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Thursday, February 21, 2019

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

 
7.ON BOARDS (Appetite by Random House, 2018, 184 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-753114-8, $25 CAD hardbound) is by Lisa Dawn Bolton, a Vancouver food stylist and writer. As she says, these are simple and inspiring recipe ideas to share at gatherings. Bolton has 100 or so quick and easy preps and suggestions for creating a board of food that looks beyond being a charcuterie board or a cheese platter. Her 50 styling ideas are augmented by 52 recipes for both savoury and sweet additions such as beet hummus or mashed potato dip. The boards cover a range of occurrences, from everyday to seasonal to holiday to special occasion to international (Mexican, Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, Holland, Bavaria, et al). The recipes are useful, but you can also use other preps that you might be more familiar with. Just play around. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart for the avoirdupois weights and measures.
Audience and level of use: those looking for entertaining ideas.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chocolate salami; bourbon bacon ham;
The downside to this book: I wanted more suggestions. Also, you'll need a few different platters for display.
The upside to this book: a really good look at platter creation.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
 
 
 
8.SEASON (Chronicle Books, 2018, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-6399-4, $35 USD hardbound) is by Nik Sharma, ace blogger (A Brown Kitchen) and print food writer. As a food photographer, he did his own pix for this book of big flavours and beautiful food. He's also got seven noted log rollers, including Nigella Lawson. He's a home cook, but his 100 preps here show a global sensibility of spices and herbs and international techniques. He grew up in India and traveled widely, cooking in the Southern US and photographing his experiences. It is a colourful book, part memoir, part cookbook, with good leading and spacing for easier readability. The primer part details a flavour glossary, and this is followed by sections on small bites, salads, soups, gains and veggies, seafood, eggs and poultry, meats, sweets, and some beverages. The preps are bookended with a section on pantry staples to keep on hand. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements (except for teaspoons and tablespoons with no equivalents), and  there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: adventuresome cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: crème fraiche chicken salad; chile-sumac pomegranate nuts; spiced mango milkshake; cardamom iced coffee with coconut milk; bacon-guajillo salt; charred green garlic and yuzu ponzu sauce; turkey-mushroom handpies; spiced meat loaf; tandoori swordfish steaks; coriander gravlax.
The downside to this book: maybe a little too much non-food material
The upside to this book: excellent photography and layout
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
 
 
 
 
9.THE FAT KITCHEN (Storey Publishing, 2018, 290 pages, ISBN 978-1-61212-913-6 $24.95 USD paperbound) is by Andrea Chesman in Vermont. Her many cookbooks specialize in traditional techniques such as The Pickled Pantry. Here she explores, in 100 recipes, how to tackle the rendering and curing of lard, tallow and poultry fat – and then how to cook with them. It's been over ten years since Jennifer McLagan's definitive "Fat" book (Ten Speed Press) and six years since Michael Ruhlman's "Book of Schmaltz" (Little, Brown). It is no secret that fat not only imparts flavour to regular food but also makes pastry more tender and flaky, cookies rise higher, and caramelizes fried foods without being greasy. Each type of fat is distinct, and Chesman tells us which type is best for which method of cooking or food. So – we have pork carnitas, Cornish pasties, duck fat french fries, and similar preps. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements (but fat is additionally expressed in metric), but there are tables of metric equivalents at the back of the book.
Audience and level of use: home cooks, meat eaters
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: potato latkes; scallion pancakes; duck fat popcorn; duck confit with potatoes; onion confit; kale chips; red bean gumbo; kasha varnishkas; jam thumbprint cookies.
The downside to this book: nothing really, fairly priced.
The upside to this book: a good book for paleo and GAPS diets
Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
 
10.BUILD-A-BOWL (Storey Publishing, 2018, 180 pages, ISBN 978-1-61212-990-7 $18.95 USD paperbound) is by Nicki Sizemore, food blogger, recipe developer, and cooking teacher, All of these 77 preps are easy and infinitely adaptable by your mastering of the build-a-bowl formula: a whole-grain base topped with veggie, protein, sauce and crispy garnish (e.g., seeds). The beauty of it is that every bowl can be customized for picky eaters, gluten-free eaters, vegans and vegetarians, and any special diet – all at the same time (if you have enough diverse foods). These are all family-oriented and thrive on leftovers. The grains can be GF or mixed, they can be just one (e.g., brown rice) or mixed, etc. The grains should be at least lukewarm for tastiness. Fruit is useful for dessert bowls at brunch or breakfast. There is good advice for actually building each of the 77 bowls – and most of the ingredients can be made  in advance, except last minute things such as fried eggs or warming things up. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: families, millennials, anyone in a hurry.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: millet muesli; pumpkin pie rice pudding; hardy greens and grains with pancetta and poached eggs; balsamic roasted mushrooms and Brussels sprouts with goat cheese and gremolata; grilled skirt steak with sweet corn and cabbage slaw plus roasted red pepper cashew sauce.
The downside to this book: I wanted more recipes, maybe an even 100?
The upside to this book: there is a resources list and an index to recipe type (e.g., eggs, legumes, fruit bowls, et al)
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
11.ROAST REVOLUTION (Ryland Peters and Small, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-027-7 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Kathy Kordalis, a London-based food stylist and recipe writer. It's her sixth book, with plenty of light and accessible preps in the "heavy" field of roasts based on different cuts of meat. These are contemporary ideas for modern-day roasts. She emphasizes the "art of meat and heat" for perfect timings of tenderness. Veggies are included as well, such as the whole baked cauliflower with chimichurri sauce, and a farro bowl that also comprises favas and pistachios. Her sensibilities come from her Australian and Mediterranean heritages. After the primer, the arrangement includes classics, fast, slow, merry, and weekends, followed by sides and drinks. She also has a small number of menu suggestions for Father's Day, Summer Party, Valentine's Day, et al.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Audience and level of use: those who like variations on a roast
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: gochujang roasted eggplant steaks; salmon inferno; soy and sesame baked monkfish; stuffed porchetta; braised beef cheeks; slow roast lamb leg; Middle Eastern spiced venison shawarma.
The downside to this book: I would have liked more menus.
The upside to this book: good idea, especially with a whole meal being planned. Sides suggestions are really in line.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
12.THE MAKE-AHEAD SAUCE SOLUTION (Storey Publishing, 2018, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-61212-959-4 $16.5 USD paperbound) is by Elisabeth Bailey, who has authored two regional cookbooks of Maritime cooking. She lives in Lunenberg, NS where she teaches classes on gardening and food. These 61 sauces can all be pre-made and then frozen, to be brought out when time is short. In addition to ragus and Thai sauces, there are also gorgonzola chive butter, coconut lemon, chimichurri, Parmesan leek and more. Each recipe has a quick-reference chart showing the best base combinations of proteins and veggies. After the primer there are chapters on regional sauces from the Americas, Asia, and the Mediterranean – followed by cheese sauces, wine sauces, pestos and salsas. Eleven bases (pork, fish, shrimp, chicken, et al) with 61 sauces leads to hundreds of different meals. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: harried homemakers; cooks wanting different flavours every night.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sun-dried tomato pesto; cheddar ale; creamy chipotle; creole; pumpkin coconut cream; Vietnamese dipping sauce; mustard greens anchovies; primavera; blue cheese, pear and hazelnut; corn and chile salsa.
The downside to this book: I wanted more sauces.
The upside to this book: Sauces really do dress up your meal.
Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
 
13.POTATOES (Ryland Peters and Small, 2018, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-028-4 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Jenny Linford who has written other cookbooks in the UK. Here she gives us 65 potato preps ranging from soups to samosas, croquettes to chowders, curries to quesadillas, and pies to pierogi. Quite a wide range from the classics to the modern twists. It is a good basic little book emphasizing the range that potatoes can enjoy. The arrangement is useful: summery potatoes, then sustaining potatoes, followed by comfort potatoes and spicy potatoes. There are so many different things that you can do with the basic product so variables and spin-offs also come into play.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some metric equivalents, but there is no table of metric values.
Audience and level of use: beginner cooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: saffron mash fish pies; potato stuffed duck; goose fat roast potatoes; anchovy potato croquettes with salsa verde; potato chaat masala; potato wedges with romesco sauce.
The downside to this book: I wanted more recipes
The upside to this book: a useful single ingredient cookbook
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
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Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 16, 2019

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 16, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FINDS --
 
W+630004    WERNER ANSELMANN GEWÜRZTRAMINER KABINETT    PFALZ Prädikatswein    2017    $15.95     10.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
 
20 under $20
=========
W+557165    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $19.95    11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+406991    SANTA ALICIA GRAN RESERVA DE LOS ANDES CHARDONNAY    DO Maipo Valley    2017    $16.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+632349    TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC    DO Leyda Valley    2017    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+518357    SIDEWOOD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Adelaide Hills, South Australia    2017    $17.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+631085    LA GUARDIENSE JANARE DEL SANNIO GRECO    DOC    2017    $18.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+391987    MIDDLE-EARTH SAUVIGNON BLANC    Nelson, South Island    2017    $18.95  12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+18705    STRANDVELD FIRST SIGHTING SAUVIGNON BLANC    WO Cape Agulhas    2017    $13.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+637868    CHÂTEAU DE LA GRANGE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DE GRAND LIEU MUSCADET    Sur lie, AC    2016    $13.95    12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+550608    VIENI PINOT NOIR    VQA Vinemount Ridge    2015    $16.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+633362    MERF CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley    2016    $19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+632703    VIÑA LEYDA CANELO SINGLE VINEYARD SYRAH    DO Leyda Valley    2015    $19.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+631556    PLAISIR DE MERLE PETIT PLAISIR    WO Western Cape    2016    $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+632984    PIERRE LURTON BORDEAUX    AC    2016    $19.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+644286    CAMILLE CAYRAN LA RÉSERVE PLAN DE DIEU    AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages    2017    $17.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+588723    CAVINO NEMEA AGIORGITIKO    PDO Nemea    2015    $13.95     13% ABV,  MVC/QPR: 89
R+270306    MASSERIE PISARI PRIMITIVO    IGT Salento Rosso    2017    $13.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+480665    LA TORRE GUINZANO SAN GIMIGNANO ROSSO    DOC    2015    $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+455659    LE PUPILLE MORELLINO DI SCANSANO    DOCG    2016    $17.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+969469    RENZO MASI RISERVA CHIANTI    DOCG    2015    $18.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+258673    G. MARQUIS THE SILVER LINE PINOT NOIR    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake        $16.95 13.2% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
 
20 over $20
=========
W+395699    BERINGER LUMINUS CHARDONNAY    Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley    2016    $44.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+981316    VALPANTENA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA    DOCG    2015    $38.95
15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+24430    CHÂTEAU CANTENAC    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru  2014    $34.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+60525    RUTHERFORD RANCH RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2013    $49.95    15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+479527    CLOS DU BOIS SONOMA RESERVE CHARDONNAY    Russian River Valley, Sonoma County    2015    $24.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+632851    PRESQU'ILE WINERY CHARDONNAY    Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County    2014    $32.95    13.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+189126    JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE    AC    2017    $29.95
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+631051    MONTE DEL FRÀ LUGANA    DOC    2017    $21.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+578864    LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY    VQA Ontario    2016    $22.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+525048    CHAVET & FILS LA DAME DE JACQUES COEUR MENETOU-SALON BLANC    AC    2017    $20.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+632604    DOMAINE NATURALISTE REBUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Margaret River, Western Australia    2015    $33.95    13.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+470591    THE LANE SINGLE VINEYARD BLOCK 14 BASKET PRESS SHIRAZ    Adelaide Hills, South Australia    2016    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+633032    CHÂTEAU BLAIGNAN    Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc    2014    $23.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+637306    DOMAINE BARON DE L'ÉCLUSE    AP Côte de Brouilly    2017    $18.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+420653    LA REGOLA    IGT Toscana    2011    $28.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+461269    IZADI RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2014    $21.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+638783    RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA EDICIÓN LIMITADA    DOCa Rioja    2015    $22.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+630939    BARONE RICASOLI BROLIO BETTINO CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2015    $29.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+589242    PIANO DEI DIANI    DOC Etna Rosso    2015    $26.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, February 10, 2019

RECENT INSTANT POT COOKBOOKS: report...

RECENT INSTANT POT COOKBOOKS: report...
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
There has been a slew of Instant Pot (IP) cookbooks: it has been one of the hottest selling  electric implement in the kitchen. It's an extremely versatile piece of equipment, performing about a dozen different uses. So no need for single-purpose appliances. It can pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam (cook rice), bake (breads), make yogurt, and more. But it cannot do everything, such as broil a roast or sheet pan cooking. There is also a temptation in Instant Pot cookbooks to re-format typical and standard pressure cooker and slow cooker preps which have been around for about a century, contributing nothing new – just bringing them across from previous books to the new IP book. The only real problem with IP is: you might want (or have) to use two or more of its functions at the same time – you can't do it. So time management is here important.
 
 
3.HEALTHY INSTANT POT COOKBOOK (Alpha, 2018, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-7663-0 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Dana Angelo White, RD. She provides very helpful information about the basic usage of the Instant Pot (with black and white photos) in nine pages, the longest stretch of the three books. For her, Instant Pot is a boon. Not only is it energy efficient and fast, but also it is healthier – the flavours and nutrients are locked in. So she has 100 light and simple preps for breakfast through to dessert, with meatless options. Along the way, she cuts back on fats (thus promoting a leaner mac 'n' cheese or lassagna). Each prep (such as caramel popcorn crunch) has symbols and words to indicate the program (e.g., pressure cooker), the pressure level (e.g., high) and the release (e.g., quick). Calories and cooking times are listed as well as nutrition per serving. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90
 
 
4.KETO IN AN INSTANT (Alpha, 2019, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-8073, $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Stacey Crawford, a blogger who has celiac disease. To her, good health is being grain-free and low-carb – the ketogenic diet. She too has 100 keto recipes for the Instant Pot in the breakfast to dinner range, with several gluten-free and paleo-friendly options. It is also possible to be dairy-free. She's got the nutrient breakdowns for each prep, as ell as the setting and the release modes. She's only got less than a couple of pages on the Instant Pot, with more space on the ketogenic diet. The two books nicely complement each other in their preps. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
5.FIX-IT AND FORGET-IT INSTANT POT COOKBOOK (Good Books Skyhorse, 2018, 228 pages, ISBN 978-1-68099-431-5 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Hope Comerford, who has taken over from Phyllis Good, the original author of many Fix-It and Forget-It books which centred around the slow cooker. Well, maybe it is bye-bye time for the slow cooker and welcome to the Instant Pot!! It certainly frees up a lot of time and space in the kitchen. Like the other two recent books (see above), she has 100 recipes for the breakfast through dessert scroll. But unlike the other two she has tables of metric equivalents and a whole series of tips and tricks. She has indications for setting, pressure and release. But no nutritional data section. Most of the preps are from readers or followers of the Fix-It series. Quality/price rating: 88
 
 
6.THE MODERN MULTI-COOKER COOKBOOK (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-973-1, $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Jenny Tschiesche, who also runs the UK nutrition website  www.lunchboxdoctor.com and develops recipes. Previously she had authored "Sheet Pan Cooking" for this publisher. Overall, what sets this book apart from the others above is that it is hardbound and it has 101 recipes (one more than any of the rest reviewed here) – and manages to keep the price to under $20. Indeed, it is the least expensive book here. That may be because it concentrates on recipes, keeping the IP material to just one page of small typeface with no illustrations. That promotes it to the "Intermediate" level, by assuming that the user already has an IP. It's arranged by course or ingredient, with breakfasts, soups, "speedy" suppers, rice and grains, curries and chillies, casseroles and roasts, sides, desserts. Also, the preps seem to be a bit more upscale, with carrot and cashew hummus, sweet potato and pancetta frittata, cod in parma ham with lemon butter and veggies, veggie biryani, Thai chicken with cauliflower rice, Malaysian chicken, and lamb tagine. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes (it still had tablespoons and teaspoons), or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, February 9, 2019

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH: Wine Trails -- Australia and NZ (Lonely Planet)

 
1.WINE TRAILS: Australia and New Zealand (Lonely Planet, 2018, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-78701-769-6, $20 USD hardbound) is one of a new series from Lonely Planet detailing 40 "perfect" [publisher's term] weekends in wine country. Covered here are the Australian hot spots of Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley, Coonawarra, Barossa, plus 25 more in the regions of New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia. New Zealand has 10 in all, including Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Waipara, and Gisborne. There are single weekends in these diverse regions, with Victoria being the most prolific at 10 wine areas. The entire country of New Zealand also has 10 regions. About 250 wineries are covered, so there is lots to do – that's 6 – 7 or so on each weekend, good pacing. With Marlborough as an example, there is a snapshot description of the cool climate area, a basic map with numbers for seven wineries to visit on that weekend, and blurbs about each winery and their wine specialties. All of them are either sustainable-natural or at the other end of the spectrum, biodynamic. Websites are given for more data, phone numbers, street addresses, time open, food, and price ranges. The end of the Marlborough chapter lists a few places to stay, to eat, and what to do. Small but useful photos are strewn about.
Audience and level of use: travellers, especially those who want to spend many weekends at these antipodean wineries.
The downside to this book: 5 contributors are mentioned but it is unclear who contributed what. One is from New Zealand, two more are from Australia.
The upside to this book: there are multiple indexes to architecture and art, experiences, and to the wineries themselves.
Quality/Price Rating: 92
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

CHOP SUEY NATION; the Legion Cafe and other stories from Canada's Chinese restaurants (Douglas & McIntyre)

CHOP SUEY NATION; the Legion Cafe and other stories from Canada's Chinese restaurants (Douglas & McIntyre, 2019, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-77162-222-6 $24.95 CAD French flaps gatefold paperbound) is by Ann Hui, the Globe and Mail's National Food Writer since 2015 and a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award. It's an augmented version of a long piece she did for the June 21, 2016 issue of the Globe and Mail. Notable log rollers include Mark Bittman, Chris Nuttall-Smith, and Lucy Waverman. Her book, in addition to being an 18-day discovery voyage of small town Chinese restaurants in Canada, also is a vivid memoir of her family, her Dad, and their own restaurant the Legion Cafe. The scope is nation-wide, from the Don Mee Seafood Restaurant in Victoria, BC to the Kwang Tung Restaurant on Fogo Island, NL – with stops along the way to several places in Alberta and Prairies through to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. She explores the Canadian version of “chop suey” [mixed small bits – shap sui in Cantonese] and “chow mein” (which substitutes sliced cabbage for noodles in Newfoundland), both using local ingredients that can be adapted and turned into such plates as “bon bon ribs” or “ginger beef”. The memoir portions are skillfully interwoven with the visited restaurants. 
Audience and level of use: those interested in Chinese food and Canadian cultural history, lovers of memoirs.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: it was only after the article was published when Ann found out that own family could have been included – her parents had run a Chinese restaurant before she was born! And indeed, many of the owner families came from the same region, Toisan (“First home of the Overseas Chinese”).
The downside to this book: no index is provided – one might have been useful to co-relate the various dishes on offer nationwide.
The upside to this book: compelling reading.
Quality/Price Rating: 93.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH: Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui (Dougls & McIntyre)

CHOP SUEY NATION; the Legion Cafe and other stories from Canada's Chinese restaurants (Douglas & McIntyre, 2019, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-77162-222-6 $24.95 CAD French flaps gatefold paperbound) is by Ann Hui, the Globe and Mail's National Food Writer since 2015 and a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award. It's an augmented version of a long piece she did for the June 21, 2016 issue of the Globe and Mail. Notable log rollers include Mark Bittman, Chris Nuttall-Smith, and Lucy Waverman. Her book, in addition to being an 18-day discovery voyage of small town Chinese restaurants in Canada, also is a vivid memoir of her family, her Dad, and their own restaurant the Legion Cafe. The scope is nation-wide, from the Don Mee Seafood Restaurant in Victoria, BC to the Kwang Tung Restaurant on Fogo Island, NL – with stops along the way to several places in Alberta and Prairies through to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. She explores the Canadian version of "chop suey" [mixed small bits – shap sui in Cantonese] and "chow mein" (which substitutes sliced cabbage for noodles in Newfoundland), both using local ingredients that can be adapted and turned into such plates as "bon bon ribs" or "ginger beef". The memoir portions are skillfully interwoven with the visited restaurants. 
Audience and level of use: those interested in Chinese food and Canadian cultural history, lovers of memoirs.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: it was only after the article was published when Ann found out that own family could have been included – her parents had run a Chinese restaurant before she was born! And indeed, many of the owner families came from the same region, Toisan ("First home of the Overseas Chinese").
The downside to this book: no index is provided – one might have been useful to co-relate the various dishes on offer nationwide.
The upside to this book: compelling reading.
Quality/Price Rating: 93.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 2, 2019

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 2, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FIND --
 
R+639823    NAVAJAS TINTO CRIANZA DOCa Rioja    2015    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
 
20 under $20
=========
W+251439    FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $19.95     10.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+458687    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY    San Bernabe, Monterey    2016    $18.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+629428    FAMILIA SCHROEDER ALPATACO CHARDONNAY    Patagonia    2017    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+536672    PIATTELLI RESERVE TORRONTÉS    Cafayate Valley, Salta    2017    $14.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+632331    LA JOYA GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC    DO Colchagua Valley    2018    $16.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+635698    CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE DE HAUX    AC Bordeaux    2017    $16.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.
W+290049    JEAN-MARC BROCARD KIMMERIDGIEN CHARDONNAY    AC Bourgogne    2017    $19.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+448563    CHARLES BOVE VOUVRAY    AC    2017    $19.95    11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:
% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+632547    VILA NOVA LOUREIRO    DOC Vinho Verde    2016    $13.95    12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+625962    GORU EL BLANCO    DO Jumilla    2017    $13.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
W+707950    ATTEMS PINOT GRIGIO    DOC Friuli    2017    $19.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+642421    VALPANTENA TORRE DEL FALASCO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA    DOC    2016    $17.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+514802    JOVINO PINOT NOIR    Willamette Valley    2015    $19.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+632083    PARINGA SHIRAZ    South Australia    2015    $15.95    14.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+631515    THE RACONTEUR SYRAH    WO Swartland    2017    $14.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+190694    EVEL TINTO    DOC Douro    2014    $13.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+488007    PERIQUITA RESERVA    Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal    2016    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+431742    QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA    DOC Douro    2013    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+631010    PORTA DA RAVESSA RESERVA TINTO    Vinho Regional Alentejano    2015    $13.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+621482    GOLDSCHILD ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE    Prädikatswein    2015    $16.95    8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
 
20 over $20
=========
W+511428    REDSTONE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2013    $25.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+226936    RODNEY STRONG SONOMA COUNTY CHARDONNAY    Sonoma County    2016    $22.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+482158    URBINA SELECCIÓN CRIANZA    DOCa Rioja    1999    $31.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+172692    VINOSIA TAURASI SANTANDREA    DOCG    2013    $27.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+539213    CLINE CASHMERE BLACK MAGIC RED    California    2016    $22.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.
R+412320    JOSH CELLARS PASO ROBLES RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Paso Robles    2015    $24.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+959965    CATENA ALTA HISTORIC ROWS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Mendoza    2015    $48.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+55442    FAMILIA SCHROEDER SAURUS SELECT PINOT NOIR    Patagonia    2016    $23.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+632109    IRVINE SPRING HILL MERLOT    Australia    2016    $18.95    14.4% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+257741    CHÂTEAU BERNADOTTE    AC Haut-Médoc    2010    $44.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+455667    CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR POURRET    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru    2010    $39.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+48884    COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC    2016    $29.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+631077    FONTANAFREDDA BARBARESCO    DOCG    2014    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+943290    FONTANAFREDDA SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO    DOCG    2014    $49.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+672337    ABBADIA ARDENGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2013    $50.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+72439    TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO    IGT Toscana    2016    $60.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+167700    ARDAL SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL RESERVA    DO Ribera del Duero    2006    $23.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+38059    RAYMOND RESERVE MERLOT    Napa Valley    2014    $38.95    15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Event: Restaurant Canada Show 2019 Media Preview Cocktail Reception for the February 24 – 26 show at the Enercare Centre.

The Date and Time:  Thursday January 24, 2019  6PM to 8PM
The Event: Restaurant Canada Show 2019 Media Preview Cocktail Reception for the February 24 – 26 show at the Enercare Centre.
The Venue: Restaurant Canada offices
The Target Audience: food media
The Quote/Background: I arrived at 6Pm but the place was jam packed already; it was hard to get engaged with any conversation.
The Wines: Three wines from Lifford Agency and Mill Street beers were for tasting and enjoying. Maker's Mark and Courvoisier VS Cognac were offered in cocktails. Seedlip and Flow alkaline spring water were on display as drinks for non-drinkers.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Classic Rouge Licensee only Program $10.74
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Passi Reali Organic Montepulciano Appassimento +523100 LCBO $13.14 Licensee
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ironstone Obsession Symphony +295931 LCBO $13.14 Licensee
 
The Food: samples were offered from a variety of kitchens, few of whom had business cards. Freshly cooked food samples came from Cafe Belong and Rosalinda Restaurant, among others. Pre-made products included Beyond Sausage Original Bratwurst (meatless), blueberry powerballs, cheeses and crackers.
The Downside: too many phones snapping at food with photographers taking up space and time, made for quite a crowd.
The Upside: a chance to try some new types of vegan foods.
The Contact Person: sabrine@punchcanada.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 81.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, January 24, 2019

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
 
 
 
3.I AM A FILIPINO (Artisan, 2018, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-767-3. $35 USD hardbound) is by Nicole Ponseca, founder of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants in NYC, and Miguel Trinidad, chef at both places. The amazing primer is the section Filipino Food 101 which defines the regional cuisines, the ingredients, the cooking techniques, and the spices of what makes Filipino food Filipino. These are both modern and classic preps, displaying Chinese influences (noodles and dumplings), Middle Eastern, Spanish, Mexican (tomatoes and tamales), and some American-styles (banana ketchup ribs, fried chicken and ube waffles). The range is from fatty and fried street foods through adobo, soups, salads, "burnt coconut", and sweets. Superbly photographed. Try the balbacoa (hock and oxtails), piaparan manok (chicken wing stew), or the lumpiang sariwa (fresh veggie crepes). Metric and avoirdupois measurements are both employed, a plus. Quality/price rating: 89
 
 
4.DETOX KITCHEN VEGETABLES (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4088-8446-1, $36 USD hardbound) is by Lily Simpson, who launched Detox Kitchen in 2012 in the UK, a food business with natural ingredients. This is largely a plant-based cookbook devoid of dairy, wheat and refined sugar. But it does include eggs and honey. The primer includes a larder/pantry. It's all arranged by ingredient, beginning with broad beans and moving through peas, asparagus, fennel, rhubarb, kale, okra, beetroot, tomato, squash and 23 more. There's broccoli carpaccio with homemade hoisin sauce, green salad with tahini and ginger, and cucumber and avocado coconut smoothie. Good British sensibility here. The book could have been improved if it also used all metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Tbsp and tsp are used but no mL. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
5.COCKTAIL CODEX (Ten Speed Press, 2018, 310 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-920-7, $40 USD hardbound) is by the Death & Co. team of Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan. It's a book of fundamentals, formulas, and evolutions. They believe that there are only six categories of cocktails, all based on one of "the old fashioned", "the martini", "the daiquiri", "the sidecar", "the whisky highball", and "the flip". A chapter is created for each. In the appendix there are a variety of preps for syrups and cordials, infusions, mixes and sodas, salts and rims, tinctures and concentrates. Plus a resources list and bibliography for additional reading. The martini section has the classic recipe for a gin martini, followed by a "root" recipe and a template. This is followed by the variations, including vodka martinis. But what happened to the Gibson? The Gimlet is here (under daiquiri), but there is no Gibson. It's also a useful and technical book for descriptions, and should bolster the knowledge appeal and controversy for any cocktail specialist. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88. 
 
 
 
6.JOE BEEF: SURVIVING THE APOCALYPSE (Appetite by Random House, 2018, 335 pages, ISBN  978-0-14-753079-0, $50 CAD hardbound) is by Frederic Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson, the authors of the well-received earlier cookbook,"The Art of Living According to Joe Beef". Morin and McMillan are co-owners of a variety of Montreal restaurants, including Joe Beef. Morin was the first Joe Beef chef; McMillan is the current chef. Erickson is the collaborating food author. Their first book was personal (living life the Joe Beef way), and this one is an extension with 150 new recipes sourced from all of their restaurants plus summertime in the Laurentians and Sunday dinners at home. There is even a Christmas in July, should you wish to embrace it, with recipes. It's light and breezy, with marrow pilaf, pot-au-feu (both d'hiver and d'ete), Dutch babies, pickled tongues, greens cheesecake, and a variety of off-the-wall but workable dishes. This is a good fun book with lots of memoir family material and personal thoughts plus the obligatory photographs of the team at work. The opening section is called The Cellar, and this is what foods you put aside in case there really is an apocalypse. While it still uses teaspoons and tablespoons as sole measurements for that quantity, all the other measurements are in both metric and avoirdupois. A great book for the fans of Joe Beef. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
7.THE DEAD RABBIT MIXOLOGY & MAYHEM; the story of John Morrissey and the world's best cocktail menu (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-45187-3, $28 USD hardbound) is by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose. The first two are the co-owners of The Dead Rabbit, and Jillian is the bar manager/beverage director (coming over from Death & Co.). The Dead Rabbit has twice been named the World's Best Bar, and now introduces a six-part graphic novel. "The story is centered around The Rabbit, a mysterious character channeling the reborn spirit of John Morrissey, leader of the notorious 1850s Irish street gang that gave the bar its name." (publisher blurb). Along the way there are 90 Dead Rabbit cocktail recipes. Great, great fun for the millennials and fans of graphic novels. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
8.AVOCADERIA (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-49793-2, $19.99 USD, hardbound) is by Alessandro Biggi, Francesco Brachetti, and Alberto Gramigni who founded Avocaderia, and all-avocado cafe in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The first two men are owners, and Alberto is the chef. It's a straight forward book, emphasizing the healthy nature of avocados. Of course, there si descriptive material about handling avocados. And the five top varieties are discussed: Hass (95% of the market), Pinkerton,  Fuerte, Reed, and Zutano. A range of courses are presented: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, bowls, mains, apps, sides, sweets, spreads, smoothies, dressings, and menu ideas. There's a listing of vegan dishes, vegetarian (ovo-lacto) dishes, and gluten-free dishes. Impressive single ingredient cookbook. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88
 
 
9.FESTIVE HOLIDAY RECIPES (St. Martin's Griffin, 2018, 226 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-14636-6 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Addie Gundry, a Food Network regular and executive producer for RecipeLion which creates culinary content for multiple web platforms. She's been involved with 10 other books in this "103" series (e.g. Retro Recipes from the '50s and '60s). More are at www.recipelion.com/103recipes. These are all the more popular preps for the holiday season that begins with US Thanksgiving at the end of November and ends with New Year's Eve. But I think that we in Canada, who look at the larger picture, would think of this period as being from mid-October (Canadian Thanksgiving) through to Valentine's Day in mid-February. That's four months of sheer cooking bliss as opposed to just 6 weeks in the USA. And enough time to use every recipe in the book. It's all arranged by course, from brunch through apps, mains, sides, desserts and drinks. Pretty straightforward with no surprises but a lot of stress-free ease in cooking relatively simple food, e.g., easy garlic-parmesan knots, overnight cinnamon bread, easy cheese dip, pretty part pinwheels, loaded devil eggs, easy pecan pie bars, no-bake holiday fruitcake – even slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate. Terrific for young people getting to know about foods. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 85
 
 
10.HERITAGE BAKING (Chronicle Books, 2018, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-6787-9 $29.95 USD hardbound) is by Ellen King who runs Hewn Bakery, with Amelia Levin as the collaborating food writer. She believes in baking rustic breads and pastries using artisanal flour made from named wheat varieties, such as Red Fife. So she's got more than 45 preps described as having a toothy texture (my kind of bread!) and an excellent crumb. She believes in using freshly stone-milled flours from heritage varieties (Glenn, Warthog, Marquis, et al) and a natural sourdough-style starter. The primer covers all this plus the master starter recipe and the master heritage bread formula, followed by 16 other breads. Next up are 15 enriched heritage breads which include brioche, dinner rolls, and cornbread. Muffins and scones have their own chapter, as do cakes-cookies-brownies. And each prep has been scaled so quantities are exact. Kudos on a major accomplishment.
Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
11.COMPLETE WELLNESS (DK Books, 2018, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-6392-0, $30 USD hardbound)
is from the team at Neal's Yard Remedies in London. They've been in business since 1981, selling a wide range of herbal remedies and essential oils. They now sell certified organic health and beauty products in 20 countries. In the US they sell through a network of independent consultants. The range here begins with the holistic approach, rotating through the mind and emotions that have impact on skin, hair, nails, eyes, ears, mouth, and throat, moving on to the larger digestive system/urinary system/cardio system/brain and nervous system/respiratory system, and skeletal system. Other topics deal with systemic disorders, immunity, women's health, men's health, children's health, first aid, and more. There are recipes for wellness (overnight oats, smoothies, spreads, soups, dips, energy bites) as well as a supplement chart.  Practical advice is given in how to make things such as a balm, a cream or a syrup or herbal infusion. Quite encyclopedic, but with a UK orientation. There are both metric and avoirdupois for listed ingredients, but the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes with regard to teaspoons and tablespoons. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
12.FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE (Appetite by Random House, 2018, 214 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-753046-2, $24.95 CAD paperbound) is from Toronto's Cheese Boutique, written by owner Afrim Pristine. It's a four-generation fifty-year old cheese store with about 500 different kinds of cheeses. Plus upscale breads and biscuits, butters, charcuterie and other forms of ready-to-eat meats. Here Afrim delves into the basics of some 55 popular cheeses. He also presents 60 basic and easy recipes, with an additional 20 contributions from Daniel Boulud, Claudio Aprile, Anna and Michael Olson among others. There is also some family reminiscence, almost a memoir, and detail about the Cheese Boutique itself, with compelling photography by Steve Elphick. His primer tells us what cheese is all about and how to care for it. His top 16 cheeses are carefully explained, and this is followed by the 55 popular cheeses, a great starter selection before moving on. He's also got a recipe for each and some "fun facts". The preps are arranged by course, from breakfast through to desserts. Do try cacio e pepe popcorn with pecorino Romano, drunken goat in a pot, slam-dunk sandwich, or the "I am not afraid of blue cheese anymore" caramelized cookies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
 
13.THE CURIOUS BARTENDER VOLUME II: The New testament of Cocktails (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-893-2 $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Tristan Stevenson, co-founder of Fluid Movement, a drinks consultancy; it is his sixth book. His first book was volume 1: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail. He's got 32 of the classic cocktails here, followed by 32 "game-changing reinventions". His book is loaded with tools and techniques, for cocktails have become more diverse and accessible lately. His are based on brandy, vodka, gin, rum, whisky and tequila. His re-invention of the Champagne cocktail is the Liar's Champagne, with Chablis, amontillado, Genever, green chartreuse and then carbonated. Wow. His take on the Americano includes cold coffee. He turns a sherry cobbler into a slushy. There's a buying guide and a list of suppliers plus a glossary. Quality/price rating: 89
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for January 19, 2019

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for January 19, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
20 under $20
=========
W+644609    BRICKLAYER'S REWARD 20 BARRELS CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2017    $18.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+147975    GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER    IGP Pays d'Oc     2016    $14.95     MVC/QPR: 90
W+225557    ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2017    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 90
W+443473    JARDIN INSPECTOR PÉRINGUEY CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2016    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+568543    ESTERHÁZY ESTORAS GRÜNER VELTLINER    Burgenland    2016    $17.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+392712    CUVÉE JOSEPH TALMARD MÂCON CHARDONNAY    AC    2017    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+159012    JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2015    $39.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+247882    HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE RED    VQA Ontario    2017    $18.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+575266    LENTO DRAGONE ROSSO    IGT Calabria    2015    $16.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+632869    S. SEBASTIÃO TINTA RORIZ/SYRAH    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2015    $12.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.5
R+609958    ALVIDES CRIANZA    DO Ribera del Duero    2012    $19.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+629519    SINERGIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    DO Valencia    2014    $14.95    14.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+629139    GABARDA SELECCIÓN    DO Cariñena    2015    $19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+653535    SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING    Qualitätswein    2012    $18.95    11% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+640854    SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC    Uco Valley, Mendoza    2016    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+673897    JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ    Padthaway, South Australia    2017    $16.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+327767    MOJO SHIRAZ    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2017    $19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+R+276030    MURIEL FINCAS DE LA VILLA RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2013    $19.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+574145    RENDOLA ROSSO MAREMMA    DOC    2016    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+195107    SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE    AP Côtes du Roussillon    2015    $16.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+530121    JOHNNY Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra, South Australia    2014    $16.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
 
20 over $20
=========
W+268342    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $21.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+171587    FARINA LE PEZZE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    DOCG    2015    $36.95  15.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+64329    MEERLUST RUBICON    WO Stellenbosch    2015    $46.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR    VQA Ontario        $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+657585    ARTESA LOS CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros    2015    $29.95 14.3% MVC/QPR: 88
W+141499    BLIND RIVER SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2017    $21.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+403675    DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY    WO Robertson    2017    $22.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+556597    MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE    WO Swartland    2017    $37.95 MVC/QPR: 88
W+289371    DOMAINE SÉGUINOT-BORDET CHABLIS    AC    2017    $25.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+223966    DOMAINE D'ORFEUILLES VOUVRAY    AC    2015    $22.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+633628    MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2016    $29.95     14.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+694356    KLINKER BRICK MARISA VINEYARD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL    Lodi    2015    $49.95    15.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+633537    OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County    2014    $29.95    14.1% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+539163    SEAGLASS PINOT NOIR    Santa Barbara County    2016    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+55764    CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE INDIAN WELLS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley    2015    $24.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+155713    CICCHITTI GRAN RESERVA MALBEC    Mendoza    2012    $27.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+632976    CHÂTEAU L'ARGENTEYRE    Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc    2015    $22.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+575027    LA LOGGIA UVARIO ROSSO TOSCANO    IGT    2016    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.5
R+630020    CHÂTEAU CORBIN     AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé    2015    $26.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+568493    DOMAINE LERYS PUR SCHISTES FITOU    AP    2015    $20.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89

Chimo! www.deantudor.com