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Drink Explore The Connected Table SIPS

Virginia Wines on Our Mind!

There’s more to discover in Virginia than stunning mountain scenery, historic landmarks, expansive horse farms and miles of coastal Atlantic beaches. This beautiful state also has an impressive diversity of wines; many wineries are family owned. We recommend putting Virginia on your U.S.A. wine itinerary

A Little Virginia Wine History

Virginia’s wine history dates to the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. The Virginia Company of London made it mandatory for each male settler to plant at least ten grapevines as an economic venture. In the 1700s Thomas Jefferson, an oenophile after serving as Ambassador to France, tried without success to cultivate European grape varietals at his home, Monticello in Virginia’s central Piedmont region.

Good wine is a necessity of life for me. - Thomas Jefferson

In the nineteenth century, Virginia’s native Norton grape, the oldest American varietal, was named “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World Fair. In the twentieth century, Virginia’s wine industry stalled thanks to Prohibition, two World Wars, and the Great Depression. However, modern farmers and visionary entrepreneurs from the late twentieth century to current times have remained committed to making quality wine in the region and have made the necessary investments to make it happen. A turning point was 1976 when Italy’s Zonin wine family invested in Barboursville Vineyards in Central Virginia.

Virginia Wines Today

Today, Virginia has over 300 wine producers in eight designated AVAs. The most concentrated areas are Central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. While Bordeaux varietals dominate, notably Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot, one can also find Tannat, and some Rhone varietals (red and white). Notable whites include Chardonnay, Viognier and Petite Manseng, a grape better known in the southwest of France, and Vidal Blanc, a white hybrid. To be called a “Virginia wine,” the grapes must be primarily sourced from within the commonwealth.

Virginia wine country is an easy getaway for east coasters or visitors to Washington DC. Here are three regions to get you started based on our visits:

Monticello AVA

While Thomas Jefferson never managed to make quality wines at his home, Monticello, the AVA is a center for production, thanks to the region’s fertile, clay and granite-based soils. Base yourself in  Charlottesville to explore the dining scene as well as numerous historical sites.

Bottle of Octogan
Octagon is Barboursville’s iconic Bordeaux Blend

Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville. Established in 1976, by Italy’s Zonin family, Italian varieties such as Vermentino, Fiano and Nebbiolo flourish under the watchful eye of Luca Paschina, the respected estate general manager/winemaker.  Barboursville’s Paxxito took top honors at Virginia’s 2021 Governor’s Cup Awards. Its signature wine is the sublime Bordeaux blend, Octagon.

Early Mountain Vineyards, Madison. Owned by former AOL executives, Steve and Jean Case, this winery features a large tasting room and small café where visitors can sample a curated selection of Virginia’s “best of the best” wines as well as Early Mountain’s selections made under the guidance of winemaker Ben Jordan. Try: Eluvium 2016, a Merlot-dominant (56%) blend with Petit Verdot (44%).  Here is a link to our interview with Ben Jordan (link to podcast)

Horton Vineyards, Gordonsville. (Pictured at top of article. Photo: Megan L. Coppage). The late founder, Dennis Horton was inspired by Rhone varietals he discovered while traveling in France, and this winery plants several as well as ancient varietals such as Georgian Rkatsiteli and the native Norton red.  We tasted nearly 20 wines when we visited! Try: Horton Petite Manseng, a fragrant white with a tad (5 %) Viognier and Rkatsiteli, named “Best in Show” at the 2019 Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards in February. the estate is now run by Horton’s wife, Sharon, and daughter, Shannon, whom we interviewed on The Connected Table in November 2020 (link to podcast)

Shenandoah AVA

The Shenandoah Valley stretches from Winchester to Roanoke. Driving the rural roads, one can’t help but pull over to take Instagram-worthy photos of historic farmhouses and pastures of grazing cows and sheep. In the distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains stretch to the east and the Appalachians and Allegheny Plateau to the west.

Bluestone Vineyards. The Hartman family makes small-batch wines from estate-grown grapes Try: Bluestone Chardonnay (100%), aged on lees and in French oak and Acacia barrels for perfect balance and texture and Bluestone Petite Manseng. We visited with family winemaker, Lee Hartman, in this edition of The Connected Table Live (link to podcast)

We recommend Bluestone’s 2019 Petit Manseng which is among the 2021 Virginia Governor’s Cup Case top 12 highest ranking red and white wines. Petite Manseng does well in Virginia, and this is one of our favorites.  Fermented in oak and aged on the lees for 10 months, this wine’s is a more citrusy versus creamy style of Petit Manseng with a nice, long finish and great minerality. SRP: $24.50.

Bluestone Vineuard
Bluestone Vineyards Manor House and Vineyards: Bessie Black Photography

CrossKeys Vineyard, Mt. Crawford. The Bakhtiar family named this palatial winery with an on-site café after the historic Cross Keys Tavern which served as a community gathering place in the 1800s and housed wounded soldiers during the infamous Battle of Cross Keys. Try: Fiore, a refreshing rosé made from Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc- a Silver Finalist for Virginia’s 2019 Governor’s Cup.

Middleburg AVA

Dotted with palatial estates and horse farms, it’s hard to believe the bustle of Washington DC is only an hour’s drive away.  Middleburg is truly a country retreat for the city weary and country squires.

Linden Vineyards, Linden. Owner Jim Law is one of the most respected vintners in the state. Located in the Blue Ride Mountains 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., The off-the-beaten path drive is well worth it the destination! Law produces stunning, limited edition Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux blend reds. We chatted with Jim Law in this edition of The Connected Table Live (2nd guest). (link to podcast).

We recommend trying the Hardscrabble Chardonnay.  Produced from estate grown grapes from Linden’s signature vineyard, this wine offers aromas of ripe pear and grilled peach with vanilla toast and nutmeg with a creamy texture combined with balanced acidity. SRP $48.

Hardscrabble Vineyard at Linden Vineyards
Hardscrabble Vineyard at Linden Vineyards

Boxwood Estate Winery, Middleburg. One of Virginia’s earliest horse farms, this eighteenth century estate focuses on premium estate-grown wines in the Bordeaux style.

Slater Run Vineyards, Upperville. This 300-year-old family-run farm along Goose Creek focuses on making classic wines using French varietals under the guidance of French winemaker Katell Griaud.

Places to stay:

The Berkley Hotel, Richmond An upscale hotel centrally located.

The Red Fox Inn & Tavern, Middleburg. This luxury inn dates to 1728 and is in the heart of Hunt Country. Try the Virginia peanut soup!

Inn at Little Washington, Washington. This is a tiny town with a big reputation thanks to Chef/Owner Patrick O’Connell, who runs this luxury inn with a Michelin three-star restaurant.

The 1804 Inn at Barboursville Vineyards: The historic inn located on the expansive winery property is the perfect place to unwind after a day of tasting and sumptuous dinner at Palladio, Barboursville’s excellent Italian restaurant.

1804 Inn at Barboursville Vineyards
1804 Inn at Barboursville Vineyards

Planning a Trip The Virginia Wine Marketing Board has a helpful website listing wineries as well as producers of local ciders and mead. www.virginiawine.org

Learn more…..

In this episode of The Connected Table SIPS, Frank Morgan, Host of Virginia Wine Chat and Drink What You Like, discusses Virginia’s different appellations and a few standout grapes, including Petit Manseng, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. We taste selections from three Virginia producers that we have visited: Bluestone Vineyards, Linden Vineyards and Barboursville Vineyards.

Frank Morgan, Host of Virginia Wine Chat
Frank Morgan, Host of Virginia Wine Chat

 

Categories
Eat Explore

“Bald” Peanuts + Oysters in Apalachicola

“Ma’am, what’s your preferred rice?” the woman on the other end of the phone call asked? Confused by the question, my food-centric mind drifted to forbidden black rice or jasmine rice, my two favorites. I asked her to repeat the question. After all, my call was to schedule COVID-19 tests for David and myself. Why would rice matter? Third attempt to clarify the question, she asks, “Are you Caucasian or black?” OK, she’s asking about our race, not rice.

Boiled peanuts are sold by the bag.

I may be a native southerner, but deep south cotton mouth is thicker than my ears are used to. “Bald peanuts” are boiled peanuts, and you pick up “ersters” and “shrump” from local seafood shacks. That’s life here in the Florida’s Panhandle known as “the Forgotten Coast,” where we are “rat now’ (a.k.a. right now). Apalachicola, Eastpoint and St. George’s Island are hours from resort development and crowded beaches further west on the Emerald Coast, and locals want it to stay that way. “Don’t tell people about us,” they write in a private Facebook group.

Well, sorry folks, but we like to share stories about interesting places and support local businesses. We happen to have a mutual passion for oysters. Here in Oyster City (a.k.a. Apalachicola) we enjoy a daily dozen slurp washed down with a cold Oyster City Brewing Company “Mangrove” IPA in the afternoons. (and recently Paumanok Chenin Blanc)!

Jeff Tilley teaches us  to shuck oysters
Jeff Tilley teaches us to shuck oysters

This week on The Connected Table LIVE we visited with Jeff Tilley, co-owner with his son, Reid Tilley, of Oyster Boss in Sopchoppy, Florida. Oyster Boss sells to restaurants, and the Sopchoppy retail outlet caters to drop ins and now has a growing ecommerce business launched during the pandemic. www.oysterboss.com

Apalachicola oysters have long been prized by bivalve fans, from chefs to consumers, but Tilley shared with us the challenges facing the industry as a result in changes in the water quality, resource mismanagement and the global sea level rise, among other reasons. Most are the result of human intervention. Pollution, runoff and waste disposal are all taking a toll on Florida’s coastal water system. Climate change is also a factor. The area has been impacted by drought and by Hurricane Michael, a category five that slammed the Panhandle in 2018. Much of the eye hit further west around Mexico Beach and Panama City, but we still saw some storm damage in Port St. Joe.

oysters on the half sheel
Did you know oysters are loaded with zinc, copper and vitamin B12- so good for the immune system!

Last year The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to shut down oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through 2025, severely impacting an industry crucial to this region’s economy.  Apalachicola Bay historically produced 90% of Florida’s oysters and 10% of the nation’s supply.  Many restaurants rely on farmed oysters from Florida and Texas, although you can still find wild-caught from other regions of Florida.

Oyster Boss sources its farmed oysters from Alligator Point in Franklin County, where the water has a higher salinity resulting in a buttery, mild, salty oyster. Further south in northwest central Florida near Yankeetown (Levy County) Oyster Boss sources wild -caught oysters, that are plump, succulent and briney. Tilley brought us bags of both to sample, gave us a lesson on shucking and provided us with some education on the reproductive system of oysters.

One perfect pearl of an oyster.

Tilley is also a red mullet fan. These fish like to jump in the water, although we still have not tasted. He started the Facebook group, Wet Net Mullet Group, now with 12,000 members. “There is a lot of seafood power in this group,” he shared.

Shucking prowess is akin to having good knife skills. And the right knife. Tilley uses a knife called “Toadfish” which Oyster Boss sells. You need a sturdy grip and a glove. Find the “lip” of the oyster, insert the blade and start moving it back and forth until the shell starts to open slightly. Then, insert deeper. It can take some arm muscle and definitely nimble wrist action.

David shucks oysters
David shucks oysters

If you love pristine places to visit, care about sustainable aquaculture and are oyster lovers like we are, you’ll enjoy our conversation with Jeff Tilley. Listen here:

and share this link with friends: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/209-the-connected-table-live-27073513/episode/fla-gulf-coast-oyster-boss-jeff-77121731/

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Uncategorized

What Will You Be Eating in 2019? #TheNextBigBite

Curious what the next food and drinks trends will be for 2019? Why wait until January when everyone is talking about this topic. Get an early forecast at The Next Big Bite, What We Will Cook, Eat, Drink and Crave in 2019in Four One-Act “Bites”  presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY) on Monday, October 1, 5:30-9 p.m. at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway. (link for information and tickets)

 

LDNY has assembled an impressive a lineup of speakers who have their fingers – and palates- on the pulse of the food and beverage industry, from what we drink and eat to how we approach cooking, dining and imbibing. Participants include: Master of Ceremonies, Joe Yonan, and panelists Jacques Pepin, Gesine Bullock-Prado, Dame Carla Hall, Molly Yeh, Lettie Teague, Natalka Burian, Dorie Greenspan and Christina Tosi.

Of course, what is a Les Dames d’Escoffier event without food? A delectable selection of wines and hors d’oeuvres  will be served courtesy of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Brussels Waldorf by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships
Harvest Lobster Rolls by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Founded more than 35 years ago by longtime food editor, Carol Brock, Les Dames d’Escoffier is the premier, invitational, non-profit organization of women leaders dedicated to education, advocacy, and philanthropy-through the support of its partners and members in the food, fine beverage and hospitality industries. One of the organization’s most important missions is to provide scholarship and mentoring to women pursuing careers in food, fine beverage and hospitality. A percentage of the ticket admissions from The Next Big Bite will go to Les Dames ‘d’Escoffier New York’s scholarship program. Info: New York (www.ldny.org) International (www.ldei.org)

Click here to purchase tickets   Share #TheNextBigBite.

This evening is generously sponsored by

Don’t forget to purchase your ticket a snag a seat at #TheNextBigBite.  Click this link

The Connected Table Live is pleased to support The Next Big Bite as a Media Sponsor, and Melanie is proud to serve as a longtime member since 1993 and a past- president in 2012 and 2013.

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Uncategorized

Happy 40th Anniversary to Inn at little Washington!

I once spent the right night with the wrong man at the Inn at little Washington in the 1990s. It was oh-so-right because the meal was beyond fabulous; the rooms were decorated down to the littlest detail. Even the stair railings wore pretty sleeves. The big claw-foot bathtub in our room was a sensual experience for a long soak. I was thrilled to be checking off a place I always wanted to visit on my lengthy travel and dining bucket list (thanks to my boyfriend’s credit card).  Too bad “William” passed out after imbibing  copious amounts of wine and Armagnac at our dinner and complained about the cost when we checked out. That’s a Big No No in my Code of Conduct.  We broke up soon after.

A member of Relais & Châteaux the list of awards and accolades both Patrick and Inn at Little Washington have received in 40 years could fill an entire wall, or maybe a room!

Flash forward to 2018. The Inn at little Washington celebrates its 40th year with a series a over-the-top events that guarantee an extraordinary experience for those lucky enough to snag tickets (details at this link). But anyone who stays and dines at Inn at little Washington has won the extraordinary experience lottery.

The Inn at Little Washington is a setting for romance. It’s like listening to a soft sonata after spending a work week amidst the loud percussion of the city. Forty years after opening in a former garage in tiny Washington, Virginia in 1978, Patrick O’Connell keeps a watchful eye over every detail. And that’s why he’s been referred to as “the Pope of American Cuisine.” Not King, but Pope!

Patrick O’Connell, Proprietor and Executive Chef, Inn at Little Washington. He is a self-taught chef who shared in our radio show that he once worked flipping burgers and called it a “great learning experience.”

Patrick’s vision begun 1978 is being celebrated this year as his “magnificent dream.” When we’re talking about Inn at Little Washington, it’s “go big or go home.” On  June 16 he hosted a “garden party” at George Washington’s Mount Vernon which also fêted culinary pioneers from around the world. In September he’s planned two more. Wish we were going but, alas not. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones!

But, honestly, I’ll be happy to settle in for another night (or two)  at the Inn at Little Washington for any occasion to enjoy another fabulous meal and a dreamy stay in one of the Inn’s gorgeous rooms. This time it will be with the Right Man, my husband, David.

 

Patrick told us he actually attended the original Woodstock Festival. We’re trying to envision this well-tailored chef as a hippie. INNStock will be a Day of Peace, Love & Feasting with Fireworks, of course!

September 2: Innstock. It’s not quite three days of peace, love and food. But, the town of Washington will be smoking hot with even more great food and entertainment. This event is a “family reunion” of 20+ alumni chefs of the Inn; each will prepare a signature dish at a two-hour reception that will be followed by a magnificent buffet. The evening will end with fireworks. Pow! https://www.theinnat40.com/innstock

 

Feast like a King! Patrick O’Connell is recreating one of France’s most historic, and decadent, meals at this Chateau.

September 30: For a truly decadent three-day experience, consider the “Spectacular Soirée” which will take place in France at the 17th century Château Vaux le Vicomte, just outside Paris. The inspiration for Versailles, it’s where King Louis XIV (“the Sun King”) hosted a gluttonous 6000-person feast prepared by Chef François Vatel. Only 150 guests will be able to relive this extraordinary experience which includes touring the magnificent gardens over cocktails and dining by candlelight in the grand ballroom with a feast inspired by the actual menu served to Louis XIV. Info & tickets:
https://www.theinnat40.com/chateau-de-vaux-le-vicomte

Listen to our show with Patrick O’Connell here:

 

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Drink Eat Events

Playing with Fire!

We Came. We Saw. We Ate & Drank.

A Smoking’ Good Time! Chefs “Play with Fire” August 11, Hudson NY. With Zak Pelaccio (center in white hat) and team

A damp day and mud on our shoes didn’t stop us from heading to Fish & Game Farm in Hudson, NY Zak Pelaccio’s “Play with Fire” outdoor feast and music fest. Presented with Resy and Ketel One Vodka, this event combined open-fire cooking from visiting chefs, live music from an amazing band called Club d’Elf, badass Ketel One cocktails by Elad Zvi (Broken Shaker) and Yana Volfson (ATLA and Cosme) and some terrific natural wines from  Critical Mass Selections, Goatboy Selections, Zev Rovine Selection, Fifi Imports and Rosenthal Wines. This event benefited The Heirloom Foundation which helps employees of the hospitality industry deal with quality of life and other work-related issues.

Seamus Mullen with a giant pan of pork and snail paella. The the sweet surprise was the inclusion of fresh figs.

The food was all locally sourced, from Fish & Game’s smoked pork (Zak Pelaccio) and pork and snail paella (Seamus Mullen, El Colmado and Whirlybird + Greens) and corn-husked wrapped bluefin tuna with olives (Victoria Blamey) to heads of flame- licked cauliflower (Cortney Burns, TOURISTS wit Elise Kornack) and grilled peaches with candied cherry tomatoes with honey-chamomile ice cream. Oddest dish was, and we’re going to try it at home because we loved it: grilled whole kirby cucumbers.

Roasted cucumbers by the chef team at Estela,
Cafe Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar

The Ketel One cocktails also used locally sourced fruits.

“B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe” Ketel One cocktail
created by Elad Zvi, Broken Shaker

 

Blackberry Bramble Ketel One cocktail
Perfect for blackberry season! Evan Sung photo

This is only the second Play with Fire event that Zak has produced. The last one was four years ago, and we hope it will continue. One of the most striking things about this event were the one-of-a-kind grilling stations at each cooking tent- actually works of art- created by Hudson Valley sculptor, Kris Perry.

Congratulations to Zak and his team and thank you to the chefs, sponsors and donors. Great idea for an event and for a good cause!

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Drink Explore THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

A Little Joie de Vivre with Jean-Charles Boisset

Does Jean-Charles Boisset have a James Bond complex? Perhaps. He definitely blends dapper and debonair in his style and businessman-meets-bon vivant. The descendent of Burgundy wine producers, Jean-Charles oversees the family business on two continents. In France this encompasses: Jean-Claude Boisset Winery, Domaine de la Vougeraie, Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Ropiteau Frères, J. Moreau & Fils, Château de Pierreux, Mommessin (all Burgundy), Bonpas (Rhône Valley) and Fortant (Languedoc).

 

Jean-Charles Boisset, International Man of Mastery When It Comes To Making Wine an Experience of the Senses

In the U.S.A., Jean-Charles acquired Buena Vista Winery (Carneros) the first bonded winery in California, Raymond Vineyards and De Loach Vineyards. And he’s created the lifestyle “brand,” JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset.  The Boisset Collection also includes jewelry, home decor, fine goods, gifts and exclusive tasting events in addition to his wines.

 

Buena Vista Winery (est 1863) was acquired by Jean-Charles Boisset in 2011. Read the entire story here.

Jean-Charles has also recently published a book, co-written with Sommelier Marnie Old, entitled

Passion For Wine: The French Ideal and the American Dream

The book takes a sensory-and sensuous- approach to learning about and enjoying wine and we found it easy to read and very informative. We love how they compare certain styles of wine to screen sirens. What do you think is the “Elizabeth Taylor” of red wine? Or the Bridget Bardot of white?

 

Jean-Charles Boisset and Marnie Old. (photo from The Boisset Collection)

 

Listen to our edition of The Connected Table Live! with Jean-Charles Boisset here:

Or click and listen here:

 

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Events

Kicking Up Our Heels at 4th Annual Harlem EatUp!

We strutted uptown May 17-19 to attend the Fourth Annual Harlem EatUp! presented by Citi. Founded by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz (Karlitz & Co), Harlem EatUp! is a delicious love letter to this vibrant community.

With Mary Gorman McAdams, Market Adviser North America  Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) – Bordeaux Wine Council

Thursday, May 17 was the Luminary Dinner at Ginny’s Supper Club recognizing community legends “Dapper Dan,” owner of Dapper Dan’s Boutique, and SIRIUS radio personality, Bevy Smith. Dinner featured selections of Bordeaux wines paired with dishes from Guest Chefs Adrienne Cheatham and Geoffrey Zakarian along with Marcus Samuelsson. By the end of the night, everyone was on the dance floor doing the Harlem shake, rattle and roll, thanks to The Rakiem Walker Project band.

With Marcus Samuelsson and Aliyyah Baylor at Ginny’s Supper Club

A cold rainy Saturday didn’t deter any hungry souls (including us!) from heading to Morningside Park to enjoy the Harlem Stroll which featured local restaurants and more Bordeaux wines, as well as Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and numerous other wine and spirits libations. By Sunday the sun came out and in characteristically crazy Spring weather, it was hot and moist!  We traipsed over to bustling Boulevard Bistro to taste Chef Carlos Swepson’s famous biscuits which we discussed when he was a guest on our radio show last year. Then, we headed back to Morningside Park to try more food and libations.

With Chef Carlos Swepson at his Boulevard Bistro in Harlem

 

How about this biscuit? Trust us! Carlos Swepson’s recipe calls for a bunch of butter. We made the recipe at home

The community spirit in Harlem is vibrant and – wet weather aside – we soaked it all in with pleasure!

The bartenders for Hendrick’s Gin always put on a good show.

 

Life is better with Bordeaux!

 

Thank you to our friends at Karlitz & Co. and Lauren Monroe at Marcus Samuelsson Group for our Harlem Stroll tickets and to Mary Gorman McAdams, (CIVB) – Bordeaux Wine Council, for including us at her table for the Luminaries Dinner.

Melanie and Dawn Padmore, Karlitz & Co. Dawn worked for M. Young Communications for many years.

 

 

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Eat Explore THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

I Dream of Africa

In 2006-2007 David and I spent a blissful pre-wedding-New Years-Birthday-“Bucket List” trip traveling through Botswana and South Africa. It was my first time visiting the African continent, but not the last. In 2012 we went to Morocco to cross “dancing under the stars in the Sahara Desert” off my bucket list.

Our travel bucket list is continually being rearranged and we’re forever dreaming of trips to destinations where the culture, the language, the food and the people are uniquely different and special. One of the places we dream of visiting in Africa is Senegal. Situated on the western coast of Africa, Senegal is a multicultural country with culinary influences from all over the world.   When David and I flew to Johannesburg we made a 4 hour pit stop at the airport in Dakar to fix a hydraulic flap control on the plane. Sadly we couldn’t leave the plane, though they did open the doors so we could stand in the doorway and breathe in the rich West African air.

world atlas map
The Republic of Senegal is located in West Africa. Its capital is Dakar. (World Atlas Map)

Senegal, and most of West Africa fascinates me. Much of the United States is tied to that part of Africa for both savory and unsavory reasons. The unsavory was the slave trade when families were uprooted and lives were stolen and human beings sold. The savory are the rich cultural and culinary traditions that the people from Africa brought with them that are embedded in many of the dishes we eat today.

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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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Drink Events THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Connected Table Live! at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Fresh off our trip to Maui, The Connected Table LIVE heads to Texas to attend the San Antonio Cocktail Conference Jan 15-18.

fb-COVER-SHOTThe first of its kind in Texas, and now in its fourth year, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference was named one of the Best Cocktail Festivals in America by Fodor’s Travel. Like its predecessors the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and New Orleans’ Tales of the Cocktail every year we bring together top bartenders and cocktail aficionados for educational seminars, guided tastings and cocktail parties. Houston Street Charities and the Conference will once again donate 100 percent of all money raised during the Conference to benefit several local children’s charities.

Read more about the San Antonio Cocktail Conference here:www.sanantoniococktailconference.com

Connect and Follow:
https://www.facebook.com/SACocktailConference

 

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!
Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!

Join The Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple Melanie Young and David Ransom Wednesdays 2pmET/11am PT on The Connected Table LIVE on www.W4CY.com as we talk with the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. The Connected Table LIVE is available anytime on demand www.iHeart.com under Shows and Personalities. Follow and connect:

www.facebook.com/theconnectedtable
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