DON’T MISS – TOO COOL TOOL…AERMATE

Aermate product_red wine bottle distant view.jpg

On this very notable day of love it is not a who, but a what that we’ve fallen head over heels for here at INSIDE F&B. It pleases us to introduce our newest crush, The Aermate.

Much like other unassuming tools you’d toss in the drawer, this doesn’t look very impressive, but boy does it get the job done! Want to save the remainder of that bottle of wine that’s not yet turned yet you have it earmarked for the spaghetti sauce? Could only afford an inexpensive wine last trip to the liquor store but wish it could taste like it is twice the value? Have a hot date coming over in 15 minutes and you forgot to pull out the decanter? Not to worry, Aermate (www.aermate.com) to the rescue.

Introduced in November 2013, the Aermate was designed by a mechanical engineer who worked in the fields of liquids and gasses. As things like this often come to life, he and his partner, whom he met at Purdue as an undergrad, created Aermate after a conversation over dinner. Co-founder Mike Roach comments, “We created this tool to do as much work as possible with the least amount of effort, mess, and interruption of the enjoyment of wine and spirits.”

Knowing how much restaurants would love to turn tables and turn profits they might not otherwise see while letting a bottle decant properly Roach and his partner created this full size edition as well as a table top/personal travel size – about 5″ long that can sit on the bar in its caddy or tuck into a server’s apron pocket. Not only is it great for a quick aeration of those top end wines when you or your guest doesn’t want to decant, but also is a boon to less expensive wines sold by the glass, mellowing them out and hopefully inspiring a second glass purchase. Roach notes, ” The way you aerate something is to put as fine as bubbles as you can and you oxygenate it. The Aermate reduces waste and satisfaction in an immature product increases.”

How does the magic happen? Roach explains exactly what is going on with this thin rod and bulb, “This is the kind of unique part about it – what we’ve been able to develop is sintered metal – it’s a molding process they use with the stainless steels. the holes in that piece – it feels like a stone – the holes are each 2 microns across and these holes are thin and strong and give you the maximum amount of air pressure. It bursts so much air into the product (Aermate also works on spirits and coffee); air that is forced into the bottom of the glass or the bottle that then bounces around in the beverage and gives it as much exposure to oxygen as possible. Exposure it couldn’t get from a pouring aerator.”

Pouring profits into wine tastings is something Read the full article here »

FISHING FOR A PERFECT PAIRING

Make gravlax the newest addition to your small plates menu
By Francine Cohen

Swedish Culinary Summer by Xante Gravlax filet prep

Stop all the whining about this polar vortex repeat performance and get inspired by the culinary culture of a people who manage just fine in this weather…Swedish people.

Their classic dish, gravlax, has a place on both your Super Bowl buffet if you’re having friends over for the big game or can be an easy to prep and highly profitable bar snack that pairs beautifully with all sorts of cocktails on your menu.

Chef Magnus Lindström of Swedish Taste, Göteborg, presented this dish this past summer in the Hamptons as part of the Swedish Culinary Summer program (www.swedishculinarysummer.com/chefs) which was sponsored, in part, by Peter F. Heering / Xanté (www.xantenorthamerica.com).

Though prepped outside by the pool this is truly a year-round item that works with a variety of spirits and is sure to please guests as well as meet your food costs.

Lindstrom should know about these things; he won the Swedish Chef of the Year Award Read the full article here »

BRAIN FOOD – BOOZE FOR BABES

Give Women What They Want. Not What You Think They Need.
By Francine Cohen

Booze for Babes cover image.jpg

Booze for Babes: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Drinking Spirit Right, and its author Kayleigh Kulp, is ready to be your agent of change if you let it/her be.

This soon to be published tome that will quickly become a must read for the Skinny Girl/whipped cream vodka set is destined to turn things around for female drinkers everywhere; much as it did for Kulp. The author began as an uninformed imbiber who admits, “I really didn’t have any preferences. I was a victim of that marketing – I would drink bottled cocktails and all the flavored vodkas that are the weird candy flavors. It was because I didn’t know enough to care.” Now, like you, she knows plenty. And she cares!

This appreciation began on a DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – www.discus.org) trip to visit whiskey country for a travel story she had been assigned. There, her eyes were opened. It was the first time she’d ever experienced whiskey production and she notes, “There was such an impact being able to see how it was made and see all the products. This was a whole new world of exploration that I had already done with food and wine but never the brown spirits my husband had been drinking for example.”

She continues, “I came back home and discovered my favorite whiskeys and in talking to my girlfriends about this new passion and drinking whiskey while out with them they were asking, ‘why are you drinking whiskey?’ and so I wondered why do I and my girlfriends have this issue and my husband his friends don’t?” Read the full article here »

EAT HERE NOW – NEW ORLEANS 2013

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
By Abigail Gullo

Tales Walk 2013 Iron Man on N. Peters statue

“Baby please don’t go. Baby please don’t go. Baby please don’t go down to New Orleans, you know I love you so baby please don’t go.” – Big Joe Williams….and Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison and AC/DC and Aerosmith…..

I know you all long for New Orleans as you plan your annual summer trip down here and well after you leave. This city has a magical pull that brought many into its orbit. And you truly miss that good feeling when you are gone. But, this isn’t all I’m talking about; I am talking about missing New Orleans, the real New Orleans. While you are here you don’t want to miss the real New Orleans and the things that make it great.

I fell in love with this city during Tales of the Cocktails. Every year I came earlier and stayed longer. My boss and mentor, St John Frizell at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn went to college here and lived here until 1999. He said that New Orleans had a special magic and a real appreciation for hospitality and service. St John encouraged me when he said he saw that special light in me too and knew I would do well here. When an opportunity came up to work with the Brennan family, who has been running the best restaurants in New Orleans for over 100 years, I thought the signs were all pointing me leaving New York for New Orleans.

Tales 2013 Jackson Square with card reader
Brennan
So finally last year I just could not live without New Orleans any longer and I left the Big Apple for the Big Easy. There is lesson number one. There are many things not easy about living here. There is heat, hurricanes, violence, crumbling infrastructure and judging from the caterpillar sting I have on my Read the full article here »

BRAIN FOOD – CRAFT COCKTAILS

Brian Van Flandern’s Sophomore Book – Craft Cocktails – Debuts With Much Fanfare
By Francine Cohen

Photo courtesy of Assouline

Photo courtesy of Assouline

Craft. Think about that term in relation to furniture makers and you conjure up a small workshop with myriad tools; each with their own unique purpose. Each wielded by an artisan who has dedicated many years to mastering the intricate details that go into making his final product a work of art. The craft of the bartender is no different. And nothing illustrates this more beautifully than Brian Van Flandern’s second cocktail book which includes 50 of his own recipes plus 20 from the likes of Jim Meehan, James Menite, Eryn Reece, Julie Reiner, Dushan Zaric and other professionals from Clover Club, Death & Co., Employees Only, and PDT – the stunningly photographed Craft Cocktails.

Van Flandern explains how Craft Cocktails, his second book, came to life, “After the amazing success of Vintage Cocktails I wanted to release a book that would be appreciated by the multitude of fellow mixologist but still be accessible to the masses. Vintage Cocktails was released in late 2009. It won Best Cocktail Book of the Year 2010 from the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris. It is now in its fifth printing and is distributed in dozens of countries throughout the world. Even though the recipes are simple classics, I was thrilled that so many industry professionals really loved the layout and design of the book. When I left Michelin Three Star Restaurant Per Se in 2007, I wanted to write a book showcasing the recipes that Read the full article here »

EAT HERE NOW – BIRMINGHAM

By LeNell Camacho Santa Ana

Alabama, Birmingham, Vulcan Park, memorial honoring iron and steel processing,

Never say never. When I left the city in 2000 for the big lights of NYC, I never thought I’d come back to find Birmingham, Alabama filled with so many food and drink options to keep even a big city girl happy. I said I would never move back to the ‘Ham but when my husband and I visited in 2011, we were so impressed by the prevalence of delicious cocktails, craft beers, and farm-fresh foods that we decided to call it home.

Steva Casey, bartender at Veranda on Highland and the Alabama Restaurant Association’s 2012 Bartender of the Year, believes that Birmingham is a burgeoning playground for cocktail enthusiasts with bar staff eager to explore new flavors much like the chefs that they work for. Asking restaurant and bar insiders for recommendations is always a great way to initiate a tasting tour. She loves to hang out at Bettola and Hot and Hot for cocktails and catch a beer at the Garage. For eats, she says don’t miss Satterfields, Pho Que Huong, Miss Myra’s, and Niki’s.

Since Ollie Irene was nominated for the James Beard’s Best New Restaurant for 2012 within a few months of opening, I asked the owners Chris Newsome and his wife Anna for their favorite haunts. They highly recommended the brunch at Veranda and the good ole country meat and three cookin’ of Read the full article here »

EAT HERE NOW – HILTON HEAD ISLAND

By Kristen Oliveri

Photo courtesy of Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy of Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Those searching for restaurants adept at pairing the very best of old world Southern comfort with new world cutting-edge cuisine may be surprised to learn they can find it on Hilton Head Island. Gone are the days of lackluster, non-descript beach resort food and bland margaritas. With more than 250 restaurants on the Island, the area has drawn the attention of celebrity chefs like Food Network’s Robert Irvine (http://www.eathhi.com/) who recently opened his flagship restaurant, eat!; a mix between new favorites paired with old-world Southern cuisine. Menu items like shrimp and cheddar grits and traditional bread pudding may warm the heart, but don’t overlook the roasted duck with collard greens and sweet potato fritters, which is a crowd pleaser in its own right.

For more locally and seasonally designed menus enter Vine Restaurant. The chef there is serving up organic and local dishes that support the farmers, fisherman and butchers in the region and with the true meaning of the farm to table movement in mind, the menu changes weekly to showcase seasonal dishes like salads featuring roasted Brussels sprouts, kale and beets. Popular items like Osso Bucco are a big seller, but stewed swordfish steamed with tomatoes and olives served over a creamy polenta is a dish to dissect, enjoy and to reflect back on in almost a spiritual sense long after the meal is over.
Long gone are the plantation owners who populated the island, but their culinary imprint, and those of the native Gullah people, still remain on menus. Naturally, authentic Gullah-inspired cuisine can be found in Hilton Head’s restaurants like Roastfish and Cornbread where the chef presents healthy dining options like vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free alongside those classic dishes he learned in his grandmother’s kitchen and recreates for his guests. The seafood used in the restaurant is brought in daily with a roster of local fish that is astounding.

Photo courtesy of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

While the bar and cocktail scene in a town known primarily for seasonal tourism may seem one dimensional, mixologists at restaurants and lounges like Wise Guys are Read the full article here »

DON’T MISS – JEAN DE LILLET 2009

Open Up Your Palate and Mind to the Pleasures of the Aperitif
By Francine Cohen

Jean De Lillet 2009 vintage

Starting a conversation with “I’m sorry…” is usually the domain of errant boyfriends and husbands, naughty children, and dirty politicians at press conferences. Now, add to that list, very fortunate (yet guilty) editors.

You must know, we mean it. We really are feeling a little guilty about spending an entire “Don’t Miss” column telling you about a product you’ll possibly never taste because it was produced in such a limited quantity that only 1,000 bottles total made it to the US.

But we can’t help it. Why? Because, even if you can’t find it at your favorite bar or track down one of the bottles still on liquor store shelves in NYC and CA you need to know about the existence of the deliciousness that is Jean De Lillet 2009; the vintage aperitif made from grapes ripened in what was a very good year in Bordeaux.

The juice, which was aged in French oak, offers up a lot of the wood on the nose, producing a slightly more bitter product than the traditional Lillet blanc. The extra aging process results in additional variances from its blanc cousin, such as a fuller and richer mouthfeel thanks to extra viscosity. The expected bittersweet and floral notes do come through on this golden hued Jean de Lillet 2009 just as they do on the blanc.

Tempting, right? We hope you’ll find it somewhere. If you can’t, at least you may want to understand why…Lillet’s brand ambassador, Amanda Boccato, comments on the limited supply limited and what to do if Read the full article here »