Dan Perlman in Napa Valley at the Sante Awards

Dan Perlman

My new motto, courtesy of my friend Tom Byrnes (he phrased it better, but this is the gist of it):

"Ask yourself this: Which is more important to you? Who is on the bus with you or where the bus is going?"

Now, my answer to that question was and is "who". And that got to apply to some new fun changes in my life. As of July 2005, I set out, for an indeterminate amount of time, traveling. I was going to say that I was now an "itinerant traveler" and went and looked up the definition to make sure I'd got it right. Turns out that that's redundant - itinerant means either as a noun someone who travels from place to place, or as an adjective, the same. So, I'm merely an itinerant (though, for the moment, as you'll see, I've stopped in one place for a bit). E-mail, instant messaging, Skype (if you don't know, you should), have become the methods of communication with my friends and family back here in "the States."

As of October 2005, I purchased an apartment in a neighborhood of Buenos Aires called Recoleta. There's room for visitors! Photos are on this page. The "who" came in with some people in Buenos Aires that I wanted to get to know better, a culture that I wanted to explore, and a language that I wanted to take from the ability to order the "combo numero uno" at Taco Bell to a reasonable facsimile of grammatically correct sentences and fluency. And, most importantly, my husband Henry.

I wanted to find a place to settle down for awhile that includes a circle of good friends, or at the very least, an environment conducive to developing one. I'd come to realize that while I'd spent 23 years in New York City, I had only a few good friends there (now, I'd had more over the years, but many had moved to other locales, or died, or drifted away as friends). For the moment, Buenos Aires fits the bill.

You can, by the way, follow my adventures online at SaltShaker, my blog.

I had lived in New York City since 1982,  and from 1997 to 2005 in a great apartment (at approximately: latitude 40.732, longitude -73.983, altitude 150' above street level) with an incredible view of southern Manhattan (now sans the WTC). That apartment is now sold.  I still consider myself a Midwesterner, having been born in Madison in 1958 and raised (in a family if you can believe that) in Ann Arbor.  I attended Huron High School from 1972-1976 (a bicentennial graduate!). I spent five years at University of Michigan and ended up with a B.S. degree in Psychology as a Natural Science (i.e., we ran freshmen through mazes and let them press levers in order to get shots of tequila). I have bounced a little from career to career, variously in the world of computers, paramedicine, security, and legal research; but always wound up back around food and wine. Since I like both (food and wine), I settled on those as the focus of my career. I'm a trained chef, pastry chef and sommelier; and I've taught in both the cooking and wine world at various places - the Sommelier Society of America, the American Sommelier Association, the Culinary Institute of America, and the Asociación Argentina de Sommeliers. Currently, I'm the only "Advanced Sommelier" in South America as certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, and a candidate for "Master Sommelier" (of which there's only one in South America, in Chile) which I'd hoped to achieve in 2012 or 2013 but just haven't gotten myself organized to pursue.

In 2003 I accepted the position of General Manager & Wine Buyer for Heights Chateau, arguably the best wine shop in Brooklyn. I spent the previous four years working as the wine director for AZ and pazo, two highly rated (but now closed) New York restaurants. Just prior to joining the management team at AZ, I created the wine program for the much touted Veritas restaurant and prior to that spent five years running the wine program for Felidia Ristorante, one of the country's top Italian restaurants. My first "wine job" was at American Renaissance, where initially my friend Darrin Siegfried brought me in to help out, but then when he moved on, I inherited the job and got my first shot at creating what turned out to be an award winning wine list. Prior to that I mostly cooked - at various places - The Side Door, Mondrian, The Kitchen Club, and Sazerac House, and catered with my friend Lee Constantine at our own company, Somewhere Else Catering. In 1994 I put together, with a couple of friends, the Second Sunday Supper Circle, a monthly food and wine extravaganza - invitations to which were of course among the most sought after in the city... and which is forming the basis for a book that I've started writing. I've changed that a bit, because, well, I need to make a living here in Argentina, and so I'm cooking these dinners both for private clients and at home in what here is called a restaurant de puertas cerradas, or closed door restaurant (no published address, and attendance by reservation only), Casa Saltshaker. We, I have to admit, don't really like the "restaurant" moniker and prefer to just think of it as a dinner party in our home which people pay to attend.

That said, I write and teach, mostly about food and wine. Until recently I wrote restaurant reviews and food and wine articles for Time Out Buenos Aires; I wrote a monthly English language page for a local Spanish language food and wine magazine, Cuisine & Vins; and spent several months each during 2007-2010 tasting wine and writing notes with Austral Spectator for their annual South American wine guide, Viñas, Bodegas & Viñedos. I have penned regular columns for Outlet Radio, an online center of various music, politics, and commentary, for Passport, a travel magazine, and Santé, a wine professionals' trade magazine. In the past I've written for others as well, which is sort of the purpose of this site and its archives. I write a (nearly) daily column on food, wine, and travel called SaltShaker. In July 2007 I completed my first book, the SaltShaker Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary, and then an updated second edition in April 2009, available in both print and electronic versions. In 2012 I took on updating the dining section for the Buenos Aires guide from Fodor's and also started writing a weekly food column for our primary local English language newspaper, the Buenos Aires Herald which lasted for about a year until I split with them over administrative issues (i.e., getting paid). In early 2013 my second book, Don't Fry For Me Argentina was published

I have three brothers and two sisters, spread out variously in Lititz, Pennsylvania; Highland Park & Buffalo Grove, Illinois; South Jordan, Utah; and Gordon, Australia. My folks now live in Louisville, KY. I'm interested in just about everything, I love to read, watch films, write, cook, take photographs, bicycle, rollerblade, study kenpo (competed in the Gay Games VI (October 2002) in Sydney and won two bronze medals! Tested for and received my 2nd dan blackbelt in September 2011 in kenpo at the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy with Sifu Jack Shamburger (I've also studied tae-kwon-do under Grandmaster Eugene Humesky, and Aikido under both Mr. Karl Scott and Imaizumi-Sensei, and Chi Gung/Tai Chi here in Buenos Aires, travel, learn languages (at various times I have been reasonably fluent in Russian, Hebrew, French, Esperanto and Italian and a little basic Mandarin - and am now moderately fluent in Argentine Spanish), Occasionally play Everquest 2 or other similar games, and generally just have a good time. I also play at designing websites, like this one, and a few others. I participate in adorably geeky online things like the SETI@home project.

Main Page

Dan Perlman toasting in the lounge at AZ

Dan Perlman and the other kata medal winners at the Gay Games VI in Sydney

Dan Perlman competing at the Gay Games VI in Sydney - Bassai kata

Found a site that creates maps of the U.S. and also the world to show places you've visited. Kind of interesting in a geeky sort of way.