Monday, November 30, 2009

Salt Lake City's "Best Italian" Celebrates 10 Years!

Lugano Restaurant situated in the East Millcreek neighborhood of Salt Lake City looks forward to a full year of celebration in 2010. Owner/Chef Greg Neville has built this culinary gem over the past decade based on dedication to local, sustainable, organic and imported Italian ingredients. Lugano's awarded menu is inspired by Northern Italian rustic regional fare.

Neville's 2010 celebration calendar includes:
Ten Year Anniversary Italian Dinner Series

January 20, 2010
Annual Piemonte Dinner with Aldo Vacca of Produttori Barbaresco & Guest Chef Maurizio Albarello of Trattoria Antica Torre

February 10, 2010
Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany & Special Guest Dirrettori James Mariani, proprietor, Castello Banfi
March 24, 2010
The World of Napa Valley
Special Guest Wineries Viader, Steltzner, Rudd, Charbay Spirits & Distillery No. 206

April, 2010
(Date and Special guest winery TBA)

May, 2010
Casual Italian Antipasti & Small Plates Dinner focusing on the kitchen of Piemonte & the Northern Lake Country
(Date and Special guest winery TBA)

June 9, 2010
Ten Year/Ten-Course “2 Continent Anniversary Dinner” Celebration
Special Guests Countess Noemi Cinzano, proprietor of Argiano, Montalcino & Bodega Noemia, Patagonia & Celebrity Winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers

Lugano Cooking Class Series

March 20, 2010
“Pre-spring Tuscan Fair”
(Featuring fave beans, pecorino toscano, ribolita, young lamb & pappardelle)

April 17, 2010
“Lugano’s Pantry”
(Featuring olive oil, dried beans, preserves, grains & dried pasta)

May 15, 2010
“From Lugano with Love”
(Focusing on regional Piemonte and Lombardia specialties)

June 19, 2010
“Let Summer Begin”
(Featuring picnic ideas and BBQ techniques)

Special Holiday Offerings

February 12-14, 2010
“Festa di San Valentino”
Special Venetian semi-prefixed 5 course tasting menu

April 4, 2010
Easter Sunday Supper
Featuring oven roasted lamb, sole with baby artichokes, cauliflower flan with fave beans & pecorino “tartufato”

May 9, 2010
Mother’s Day Supper
Lugano favorites paired with specialty fare from Barbaresco to Asti

Month-long Celebration Offerings

MAY: Lugano “In Maggio”
Lugano will highlight the height of spring cooking from Piemonte and the Lake Country surrounding Lugano including weekly wine flights and signature Lugano cocktails.

JUNE: Ten Year Anniversary Month
Lugano will focus on four different regions throughout the month: Abruzzo, Liguria, Veneto, Sicilia. Wine flights will be featured weekly along with signature Lugano cocktails and specialty wine flights.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eddie Merlot’s Announces Holiday Features

Looking for something special when entertaining clients, friends, and family this holiday season? For a limited time, Eddie Merlot’s gives you yet another reason to celebrate the season with exclusive lunch hours and menu features.

Now you can treat your guests to lunch at Eddie Merlot’s Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Nov. 30 - Dec. 24. During this limited time, Eddie Merlot’s will feature the following Chef’s Holiday Features, including salad, soup, sandwich, sushi, and entrée choices, in addition to their full dinner menu:

Bone-In Filet Mignon - $52.95
16 ounce cut. The bone adds an extraordinary flavor to an already great steak. This thick cut filet is best prepared rare to medium for optimum enjoyment.

Dakota Farms Natural New York Strip - $36.95
14 ounce all natural, center-cut. Very rich in flavor with a firmer texture.

Mountain River Farms Elk Chop - $36.95
Farm-raised and naturally lean 8 to 9 ounce elk chop seasoned with Dijon mustard accompanied with roasted and fried fennel and wild mushroom Malbec sauce.

Tableside Dover Sole - $44.95
Sautéed whole Dover sole presented tableside with a garlic and lemon beurre blanc.

And for those looking for the perfect gift, Eddie Merlot’s offers gift cards to help everyone on your list celebrate special occasions throughout the year. Best of all, you will receive a $25 gift card for yourself for every $100 in gift cards you purchase for friends and family.

Guests are encouraged to make reservations online at, or by calling Eddie Merlot’s at one of these locations:

· Cincinnati, 10808 Montgomery Rd. at the I-275 interchange, 513-489-1212

· Columbus, 1570 Polaris Parkway at the I-71 interchange, 614-433-7307

· Fort Wayne, 14 and 24 at Jefferson Pointe, 260-459-2222

· Indianapolis, 96th and Keystone, 317-846-8303

About Eddie Merlot’s
Eddie Merlot’s is a premier American steakhouse featuring exceptional prime aged steaks and an extensive selection of the finest wines. A division of Platinum Restaurant Group, Inc., Eddie Merlot’s restaurants are located in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana, and Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Guests searching for new delicacies or the warmth of a home-cooked meal without the dishes, Caesars Palace offers an array of Thanksgiving and Christmas menus for everyone. Below is information on the restaurants offering special menus this holiday season.

Thanksgiving 2009
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill: Celebrated Chef Bobby Flay puts his own spin on Thanksgiving, showcasing his Southwest-inspired flair. From the a la carte menu, guests will have two selections. The first: Roasted Turkey with Fresh Sage and Orange Butter; Wild Rice-Goat Cheese Dressing and Cranberry-Mango Relish with Red Chile Gravy. The second section: Double-Cut Rack of Pork with Maple-Horseradish Glaze, Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates with Toasted Pecans, and Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin. The price is $38 per entrée.

Bradley Ogden: Famed Bay Area Chef Bradley Ogden, a pioneer in the farm-fresh and organic movement has revealed his inviting fall menu. Amongst the dishes for the first course: Ogden’s signature Twice-Baked Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle with Anjou Pears, Blue Cheese Crumbles and Ver Jus Vinaigrette or Butternut Squash Soup with Southern Fried Frog Legs, Fuji Apple and Fennel Pollen. For the main course: Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Tagliatelle, Black Perigord Truffles and Braised Leeks or Grilled Duroc Pork Loin with Potato Croquette, Braised Brussels Sprouts and Kuri Squash. For the best of traditional fare, a Turkey Dinner with Mashed Potato, Corn Bread Stuffing and Turkey Gravy. To conclude with dessert: Cinnamon Chantilly, Vanilla Ice Cream, Toasted Pepitas or Housemade Ice-Cream. The price is $65 per person.

Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro: Award-winning Chef François Payard and Executive Chef Gregory Gourreau have created an exciting 3-course Thanksgiving feast. The first course: Butternut Squash Soup; Croques Salmon; Parsnip and Mushroom Tart or Pumpkin Risotto with Crepes. The next course: Traditional Roasted Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Chestnut Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Creamed Corn or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Braised short Ribs or Red Snapper and Ratatoullie tart. Dessert includes a selection of mini Payard pastries. The price is $39 per person.

Serendipity 3: The famed New York icon presents a unique Thanksgiving menu with its sweet and savory twists on the classics in generous portion sizes. Appetizers include Sweet Corn Chowder or Acorn Squash. Entrées feature Jumbo Roasted Turkey Leg with Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Grilled Corn on the Cob; Cedar Plank Salmon with Grain Mustard Butter and Wild Rice Salad or the Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich with Turkey Breast, Stuffing, Mayonnaise and Cranberry Sauce on a Cuban Roll. The Thanksgiving Sundae with Apple Pie and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Brittle, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce finish the meal. Prices range from approximately $10 to $17.

Christmas 2009

Restaurant Guy Savoy: On this special day, in addition to ordering a la carte, guests can experience classic menus from the world-renowned Guy Savoy. Menu Elegance, priced at $210 per person, features Marinated Lobster, Salad and Gelée of Summer Herbs; Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate Spices; Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup, Toasted Mushroom Brioche, and Black Truffle Butter; “Poached-Roasted“ Baby Chicken, Couscous of Cauliflower, Spinach Puree and Mustard Jus; Fruit and Chocolate.

The Menu Prestige, at $310 per person, celebrates the season’s exquisite black truffles. Guests will enjoy Oysters in Ice Gelée; Marinated Lobster, Salad and Gelée of Summer Herbs; “Colors of Caviar”; Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate Spices; Foie-Gras “en Papillotte” and Radish Bouillon; Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup with Toasted Mushroom Brioche and Black Truffle Butter; Roasted Veal Chop, Black Truffle Potato Purée, Young Vegetables Braised in Veal Jus; Selection de Fromages Affinés; Coconut and Chocolate Fondant prepared with Crunchy Praline and Chicory Cream.

Rao’s: For Christmas, Italian-style, experience the “Throwdown Menu” inspired by The Food Network “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” which will air Dec. 2 featuring a colleagial holiday-themed competition between longtime friends, with Executive Chef Carla Pellegrino leading Team Pellegrino and Bobby at the helm of Team Flay. The meal begins with the antipasti: Cacciuco Toscano, a seafood soup with lobster, shrimp, calamari, sea bass, PEI mussels, NZ cockles clams and scallops in white wine and tomatoes broth over a Italian garlic bread. Next is the Linguini All’aragosta, a Spicy Lobster with fresh heirloom and Rosso Bruno tomato sauce over linguini. The third is the classic Brazino Sotto Sale, a Mediterranean sea bass baked under salt crust.

Serendipity 3: Enjoy Christmas Strip-side on Serendipity’s patio. Appetizers include Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup or Pork Tamales for a traditional Mexican Christmas. For entrees, Cowboy Ribeye Steak; Jumbo Roasted Turkey Leg or Cedar Plank Salmon. For a signature holiday dessert: Serendipity’s Christmas Cookie Ice Cream Sundae with assorted Christmas cookies, Dulce de Leche Ice-Cream with Whipped Cream, Brittle and Hot Fudge. Prices range from $10 to $28.

For reservations, call (702) 731-7331 or go to

For November restaurant closings, Rao’s will be closed Monday, Nov. 23 through Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving), reopening Friday, Nov. 27

For December restaurant closings, Restaurant Guy Savoy will be closed Monday, Dec. 7 through Wednesday, Dec. 23, reopening Thursday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve); Bradley Ogden closes Sunday, Dec. 13 through Thursday, Dec. 22, reopening Wednesday, Dec. 23; Rao’s closes Monday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Dec. 23, reopening Thursday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve).

Caesars Palace is the world’s best known resort-casino, celebrating the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, in an 85-acre destination location that sets the standard for entertainment, dining and luxury. Reigning at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Caesars Palace ranks among the world’s top luxury resorts known for their originality and beauty and features 3,300 hotel guest rooms and suites, 23 diverse restaurants and cafes, five-acre Garden of the Gods pools and gardens, 50,000 square foot Qua Baths & Spa and 300,000 square feet of premium meeting and convention space. The 4,300-seat Colosseum sits just steps from celebrity chef restaurants and the acclaimed Forum Shops at Caesars and spotlights world class entertainers such as Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld and Cher.

AHA Launches Online Homebrewing Community

AHA Launches Online Homebrewing Community

WHO: American Homebrewers Association (AHA)
The American Homebrewers Association, established in 1978, is the national association dedicated to enhancing the hobby of homebrewing. Through resources such as the National Homebrewers Conference, National Homebrew Competition and the new, the AHA encourages and supports over 19,000 homebrewers in brewing the best beer in the world.

The AHA is proud to introduce the launch of the all new completely interactive educational website devoted to the hobby of homebrewing.

AHA Forum - An online discussion group for all topics of homebrewing, and is open to all everyone, from the most accomplished brewer to the beginner. Within the first few days of the website launch, more than 6000 participants had registered and more than 3,500 posts were listed.

Homebrewopedia: a Recipe Wiki - The AHA Homebrewopedia is a wiki-based resource, allowing homebrewers from around the world to share their recipes and brewing knowledge. Medal winning recipes from past National Homebrew Competitions can also be found here, allowing others to learn from the best in hobby.

Pimp my System - The AHA is proud to give homebrewers the opportunity to show off their elaborate and creative brewing systems on the homepage of Homebrewers are encouraged to post entries in the Homebrewers Bio area on the AHA Forum, where systems are selected to be featured each month.

Brewer of the Week - Homebrewers have great stories to tell, and the AHA is proud to share them with the community. Brewers can post a bio about themselves in the Homebrewers Bio area on the AHA forum, and several will be chosen each month to feature on

Club Profiles & Resources - These pages contain articles geared towards helping homebrew clubs with events and management as well as a section on homebrew Club Profiles. Clubs can post a description and photographs to share and several will be featured each month on
WHY: To provide homebrewers with an online community. is a dream of the AHA Governing Committee that has finally come into fruition after many years of planning. The goal of the website is to provide the homebrewing community with an online collection of resources for all things homebrewing. To amplify the effectiveness of the site, much content is user-generated and open to anyone, not just AHA members.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. Visit the website,, to learn more. The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festivalsm; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience; American Craft Beer Week; Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 19,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.

Eating Healthier on a Budget in the New Year

January brings about New Year’s resolutions for eating better and saving money. If you are planning stories about how to eat healthier on a budget, Smucker’s® Natural Peanut Butter, made with peanuts and just a dash of salt, offers a range on selections that are the perfect addition to families’ meal plans in the New Year. With its variety, Smucker’s® Natural Peanut Butter is a versatile food item that provides endless options for use in meals and snacks morning, noon and night when you’re watching your waistline and wallet. As you know, consumers are incorporating more natural products into their diets and natural peanut butter offers a way to enjoy tasty treats with robust peanut flavor, zero grams of trans fat and no hydrogenated oils.

Currently, Smucker’s Natural selections include Creamy, Chunky, Peanut Butter with Honey, No Salt Added and Natural Style Reduced Fat Creamy. Smucker’s® Organic Peanut Butter is also available in Creamy and Chunky varieties.

Why not break the norm in the New Year of toast with peanut butter for breakfast and PB & Js for lunch and try adding peanut butter to wholesome meals the whole family can enjoy without empty your wallet. Below are some recipes for incorporating peanut butter into your meals throughout the day.

Man vs. Food host Adam Richman at Great Vacations EXPO Columbus

Adam Richman, daredevil host of the enormously popular Travel Channel show “Man v. Food,” will appear at the 2010 AAA Great Vacations EXPO. Richman will take to the AAA Travel Stage for two special appearances on Sunday, January 24, at Noon and 3 p.m. Richman will discuss the incredible food challenges he faces on his hit TV show and his love for travelling the country. He’ll sign autographs for EXPO guests following each appearance.

The AAA Great Vacations EXPO will take place January 22 through Sunday, January 24 at Franklin County Veterans Memorial in downtown Columbus. A one-stop shop for everything related to travel, the EXPO offers information, EXPO-only deals and the very best travel values on everything from cruises and European vacations, to affordable escapes that are close to home With more than 150 exhibits, attractions and events, special attraction areas within the EXPO will include The Great Outdoors area presented by Metro Parks, AAA Travel Stage, EXPO Casino and more.

An acclaimed actor, culinary expert and TV personality, Richman is best known for hosting “Man v. Food.” The native New Yorker grew up with a taste for off-the-wall dishes and a natural wanderlust. Despite his lack of "professional" culinary training, Richman honed his expertise working in all aspects of food. Driven by his larger-than-life personality, Richman scours the nation for the best local cuisine. He entertains audiences with chow challenges ranging from stuffing himself with an 11-pound pizza to gorging on a 72-ounce steak. Richman also has traveled the country acting in many regional theatre productions and has appeared in “Law and Order,” “All My Children,” “Joan of Arcadia” and “Guiding Light.”

Richman and his crew filmed three favorite Man v. Food segments featuring Columbus eateries: Ohio Deli, Schmidt's Sausage Haus and The Thurman Cafe. Richman described the Ohio Deli dagwood as "a 2.5-pound cold cut beauty with a pound of fries that helped me realize the importance of developing a specific game plan when tackling the challenges." And, when asked, "What food is worth flying the redeye, wedged between two people with no concept of personal space, just to eat again?," his six-item reply included Schmidt's peanut butter cream puff.

The AAA Great Vacations EXPO opens Friday, January 22 and runs through Sunday, January 24, at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in downtown Columbus. Show hours are Friday 2-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or beginning December 1 at any AAA Ohio Auto Club office for $8 or $4 for any AAA member. Children ages 16 and under are admitted at no charge. Additional details and consumer information on the EXPO are available at

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cincinnati Is A Top Salad City!

Hold the Cincinnati Chili. A study by the world’s largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables suggests that residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, may actually prefer salad.

The internal study, conducted by Dole Fresh Vegetables, ranked Cincinnati among the top salad markets in the United States. This means that local residents eat more salad per person than their counterparts in other U.S. cities, have the potential to eat more salad and/or are more likely to try new salad blends, experiment with salad and salad ingredients in the kitchen or serve salad as a meal.

Dole Fresh Vegetables is a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., the world’s largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables. The exhaustive, 18-month research effort, part of the company’s relaunch of its reinvented DOLE Salads line, surveyed the in-store buying habits and in-home consumption trends of prepackaged salad consumers throughout the United States and Canada.

“Despite its reputation as the chili capital of the United States, Cincinnati is among the most sophisticated salad markets in the country and home to an increasing number of salad lovers,” explained Russell Evans, senior brand manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables. “Our research found that salad consumers here are much more likely to use salad as a meal or as the basis for creative new lunch and dinner entrees. From a salad standpoint, Cincinnati is a trendsetter.”
As part of its ongoing mission to get Americans eating salad again, and facing new evidence showing that Americans are less interested in salads at a time when the latest health research suggests they need them the most, Dole this month launches its re-imagined bagged salad line designed to reignite the country’s fascination – and consumption of – fresh, prepackaged salads.

The reinvented DOLE ® Salads hits supermarkets in the United States this month and in Canada in November 2009 as one of the most ambitious salad relaunches in history, complete with 32 separate blends and nine salad kits. Highlights of the redeveloped line include a new pinch-and-pull, Easy-Open salad bag; the DOLE Salad Guide, the first-ever on-pack rating of the taste and texture characteristics of each salad blend; and a new “Pairs well with” section featuring serving suggestions and a recipe unique to that blend.

The redeveloped line is being introduced via a comprehensive multimedia campaign featuring a new Dole Salad Guide spokesperson. Dole will be specifically targeting salad consumers in Cincinnati.

DOLE Salads is part of a larger commitment by Dole and the Dole Nutrition Institute to increase the nutritional health of Americans and work to reverse a number of negative health trends – among them the growth of poor diet and inactivity as a leading cause of preventable death. Concurrent with these trends, researchers at Dole and elsewhere are rapidly discovering new compounds in fruits and vegetables that have the potential to prevent disease and extend life.

About Dole Foods
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2008 revenues of $7.6 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables. Dole also markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research. For more information, visit

# # #


Determined via private research conducted by Dole Fresh Vegetables and based on a combination of per-capita consumption, consumption potential and local consumer willingness to try new salad blends
and experiment with salads in the kitchen. Markets are listed in alphabetical order.

Albany-Schenectady, N.Y.
Buffalo, N.Y.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dallas, Texas
Denver, Colo.
Detroit, Mich.
Flint-Saginaw, Mich.
Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.
Harford-New Haven, Conn.
Houston, Texas
Indianapolis, Ind.
Kansas City, Mo.
Lansing, Mich.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Louisville, Ky.
New York, N.Y.
Phoenix, Ariz.
Richmond-Petersburg, Va.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Wichita-Hutchinson, Ks.

Jones Zilch

Seattle-based Jones Soda is launching a zero calorie line of soda called Jones Zilch, which is expected to hit store shelves in late 2009.

“The demand for a healthy beverage alternatives continues to grow,” said Joth Ricci, president and CEO of Jones Soda. “With Zilch, we are able to offer current consumers, a zero calorie beverage option that has an amazing taste and is available in a variety in flavors. We also believe this product will expand the consumer base of Jones for consumers looking for that flavor based, zero calorie alternative”

Slang for zero, Zilch contains zero calories and will be fortified with 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and sweetened with Splenda. It will be available in three refreshing flavors: Pomegranate, Vanilla Bean and Black Cherry. Jones Zilch will enter into the Northwest market in mid November 2009 and will be in retailers across the country soon after.
Zilch joins Jones Sodas’ other innovative beverage alternatives including Jones GABA and Jones 24c. Available in single bottles and four-packs, Zilch can be found at QFC or for a limited time online at Zilch will come in a three pack samples, with one bottle of each flavor and is $4.99 plus shipping.

About Jones Soda Co.
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Jones Soda Co. markets and distributes premium beverages under the Jones Soda, Jones Pure Cane Soda, Jones GABA, Jones 24C, Jones Energy, Jones Organics, Jones Naturals and Whoopass brands and sells through its distribution network in markets across North America. A leader in the premium soda category, Jones is known for its variety of flavors and innovative labeling technique that incorporates always-changing photos sent in from its consumers. Jones Soda is sold through traditional beverage retailers and everywhere you’d never expect to find a soda. For more information visit and

Mayberry announces new weekend hours

Although Cincinnati’s newest restaurant, Mayberry, has only been open for a few weeks, Chef and Owner Joshua Campbell and co-owner Corey Wietmarschen are already prepared to expand with new weekend hours that will feature new dinner and Sunday brunch menus.

“Before we even opened our doors, people were asking us when we’d be adding weekend hours. We wanted to make sure we got the swing of things before we added those hours, but now we’re ready,” said Chef Josh Campbell, owner of Mayberry and World Food Bar in historic Findlay Market.

Starting Dec. 4, 2009, Mayberry – located at 915 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, they will open for dinner at 5:30 p.m. and remain open until at least 9 p.m. Mayberry will also offer Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We will definitely be open through 9 p.m.,” Campbell said, “But if the crowds are there, we will stay open until everyone has been fed.”

Campbell is also adding a separate menu for dinner that differs from the current lunch menu. Menus will change weekly depending on what is fresh and in season.

“We don’t want to nail ourselves down to a set menu because it’s important for me to prepare and serve the best dishes possible. I want to be able to go to markets and buy the best ingredients to serve to our guests,” Campbell said.

For his first weekend, Chef Campbell’s dinner offerings will include crispy pork belly with Frank’s RedHot butter and cheddar grits and short ribs with creamed corn and smoked bacon, among other items. Selected lunch menu items will be available at dinner on a rotating basis. Until Mayberry obtains their liquor license, guests will be able to bring their own alcoholic beverages for weekend dinners.

Weekly dinner menus will be posted on the World Food Bar Restaurant Group’s Facebook page ( and on Twitter (, and will also be available by phone at 513-381-5999.

About World Food Bar Restaurant Group & Chef Joshua Campbell:
World Food Bar Restaurant Group – operators of World Food Bar and Mayberry are the creations of Chef Joshua Steven Campbell – a Cincinnati native and a 1997 graduate of Winton Wood High School.

Campbell attended the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach from 1999 to 2001. During that time and after graduation, he worked as the Chef De Cuisine at 11th Maple Street. Campbell also has experience as a private chef, head chef at Osceola Street Café in Florida, and as executive chef at The Dunmore Beach Club on Harbor Island in the Bahamas.

Campbell moved back to Cincinnati to open up World Food Bar in historic Findley Market, where he creates freshly prepared ethnic foods using local and organic ingredients. World Food Bar offers several different selections of boxed lunches, take home meals that can be prepared in just minutes and catering for corporate and private events with specialized menus. The goal of World Food Bar is to bring high quality gourmet food at an affordable price to the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Campbell's newest venture is Mayberry – a grassroots American eatery. Mayberry offers classy but casual breakfast and lunch dishes that surprise with simplicity and price. Mayberry is located at 915 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Agribusiness Lobbyists Defend Organic Scofflaw in Court to Protect Corporate Takeover

Two powerful lobby groups in the food industry, The Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Organic Trade Association, recently intervened as friends of the court in a federal consumer class-action lawsuit accusing the nation's largest supplier of private-label organic milk of consumer fraud. In what has been described as "the largest scandal in the history of the organic industry" USDA investigators, in 2007, found that Aurora Dairy had willfully violated federal organic standards. However, industry lobbyists are now concerned that convicting Aurora will set a dangerous legal precedent. Aurora bottles private-label organic milk for Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, Safeway and many other grocery chains.

In August 2007 Bush administration officials were widely criticized for overruling career staff at the USDA and instead of decertifying Aurora as staff had recommended, banning it from organic commerce, the corporate dairy was allowed to continue in business under a one-year probation. Now agribusiness lobbyists are concerned that citizens prevailing in court, alleging fraud, will set a precedent necessitating large corporations to incur added expenses to more carefully check the sources and credibility of their organic suppliers.

"Due diligence by food manufacturers and retailers is the heart and soul of what maintaining the integrity of the organic label is about," said Mark Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute, the farm policy research group that initially exposed the corruption taking place at Aurora.

In an internal document, the Organic Trade Association told its membership that, "OTA is taking this action in order to protect consumers' access to organic products and the guarantee by organic farmers, producers and processors that their valid organic certificate fully demonstrates that their product is considered organic when marketed." Lobbyists from the Grocery Manufacturers also were concerned that if the consumers prevail in this legal matter it would become, according to a copy written article in Sustainable Food News, "prohibitively expensive to continue developing organic products."

"This type of rhetoric is just a stick in the eye to the ethical participants in this industry who make it a point, in their everyday course of business, to judiciously assure that their products meet not only the letter but the spirit of the organic law," added Kastel.

Just like Aurora Dairy, Wal-Mart and Target were both found to have misrepresented organic products in the marketplace and were the subject of separate USDA investigations.

"Yes, it does cost more money to legally and ethically participate in organic commerce, said Will Fantle, Research Director for Cornucopia. "One of the reasons that big-box retailers are able to undercut their competition on price is they refuse to hire, train and adequately compensate management and frontline employees who know anything about the organic law."

Aurora produces private label, or storebrand milk, for about 20 of the largest grocery chains in the United States.

In an ironic twist to this story Organic Valley, the nation's second-largest organic milk marketer and a cooperative, is receiving criticism for its underwriting of a brief supporting Aurora's position. The farmer-owned cooperative provided the financial support allowing the Organic Trade Association to file its amicus brief opposing the class-action lawsuit brought by consumers in over 40 states. The consumers allege that they were defrauded by the Colorado-based Aurora Dairy corporation.

The news of Organic Valley’s involvement was a shock to some of its co-op members including Kevin Engelbert, a nationally recognized organic leader and dairy farmer from Nichols, New York. "Can this possibly be true? Has OV made a pact with the devil? I know OTA is controlled by the big money interests," said Engelbert. "The 14 willful violations [by Aurora] prove that some organic certificates aren't enough to demonstrate that a product is organic when marketed. The 'organicness' of questionable products must be challenged when necessary to maintain organic integrity."

The Cornucopia's Kastel said he was "flabbergasted" that a cooperative owned by family farmers would stick up for a corporation at the heart of the biggest scandal in history in the organic food industry and he characterized Aurora as a "bad actor" and "bad aberration" in the industry where consumers can generally trust the organic label.

"Aurora's factory farm milk has injured the vast majority of Organic Valley's own farmer-members by depriving them of markets for their milk and unfairly driving down retail pricing. Earlier this year the cooperative cut the pay price to its members and required its farmers to reduce production because of a milk surplus in the marketplace -- a surplus that would be much smaller if Aurora legitimately managed its dairy cows like Organic Valley's ethical dairy farmers," Kastel added.

Cornucopia analysis, and USDA research, suggests that as much as a third of the nation's organic milk supply comes from giant factory farms. Another organic factory farm operator, Dean Foods, the country's largest milk marketer, and an OTA and GMA member, has been widely criticized in the organic community for procuring much of its milk for its Horizon brand from mega-dairies allegedly breaking the same rules as Aurora.

"If you connect the dots here you have to wonder why the management at Organic Valley is getting into bed with Aurora, Dean Foods and the most powerful lobbyists representing corporate agribusiness," Kastel lamented. "Not only would Organic Valley membership benefit from Aurora being banned from organics, but if the lobbyists concerns are true, and some of the largest corporate players that have been playing fast and loose with the rules decide to exit the organics, that will only pump up their brand's market share."

The friend of the court brief, opposing a lower court ruling, which was funded by Organic Valley, expresses fears about a precedent should consumers be compensated for any fraud committed by Aurora. Melissa Hughes, an in-house lawyer for Organic Valley, told the editor of Sustainable Food News, that if the appeal is upheld "it could have vast implications on retailers, processors, handlers, and ultimately consumers."

Analysts at Cornucopia strongly refute the contention that the Aurora matter would leave all organic marketers open to tort complaints by consumers. "Obviously, there is strong evidence for these consumers to believe they were defrauded by Aurora and the supermarket chains," Kastel said. "This is an exceptional situation not indicative of the industry as a whole."

Kastel cited the fact that Cornucopia sent certified letters to every one of Aurora's retailer customers informing them that the reputation of their store’s label was at risk and encouraging them to take action. Only two marketers, the Publix supermarket chain in Florida and United Natural Foods International, the largest organic food distributor in the country, did the due diligence necessary and switched suppliers.

"The organic certification documents alone are not enough if evidence is brought to a marketer's attention that some kind of improprieties are taking place," Fantle added. "There is always the possibility that collusion or incompetence has taken place on the part of the supplier, certifier or the USDA."

A comprehensive investigative story that appeared in the pages of the Washington Post referenced the Aurora matter, and a cozy relationship between the powerful Washington lawyer and lobbyist for Aurora, Dean and the OTA, and the former director of the organic program at the USDA. Alleged malfeasance at the Department has sparked the interest of Congress and an expanded investigation is currently taking place by the Office of the Inspector General at the USDA.

"Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 charging the USDA with preventing fraud; protecting the interests of ethical industry participants and consumers," observed Cornucopia's Kastel. "The obvious allegation here is that the regulatory branch, the USDA under the Bush administration, failed to properly enforce the law. It is appropriate for citizens who feel they were defrauded to seek a judicial remedy," he added.

When the nation's largest organic milk producer Aurora dairy, with five "factory style” farms, in Colorado and Texas, each milking thousands of cows, entered the marketplace in 2004 they proudly stated that they would make organic milk more "affordable." What they didn't tell their customers was that their products would be more affordable, allowing them to undercut competitors in the marketplace, because they wouldn't go to the expense of meeting the strict federal regulations governing organic marketing.

In 2007, after investigating legal complaints filed by Cornucopia about Aurora's organic livestock practices, USDA staff concluded that Aurora had "willfully violated" 14 tenets of federal organic regulations. Aurora was found by federal investigators to have been illegally confining their cattle to feedlots, brought in conventional cattle that could not comply with organic regulations and, most seriously, selling milk labeled as "organic" that did not meet the legal requirements.

In its formal letter to the company, USDA staff at the National Organic Program stated: "Due to the nature and extent of these violations, the NOP proposes to revoke Aurora Organic Dairy's production and handling certifications under the NOP."

But the powerful Washington-based lobby of Covington in Burling, representing Aurora, worked with the Bush administration officials at the USDA to instead allow the $100 million corporation to continue in the organic business with a one-year probation and some modest changes to their operations.

The "sweetheart" settlement between Aurora and the USDA provoked a consumer led effort to seek justice in federal courts. Nineteen separate class action lawsuits were brought against Aurora and several national grocery retailers selling Aurora's suspect organic milk including Wal-Mart, Target and Safeway. The lawsuits claiming consumer fraud were eventually consolidated into a single case in the federal district court in St. Louis. Earlier this year, federal court judge E. Richard Webber dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds. An appeal has since been filed seeking to bring the merits of the lawsuit, which have not been heard, back before the court.

"OTA's action, apparently backed by CROPP [Organic Valley], infuriates me," said Kevin Engelbert. "I hope every person and organization that belongs to OTA drops their membership immediately."

The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit farm policy research group, is dedicated to the fight for economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Their Organic Integrity Project acts as a corporate and governmental watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit. The largest portion of its funding comes from individual members, mostly family-scale organic farmers. They can be found on the web at

dineLA Restaurant Week Announces Winter Dates

Don’t plan that New Year’s resolution just yet. Get out and eat at your favorite LA restaurants during dineLA Restaurant Week January 24th-29th and January 31st – February 5th. With strong support from the restaurant community and an increasing demand from diners across the city, this special dining program has now become a twice yearly event. dineLA Restaurant Week is brought to you by LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with American Express.

“We think making dineLA Restaurant Week a twice a year event is going to continue to fuel the dining economy benefitting both restaurants and diners throughout Los Angeles,” explains Mark Liberman, president and CEO of LA INC. “Last October was the first time we produced a Fall dineLA Restaurant Week, so to have the majority of restaurants reporting they saw new customers in their establishment means that Angelenos have embraced two events in one year.”

With an unprecedented 260 restaurants participating in the first-ever Fall dineLA Restaurant Week this past October, there is no question that Los Angeles has become a dining mecca.

“We saw a lot of new customers at Taste on Melrose during dineLA Restaurant Week. Sales were up significantly during those three weeks. We wish we could have dineLA Restaurant Week all the time,” said Taste Partner, Morton Kaag.

The inaugural Fall event created many firsts, including:
· 260 participating restaurants
· The launch of the dineLA Restaurant Week Food Truck
· A Twitter/Social Media Campaign providing dining and menu highlights 24/7
· A dineLA Restaurant Week recipe based on fan Tweets – Neal Fraser’s Sea Urchin Pumpkin Risotto

"Over the last two years, American Express has worked with LA INC. to help grow the dineLA Restaurant Week program and we are pleased to see it become a successful twice-yearly event," said Tom Mullen, vice president, American Express Merchant Services. "We look forward to encouraging American Express Cardmembers to sample all of the excellent restaurants in the Los Angeles area again during the January 2010 dineLA Restaurant Week."

dineLA Restaurant Week has now become an anticipated special event for both diners and restaurateurs alike, and almost all of the participating restaurants from the Fall event said that they are excited to participate in the Winter dineLA Restaurant Week.

Visit year-round for the latest on LA’s restaurants, cuisine and the people who make it all happen.

dineLA is a dynamic marketing initiative among INC., American Express and the LA restaurant community to promote the scale and variety of LA restaurant and food experiences to locals and visitors. dineLA's comprehensive Web detailed information and search capabilities for over 2,000 area restaurants; chef profiles; a culinary events calendar; monthly enter-to-win giveaways; e-newsletter; online chef and restaurant videos; as well as engaging and timely editorial content. dineLA seeks to position Los Angeles among the top restaurant cities in the world and to build awareness, traffic and revenue for restaurants throughout the greater LA area. In addition, dineLA plays an active role promoting the LA restaurant scene year-round through involvement in industry events such as the LA Wine Fest, Wally's Central Coast Win e & Food Celebration, Extravaganza for the Senses, and the March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction. For more information, please visit:

LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau is a private, nonprofit business association whose primary mission is to market and promote Los Angeles as the premier site for meetings, conventions and leisure travel. Though not part of city government, LA INC. is recognized as the city’s official tourism marketing organization. For more information, visit the official visitor information Web site of Los Angeles at

Del Papa Distributing Company's Beer Gourmet Combines Best of Beer and Food

Del Papa Distributing Company’s successful Beer Gourmet Program brings new life to the favorite beers in your fridge. Wine and food pairings are commonplace and available at many good restaurants. Now, the Beer Gourmet Program offers a variety of delectable dishes paired with brews ranging from traditional American lagers to amber wheat ales. Del Papa’s unique program, developed in-house, has been a recognizable feature in South Texas grocery stores and supermarkets for quite a while.

Try pairing a favorite batch of brew with one of the following recipes, and bring a new twist to your next party, get-together or quiet evening at home:

Beer Category/Style: American Style Premium Lager
Kick-Off Chili
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
8 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds ground chuck
1 envelope taco seasoning or ¼ cup taco seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 15oz can tomato sauce
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 6oz can tomato paste
Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute about 8 minutes or until onions or translucent. Add chuck and cook until brown, breaking up meat with a spatula as it cooks. Add taco seasoning, basil, oregano, and thyme. Stir 2 minutes. Mix in tomato sauce, chicken broth and tomato paste. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about one and a half hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until cold then reheat over low heat when ready to serve. Serve with grated cheese and tortilla chips for dipping.

Beer Category/Style: American Amber Wheat
Cuban Sandwich
4 hoagie rolls or 8 slices of your favorite bread
6 ounces sliced turkey
6 ounces sliced ham
Cranberry jelly (optional)
8 slices ¼ pound swiss, provolone or cheddar cheese
Dill pickle slices
½ cup soft butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika, regular or smoked
In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, mustard, cumin, paprika and a pinch of salt.
Split rolls or cut desired bread into slices (8). Butter the outsides of the bread and lay out on a piece of tin foil or waxed paper. Spread the inside of each roll or bread with mustard mixture. Layer meats and cheese on bottom halves of rolls or bread. Spread a layer of cranberry jelly on top of the meat if desired. Add a cheese layer and top with pickles. Cover with the top halves of the rolls or bread.
Place on a hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, cover the sandwich with foil and set a heavy pan or pot on top to press down the sandwich. (A brick wrapped in foil makes a great press). Grill, pressing constantly and turning once, until the sandwiches are browned and crisp on both sides. (5-6 minutes per side).
Cut in half and serve warm.

Beer Category/Style: Belgian-Style Wit
Spanish Paella
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4½ cups finely chopped onions
2 cups uncooked short grain white rice
2 cups clam juice
2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon saffron or 4 envelopes pure ground saffron
¼ cup boiling water
1½ cups peeled, diced plum tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped parsley
1 jar (8oz.) roasted red peppers drained, thinly sliced, divided
1 pound Bay Scallops
10 clams, rinsed
10 mussels, scrubbed
20 large shrimp (1½ pounds) shelled and cleaned
Heat oil in large paella pan over medium-low heat until hot. Add garlic and cook just until garlic sizzles. Add onions and rice, cook and stir 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Stir in clam juice, wine, lemon juice, and paprika; mix well. Combine saffron and boiling water in small bowl; stir until saffron is dissolved. Stir into onion mixture. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, and half the red pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to low heat. Stir in scallops and peas, clams and mussels, shrimp. Cook until rice is al dente. Serve immediately.

For more information on Del Papa Distributing Company and the Beer Gourmet program, please visit

About Del Papa Distributing Company
In 2010, Del Papa Distributing Company will celebrate 100 years of business. From its founding by an Italian immigrant, Omero Del Papa, in Galveston in 1910, to its current operations distributing a variety of products throughout the Texas Gulf Coast in three major markets, Del Papa is committed to supporting and strengthening the many communities in which its customers and employees live. Del Papa Distributing Company looks forward to the next 100 years of business, representing quality people building brands and friendships … one case at a time.

New Organic Berry Whole Food Energy Bar Delivers Delicious and Convenient Whole Food Nutritio

Amazing Grass is pleased to announce that it has expanded its popular line of certified Organic Whole Food Energy Bars to include the new Berry Whole Food Energy Bar. In response to busier lifestyles and poor dietary habits that prevent most people from getting their 5+ daily servings of fruits and vegetables, Amazing Grass offers Organic Green SuperFood Whole Food Energy Bars that feature a premium blend of nature's most nourishing and delicious SuperFoods. The energy bars provide health conscious consumers with a more potent, convenient and affordable way to satisfy their hunger and deliver nutrients to their bodies the way Mother Nature intended - unprocessed, organic and delicious.

To create the Whole Food Energy Bars, Amazing Grass combined their alkalizing Organic Green SuperFood powder with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and nutritious organic nuts and seeds. Like all Amazing Grass products, the new whole food energy bars are cold processed, raw, gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan. The Amazing Grass Green SuperFood blend also provides more organic whole leaf greens per gram than any leading green superfood mix, and unlike many others, it does not contain soy lecithin fillers.

The Berry Whole Food Energy Bar features powerful antioxidants including those derived from organic acai, a purple berry sustainably sourced in the Amazon Rainforest by acai industry leader Sambazon ( Acai is also a great source of healthy omega fats, fiber and protein. The Goji berry, a superfruit that has been celebrated in Chinese culture for thousands of years, is a nutritional powerhouse that provides 18 amino acids, abundant antioxidants and 21 vitamins and minerals.

With no sugar added, the Berry Whole Food Energy Bar has 210 calories and provides 5 grams of protein. The ingredients include Organic Dates, Organic Cranberries, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry, Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Organic Goji Berries, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Adidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactaose, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Cashew Butter, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Almonds, Organic Cranberry and Raspberry Flavor and Organic Vanilla Extract.

Like all of the Amazing Grass products, the new Berry Whole Food Energy Bar is widely available around the country at Whole Foods Markets and other natural food stores. It can also be purchased online at

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood powder has a high concentration of naturally-occurring enzymes, carotenoids, phytonutrients and antioxidants that work synergistically to fight free radicals, remove toxins and repair damaged cells. Ultimately, Amazing Grass contains every amino acid, vitamin, and mineral necessary to sustain human life. Since the human body is designed to get nutrition from whole foods, the body is able to efficiently and rapidly absorb the nutrients in Green SuperFood and quickly convert them to fuel.

For the majority of people, stress and consumption of unhealthy processed foods can create an acidic imbalance in the blood that, among other problems, can cause the body to store water and build up fat in the arteries (cholesterol) as protection from acidic blood. The rich chlorophyll content and high alkalinity of Amazing Grass Green SuperFood helps to combat acidity and restore blood to the optimal pH level. It also promotes improved circulation, digestion and regular elimination.

The Amazing Grass Green SuperFood blend is a unique and potent combination of nature’s most nourishing, cleansing and rebuilding green superfoods including more than 70% certified organic ingredients and an enhanced digestive enzyme and active probiotic blend to improve nutrient absorption. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood combines nutrient dense green food concentrates with other uniquely powerful ingredients like açaí and maca. Maca is a nutritious root grown at high altitudes in Peru that is known to be an adaptogen that boosts the immune system and provides sustained energy, vitality and mental clarity.

Amazing Grass’ mission is to educate the world about the benefits of green superfoods and the improved quality of life from healthy eating habits. Amazing Grass also offers Amazing Meal, Adult and Kidz SuperFood Drink Powders, Organic Wheat Grass Powder and Organic What Grass Tablets.

Amazing Grass is a friends- and family-owned company with roots that date back over 60 years of growing and dehydrating green foods. The company produces certified organic wheat grass, barley grass, oat grass, rye grass and alfalfa at a family farm in Kansas, and markets the most nutritious, convenient and affordable green superfoods to help families thrive. Amazing Grass stands out because the grasses are field-grown throughout the winter allowing the roots to soak up nutrients from mineral-rich soil for over 6 months. “The young leaves are harvested just one time each year at their nutritional peak,” says President Brandon Bert. "The greens are carefully flash dehydrated at low temperatures, frozen as whole leaf powders and then packed in nitrogen to maintain freshness. The extra steps ensure customers get the most nutrient-dense raw green food powders in the world," adds Bert.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Top 5 Ways to Make Homemade Pizza

Straight from the kitchen of “The Pizza Expert,”, the ultimate resource for pizza reviews and recipes, is featuring the top 5 ways to make a homemade pizza. Through his website, “The Pizza Expert” explains in each pizza review, how to make the best and worst pizza a little bit better.

“I’m constantly thinking of creative ways to enjoy pizza” said Craig Agranoff, founder of “Every family has a pizza night and if you can’t go out to your favorite pizza establishment stay in and make your own favorite recipe. For fun with the family, the upside down will be a hit, it's a different experience then you and the kids are used to. Relatively hard to burn the roof of your mouth, when made this way. Here’s a couple of my favorite ways to eat pizza.”

Top 5 Ways to Make a Homemade Pizza:
Grandma Pizza: It’s a thin crunchy pizza with spicy tomato sauce and lots of fresh basil. It appears when looking at it to be a thin-crusted Sicilian pan pizza. The pie is spread out into an already oiled square pizza plan. The pie is then topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, and some lightly cooked tomatoes. Finish with chopped garlic and a dash of olive oil on top.

Double Decker Pizza (Inside Out Pizza): This pizza has the crust on both the bottom and the top. The pizza is wrapped around with the dough and all the ingredients are found inside. Normal recipes for this include your favorite toppings, cheese and sauce.

Upside Down Pizza: Dough rises on average 2 times. A very light coating of sweet red sauce is evenly placed on and then extra virgin olive oil is applied to the dough. This dough is then layered with Sliced Mozzarella cheese and placed in the oven to cook. Once slightly melted, some sweet tomato sauce is smothered on top, and placed back into the oven for the final cooking. The crust must be extra crispy as well when making pies upside down. Finish with parmesan cheese and a fruitful splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Vegetarian Nightmare: This is not your typical vegetarian pizza. It’s topped with over 10 toppings such as, steamed asparagus tips and spinach, sautéed eggplant and zucchini, roasted garlic and fennel, fresh basil and rosemary, tapenade and nuts. Topped with 2 teaspoons of olive oil drizzled on top and fresh parmesan cheese.

Organic Flatbread Pizza: Here’s a creative alternative with a twist of healthy alternatives. Choose a crust (whole wheat, unbleached herb and spelt) and cheese (organic, rice or soy mozzarella), a couple meats (organic sausage or organic, free-range chicken) and a load of veggies.

About the Pizza Expert
The Pizza Expert is known as “Lapp” and his goal is to travel the world in search of the best pizza. He shares what he finds when he's had a slice on Growing up in the New York Metro area, he learned what some of the best and worst pizza are like. Going beyond the “college dorm box pizza,” he looks for real, restaurant pizza with high standards of quality.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Festive Red Radicchio for the Holidays

There are so many natural, wholesome ways to feature red and green in holiday salads, there’s no reason to rely on colored gelatin and whipped topping concoctions. Radicchio is a delicious way to add brilliant red to the holiday dinner table. Pink grapefruit and smooth avocados pair festively for a perfect holiday salad

Radicchio, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

(Serves 4)

2 ruby grapefruit
1 head Royal Rose radicchio, cored and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 firm-ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup chopped smoked almonds
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Salt and pepper

Section grapefruit; set fruit aside and squeeze membrane to release any juice into large bowl. Whisk in oil and lime juice, add radicchio and toss Divide evenly among flour plates and top with grapefruit sections, avocado, almonds, onion; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

We Follow The Sun

At Royal Rose we follow the sun to fresher, bigger, better radicchio, growing close to home to provide you with the best radicchio year-round.

Fresher Radicchio is Bigger Radicchio
Royal Rose radicchio is the most widely consumed radicchio in the U.S. To meet the demand and maintain our promise of radicchio that is fresher, bigger and better — we follow the sun. Oh, we could follow the crowd and use a storage program but we follow a brighter star. We follow the sun.

Field Packed, Fresh, Every Day
Royal Rose has become the first company in the world to harvest radicchio on a daily basis. We grow radicchio in the salad bowl of the nation, the Salinas Valley, for most of the year. As the weather cools we move our growing operation to Oxnard California. In the winter months, January through March, we grow fresh radicchio in sunny Florida, as well as in well monitored fields in Mexico. Our radicchio, once it is harvested, moves directly to supermarkets and foodservice purveyors. We field pack our beautiful burgundy heads of radicchio — fresh every day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rachael Ray to Support Ohio Town, Local Food Banks this Thanksgiving

Snapfish by HP, the No. 1 online photo service has partnered with network star Rachael Ray to support a local community in Wilmington, Ohio, a town devastated by the economic downturn.

In a special which will air on Wednesday, November 25, Snapfish has teamed up with Rachael Ray to throw a huge Thanksgiving feast for the town, including replenishment of the Food Bank facilities in order to create a meaningful experience for the community.

To support the effort, Snapfish is providing:

• Custom photo books featuring local high schooler, Zach McCune’s photos of the town, to members of the community, documenting the town and Rachael’s visit through Zach’s lens

• The opportunity for viewers to receive 50% off their own customizable photo book using promo code RRBOOK from November 25-December 2, with $1 from the purchase proceeds going to local food banks nationwide; and

• An exclusive photo book and gallery on and with photos from Rachael’s trip, capturing her favorite moments

To learn more about Snapfish’s partnership with Rachael Ray, visit or

Award Winning Wines from HALL

HALL Wines (Napa Valley, CA - www.hallwinescom), a premier 21st Century vineyard and winery company, was recently bestowed two prestigious awards which would make it a perfect wine to highlight in your upcoming gift guide, winter hosting, and pairing menu articles.

· The 2006 HALL Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon earned a #1 Cellar Selection Wine of The Year by Wine Enthusiast (November 2009 issue)
· The 2006 HALL Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon was featured as a “Recommended California Cabernet” by Wine Spectator’s James Laube with a score of 96 (out of 100) and was featured on the cover (November 15 issue).

Holiday Cocktails from SKYY Infusions

When the weather gets cold outside, and the tree trimming and holiday office parties commence, we happily drink in the spirit of the holiday season. Whether it’s the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven, the mistletoe tempting us at every turn or the excitement of the midnight countdown, we suddenly crave celebrations complete with delicious treats, cocktails and cheer, whoever we’re with and wherever we are.

This season, add a personal touch to each and every festivity with holiday cocktails featuring the all natural line of SKYY Infusions. A unique blend of fresh fruit and premium SKYY Vodka, SKYY Infusions offers six ways to embrace the holiday spirit: Raspberry, Citrus, Grape, Cherry, Passion Fruit and Pineapple. Each brings a true-to-fruit taste that is sure to infuse the holiday season with some deliciously sophisticated libations. Any way you serve them, these cocktail recipes will knock the “Scrooge” out of your toughest critics.

The Candy Cane Swirl is designed to add a simple, yet festive element to your larger holiday parties, utilizing familiar ingredients easily mixed in larger quantities. A vibrant red cocktail with a whimsical candy cane garnish, the Candy Cane Swirl is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Candy Cane Swirl
1 oz. SKYY Infusions Raspberry
3 oz. Red Cranberry Juice
0.5 oz. Grenadine
0.5 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
Lemon Lime Soda
Candy Canes

Rim martini glass with crushed candy cane. Combine SKYY Vodka, Peppermint Schnapps, Cranberry Juice and Grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Top with Lemon Lime Soda and garnish with small peppermint candy cane.

A creative twist on a Bing Crosby classic, the Mele Kalikimaka Martini is ”Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you.” Turning a classic cocktail, contemporary using SKYY Infusions Pineapple and Coconut Cream, the martini adds a personal touch to your typical eggnog and is a surefire way to impress any partygoer.

Mele Kalikimaka Martini
1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Pineapple
3 oz. Eggnog
Splash of Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Top with sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

You may think that you’re done celebrating once the candles burn out in the menorah, but The Ninth Night is the great way to conclude your Hanukkah festivities. A refreshing cocktail designed to commemorate a special (and unofficial) ninth night of Hanukkah.

The Ninth Night
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. White Cranberry Juice
Lemon Lime Soda
Lime Juice

Combine SKYY Infusions Citrus, Triple Sec and Cranberry Juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into tall rocks glass with fresh ice. Top with soda and lots of fresh lime juice. Garnish with blue ribbon or pipe cleaner around the glass.

Whether you anticipate a “White Christmas” or a California “Endless Summer,” we all snuggle up with loved ones and a cup of warm hot cocoa at least once during the holiday season. Thick, frothy and decadent, a Cuppa Good Cheer featuring SKYY Infusions Cherry is a mature version of a holiday favorite and certain to keep spirits bright.

Cuppa Good Cheer
1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Cherry
0.5 White Creme de Cacao
4 oz. Extra Hot Chocolate
1 oz. Half and Half
Whipped Cream
Red Sprinkles
Maraschino Cherry

Combine all ingredients into a holiday mug and top with whipped cream, red sprinkles and a Maraschino Cherry.

Infuse passion into the New Year with a flashy cocktail featuring SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit, fresh juice and raspberries. The New Year’s Sparkler is an easy way to spice up your champagne flute this New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Sparkler
1 oz. SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit
1.5 oz. Pomegranate Juice
3.5 oz. Champagne
5-6 Raspberries

Combine SKYY Infusions Raspberry and cranberry juice in a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne. Garnish with raspberry tree.*

*Slide 5-6 raspberries onto long skewer and place vertically in champagne glass.

Greet your guests in from the cold, winter weather with a traditional cup of Holiday Glögg, a Scandinavian take on mulled wine. Made in large batches and easily reheated time and time again, this recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket for any surprise guests.

Holiday Glögg
12 oz. SKYY Vodka
1 Bottle 750 ml of Dry Red Wine
1.5 tbsp. Mulling Spice
1 tsp. Fresh Orange Zest
2 tbsp. Sugar
2 tbsp. Blanched Almonds
4 tbsp. Raisins
Wrap Mulling Spice in cheesecloth. In a large saucepan, combine the Wine, SKYY Vodka, cheesecloth with Mulling Spice, Orange Zest and Sugar. Allow to very lightly simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes (do not boil). Discard the mulling spices. Drop a few raisins and almonds at the bottom of each mug and top with the hot liquid.

For Chanukah: Latke Recipes from OU

Consider the latke (Chanukah’s version of fast food). It is, in my opinion, the absolute best-est, most perfect, delicious use for the potatoes, better even, in some circumstances, than the French fry, potato chip or potato kugel. The latke has a dark golden crispy crunchy outside and soft tasty middle.

I suggest that you use starchy potatoes for latkes. Russets and Yukon Gold are my favorite choices. Squeeze as much moisture out of the shredded potatoes as you can. Too much liquid makes for a thin pancake. Try not to make them too large or too thick—the outside will cook up just fine but the inside will be raw. Take care not to overcook and they are best served IMMEDIATELY with sour cream, apple sauce or all by themselves. Last but not least, the question of peeling the potato. You don’t have to peel them if you wash them thoroughly. Peeling will give the latke a lighter color but that’s about it.

When it comes to latkes there is a great big old debate as to what exactly is the “best” recipe. There are hundreds, nay thousands of recipes, all purported to be the ultimate one. Not all the following recipes are the traditional potato/egg mixture but I promise you, all of them will have you standing in line waiting for the next batch to finish cooking.

Note: where possible I’ve attributed the author of the following recipes; some, however, have been in my folder for years and don’t have any reference as to where they came from.

LATKES (pareve)
I have no idea where this recipe came from but it’s really, really good.

4 to 5 medium to large Yukon gold potatoes
1 large onion, shredded (you can use a food processor)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons flour or matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Oil for frying

Peel and cut 2 of the potatoes into one-inch chunks. Boil the chunks in salted water until tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain and mash the potatoes slightly. Sprinkle the flour or matzo meal on top of the mashed potatoes and set the mixture aside. Shred the remaining potatoes and mix them, in a large bowl with the shredded onions (this mixing is to keep the potato from turning brown). Squeeze and drain as much liquid as possible from onion/potato mixture. Add the eggs, pepper, and salt to the onion mixture and mix to combine. Add the mashed potatoes to the shredded potatoes and mix to combine. Make 3 inch patties. Heat oil and fry the patties in 1/4 to 1/2 inches of oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on the first side and then turn them over with a spatula and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Makes approx 8 to 12 latkes depending on size

This recipe is originally from one of my favorite cookbooks,“ Jewish Cooking in America,” by Joan Nathan. These are thin “pancakes” with no flour or matzo meal.

2 pounds russet (baking) or Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 medium onion
1-1/2 cups chopped scallions, including the green part
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and put in cold water. Using a grater or a food processor, coarsely grate the potatoes and onions. Place together in a fine-mesh strainer or tea towel and squeeze out all the water over a bowl. The potato starch will settle to the bottom: reserve that after you have carefully poured off the water. Mix the potato and onion with the potato starch. Add the scallions, egg, and salt and pepper. Heat a griddle or non-stick pan and coat with a thin film of vegetable oil. Take about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten as best you can. Place the potato mixture on the griddle, flatten with a large spatula, and fry for a few minutes until golden. Flip the pancake over and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately. (The latkes also can be frozen to be served at a later time, after crisping in a 350 oven.) Makes about 2 dozen latkes.

4 1/2 cups peeled, shredded sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
oil for frying

In a large bowl combine the shredded sweet potatoes eggs, flour, sugar, salt, pepper cinnamon, allspice and ginger. Heat the oil in a large skillet (I like to use a cast iron one) Drop mixture by heaping spoonfuls into hot oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until golden. Flip the latke over and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the second side is golden. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

TRI-COLOR LATKES (pareve or dairy)
I got this recipe from December 2007 Coastal Living Magazine and it’s so elegant and so good I serve it year around whenever I want something special.

1 zucchini, grated
1 yellow squash, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon oil
1 small leek, sliced
1 large baking potato, peeled
1/2 sweet potato, peeled
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 small red onion, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons matzo meal
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
oil for frying
4 ounces thinly sliced cold smoked salmon
Sour cream or pareve substitute

Arrange grated zucchini and squash on a large baking pan; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Let vegetables rest 15 minutes. Drain well, pressing between paper towels, and set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small sauté pan, and sauté leek 3 minutes or until soft. Set aside. Grate potatoes, and press between paper towels to remove excess water. Place potatoes in a large bowl; add zucchini, squash, leek, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, and stir gently. Add red onion and next 6 ingredients, stirring gently to combine. Heat 2 to 4 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon heaping tablespoons of latke mixture, squeeze out extra liquid, and form into flat patties. Fry latkes, in batches, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels. Top each with a piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, and caviar. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Modified from Costal Living Magazine, December 2007.

2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded Russet or Yukon Gold potato
1 1/4 cup parsnip, shredded
1 1/4 cup sweet potato, peeled and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups onion, shredded or chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
2 to 3 tablespoons oil

Line a colander with paper towels. Place the shredded potatoes, parsnip and sweet potato on top of the paper towels and sprinkle the salt on top. Let drain for 1/2 hour and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Place the vegetable mixture to large bowl. Add the onions, flour, and pepper. Mix just to combine and then stir in the egg. Heat the oil in a skillet and use about 1/4 cup of the mixture per latke. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. You may need to cook this in two batches as you don’t want to crowd the latkes. Makes 9 to 12 latkes.

Submitted by Diana Luttson Queens, NY.

2 shredded potatoes
2 to 3 shredded carrots
1 small red onion, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, green part
1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms (you can use portabella)
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 eggs
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 cup flour

In a bowl combine the potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms and green onion and set it aside. In another bowl combine the eggs, garlic, and onion salt and then stir the egg mixture into the vegetable mixture. Add pepper to taste. Add the flour and stir until combined. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Spoon about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the batter into the oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 depending on the size.

1 egg
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup grated apple (I like granny smith)
oil for frying
Maple syrup or confectioners' sugar and ground cinnamon for garnish

In a bowl combine the egg with the yogurt, mix to combine and set aside. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. Peel and core the apples, then grate them; you can use a food processor. Pour egg-yogurt mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture, add grated apples and fold all the ingredients together. Pour enough oil to come about 1/4-inch up a skillet and put on stove to heat. Dollop spoonfuls of apple batter into sizzling oil; a rubber spatula -- the one you used to fold the batter together -- will help you scrape the batter off the spoon and press down on the little latkes in the pan. Fry for a minute or two, until latkes are golden brown on underside; you can see from the top as they start firming up underneath. Flip them with two metal spatulas, and fry for another minute on the uncooked side. Remove to tray lined with paper towels or brown paper, to blot excess oil, and continue cooking until you've used up all the batter. Serve with syrup or confectioners' sugar and ground cinnamon. Yield: about 20, 2-2 1/2 inch latkes

Modified from “Feast, Food to Celebrate Life,” by Nigella Lawson.

2 cups mashed potatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons grated
Salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, garlic and egg. Mix to combine, add the flour and onion and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the oil until it is hot and fry heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture. You should make sure that you flatten the latkes slightly with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Holiday Cocktails from Cabo Wabo

The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but traditional holiday cocktails don’t exactly say “Let’s Party!” You party like a rock star all year long, come the holidays how are you going to throw down with mulled wine and egg nog? It’s time to give those traditional cocktails a makeover with a shot of real rock and roll holiday spirit.

This season spike your favorite holiday drink with the original rock and roll tequila, Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo. Add a shot to hot chocolate or apple cider to give it that rock ‘n roll riff. Or, kick it up a notch with a killer Sangria that’s sure to jumpstart any party. And of course don’t forget to toss back a shot of Cabo Wabo when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s.
No matter where the party takes you this holiday season, come correct with the world’s original rock and roll tequila!

Midnight Kick
2 oz. Cabo Añejo Tequila
Orange Slice
Powdered Cinnamon

Wet the rim of a chilled shot glass with the orange slice. Then rim the shot glass with powdered cinnamon on a plate. Be careful not to turn the glass right side up until it has been rimmed. The orange liquid will drip otherwise. Shake the Cabo Tequila with ice in a shaker and strain into the chilled shot glass. Slam the shot and then bite into the orange slice to finish.

MexiCabo Hot Chocolate
1½ oz. Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila
4 oz. Hot Chocolate
½ oz. Coffee Liqueur
Whipped Cream

Pour all ingredients into a coffee cup. Stir well. Finish with dollop of whipped cream. Servings: 1

Hard Rocker Cider
1 cup Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
4 cups Apple Cider
1 cup Cranberry Juice Cocktail
¼ cup Orange-Flavored Liqueur
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
Cinnamon Sticks, for garnish

In a pot or crockpot, heat and stir cider, cranberry juice cocktail, and nutmeg on low just until hot for 2 hours. Do not boil. When ready to serve, turn on high for 10 minutes and stir in tequila and liqueur. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Servings: 6

‘Tis the Singin’ Sangria
1 cup Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila
1 bottle White Wine
½ can Frozen Cranberry Concentrate
1 cup Raspberries
½ cup Orange Juice
¼ cup Lime Juice
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Orange Liqueur
1-2 Lemons cut into thin quarters, for garnish

Add the white wine, tequila, orange liqueur, cranberry concentrate, orange juice and lime juice to a large glass pitcher or bowl. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Place raspberries in a small bowl and mash with spoon. Stir in the mashed raspberries. Refrigerate overnight, to let the flavors soak into the Sangria. Serve over ice. Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From Slow Food USA

Dear members and supporters,

It's been two months since 20,000 of you came together for our national day of action to give America's children the school food they deserve That day was a huge accomplishment for this movement – but it was only a first step.

You can be part of our next one. Congress isn't planning to make progress on child nutrition programs until the beginning of next year. We have until then to show our leaders that kids and parents across America are hungry for change.

We're going to do it by sending thousands of letters — especially letters written by kids — to our legislators' district offices over the next few months. Slow Food USA chapter leaders across the country have already gotten started, and together they've sent in over 1,300 letters. It's time for everyone to pitch in.

Help us spread the word about letter writing, and get involved in the next phase of the campaign.

Through this campaign, tens of thousands of you have invested in America's children's future by organizing and attending Eat-Ins on Labor Day, by donating money and by signing our petition. Thank you.

Over the next few months, your participation is as important as ever. If we keep growing our ranks, we can ensure that the 31 million children who benefit from school meal programs are getting the real food they need to grow into healthy, productive adults.

Thank you for spreading the word,

Josh Viertel

Charleston, SC Chefs "Feed the Need" Initiative Reaches Six Month Mark

With the holiday season quickly approaching, demand at food banks across the country will soon peak, particularly at a time when U.S. unemployment rates are at the highest levels in years. To help feed the hungry and alleviate some strain on local emergency food providers in Charleston, Mickey Bakst, General Manager of one of the city’s top restaurants, Charleston Grill at the Charleston Place Hotel, created the Charleston Chefs Feed the Need program, pulling together local restaurants, caterers and hoteliers to serve weekly meals for up to 500 people. Launched on April 22, 2009, the program recently passed its six-month service mark and has to date has helped feed approximately 14,000 people, saving food banks an estimated $42,000.

Bakst created the idea for Feed the Need after learning that a budget crunch had forced Crisis Ministries to close its soup kitchen once a week and he hopes to expand the initiative to other cities. Since kick off, soup kitchens throughout Charleston have been taken over by a different restaurant, caterer or hotel one day of each week to serve meals to approximately 500 individuals and save the charitable organizations about $1,500 per week. In addition to Crisis Ministries, organizations supported by Feed the Need include Tricounty Family Ministries, East Cooper Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood House.

Sue Handshaw, Director of Tricounty Ministries, one of the largest food shelters in Charleston, said that as a result of program, “We are able to stretch out food dollars in these hard economic times. As food costs rise, so does the cost of overhead to prepare, pay increasing utility bills and transportation of donated product costs, as well as paper goods and cutlery. This program is a huge reprieve from a financial sense.”

The program is set to continue into 2010, with six additional companies joining the original 52 participating companies, bringing the total to 58 participating restaurants, caterers and hotels. Other local organizations have recognized the impact of the program and gotten involved in various ways, including through monetary donations. Firefly Distillery recently raised $4,700 for Feed the Need through a local charity fundraising event and has also donated proceeds from sales to the cause.

“The community support over the last six months has been tremendous and Feed the Need has become a great success which we look forward to continuing in 2010,” said founder Mickey Bakst. “The program structure is simple and can be executed with minimal effort in any community with far-reaching results. In addition to serving much needed meals to children and families, this program has brought our community together and introduced the next generation of food service staff to volunteerism,” added Bakst.

# # #
Orient-Express, (NYSE: OEH, the name behind an elite collection of travel experiences, first came into being in 1883 as one of the world’s most exciting and indulgent train journeys. Today those same two evocative words also embrace hotels, cruises and other luxury rail adventures in 25 countries, across five continents. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it first purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly afterwards, recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today, the company owns or part-owns and manages 49 businesses, 39 of which are highly acclaimed hotels, each unique in style, from the Mount Nelson in Cape Town and Rio’s Copacabana Palace, to the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg and Maroma Resort & Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. There are two restaurants, including ‘21’ in New York, two river cruise operations and six luxury trains.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast at Charlie Palmer's in Reno, NV

Charlie Palmer Steak, Fin Fish and Briscola at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino offer delectable, yet affordable Thanksgiving Day dishes to ensure an enjoyable feast. The three exquisite restaurants provide guests with a palate-pleasing Thanksgiving meal for just $36 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Charlie Palmer Steak and Fin Fish:
Charlie Palmer Steak has prepared a special menu exclusively for Thanksgiving Day. Organic free-range turkey is the main course and guests can choose from mouth-watering side dishes to include pomme puree, carmelized sweet potatoes, haricot verts and sourdough or cornbread stuffing.

To conclude this luxurious day of dining, guests can choose from a selection of incredible desserts including a traditional pumpkin pie with whipped cream or carmelized pecan pie topped with bourbon ice cream and maple syrup. The Charlie Palmer Steak and Fin Fish Thanksgiving specials are $36 and served 5:30 -10:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 775.789.2456.

A variety of Thanksgiving selections are available at Briscola with its four-course turkey dinner. Guests can start their holiday meal with the antipasti platter, prosciutto di san danielle served with sweet corn preserve, pickled fall squash with roasted hazelnuts or grilled sourdough served with peach jam.

For the second course, diners may choose from Cranberry Carnaroli Risotto or Candied Walnuts with rosemary and robiola. The main course includes a choice of chestnut and chicory stuffed free range turkey breast or dark turkey jus served with sweet potato gnocchi, pomme puree, spicy green beans and sour dough stuffing. For a sweet ending, guests can delight in spiced quince and pear panna cotta. Brisolca’s Thanksgiving special is $36 and is served 5 -10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 775.789.2000.

Charlie Palmer Steak, Fin Fish and Briscola are located in Restaurant Row at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. For more information, visit

For the latest and greatest news on GSR, check them out Facebook and Twitter.

About Grand Sierra Resort:
Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is located in the heart of Reno/Tahoe - America’s Adventure Place. GSR is northern Nevada’s most complete resort destination with nearly 2,000 guest rooms and suites. The property offers a wide variety of accommodations for the every day business traveler to the complete family vacation with amenities that include 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, branded retail shopping, headliner entertainment, a cinema, a 50-lane championship bowling center, outdoor thrill rides, aqua golf driving range, an 85,000 square foot casino with 24 hours of heart-pounding action plus so much more. GSR is a proud member of Summit Hotels and Resorts, a prestigious brand of Preferred Hotel Group. For more information, please visit or to make reservations call 1.800.648.5080.

About Charlie Palmer:
Hospitality entrepreneur and celebrated chef Charlie Palmer has received critical acclaim for his signature “Progressive American” cuisine, a style built on rambunctious, intense flavors and unexpected combinations with a deep and lasting infusion of classical French cuisine. In 1988, he made a landmark commitment to creating dishes featuring regional American ingredients at his sublime three-star Aureole, situated in a brownstone off Manhattan’s Madison Avenue, and over the years has established an impressive roster of restaurants across the country, from Washington DC and Las Vegas to Reno and Sonoma. A frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show, Palmer is also the author of four cookbooks, Great American Food (Random House/1996), Charlie Palmer’s Casual Cooking (Harper Collins/2001), The Art of Aureole, (Ten Speed Press/2002), and Charlie Palmer’s Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen (Melcher Media/Fall 2006).

New Shaman Chocolates Gift Box - a Sweet Organic Gift that Gives All Profits Back

The new organic chocolate Gift Boxes from Shaman Chocolates don't just make another sweet gift for loved ones on special occasions like Valentine's Day, they also offer consumers a socially responsible alternative. All profits from the sale of the certified organic and Fair Trade Shaman Chocolates help support the Huichol Indians, a tribe living in central western Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains, considered by many to be the last Indigenous Tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions intact.

The new Gift Box features beautiful, flower-shaped solid chocolates in a variety of flavors. For dark chocolate lovers, the Dark Variety Box includes Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries, Dark Chocolate with Coconut, Dark Chocolate with Acai, Lemon and Orange and Dark Chocolate with Green Tea & Ginger. Shoppers can also choose a combination of two unique tastes - Extra Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts and Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt.

Chocolate lovers can also customize their order by choosing from the following selections (8 delicious bites of one flavor per box): Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries, Dark Chocolate with Coconut; Dark Chocolate with Green Tea & Ginger; Dark Chocolate with Acai, Lemon and Orange or Extra Dark Chocolate.

Shaman Chocolates blends only the purest certified organic and Fair Trade chocolate with the finest organic ingredients and superfoods available to offer nine delicious, rich chocolate bars: Dark Chocolate with Acai, Lemon and Orange, Dark Chocolate with Green Tea and Ginger, Extra Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts & Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries, Dark Chocolate with Coconut, Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts.

The Gift Boxes and Shaman Chocolate bars are adorned with new packaging featuring images of the Huichol Indians and their amazing artwork and imagery. They are available at hundreds of retailers nationwide and can also be purchased on the company's new website at

"The Huichol Indians consider chocolate a sacred gift from paradise and have used it in ceremonies since time immemorial, leaving it as offerings to show their love for Mother Earth," says Shaman Chocolates Founder Brant Secunda. "The Huichols know that gifts of chocolate help people develop and strengthen a mutual love with the earth and with each other," adds Secunda.

The Huichols, who were recognized by former Mexican President Vicente Fox as a national treasure of Mexico, are under tremendous economic and social pressure to assimilate with modern society, to leave their traditional villages and go to work in cities or on tobacco plantations where they are often exposed to harmful pesticides. By providing an outlet for their visionary yarn paintings and beaded artwork, by donating a portion of the tuition from each seminar and pilgrimage he leads, and donating all profits from the sale of Shaman Chocolates, Secunda provides continuing economic support that enables the Huichols to continue to live in their traditional ways and to continue being Indian. Three villages and approximately 500 people are directly helped through these efforts.

Historic Corydon, IN Sparkles During Winter Holidays

The holidays officially begin on November 28 in historic Corydon, Indiana, as the city hosts its 24th Annual “Light Up Corydon” celebration. The festivities begin at noon with live music, entertainment and carriage rides. Visitors will enjoy a head start on their holiday shopping at the many unique local stores during the Merchant’s Open House. One lucky shopper will even win a shopping spree.

To help spark the Christmas spirit, a living nativity scene, a scene from “Nuncrackers, A Nunsense Christmas Musical”,” a reading of “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” and other events will lead into the lighting up of the town.

“Light Up Corydon” is just the beginning of the region’s many holiday celebrations. Santa will make his appearance every weekend for pictures and visits at the Corydon Capitol Building. For the best entertainment around, visitors can enjoy The Nunsense Christmas Musical, Nuncrackers, running from Nov. 27 through Dec. 13 presented by Hayswood Theatre. Magdalena’s Restaurant will also host a Breakfast with Santa for children under 10, including games, crafts, door prizes, songs and more on Dec. 5, and the 4th Annual Christmas Tea celebration with jovial music and food at its location on Chestnut Street on Dec. 20.

Beyond the festive holiday events, Corydon offers travelers an incredible collection of historic sites and attractions. Visitors marvel at the natural wonders of the historic Marengo Caves, a National Natural Landmark where enormous passages are highlighted by dazzling formations and crystals. The State Historic Site marks Corydon’s place as Indiana’s first capitol.

Travelers also enjoy touring the Leora Brown School, one of the nation’s oldest standing early African American schoolhouses, and visiting the Constitution Elm site, under which Indiana delegates met to draft the state’s first constitution. Visitors will also find plenty of diverse lodging options in the area, including a historic bed and breakfast, affordable modern hotels and even a riverboat casino. Complete visitor information and a free visitors guide is available by logging on to or calling (888) 738-2137.

Turkey tips with Chef Joshua Campbell

Tips on the Turkey Preparation:
“Brine the turkey to retain moisture and if you’re not worried about whole bird presentation....have the butcher break down the bird into 4 pieces, separating the white meat from the dark meat, if you’d like, you can also have the butcher save the bones for you to make a nice stock.”

New Things To Do With a Turkey:
“I’ve been playing around with a sea-salt crusted turkey. You start with a salted dough consisting of sea salt, flour, egg whites, rosemary, thyme, garlic and water and roll out the dough large enough the cover the turkey. After cooking it the dough will become hard and brittle, then after cooking, pick off the dried dough on the bird. What happens is this amazing infusion of salt and herbs that seeps into the turkey. You can also do a lobster stuffed turkey, for some reason these flavors really work well together.”

“ A turkey melt is one of the best things to do with leftovers. Get some nice bread and slap on the leftover turkey, then top with a cranberry relish, cheddar cheese and put it on a Panini press. Save the gravy as a dipping sauce. You could do also a turkey tater-tot casserole, with the stuffing, leftover turkey and gravy in a shallow dish, throw it in the oven with everything mixed together and you have a great dish.”

On Picking the Right Turkey:
“ Don’t always go for the biggest bird, try to go as organic or heirloom as possible, you should treat good turkey just as you would a filet mignon.”

Campbell, a Cincinnati native attended the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach from 1999-2001. During his culinary training, Campbell served at the Chef de Cuisine at 11th Maple Street ((listed in the Zagat survey as top restaurant in the U.S.) in West Palm Beach for 5 years.

In 2003 Campbell returned to Cincinnati for 1 year and worked as a private chef for Bohlen Veneer Corporation in Fairfield and for David Faulk at Boca.

In 2004 he returned to Florida and worked a short time as head chef at Osceola Street Café in Stuart, Florida. Later that year he was offered the Executive Chef position at The Dunmore Beach Club on Harbor Island in the Bahamas which is an Andrew Harper Hideaway Report “Best Small Resort”. During his 2-½ years at the Dunmore Beach Club he attended the Royal Thai Culinary Academy in Bang Sain, Thailand where he learned the art of creating Thai Cuisine, which he incorporates into many of his dishes.

Beginning in 2007 Campbell served as the Director of Cuisine for Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas, which is the only 5 star restaurant and recipient of the Wine Spectator-Grand Award in the entire Caribbean. While at Graycliff, Campbell was the first chef to bring molecular gastronomy to the Bahamas.

Corey Wietmarschen is the brains behind the business. Corey graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and with a minor in marketing. After college, he managed Blue Ash Nursing Home and Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Having had a taste of customer service and managerial experience Corey went back to Xavier to pursue his Masters degree in Sports Administration.

For a Bold Red Bar and Holiday Cocktails, Turn to an Italian Classic...

Dieci E Lode
Originally served at No 9 Park in Boston, created by mixologist Jon Gertsen

0.5 ounce Campari
2.5 ounces Gin
1.5 ounces Grapefruit Juice
Lime Wedge

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add Campari and grapefruit juice and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with lime wedge.

Red Hot Chocolate
Originally served at 116 Crown in New Haven, CT, created by mixologist John Ginnetti

1 ounce Campari
2 ounces Brandy
3 ounces Whole Milk
0.5 ounce heavy cream (optional)
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips

Put milk, cream & chocolate in a milk frothing cup used for espresso.
Froth milk as you would for cappuccino. When milk is hot remove frothing wand and whisk or stir vigorously until chocolate is completely melted. Add Campari and Brandy. Pour into heat-resistant cup. Can be garnished with 1 large hand-cut marshmallow or a red peppermint stick.

Love Letter
Created by Adam Wilson of Beretta

1 oz Campari
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
0.75 oz Cointreau
0.25 oz Maple Syrup (should be 1:1 with water)
0.25 oz Small Hand Grenadine
3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters

Shake. Add Soda. Pour over ice in highball. Garnish with a lime zest.

Nicaraguan Negroni Punch
Created by mixologist Jon Gasparini of Rye on the Road

15 ounces Campari
10 ounces Flor de Cana 7 year
7.5 ounces Cinzano Rosso
10 ounces Grapefruit Juice
2.5 ounces Honey

Combine juice of ten lemons and 30 cloves in a tupperware container or cake mold and freeze. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl with flavored iced block.