Are food festivals just for “Foodies”?


As you remember I LOVE the term, “foodie.”   We can say that until there is a societal agreement on a new term for high brows that like to eat, we will stick to it.  We could also do some damage with the liquid version of “foodie,” AKA “wine-oh.”   In short, Wine-oh’s could be…. 1. Any NPR listener that speaks in high notes and long legs 2. A cougar ( the female not feline) with a shit load of make up and slurred speech or 3. A drunk that calls her or himself a “wine oh.”  I am sure the real “wine oh’s ” are not even called “wine-oh’s” but some elitist term that only cool cats (skinny jeans and rimmed glasses) know about and use only with present company. Either way, you catch my drift… People who like to eat and drink are starting to take over the world. There are festivals, celebrities that became celebrities because they cook good shit, and dozens of people who follow these “celebrity chefs” with big cameras. The real question is, are  we common folk welcome to such festivities….?

The practical side of brain says…

1. Can I afford a ticket?

2. Can I afford to drink a plethora of wine for three days straight?

3. Can I afford to eat my weight in bad ass food made by noted “celebrity” chefs?



Whether you are a ….


(photo credit)


Or A….








(photo credit)




All  types of “foodies”  and “winies” are welcome…

Yes, my dear friends I am here to tell you, come one …Come ALL to such gluttonous food festies. In fat.. I mean fact,  the worse off you are in the food and drink world, the better. You get to bask in cooking and wine tasting seminars, drink with high brows, eat with local and national talented food makers and shakers and the list goes on.  Seriously! Hit that shit up and do it now… I must admit, I was a bit skeptical last year, at Austin Food and Wine, it was hot, it was dusty, and there seemed to be less food then drink— However, the Food and Wine Gods listened and this year they brought it– and they brought it BIG. There were live fire pits with talented chefs like Rene Ortiz and Jason Dady  creating things like lamb tacos, and red snapper with kewpie. There were local artisan food makers like Pate Letelier and Butterface Bakery that made my top two list. Of course, there was plenty of wine, booze and hot, muscled tattooed guys pouring such libations. It was hot in more ways than one, but there was plenty of shade and the porta potties had some killer a/c.


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(Photo: Defining Delicious, Smoked Oysters)



And even if you are stone cold sober or on a diet you can enjoy yourself. Andrew Zimmern the well known Bizarre Foods TV host does not drink alcoholic bevearages and he seemed to have a grand time.  He even travels with 3 female body guards( aka his wife and pr agents) but still… if you are vegan or even a veg head you can still find your way. Susan Finegar, a famous LA chef specializes in health inspired vegetarian fare and made a kick ass vegetarian taco at the Rock Your Taco event. If you are counting beans, maybe just get the weekender pass and fill your purse with cheese samples.  If you are counting your calories, just drink a ton of alcohol and skip the cheese. The point is, foodie festies are NOT just for the white collar crowds, there is a bit of somethin’ somethin’ for all types of folks.

susan F

(Photo: Defining Delicious, Susan Fenigar’s Delish Veggie Taco)

To help your planning out here are some stellar food festivities coming up around the country….

Aspen Food and Wine Festival   June 14-16

Nashvile Eats is September 21-22

Chicago Gourmet presented by Bon Apetite is September 27-29

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival September 1-9

Charleston Food Festival March 4-7

New York City Food and Wine Festival  October 17-20



Austin Food and Wine 

Culinaria, San Antonio’s own Food and Wine Festival and Restaurant Week


* I was given a media pass for Austin Food and Wine, however all opinions are my own.




French Laundry… The Finals

There’s More Then One Way To Slice Some Meat

Come to find out Thomas Keller is an All American Man despite his French food skills.  If you can believe it, TK was born in California and raised primarily in Florida. You may be asking yourself “did she just Wiki this?” No folks, I heard this information from the famous Food King himself. Of course I wish I would have asked something more clever.  When I got the chance to meet King TK I asked, “So where are you from?” The most plain yogurt first question EVER. Oh well, I was star struck.

Wait Let me rewind…

Not Your Average Meat N’ Potaters

Pictured above is The Liberty Farm Pekin Duck snuggled with Chanterelle mushrooms, Arrowleaf spinach, Salsify and Oregon huckleberries.

Pictured above is Snake River Farms ” Calotte Dr Boeuf Grillee” accompanied by Pommes Sarladaise, Tardivo Radicchio, Nantes Carrots and Burgundy Truffle.

Translation Please?  Sexy ivy league beef takes a joy-ride on seered potatoes rendered in duck fat and happy carrots snuggling with crisp radicchio.  It’s the happiest pile of meat and taters you’ll ever take to dinner.

Pictured above is Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, spooning with Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Compressed Pear, Tokyo turnips and Juniper Sauce.  This was my brother’s favorite dish of the evening.

What was my favorite slice of meat?…

Drum Roll…

Thomas Keller.

I got to meat the most incredible culinary master Chef in the world.  He has soft artistic hands and I got all tingly when I shook them.  Did I mention the silky smooth hands of a master?  I never thought during the 18 courses of a dreamboat dinner I would hear, “would you like to meet Chef?”

Some people dream to touch Kim Kardashian’s dreamy round booty. I dream to hold the hands of King TK sometime again. Soon real soon.

Cheesed to Meat You

Let’s be honest I could have eaten mulch for the the rest of the evening and I still would have had that entranced look on my face. I barely remember what happened after I touched the hands of King TK. Luckily, I did document.

Speaking of cheese. Pictured above is the cheese course. A smooth cheddar crisp basking in a berry compote that was as tasty as it was pretty.

This pig in the clouds is Guava Sorbet, Moscato d’Asti (a sweet dessert wine) and Young Ginger.  I like ’em young and spicy.

Pictured above is Pommes Anna Funnel Cake, Pruneaux d’Agen (stuffed prunes), Rum Anglaise and salted carmel ice cream.

That my friends was the best 30th birthday that a North Country gal could ask for and the most memorable meal of 2011.  I hope you all get a chance to feast your eyes on Thomas Keller. But save those velvet hands for me.

Happy New Year and thank you to the 16 of you who have signed up to read this saucy blog.  I appreciate your support. Cheers and may 2012 bring many pleasurable meals.

French Laundry Survival Guide… Part 3

I know, I’m really milking this French Laundry thing for all it’s worth. People, a 5 hour 18 course dinner needs the tender lovin’ care that it deserves. The posts just keep getting better, like an aging wine.  Speaking of which, you must be wondering..”What the hell did she drink with this over-the-top meal?”

Fish, Wine and Truffle Time

Tip: If you’re a wino newbie like me then trust the Sommeliers. I know it sounds like I’m trying to lure you into a white windowless van. Really, if there ever was a time to trust, it would be at The French Laundry.  I promise no sketchy vans are waiting for you in the parking lot.

My bro was my date and he’s pretty handy with wine so I had the inside scoop on everything we tasted.  If you have any younger siblings who are searching for a career path, tell them to become a Sommelier.  That way you can take them to The French Laundry with you once they achieve international wine stardom. The Sommelier was our master tour guide walking us threw the grape vines of Tuscany.  Each tasting was wonderfully paired like pearls and white teeth.

Tip:Start off with Champange or something bubbly. It’s a celebration.

Wine and Fish go together like Fish and Wine

Here is the Sautéed Fillet of Atlantic Suzuki.  Alongside this delicate fish was freshly plucked broccoli, crisp red radish, zesty navel orange, crisp cashews, Padrón peppers (Spanish pepper) and green orange Aigre-Doux

Above is The French Laundry Caesar Salad. Also known as: My Best Bite Of The Evening. In one nibble I was brought back to a rained-the-enitre-week-vacation that my family took to Maine. I remember the rain and the lobster: buttery, juicy, tender, screaming to be tasted. These sweet-butter poached Maine lobster mitts were accompanied by pain perdu (the forgotten bread), parmesan pearls, romaine lettuce and a hen’s egg emulsion. I will never look at  “Caesar Salad” the same way again. Damn You Frenchy!

Bread and Budda

Tip: Don’t fill up on the artisan bread.  This stuff is worth its weight in gold.  It will rock your pants off and will require some serious self control to avoid over indulging. Oh and by the way there were TWO choices of butter.  One local butter which was creamy and delightful. One from Vermont with a touch of sea salt and a slice of heaven. Ok, I’m bias.

Family Plug: My Dad has an in with the French Laundry butter maker, Diane Sinclair. She is my new Butter Goddess (sorry Paula Deen). DIane is a fellow Vermonter and her butter tastes as if it were churned within minutes of arriving at your table. Satin sheets of butter. Who knew butter could be so sexy. Hi Dad.

White Truffle My Palette 

Tip: If you are lucky enough to go to French Laundry during truffle season, order the damn truffle course. Order It. Order It even if it means eating Ramen noodles for the next month. Order it if it means selling your house and moving into your parents basement.

White Truffle: The Definition of Inner Beauty. I know the above pictured truffle looks like a calcified pile of cow dung. Trust me, it tastes like a piece of heaven in a gold plated hand basket.  This truffle is legit. We are talkin’ probably smuggled in by the Italian mafia legit.  The truffle lives in the sexy mahogany box and it’s keeper is Thomas Keller. Rumor has it Chef Keller sleeps next to this box and sniffs the truffles in his sweet dreams. The white truffles are white glove delivered and if you order them you will feel for 5 minutes of your life that you are the King or Queen of Spain. They shave the white truffle at your table side and yes, the whole place watches.

What I named…White Truffle Nectar Of the Gods Dish: ripples of white truffle laid to rest peacefully on top of  velvet risotto that was infused with white truffle shavings and finished with a white truffle nectar.  That’s a lot of truffle.  Tasting this dish is equalvalent to suckling the teet of a White Truffle’s ripe bosom.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

My Last Few Bites of Truffle Nectar Of The Gods.

WIne Changer: For the first time ever, I smelled something in the glass. That “something” was the smell of truffles. There is seriously a wine that smells like truffles. There is a God. Sorry yellowtail I think we should see other people. I am forever changed and will be pairing all of my meals from now on.

The wine that changed my life I enjoyed with white truffles:

2001 Fantoni Barolo Riserva “Vigna dei Dardi”
The grape is Nebbiolo (Nebbiolo means
‘grape of fog’). It was like drinking sips of truffle grapes draped in red velvet. Oy Vay. I’m salivating like a truffle dog.

Documenting my last bite of truffle and my sniffer filled with a Truffle wine scent.

Oh man, I’m crying right now. I have to go to the bathroom and get a tissue.

Speaking of bathrooms and tissues. I know you’re just dyin to see what the French Laundry water closet looks like.

Pretty sure Cindy Lauper has used this cashmere toilet paper.

On that note come back soon for Part 4.  There will be meat and Thomas Keller is gonna get involved.

*For more Wine Information visit my favorite wine blogger: Do Bianchi