Posts for March 18th 2009
If you've got the urge to travel, but the poor economy's holding you back, consider taking a trip with High Flyer's 2007 Viognier ($17). It's a lovely, easy-drinking white wine with roots in France and California. The grapes are grown at the Borra Family Vineyard in Lodi, CA — a location whose climate and terrior bears an extraordinary resemblance to France's Rhone Valley.
The medium-bodied white is refreshing, yet complex. It has a stone fruit aroma with a hint of citrus. Lush, brisk, and well-balanced, I sipped this wine alone, but think it would pair well with fish or roast chicken.
Have you sampled one of High Flyer's varietals? What did you think?
Maybe it was the luck of the Irish, but yesterday's festivities got me thinking about fortuitous foods. Whenever anyone in my family travels, my mother prepares a large pot of Ping An Mien, the Chinese chicken noodle soup pictured above, for safe travels. Before my friend Jaime ran her first marathon, she had to eat a certain dish at her favorite Italian restaurant for good luck, and many Southerners will tell you they can't start a new year on the right foot without black-eyed peas. Tell me, what are your lucky foods?
Ever since I started my adventures in expensive sandwiches, I've been dying to try the ridiculously pricey Lobster Club at Neiman Marcus's Rotunda restaurant in San Francisco. I'll be the first to admit that $28 is way too much to pay for one sandwich, but I rationalized that it's made with lobster and big enough to feed two people. Plus, it's fun to pretend that I belong at this quintessential destination for ladies who lunch.
The Rotunda's lobster club is a double-decker served on toasted brioche, which has a slightly sweet French bakery flavor. The lobster portion was quite generous, so the taste came through even while competing with tomato and bacon. Was it worth $28? Find out and get the recipe when you read more
- If you're at a loss over what to make for dinner, plan your meal around a bowl of rice. — Los Angeles Times
- Why chef Thomas Keller loves a less-than-perfect roast chicken, flaws and all. — Washington Post
- Is the whoopie pie the next cupcake? — New York Times
- It's time to reconsider drinking inexpensive Merlot. — Wall Street Journal
- Aquaculture proponents argue fish farms are the only way to meet America's increasing appetite for seafood. — Chicago Tribune
- You'll never guess which brand of frozen potstickers won a blind taste test. — San Francisco Chronicle
- Savor a sweet-and-sour Sicilian version of caponata. — Boston Globe
On the first Sunday in April, FabSugar and I are hosting a beddazzling party. Although the shindig takes place after lunch, we'll provide our guests a small assortment of nibbles. Everything on the sparkling menu, both sweet and savory, will be prepared and plated before hand.
For dessert we'll offer chocolate champagne truffles dipped in sparkling sugar and fleur de sel caramels. Both treats are bite-sized and delicious. These candies would also be delightful wrapped in a pretty package and presented as a hostess gift. For the recipes, read more
From serving spiced-up burgers to offering cheaper premium steaks, restaurants are trying every trick in the book to bolster sluggish sales. Some, seeing little improvement, have turned to a strategy that was perhaps once unimaginable: haggling.
A reporter from the New York Post, who felt there was nothing to lose and only some to gain through negotiating, decided to put her theory to the test by bargaining at various Manhattan stores. The result of her experiment? She saved nearly $35 in one day by bartering at stores, including coffee shops, neighborhood restaurants, wine merchants, and even casual lunch chains.
At Starbucks, a barista slashed 25 percent off the cost of a caramel macchiato "without batting an eye." When the reporter told a manager at sandwich and salad chain Cosí that she was trying to save money, she got a 10 percent discount. A local café was willing to give her a 20 percent "starving artists discount" off of a $50 table.
I'm a little dumbstruck, as America really doesn't embrace haggling. I haven't bargained for anything — let alone food — since my last trip to a foreign country. But, for the food service industry, could the best way to see change at the register be with flexibility in price? What do you think? Is bargaining something you've ever tried at a restaurant? If not, then given the current economic climate, would it be something you'd be willing to consider?
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the opening of a new Miette shop in San Francisco's Marina district. Founded in 1991, Miette bakery is known for its charming cakes made with only the finest ingredients. With its pretty green walls and bright blue cake stands, the bakery is whimsical and beautiful. At the party, guests mingled with the owners while sipping on pink champagne and nibbling choquettes — a puffy, slightly sweet French dough ball. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Have you been to Miette? What is your favorite local bakeshop like?
To take a closer look at the new Miette, read more