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Where To Drink Wine in Paris? Check Out Our Top List

June 29, 2015 by  

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wine bars in paris What better city to begin a wine bar series in than the capital of the world’s greatest winemaking country? For sure, France’s finest wines are produced in its eastern and southern regions (hello, Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Côtes du Rhône), but wine culture is truly an integral part of Parisian life. Above photo courtesy of Dana Ward via Shutterstock. In even the most unassuming of the city’s corners, you have only to walk for a minute or two to find a quaint little marchand de vin brimming with local wines. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself at a French dinner party, you can be sure you’ll be trying some of the best wine you’ve had in a long time. And as the weather warms up, it is a Parisian rite of passage for friends to picnic with wine, bread and cheese on the newly-accessible lawns of the city’s parks (yes, it is illegal to step on them the rest of the year). But perhaps the finest element of Parisian wine culture is its array of splendid wine bars. From the sleek and sophisticated O Chateau to the iconic Le Fumoir…

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Getting Palate Happy in Denver’s The Kitchen

June 27, 2015 by  

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Last Friday Chris and I kept up a promise we’ve made to each other to try a new place in Denver at least once a month by having dinner at The Kitchen, which is conveniently located right on the 16th St. Mall. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I didn’t know too much about the place other than that friends had said it was good, but we were not disappointed. I may even go so far as to say that it’s one of my favorite places to eat in Denver now, and it’s definitely a great place to bring a date. Here’s what we had … 01Kitchen_Muscles Appetizers started out with organic mushrooms on toast, Maine mussels with grilled bread and the goat gouda gougère (basically a tasty fried cheese puff), pictured below. 02Kitchen_Cheese
Of course we had drinks. I decided to stick with white wine and Chris had — can you guess? — a Manhattan! Surprise, surprise. 04Kitchen_Menu 05Kitchen_Pasta This picture simply does not do my house made capellini with ramps, house ricotta & micro basil any justice,…

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7 Top Chicago Restaurant Picks for Great Eats

June 26, 2015 by  

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food in chicago Homemade dumplings with mushrooms. Photo courtesy of Shaiith via Shutterstock. One of the most essential pieces of the patchwork that is Chicago is the Polish community and it’s been that way since the 1850s. Three separate, but large waves of immigration over the past century have contributed to Polish Chicago, or “Polonia.” More than just a minor subculture, Polonia contributed to the political, religious, educational, and cultural life of the Chicago we know today. We’ll take a look at some iconic Polish dishes and the best places in the Chicagoland area to sample each one. food in chicago Pierogi. Photo courtesy of B. and E. Dudzinscy via Shutterstock.

Pierogi

As one of the national foods of Poland, the Pierogi is a delicious and versatile staple. While fillings are truly only limited by your imagination, the most traditional Pierogi fillings are forcemeat (meat and onion), sauerkraut, and mushrooms. But, Polonia fillings include bacon, sauerkraut, and even potato and cheese. If you’re ready to take your Pierogi love to the next level, you need to stop by the annual Pierogi Festival in Whiting, Indiana. Until then, these Chicago…

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Hot for Coffee in the Heart of Edinburgh Scotland

June 26, 2015 by  

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Cafes in Edinburgh Photo courtesy of Coffee Lover via Shutterstock. Scotland may not be the most populous city in the UK, or the European capital most famous for its coffee. Edinburgh is a quaint, picturesque little city surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, yet unfortunately it’s known more for its deep fried mars bars than its coffee culture. But it’s time to change that perception, and reveal the hidden cafe scene that Edinburgh has to offer.

Here are five great coffee spots in Edinburgh, Scotland:

Cafes in Edinburgh Photo courtesy of Fortitude.

1. Fortitude

Serving up the excellent UK coffee label Workshop, Fortitude is an Edinburgh gem. Housed in a quaint-yet-stylish, classic-yet-airy space, this little cafe offers sweets from local baker Lovecrumbs to go with their lattes. Located in central York Place, Fortitude is also just a stone’s throw from the Scottish Portrait Gallery, so you can make a cultural afternoon of it. Cafes in Edinburgh Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Larder.

2. Edinburgh Larder

The people at Edinburgh Larder really know their stuff. Specializing in fine, local Scottish fare, the…

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2015 Pinot Days Boasts More Granularity & A Great View of San Francisco

June 25, 2015 by  

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I was fortunate to once again be in the Bay Area during the annual Pinot Days Event, which is deemed to be the largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world. They have four events — San Francisco, southern California, Chicago and New York City, although I’m only familiar with the one in San Francisco and attended it last year when it was held in one of those massive bunkers at Fort Mason. Check out my write up of last year’s event, when I was on a mission to find the biggest boldest Pinot on the floor, a tough thing to do in only four hours. The goal of the event producers is to give every Pinot lover a place to “go deep” within the style you love. As I mentioned in my piece last year, I’m not a typical Pinot lover and get much more excited about Bordeaux, Cabs and Zins than I do any Pinot Noir, even the award-winning ones from the Pacific Northwest. That said, my palette is coming around slowly but surely and there are more Pinots I like as the months and years march on — tasting many diverse styles is the key.…

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Foodie Alert: Head to Brittany For the Infamous Kouign-Amann

June 25, 2015 by  

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Kouign-Amann Photo by Groume via Flickr French culinary traditions are a never-ending story. Every town boasts of their own scrumptious specialties, and Michelin-starred restaurants seem to hide around every second corner. During my trip to Brittany, I made my way through local dishes very different from those I usually related to French cuisine, and fell in love with a flagship local dessert: Kouign-Amann. The north-western tip of France, bathed with cold waves of the Atlantic, belongs to Brittany. Proudly different from the rest of France, Bretons have their own language, saints and favorite foods. Slightly salted butter plays the key role in their cuisine, adding to the locally grown products, what results in homely, rich culinary traditions. Kouign-amann is one of the prime examples of Breton flavors. Pronounced kween-yah-MON, the name comes from the Breton words for “butter” and “cake.” Bretons claim kouign-amann to be the “fattiest pastry in the world,” and after just a week in Brittany, I fear that might actually be true. With wonderfully flaky, amber-yellow layers of dough mixed with sugar and salted butter, kouign-amann is to Brittany what a croissant is to Paris.

Kouign-Amann Origins

There’s no universally agreed version…

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Foodie & Culture Picks in California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea

June 24, 2015 by  

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Carmel-by-the-Sea Carmel-by-the-Sea may be only one square mile, but this coastal village in Central California is packed with flavor. And a peculiar history. There are no street lights, businesses and houses lack street numbers, and a permit is needed for wearing high heels. Yet the beach is great, Clint Eastwood was once mayor, and Doris Day has made Carmel a pretty pet-friendly place. In Carmel, culinary-minded visitors will happy to find no chain restaurants but rather casual eateries, fine dining establishments, coffee shops, and wine tasting rooms within reasonable walking distances. Just bring along a flashlight for the night – there are no street lights either. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Dining

Carmel Bakery. Just looking at the goodies in the display window of this quaint bakeshop makes you want to step inside. In business since 1906, this bakery/coffee shop on Ocean Street offers well-sized European style pastries such as cannolis, eclairs, napoleons, elephant ears, biscottis, and their best-selling chocolate covered macaroons. The bakery has been owned by the Pepe family for 25 years, and this centrally-located place also serves coffee, sandwiches and Bavarian style pretzels. It can be a…

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35 Fabulous Foodie Finds in New York City, From High End to Street Food

June 23, 2015 by  

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There’s no shortage of great food in New York City. My favorite dining experience this month was Nougatine, the more casual sister restaurant to Jean-Georges. This place gives you a legit 3 course lunch (that you get to choose!) that is simply out of this world delicious.  Bonus: they have outdoor seating which is perfect for breezy summer days. The budget friendly award goes to Shake Shack–while it’s not a place I go too frequently, it’s always a lovely treat when I do, particularly their mushroom veggie burger! Let’s take a look at some of my favorite picks lately. unnamed-26 Bar Pleiades: Upper East Side // $$$ // Nestled in the Surrey Hotel, this spot can do no wrong in my book.  Top notch service, artfully displayed meals that are as tasty as they are pretty, it makes for a wonderful date spot…and who knows? It may even inspire you to elope on the rooftop! unnamed-5 {Nougatine: Columbus Circle // $$$ // The more Jean-George restaurants I try, the harder in love I fall with his food.  Seriously–for the lunch menu price point of 3 courses for $38, it’s truly the best…

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