Posts for February 4th 2009
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers wine tasting. One of the best wines I tasted was this bottle of old vine Zin. An old vine Zinfandel comes from grapes grown on vines that were planted in California many years ago. While XYZin has delightful offerings from 10- and 50-year-old vines, I found the pour from the 100-year vines to be the most robust, flavorful, and complex. It's a smooth, but serious wine with a full body, jammy taste, and fruity aroma. Unlike some bold Zins, XYZin's is neither too spicy or tannic. Although we enjoyed this wine alone, it longs for food and would pair well with everything from creamy cheese to thick-cut steak. At $45, it's not the cheapest bottle of wine, but it's worth the splurge and would be perfect for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner.
Do you drink Zinfandel? What's your favorite bottle?
I've never been to Pittsburgh, home of the Super Bowl champion Steelers. But I have been to Giordano Brothers, the West Coast version of Pittsburgh's famous Primanti Brothers sandwich chain. Founded in the 1930s, Primanti Brothers originally catered to truckers on the go with sandwiches encompassing a side of french fries and coleslaw between two slices of bread.
Rumored to be a fave of Mario Batali, the legendary Steeler city sandwich requires a champion appetite. Hungry with curiosity, I ventured to San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, where some Pittsburgh natives founded Giordano Brothers to serve similar all-in-one sandwiches to unsuspecting Californians. For the hot, gooey details, read more
- Few things are simpler, less expensive, and more satisfying than homemade shortbread. — Los Angeles Times
- Restaurants, facing dire consequences, are now willing to bend over backwards for customers. — New York Times
- How has the classic martini transformed itself over the years? — Washington Post
- Coconut comes in different varieties; pick the sweetness and texture that suits your palate. — The Oregonian
- This Winter welcome the earthy, bittersweet flavors of radicchio into your kitchen. — San Francisco Chronicle
- Did you know that avocados are better sipped than dipped? — Chicago Tribune
- This Valentine's Day, give in to the allure of complex chocolate desserts. — Boston Globe
No girls weekend is complete without an indulgent chocolate dessert. Since snow is in the forecast for the Sierra Nevada, a dessert that's served warm is ideal. Chocolate bread pudding is comforting and delicious. The simple ingredients can be found at the local mountain store and the preparation is less complicated than a layer cake. Assemble the pudding before dinner because it needs time to rest before baking. Place in the oven when dinner is finished, so it can cook while you do the dishes. If you can't find creme fraiche, substitute heavy whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream. To look at this rich, luxurious recipe, read more
Due to a lengthy dry spell in Northern California this season, Sonoma and Mendocino counties face a potentially devastating drought. This water shortage poses an immediate threat to Russian River grape growers and the region's hospitality industry.
Local officials have warned residents that water usage cutbacks may be as high as 50 percent. The dry spell won't just be about brown lawns and dry pools. The first to weather the impact? The region's grape growers, who will be forced to reconsider whether or not to turn on the spigots for frost protection in March. In addition, the drought's effects will likely spill over to the entire region's hospitality industry, as restaurants would be facing restricted flow on water, and forced to ration water, which is used in everything from making drinks in-house to doing dishes and mopping the floor.
I find this news alarming, and can't help but think it's a direct result of global warming. Did it ever occur to you how much a climate change could impact a sector such as the restaurant or wine industry?
This Fall, the world renowned chef will be joining the likes of Lidia Bastianich and José Andrés on PBS. At least 10 episodes of the show, titled Avec Eric, will debut nationally, and they will be shot in HD format on location in New York, Northern California, and Italy.
The show was more than likely inspired by Ripert's personal website of the same name, where the celebrity food personality shares his favorite recipes and techniques. Watch this recent clip. Does it make you hungry for more of Avec Eric?
The other day I went to Trader Joe's with my girlfriend Kristal. One of the ingredients on her grocery list was frozen crushed garlic. I was surprised and wondered why she didn't use fresh garlic. Apparently she prefers the crushed variation because it saves time and doesn't leave the smell of garlic on her hands. It got me thinking about alternative forms of garlic.
Due to the difficult economic climate, in the past couple of months, the casserole — a one-pot dish that feeds a crowd and often consists of budget-friendly ingredients — has made a strong comeback. To fully embrace the trend, I recently obtained a copy of The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever ($24.95) by Beatrice Ojakangas. It's filled with over 500 casserole recipes, and to find out what I thought of this cookbook, read more