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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

The Costco Report: Organic Beef

I cooked this steak – with a simple red wine-honey reduction and a creamy parmigiano-peppercorn salad – in honor of one of my especially snarky fans, someone who objects strenuously every time I buy something from a supermarket for what I’ve billed as a “cooking locally” weblog. I’ll stipulate the point, but my money says I’m not the only parent in the County who’d like to serve their kids a decent, healthy steak for a few less bucks. But is it a decent, healthy steak?… Read More »

For the love of pig!

If you like local food and wine, and the idea of watching an entire pig morph from carcass into dinner doesn’t scare you, then you could do worse than a Sunday afternoon spent eating and drinking alongside 5 local winemakers, 5 local chefs, and their 5 porcine victims – all from heritage bloodlines, all sustainably raised by local farmers – at COCHON555. The main event will surely be the rainbow of piggy plates offered up by some of Wine Country’s… Read More »

2 Guys, 1 Pool Table, & Some Barrels

As a rule, I wince when I hear the words artisanal and Pinot Noir in the same sentence, conjuring as they do the pretension of restaurants that proclaim “house-made” and people who’ve watched the movie Sideways more than once. But exceptions prove rules, and every so often I’m lucky enough to be reminded of the origins of the term, the idea that wine-making is as much craft as science, and that small lots, made by hand, with obsessive attention to… Read More »

Lobster Bisque & Viognier @ J Winery: Two of a Perfect Pair

Forgive the hackneyed analog, but I’ve just eaten a Lennon-McCartney harmony of food and wine over at J Winery; OK, maybe that’s too much, but a solid Bee Gees, at least! Seriously, if we wore socks on our teeth, then Chef Mark Caldwell’s Lobster Bisque, together with winemaker George Bursick’s Hoot Owl Vineyard Viognier, would knock them clean off. And I don’t even like Viognier, as a rule.
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Eat Pig, Drink Pinot, Save Our Schools

I have mixed feelings about school fund-raisers: On the one hand, like most parents, I have kids in public schools that fall chronically short of financial resources; on the other, I believe that I already pay more than enough in taxes to expect a properly funded system of public education, that the root of the problem is not the quantity of money available, but rather the means by which it is allocated. In any case, on the morning after our Pigs ‘n Pinot fund-raising dinner, I am hungover, fat, and happy all the same.
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Sunny Eggs, Crispy Polenta & Creamy Mushrooms

sunny-side up eggs, crispy polenta cake, creamy sauteed mushroomsThe culinary leaders of the free world – and on this the kitchens of both Republican and Democratic White Houses agree, so who am I to argue – particularly enjoy pairing their big, rich Chards with either corn or scallops. I know this because, as I explained in yesterday’s post, one of my favorite vintners of kick-ass Chard supplies the very same wine that I buy to the White House Ombudsman. … Read More »

What Obama and Bush both know about wine

Chicken/egg, TV/commercial, show-me-yours/I’ll-show-you-mine; which came first, the food or the wine? In our house, such questions carry weight, a seriousness you might consider more properly reserved for electrocardiograms, or matters of national security. The thing of it is, in wine country, the ordinal structure of food vis-a-vis wine matters, not least because you’ll neither be fed nor drunk until we’ve settled the matter. To wit, a wine that my wife adores and that Presidents Obama and Bush Jr uniquely agree upon, because it’s been spilled on the official tablecloths of Republican and Democratic White Houses alike…
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Steal this wine. Now.

Another drive-by post, but worth the rapid-fire detour, at least if you like your wine local, good, and cheap, because I just found two ridiculously cheap wines that won’t last – a $25 RRV Chard for $10, and a $35 Sonoma Mountain Pinot for $12.50 – and if you’ve wasted any time at all on this site, then you won’t want to miss them, because we probably agree that to suggest that one can have too much good, cheap, Sonoma County wine is oxymoronic.

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