooster, Steve explains, noting that he's feeling pretty cocky over the whole affair. "I feel like a bigwig!" he told me -- seeing as he's just one guy with four stores specializing in Spanish products (including food, wine and the fabulous paella pan I bought Mac for our last anniversary). And they're, well, the "GAL-ohs" -- the largest family-owned winery in the world, according to their company Web site, which boasts 60 Gallo brands, 5000 employees and three proud generations working in the family biz:
There's a certain gallows humor at play when you consider a hard-working guy like Steve being sued by a family that claims to be "carrying on the family tradition and values -- a strong work ethic, a drive for perfection and a focus on quality." I'm not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV, but I can't help but wonder why the Gallo company's attorney would send cease-and-desist letters to a Seattle businessman, busting his chops for selling a type of pasta that shares the same name as his client's winery. "He told me to write him a letter saying I'll never sell this pasta again," says Steve. And when the shopkeeper didn't ("I was too busy filing my taxes last week") the attorney "went ahead and filed."
I can imagine Steve shaking his head this morning at his Western Avenue store as he told me he's not wealthy enough to engage in a cockfight with one of the biggest names in the wine business. "We'll probably have a last call for the pasta," Steve says, selling out what's on the shelves. "Gallo's got a bottomless pocket. I don't have a bottomless pocket." But he does, however, sell a $13.99 Martin Codax albarino -- a Spanish wine imported and marketed by E.& J. Gallo. My suggestion: send it back to the distributor, and tell them you're not interested in selling any more Gallo products.
So Eaters, what do you think about this? Crazy, no?
Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.