Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Year's Eve Celebration Menu from the White House Inn


Baked Brie - $10
Spinach & Artichoke Dip-$10
Lobster Mac n
Shrimp Cocktail -$10

House salad- mixed greens with carrots, onion, croutons & your choice of dressing

Caesar Salad topped with cheese & croutons


Accompanied by your choice of 2 side dishes

Prime Rib - $32
12 oz Prime rib topped with au Jus

Chicken Rochambeau - $28
8 oz. chicken breast with ham, provolone cheese & topped with brown gravy

Lobster Tail - $48
Two 6 oz. lobster tails

Filet Mignon - $38
8 oz. filet mignon Oscar style

Surf & Turf - $55
8 oz. filet & 6 oz. lobster tails

Steak Lynchburg - $38
12 oz. strip studded w/ peppercorns & fresh made Jack Daniels sauce

Salmon - $32
8 oz. pan seared & topped with a shrimp lemon Burre Blanc

Side Dishes:
Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Mashed Potato, Rice, Vegetable Medley, Green Beans & Saut

The White House Inn is located at:

4940 Muhlhauser Rd
Hamilton (West Chester), OH 45011
Phone: 513.860.1110
Fax: 513.860.9050

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Menus Now Available on LocalEats Apps and

LocalEats, a top-selling travel app dedicated to helping diners find the best locally owned restaurants in America, and SinglePlatform, a company committed to helping local businesses get discovered online, announced a content partnership today. The partnership places SinglePlatform’s menu content into both the LocalEats iPhone and iPad apps, as well as the website. The new content brings LocalEats users complete access to 12,000+ restaurant menus from LocalEats-selected restaurants, without having to leave the app or the LocalEats website to view them.

Since the LocalEats app launched in 2008, it has consistently added increased in-app functionality for users, such as the ability to call a taxi via Taxi Magic, make a reservation with OpenTable, or even find a restaurant deal, through its recently announced partnership with top dining deal aggregator BiteHunter.

SinglePlatform co-founder Wiley Cerilli said, "LocalEats is unusual in that it's not a user-generated content app, but instead is a highly curated app that doesn't include chains. At SinglePlatform, we want to help the world find exactly these sorts of restaurants -- places that perhaps don't have the resources to plug their menu into the internet across the spectrum, or even have a website -- but which can greatly benefit from having it deployed from a "single platform" like ours.”

"We are happy have a menu partner who can provide more than just big-city restaurant menus, and in fact shares our commitment to helping great local restaurants across America be discovered,” said Kelsey Weaver of LocalEats. “Because of their direct relationship with restaurants, SinglePlatform has the most up-to-date menus available in markets of every size, from large to small. Users of LocalEats will enjoy the increased convenience of viewing menus in-app. ”

The LocalEats app, which also includes international destinations, is available now in the App Store.

Bring Color & Flavor to Winter Cooking with the Piquillo Pepper

Envision a rich, sweet pepper, hand-picked from the hills of Peru and fire-roasted before being packed so perfectly that each pepper is ready to use, straight from the jar. Roland® Piquillo peppers are delectable and easy-to-use. Their vibrant color and piquant, roasted flavor makes them the perfect ingredient to liven up winter cooking. Sandra Gutierrez, chef and author of The New Southern-Latino Table, makes a scrumptious Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine (recipe below) that will bring warmth to your kitchen. “Piquillo” is Spanish for “little beak,” which describes the beak-like shape of the pepper. Traditionally grown in Spain, Roland® Piquillo peppers are grown in Peru in a similar climate and soil. Bright red, sweet, and tangy, the Piquillo is a great addition to salads, stews, and sandwiches. The slightly smoky flavor adds a depth and intrigue to dishes. Because the piquillo is so delicately packed, it is perfect for stuffing or serving whole. The peppers are nearly uniform in size, color, and shape which makes them easy to use with little waste.

Drain the piquillo peppers and blot them dry with paper towels so they're easier to slice.
Don't rinse piquillo peppers under running water; doing so, removes flavor.
Use piquillo peppers in place of roasted red peppers in your favorite recipes.
To make a deliciously flavored sandwich spread or dip, simply process 3 or 4 piquillo peppers with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 grated garlic clove, until smooth.
Add finely minced piquillo peppers to your next pot of chili for a sweet touch.
Stuff piquillo peppers with a creamy salad (such as egg, potato or tuna) for a quick, easy, and elegant appetizer.


Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine
By Sandra A. Gutierrez

1 large chicken cut into 8 portions
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons Roland® extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced white onions
1-½ cups sliced Roland® Piquillo peppers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
8 ounces white wine
¼ cup Roland® capers
1 cup black Roland® olives (like Kalamata), pitted and left whole

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides, until golden brown. Remove the chicken to a separate plate and set aside; remove pan from the heat and with a spoon, remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat rendered in the pan (discard the excess fat). Set the Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook, while stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until onions have begun to soften. Add the piquillo peppers, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf stir well, until combined and cook for 30 seconds. Add the plum tomatoes and the wine, stirring well and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot (and any juices that collected on the plate as it rested) and bring the liquid to a boil; cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the capers and black olives and cover again; simmer an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork). Before serving, season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Note: I like to serve this in deep bowls with plenty of crusty bread to help me sop up the juices. It's also delicious when spooned over an easy pilaf made with rice (or farro) or over cooked noodles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Unique New Year’s Eve Cocktail Ideas from Nielsen-Massey

The bubbly will be flowing on New Year’s Eve, but there are a lot more holiday cocktail options than the traditional champagne. Party hosts can impress guests with unique drink recipes and staple cocktails that are easily enhanced with a dash of flavor extract.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas offers products that are secret weapons for creative mixologists looking for ways to add extra flavor to classic drinks. A dash of Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Water adds a light taste to champagne while Pure Almond Extract mixes well in a piña colada. Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar is also a great way to rim cocktail glasses.

Inventive mixologists can add a teaspoon of Pure Peppermint Extract to 2 ounces of vodka to create Peppermint Schnapps or try the Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Pattitini recipe below that will bring New Year’s cheer to the party.

Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Pattitini

2 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Half & half or cream
1 heaping Tablespoon hot cocoa mix (i.e. Ghiradelli Premium Hot Cocoa)
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Tahitian Extract (Madagascar or Mexican if preferred)
Chocolate syrup
Mini candy cane

Add all ingredients except the syrup in a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a swirl of chocolate syrup and candy cane.

* for a fun twist, swirl chocolate syrup in martini glasses, then place in freezer for 5-10 minutes
** garnish with a sprig of fresh peppermint for more holiday cheer

Serves 2

Pucker-Up with Wolfgang Puck's New Valentine's Cocktail: the Red Velvet Martini

Master Chef, Wolfgang Puck and Spago Beverly Hills’ Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard introduce The Red Velvet Martini, their latest cocktail drink just in time for Valentine’s night. Wolfgang Puck’s new Double Blend Mocha Organic Cold Brewed Iced Coffee is the secret ingredient along with Vodka, Chambord, and fresh raspberries. Double Blend Mocha provides a decadent flavor base as it’s made with bold, rich espresso and Viennese chocolate.

“My iced coffees, initially inspired by our pastries and crème brûlée, are a guilt free pleasure because they are only 120 calories, organic, made with a cold brewed process” says Wolfgang Puck. “All the coffee flavors like Vanilla Fusion, Double Blend Mocha, Crème Caramel and Cafe Au Lait add that extra special pizzazz to holiday deserts, shakes and drinks.”

Here is Wolfgang’s recipe for The Red Velvet Martini introduced at Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, California:

· 2 oz Wolfgang Puck’s Double Blend Mocha Organic Cold Brewed Iced Coffee (Very cold)
· 1 ½ oz Vodka
· ½ oz Chambord
· 3 Fresh Raspberries

Muddle the raspberries and put all ingredients in a Martini shaker and shake well for 10 seconds, strain, pour into your favorite Martini glass and have a Happy Valentine’s Night.

All four flavors are now available in The Fresh Market Stores, The Natural Food Section of Kroger, Rice Epicurean Markets, Fry’s, Dillons, Kings Sooper, Smith Food Stores, Henry’s Farmers Markets, select Whole Foods Market, CVS, and Bristol Farms Stores , Jimbos in California and Morton-Williams, Amish Market, Westside Markets and Garden of Eden in Manhattan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BRAVO! introduces two-course dinner menu January 9!

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana in West Chester is continuing to celebrate into the New Year with the debut of its $15.95 two course dinner menu on Jan. 9. For $15.95, guests can enjoy a delicious soup or salad and one of five housemade entrées, Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to close. BRAVO! is a BRAVOIBRIO Restaurant Group concept.

BRAVO!’s $1595 two course dinner menu will offer guests an opportunity to enjoy authentic, Roman-inspired cuisine at an affordable price. Guests can choose from a variety of choices for the first course: Insalata Della Casa, featuring chopped greens, cucumber, tomato, bacon, crispy pasta and creamy parmesan dressing; BRAVO! Chopped Salad, dressed in traditional Italian; Caesar Salad, with housemade croutons; or the chef’s select Soup of the Day. Guests can select one of BRAVO!’s most popular entrees for a second course: Chicken Parmesan Milanese, with herb pasta, fresh Mozzarella and housemade pomodoro sauce; Chicken Chopped Salad, dressed in Tuscan Italian; Balsamic Glazed Chicken, served with fresh asparagus, Mediterranean orzo and grain pilaf tossed with artichokes, basil, Kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes and Feta; Lobster Ravioli, with sautéed shrimp and grape tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce; or Sausage Tortelloni, tossed with pancetta and housemade tomato sauce.

BRAVO! offers $7.95 lunch specials Monday through Friday, featuring daily selections of heaping sandwiches, lavish salads, scrumptious pastas and unique pizzas. BRAVO! Bar Bites! are available for $2.95 Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close in the bar area. Bar guests may indulge in portions of BRAVO! appetizer classics such as Bruschetta with Mushrooms and Boursin, Crispy Shrimp Napoli, Artichoke and Spinach Formaggio, Meatball Sliders and Fries, Cheese Ravioli Al Forno and Balsamic Onion, and Portobello & Gorgonzola Flatbread. BRAVO! invites guests to celebrate $5 Martini Night every Wednesday in the bar, beginning January 4.

Participating locations:

9426 Waterfront Drive
West Chester, OH 45069
(513) 759-9398

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lots of Luscious Latkes

Although potato latkes are a traditional Chanukah treat, why not experiment this year by making latkes with other vegetables? With the recipes below, you can enjoy a different kind of latke every night of Chanukah!

I prefer to use russet potatoes because they are higher in starch and have lower water content. However, you can also use red potatoes or Yukon Gold successfully.

To keep grated potatoes from turning a grayish color, immediately add grated onions to the potatoes—the onion juice will prevent the potatoes from turning black. (You can also achieve the same effect by crushing and adding half a vitamin C tablet to the potatoes.) If you want to grate the potatoes by hand, do it at the last minute to keep the potatoes white.

For lacy latkes, grate the potatoes using the grating blade of the food processor, using very light pressure. Empty the potatoes into a colander and rinse under cold running water to remove the starch (this also helps prevent the potatoes from turning dark). Squeeze dry and then process in batches using the steel blade, with very quick on/off pulses. Do not overprocess. Transfer the grated potatoes to a bowl and mix them with the other ingredients, working quickly.

You can bake latkes instead of frying them. If you’re frying, don’t overcrowd the pan, as it will lower the temperature of the oil. When the latkes are done, their outsides will be crisp and the centers will be tender yet cooked through.

Most latkes can be made in advance and frozen successfully. Reheat them, uncovered, at 375° for about 10 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet, until they’re crispy and piping hot. There’s no need to defrost them first.

Serve latkes with a dollop of applesauce or tomato salsa for a meat meal, or with low-fat sour cream or yogurt for a dairy meal.

Norene’s Easy Potato Latkes

Makes about 2 dozen latkes or 5 dozen miniatures

These latkes are quick and easy, and you can use basic ingredients you’re sure to have on hand.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and scrubbed
1 medium onion
2 eggs (or 1 egg plus 2 egg whites)
1/3 cup flour or matzah meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Insert steel blade in food processor. Cut potatoes in chunks and cut onion in half. Place both in processor with eggs. Process until puréed, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil; process a few seconds longer to blend into a smooth mixture.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into hot oil to form pancakes; brown well on both sides. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Stir batter before cooking each new batch. Latkes can be placed on a baking sheet and kept warm in a 250° oven. They freeze well.

Baked Version: Place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in oven. Preheat oven to 450°. Drop spoonfuls of potato mixture onto well-oiled baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake 10 minutes, until bottoms are browned and crispy. Turn latkes over and transfer pan from upper rack to lower rack and vice versa. Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer.


Carrot Latkes

Makes 16 to 18 latkes or 5 dozen
hors d’oeuvres.

6 medium carrots
1 medium onion
3 eggs (or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Insert grater in food processor. Cut carrots to fit feed tube and grate using medium pressure. Measure 2 cups.

Using the steel blade of the processor, process onion until fine, about 6 to 8 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil. Process until blended, about 15 seconds.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of carrot mixture into hot oil to form pancakes and flatten slightly. Brown well until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Freezes well.

Variation: To make zucchini latkes, replace carrots with 3 medium zucchinis. After grating, salt zucchini lightly and let stand for 15 minutes. Press out
excess moisture.

Cauliflower Latkes

Makes 14 latkes

These luscious, low-carb latkes are a delicious alternative to traditional potato latkes, with just 42 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates each.

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
(about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)
1 large egg
1/4 cup matzah meal or bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender (or microwave on high, covered, for 6 to 7 minutes). Measure 3 cups cooked.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the cauliflower until mashed, about 10 to 12 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil; process with quick on/off pulses to combine. If the mixture seems too loose, add a little extra matzah meal.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of cauliflower mixture into hot oil to form pancakes and flatten slightly. Brown well until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Latkes reheat well, but freezing isn’t recommended.

Variation: To make broccoli latkes, substitute 4 cups of broccoli florets for cauliflower.


Winter Vegetable Latkes for a Crowd

Makes 48 latkes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 large carrots or 12 baby carrots
2 large parsnips
2 large potatoes
1/2 Vidalia or other sweet onion
4 to 5 scallions
1/4 cup fresh dill
6 large eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour or matzah meal
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil (plus more as needed)

Peel the vegetables and cut into chunks. In a food processor fitted with a grater, grate the sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips in batches through the feed tube, using medium pressure. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Next, grate the potatoes in batches through the feed tube, using medium pressure. Combine with sweet potatoes and other grated vegetables.

Remove the grater and insert the steel blade into the food processor. Process the onion, scallions and dill until finely minced, about 8 to 10 seconds. Add the eggs to the processor bowl and process for 5 additional seconds. Transfer the mixture to the grated vegetables and add flour, salt and pepper; mix well.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of vegetable mixture into hot oil and brown well, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, stirring before each new batch. Add more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

Chef’s Secrets:

Eggs-Actly!: Instead of using 6 eggs, substitute 4 eggs and 4 egg whites or 1 1/4 cups liquid egg substitute.

Warm It Up: To keep cooked latkes warm, arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet and place in 250° oven. Do not cover.


No-Fry Potato and Spinach Latkes

Makes about 24 medium latkes or 6 dozen miniatures

Traditional latkes are usually fried in at least 1/4 cup of oil, so one latke contains about 3 grams of fat. I don’t know anyone who can stop at just one latke, so these “no-guilt” latkes are a terrific alternative. Each one contains just over a gram of fat—now that’s a miracle!

4 teaspoons canola or olive oil, divided
3 medium potatoes
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium onion
1 to 2 carrots
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
3 eggs (or 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in your oven. Preheat oven to 450°. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick spray, then brush with 1 teaspoon of oil. Or, use two non-stick baking sheets and brush each one lightly with oil.

Peel potatoes (or scrub them well if you don’t want to peel them). Using the grater of your food processor, grate potatoes using light pressure. Place potatoes in bowl and set aside. Insert the steel blade of the food processor and process spinach, onion, carrots and dill until fine. Add potatoes, eggs and the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Process with quick on/off pulses to mix. Quickly blend in remaining ingredients.

Drop mixture by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and flatten to form latkes. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, or until bottoms are browned and crispy. Turn latkes over and transfer pan from upper rack to lower rack and vice versa. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes longer, until brown. Best served immediately.

Note: Latkes may be made a day in advance and can be frozen.

Variations: Instead of baking latkes, brown them in a non-stick skillet. Instead of adding the oil to the latke mixture, use it for frying.


Estee’s Celery Root Potato Latkes

Makes 10 latkes

Here’s a slightly different version of typical potato latkes. The celery root adds wonderful flavor and is a great idea for those who are watching their carbs. This recipe is from my friend Estee Kafra, a food photographer and food writer.

2 cups grated potatoes
2 cups grated celery root
2 eggs
1/4 cup flavored breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Place the grated potatoes and celery root into a colander and press to squeeze out extra juices.

Pour mixture into a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except oil; mix well.

Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan and place tablespoons of batter into the hot oil. Be careful not to overcrowd. Once edges have browned, flip latkes over and cook on other side. Remove latkes from oil with slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper towel to drain.


Estee’s Crispy Cheese Latkes

Makes 14 latkes

Another wonderful latke recipe from Estee Kafra.

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 pound farmer cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup sugar (or less, or substitute with Splenda)
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Oil for frying
Low-sugar strawberry jam for garnish

Place all ingredients except oil into a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until a thick batter forms.

Heat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil. Drop in batter, a tablespoonful at a time. Adjust the temperature to ensure the latkes don’t burn; flip them once the batter is a bit firm and the bottom is brown.

Remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Garnish with jam.

Note: These cheese latkes have less flour, less sugar and more cheese than most cheese latkes.

Variation: Estee sometimes adds a bit of jam into the middle of the latke right before it firms up. To do this, make an indentation in the center with a spoon and place a small amount of jam in it. Flip over carefully. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cincinnati seniors published in national cookbook

Atria Senior Living, one of the nation’s largest providers of independent living, assisted living and memory care services, announced today the release of A Dash and a Dollop. From dishes that came to America by boat in the 1800s to meals that saw families through the Great Depression, the book is a unique collection of Atria residents’ favorite recipes and the cherished stories behind each one, including their role in family legacies, traditions and customs.

Envisioned by Atria Senior Living as a way to gather some of the many untold stories from residents nationwide, A Dash and a Dollop will be available online at Barnes and Noble® later this year. Each of Atria’s 13,000 residents will also receive a gift copy throughout the month of December.

“In Atria kitchens across the country, it’s not uncommon for our culinary directors to recreate some of our residents’ favorite dishes for everyone to enjoy,” said Ronda Watson, vice president of culinary services for Atria Senior Living. “In doing so, we often hear the stories behind the recipe’s significance, whether it’s a favorite memory from childhood, or a dish a resident prepared for their family for many years. That’s where the inspiration for this book was born – through hearing these stories and understanding the meaningful role that cherished recipes can play in a family’s life.”

According to Watson, recognizing the pivotal role of the kitchen in each resident’s unique life story inspired this heartfelt creation. And according to a recent consumer survey, most Americans feel the same connection to the kitchen, with 96% of those surveyed saying that food and cooking are important parts of their family traditions.

The survey also revealed that two out of three Americans’ favorite recipes are connected to memories shared with loved ones, and 65% also make recipes that have been passed down by a loved one.

“Families have been coming together in the kitchen for centuries, and this is our way of sharing our residents’ special memories with everyone both inside and outside of the Atria family,” added Watson

Julie Harding, chief operating officer for Atria Senior Living, sees A Dash and a Dollop as a way to both preserve residents’ memories and honor those who call Atria home.

“These recipes represent an important piece of our residents’ unique life stories,” said Harding. “Some of the stories in this collection are incredible – it’s really amazing what the creation of A Dash and a Dollop has helped us learn about the residents who make their home with us, and now, we’ve given them a tangible way to share their recipes and stories with their friends and family.”

For more information about A Dash and a Dollop, visit

Monday, December 12, 2011

Biking Italy's Wine Routes for Foodies - New Tours for 2012 from Italiaoutdoors

Italiaoutdoors introduces three innovative tours to its 2012 “Bike the Wine Roads” line-up: the “Primavera del Prosecco” tour, April 1-8; the “Grape Harvest Bike the Wine Roads of the Veneto” tour, September 15-24; and the “Bike the Wine Roads Tours of Trentino-Alto Adige,” September 29-October 8. Designed and led by co-owners Chef and Wine Curator Kathy Bechtel and recreation specialist Vernon McClure, all Italiaoutdoors cycling holidays offer an in-depth exploration of notable wine regions throughout Northeastern Italy. Set amidst spectacular backdrops such as the Dolomite Mountains, the tours are further customized according to the participants in each group.

Italiaoutdoors’ bike routes cover 30-45 miles daily, accommodating all skill levels and covering various terrains ranging from shores to mountains. Each group has a maximum of eight travelers to guarantee that each guest receives personalized attention from the two expert tour guides. The small group size also allows for daily itinerary refinement based on interests and levels. Tour prices range from $3,495-$3,995 per person, based on double occupancy and include accommodations in 3+ star hotels; all ground transfers, daily wine tastings; bike rental; GPS (great for personal exploration of the areas as well); all entry fees to attractions; all breakfasts, lunches, snacks; and most dinners. A single supplement is available.

Primavera del Prosecco Bike Tour – April 1-8, 2012
Price: $3,495 per person, double occupancy
Italiaoutdoors invite cycling and culinary fans to explore the Prosecco region and welcome spring with a visit to the province of Treviso during this eight-day bicycle holiday. Tour participants will visit the region during the Primavera del Prosecco festival, a celebration of wine, food, art and culture. The tour travels through different wine regions each day and participants enjoy distinctive regional dining and wine experiences including Prosecco’s world-renowned sparkling wine as well as lesser-known treasures including Piave, Colli Berici and Breganze.

Grape Harvest Bike the Wine Roads of the Veneto Tour – September 15-24, 2012
Price: $3,995 per person, double occupancy
This 10-day tour whisks travelers through the depths of the beautiful Veneto region. Home to the largest number of quality DOC wines in Italy, the area produces world-renowned vintages, including Valpolicella, Bardolino, Soave, Prosecco and Breganze. Guests begin this journey with a ride along the shores of Lago di Garda, followed by visits to neighboring cities Verona and Vicenza. While visiting these two historic gems, guests will taste prominent wines ranging from Valpolicella and Soave to Gambellara and Colli Berici. Other highlights include a visit to the picturesque town of Bassano del Grappa, home to Breganze and Colli Asolani wines. The trip winds down with a tour of the lush Prosecco region.

Bike the Wine Roads Tours of Trentino-Alto Adige – September 29-October 8, 2012
Price: $3,995 per person, double occupancy
Beginning in the city of Bolzano, this 10-day bicycle holiday kicks off with a journey down the picturesque Sudtirol Weinstrasse, or “Wine Road,” home to the many wonderful wine producers of the Sudtirol Alto Adige region. Heading south, guests will travel through the Mezzocorona and Mezzolombardo wine areas where they will enjoy a variety of Teroldego Rotaliano wines. The scenery then changes from mountains to lakefront views in the Veneto, with a visit to the Lago di Garda. Trip highlights include a visit to the historic city of Verona – home to Juliet’s balcony and the ancient Arena that still hosts cultural events and operas today – and a visit to Soave, a charming walled city that produces refreshing white Soave wines.

Any of these tours can be run on alternate dates for a private group of 4-12, for the same price. All Italiaoutdoors private tours are individually designed to match the interests and abilities of each group, providing a personal and authentic experience of the region.

About Italiaoutdoors
Italiaoutdoors is an owner-operated private guide service, creating and guiding active culinary and wine tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs -- including tours with James Beard award-winning chefs -- Italiaoutdoors customizes vacations for small groups. Italiaoutdoors has more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region, plus formal culinary and wine training. Programs also include cooking classes, wine tastings, and restaurant dining which explore the best in local regional cuisine and undiscovered wines. Itineraries are rounded out with city visits, shopping, cultural excursions or just relaxing poolside. The owners -- experts in fitness, food, and the region –personally lead each tour., 1-978-270-5774.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toast to 2012 with Perrier Jouët

Getting prepared for New Year’s Eve can be challenging: picking out the right outfit, deciding on the perfect party, and most importantly choosing the bubbly that you will toast with at midnight!

Perrier-Jouët, one of the world’s leading champagne houses, is the essence of beauty and luxury, and in celebration of its 200th anniversary has launched Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut 2004. The special Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque champagne bottles are ordained with an iconic floral design, dating back to 1902. Serving as a hostess gift or to complement any bouquet or centerpiece, Perrier-Jouët is the perfectly elegant choice for toasting to a new year! At $139 a bottle and $150 for the gift set, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque is already a favorite among Kim Kardashian, Zoe Saldana, Hilary Duff, Eva Amurri and mom Susan Sarandon.

There is even a more affordable option, Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut at $45! Perrier-Jouët bottles and Gift Packs can be purchased at select local retailers and on-line, including but not limited to:,,,

In addition, below, please find two specialty cocktails to spice up the traditional champagne toast.

Perrier-Jouët Rose
¼ oz. Rose Water
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of fresh pomegranate juice
Directions: Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute. Saturate it with rose water. Carefully top off with Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut and add pomegranate juice. Garnish with dry baby rose buds.

Perrier-Jouët Fraise Sauvage
2 oz. Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut
1 ¼ oz. Vodka
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ oz. simple syrup
1 whole strawberry
Directions: In a bottom of a mixing glass muddle the strawberry into a purée. Add all ingredients except Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7-8 seconds. Pour Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the cocktail over it. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Registration Opens for Ohio's Largest Sustainable Ag Conference

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 33rd annual conference, Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty, February 18-19, 2012 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, the event draws more than 1,000 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past two years. This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers Woody Tasch and Andrew Kimbrell; more than 70 informative, hands-on workshops; two featured pre-conference events on February 17; a trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

“Our conference title says a lot about what we believe and what we’re trying to accomplish,” says OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Farmers, businesses, chefs, and consumers are working together to reclaim our food sovereignty—rebuilding local food systems and Ohio’s rural farming communities, demanding access to healthy, organic food and information about how that food is produced, and relearning sustainable agriculture practices that nourish our bodies, our communities, and the environment.”

Keynote Speakers
Saturday’s keynote lecture titled, “Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Matter,” will be provided by Woody Tasch. Tasch is the chairman of the Slow Money Alliance and inspired the Slow Money movement by writing Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered.

The Slow Money Alliance advocates for sustainable financial investments that support local, community-based food and farm businesses. So far, $4.5 million has been invested in 16 small food enterprises through Slow Money’s national gatherings. In the last year, $5 million more has been invested through Slow Money chapters.

For 10 years, Tasch was chairman of Investors’ Circle, which has invested $133 million in 200 early stage sustainability businesses since 1992. Tasch also served as treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation where, as part of an innovative mission-related venture capital program, a substantial investment was made in Stonyfield Farm, now the world’s largest maker of organic yogurt.

Sunday’s keynote lecture titled, “The Future of Food,” will be provided by Andrew Kimbrell. Kimbrell is one of the country’s leading environmental attorneys and the founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA). The Center for Food Safety pursues public education, policy advocacy, and legal actions to curtail industrial agricultural production methods that harm human health and the environment, including genetic engineering.

Kimbrell is author of 101 Ways to Help Save the Earth, The Human Body Shop: The Engineering and Marketing of Life, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food and general editor of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. His articles have appeared in numerous law reviews, technology journals, magazines, and newspapers across the country, and he has been featured in documentary films, including “The Future of Food.” In 1994, Utne Reader named Kimbrell one of the world’s leading 100 visionaries. In 2007, he was named one of the 50 people most likely to save the planet by The Guardian-U.K.

The conference will also feature more than 70 hands-on, educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: bramble and strawberry production; no-till farming; edible landscaping; pest management; compost; pork, beef, and lamb production; poultry nutrition; food preservation; food safety; social investing; farm and business planning; renewable energy; mushroom production; season extension; mulch; cover crops; aquaculture; dairy health; recordkeeping; Farm Bill policy; co-ops; small space gardening; companion planting; organic certification; fiber production; permaculture; tax planning; genetic engineering; field crops; grassroots organizing; conservation funding; cheesemaking, and more.

In addition, the conference will offer a three part series of workshops about high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), commonly known as “fracking,” which is an intensive extraction process that uses a high pressure chemical cocktail to fracture rock to release natural gas. The workshops are designed to educate farmers, landowners, and concerned citizens about the environmental and social risks of this process, existing laws and regulations, and what actions can be taken by landowners and community organizers.

The conference will also offer the following featured conference guests:
- Jeff Moyer, the director of farm operations at the Rodale Institute and an expert on organic crop production, will discuss no-till organic farming, utilizing cover crops to enhance soil fertility, and effective compost management.
- Gary Zimmer, farmer, author, educator, and president of Midwestern Bio-Ag, will discuss nutritional considerations for pasture-based dairy operations.
- Dan Ravicher, a patent law professor and executive director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), will provide an update on a federal lawsuit against Monsanto which seeks preemptive court protection for farmers who may be accused of patent infringement if they become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically engineered seed.

Pre-Conference Events
Two on-site pre-conference events will also be featured on February 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The first, “Slow Money for Ohio? Financing the Local Food System,” will feature Slow Money Alliance founder and chairman Woody Tasch and a panel of experts, to talk about Slow Money, the challenges of capitalizing the local food economy, and successful strategies to nurture sustainable food systems and businesses.

The second pre-conference event, “No Till, No Drill, No Problem: Integrating No-Till Methods into Organic Production Systems,” will feature Jeff Moyer, director of farm operations at the Rodale Institute, to discuss practical ways to build soil fertility and tilth, suppress weeds, and manage cover crop rotations, to increase production.

Additional Features
The conference will also feature a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; a book signing by Woody Tasch and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture; a raffle; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a film screening and discussion of The Greenhorns.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gluten-Free Lifestyle--10 Tips Help You Make the Change

If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or you’ve adopted the diet to simply become healthier, you know that you have the knowledge and willpower to stay away from gluten. But liking, much less loving, your new diet? Well, that’s another matter entirely. Many individuals who live a gluten-free lifestyle find themselves missing their old diets, and they especially dread being taunted by friends who seem to gobble gluten at every turn.

If this sounds familiar, Danna Korn has some welcome encouragement: Hang in there. You can learn to live—and love—this lifestyle.

“Going gluten-free is a physical transition, yes—but it’s also a psychological one,” says Korn, author of Living Gluten-Free For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-58589-4, $19.99). “It’s natural to experience feelings of loss and jealousy regarding ‘forbidden foods,’ but the good news is that you can learn to think of your gluten-free lifestyle in very positive terms.”

If you or a family member must live gluten-free and you’re ready to see your lifestyle in a whole new light, read on for ten of Korn’s tried-and-true tips:

Focus on what you can eat. When your brain is focused on gluten, it can seem to be surrounding you even more closely than oxygen molecules. However, looking at the big picture will show you that the list of things you can eat is a lot longer than the list of things you can’t.

“Focus on the foods you can eat and put a special emphasis on those that you especially enjoy,” Korn suggests. “Try to think outside the box and explore foods you may not have otherwise tried, or figure out how to make your favorite glutenous meal into a gluten-freebie.”

Expand your culinary horizons with adventuresome alternatives. Many of us tend to eat the same types of foods over and over and over again—so living gluten-free is a great opportunity to try new ingredients, tastes, and dishes.

“A bold, gluten-free world awaits you, filled with foods some people have never heard of,” Korn confirms. “Quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, buckwheat, acai, kefir, and sorghum top the list of my faves. If you’re a parent, don’t underestimate your kids’ willingness to try new foods—they may broaden their horizons with surprising ease.”

Enjoy ethnic fare. Unlike Western culture, many societies around the world live practically gluten-free without even realizing it.

“Let your taste buds take a world tour,” says Korn. “Many Asian cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean, are often gluten-free, as are many Mexican and Indian dishes. You can do some research on the Internet or explore cookbooks featuring recipes from around the world.”

Control the diet. To some extent your gluten-free lifestyle will determine what you eat, when and where you eat, with whom you eat, and even how you eat—but you’ll have a lot more control if you are knowledgeable and plan ahead.

“Educate yourself on menu planning,” suggests Korn. “This will help you to shop smart, and it will also help ensure that something’s always available for you when you’re hungry. A crucial part of being in control of the diet is being able to get out and about and know that you can eat safely when you’re not at home. This is true for children as well—people usually underestimate kids’ abilities to follow the diet on their own.”

Eat to live; don’t live to eat. Your body is designed to use food as a fuel, not as a comforter, pacifier, stress reliever, or partner replacer. Make sure that your relationship with food is a healthy one.

“Sure, food has become a huge part of society and interpersonal relationships, and by definition, social functions usually revolve around food,” agrees Korn. “But that doesn’t mean food is the social function, nor does that mean you have to eat the food that’s there.”

Remember: You’re different. So what? If you’re on the gluten-free diet, your bread may look a little different, and you may sometimes appear to be a tad high maintenance at a restaurant. So what? You’re not alone, and there’s no real reason to feel embarrassed.

“Lots of people ‘customize’ a menu,” reminds Korn. “Vegetarians skip a huge portion of the buffet line. Some people don’t like chicken, others don’t do dairy, and some can die if they eat the wrong foods, like peanuts. Luckily, your diet happens to be both healthy and delicious.”

Go ahead—enjoy a (gluten-free) splurge. Whether they are supposed to stay away from a certain ingredient or severely limit their portions, many dieters eventually begin to resent these restrictions, sparking a return to eating habits that feel more fulfilling.

“Give yourself a break occasionally,” urges Korn. “Indulge from time to time in your favorite gluten-free extravagance, whether it happens to be a sweet treat or a baked potato loaded with sour cream and butter. Finding and maintaining a good balance is an important part of any lifestyle.”

Tune in to the benefits. If you’re going to stick with anything long-term, it helps to know the positive “whys” rather than just blindly following a set of rules.

“If you think it would be helpful to write down all the good things about being gluten-free, do it,” says Korn. “Post the list on the fridge, if you want a daily reminder, or keep a list in a journal on your desk. When you focus on the reasons being gluten-free is a good thing in your life, you can gain a new or renewed appreciation for the lifestyle itself.”

Turn away from temptation. Avoid putting yourself in tempting situations whenever you can, saving your strength for when you have no choice in the matter.

“No, you probably shouldn’t take that job at the bakery,” confirms Korn. “And don’t think you’re building character by holding a slice of pizza to your nose and taking a big whiff. This world has plenty of gluten in it, and you’re going to run across some ‘forbidden foods’ whether you look for them or not. So don’t purposefully set yourself up for temptation and frustration.”

Deal with it; don’t dwell on it. If you’re mad, sad, grief stricken, confused, frustrated, agitated, and ticked off about having to live without gluten, that’s okay. Lots of people experience those feelings, especially if they’re forced to embark upon an entirely new—and sometimes very different—lifestyle. However, it’s important to deal with those feelings and move on.

“Call on your friends, family, and support groups; share with them how you’re feeling and let them help you work through the feelings,” instructs Korn. “If you need professional help, get it. Not wallowing in the negativity of your circumstances is important, because your thoughts may intensify and can even end up causing other physical and emotional problems.”

“Ultimately, when you educate yourself on the realities of living gluten-free and get your mind in the right place, you’ll be surprised by how much you’re enjoying each meal,” concludes Korn. “You may even look back fondly on your gluten-free transition as one of the most positive menu-expanding events in your life!”

# # #

About the Author:
Danna Korn is respected as one of the leading authorities on the gluten-free diet and the medical conditions that benefit from it. She’s been featured in People magazine, on ABC’s 20-20, and dozens of other national media outlets. She is the coauthor of Gluten-Free Cooking For Dummies®.

About the Book:
Living Gluten-Free For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-58589-4, $19.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974.

Chicken Dishes for Flavorful Winter Meals

It’s a busy time of year, but one that is perfect for cooking. Colder weather, combined with holiday entertaining, lure many of us back to the kitchen. If you’re short on time but need a tasty, healthful and economical recipe, chicken is the solution.

From the National Chicken Council, here are four new cold-weather chicken recipes that will warm-up family and guests alike. All are available, along with high-resolution photos, at

All are made with a minimum number of ingredients that can be obtained during a quick trip to the grocery store, and should take 30 minutes or less, from preparation to serving:

Chicken with Grapes and Rosemary is a lovely dish that shines with the colors of the season. Start with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks. After sautéing the meat, make a pan sauce by combining shallots, white wine, chicken broth and mustard. Top with halved red grapes and rosemary for a colorful finish. Serve the chicken over white or brown rice along with a dark vegetable like spinach or Brussels sprouts for an easy, elegant winter meal.

Pick up a pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken and prepare Chicken-Citrus Salad as a lunch or dinner entrée. Combine pulled chicken with arugula and slices of seasonal grapefruit, kiwi and oranges. Top with shelled pistachios and a light lemon juice/ olive oil vinaigrette. Make the meal complete by serving with crusty bread or sourdough bread.

Green Chicken Curry is also made with chunked boneless skinless thigh meat, and provides a spicy warmth on a cold winter night. Combine the sautéed chicken with Thai green curry paste, coconut milk, and a chopped tart green apple, such as a Granny Smith. Serve over jasmine rice and top with sliced basil and lime juice.

And for a quick and hearty one-dish meal, try Southern-Style Chicken Stew, made with chunks of boneless, skinless chicken breast meat. Begin by sautéing the chicken, and then stew the meat in chicken broth with chopped onions, sweet potatoes and sliced cooked sausage. Add torn collard leaves during the last few minutes of cooking for authentic Southern flavor.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hangover Patch

Bytox has formulated a special hangover remedy and has carefully marketed it in an easy-to-use, safe patch. The Bytox patch helps to replenish the necessary levels of vitamins and nutrients your body loses when consuming mass quantities of alcohol. With holiday season approaching, people will drink a ton – and the specially-formulated Bytox hangover remedy patch effectively replenishes the vital levels of vitamins and nutrients your body loses when you consume alcohol. By enhancing and restoring these levels, Bytox reduces the physical side effects of alcohol consumption. Use the patch before during or after your night out for maximum relief from hangovers. The patch is 100% safe and really works!* Bytox has zero calories and won’t irritate your stomach, so you can party in style. For more information visit

Chicken of the Sea Sustainability Initiative Reaches Milestone

Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods announced today another initiative milestone regarding the company’s sustainability program. In collaboration with its integrated processing partner Phil Union Frozen Foods Inc., the companies are celebrating the return of their 10,000th egg bearing crab back to the wild. Under this initiative, Phil Union Frozen Foods Inc. buys live berried crabs at full price from the fishermen and then returns them to the mangroves so they can release their eggs.

“We continually strive to identify and implement initiatives that embrace our commitment to offer seafood products that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner”, said Paul McCarthy, Executive Vice President for Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods.

A founding member of the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council, Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods also works with the Council to help educate the local fishermen to understand the importance of allowing berried female crabs to release their eggs.

“These types of efforts by dedicated companies like Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods will have a real impact on the future of this fishery. The company’s commitment to their own sustainability projects, the Council’s work and the resource itself is impressive,” said Gavin Gibbons, NFI Crab Council secretary.

Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods is a leading importer of shrimp and pasteurized crab that also maintains a strong focus on shellfish, finfish and value added seafood products. They market their products to the retail, club, foodservice and wholesale industries. In addition, the company is a division of the Thai Union Group family of companies. This group forms one of the largest vertically integrated seafood companies in the world with leadership positions in the shelf-stable, frozen and refrigerated seafood categories.

Eddie Merlot’s Announces Holiday Features Exclusive Lunch Hours, Features Available for a Limited Time

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 11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m., Nov. 28 - Dec. 23. During this limited time, Eddie Merlot’s will feature a full menu, including appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and entrée choices.

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 bonus 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
· Louisville - 455 S. Fourth Street, Suite 102, 502-584-3266

(Please note: our Burr Ridge location will not be serving holiday lunch).

To learn more, visit us at, or

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Choice of Bordeaux Wine Tours

Lovers of wines from bordeaux now have a choice of two ways to visit this world famous wine producing area: a general tour visiting all of the major sub regions and a more specialized tour focused on one region, the Médoc, arguably the most famous.

Wine Lovers Tours has scheduled both tours for May 2012. The first tour, called Bordeaux 101, starts Tuesday May 15 and ends Tuesday May 22. It will explore all the major regions of bordeaux: Médoc, St. Emilion, Graves, Sauternes as well as cultural visits including the seaside oystering town of Arcachon. This is a great introduction and overview of the essentials of what constitutes bordeaux wine. The cost is $3289 per person and includes 7 nights in a top hotel in the city center, most meals including 7 gourmet lunches or dinners, VIP winery visits to all the major bordeaux subregions and many cultural visits.

The second tour, called Bordeaux 201, starts Tuesday May 22 and ends Sunday May 27. It is based in the town of Pauillac, one of the most illustrious wine villages of the Médoc. Most meals are included, including 5 gourmet lunches or dinners and in depth wine tastings of the best wines of the Médoc. The cost is $3699 per person and the number of participants in this tour is limited.

There is a discount for registering for both tours and there is also an optional extension to Cognac.

Vincent Marottoli, President of Wine Lovers Tours, personally leads each tour. For over 30 years, he has organized wine and food tours to most of the world's most famous wine regions. He has a Ph.D. in French and is also fluent in Spanish and Italian. For additional information, he can be contacted by phone: 800-256-0141or by email

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The CBTL Beverage System Hopes To Be a Big Hit for Black Friday

Black Friday is upon us, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has the perfect fix for those wondering what to get their loved one this holiday season: the CBTL®. If your publication’s website is still compiling its holiday gift guide, please consider adding this beautifully designed, easy to use single-serve beverage system that allows you to whip up your favorite The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf espresso, coffee or tea with one touch.

The CBTL is available at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations, Bed Bath & Beyond Stores, and

The CBTL has three versions: $139 for the Contata, and $179 for the Kaldi (pictured below), as well as its newly available Americano offering. The machine is designed to be used exclusively with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf hand-selected premium espresso, coffee and hand-plucked whole-leaf tea capsules, to hand-craft your perfect cup. Available accessories include a one-touch milk frother and a whisk, and each machine comes with a complete set of all 12 flavors of assorted coffees, espressos and teas to sample.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a favorite celebrity haunt, and with the availability of the CBTL online, anyone can enjoy these signature beverages at home. The Kaldi machine comes in black, gold, red, white and blue.

Mystery Buyer Spends $17,000 on Single Malt Masterpiece at LAX

Only five days after its grand unveiling, one of the few bottles of the rare and precious Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky available in the U.S has been sold to an anonymous buyer at Los Angeles International Airport for $17,000.

The extremely rare bottle, one of only 6 available in the United States, and the only bottle in the world available at international travel retail, was purchased by an anonymous buyer travelling from Los Angeles to Taipei on November 11. Having been unveiled at an exclusive event on Monday, November 7th at the DFS Duty Free store in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), the bottle of Glenfiddich 50 Year Old was featured on a custom display at the entrance of the store, where it stood for a mere 5 days before the sale.

Glenfiddich 50 Year old is one of the world’s most acclaimed whiskies, and is the ultimate expression of the company’s pioneering spirit and expertise in distilling Nurtured over many years by generations of dedicated and distinguished long-serving craftsmen using techniques lost to most other distilleries, Glenfiddich 50 stands as proof that only an independent, family-owned distillery can remain true to its founding principles and continually pioneer in its pursuit of excellence. When first released in 2009, the first bottle of Glenfiddich 50 Year Old was sold at auction by Christie’s for a staggering $38,000, reaffirming the superior quality, rarity and desirability of the product.

“The remarkable speed with which this bottle was acquired is testament to the rarity and desirability of the phenomenal whisky,” said Lindsay Prociw, Senior Brand Manager, Glenfiddich. “Since first introducing this pioneering expression in 2009, the demand for the yearly limited release has been extremely high, and this sale reinforces and reflects our unrivalled quality credentials as the world’s most awarded single malt.”

Peter Gordon, the Chairman of William Grant & Sons and the great-great-grandson of William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich, commented “Staying true to the pioneering spirit of William Grant, who laid down stocks of whisky for future generations to enjoy, we have consistently planned ahead and have more aged stock than any other distillery. Our whisky spends years being carefully matured in our warehouses, with each additional year imparting light and elegant notes to the liquid. Every new year is important when it comes to making exceptional whisky - and Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the ultimate expression of this pioneering foresight.”

Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the crowning achievement of Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which took home 9 awards at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London on November 16, including an unprecedented 3 Best in Class trophies. At present, 5 bottles of Glenfiddich 50 remain for sale in the U.S., at various exclusive locations around the country.

Ten Simple Ways to Reducing Food Waste During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time for gifts, decorations, and lots and lots of food. As a result, it's also a time of spectacular amounts of waste. In the United States, we generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's, including three times as much food waste as at other times of the year. When our total food waste adds up to 34 million tons each year, that equals a lot of food. With the holidays now upon us, the Worldwatch Institute offers 10 simple steps we all can take to help make this season less wasteful and more plentiful.

"Family, community, love and gratitude are all unlimited resources," says Worldwatch President Robert Engelman. "Unfortunately, food and the energy, water and other natural resources that go into producing food are not. The logical strategy is to let ourselves go in enjoying the unlimited conviviality and communion of the holidays, but to avoid wasting the limited resources. Even simple shifts toward sustainability----and reducing food waste is an easy one----can have major impacts when multiplied by millions of people."

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption----approximately 1.3 billion tons----is lost or wasted each year. Consumers in developed countries such as the United States are responsible for 222 million tons of this waste, or nearly the same quantity of food as is produced in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

"With nearly a billion people going hungry in the world, including 17.2 million households within the United States, reducing the amount of food being wasted is incredibly important," says Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project. "We need to start focusing on diverting food from going into our trashcans and landfills and instead getting it into the hands of those who need it most."

The Nourishing the Planet ( team recently traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, and soon will be traveling to Latin America, shining a spotlight on communities that serve as models for a more sustainable future. The project is unearthing innovations in agriculture that can help alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment. These innovations are elaborated in Worldwatch's annual flagship report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

As Americans prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here are 10 tips to help reduce the amount of food we waste:

Before the meal: Plan your menu and exactly how much food you'll need.

1. Be realistic: The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food you and your guests will realistically need, and stock up accordingly. The Love Food Hate Waste organization, which focuses on sharing convenient tips for reducing food waste, provides a handy "Perfect portions" planner to calculate meal sizes for parties as well as everyday meals.

2. Plan ahead: Create a shopping list before heading to the farmers' market or grocery store. Sticking to this list will reduce the risk of impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities, particularly since stores typically use holiday sales to entice buyers into spending more.

During the meal: Control the amount on your plate to reduce the amount in the garbage.

3. Go small: The season of indulgence often promotes plates piled high with more food than can be eaten. Simple tricks of using smaller serving utensils or plates can encourage smaller portions, reducing the amount left on plates. Guests can always take second (or third!) servings if still hungry, and it is much easier (and hygienic) to use leftovers from serving platters for future meals.

4. Encourage self-serve: Allow guests to serve themselves, choosing what, and how much, they would like to eat. This helps to make meals feel more familiar and also reduces the amount of unwanted food left on guests' plates.

After the meal: Make the most out of leftovers.

5. Store leftovers safely: Properly storing our leftovers will preserve them safely for future meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that hot foods be left out for no more than two hours. Store leftovers in smaller, individually sized containers, making them more convenient to grab for a quick meal rather than being passed over and eventually wasted.

6. Compost food scraps: Instead of throwing out the vegetable peels, eggshells, and other food scraps from making your meal, consider composting them. Individual composting systems can be relatively easy and inexpensive, and provide quality inputs for garden soils. In 2010, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to pass legislation encouraging city-wide composting, and similar broader-scale food composting approaches have been spreading since.

7. Create new meals: If composting is not an option for you, check out Love Food Hate Waste's creative recipes to see if your food scraps can be used for new meals. Vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses can be easily boiled down for stock and soups, and bread crusts and ends can be used to make tasty homemade croutons.

8. Donate excess: Food banks and shelters gladly welcome donations of canned and dried foods, especially during the holiday season and colder months. The charity group Feeding America partners with over 200 local food banks across the United States, supplying food to more than 37 million people each year. To find a food bank near you, visit the organization's Food Bank Locator.

9. Support food-recovery programs: In some cases, food-recovery systems will come to you to collect your excess. In New York City, City Harvest, the world's first food-rescue organization, collects approximately 28 million pounds of food each year that would otherwise go to waste, providing groceries and meals for over 300,000 people.

Throughout the holiday season: Consider what you're giving.

10. Give gifts with thought: When giving food as a gift, avoid highly perishable items and make an effort to select foods that you know the recipient will enjoy rather than waste. The Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit, works with farmers and producers in tropical areas to ensure they are practicing environmentally sustainable and socially just methods. The group's certified chocolates, coffee, and teas are great gifts that have with long shelf-lives, and buying them helps support businesses and individuals across the world.

As we sit down this week to give thanks for the people and things around us, we must also recognize those who may not be so fortunate. The food wasted in the United States each year is enough to satisfy the hunger of the approximately 1 billion malnourished people worldwide, according to Tristram Stuart, a food waste expert and contributing author to State of the World 2011. As we prepare for upcoming holiday celebrations, the simple changes we make, such as using food responsibly and donating excess to the hungry, can help make the holiday season more plentiful and hunger-free for all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 5 Must Have Thanksgiving Cooking Apps

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, thus bringing with it the holiday rush of anticipation and family gatherings. As stressful as this might be, it also means succulent turkey in the oven, post-dinner hibernation, and a slew of relatives you haven’t seen, or perhaps don’t want to see, buzzing over the latest conversation and gorging over the delectable edibles put in front of them.

To coincide with this most plentiful of and feast-filled holiday, (the mobile app superstore), the first site to combine a social community with an online store to help consumers quickly and easily discover, discuss and download the best digital content for all devices, recommends the following apps for the best in thanksgiving preparation, recipes, and amusement sure to keep you out of that turkey-induced coma. Dinner Spinner (Free for iPhone)
The app includes hundreds of Thanksgiving recipes, including Green Bean Casserole, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and plenty of recipes for that perfect Turkey. is also useful because you can see user ratings, which makes it easier to pick the best recipes. If you're on a budget, the Dinner Spinner app is a great pick for planning your Thanksgiving meal.

Epicurious Recipes (Free for iPhone)
Epicurious has a dedicated section for Thanksgiving, and it includes nearly 200 recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines. If you're not sure how you want to cook your turkey, this is the app for you. There are a ton of turkey recipes, including Clementine-Salted Turkey with Redeye Gravy and Sage Butter-Roasted Turkey. Those planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving will also appreciate veggie-friendly holiday recipes like Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie or Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew.

Whole Foods Market Recipes (Free for iPhone)
The Whole Foods Market Recipes app are healthy and include nutrition information -- not that you're likely to be worried about calories and fat grams on Thanksgiving! One of my favorite recipes is the Thanksgiving Weekend Strata, which uses leftover stuffing. You could also try the Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Pecan Drizzle in place of your normal marshmallow-topped sweet potato recipe.

Martha Stewart Cocktails (99 cents for iPhone)
Give thanks to the home goods queen for an app that allows you to easily infuse that hard edge into your Thanksgiving drink menu. This all-inclusive cocktail recipe database can be easily shared with friends and even comes with a specialized Thanksgiving selection guaranteed to keep more than the conversation flowing.

How to Cook Everything for iPhone ($4.99 for iPhone)
Mark Bittman's popular How to Cook Everything app has thousands of recipes, including many specifically for Thanksgiving. There are Thanksgiving recipes for all the popular dishes, including Classic Roast Turkey with Stuffing, Traditional Cranberry Sauce, and Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust. If this is your first time preparing a Thanksgiving meal, you'll also find lots of how-to content.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Belgian Bistro Now Open in Downtown Cincinnati

A new Belgian Bistro is located at the corner of 12th & Vine St., next door to the Ensemble Theater is now open. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7am to 3pm.

Besides the famous waffles they have a full menu of Belgian specialties (salade Liégeoise, boulets Liégeois, Mitraillette, Belgian baguettes sandwiches, stoemp..) and a twist on Waffle n' chicken, an amazing Am-ber-gaire (that's the way a French-speaking Belgian would order a Hamburger), lighter fares like Salade Niçoise, and Arugula salad.

They also have an espresso bar and a full bakery case to satisfy all your caffeinated needs and cravings. Everything is made from scratch (other than the coffee but it is roasted next door!) and has free wi-fi.

Open for breakfast and lunch but will soon be open for dinner as soon as a liquor license is obtained.

No time to sit down? Take out is available. Call 513-381-4707 to have your order ready for pick up.

If you want to offer something different for your office lunch, they also make boxed lunches. Give Joe a call at 513-807-0995 or email him at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wendy's New "W" Doubles Flavor, Not Price

With its tantalizing taste, the new “W” cheeseburger is another winning addition to Wendy’s expanding menu … and its budget-friendly price may cause consumers to do a double take!

The “W” – with emphasis on the DOUBLE – serves up two 2.25-ounce patties of sizzling, fresh, never-frozen North American* beef, with double the cheese, too. Topped with our zesty signature sauce, the “W” – like our recently-launched Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers -- is made-to-order the right way with fresh, quality ingredients: sweet red onions, hand-leafed lettuce and crinkle-cut pickles, all on a buttered, toasted bun.

“With the ‘W,’ Wendy’s gives cheeseburger lovers an indulgent taste experience at a great price,” said Gerard Lewis, Wendy’s Senior Vice President of Product Development. “The ‘W’ continues our menu evolution, as we offer even more mouthwatering choices bursting with flavor that suit the tastes and budgets of customers. It’s a real winner!”

The addition of the “W” continues Wendy’s bold and innovative menu overhaul, which in the past 15 months alone has included the launch of four Garden Sensations® Salads, My 99¢ Everyday Value Menu, Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt and – of course – Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers.

Wendy’s Twitter feed (@Wendys) will be hosting a series of challenges November 15 to November 28, and giving select winners Best Buy gift cards and Southwest Airlines tickets.

The “W” is available at all Wendy’s restaurants for a recommended price of $2.99. For more information, visit

* Fresh beef available in contiguous U.S. and Canada.

Dalla Terra Winery Direct® to Cease Relationship with Producer Avignonesi and its Distributor, Classica, S.p.A.

Dalla Terra Winery Direct® Chairman Brian Larky, and President Dave Holt today announced that the company will cease its relationship with producer Avignonesi (Montepulciano, Tuscany) and export firm Classica, S.p.A. Dalla Terra will thereby relinquish importing wine from Avignonesi and Classica, S.p.A. to the USA, effective December 27, 2011. Dalla Terra has been the exclusive USA importer for Avignonesi since 1999, working closely with Classica, S.p.A to achieve broad exposure in the United States. Avignonesi and Classica, S.p.A. were owned by the Falvo family from 1974 to May 2009, when they were bought out bylongtime investor in both companies, Virginie Saverys, director of the Belgian shipping company Compagnie Maritime Belge NV. Dalla Terra continues its longtime relationship with the Falvos, who own Li Veli (Cellino San Marco, Puglia).

“It has been our privilege to represent Classica and Avignonesi for the last 12 years. We have enjoyed our relationship and the success it has brought us. However, Dalla Terra faced a unique situation when the Avignonesi winery and Classica changed ownership in 2009,” said Larky. “In terminating our relationship with Avignonesi and Classica,” he added, “we are faithfully adhering to our original focus of exclusively representing leading Italian wine-producing families who we have taken great care in choosing. This has always been an important part of our business model and will continue to be a mandate in all existing and future importing relationships.”

Future of Organic Food and Agriculture at Risk says Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, one of the nation’s leading organic industry watchdogs, is urging members of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), in formal testimony, to vote to preserve the integrity of organic food and farming at its upcoming meeting in Savannah, Georgia.

Some of the hot button issues on the agenda, including using artificial preservatives and genetically modified ingredients, would seem Orwellian to many longtime organic farmers and consumers. The forecasted dustup will be debated by a USDA panel, deeply divided between corporate agribusiness representatives and organic advocates.

Under the Bush and Obama administrations, the USDA Secretaries have been criticized for appointing a significant number of corporate representatives, whose primary interest appears to be loosening the federal organic standards, allegedly in pursuit of enhanced profits.

"We think this meeting may well decide the fate of organic food and agriculture in this country," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute, which represents family-scale organic farmers and their consumer allies across the U.S.

The 15-member NOSB is a citizen panel, set up by Congress, to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic policy and rulemaking. Upcoming votes concern the use of genetically modified and synthetic additives that have been petitioned for use in organic foods and drinks, including baby foods and formula.

While these synthetics seemingly fail the legal criteria for inclusion in organic foods, the NOSB committee recommending their use is comprised mostly of representatives working for corporations like General Mills and Campbell Soup that have only a sliver of their total sales in the organic food sector.

Additives being recommended for use in organics include nutritional oils manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corporation, part of the $30 billion multinational conglomerate Royal DSM. These oils, genetically modified to provide isolated omega-3 and omega-6 nutrients DHA and ARA, are derived from algae and soil fungus, and stabilized with a wide variety of synthetic ingredients.

When incorporated in infant formula, these oils are processed with a neurotoxic solvent, n-hexane. A byproduct of gasoline refinement, n-hexane is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as a hazardous pollutant. The recommendation to approve Martek’s oils, processed with hexane, has industry observers scratching their head since solvents, commonly used in conventional food production, are expressly forbidden in organic food production.

“What is most egregious about the NOSB push to approve the Martek Biosciences Corporation petition is that these DHA and ARA oils are in no way essential in organics, as claimed by Martek,” states Cornucopia's Kastel. “Other organic manufacturers have successfully used fish oil and egg yolks as legal and natural alternative sources of supplemental DHA.”

According to a poll of nearly 1,500 Seattle area organic consumers, conducted by PCC Natural Markets, the largest member-owned food cooperative in the United States, the overwhelming majority of shoppers would reject organic products with Martek’s oils if they knew the manufacturing details of Martek's “Life’sDHA®”.

76.4% of shoppers polled in the PCC survey would not purchase organic products with DHA from genetically modified algae, and 88.6% would not purchase organic products if hexane-extracted. If consumers knew that Martek’s oils are stabilized with synthetic ingredients, the poll suggests that 78.3% of consumers would reject the products as well.

The NOSB will also vote on a petition allowing the use of the synthetic preservative sulfur dioxide (sulfites) in wine. Winemakers who currently use sulfites are prohibited from using the USDA organic seal on their labels. "Approving sulfites, not only a synthetic preservative but a common allergen, would represent another blow to consumer confidence in the organic label, which has always signified the absence of artificial preservatives," Kastel noted.

The success of a growing number of certified organic winemakers that shun artificial preservatives proves that this synthetic is not essential to making a high quality organic wine.

"If the standards are weakened by the USDA, allowing these synthetics, it will significantly narrow the difference between organic and conventional wine," said Paul Frey of Frey Vineyards. "A major strength of the organic standards comes from consumers trusting that organic foods are wholesome and free from artificial preservatives and other threats to health and environmental stewardship."

Meanwhile, the Livestock Committee of the NOSB, which is refining the standards aimed at ensuring high levels of animal welfare on organic farms, appears to be backing away from adopting strong, enforceable standards for laying hens and other species.

"They are caving to the factory farm lobby, listening to giant vertically integrated egg producers, and ignoring the voice of rank-and-file family farmers," said Tim Koegel, a nationally prominent certified organic farmer producing pastured eggs and chickens. "The NOSB has an opportunity to make organics the true gold standard in terms of animal husbandry but instead might choose to make the organic label a joke."

The proposal for chickens would give animals as little as one square foot of living space. "Like allowing synthetics, this woefully inadequate standard would violate the organic law that requires animals be allowed to exhibit their natural instinctive behaviors," added Koegel. "Hell, those birds will not even be able to fully span their wings, let alone forage outside for insects, seeds and worms."

This is not the first time the organic community, farmers and consumers, have come together to defend the integrity of the organic label. In the mid-90s, when the Clinton Administration first suggested allowing antibiotics, genetic engineering and sewage sludge in organics, over 300,000 citizens recorded their objections with the USDA—and they won.

"We have already received numerous proxies, downloaded from our website ( from organic stakeholders demanding that the NOSB back away from sweetheart deals for corporate agribusiness at the expense of the organic label," affirmed Kastel. "We hope many other folks, who care about organics, will make their voice heard as well."

Thirty Percent of Americans Choose Starbucks as Their Favorite Coffee

Americans love their coffee. Whether it’s a nice piping hot cup of brew to start the day, served with cake as an after-dinner dessert, or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Poll Position wanted to know what retail outlet is our favorite to buy coffee.

In a national scientific telephone poll, 30% chose Starbucks, with McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts each tied for second each with 19%.

Here is a breakdown of the poll results:

Starbucks: 30%
McDonald’s: 19%
Dunkin’ Donuts: 19%
Caribou Coffee: 7%
Seattle’s best Coffee: 3%
Some Other Shop: 15%

While Starbucks led the way in almost all of our categories, it finished fourth among the 65 and older group. McDonald’s was their first choice with 27%, Dunkin’ Donuts was second at 22%, some other shop was third at 17%, Starbucks fourth with 16%, Seattle’s Best was fifth at 5%, Caribou Coffee came in sixth at 3%.

See a breakdown of survey participants by age, race, gender, and political affiliation in crosstabs for this poll at

Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,170 registered voters nationwide was conducted November 15, 2011 and has a margin of error of ±3%. Poll results are weighted to be a representative sampling of all American adults.

What do you think? Who is your favorite coffee retail outlet? Vote in our online companion poll and comment at

The online companion poll in which you can vote provides unscientific results, meaning it’s a tally of participating Poll Position users, not a nationally representative sampling.

Poll Position is committed to transparency and upholding the highest professional standards in its polling, explaining why we provide you with the crosstabs of our scientific polls. Crosstabs provide a breakdown of survey participants by age, race, gender, and political affiliation.

Learn more about Poll Position’s polling methodology at

About Poll Position
Poll Position is a unique non-partisan news, polling, and social media company founded and lead by two award-winning CNN news and polling veterans. The company’s goals are to engage, enlighten, and entertain millions of people with exclusive news-making, buzz-generating public opinion polls and giving people everywhere an opportunity to vote and comment on hot topics, while learning the views of others.

For more news updates and research findings, follow Poll Position on Twitter @PollPosition and become a Facebook fan at Become a registered user at

To learn more about Poll Position, go to

Toppers Pizza expanding from Cincinnati to Highland Heights

When Bob, Dave and Ricky Fullarton opened the first Toppers Pizza location in Ohio, the father sons trio expected great things. Today, the University of Cincinnati location has won over the hearts and taste buds of thousands of happy customers. Now, the Fullarton’s will take Toppers Pizza on the road – opening directly over the border in Highland Heights, KY, making them yet another multi-unit owner within the hot pizza franchise’s system.

“Our customers are true fans at our University of Cincinnati location. We fully expect the same type of following as we expand and add more units throughout the DMA,” said Dave Fullarton, who manages the restaurant.

The newest addition to the 30-unit pizza chain will open in December at 2517 Wilson Ave. Just like its UC location, Toppers Pizza will once again give the first 50 guests in line free food for a year and reward fans that day with prizes and giveaway rewards (fanatics should watch for details).

“The Fullartons are great examples of franchisees who came into the system and took it by storm,” said Scott Iversen, Director of Franchise Development that has plans to cross over the 100-unit mark in 2013. “When I came on board, I was immediately introduced to the entrepreneurial trio. I knew they were creating something special, especially with the high level of passion they brought to the table.”

The big pizza chains serve their purpose: mediocre food, mediocre promises and mediocre connections. Toppers Pizza, a 30-unit eclectic pizza delivery franchise brand, doesn’t follow those characteristics. To prove its tasty promise to consumers, Toppers will celebrate this reprieve with two grand opening celebrations unmatched by the big guns at its new location.

“When we open a location, it truly is a celebration. No fake grand openings with boring ribbon cuttings. We go for the grand slam with the way we open, the way we connect with our customers and the tastes we offer on our menu,” said Scott Gittrich, CEO of the emerging chain and former Dominos Pizza delivery driver. “Trust me; I quickly learned what not to do with our customer bonds. This is their party, not ours.”

Along with its ability to tap into the most influential demographic, 18-34 year olds, Toppers has made a name for itself as innovators of unique menu items. Toppers was the first delivery brand to capture the cheesy bread marketplace with its famous Topperstix. Toppers has never shied away from innovation with its Mac ‘N Cheese, Potato Topper, Cool C-B-R (Chicken-Bacon-Ranch), The Hangover Helper, Buffalo Wings, Quesadillas, Grinders, and dozens of other menu items. Differentiating itself from the competition, 70 percent of Toppers’ sales come from items not traditionally found on competitors’ menus.

When the big chains are down, Toppers has remained up, taking names and gripping its share of the $40-plus-billlion pizza industry. In 2011, Toppers increased average unit volumes and system-wide sales, opening four stores with 20 more under contract. Why the upswing?

“The reason for our success is simple, meaning that we are not one of the ‘Wal-Marts’ of the industry. The big chains have lost identity and brand connection,” Gittrich said. “Our customers are fanatical about our brand. Our quirkiness and edginess has given our brand character, so we have been able to continue our growth and bonding with an untapped national demographic: the 18-34-year olds.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Make the Holidays Extra Jolly! Bakers Bacon Offers Bacon For Christmas Gifts!

Bakers Bacon announced today that all three of Chef Tony Bakers Bacons will be available as Christmas gifts and can be ordered through the website or directly from

As a small company, Baker’s Bacon is dedicated to not only the very best product, but also service! Baker’s Bacon will take your order, create a custom gift card, wrap the bacon in festive Christmas ribbon and mail it anywhere in the US all in time for Christmas. All orders need to be received by 10am Wednesday, December 21st to guarantee Christmas delivery.

Bakers Bacon can take the stress out holiday shopping. Let us take care of all your client, friends and family with the gifts of Bacon! Remember “Everybody LOVES Bacon!” English back bacon is unique yet familiar, made from Natural Duroc Pork and slowly dry cured, finished in a 60 year old smoke house with real apple wood chips.

The bacon offers a long shelf life and also freezes well. This is a very special hand crafted product that is sure to stimulate the senses of any foodie and tip the most stringent vegetarian off of the wagon!

Bakers Bacon is delivered in a recycled cardboard outer box with recyclable Styrofoam insert. The icepacks are reusable for refrigeration. All shipments are shipped via UPS 2 day. If you live in Monterey or Carmel, California, contact us and we may be able to deliver direct to you.
For more information go to or email us at

Bacon available in 3# packs: From $9.99 to $11.99 per pound and about 10 slices per pound.
· English Style Back Bacon
· Double Applewood Smoked
· Applewood Smoked

Baker’s flagship bacon is his “Back” bacon while traditional American-style bacon comes from the underbelly of the pig, creating meat streaked with fat. Baker’s English-style bacon is derived from the lean back of the pig — a cut above! — cured with a nice balance of sweetness to salt, and a smoky, complex, ham-like flavor.

Sourced from sustainable, naturally raised hogs, Baker’s Back Bacon is hand-rubbed with a blend of sugars, kosher salt and a secret concoction of spices. Next, it’s slowly smoked in a 50+ year old smokehouse for many hours with real apple wood.
When sliced it’s commonly called rashers in the United Kingdom, English-style bacon is leaner with more savory meat flavor but with the telltale sweet-and-salt balance and smoky essence we’ve all come to crave from bacon.

Made in the USA but inspired by a centuries’ old method and perfected by a chef’s personal demand for quality and sustainability, Baker’s Bacon is truly a cut above ordinary bacon.

Thanksgiving at the Claddagh!

This Thanksgiving, leave the pots and pans to the Claddagh Irish Pubs! The annual grand holiday buffet at the restaurants, located at 5075 Deerfield Blvd. in Mason, OH, and 1 Levee Way, Suite 2122 in Newport, KY, will feature stations for every Turkey Day craving, including hot carvery, sides, salads, and desserts. Offerings will include both breakfast and lunch items (see menu below). Watch the day’s NFL football games, enjoy a pint of Guinness, and reflect on what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving at the Claddagh Irish Pubs.

“We are taking the hassle out of the holidays,” says Karen Murphy, corporate director of food and beverage. “The Claddagh will be serving everybody’s favorite dishes—from traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings to our signature shepherd’s pie, which is a perfect fall treat. And the best part is the clean-up is on us!”

The Claddagh’s Thanksgiving buffet is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 24, and the buffet closes one hour after the last seating. The price is $22.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 5 to 10, and free for kids 4 years old and under. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 513.770.0999 (Mason) or 859.581.8888 (Newport).

The Claddagh Thanksgiving Buffet Menu 2011
Made-to-order Belgian waffles with unlimited toppings
Freshly baked breads, muffins, croissants, and bagels with assorted butters and cream cheese
Assorted fresh fruit
Carved turkey and ham with all the trimmings
Cranberry sauce
Green bean casserole
Candied yams
Mac and cheese
Savory cornbread stuffing
Fresh seasonal vegetables
Mashed potatoes
Beef and turkey pan gravy
Huge salad bar with all the trimmings and specialty salads
Balsamic-marinated chicken breast
Seafood pasta
Traditional shepherd’s pie
Assortment of house-made desserts
Plus much more!

Visit the newly relaunched for further details. The Claddagh Irish Pub-Mason, OH (5075 Deerfield Blvd., 513.770.0999) is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Claddagh Irish Pub-Newport, KY (1 Levee Way, Suite 2122; 859.581.8888) is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 am., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Food Awards Year Two Finalists Announced

The Good Food Awards represents America at its best. We are a nation built on the innovations of farmers, entrepreneurs and makers—small businesses that support and stimulate vibrant local economies. In the long term, The Good Food Awards has set out to change the way America feeds itself, and in the short term, to foster and fuel a craft food renaissance that is taking shape from coast to coast.

Today, at a press breakfast at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria in New York City, this year’s Good Food Award Finalists, coming from 25 different states, were announced in front of journalists, food producers and industry leaders. Emerging this year from 926 entered products, the Good Food Award Finalists are demonstrating that we no longer need to choose between great taste and good values: all of them are leaders in both sustainability and craftsmanship.

“The companies behind this year’s 144 Good Food Awards finalists are incredibly diverse, from an 8 person goat cheese dairy in Harrisburg, Missouri to a 400 person brewery in Colorado,” said Sarah Weiner, Director of Good Food Awards. “It is fascinating to see such different companies united in the values of sustainability and social responsibility, and producing incredibly delicious food. All around the country these small and medium size businesses are creating good jobs for their community and supporting other local businesses, from dairies to sustainable farmers to local graphic designers. Food manufacturing is one of the largest growth industries in the country, and ‘good food’ producers are creating both food and jobs that nourish our communities.”

United by their ethics, the Good Food Awards was created by a thriving community of food leaders, from nationally recognized journalists to your local coffee guru, compelled to honor their food crafting peers. From this group of finalists, the winners will be chosen and announced at the Good Food Awards Ceremony at the San Francisco Ferry Building on January 13, 2012 based on excellence in taste. This celebration will be followed by a public Good Food Awards Marketplace on January 14, where the winners will have the chance to sample and sell their winning products in front of national buyers, independent grocery store owners, media, and the food-loving public.

In its second year, the Good Food Awards has built strong partnerships with like-minded companies and organizations, ready to promote winners for their distinguished taste, quality and sustainable practices. Real business benefits include dozens of Whole Foods Market stores featuring in-store signage and displays to promote the winners, Williams Sonoma stocking several winning products in special Good Food Awards displays in 20 stores around the country, and Gilt Taste creating a Good Food Awards e-store in 2012.

12 Jobs for Kids in the Kitchen

Ask stay-at-home caregivers what the toughest time of the day is and you'll hear a universal response: dinnertime. This is the hardest segment of the day when moods turn to the dark side and tummies begin to growl. Not only is the food-prepping parent responsible for getting dinner on the table, but must concurrently keep the kiddies relatively calm. And hum a joyous song while doing it, a la Snow White.

Expect that, especially during cooking-heavy holidays, you will orbit the kitchen much of the day with tiny tots and testy teens trailing close behind. Embrace this obvious reality now or prepare to pull out every hair in your swiftly graying head. Get cookin' with the kids--even the youngest ones! This does not mean you hand the torch to Junior to put the finishing touches on your holiday crème brulee. Is does mean, however, that you plan ahead to integrate the whole family into mealtime preparation.

Toddler Time:
Developmentally, toddlers pose the toughest challenge for a cooking parent. Carol Williams, a registered dietician at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, tells parents that, "Touch is a sense used to help get unfamiliar foods closer to a child's mouth," which means that your picky toddler may be more willing to eat your slaved-over meal by cooking with you. Don't expect to keep a tidy workspace, she explains in an article for Baby Zone, but take advantage of her enthusiasm to help.

Sanitary Specialist:
Wash hands, put on an apron and discuss how to correctly measure ingredients. Continue to remind Junior not to eat the ingredients as you prepare them.

Super Scooper:
For ingredients that don't need to be measured perfectly, let him scoop the measuring cup and dump the goods into the proper place. A simple green bean casserole is tough to mess up. Avoid doing this with baked goods, which need to be precisely measured.

Can Opener:
Electric, safe-edge can openers make life so much easier, plus you can help your little one learn how to safely open cans with it. Let Junior open the condensed milk and pour into the pumpkin pie puree himself.

Relish Tray Artist:
Letting your little one put carrots, celery and olives onto the relish tray gives him great sorting practice. It's helpful to have a segmented tray for the task. Try out this Good Housekeeping Relish Tray recipe for some inspiration.

Utensil Utilizer:
It's just more fun to stir the squash casserole with a colorful Head Chefs spoon than with a boring stainless steel one! Since it's a hefty splurge, grab a coupon code before ordering.

Elementary Kids:
Older kids have more muscle control and ability in the kitchen--and are still enthusiastic to help! Not only can they learn simple cooking tips, but also reinforce key concepts they're learning in school. From adding fractions and experimenting with properties of liquids to reading and following directions, cooking is academics in action.

Meat Monitor:
Help your child learn about the meat thermometer--stick it in several foods and liquids of varying temperatures. Then explain how hot it should be inside the turkey so that it's completely cooked (180° deep in the thigh). Have her check on the turkey as it cooks to watch the temperature rise.

Cookie Decorator:
Elementary-aged kids have a blast icing sugar cookies (plus it takes them a long time so you can make good progress on other dishes). Bake, cut and cook the cookies ahead of time, then help your child learn how to hold the icing bag so it doesn't squirt out of the end. Pick up detailed tips on decorating with kids at Real Simple.
Mix Master: For simple foods like stuffing or mashed sweet potatoes, let your child dig in with their hands to mix the food. Help him use the rubber scraper to incorporate all the ingredients as well.

Recipe Reader:
Give your child free access to gather goods--especially larger items in the pantry. Sharpen their literacy skills with new food terminology and turn ingredient gathering into a scavenger hunt.

Award-winning Chef and author of father-daughter cookbook Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, Rick Bayless advocates total transfer of control to older kids in the kitchen (within good reason, of course). Give the responsibility of preparing an entire dish to your teen and watch him step up to the plate. "Kids will do just about anything, if they're in charge, " he says. If your child isn't interested in food prep, here are some other ways to make him feel included.

Home Decor Hostess: For the kiddo who doesn't care to be in the kitchen, recruit his or her decorating and cleaning sensibilities elsewhere. Let her arrange the place settings with fancy napkin folding and put her on post-cooking clean-up duty.
Coupon Clipper: Get your older child on board with saving money! Challenge him to use that smart phone for something other than excessive texting, and have him use a mobile coupon app from sites like to save on items in your Thanksgiving shopping list. Incentivize savings by giving him the difference on the retail cost of the food items and the amount he actually spends. The more he saves, the more he gets back in cash!

Cake Kings and Queens:
For the uptight cook who just can't let go, give your teen a dessert recipe (or let him pick his own). If it bombs, it's just one of many desserts.