May 04, 2011
The Monterey Wine Festival Celebrates 35
Now in its 35th year The Monterey Wine Festival continues to evolve into a platform for the regional wine industry and the community of wine lovers. After 35 years the festival will take a historical turn and bring guests along for the sips and scenery. On Friday, June 10th, the festival will kick at The Monterey Hyatt Regency where bites and sips from the wineries will be enjoyed. During this evening guest's can take a quick hop on the Champagne Shuttle sponsored by Sam Linder Auto Group and continue the party at The Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada. This museum is known for its historic architecture and the former celebrities that resided there. Guests can enjoy the views from the hilltop and the art inside the gallery, but perhaps the most ardent competition for attention will be found in the sips of champagne and bites of chocolate dipped strawberries. What fun to hob-knob in the same location as old Hollywood! On Saturday, June 11th, the celebration continues at another historic destination The Custom House Plaza and The Maritime Museum, which boasts a snazzy newly appointed foyer. These historical edifices are on designations that many consider hallowed ground. Guests will continue this day of celebration with a completely mouth watering experience from both the wineries and purveyors of food. Along with these two ingredients live music is the final sensation that further ensures a winning combination. Wine, Food, Music! Aaa hhh! It's a Chowdah Throw Down! A sweet addition to the festival this year is the 2nd Annual West Coast Chowder Competition. Professional chefs from the Western Coast will come to compete and chowder lovers will pay homage to their special creations. This year chefs from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and other chowder known destinations will be landing in Monterey to compete against the local titans of chowder. All competitors will be trying to slay the judge's tongues with their creations, take home the prize money and boast of their achievement in what is expected to be one of the most impressive competitions around. Clam, Seafood and Creative Chowders are the categories that make up the contest and the big copper pot award goes to the people's choice along with a cash prize. Guests can sample or buy a cup of chowder of their entries and pick their own personal favorites and compare their palettes to the judges. Wines that pair with chowders will also be available to sample. Tickets online at www.montereywine.com
Now in its 35th year The Monterey Wine Festival continues to evolve into a platform for the regional wine industry and the community of wine lovers. After 35 years the festival will take a historical turn and bring guests along for the sips and scenery. On Friday, June 10th, the festival will kick at The Monterey Hyatt Regency where bites and sips from the wineries will be enjoyed. During this evening guest's can take a quick hop on the Champagne Shuttle sponsored by Sam Linder Auto Group and continue the party at The Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada. This museum is known for its historic architecture and the former celebrities that resided there. Guests can enjoy the views from the hilltop and the art inside the gallery, but perhaps the most ardent competition for attention will be found in the sips of champagne and bites of chocolate dipped strawberries. What fun to hob-knob in the same location as old Hollywood!
On Saturday, June 11th, the celebration continues at another historic destination The Custom House Plaza and The Maritime Museum, which boasts a snazzy newly appointed foyer. These historical edifices are on designations that many consider hallowed ground. Guests will continue this day of celebration with a completely mouth watering experience from both the wineries and purveyors of food. Along with these two ingredients live music is the final sensation that further ensures a winning combination. Wine, Food, Music! Aaa hhh!
It's a Chowdah Throw Down!
A sweet addition to the festival this year is the 2nd Annual West Coast Chowder Competition. Professional chefs from the Western Coast will come to compete and chowder lovers will pay homage to their special creations. This year chefs from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and other chowder known destinations will be landing in Monterey to compete against the local titans of chowder. All competitors will be trying to slay the judge's tongues with their creations, take home the prize money and boast of their achievement in what is expected to be one of the most impressive competitions around. Clam, Seafood and Creative Chowders are the categories that make up the contest and the big copper pot award goes to the people's choice along with a cash prize. Guests can sample or buy a cup of chowder of their entries and pick their own personal favorites and compare their palettes to the judges. Wines that pair with chowders will also be available to sample.
Tickets online at www.montereywine.com
May 02, 2011
Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake
For the cake
1 box graham crackers
¼ c. raisins
¼ c. nuts, chopped
5 oz. dark chocolate
5 oz. milk chocolate
1 stick butter, room temp.
1 14-oz. can condensed milk
For the topping
5 oz. dark chocolate
1 tsp. milk
1. In a large metal bowl, crumble graham crackers into bite-size pieces. Add raisins and nuts.
2. In a saucepan, melt chocolates, butter, and milk. Stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn.
3. Add melted mixture to crackers and stir until dispersed.
4. Line an 11-by-7-inch pan with waxed paper. Pour mixture into pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. For the topping, combine ingredients in a saucepan; stir until melted.
6. Remove cake from fridge and cover with topping. Cut into squares and serve.
Auberge de Seattle Inn & Specialty French Cooking School
I am sitting on a train on my way to Montpellier, France (30 minutes form the Mediterranean) watching the beautiful lush French countryside. It is warm in France and the scent of flowers in bloom everywhere is really surprising to me. As the saying goes..."spring is in the air" with wisteria, lilac and jasmine...then of course there is also the smell of coffee and pastries that you also can't help but notice. My sense of smell is on high alert for all of the smells that I don't normally experience in Seattle. Yesterday, it was 77 degrees in Paris, while in Seattle it was only 52. One always hears about traveling to Europe in the summer, but April (flights are cheaper) is under estimated and should not be over looked next time you are thinking about planning your trip to Europe.
Even though I am in France...I am still thinking about my work. The month of May is just around the corner with lots of cooking classes coming up that I think you will find both interesting and appealing. On our cooking website: Edgeof-seattle-cooking.com we have three Regional Cooking Classes posted for May; each one being taught by a different chef: Chef Philippe Naud, Chef George Stevenson and Chef Sally McArthur. Chef Philippe's menu is from the Atlantic region of France (mainly fish), Chef George is doing a totally Crab menu and "five courses", and Chef Sally is doing a menu from the south of France, Provence.
By the time you read this, I will be back in Seattle, refreshed and inspired with new ideas and looking forward to the busy summer season ahead...see you soon, a bientot!
March 16, 2011
First Time To New York City—Where Do I Eat? A First-timer’s Query to New York’s Dining Experience
When visiting New York City, dining is as important as where you visit. However, New York City’s restaurant scene is ever changing. There are tens of thousands of places to eat in the city, and every week a new group opens while another shuts down. Unlike the rest of the United States, most restaurants tend to be small and locally owned. You’ll find a few chains here and there (especially when it comes to fast food), but for the most part NYC restaurants tend to be small and unique.
So for the visitor this means negotiating a minefield of unknown quantities. Of course there are many “famous” restaurants throughout the city, but they tend to be grouped in the high price ranges. This is a great city for a dining splurge, but it’s also a great place to try something unusual alongside locals in the lower price ranges.
The great thing about New York restaurants is that the competition is so fierce for your food dollar, that places that offer substandard food or that charge too much don’t remain in business long. If a restaurant has been open for more than a year, they are most likely doing something right. The old and universal advice that you should go to crowded places and avoid empty ones is especially true in New York City.
So where do we eat? The Times Square area obviously has tons of places and foot traffic from tourists, so if an eatery has a great location, it can offer poor servings since they don’t rely on repeat business. There are many goofy chain restaurants right on Broadway, such as Bubba Gump Shrimp, if you just want to grab a bite to eat and want dependability. Places with a never-ending supply of tourists have little incentive to offer great food at good prices, so they usually don’t. Bar Americain would be my recommendation. Bar Americain combines good food and drink with a relaxed atmosphere. Bobby’s Flay’s Tex-Mex brasserie, American style is a truly American urban experience. Bobby melds his Tex-Mex roots with his broad knowledge. Chef Flay combines the brashness of an Iron Chef; which he is, of course, to his range of his American style dishes inspired by regional foods.
Restaurant Row on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues is filled with places specialize in pre and post theater dinners. Many of these restaurants offer excellent dishes, but they tend to be pricey. Virgil’s on 44th Street has the best brisket I have ever eaten. Scarottos on 47th has the best handmade meatballs, all within the theatre district.
The neighborhoods are where most locals go to eat and are where ethnic food is really happening. You might be surprised by how inexpensive dining can be in many of the popular places outside the Times Square area. The competition here will not allow restaurants to overcharge and stay around for long. So be certain and pick your favorite ethnic specialty and chow down like the locals.
The Upper West Side is residential area jammed with all kinds of restaurants in all price ranges to suit even the most budget-minded diner. Broadway is the central artery, but Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues have the most interesting restaurants. Just south of the Times Square is another residential district with restaurants serving up almost everything you could want. My favorite for favorite ethnic food is the Arepa Lady for Venezuelan fare.
A trip to the Meat Packing District of the West Village is home to super trendy restaurants, many with al fresco seating during summer. The West Village area has Hudson Street and Carmine Street, both lined with small places and on nearly every corner as well.
The East Village area has become a hot dining spot for locals. Lower rents allow chefs to experiment with unusual and exotic things get away with it. St Marks Street (8th Street) from 2nd Avenue to Avenue A is lined with interesting places that are very reasonably priced. 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues is Indian Restaurant Row, with literally one place after another down the whole block. An old joke says they all share the same kitchen, but we know that isn’t so.
Dining in The City wouldn’t be complete without a slice of pizza, which you can get within a three minute stroll from anywhere in Manhattan. Many neighborhoods have a pizza place on every corner.
Hot dogs are another must eat when in New York. The carts of Midtown sell hot dogs for around two bucks and they are well worth the price, especially for the convenience and depending on how hungry you may be.
There are Chinese restaurants in every neighborhood in Manhattan. The quality is excellent and the prices are moderate. Obviously Chinatown is loaded with restaurants – many of which depend mostly on local Chinese diners. Quality is spotty and sanitation can be lacking. Dining in Chinatown is an adventure, but not necessarily the best place to go for a great Chinese meal. . It can be an adventure, but it’s not necessarily the best place in town to go for a great Chinese meal.
Little Italy has shrunk to three blocks of Mulberry Street that are lined with nearly identical Italian restaurants. Quality tends to be good and prices can be reasonable since competition among the places is so fierce.
For the most romantic place, Balthazar is highly recommended, reservations required in advance. Balthazar reminds one of Paris. This French style restaurant is one of the most popular in The City because of the ambiance, its interiors are some of the best in the city and the food is, as well.
March 10, 2011
The Dining Pleasures of Orlando—Why Visit Disney When You Can Dine Like Royalty
Most people go to Orlando to vacation and take in the tourist theme parks. I go to eat. I find that Orlando has some of the best reasons to dine out in America. Give me any excuse to go to Orlando and I am there! I know it may sound strange that I do not share an attraction tourist parks. I would rather spend my time dining, and dining, and dining.
Orlando has a smorgasbord of restaurants to choose from ranging from all you can eat for $10.00 to selections from menus and décor that is fit for a king. Because of the theme parks, Orlando has many restaurants to choose from including a bevy of chain restaurants that are moderately priced and serve good fare. I enjoy eating at those on any given day, but I prefer to try something that I cannot get at home. Let me take you on a tour of three restaurants that are a “must experience” for someone who wants to sample the best Orlando has to offer.
My first stop would definitely be HUE; but then I am just a bistro kind of girl, for the most part. HUE is downtown Orlando’s critically acclaimed, award-winning urban bistro. HUE has taken the prestigious Golden Spoon Award by Florida Trend Magazine for five consecutive years as well as a slew of other awards. HUE was also name as one of the Best New Restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Travel Magazine, the only restaurant in Orlando to achieve this acclaim. HUE’s menu is American cuisine with a big city flair. One of the things I like best is that the menu changes daily, featuring an array of unique flavors and combinations that never fail to make me want to try more. HUE’s interiors have a warm feel with clean uptown architecture and walls lined with interesting as well as decorative original art. Dining there makes me feel “in touch” with what is happening on the food frontier.
My next stop would be Emeril’s Tchop Chop. While most people know Emeril for his Southern style cooking and his Louisiana dishes, Tchop is a step in a new direction—East, far East. Thanks to Chef Greg Richie’s twist on Pan-Asian cuisine, Tchop excels at producing dishes that exceed your expectations and tantalize your taste for the exotic. or as Emeril is known to say, “Take it up a notch”. Chef Richie does just that. Whether it is brunch or exotic cocktails, this stop will satisfy your taste buds for something different without emptying your pocket. The menu has the expected selection of delicious hand-rolled sushi as well as the unexpected--Asian salads and noodle bowls for your selection. If somehow you can’t find just what your heart desires, you can build your own bowl or bento box. Personally, I like to try something different each time I go, and I am never disappointed; but I keep returning to my old favorite standbys such as the miso soup and Asian noodles. Sometimes simplicity is best. Kids aren’t shortchanged at Tchops either. There are kid’s combos for even the most hard-to-please of your little ones. Located in the Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal, the setting is richly exotic. The food is fun and oh so satisfying.
Victoria and Albert’s is a dining experience like no other. Before you arrive for your meal, you will receive a call from the staff, usually the day before your reservations, to discuss any food allergies you may have or preferences. Your menu will be personalized with your name on it and if it is a special occasion, the special event you are celebrating. How much more royally can you be treated?
The menu at Victoria and Albert’s changes every day with choices from each category to choose. Everyone starts with the amuse bouche and then proceeds to six courses. You might think that you could never finish six courses, but you will and you will relish each and every one of them. Victoria & Albert’s is one of Florida’s most celebrated restaurants for a very good reason. It holds the highest honor from the Mobile Guide and it is the only restaurant in Orlando to earn five diamonds from AAA ten years in a row -- that’s enough diamonds for a new tiara for the queen.
Aside from being named for royalty, this restaurant knows how to please the discerning diner. When you make your reservations, you will need to decide which of the three rooms you would like to be seated. My favorite is the Queen Victoria Room, a small, intimate space where many choose to celebrate their special evening because of the ambiance and the romance. The Queen Victoria Room experience features fabulous service including several tableside preparations, many of them performed by maitre d’hotel Israel Perez, who also is the restaurant’s lead sommelier.
The first choice of seating is the main dining room for the majority of diners. This is where most people dine for their first visit. You will dine in the grandest fashion possible under the dome.
Food groupies usually opt for the popular and highly booked chef’s table. This seating is table is in an alcove off the main kitchen and provides a front row vantage point into the executive chef, Scott Hunnel’s kitchen. The kitchen staff reflects the quiet calm that comes with a seasoned crew of professional chefs as they go about the preparation and presentation of each dish. Die hard food cultists enjoy the experience of observing a master chef at work and having each course explained by Hunnel, no less.
Men are required to wear jackets, and women must wear cocktail dresses or pantsuits. The crystal-and-linen dining room typically seats no more than 100 patrons. The hushed atmosphere features live harp music. The menu, which changes daily, offers programmed, seven-course dinners that can last as long as three hours. Prices start at $125 a person. Children younger than ten years of age are not welcome—which is really quite fine when you consider the ambiance and the experience. Be certain to dress appropriately. Being elegantly attired is part of the total experience. Would you go to your prom in jeans?
November 05, 2009
Wickwood Inn Holiday Notebook - Saugatuck, MI
A L L T H E L O C A L N E W S, G O S S I P, R E C I P E S & L O R E T H A T' S F I T T O P R I N T
H O L I D A Y 2 0 0 9
WAKE IN OUR WINTER WONDERLAND!
Our villages are transformed into a quintessential old fashioned Christmas card from mid-November through New Year's. Twinkling lights, horse drawn buggy rides, shops aglow, Dickens, ballet, jazz, A Santa Parade, Wickwood's Festival of Trees and music everywhere. The spirit is contagious --- come and catch some! Wickwood ---
Holiday Open Houses Every Weekend
Cold weather makes us crave smoky pork more than ever. We like our sausage, ham, and bacon pure and simple, from small farms raising - happy pigs, smoked by authentic artisans. The aroma when you're cooking smoked pork is simply hypnotic. Dedicated people are bring back traditional curing methods; double-curing in Michigan (with over a hundred years of experience), Smoky Mountain dry - cured, Wisconsin's intensely apple - smoked, Virginia's maple brown sugar cured --- with pepper or not, it's up to you. But you can't go wrong with any of these; they're the real deal:
Sweet Bacon Bites
A simple and delicious hors d'oeuvres that leaves everyone wanting more. Preheat oven to 375° F. Separate and halve thick cut bacon slices. Place dark brown sugar in a shallow plate. Dip both sides of each bacon slice in brown sugar and coat thoroughly. Place the bacon on a rack over a pan to catch the drippings. Bake in upper third of oven for 20-30 minutes. Finish under broiler for a minute. Cool. Recipes ---
Does the closing of this sixty-five year old food institution signal that the internet food blogs have won? We hope not. For to scroll the hundreds of recipes for any ingredient the internet brings, is to set every benchmark of good, better, best taste aside. Serious cooks want to learn from the experienced with standards that they can trust.
Christmas Gifts for Cooks & Foodies
● An Olive Oil Collection
We think that the greatest luxury we have today is Time. And so we marvel at the number of people who are giving the time to relax at Wickwood as gift certificates to their family and friends for all kinds of occasions. We think what they're really giving is loving memories. That pleases us enormously.
It's not too late to order a fresh Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey. These fowl are bred naturally; never fed hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products; walks around, matures at a natural rate; and, when the day comes, meets a clean end. Select a bird from 8 to 22 pounds and it won't be frozen, but arrive to you on ice via Fed Ex Tuesday, November 24 with cooking instructions. Please pass the compliments.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
The Giving Season
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that we all go through it together.”
Armagnac & Marc
“People make Cognac for profit, but they make Armagnac for love, “Michel Guerard told us as he introduced us to these two many years ago at Eugenie. From Gascony and Landes, they pre-date Cognac by 200 years evoking the era of D'Artagnan and his fellow Musketeers. Both, are increasingly difficult to find as they are the result of long aging by small artisan distillers, reaching their prime twenty-five years later. We once tasted a seventy-five year old Marc (which is made from the very last pressing of the grape skins, pits and stems) at a vineyard in Burgundy. Could we buy it? We couldn't afford the taste, we were told. But a great swash-buckling memory. The best are bottled by Marc Darroze. A great gift, we find them at Helene Darroze's in Paris or Sherry-Lehman in nyc.
St. Marcellin Cheese
The Truth About Wine USA
Just as local artisans have become important to anyone who want to eat well, small artisanal wineries have become the integral link to wine actually made from grapes grown at the vineyard by a winemaker who is passionate about what he puts in the bottle that has his name on it. Of the thirty top selling wine brands in the US not a single one of them grows, produces or bottles their own wines. They buy tankers of bulk juice, and slap a label on the bottle. Most “wineries” have become marketing organizations. Even more reason to visit wineries, meet the winemaker and to trust the guy who is anxious to put HIS name on the bottle.
When the tastes are out at NYC's Union Square Market, the lines are long for these crunchy pickles. Clever names on jars bring thrilling flavors. There's “Mean Beans,” “Slices of Life”, “Windy City Wasabeans” “The People's Pickle”, “Phat Beets,”or “Whup Asp”. They will sparkle salads, Hor's d'ouevres, or sandwiches. www.rickspicknyc.com
Long an addiction, these perfectly toasted crisp pretzels are handmade by a Mennonite Family in Lancaster County Penna. Everyone who taste one raves about them! They can be ordered extra dark, whole-wheat, salted, lightly salted, or extra salted in boxes or shiny red tins. Simply a great Holiday Gift for every discriminating pal. ● www.martinspretzels.net
Food Memories ---
I'll never forget the taste of my Grandma's warm donut holes on Christmas morning, or of my Mom's Date Nut Pudding with Whiskey Sauce always there at Lunch, or our Christmas Eve dinner turkey at The Hassler Grill in Rome in 1983. Then there were those first tastes of the bright vegetables from Chino Farm in Rancho Sante Fe, the multi-colored carrots I schlepped back from the Union Square market, Chatsworth's lamb we cooked this Spring, the fraise de bois from Chez l'ami Louis, braised radishes Alain Passard's way at Arpege nor my own late season heirloom grape tomatoes this year. I'll remember them all, always. Food flavors that are distinct and memorable. This is the food that I want to eat . These are the traditions and tastes worth preserving. This is the food that is worth fighting to save. It is simply about wanting to eat food the way it is supposed to taste. Not how it has been transformed with the “standards of fast food, ”in factory farms, with GMO's, or chemicals. As we individually re-examine our food sources remember, if you can, the way food used to taste. Spending time sourcing local seasonal and responsibly grown ingredients is simply the best thing you can do for your family this next year!
Felt Mansion Historical
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places a glimpse of former home of a wealthy inventor is a joy to tour, especially during the Holiday Season. It's a wonderful journey through time.
"The fate of nations hangs upon their choice of food."
“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer
Just out, the raves on this are over the top! Authors who have been writing about the agri-business and vegetarianism for years are calling this “the masterpiece.” Brutally honest with both factory farmers and animal activists speaking in their own words. Best of all, Foer shares his own personal journey. It makes you laugh, cry and best of all, come away with your own opinion of how you want to eat.
“There is no ideal Christmas; only the one you decide to make yourself.” ---- Bill McKibben
September 18, 2009
The Whale Ale - San Pedro CA
1) For September (Lobster month) we are flying in Maine Lobsters, live and serving a half lobster special. Maine lobsters look like this:
Maine is famous for its new shell lobster -- tender, delicious lobster that you can break open with your bare hands. This delicacy is available only during harvest time.
Easy to Eat
Anyone who has had to resort to a hammer to get the meat from a hard shell lobster can easily understand one of the benefits of a new shell. You can usually break the shell open with your bare hands to access the tender meat inside. This means that you spend more time enjoying your delicious meal and less time wielding tools.
Tasty and Tender
Although lobster aficionados are divided in their preferences for tail meat versus claw meat, they tend to agree that new shell lobsters are a delicacy not to be missed. After the lobster has shed its thick old shell and is sporting a larger new shell, the meat is at its most flavorful and tender.
Available for a limited time only
Maine lobstermen harvest the majority of their lobsters during the time when lobster are shedding their old shells, yielding an annual crop of new shell lobsters primarily between July and October.
2) This Friday, September 18, Cliff Wagner & the Old No.7 from 8.00pm to 11.00pm
Cliff Wagner & The Old #7 are a band like nothing you have never heard. Mixing Bluegrass, Blues and Honky Tonk in a way that has audiences on their feet. Cliff and the other members of The Old #7 are taking American Roots Music to the next level, and the fans are following. Cover charge $8. You will need a reservation, - just to get in and see So. Cal.'s best Bluegrass Band.
May 28, 2009
San Pedro Brewing Company Take Gold
I am proud, as a San Pedran, to announce that San Pedro Brewing Company has won the GOLD medal for its Pedro Pilsner!
It beat out a German Brewery: Kulmbacher Pils, and New Belgium Brewing Co. (That's the brewery that makes Fat Tire).
This event pits a number of excellent breweries against each other, (some BIG and some tiny, - like San Pedro Brewing). I think it appropriate that James won gold in the Pilsner category, - a style originally from The Czech Republic, where James Brown (SPBC's owner) used to work and where his brewing equipment was built.
Jason Welke, the SPBC brewer, also brought home an honorable mention for their venerable Shanghai Red Ale. Excellent work, Jason!!
More info at: Sanpedrobrewing (no www)
Come down and try San Pedro Brewing Company's award winning beers!! A link to all winners is below.
May 26, 2009
Edge of Seattle Cooking, Father's Day Special
April 28, 2009
The Whale & Ale San Pedro CA - Events for May 2009