Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ice Cream and Wine? Don't Mind If I Do...

It's not just for us plebeians...some icons of the wine world adore this creative pairing, too...especially in honor of birthdays. Important birthdays, like centennials.

Want to celebrate yours like Mr. Mondavi? Read don't have to be 100.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Surprise! You'll have no idea what's in store for you at these restaurants!

Are you the kind of person who despises surprises? If so, you may as well stop reading right now. Because these restaurants--culled from our Best 100 Wine Restaurants list in Wine Enthusiast Magazine--know how to shock and confuse diners, in the best possible way.

(This surprise from CityZen in Washington, DC is prettier than a bouquet of flowers)

Sometimes the chefs at these restaurants surprise themselves with their creations! I don't know about you, but I think this is very postmodern and exciting. Yes, I said postmodern. (Are you surprised?)

Slice of Heaven: Pizza and Wine

Are you a certified piazzolo? Oh, no? Do you at least have your MW? Oh, I see. I suppose the exact art of pairing pizza and wine is going to be completely lost on you. 

Wait! You DON'T have to be a certified sommelier or pizza expert to know how to combine America's two passions. I've got recipes, tips and tricks from the nation's top gourmet pizza makers (who appeared in our Best 100 Wine Restaurants issue in Wine Enthusiast Magazine) along with wine pairing suggestions. 

Kind of goes without saying this is going to be a pizza party...

(Bianca Pizza from A16)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Game On! Why Duck is the new Bacon (or so I hear...)

For us vegetarians, we have to marvel at the meat-centric debates that rile up the carnivores of the world. Good thing you have those flesh-ripping teeth! Meooow!

Yet while (civilly) creating Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Best 100 Wine Restaurants issue for 2013 (and munching on some sublime watercress, yum!), I noticed a trend: All of our restaurants were obsessed with duck!

Yes, duck is the new bacon. And did we mention it makes for a cool wine plaything? Sommeliers and chefs are in cahoots on this one.

(Ducks hanging in the meat locker at Saison...poor little guys..)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Wide World of Whisky (or Whiskey)

Please, don't get me started on the whisky vs. whiskey debate. Can we focus on the greater issues at hand, like where in the world you can find interesting whiskies? Merely spin the globe, it seems, and you can locate an innovative distillery.

Sweden? Yep. Japan? Of course. India? Makes sense.

See where else you can drink a dram in this story for Premier Traveler.

Where to Drink in New Orleans

Sure, Tales of the Cocktail has already come and gone (though some of us are still feeling the effects.) If you're wondering where to drink, though, in the Big Easy, read this piece for The Daily Meal.

It's geared to the professional drinker, but that's you, right? Did we mention there's "handsome juice?"

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best Bike Vacations!

So, you like to ride your bike, do you? Well good for you. It's better for our environment and it's great for your bod! Just look at those calf muscles!

(Uhoh, this particular rider appears to be running over a smiley face. Oops! Mistakes can happen.) 

But have you, fellow gear head, considered going on a bike vacation? Trips specifically for those who want to make tracks on two wheels (or one, if you're REALLY special) are making the news, just read my story in Fodor's: 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wonders of the American Whiskey Trail

Like the bold explorers of olde, I took a perilous trip down the American Whiskey Trail this Spring. All of my days spent playing Oregon Trail could not prepare me for the wonders of whiskey I would unearth along my journey. And I did not die of dysentery, or snake bite!

(A Herculean feat, powered by Jim Beam...)

Read it and drink:

Just Back From: Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans

Thousands of cocktails.
Hundreds of spirits brands.
Dozens of New Orleans venues.
And several dwarfs shooting vodka off of an ice luge in clown costumes. (Um yes, that really happened. We have proof.)

Read all this, and more, in this riveting recap for

Top Spirits Festivals

Some of us are still recovering from Tales of the Cocktail (more on that to come), which took place in New Orleans last week.

But if you're ready for more great shots and stellar sips--not to mention the general shenanigans that come about whenever the cocktail community collides--check out this story in Premier Traveler, rounding up the top spirits festivals in the whole wide world:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Take a Break from Kale. No, Really.

Kale is like that obnoxious cheerleader who got all the hot guys in high school.

Seriously, can we mix it up people?

Try this cool ancient grain salad instead. I think it has more staying power.

Snag the recipe here:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Would You or Wouldn't You: Boozy Spa Treatments

Ever played that game, Would You Rather?

Here's kind of an upscale version, involving Bourbon, beer and luxurious spa treatments...explored in this fun story for Wine Enthusiast. Yes, hopping in a bathtub filled with Bourbon is trending in the beauty world this summer.

Brewsage, anyone? (Yes. That's a real term.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Tale of the Great Fried Chicken Quest

One of the most fun stories I wrote this year centered on one chef's borderline-crazy obsession with making the perfect fried chicken.

Some 75 variations later, he discovered the ideal recipe. You have no idea how many chickens he "utilized" in the process.

I throw you a (chicken) bone here, along with the winning recipe:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wonders of the Wine World

Were you haunted by a strong desire to visit the Wonders of the World growing up, even if they were long lost to the sands of time? So was I!!

Behold, the 10 Wonders of the Wine World! Sure, they're not exactly the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but you can actually visit--and drink wine--at these glorious temples to vino.

Read my story here:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Top Wine and Culinary Tours!

A top travel trend to emerge in 2013 is food tourism, and culinary tours in America's coolest cities have taken note.  Eat--and drink--your way through these cities on a delicious wine and food walking tour.

We threw in a few cocktail recipes, 'natch, in case you're not going far this summer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Feast Without the Beast: A Case for Meatless Monday

Back in the day (waaaay back, as in, Middle Ages), doctors thought sticking leeches to a patient's body was a brilliant idea. (!!!)

Today, people go on juice fasts, meat-based Paleo diets or just stuff themselves silly with antibiotic-laced McMeats. Not exactly genius.

But some chefs are making progress in a vegetarian direction, and it feels, well, modern. Consider the case for Meatless Monday, presented in this piece for Wine Enthusiast.

You'll not only learn why Sir Paul McCartney, Oprah and other celebrities embrace giving up meat one day a week, but also how to pair wines with vegetarian cuisine.

How civilized, indeed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Seven Celebrity Chef-Made Wines You May or May Not Want to Drink

Should chefs make wine? That question is kind of besides the point. The fact is, they do. And you can read about the good, the bad, and the ugly in this story for The Daily Meal here.

Yes, Guy Fieri is slated to launch a wine. Consider yourself warned!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Peep This: Easter Recipe Revamp!

If you're like us, you just eat Peeps and chocolate on Easter, but some people have been making the same family recipes for generations.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but we thought it would be fun to see how chefs around the country are revamping Easter dishes in this piece for Wine Enthusiast.

We threw in cool cocktail pairings for good measure, since you're probably spending the holiday with family. You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Honeymoons for the Wine and Food Obsessed

Remember that saying "if you like it so much, why don't you marry it?"

Turns out you can't marry a bottle of Bourbon. But whatever the object of your lust--be it wine or Wagyu--resorts around the world are designing honeymoons specifically for couples who hunger to eat and drink well.

In this story for Wine Enthusiast, we look at five honeymoon hot spots that cater to the culinary minded.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Five Top Foodie Experiences: Amsterdam

What could be more glorious than cruising Amsterdam's storied canals with a Michelin-starred chef on board, cooking you a delicious dinner? Maybe you'd prefer dining submerged in the dark? (Watch those elbows, though!)

Whatever your preference, this story for Fodor's sums up Amsterdam's finest foodie experiences. Read it and eat.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wine Wonderlands!

Ok, so it is officially spring here in New Orleans, but that doesn't mean all the snow has melted in the world!

For all you wine-obsessed ski bums, we've got your top wine and ski vacays mapped out (just try not to drink before you hit the slopes):

Texas's Hottest Tipples: Just in Time for SXSW!

Y'all listen up: There's more than margaritas and beer to explore in the Lone Star State. And with everyone all about Austin this week, here are six sips to savor in honor of Texas, brought to you by the Daily Meal:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The French (Canadian) Connection: Montreal En Lumiere

Oh are just filled with so much goodness! And that goodness is on gorgeous display during Montreal En Lumiere--North America's premier winter festival. With just four days to spend in Montreal, we worried about not being able to pack it all in,  but somehow, we prevailed, wrapping up a tasty weekend with a (somewhat random) Buenos Aires theme.

It's not all snow, electro and frozen slides: There's a ton of free art exhibits (video art projected onto a cathedral!), performances (we saw fire dancers in ice skating outfits!) and food (grill your own hot dogs over communal firepits!).

Read all about Montreal En Lumiere in this story for Fodor's:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Are Beet Cocktails a Thing?

Stop beeting yourself up. Who would have guessed the humble root vegetable would become the little darling of the cocktail world? Sure, it's color-saturated and sweet, and lends itself well to punny drink names, but beets should probably stick to salad, right?

Not so, say mixologists. Read all about the beet cocktail trend here, and whip up one of your own. It's kind of like juicing, but with booze. What's not to like?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chef Kelly Liken On Hyperlocality, Carrots and More...

Organic is one of those buzzwords that's starting to drive us crazy...what does it really mean? Is it all just clever marketing?

We're not the only ones over "organic" fact, Iron Chef competitor Kelly Liken of Vail, Colorado gave me an earful on the topic, along with a killer vegetarian carrot recipe in this piece for Wine Enthusiast.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Love Potions!

Eating whale penis is totally overrated! Why not sample a seductive sip instead? (A drink is way sexier, anyway.)

Read this article for some great love potions you can make at home, plus a breakdown of common aphrodisiacs you can find in your pantry!

We got this intel from the Museum of Sex btw...aka MoSEX. That's a real place. Seriously.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top 10 Bars to Watch the Super Bowl in New Orleans

Where, oh where to watch the big game? Where, oh where to cheer on teams (likely) not from your city? Where, oh where to actually focus on commercials for once?

If you're in New Orleans, the answer is easy: There are plenty of options.

From dog-friendly beer bars to upscale hotel lounges with a wall of TVs and custom, team-themed cocktails, we rounded up the top 10 bars in New Orleans to watch the Super Bowl for The Daily Meal. Score your seats here:

Friday, February 1, 2013

5 New AVAs to Watch

Ah, to spend a day in the vineyards! While we may romanticize the grape-to-glass process, making wine is no easy feat (especially when you're dealing with the American government)!

Just ask the winemakers who recently applied for AVA can take almost a decade to achieve! What exactly is an AVA, you ask?

We profiled the 5 latest viticultural areas in the United States to be awarded coveted AVA status  for Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Read everything you ever wanted to know about the process here, preferably with a glass of vino in hand: We hear it helps when contemplating all bureaucratic endeavors.

Super Bowl Survival Guide: The Daily Meal

Let the countdown to Super Bowl Sunday begin! Did you know it's America's #1 snacking day?? Even if you aren't planning on building a meatstadium complete with sandwich seating, you still may need a Super Bowl survival guide, especially if you're spending the big game day in New Orleans.

We've got insider tips from Mister Jerry, stadium announcer for the New Orleans Saints for more than 40 seasons in this article for The Daily Meal.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mixologist of the Month: Abigail Gullo

Abigail Gullo is a sassy, brassy broad who makes mean drinks down in the city that care forgot, our new hometown, New Orleans. What more could a girl ask for? How about some great tales wielded from behind the bar? See why Gullo made our Mixologist of the Month column in Wine Enthusiast here:

The Year of the Cocktail: Chinese Herbal Tipples

Chinese New Year is February 10. How are you going to celebrate? We're thinking cocktails ('natch). And why not toss some authentic ingredients plucked from your local Chinatown into your tipples?

Mixologists around the country aren't waiting till February 10 to mix up Chinese herb-infused cocktails.
No really...and the results are more than exotic. (One even contains aphrodisiacs!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Orleans Airport Guide: Travel Channel

There sure are a whole lot of people in town this week in New Orleans...and most of them are here for Super Bowl!

Good thing the city invested some $300 million into revamping New Orleans's airport, MSY.

In connection with the Travel Channel's episode of "The Layover" in New Orleans, we wrote this guide to the reimagined airport, including where to eat, drink, shop...and even when to score free beads (please, no flashing necessary)!

5 Reasons to Eat and Drink in St. Louis

Meet me in St. Louis!

Only if you want to eat and drink at really edgy, interesting and fascinating food spots!

Oh, you're too busy you say?

Read my top 5 Reasons to Eat and Drink in St. Louis story for Fodor's here instead, then. You already live vicariously through me anyway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Sommeliers Drive Us Insane...And A Rebuttal

Sommeliers of the world, how we love you, depend on you, sometimes despise you. It's a love/hate relationship, and like any great relationship, communication is key. (No, we didn't pay a therapist to tell us that.)

We recently posed a question on the Wine Enthusiast facebook page about how sommeliers drive us crazy. We rounded up the top 5 complaints, then tapped New Orleans's rising star sommelier, Molly Wismeier, director of wine at Restaurant R'evolution, for her saucy rebuttal.

Drink it all in here:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Memphis Made Easy: Two Days in Blues City

It's possible that you have no clue how cool Memphis is. Seriously. And while we're not suggesting you attempt to discover its brassy clubs, historical monuments, fascinating art scene, musical heritage and satisfying soul food in a dizzying, 48-hour spin, Fodor's had us do exactly that.

You'd be shocked what you can do in two days' time. And if you don't come back from Memphis slightly more soulful, you need more help than this blog can provide.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How to Tailgate: NOLA-Style

If you're a damn Yankee, you probably have no idea how to tailgate. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

First of all, in the Northeast, it's usually too cold during football season, you have too much work to do to stand around drinking in a parking lot and generally, none of your friends has a car.

But down South, tailgating is a way of life. It's a mobile party! Everyone loves to drink in a parking lot! Football seems truly besides the point. (And we love any excuse to party.)

Given that the Super Bowl takes over New Orleans Feb 3, the Daily Meal thought it wise to check in with the commissioner of tailgating himself for tips on how to tailgate, NOLA-style.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Navigating New Orleans

New Orleans is on a roll...We've got the Super Bowl AND Mardi Gras occurring at the exact same time! In addition to general fanfare and festivity, that means road closures! Gridlock! Pedestrian mania!

Wondering how to make tracks in the Big Easy? We map it out for the Travel Channel here:

So grab your "go cup" and let's hit the road!