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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Do You Know What Defines Cuban Rum?

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 than 3 years is aguardiente.

5. The aging indicated on the bottle is based on 3 years plus the amount of time the rum continues to be aged. Therefore, an 8 year old rum is actually 11 years old.

Esquivel has teamed up with longtime friend, Francisco Don Pancho Fernandez, former master distiller for Cuba’s Havana Club rum, to produce Origenes Don Pancho, Cuban style rum made in Panama.

Imported by Terlato in the USA.

Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel
Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel

 

 

 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Secret To Cuban Rum…Made in Panama

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 distinguished spirits authorities, Carlos Esquivel, a Panamanian who had deep ties to the local spirits industry. Together, they created one of Panama’s, and the rum industry’s, most important resources: Proveedora Internacional de LIcores, S.A. (PILSA) Rums (www.pilsarums.com) a custom distiller whose efforts are behind some of the most important names in the category.

Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel
Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel

Now, 20 years after arriving in Panama, Don Pancho and Carlos are releasing his first eponymous effort, Don Pancho Originales rums (www.origenesdonpancho.com), some of which are bottled from reserves dating to when Don Pancho first started making and blending rums in Panama while still living in Cuba.

We met Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans July 15-19 and tasted both the 8 year ($40/bottle SRP) and the 18 year ($90/bottle SRP). And we learned what makes Cuban rum truly “Cuban”

Don_Pancho_18_Years_Img_1

 

Cuban Style rum, made in Panama. We’ll discuss the process and the story of Don Pancho with Carlos on the July 29th broadcast of The Connected Table LIVE! Tune in at 2pm ET at www.w4cy.com. The show will be rebroadcast on iHeart.com. Link to cut and past and share: www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live

Connect:

www.origenesdonpancho.com

www.facebook.com/OrigenesRum

 

Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com
Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com

 

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David Ransom Drink Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

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

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.

Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin
Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin

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 Brennan and first cousin Ti Adelaide Martin, who together oversee Commander’ s Palace, Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar at the Loews hotel and Sobou at the W Hotel in the French Quarter, as well as Brennan’s in Houston. Visiting with them is like seeing family.

Mardi Gras Cocktai Commander's Palace
Mardi Gras Cocktai
Commander’s Palace
The Adelaide Swizzle The Swizzle Stick Bar
The Adelaide Swizzle
The Swizzle Stick Bar

 

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 10 years ago this September, our hearts ached for all our New Orleans friends and family. Lally gamely led David and me through the debris left at Commander’s Palace, and we all envisioned a stronger more defiant city and a sparkling rebuild of the restaurant.

COMMANDERS PALACE GARDEN SHOT

On  March 17, 2007, we were married in Commander’s Palace’s dazzling courtyard. When it was time to promote my first book, Getting Things Off My Chest, Ti and Lally hosted my party at Café Adelaide. Giving back and generously supporting the city, the industry and friends is part of the Brennan family DNA.

family
Dottie Brennan, Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin with family matriarch, Ella Brennan (Wine Spectator Magazine, 2004)

Aside from being multi-talented restaurateurs, Ti and Lally are co-authors of In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures of the Cocktail Chicks.” The Cocktail Chicks are encyclopedic on New Orleans cocktail history and just about everything else in the city’s rich restaurant culture.- post by Melanie Young

IN THE LAND OF COCKTAILS

 

While we’re down in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, we’ll visit with Ti and Lally July 15 at The Swizzle Stick Bar on the Connected Table LIVE! and hope you’ll take a seat and tune in to www.W4CY.com 2pm EST/1om CST. This show will also be available on demand at iHeart.com and the iHeart App.

Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
The Old Cuban Soubou
The Old Cuban
Soubou
Sazerac Soubou (Photo: Max Cusimano)
Sazerac
Soubou
(Photo: Max Cusimano)
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David Ransom Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

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

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.

Frank Pellegrino Jr. Rao's Restauranys
Frank Pellegrino Jr., Rao’s Restaurants

 

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 Palace, Las Vegas (opened 2006) and Rao’s Hollywood (opened Fall 2013). The tables are easier to book, and the Southern Italian fare served with a large helping of hospitality is just as satisfying. That’s why Rao’s has a loyal following everywhere.

Frank Jr. earned his chops working at Rao’s NYC at night while running an advertising business by day. His Mad Men career took him to many restaurants and prepped him well to step out on his own in 2000 with his first restaurant, Baldoria, located in Times Square. It opened with great fanfare; I remember the party.

Rao's Hollywood
Rao’s Hollywood

Vegas came calling, and Frank followed with the first Rao’s. Today, with the two Rao’s restaurants and a book, Rao’s on the Grill, Frank Jr. has accomplished something his Pops never did at the “original”- make a dinner table at Rao’s accessible for the rest of us folks. Mangia!

Connect: http://raosrestaurants.com/   Twitter@Rao’sRetaurants

Melanie Young, July 7, 2015

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

David and Melanie chewed the fat with Frank Pellegrino Jr. July 8, on The Connected Table LIVE! www.W4cy.com and iHeart.com. Here’s the show! http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27281944

 

 

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David Ransom Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Connecting with Chef Alon Shaya

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.

Marianna Massey 55
Chef Alon Shaya  (photo credit: Marianna Massey)

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 took him under his wing. Alon credits John as the most influential non-familial influence  in his culinary life.

Located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel Domenica is recognized for its straightforward  family-style Italian cooking. The name “Domenica” means “Sunday” in Italian, a day when families in Italy gather for a festive meal overflowing with good food and wine.  Alon spent a year cooking and traveling in Italy to learn from both home and professional kitchens. Uptown, Shaya’s Restaurant serves Alon’s take on Modern Israeli cuisine while utilizing local and seasonal Louisiana ingredients. He went back to Israel in 2014  to immerse himself in the culture and cuisine of his homeland.

I dined at Shaya’s in May. The words “fertile crescent” came to mind. The dishes I tasted conjured a caravan of flavors from a region of the world I long to visit again some day. Fortunately, we have restaurants like Shaya’s that just require a quick trip to OpenTable to snag a coveted table.

Shaya photo

shaya.003

 

It’s been a few good years for Alon: 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Southeast Chef, 2014 Hottest Restaurant (Gayot), 2012 Chef of the Year (New Orleans Magazine).

Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com
Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com

Chef Alon Shaya visited with Melanie and David July 8 on The Connected Table LIVE. You can listen to show anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeartApp.  Or cut and paste here:

http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27281944

Follow Melanie and David on Twitter@connectedtable and Like us on Facebook.com/TheConnectedTable

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David Ransom Drink Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

El Jefe of Nuevo Latino Cuisine- Chef Douglas Rodriguez

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.

Chef Douglas Rodriguez
Chef Douglas Rodriguez

Doug exploded into the competitive New York City restaurant scene with Patria, where he honed his Nuevo Latino style. The New York Times awarded Patria three stars, and other restaurant developers came calling on Doug.

More restaurants followed: Chicama, a Peruvian restaurant and Pipa, Spanish tapas, both in NYC’s Union Square neighborhood; and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia with restaurateur Stephen Starr. Today, Doug continues to run Alma de Cuba.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Doug was raised in Miami and starting cooking in his early teens, landing his first job at age 14 as a summer apprentice at the Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami. Now, with his restaurants, a successful catering company and four books, DRod (as he refers to himself) is still at the top of his game.

DRodriguez

We’re excited about his culinary trips to Cuba. With U.S.-Cuban relations opening back up and the tourism industry in Cuba looking at a renaissance, you may want to book a trip with DRod soon!

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David Ransom Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

In Maui’s Upcountry- Our Favorite Dining Destination

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 best Mai Tai on the island). It is a “must stop” on Maui’s culinary trail.  Just a 15 minute drive to Maui’s airport, we try to make an early dinner at Hali’imaile General Store before boarding the late night flight home.

Beverly Gannon is one of the 12  founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Movement and a multi-award winning chef whose acclaimed restaurants include the aforementioned Hali’imaile General StoreGannons Restaurant in Wailea and  Joe’s Nuevo Latino in Kihei. She also runs an extremely successful catering company

Bev photo 2
Beverly Gannon

cookbook-1 (1)

 

So how did a nice Jewish girl from Dallas, Texas, and a former road manager for Liza Minelli, Joey Heatherton and Ben Vereen end up cooking “eclectic American cuisine with Asian overtones” in a former pineapple plantation country store in upcountry Maui? And what does the word “Hali’imaile” mean?

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMESHear Beverly’s story from our July 1st interview on The Connected Table LIVE on iHeart.com and the iHeart App. – Melanie Young, June 30, 2015. 

Here’s the link to cut and paste:

http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27277977

Connect:

Hali’imaile General Store    Gannon’s    Joe’s Nuevo Latino   Celebrations Catering 

 tuna salad HGAhi