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An Insider's guide to restaurants, wine, spirits and culinary travel

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                     glass half full: 11/17/2017

A roundup of the most interesting food, wine and spirits stories on the web (because even Al Gore, who invented it, doesn't have time to read them all)

The solution to the North Korea problem: don’t nuke ‘em---just take away their booze.

Thieves heist 1,000 bottles of Scotch from a North Korean diplomat in Pakistan (Kim Jung Un’s father, if you recall, was a great fan of high-end Cognac):


The Budweiser decline saga continues, with Anheuser-Busch InBev shaking up the management team.

It hasn’t yet occurred to them to make better beer:


In search of the ultimate whiskey sour recipe:

Twenty top bartenders chime in.


It’s trickier than growing tomatoes.

What it takes to cultivate a backyard vineyard:


This beer costs $199 per bottle, contains 28% alcohol, and is illegal in 12 states:


When you’re fortunate that you don’t drink:

Sparing no expense, Xi Jinping serves some crappy Chinese wine at a state dinner for President Trump:


                              Trophy champagne: 
                            recent tasting notes

Luxury Champagne is expensive, and many consumers wonder if the reward is worth the expense. It’s a difficult question, because a bottle of wine is ultimately “worth” what someone is willing to pay for it. Still, there’s no doubt that drinking tête de cuvee Champagne is an exhilarating experience. These bottles get the best of everything: the finest grapes, a maximum of cellar age, and the combined skill of an experienced winemaking team.

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                     glass half full: 11/10/2017

A roundup of the most interesting food, wine and spirits stories on the web (because even Al Gore, who invented it, doesn't have time to read them all)

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        manifest distilling: Jacksonville, florida

Located in the heart of Jacksonville’s Sports District, Manifest Distilling is an enlightened offshoot of this country’s local craft distilling movement. Launched last year by David Cohen, Scott Kennelly, Trey Mills and Tom Johnson, the partners are committed to nothing less than “the resurgence of independent American craftsmanship.” They are accomplishing this by the use of non-GMO and organic ingredients, informed and precise distillation techniques, and an unwavering search for quality.

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                veuve clicquot: current vintages

In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron established a Champagne house in Reims. His son François inherited the business, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1778, and died suddenly in 1805. She took over the enterprise and became known as the veuve, or widow, Clicquot. She managed the operation until her death in 1866, and today the house is known as Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

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         flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar

                                                               By Ken Schechet

        Our roving correspondent looks at a culinary trend going mainstream

Did you know that olive oil can reduce the risk of many types of cancers? It can make you less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.  It can slow the aging of your heart, lower your bad cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of stroke and of getting Alzheimer’s. Such are the claims made by the Olive Oil Times, (yes, there is such a publication), as well as many, many other sources.  There is a lot of evidence that the monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil can have a very real and positive effect on your well-being. 

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     jeff ruby, Nashville: reinventing the American

Fusion cuisine and molecular gastronomy are relatively new, but the steakhouse has been with us forever. Chop houses were ubiquitous in both Colonial America and Elizabethan England, and slabs of roasted meat have been the centerpiece of communal meals since families dwelt in caves.

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                        a primer on vietnamese food

                                                                  By Ken Schechet

This is the last in a series of dispatches from our correspondent, who has been eating his way through Asia

I have been to Vietnamese restaurants in the United States, France, and several Asian countries.  I recently spent two weeks eating my way from one end of Vietnam to the other and quickly realized that before I got here I had absolutely no clue what Vietnamese food was all about.

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                                 hanoi street food

                                                                      By Ken Schechet

Eating his way through Asia, our correspondent has reached Vietnam. Here is his report on the street food vendors of Hanoi.

Like many foodies I have a Tony Bourdain addiction.  I have followed him through three networks, actually ran into him filming in a butcher shop in Tuscany, and have seen every show he’s done from his favorite country, Vietnam.  According to a recent New York Times Magazine story he seriously considered moving to Vietnam, specifically Hanoi, a few years ago.  So Vietnam went to the top of my bucket list and I finally got there recently.

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                              singapore street food

                                                                    By Ken Schechet

This is the second in a series of dispatches from our correspondent, Ken Schechet, who is eating his way through Asia.

Singapore is probably the most food obsessed place I’ve ever been.  It is a constant topic of conversation.  Cab drivers ask you where you’ve eaten.  It’s a place where WTF stands for “Where’s the Food”  (I didn’t make that up.  It was on a billboard.)  Being a major trading and banking center there are no end of fine restaurants, but what Singapore is famous for is street food.

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                              singapore food wars

                                                                  By Ken Schechet

This is the first in a series of dispatches from our correspondent Ken Schechet, who is eating his way through Asia.

If you’ve ever been to South Philadelphia and are a foodie, you have probably been to the corner of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue where the two signature cheese steak joints, Pat’s and Gino’s, are directly across the street from each other and staring each other down constantly.  Of course, you need to try them both.  Rivalries like these are so delicious to me, on so many levels, that when I heard about two similar situations in Singapore I had to see them on a recent visit.

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                     great wine for under $15?

It’s not a typo, oxymoron or stupid question. There’s a lot of very good wine at very low prices, but discovering it is a challenge---particularly when you’re strolling the wine aisle of your local supermarket or beverage superstore, staring at a tsunami of unfamiliar labels.

The answer is Mark Spivak’s Affordable Wine Guide to California and the Pacific Northwest, available as an e-book for $7.99. The book profiles 43 producers and contains hundreds of wine reviews, and gives you a clear-cut view of the good and the bad. The criteria are simple: What does the wine taste like? What kind of food does it go with? Is it worth the money?

Click here to order (fulfillment is handle by E-Junkie and payments processed through PayPal):

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