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Go West Hungry Diners- To Manhattan’s Upper West Side

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Go West Hungry Diners- To Manhattan's Upper West Side

We squeezed in an evening at Taste of the Upper West Side Saturday, May 19. Despite having lived in Manhattan for more than 25 years, we’d never been to this event which took place under a huge tent and featured more than 80 restaurants, wines, and cocktail bars split between two nights.  Palm Bay and Taub Family Co. supplied the numerous wine tables, and we tasted several cocktails from local UWS watering holes. The night we attended, Chef-Restaurateur John Fraser (The Nix, Narcissa and The Loyal) was the evening’s honoree, and Jacques Torres was signing his book, “Dessert Circus” which was free for American Airlines Mastercard […]

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Lidia’s American Dream: Sharing Memories

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Lidia's American Dream: Sharing Memories

I have three favorite personal memories of Lidia Bastianich. The first was a Sunday lunch at her home in Queens many years ago. Her son, Joe, and I had been chatting about Zinfandel wines and my desire to try more of them. So, he decided to host a lunch with Lidia with a selection of Zinfandels (a.k.a. a Zinful Sunday). It was small, and I was embarrassingly late due to Hamptons traffic. I remember an endless parade of amazing food dishes, copious amounts of wine and Felix, Lidia’s husband at the time, playing an accordion and singing. Bastianich family members were […]

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Chronicler of Chefs – Andrew Friedman

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Chronicler of Chefs - Andrew Friedman

Talk about noshing down memory lane!  You must be living under a rock if you work in the restaurant business and have not heard about Andrew Friedman’s new book, Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits and Wanderers Created a New American Profession. We read it with relish because we knew just about everyone in the book! Andrew is a detailed, disciplined journalist and storyteller, and this book is an engaging documentary about America’s culinary revolutions from the 1980s through the 2000s. It ends just around when the worlds come crashing down (both the World Trade Center […]

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Uncorking Some Napa Valley History with Peter Mondavi Jr.

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Uncorking Some Napa Valley History with Peter Mondavi Jr.

Do you know what the oldest winery in Napa Valley is? It’s Charles Krug, established in 1861. Its namesake, a German immigrant, started the winery and ran it until he died in 1892. After Charles Krug’s death, the winery was acquired by the family of James Moffitt who were wealthy San Franciscans. In 1943, a former saloon worker -turned- grocer, who successfully started a fruit distribution business called Cesare Mondavi & Sons, purchased the property for $75,000. Imagine what that money represented back them (versus now!). Today, Charles Krug, more than 150 years later is under the stewardship of Cesare’s grandsons, […]

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All Rise! The James Beard Foundation Media Awards

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All Rise! The James Beard Foundation Media Awards

Congratulations to all the winners of The James Beard Foundation Media Awards, which comprises books, broadcasting and journalism. The Awards were presented April 27 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers. I had the pleasure of attending and sitting with four nominees, Writers/Authors Kathleen Squires, Robert Simonson, Restaurateur/Chef and Author Maricel Presilla and Chef Gonzalo Gonzales Guzman, whose book, Nopalito, won in the International Category. The Media Awards are usually overshadowed by the glitzier Restaurant and Chef Awards, which take place May 7 at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House. I feel they are as important. Writers and journalists are the chroniclers of our culture, news and history. It […]

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Meet Mr. Pisco! Johnny Schuler

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Meet Mr. Pisco! Johnny Schuler

He’s passionate about Pisco! Johnny Schuler is Peru’s leading expert on Pisco and Master Distiller for Pisco Portón, whose Hacienda La Caravedo is the oldest Pisco distiller in the Americas (est. 1684). He explains the distillation process and grapes used to produce Pisco. Johnny is also a professional chef and restaurateur, owner of Granja Azul and Key Club, both in Lima. Johnny says these four things distinguish Peruvian Pisco: Pisco is made from wine, not grapes. Juice is extracted from the grapes to ferment and distill rather than crushing and using the entire grape and stems. Pisco may only be made from […]

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Bob Blue, Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories

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Bob Blue, Winemaker and Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories in Mendocino, CA, takes a deliberate small-batch approach to winemaking. 1000 Stories utilizes old bourbon barrels for aging, which Bob says he began using in the 1980s when French and American oak barrels were hard to come by.   What we tasted: 1000 Stories Zinfandel 2016 Batch 044. Attractive flavors of red licorice and brown spice usher into this blend courtesy of Paso Robles vineyards. Hedonistic, juicy Zinfandel from Lodi brings round tannins and opulent notes of dark fruit, while a touch of soulful Lake County Petite Sirah completes the wine, contributing […]

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Reflecting on The Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America

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Reflecting on The Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America

While many industry followers quiver with anticipation for The James Beard Foundation’s announcement of its Restaurant, Book and Media Award Finalists (LINK). I have a soft spot for the less flashy Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. This program pre-dates The James Beard Foundation, and I would like to shed a little light on its origins. The creators of the Who’s Who of Cooking in America (the original name) were Chris Kimball, founder, publisher and managing editor for Cook’s Magazine (the original one started in 1980 and later Cook’s Illustrated) and Jeffrey Berlind, at the time managing editor for […]

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Pati Jinich’s Matzo Ball Soup Has Kick!

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Pati Jinich's Matzo Ball Soup Has Kick!

As the snow flurries fell during the third (or fourth?) storm of the year just around the start of Spring, we both found ourselves craving the same warm  dish: Pati Jinich‘s Matzo Ball Soup with Mushrooms and Jalapeños. Maybe it’s the zing of the jalapeño chilies or the nuttiness of sesame oil and grated nutmeg that make these matzo balls so tasty. Just one tablespoon of sparkling water adds the perfect plump and fluff. We found ourselves negotiating over the last matzo ball for lunch. Try this recipe for Passover, or any time of the year. Here is a link to Pati’s […]

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Sipping Bordeaux Blancs

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Sipping Bordeaux Blancs

Many wine aficionados are familiar with the red wines of Bordeaux, but the region also produces exceptional white wines. One of the birthplaces of Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux put the art of blending on the map, creating balanced, expressive white wines, many available for under $25. We sat down to taste a few Bordeaux Blancs wines with Dr. Valérie Lavigne, well-respected global consultant in viticulture and oenology. Based in Bordeaux, she is a researcher for Seguin-Moreau, affilliated with the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (I.S.V.V.). Her primary areas of research include: aroma science, reduction during vinification and aging of white wines, […]

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