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Archive for July 2015

Do You Know What Defines Cuban Rum?

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Carlos Esquivel, CEO of PILSA, distillers of fine rums made in Panama, gave us a short primer on what defines authentic Cuban rum during his interview on The Connected Table LIVE! July 29th. Link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27300770 1. The rum must be made from molasses, not sugar cane. 2. The liquid is column stilled, not pot stilled. 3. Aging must take place in American oak Bourbon barrels. 4. The liquid must undergo the Carta Blanca process: Once distilled it must age for three years in barrel under the supervision of a master blender.  After 3 years it may be called rum. Anything aged less […]

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The Secret To Cuban Rum…Made in Panama

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When Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, master blender for Havana Club for 35 years, decided to leave Cuba after the sale of the brand to an international spirits conglomerate, it was to Panama that he went. Already having a long history of travel to that country, and having worked in Panama to make his “Cuban style” rum for many years previously, this was a natural choice for Don Pancho. However, it was not with the idea that he would continue to make rum or launch his own brand. That came later, after he met and became friends with one of Panama’s most […]

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In the Land of Cocktails with Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin

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If you have tuned into our iHeart Radio show, The Connected Table LIVE!, you know that we love New Orleans. Maybe it’s the sweet southern air. Maybe it’s the moist hot humidity. Maybe it’s the iconic food and drink culture. Maybe it’s spirit of the city that conveys “Pleasure is Good.” We consider New Orleans our spiritual- and spirited- home. It there is one name in New Orleans dining that stands heads above others it is “Brennan.” There are several branches of the Brennan family tree running different restaurant operations. Two of our favorite ladies of the Brennan family are Lally […]

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Frank Pellegrino Jr.- Bringing Rao’s To the People

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Being a successful restaurateur is never easy. Being the son of a legendary restaurateur sounds like it might be easier but not always. This is especially true when your name is Frank Pellegrino Jr. and your dad, Frank, Sr., runs New York City’s toughest table-to-book in town, Rao’s (pronounced RAY-ohs). We’ve never snagged a table at Rao’s NYC, which is on our dining bucket list. I think tables  end up in the wills of its regulars.   It takes (meat) balls to follow in the footsteps of Frank Sr., and Frank Pellegrino Jr. (“Frankie” to Rao’s regulars) has done just that overseeing  Rao’s Caesars […]

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Connecting with Chef Alon Shaya

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Chef Alon Shaya was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia and now lives in New Orleans where he oversees the kitchens at Domenica, Pizza Domenica and his namesake Shaya Restaurant, and is a partner in both with Besh Restaurant Group. He credits cooking with his mother and grandmother for fueling his career in food and the Culinary Institute of America for giving him his formal education. Alon was working as an intern at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he met Octavio Mantilla, a co-owner of Besh Restaurant Group. Octavia recruited him to New Orleans, and Chef /Restaurateur John Besh […]

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El Jefe of Nuevo Latino Cuisine- Chef Douglas Rodriguez

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He’s been called “the godfather of Nuevo Latino cooking” by media and food industry cognoscenti.  His dishes pack a “pow” in flavor, texture and color. I first became familiar with Chef Douglas Rodriguez’s muy sabroso culinary style when he was still in his tender twenties cooking “upscale Cuban” food at his restaurant YUCA (an acronym for “Young Cuban Americans”) in Miami. The James Beard Foundation Awards took notice early on and nominated him twice for Rising Star Chef of the Year; he won the award in 1996. Doug exploded into the competitive New York City restaurant scene with Patria, where he […]

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In Maui’s Upcountry- Our Favorite Dining Destination

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David and I are big fans of the Hawaiian island Maui, We are longtime Starwood Vacation Property owners at the Westin Kaanapali, and we try to visit at least once a year. While many people who visit Maui hang out on the beach or enjoy the multitude of water sports, we like to venture upcountry around the slopes of Haleakula and beyond to visit the local farms, hike and explore the cowboy town of Makawao. A trip to upcountry often includes a visit to Beverly and Joe Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store for lunch or a drink at the bar (voted the […]

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