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The Breakers Palm Beach- Ageless & Timeless

The Breakers Palm Beach- Ageless & Timeless
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I’ve been fascinated with grand hotels ever since my father took me to New York when I was five to visit Eloise at The Plaza. The front desk told us she was with her Nanny in Central Park. Eloise mailed me a thank you postcard for stopping by.  A girl with manners! One of the items on my travel “bucket list” is to visit many of the grand dame hotels around the world. While staying with David’s mother in Florida last week we spent the day at The Breakers Palm Beach and hosted our show at the hotel. Our guest […]

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The Sweet Smell of Success – Our Maple Syrup Weekend

The Sweet Smell of Success - Our Maple Syrup Weekend
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After a week of intensive wine tasting in Napa Valley, we decided to treat ourselves to a maple syrup weekend in the Hudson Valley. We picked two farms to visit in nearby Dutchess County: Madava Farms, producers of Crown Maple Syrup, and Soukup Farms. A “farm” can be many things much like a “country house.” The large stone sign at the entrance to Madava Farms was followed by a long driveway opening up to a vast property still covered with snow and surrounded by a forest of maple trees linked by sap tubing. The large sap production building and company […]

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Spring (Bud) Break In Napa

Spring (Bud) Break In Napa
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The spring buds are breaking in Napa Valley which puts everyone in a good mood after recent rains. Driving along Highway 29 gazing out at expansive wine estates, it’s hard to envision the ranch towns of the 1960’s when Napa Valley’s earliest vintners scooped up farmland for a fraction of what it would cost today. It was an investment that paid off, and a gamble that hit the jackpot with international media attention from promotional stunts like the 1976 Judgement of Paris and numerous accolades for Napa Valley wines.  Still, in spite of its international reputation, Napa Valley is still […]

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Sonoma Stars

Sonoma Stars
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It had been awhile since either of had spent much time in Sonoma Valley, so we felt lucky to add three nights for a visit following our stay at Meadowood in St. Helena for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Where Napa feels gentrified and sophisticated, Sonoma feels bucolic and achaten-suisse.com laid back. It’s like comparing cashmere to fleece; they both feel great and will keep you warm outside, and you want both for different reasons. The first two nights were spent at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley tasting wines, exploring the expansive estate and enjoying a quiet dinner with Lisa Mattson […]

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Harlem’s Queen of Comfort Food: Melba Wilson

Harlem's Queen of Comfort Food: Melba Wilson
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“The way I see it,” says Melba Wilson, “Soul food is the foundation of American comfort food.” She’d know. For Melba, a Harlem native, or as she likes to say “I am Harlem born, bred, and buttered,” owns one of  most influential soul food restaurants in New York City’s most exciting dining neighborhood, aptly named Melba’s. Like many children, she grew up watching her mother and grandomother cook and learned to love food, and soul food, in the process. But, Melba actually went into marketing and sales after school, anything from cosmetics to limo driving, finally entering the restaurant business […]

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Meet the Golden Girl of Persia

Meet the Golden Girl of Persia
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There’s just something about the name “Persia” that seduces us. We are drawn to the flavors and aromas. Mint, cumin, cinnamon, oranges, pomegranates, dates and honey are ingredients we like add to many of our everyday dishes. Aside from Melanie’s coming of age tour to Israel as a teenager, we’ve only traveled to the Middle East by way of our palates and the few restaurants we’ve experienced here in the USA. One of our favorites is recent JBF Award Winner Shaya in New Orleans. Lucky for us a book entitled, “SIROCCO: Fabulous Flavors form The Middle East” by Sabrina Ghayour […]

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Peter Lehmann’s Ian Hongell: Barossa’s Straightshooter

Peter Lehmann's Ian Hongell: Barossa's Straightshooter
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It seemed like the perfect plan: Help out Barossa Valley grape growers unable to sell their fruit in a changing market by making wine from their grapes, sell it off in bulk to those who need wine to sell and go play golf for the rest of the year. Well, something like that, anyways… A champion of the little guy, Peter Lehmann, a fifth generation Barossa native who grew up surrounded by vineyards, was originally a winemaker and buyer for a large British-owned Barossa Valley wine company. In 1979 when told by his superiors not to buy fruit he had […]

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Casa Dragones Tequila Raises The Bar

Casa Dragones Tequila Raises The Bar
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    She’s called “The First Lady of Tequila” and is the first female “Maestra Tequila” certified by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila. And she makes a pretty amazing tequila called Casa Dragones. After years building the Cuervo brand globally, Bertha Gonzáles Nieves stepped out in 2009 to create her own style of tequila to rave reviews. Casa Dragones is an ultra premium, 100% Blue Agave, hand -crafted sipping tequila that’s smooth, soft and warm with no bite – the way a good tequila should taste. From the sea blue blue packaging and perfume bottle design to the platinum-hued liquid inside, everything […]

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Distilling’s Whisky Master – Dave Pickerell

Distilling's Whisky Master - Dave Pickerell
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There’s probably nobody in the world today with a better handle on the pulse of the whisky industry than Dave Pickerell.   A veteran of the industry, Dave has spent a career moving the craft of making whisky forward through his knowledge and expertise in distilling. First at Makers Mark, where as Master Distiller for 14 years, he was in charge of making sure that the legacy of the Samuels family’s 19 barrel-at-a-time distillation recipe was kept true, and then as head of Oak View Consulting, the company he founded upon his departure from Makers Mark to help bring his […]

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Drinking Aloha: Carta Coffee’s Scott Burr

Drinking Aloha: Carta Coffee's Scott Burr
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A lot of people yearn to get into the wine business, where aside from the pretty hard work (winemaking is not romantic, only drinking wine is), a life of good food, good wine, travel, and mostly beautiful surroundings carry the day, pretty much every day. It’s rare, however, to find someone who leaves it. Carta Coffee Merchants Founder Scott Burr is one of those people. A longtime member of the wine industry, Scott grew up in a agriculturally focused family that had grown grapes and farmed its Northern California land for generations. Always interested in wine and winemaking, Scott eventually got a […]

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melanie@theconnectedtable.com
david@theconnectedtable.com