Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Foodie Vacations

Tasting Table, together with Oregon Bounty, has put together an interactive list of some of Oregon's best farm-to-table vacations. From the Oregon Coast, to Portland, to the Willamette Valley, the list is broken out by region and provides seven short tasty itineraries for you to choose from.

The complete guide to "Oregon's Tastiest Trails" can be found here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Walrus & The Carpenter No. 3

Today, a foodie friend of mine in Virginia sent me a link to bon appetit's Top 10 Best New Restaurants. It's an exciting new list of places to visit and of course, try. What impresses me most about this list is its variety. From urban to elegant and low country to open country, the list is truly an eclectic mix of kitchens that doesn't skew to one type of dining experience or another.
Of course, it comes as no surprise that Seattle's own Walrus & The Carpenter ranked No. 3. One of own favorites! Below is the complete list:

No. 1 - Husk; Charleston, SC
No. 2 - Mission Chinese Food; San Francisco
No. 3 - Walrus & The Carpenter; Seattle
No. 4 - Travail Kitchen and Amusements; Robbinsdale, MN.
No. 5 - Ruxbin; Chicago
No. 6 - Talula's Garden; Philadelphia
No. 7 - Son of a Gun; Los Angeles
No. 8 - M Wells; Long Island City, NY.
No. 9 - Congress; Austin, TX.
No. 10 - Bondir; Cambridge, MA.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Camps for Foodies!

Send your kids to summer camp, but treat yourself to one of these decadent foodie camps this fall!

2011 Fall Camp Schramsberg, Sept.11-13

According to the agenda, Camp Schramsberg is a three-day sparkling wine adventure, led by Schramsberg's President and winemaker Hugh Davies and Chef/Enologist Holly Peterson. The Camp Schramsberg experience uncovers the mystery of how sparkling wines are born. Of course, meeting new friends and having fun is a part of it as well.

On Sunday Night, you will enjoy a sparkling wine reception and dinner in the historic J. Davies Vineyards, prepared by one of the Napa Valley's fine chefs. This is your Camp orientation and will prepare you for the two days ahead. On Monday, you will start with breakfast at Meadowood Napa Valley. Then it is off to the vineyards with Winemakers Hugh Davies, Keith Hock, and Sean Thompson, where you will harvest grapes that are literally "ripe for the picking". Learn how vineyard location, soil content, viticultural practices, and clonal selection play a critical part in creating the complex flavors in Schramsberg wines. You will also receive hands-on experience as you obtain an overview of the sparkling winemaking process - from harvest through bottling. For lunch, delicacies prepared by Meadowood Valley's chefs, will be used to illustrate how ingredients can complement and contrast wine flavors. A full afternoon of food and sparkling wine pairings follow, under the direction of Holly Peterson. Holly will guide you through basic to advanced component tastings, and will teach campers the art of sabering open a bottle of sparkling wine. Finish the day with an optional dinner at a local restaurant gem ($95 per person in addition to the camp fee). Tuesday starts with breakfast at Meadowood Napa Valley and is followed by a tour of Schramsberg's historic caves, a riddling demonstration, and working with the winemakers to create a personalized dosage for your own bottle of bubbly. Lunch, prepared by the Meadowood Napa Valley's culinary team, leads into a group sparkling wine menu creation contest. The program finishes with awards for the best menus and a chance to mingle with your fellow graduates. The fee for Camp Schramsberg is $1,200 per person (15% discount for wine club members). Lodging and travel to/from Napa is not included. A recommended lodging list is available by request and packages through Meadowood Napa Valley are available.

The Wine Harvest Camp, Oct., 17 - 21

Perfect for the person who loves food as much as wine. This four-day intensive camp offers a two-progned education. You'll spend part of your time in master cooking classes with master chefs, then head to nearby wineries like Scribe and Opus one to learn about growing grapes and pairing wines. The trip will culminate wiht a private dinner at renwoned French Laundry.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer in Season

Summer is here and so is berry season! Strawberries, blackberries, name it. And when they're this sweet, juicy, ripe and plentiful, they can also be fabulous in cocktails. Below is one of my favorite recipes from the Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. It's also very festive for your 4th of July festivities.

Stawberry Ginger Fizz:
For this cocktail it is best to use fresh ginger rather than making a syrup. We use a Champion Juicer to preserve the true ginger bite without adding that cooked quality. Add a nice Reposado Tequila like Corzo and the ginger serves to balance any of the typical Tequila earthiness. The rounded flavors of strawberry compliment the touch of oak from the Reposado as well. Pour over ice with fresh mint, top with club soda, stir, and you've got the refreshing Strawberry Ginger Fizz.

1.5oz Corzo Reposado Tequila
.5oz Fresh Ginger, juiced
1oz simple syrup
2 strawberries
1 lime wedge
Fresh Mint

Add the strawberries, lime wedge, and simple syrup to a shaker glass and muddle until the strawberry is broken down and the lime oils have been released. Then add the Tequila and fresh ginger, fill with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain into an ice filled cocktail glass layered with a few pieces of fresh mint and top with club soda. Stir to incorporate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GeekWires' Startup Spotlight features Corkz app

If you don't follow the tech media like I do, you may have missed GeekWire's Q&A with Corkz app founders Matt Kowalczyk, Brooks Talley and Jim Goodman. The app allows you instant access to CellarTracker's information on more than 750,000 bottles of wine. Scan in the bar code, or type in the name of the wine to find more than 1,000,00 notes and ratings from experts and the CellarTracker wine community.

It's a great app if you're a wine lover, by a great group of guys. Luke had the chance to meet Matt a few years ago when they climbed Mt. Rainer together for Climb for Kids, a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to raise money for fetal syndrome support organizations.

Below is the full article from
On a trip to China two weeks ago, Matt Kowalczyk ordered a top-notch bottle of wine from a fancy restaurant. But when the sommelier arrived with a different 2007 variety, the co-creator of the mobile wine application Corkz sprung into action.

“I laughed, opened Corkz on my phone and showed to him that both wines were indeed good and were for sale in China – however, the price between the years differed in China by $150 wholesale,” recalled Kowalczyk, who ended up receiving a 50 percent discount as a result of the confusion.

That’s the power of Corkz, a mobile app which the upstart says is “like having a sommelier in your pocket.” The $3.99 app — developed three years ago by Kowalczyk, Brooks Talley and Jim Goodman – is getting even better. A new version includes integration with FourSquare, so users can mark where they’ve tasted their favorite wines or see what other friends have liked at that location.

We chatted with Kowalczyk to learn about the company’s key partnership with CellarTracker and their very unique business model.

Explain what you do so our moms can understand it: Our mobile app provides instant access to information about 1,000,000+ wines from over 70,000 producers to help the average consumer become better educated about the wine they are about to enjoy. Over the last three years our app has become one of the best selling wine apps on iPhone, Android and soon to be Samsung (bada) platforms. Besides simply providing access to information, we also enable users to create and manage their own wine cellar too.

Inspiration hit us when: All three of us are friends and fellow wine geeks. We all have wine cellars and we each utilized Eric LeVine’s web service, CellarTracker, to track and learn about our wine. When the iPhone first came out, we saw a need to consume that information via a mobile device and voila, Corkz was born.

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: This has been completely bootstrapped, as we developed this app to fill a void in our own mobile experience. To that extent we haven’t needed funding because Apple has provided us with a lot of love (free marketing) by including us in a television commercial, running a three month advertising campaign in The New York Times and pushing our app in every Apple retail outlet.

The smartest move we’ve made so far: Partnering with (Seattle’s) Eric LeVine and CellarTracker. He has been a fantastic partner for us. We’ve also engineered our application so that we can manipulate the user interface without having to redistribute a new version of the app via the app store – that has saved us more than once.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: Waiting too long to update and promote the Android version of Corkz

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: None of those guys, really. OK, maybe Jobs — maybe he already is and we don’t know it. But for us, we’ve all been around the block a few times. We just want a slick app that helps us with our wine habit, and to that extent if it helps others too, that’s great.

Our world domination strategy starts when: We won’t dominate the world, we develop wine software. That’s good enough for us and helps us feed our wine addiction problem.

We are truly unique because: We are the only consumer wine app that provides total access to the biggest wine database available – CellarTracker. We are also probably the only company that trades promotional space for wine. We promote wineries and wine events in exchange for wine, not money. This is truly a labor of love.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: Work on what you are passionate about. Solve a problem that is near and dear to your own heart.

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area statup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a couple photos of the founder(s) and company logo to Past profiles can be found here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Charleston Wine & Food Festival Kicks Off

Today kicks off the Charleston Wine & Food Festival. Celebrating regional flavors, this four-day event brings together some of the best culinary talents and wine professionals from all over the world.

Attendees get to see some "Top Chefs" in action. Six of the fan favorites from the popular television series "Top Chef" will be put to the test in a challenge using a low-country ingredient.

In addition to the grand tasting tents and winemaker's luncheons, special events will also include a Low-country Farm-to-Table Excursion, a Rose Champagne tasting of Prestige Cuvees, vertical tastings of Bordeaux Grand Cru Classes and a Sommelier Competition.

And the winner is....

You voted, and the results are in! Chef Jamie Bissonette of Coppa Enoteca in Boston has been named The People's Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine.
Coppa features small plates of Italian cuisine that are made with local, sustainable ingredients. Some of the local favorites include house-made charcuterie, pastas and "unique cordial-based cocktails."

The People's Best New Chef title was determined based on the high number of eligible votes received during Feb. 15, 2011 and march 1, 2011. Check out regional winners here!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who is your choice for Best New Chef?

Food & Wine Magazine wants to know who you think is the best new chef in America. Editors are asking for people to visit The People's Best New Chef Website to vote for who they think are the best up and coming chefs from regions around the country and share their dining experiences.

The regional lists are comprised of some amazing talent, including some of DuecyPlate's favorites:

Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley
Chef Alex Pope of R Bar
Chef Brandon Sharp of Solbar
Chef Joseph Lenn of The Barn at Blackberry Farm
Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln
Chef Dan Kuger of ABC Kitchen
Chef Anthony Martin of Tru
Let us know who you think should win!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Walrus and the Carpenter

I LOVE oysters. So when I heard there was a restaurant in Ballard called The Walrus and the Carpenter, not only did images of the scheming Walrus from the Alice and Wonderland cartoon fable pop in my head, I phoned immediately to make a reservation. Unfortunately the restaurant doesn't take reservations, but don't let this deter you! Go early, put your name on the list and head to the bar at the vintage bicycle shop next door to wait. Your wait could be as long as two hours, but once you sit down at the marble topped tables and taste any number of the seasonal dishes - roasted brussel sprouts, kale gratin with hazelnuts, goose proscuitto, salmon belly, etc. - you'll soon know why this restaurant was included in GQ's 10 Best New Restaurants in America. The Walrus and the Carpenter is more than a fantastic oyster bar!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Perfect Brunch Quiche

I recently hosted brunch for a group of friends. This mushroom and goat cheese quiche was a hit!!! Not to mention it was super easy and fabulously flavorful.
The quiche, crust and all, may be prepared in the time it takes for the oven to heat up. Or you may prepare everything a day or two before, keeping the filling and crust separate, and bake it just before serving.

I use a basic pie crust recipe, adding freshly chopped thyme into the dough.

For the mushroom filling
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 red onion, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 ounces mixed exotic mushrooms (oyster, cremini, portobello, or white button mushrooms), stemmed and sliced (about 2 cups)
8 whole egg
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 - 6 ounces goat cheese (depends on your taste) and 1/2 cup of jack cheese

Make the crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Make your dough.

Make the filling
1. In a saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and there is no liquid in the pan. Set aside to cool.

2. After the dough has rested, roll it out to fit a 9-inch spring form pan (kind used for cheese cakes). Gently press the crust into the pan.

3. Beat the eggs. The add the oregano, basil, nutmeg, white pepper, sea salt, and black pepper.

4. Place the pie tin on a baking sheet, spread the sauteed onions and mushrooms in the bottom of the crust, followed by the jack then the goat cheese. Then, pour the egg mixture over the filling.

5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the quiche is slightly puffed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.