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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

Get her tipsy, feed her chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not above whetting my wife’s more carnal appetites with enough wine and chocolate to impair her better judgment. I’m sure that’s all very un-PC and certainly, as the father of young daughters, I live in mortal fear of the effects of alcohol on sensibility; but my wife’s a big girl, and above all, she knows how I think, so I’m pretty sure our pending Valentine’s Date – a savory symphony of handcrafted chocolate and wine at J Winery – will be consensual.… 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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New Year’s Eve: Serve This, Get Lucky

If you’ve already got Champagne and caviar lying about, then by all means, use it, and with neither apology nor reservation. But here is my contribution: Whatever you do, make sure you serve something that will get you lucky. As it happens – to nobody’s surprise, at least if they’re regular readers – we in the Proximal Kitchen are nothing if not opinionated, and we love most of all to pontificate about which foods and wines are most likely to earn you flirty looks and even messier sheets, and we’ve got just the ticket:… Read More »

Can’t deal with New Year’s Eve? Try lunch.

I once asked a dear friend of mine, a man with at least several points more of IQ than a low-grade fever claims in mercury and a penchant for securing invitations from the hipster set, why he refuses to go out on new years’ eve, and he told me, in no uncertain terms, “it’s the ultimate rookie night”. And he’s right, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and celebrate, and why I’m taking my wife to lunch instead of dinner. What, really, is more luxuriant, more celebratory, than ordering a cocktail or a glass of bubbly at lunchtime, or walking out of a nice restaurant, arm in arm and a little warm and tipsy, in broad daylight? It’s very nearly downright naughty, and who’s not a fan of that?… Read More »

Cold Food for Hot Mamas

As most any mom will tell you, there is a world of difference between “cooking for moms” and “cooking for moms”: The noun implies more of her time spent over a cooktop, while the verb at least suggests the possibility that she might end up on the receiving end of the culinary goodie bag for a change. To wit: My wife recently put in a special request for the Moms’ Night Out she was hosting for a small cadre of mamacitas sans kids and husbands, a professional dance instructor, and a trunk full of pink bubbly…… Read More »

Cooking for Date Night, Naughty ‘n Nice

sweet n salty vodka whipped creamWhipped cream for dinner, because Saturday night, with any luck at all, means date night. Date night – at least around our house – is at least as likely to mean a raid on the wine cellar and a bag of tricks from the farmer’s market as a babysitter and a night out on the town, because we live in a sleepy wine country town where most of the bars shutter their doors around the same time my kids shut their eyes…… Read More »