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Radar Redux Our second visit, and long overdue, since we loved it so much the first time. But life sometimes gets in the way of your life. Radar is just as lovely the second time around, from our smiling hostess to the busy guys behind the kitchen bar to the mixed crowd that quickly fills up all the seats and tables.
SoaveI have had the fortunate occasion of being able to enjoy a string of lovely wines lately. They were from widely spread areas, encompassing a variety of varietals, both as monocepages and blends, and usually accompanied a broad representation of food styles and flourishes. The only thing these wines shared, in fact, was subtle enough to not be immediately noticeable: thes ...
Photo: Hoke Harden Let us speak with fondness and respect of Ruché. Or to be correct and giving due credit, Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, an altogether delightful and charming red wine, unpretentious yet satisfying, amiable and accommodating, either as a sipper or a dinner companion. Ruché (pronounced roo-kay) also allows me to trumpet my sincere belief that this is the be ...
Bad Manhattan! Shaken with foamy skim. Murky. Not clear. Cheap cherry. Apologia certatim iudicandum---which is Bad Schoolboy Latin for "an explanation of judging cocktail competitions". I was asked recently, in a very serious and respectful “I would really like to know and understand” manner, why cocktail competition judges make the decisions they make.
As with many wineries, it started with an idea which turned into a passion, then morphed into a dream which was turned into reality. Of course, all this took many years of hard work and sacrifice, but that’s what happens when you make your dreams come alive. Earl Jones got an early…um, jones…for Spanish wines, especially the succulent red wines from Rioja and Ribera.
I’ve posted something on this elsewhere, but it bears sharing here as well. When something is done so well that it represents a serious improvement on a classic, attention must be paid. We stopped by the Raven & Rose restaurant in Portland for lunch not long ago. Neon Dave Shenaut, formerly peripatetic bartender who has settled in perfectly for a long gig at R&R and ...
Duende also has a great cocktail programWalk into Duende and you can feel the vibe immediately. It's a big sprawling place with a colorful, vibrant restaurant on one side and a bodega/wine bar/wine cellar on the other. It is lively, chatty, noisy but not irritatingly so, and the service is prompt, friendly and well-informed.
The Four Musketeers at Cathedral St. Pierre, Condom If you’re planning on traveling in France---and if not, why in the world aren’t you?---it is possible you might be overwhelmed by tourists with the same idea. But it’s not necessary if you plan wisely and well. And one of the wisest decisions you’ll make is to go to Armagnac.
Had a brief flirtation with Napa again (slightly pre-earthquake) on a quickie zip from the Bay to see some friends, and went to one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro Don Giovanni, partly because it’s one of our favorite restaurants, partly because we’ve had so many good meals there, and partly to give requisite honors to the passing of Donna Scala who founded and presided over the place.
On a lightning trip to Berkeley (close friends), San Francisco (doing a cognac seminar), and Oakland (for the food), we dined at a brand new place that is already packed and by all standards should remain thus in future, only more so as word continues to get out. When you’re in a culinary oasis like the Bay Area, a wonderful catalyst effect happens, with excellent restaurants ...
The Martini remains one of the most fascinating cocktails around. This became evident with the response to both my earlier post (shared on the Wine Lovers Discussion Group---they also do spirits) and the subsequent tasting seminar at the Society of Wine Educators Annual Conference in Seattlelast week.
So I’m looking for an interesting topic for a tasting seminar and I see someone order a Martini. I do love it when I get struck by inspiration at a bar. (And, yes, it does happen often. Both bars and inspirations.) Fortunately, shortly after inspiration struck, I called up a friend, the talented and personable Nathan Gerdes, who knows just a little about Martinis, and Gin, an ...
If you peek over to the right of the blog page, you'll see a new addition to the links: Taste & Compare Academy.com. It will take you to one of my other beverage-driven ventures, the Taste & Compare Academy of Wine, Spirits and Food, a nifty and nimble little company composed of partner Chef/Sommelier Maxine Borcherding of the Oregon Culinary Institute and myself.
Cognac Glacé Here’s a radical thought: unstopper a sleek crystal decanter of your finest cognac, pour a modest amount of the precious nectar into a glass…and serve it up at eighteen degrees below zero! Sound a bit strange? That’s exactly what happened on a bright, sunny summer day at the Chateau du Plessis in Cognac.
There’s a brand new gin coming that will wake up your taste buds with bright, lively and totally unexpected flavors. It’s available now only in Canada---and only three provinces of Canada at that (Quebec, Ontario and Alberta), but the plans are already in place for a rollout to other markets, so it will be internationally available soon.
Personal and idiosyncratic comments on some of the vital elixirs of life, primarily wine and spirits, but including whatever else I deem important or necessary, as the mood strikes me.