Archive for the ‘American consumer’ Category
I’m Baaack!! OK, so some interesting changes – I now have organized/managed two festivals – The Virginia Wine Festival (R) and the Taco, Beer, Tequila Festival – the 1st event came to me seeking new management, the 2nd one I created from scratch. There have been many ups and downs since 2016 when I took over the Virginia Wine Festival Management and completed the Taco Festival – hopefully the learning curve will help me better manage the future!
1)Managing people is the hardest part of event management for an outdoor festival – I thought that by hiring outside “guns for hire” as the Logistics specialists for an event that I could handle all event issues. Although I think both Logistics teams did a better than average job, they weren’t personally invested in the event and it became obvious on event dates.
2)Event marketing can work 100% digital. I was told by the Association that holds the rights to the Virginia Wine Festival that I would probably have to use some traditional media such as radio, print, and ticket give-aways as a means to successfully selling enough tickets. Since I already have a substantial active email list with TasteUSA I decided to use that email list, Facebook and Google Adwords. The Results were overwhelming – most event consumers, especially younger Millennials use Google and online means to find events and purchase tickets. Eventbrite ticketing, Facebook and Adwords pixels and email marketing in general are the hot buttons for consumer ticket sales.
3)Generic Events make no sense in a competitive environment – Sure, I could have just taken over the Virginia Wine Festival and left everthing the same – but why not add Virginia Oysters – better yet, why not create “an event within an event” – the VA Oyster Pavilion? By adding a new marketing “twist” I took an existing event and made it a wine AND food festival. So I created a Taco Festival – but why not add the “Tequila Pavilion”? Generic beer and wine festivals with no interesting food or story line will in my opinion have to keep lowering their ticket prices in order to compete with more and more “me too” events.
Great to be in touch with my foodie readers again – keep on eating and drinking the good stuff!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Saw this wonderful article on “Foodcations” in Thrillist – and it makes total sense! The new vacation is all about experiences and having unique moments that are extraordinary or at least entertaining. Not just for Foodies, but for pretty much all travelers who are looking for the next cool experience, there is nothing more amazing than discovering the next local donut shop, tasting the newest local craft beer or cocktail, or making chocolate in a local chocolate factory – these are just too much fun NOT to do!
The article also mentions that being a “hipster” or “Foodie” is just a label and doesn’t really say that much – in other words, everyone has some “hipness” or “foodieness” – it’s really a matter of degree. I am a serious Foodie – and like many serious Foodies I want to taste my way through a city – food festivals, cooking classes, food tours, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries and all that I can get my mouth around – so to speak! This is essentially why I started TasteUSA – as a way for me to make a living and enjoy what I feel most passionate about.
So what should you do on your Foodcation?
1)Plan according to your date and time first. You probably aren’t going to travel very far outside your region (say more than 100 miles) unless you have the time and probably some kind of hotel or AirBnB involved, so take that into account first. Pretty much any place can be a foodcation destination, so their’s vast flexibility after this.
2)Be creative. Depending on if you’re an “adventure-seeker” or pretty limited in your culinary interest/prowess, you can find something fun, foodie and will kill 3 hours or so of time. I always choose a basic interest – food or drink – and then Google that interest with the region. For example, say I’m visiting Philadelphia – I recently had plans to attend the Valley Forge Beer and Cider Fest just outside Philly. When I went to the site, I realized that Valley Forge was close to a town called “Phoenixville, PA”. I AirBnb’d the region, found an affordable room in the region and discovered that Phoenixville – population somewhere around 2,000 people – actually has it’s own downtown, Brewery, Wine tasting room, Cidery and Distillery – whooaaahhh!! I ended up visiting the Brewery – Stable 12 Brewing Company – for a flight of beers and then I also ended up going to a most unique experience: the Firebird Festival – essentially a Bacchanalian burning of a wood pyre shaped like the legendary “Phoenix” bird – and of course, there were tons of food trucks nearby! . The next day for lunch I found on Yelp that there was an outdoor Texas BBQ truck with highly rated BBQ – so that was a no-brainer for lunch!
3)Google, but Add Other Online Resources as You Go. Yelp of course is a fantastic resource for Restaurants and related food businesses. But you should also check out the local brewery/winery/distillery sites – and of course add TasteUSA to the mix for fill-in. Each State often has it’s own winery/brewery/distillery associations but the quickest way to find out is to Google “winery map” or a related search – normally, this will take you right to the State Association’s page and save you some time. Even as simple a search as “City/wineries” can be an amazingly fruitful return of excellent usable data. I didn’t end up going to any wineries on my Phoenixville foray, but there is a PA Wineries Association.
4)Talk to Actual People. I know, so Old School – but your locals often know a thing or two about their Region! Personally, I meet the most interesting and informative people in a bar, but you may have a family and that may not be your type of destination. I met some nice people at the Stable 12 Brewing Company over beers and they told me about the region and what was happening in Phoenixville – turns out that it’s kind of a hip new destination spot as a bedroom community to the Philly Region and that’s why there is so much desirable development going on!
5)Leave Time to Explore. Too many travellers have to have every moment planned out – but it’s amazing what you can do with an Iphone and a little free time. It’s way more fun to sketch-out an itinerary and once you arrive to make adjustments to your plan. Obviously if you want to go to a highly desirable restaurant, you’ll want to get an advanced Reservation (the biggest headache of travelling without a plan – but now there are apps coming out that may fix that as well..), but keeping an open-mind and exploring is way more fun than planning events that you and your fellow travellers may not actually want to do. I actually discovered the Phoenix Firebird Festival purely by accident – and this is a Big Deal to the locals!
I hope this is a helpful resource for your next Foodcation – remember, that no matter if you’re a Foodie or not, you have to eat and drink when you travel, so it’s always a good primary or secondary focus. Online resources are swelling for food and drink – from locating restaurants and getting reservations to food allergies, so use some of your existing daily resources as well. Have fun on your next trip – Cheers!
Some Ideas for Future Foodcations (and excellent for Googling):
-Chocolate Factory Bean-to-Bar Tour
-Bread Making Workshop
-Food and Drink Festival (Bacon, Beer, Wine, Oysters, etc..)
-Food Tour of the Area (quick Resource is www.zerve.com )
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
A friend of mine on Facebook Shana Glickfield recently posted that there are 2 kinds of people: those who like cilantro..and those who despise it!
I’m actually a person who didn’t originally like it because it reminded me of soap, but over time with the right dishes such as Latin and Mexican cuisine, I actually began to enjoy it – I even still get the soapy flavor and I’ve begun to love it, even look forward to it! I used to do cooking classes at Odeon Cafe in Washington, D.C. and the Moroccan owners actually preferred to make Italian cuisine with the North African influence of using cilantro in place of Italian parsley.
The video above is from Pro Chile and the two seafood dishes – 1 is a ceviche and the other is a shrimp with avocado sauce – both have tons of cilantro. I think the secret of enjoying cilantro is that it melds with other flavors and spices so well, but can be a bit overwhelming to the palate by itself – I can eat fresh parsley right off the stem, but not so much with cilantro – the latter does better with salt, sweet, sour and spicy flavors like vinegar, chiles, onions and ginger. Both Latin and Asian cuisines benefit from it’s herbal notes and that touch of soapiness!
OK, so you’re one of the people who doesn’t taste the “soapy” (or you just like the soapiness..)- here’s an additional article from the NY Times about how people taste and some of the instincts and survival background – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
“In Order to Make Great Wine, the Vines Must Suffer..”
I attended a recent trade tasting given by the Bureau of Burgundy Wines on Tuesday, April 23rd at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C. – it was taught by a very affable and precise Jean-Pierre Renard who took us through history, philosophy and ultimately a tasting of 9 wines from the lowest classification up to a Grand Cru – Corton Grand Cru, les Renardes, 2008 Domaine Maillard.
We covered the basics of Burgundy which can actually be quite confusing. In a nutshell, Burgundy is a region and the wines are named from their location in that region. The basic breakdown is Regional wines, Village wines, Premiere Cru wines and Grands Cru wines, each respective layer being more rare and specific to a smaller number of wines and thus normally costing more as well. If you purchase a regular Bourgogne with little more information on the bottle, it most likely can come from grapes grown anywhere in that region. Village wines have regionality, but are not specific to any site while Premiere Cru and Grands Cru grapes come from specified parcels. Add to this the complexity rule-wise of “climats” which loosely translates according to the speaker as the “DNA of the individual Bourgogne Vineyards” – I actually found a site in English that delves deeper into the climats concept – the “climats”. Climats equates closely with “terroir”..
OK, now that you’re probably totally confused, let me say that much of what the speaker said rang true with what I had learned over the past 15 years at various wine classes and courses.
Burgundy has been producing serious wine since the Roman times, and afterwards the plots of land came from Church donations by nobles – they always gave their worst sites (poorest and rockiest soils) to the local Monasteries. Ironically, the rocky soils and hills they donated actually produce the world’s greatest wines!
The concept of “terroir” has really been developed from the wines of Burgundy more so than any other region – why?
1)They pretty much only use Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines (a few exceptions like Aligote, but these are not blended)
2)hillside vineyards grow very different quality grapes from vineyards grown in the valley – hillier/higher sites produce more intense wine flavors, valley grapes are more generic.
3)Each vineyard site has it’s own weather patterns, geology, geography and even human/historical conditions. This last point is very confusing to most Americans: wine is made by humans, NOT by nature! Choosing the right site and propagating the best grapes is a human endeavor, but Nature is always adding chance to the equation. There is science as well as mysticism in the vineyard, maybe even some witchcraft..
“People can’t wait for aging wine any more, they want to drink everything young..”
A sad refrain by Jean-Pierre, but the reality of the modern wine drinker – people today don’t want to age their wines, so they want to drink young vintages before they’re ready to shine. There is so much history in Burgundy and even though winemaking today is better than ever, to truly understand and appreciate a fine age-worthy Burgundy, you simply must wait – Patience!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Upcoming French Events on TasteDC April/May 2013:
-April 30th – French Cooking: French Basics 101 at Cookology, $65
-May 1st – Wine Maker Dinner at Eola, featuring Château Léoville-Poyferré, $135
-May 20th – French Classics: The Suckling Pig, $60
I Got My Piggy On..
Cochon 555 in DC..This event is not just about the Pig..it’s also about the drink, the chef, and the Foodie..maybe even the Foodie Groupie (did I make that up??)..
I attended my first Cochon 555 on Sunday, April 7th, 2013 and it was all that I expected and even more..More pig combinations,
Cochon 555 is a celebration of life – just as everyone must eat, some of us eat to fulfill our passion or maybe it IS our passion. If I was going to explain this event to someone from outer space, I would say that man was once a primitive animal that lived primarily in caves or on the savannah. Over a period of thousands of years, he formed civilization and started culture (she too!)..but the need to satisfy those primitive urges never disappeared – thus Cochon 555!
Heritage Pigs – well, ever since modern industry took over the majority of our food system, food has been “designed” to fit consumer lifestyles – thus was created the modern pig – it gets fat fast, needs little space to roam (or it may need it, but it doesn’t get it!) and it has lean meat..Why lean? We food consumers (actually, I should change that to “industrial pig consumers” – forgive me if you’re Vegan..) read a study in the 70’s that suggested that eating too much fat, especially animal fat, caused heart disease and will shorten your life..it seems to make sense right.. I mean ever since the times of Henry VIII, only the wealthy could afford meat on a regular basis, and all of them were rotund and had gout – so obviously the study is right – I mean, surely if you eat Fat, you get fat, the fat becomes fat around your belly and thighs and of course there’s cholesterol in the fat, and that fills your arteries and you die young.. right??
No way – bad study, bad logic, but smart companies taking advantage of the reality of modern life: sell the benefit, not the product..it’s easy to convince people that fat = fat = fat..it’s total nonsense, but hey, who has time to even thing about such stuff??
Conclusion: these Heritage pigs with their thick covering of serious fat are actually healthier for the environment, healthier for the pig, but most of all – THEY WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHY – Eat Them!
Chefs competing for Prince of Pork in Washington, D.C. are Mike Isabella (Graffiato), Haidar Karoum (Proof / Estadio), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia), and Bryan Voltaggio [Volt, Range, Family Meal].
2013 marks a culinary milestone: The fifth anniversary of Cochon 555, a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event created to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. Arriving in the nation’s capital on Sunday, April 7 at The Newseum, the pork-centric tour gathers together five chefs, five pigs and five wineries at each event – ultimately touching down in 10 cities across the country and bringing its message of nose-to-tail cooking, breed diversity and family farming to food enthusiasts nationwide.
Each Cochon 555 event challenges five local chefs to prepare a menu created from the entirety of heritage breed pigs for an audience of pork-loving epicureans and celebrated judges. Chefs competing for Prince of Pork in Washington, D.C. are Mike Isabella (Graffiato), Haidar Karoum (Proof / Estadio), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia), and Bryan Voltaggio [Volt, Range, Family Meal].
Guests will be treated to an epic pork feast alongside wines from five small family-owned wineries including Sandhi Wines, Scholium Project, Elk Cove Vineyards, Westport Rivers, and Silver Oak plus special tastings from Rhone Valley Wines, Anchor Brewing, Crispin Ciders, Illegal Mezcal, and Blue Coat Gin. Twenty judges and 400 guests help decide the winning chef, who is crowned the Prince of Pork and will compete against other regional winners at the finale Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.
Also included in the evening is a preview of the new Heritage BBQ event in which John Critchley of Bourbon Steak will roll out family meal – an additional whole hog cooked barbecue-style immediately preceding the awards.
VIP guests receive early access to the event and special offerings including a special tasting with three competing chefs. The VIP hour is filled with experiences that will not be found on the main floor such as access to “Punch Kings” – a new cocktail competition featuring Breckenridge Bourbon and six local bartenders, a VIP-only gift bag, the all-new Tartare Bar, Rappanhannock River Oysters, and reserve wines and spirits. Guests can enter for a chance to win a roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines, Official Airline for the “Cochon US Tour”.
In addition, to celebrate five years of Heritage Breeds, Cochon added five bourbons to the lineup! All attendees will get samples of Breckenridge Bourbon, Eagle Rare, Templeton Rye, High West, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses in addition to the Perfect Manhattan Bar showcasing Luxardo and Eagle Rare. New to 2013 is also the Chupito/Mezcal Bar, a tasting experience featuring Mezcales de Leyenda, Pierde Almas and Fidencio. The infamous Craft Cheese Bar sees a facelift featuring a local cheesemonger, Cypress Grove Chevre, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Spring Brook Farm with an exclusive tasting of blues from Rogue Creamery, and favorites from Kerrygold. Everyone can commemorate the experience by visiting the City Eats photo booth and voting for the best bite of the day.
The fun continues with a butcher demonstration presented by Zwilling / MIyabi with Chris Fuller from Alleghany Meats and a raffle to benefit the student volunteers, ice-cold brews, Fernet Branca digestifs, Taza Chocolate pork-spiked desserts, Champagne toast, award ceremony, and of course, the after party will immediately follow.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
4 p.m. (VIP); 5 p.m. (general admission)
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Cochon 555 Tickets: $125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP); to purchase tickets, visit www.cochon555.com
ADDITIONAL EVENT: CHEFS COURSE DINNER
To kick-off the 5th Anniversary Weekend Celebration, Cochon 555 will curate an intimate “Chef’s Course” Guest Chef Dinner on Friday, April 5 at The Source by Wolfgang Puck hosted by Scott Drewno, two-time Cochon winner. The 5-course dinner will feature great chefs, including past participants, friends and judges paired with a winemaker, distiller or brewer. Go behind the scenes with Team Cochon for this amazing dinner and meet the folks driving the flavor train. Tickets to this dinner are $110, all inclusive and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at (202) 637-6100 and please reference Cochon555.
Guests can enter for a chance to win a roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines, Official Airline for the “Cochon US Tour”.
Please invite your facebook friends to this event. Invite over 75 friends, show us screenshot proof, and get a $25 discount code for being a partner to responsible agriculture.
From Jancis Robinson…”the thing I hate is limiting the mouthfuls”….of wine that is 😉
It was a fascinating evening of back and forth banter on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 when Jancis Robinson “performed” at the event “Jancis Robinson Toasts American Wines at the Smithsonian”
Dave McIntyre of both the Washington Post and his own Wine Line Blog interviewed and cajoled Jancis on a comfortable stage setting – the two seated in “comfy chairs” (OK – bad Monty Python reference! )
The discussion related to wine, specificially American, and Jancis’ latest book (with the fellow authorship of Linda Murphy) American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United StatesJancis has a very British speaking style and a dry wit that is best appreciated with a glass of wine. She mentioned that there are now 8,000 wineries in the US – the majority outside of California – and this is part of why America has become a great wine producing region on the international scene. I haven’t read the book, but she mentioned that it was primarily written by Linda Murphy who is a sports writer – and there is very little technical information about wine, the book was designed to be a fun read. I want to say – it is VERY difficult to make talking about wine interesting..Dave McIntyre did a very good job by broadening the topic from just American wine into lifestyle (mentions of wine tourism and also Dave’s own organization DrinkLocalWine ) as well as an interesting word association back-and-forth at the end:
Overall, an excellent evening and the finish was a wine tasting in the famous Natural History Museum Auditorium with the elephant..nobody probably noticed, but the famous dinosaur Shark Jaws were hiding behind the wine exhibition..sort of like the evening – a subtle discussion of wine with amazingly delicious wines by American wineries from Idaho to Virginia – is America “biting back” at the French/Italian wine dominance of the past? Who knows – Cheers!
Dave: “Natural Wines” ?
Jancis: “Very trendy right now..They have to be good!” (approximation of a quote!)
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Wine Events Coming Up Over at TasteDC:
–DrinkLocalWine Conference, Saturday April 13th, Tremont Suites Hotel, Baltimore MD
–Local Wines from Local Vines, Thursday April 25th – Anne Arundel Community College
–Wines of Portugal 2013 Annual Grand Tasting (Special Discount..) National Tour comes to Washington, D.C., Thursday May 2nd, “W” Hotel Washington D.C.
Professionals Spit Their Wines Out for a Reason..
How many times have I heard at a wine tasting – “why should I spit out or dump my wine out – I paid good money to attend this event?” Well, at a recent wine tour that came to DC Around the World in 80 Sips presented by Bottlenotes everyone behaved pretty orderly, but I had to recant tales to fellow wine lovers what the point of the spit bucket is – to prevent being bombed! What I always find entertaining about 100+ person walk-around wine tastings is how formal people are at the beginning of an event..maybe even a bit uptight..but how much they loosen up after the first hour or so.So Is There Proper Etiquette at a Wine Tasting?
You know what they say about Americans – Anything Goes we take our democratic freedoms seriously, and we don’t like when people tell us to behave. Having said that, Americans often feel directionless when it comes to cultural events and particularly wine – what is the “proper” way to behave at a wine tasting? Believe it or not, I think many people are TOO polite at wine tastings, so here are some fun rules which you may feel FREE TO BREAK:
Rule #1: “Thou Shall Not Drink Everything In Thy Glass” The purpose of a spit bucket is 2-fold: first, so you can spit out wine so that you can drink more and not get drunk; second, so you can dump out excess wine for the same reason – not to get drunk! The wine professionals pouring the wine EXPECT you to dump out excess wine..they’re hoping you do so, they don’t want people to drink too much! Maybe it seems wasteful to Americans to throw away wine, but there’s a reason these are called “tastings”..dump away..
Rule #2: “Thou Shall Rinse Thy Glass Between Wines, But Not With Water” You rinse your wine glass so that the next wine tastes like the wine should. If you rinse your glass with water, that water will DILUTE the wine you’re about to taste..and it’s usually a pretty small pour. The way the PRO’s do it, is we ask for a little pour of the wine we are about to drink, we swirl and pour that excess into the bucket, and then we wait for the wine to be poured..in this way, the wine you’re tasting tastes like the..well, uhh..wine you’re tasting – not a blend of water/wine or wine and something else..I know, it seems like YOU’RE WASTING WINE..get over it..
Rule #3:“Thou Shall Move Close to the Pourer and Put Thy Wine Glass Out To Receive a Pour” I actually have a funny story in my book I Drink on the Job about a woman who walked up to receive a pour of wine, but never put out her glass..she just stood in front of the table..thinking..about what, I have no idea, but when she was offered a pour of wine, she acted like it was an offense! Don’t use your time at a wine tasting to ruminate..you’re there to taste (NOT DRINK) wine..yes, of course take a few breaks, talk with your friends, get some food, etc..but use your time EFFICIENTLY. Walk up to the wine table and find a little space to stand, put out your wine glass (do not hold it close to your body..this is how you get wine on your clothing, and that’s a BAD THING!), and either wait for the wine to be poured or request a wine to be poured..this is NOT RUDE – this is actually proper..it’s efficient too..Personally, I’m a machine when I taste: stand, offer glass, swirl, look, sniff, taste, spit or swallow, spend moment in reflection on the wine, dump wine, REPEAT..
Rule #4: “Thou Shall Not Wear Perfume, Cologne or Anything That Has an Aroma at a Wine Tasting”I’m smelling coconuts in my wine..but, it’s not emanating from the glass – somebody wore a body lotion that smelled like coconuts! Actually, I spoke with her and she was very nice, but whenever she was within 5 feet of me..ALL I COULD SMELL WAS COCONUT LOTION!
Hopefully, you take this post with good humor – none of the above mentioned Rules is really written in stone. We Americans love our independence and freedom, but when we try to behave at a cultural event, maybe we’re actually too polite..I’m not saying you should be a hillbilly and come into a wine tasting with a cavalier attitude, but it’s OK to loosen up, enjoy, and even have lively banter at a wine tasting. Within the confines of a wine tasting, there is room for self-expression, creativity, and of course conviviality, but it’s best to get the etiquette down pat first – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Some Upcoming Wine Events on TasteDC:
– 4-Course Wine and Soul Wine Dinner, Tuesday, March 19th at The Fairfax Hotel at Embassy Row
– Cheese Class with Rogue Creamery’s Cheese Maker, Wednesday, March 27th, Ici Urban Bistro, 806 15th St., NW, Washington DC 20005
– Wines of Portugal 2013 Annual Grand Tasting (Special Discount..), Thursday, May 2nd, W Hotel Washington D.C. 515 15th St NW , Washington DC 20004