The Food and Wine Festival at Baldwin Park

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The weather folks are actually predicting a lovely weekend, so Saturday should be nice for the Food & Wine Festival at Baldwin Park, a festival of, um, food and wine. At Baldiwn Park. The event is a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. I attended last year as a judge and had a great time (and a lot of really good food).

There's still time to purchase tickets in advance for $65; if you show up at the gate the fee is $75. You can stop by New Broad Street Realty in Baldwin Park (I'm pretty sure it's on New Broad Street) or you can click through here to purchase online. More info? Call 407-339-2978. There's a list of participants below.

Need to talk turkey about wines? The WineLine is there to help

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Butterball’s Turkey Talk-line is, of course, legendary. It was started 29 years ago by the giant turkey company to help frantic cooks deal with the frightening task of cooking the large bird for the first time -- or the 10th. That first year six home economists answered 11,000 calls.

Now there are 50 professional economists and nutritionists answering more than 100,000 questions about thawing the turkey, checking to see if it’s done, what to do if it’s still frozen, and how to cook the stuffing so you don’t send your family to the emergency room.

Less well known, and not dealing with things quite as life-threatening, is the Loew’s Hotels Wine Line, which the hotelier, owners of Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific and Hard Rock Hotel locally, is operating now through New Year’s Eve.

It’s also not technically a line. If you have questions about wine -- what wine to serve with dinner, how to store, how to chill or whatever -- you can send an e-mail request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a certified sommelier will answer you within 24 hours. Not much help in an emergency, but if you’re frantic because you need to know the fastest way to thaw a pinot noir, you’re probably beyond help.

(For the record, Butterball is encouraging e-mail inquiries to its talk-line, too.)

To help get you started, the Loew’s Hotels team have put together this list of recommended wines for holiday dining.

Master sommelier Brian Koziol to present wines at Ruth's Chris

Written by Scott Joseph on .

On November 23rd, Master Sommelier Brian Koziol will team up with Ruth's Chris Steak House on Sand Lake Road to present an upscale tasting of food and wine.  This special event will begin at 6:30pm, and finish at 8:30pm.  Over 30 wines from around the world will be featured, along with an assortment of delicious menu items from Ruth's Chris Steak House.  The ticket price to enjoy Ruth’s Chris’ unparalleled food with these exceptional wines is $55 per person plus tax & gratuity.  

A few of the wineries that will be showcased are:  Robert Mondavi Winery, Franciscan, Mount Veeder Winery, Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, Simi, Inniskillin, Ruffino, Nobilo, Kim Crawford, and more!

The menu will include: Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey Breast, Mini Crab Cakes, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops, Assortment of Fruits & Cheeses, Chocolate Sin Cake, as well as other traditional menu items.

Please call Marc Tilton at Ruth's Chris Steak House today to RSVP for this delightful experience.  Marc can be reached at (407) 797-5171.

Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive (almost)

Written by Scott Joseph on .

At 12:01 November 19, just a few hours from now, the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau will be ready for sipping. As you may know, the date is set by French law as the third Thursday in November for the official release of the current vintage. Over the years that restriction has become a marketer's dream, creating a mystique for a product that few had a mystique for until they were told they couldn't have it until a specific time and date.

Whatever. I'm not one to pooh-pooh an excuse to have a party. And the folks at Funky Monkey have one planned for tomorrow at the Pointe Orlando restaurant. And this one could get really funky.

It's Naked Sushi night, and apparently involves eating raw fish rolls off of a bare body. No, you are not permitted to remove your clothes. But who knows, after a few bottles of the new wine anything could happen.

The global release party is from 7 to 11 p.m., with the "featured exhibit" -- that would be the nude nigiri -- from 8 to 10 p.m. Fee is $29. Reservations are at 407-418-9463 or online at OpenTable.

funky monkey beaujolais nouveau

Big expectations out of Beaujolais

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Winemaker Georges Duboeuf says 2009 is one of the best in 50 years

Beaujolais wine producer Georges Duboeuf is ecstatic about this year's Beaujolais harvest, predicting it one of the best Beaujolais vintages in the last 50 years, according to a press release.

"We have had perfect weather with 50,000 grape pickers hard at work across the 3,000 vineyards of Beaujolais since September 4th," proclaimed Georges Duboeuf in his most recent harvest report, dated September 18th. "The grape bunches are small with a fine purplish black color, and are exceptionally rich in sugar. The berries are thick, and theduboeuf seeds are a gorgeous amber color, a sign of perfect phenolic maturity. Their brightness, intensity, and above all, their perfect health are something to behold. We have not seen anything like this for a long time

Following the longtime French tradition of releasing Beaujolais Nouveau at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of November, the 2009 vintage will be released November 19 with celebratory "Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé !" events taking place in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and several other locations across the country.