Monday, December 21, 2009

The 35 biggest moments in Big D. Were you there? And New Years Eve offerings.

I call your attention to what may be the coolest edition of D Magazine I have ever seen.

Their 35th Anniversary issue is on newsstands now. It selects the 35 biggest moments in modern Dallas History. That would be the beginning of "D Magazine time" in 1974. Of course, the foodie scene figures prominently in the mix, including: Gene Street and his famous Chicken Fried Steak at Black Eyed Pea, Larry Levine on Chili's serving its first burger, and Chef Stephan Pyles reflecting back on opening Routh Street Café (it changed everything!). The first person narrative is fascinating to read; no reporter filter. D Magazine deserves kudos for pulling this off and for getting these folks to write the articles. Also key business, political, media and social events are chronicled by the people who made the events happen. This is a great, page-turner holiday must read. Get the full story at D Magazine's website.

Revel in the excitement of the new year, as Dallas-Fort Worth's top restaurants regale you with an array of wining and dining options. Here are a select few that have crossed our inbox in the last few days. Happy 2010! Remember: If anybody asks you what you're making for dinner, tell 'em, "RESERVATIONS!" (Especially on New Year's Eve).

Urban Crust

Looking for a place to get delicious food and lively entertainment throughout the night this New Year's Eve? Look no further! Urban Crust is offering their regular menu plus enticing specialty items such as surf and turf, lamb shank and oysters. Celebrate after dinner with a late night party featuring a DJ, dancing, and drinks on all three floors of the restaurant.

New Years Day, they are offering their scrumptous brunch menu from 11am-3pm.

Urban Crust
1006 E 15th St
Plano, TX 75074
(972) 509-1400


Celebrate New Years Eve at Thrive Nightclub, as they host "Viva Las Vegas." The party begins New Years Eve at 9 pm in the new Downtown Dallas Crowne Plaza located at 1015 Elm St. Dallas, TX 75202. When not sipping on cocktails or boogying on the dance floor, guests will have the opportunity to play casino games, such as Poker, Roulette, Craps, and Black Jack. Tickets are $25 in advance or $50 at the door.

Interested in bottle service? Thrive is offering a full booth, seating 18 people, for $800 and a single table, seating 6 people, for $500. If you are looking for a little more privacy, Thrive has a VIP room that holds 20 and runs $2,500. The room comes with four bottles of Ed Hardy vodka, two bottles of Moet Champagne, and two bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne. For more information and reservations, call (214) 742-5678 or visit

Cretia's on Mckinney

This New Year's Eve, the party is at Cretia's!
For only $60, you get all the well drinks and domestics you can handle! Plus, enjoy live music, DJ's Ben Brown and Greenspan, a champagne toast, black-eyed peas, and party favors. Advanced tickets are $60 and tickets at the door are $80. Tickets can be purchased at the restaurant or by calling 214-780-0200.

Cretia's on Mckinney
4900 Mckinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75205

Patry's Bistro

If an exquisite meal is what you want for New Years Eve, Patry's is where you need to be. Chef Hamid Kalantar will be preparing an exceptional New Year's Four Course meal and Champagne special. Specialty Entrees include Pan Roasted Veal Chop Chasseur with mushroom ragout and thyme sauce for $69, Pan Seared Halibut with Shrimp Scampi served over rice pilaf for $69 and Broiled Australian Lobster Tail (1 lb) with Garlic Buerre Blanc for $79. All entrees are served with your choice of any appetizer, soup and salad, and dessert off the regular menu.

The regular menu will also be available.

Please call for reservations at 214-352-2489.

Patry's Bistro
4601 West Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209

Bistro Louise in Fort Worth has multi-choice, four course New Year's eve menu and a "2010 New Years Day Down Home Cooking Brunch.
Visit their website for full details and reservations:

There's a New Year's Eve celebration at the Warwick Ballroom and Oak Lawn Terrace in Dallas, featuring entertainment from Aubree-Anna. Lots of food, fun, music, and drinks. Price: $299 inclusive per couple w/ accommodations or $85 per person inclusive no accommodations. Contact: Jacqueline Hickey will be taking all reservations* 214.224.3109,

Chef Morris Salerno has a special evening planned at The Grotto in Highland Village: a four-course dinner for $119.50 per couple. Make reservations by calling 972-318-0515 or email

Ring in the New Year at Pappas Bros. in Dallas. $89.95 per person (excluding alcohol, tax, tip). Call 214-366-2000.

Bring in the New Year with a view at Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty. Multiple seatings, buffet and dinner menus offered. Call 214-571-5710 for details and reservations, or email

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana is offering a four-course celebration dinner for $95 per person. Get reservations at

Bonnell's in Fort Worth invites you to enjoy a four-course feast for $90 per person. 817-738-5489 is the number for reservations or visit

Margaux's in Dallas offers a festive menu and a New Year's Day Brunch. Call 214-740-1985 or email Kay Agnew,

Need a ride home? "Occifer, I've only had tee martoonis, and I'm not as drunk as some thinkle peep I am", is only a bad old vaudeville line. Instead, call someone like...

Cowboy Cab

Scott Tinkham at Driven DFW

Be transported in the comfort of your own vehicle by a professionally trained driver.

Limo George
Limo for the Rockstars!!!

For intrepid, and loyal readers who have made it this far into the article I offer a reward: you are among the first to know about our next big event for "The Dinner Club with Jim White". We are going to have a great fine wine dinner with Randy Wooldridge and Quintessa Wine Estates at The Grill on the Alley in the Galleria on Thursday January 28th. This special, limited seating event from Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits is priced at a remarkable $50 per person, so it will sell out fast! I urge you to make your reservations quickly by calling 214-459-1601. If you are a procrastinator---NOW is the time for a New Year's resolution!

Cheers! And, have a safe New Year! Festively yours, Jim

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bubbly memories and a great wining and dining gift deal.

Bubbly and friends for the holidays!

Thanks to all who attended our wonderful Veuve Clicquot tasting at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits in Addison. The taste treats were divine and we made lots of new friends. We have another wonderful wine dinner in the works with our friends from Centennial coming up in January. Stay tuned for details in this very place.

Virginia, Santa would rather have a great glass of wine and chef cuisine instead of milk and cookies!

The great value of the holiday gift giving season for the person on your list who loves food and wine is the special advance purchase ticket prices offered for Savor Dallas. (OK, let's call it a discount, but I prefer to think of it as a reward for prompt behavior in getting those tickets early and getting Savor Dallas down on your schedule--March 5-7). The deal is only in effect through New Year's Eve. When the ball drops on Times Square it starts the 60 minute countdown in the Central Time Zone before those ticket prices go up to their regular price. Let me put that in perspective for you, though: You can buy a weekend, all-access pass to Savor Dallas for $425 (after January 1--it's $375 now). Tickets to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic in June top $1000 per person! The Festival has no night-time events, and almost no food is offered (other than some cheese, bread, and other munchies at their Grand Tasting--in a tent). You also have the big travel expense and even bigger resort lodging expense for the honor of being in Aspen. By comparison, Savor Dallas offers an early evening and a nighttime event (Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday, and International Grand Tasting on Saturday), featuring great signature cuisine samples from over 60 of Dallas-Fort Worth's top chefs, and a dazzling array of premium wines, spirits and beers from around the world offered in beautiful settings in the Dallas Arts District and the fabulous "new" Sheraton Dallas Hotel (recently renovated to the tune of nearly $100 million). Travel to DFW is easy--thanks to American Airlines--and relatively cheap by comparison to Aspen. There's even FREE transportation if you take the "Savor Dallas Shuttle" to the International Grand Tasting. And, the Sheraton Dallas is offering an exceptional $89 per night Savor Dallas room rate (that's the double occupancy price and the new rooms are beautiful and spacious). Even if your schedule only permits one night of wining and dining, the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting ticket is only $125 per person ($100 now until January 1). Aspen's grand tasting, as best I can recall, is priced at about $200 per person for the 2 hour event in the afternoon. Did I mention it's in a tent? And, it's often muddy? And, there's barely any food? The beautiful Lone Star Ballroom at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel is the site of next year's Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting. Dress up and join us for a good time. Wonderful wine and lots of good food for half the price. OK, I admit, we have no mountains. But you can make a down payment on the Rockies with the money you save attending Savor Dallas.

Congratulations to Marcus Cascio, new GM of Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty Restaurant. He's been the General Manager of the Mansion on Turtle Creek for the last two years. Other notable establishments on his résumé include the Delano Hotel and the Astor Hotel in Miami, and White Face Lodge in White Plains New York. The restaurant is about to hit its one year anniversary atop Reunion Tower (described today to someone in Colorado as "God's golfball or the biggest dandelion you've ever seen). Congratulations to Executive Chef Sara Johannes who is planning big things with a view at Five Sixty. Get all the details when you visit or call 214.741.5560.

Scott Romano at Charlie Palmer at the Joule Hotel has the holiday spirit. He's offering Christmas Day Brunch from 11 until 3 for $55 per person (children under 12 dine for $35) and a Christmas Day Dinner from 5 until 9 for $75 ($35 for kids). Get details on their website.

The Catalina on Lemmon Avenue is offering a cool Christmas special: "The Ultimate Christmas Light Tours". They've setup a deal with a limo company where you view the Christmas lights and then dine with them at the Catalina. Very civilized. Very merry. Get details and reservations by calling 214-742-5466. Ask for Alex.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year! Jim

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday wining and dining ideas

This week we've got dinner specials, artisanal food offerings and wine ideas for your holiday entertaining. Or, to loosely quote Steve Martin, "Waiter! Bring us some of your NEW wine! Not that old, dusty junk you've been trying to pawn off on her!"

The holidays are a wonderful time for dining out.

If you're looking for something on Christmas eve, Tre Amici is offering a four course dinner and 25% off all wines by the bottle. Plus, a 5 to 7 p.m. Happy Hour in the bar. 18020 North Dallas Parkway. 972-250-4400.

Kenny's Wood Fired Grill in Addison is offering special fixed price holiday menus for lunch or dinner for groups. Call 972-392-9663 for details.

Superstar chef Charlie Palmer is offering tips on his favorites from the "Regional New American Holiday Gift Guide". We're please to see a great Texas product makes his list:

Boerne, Texas: Pickle-licious
Made from an old family recipe, Fickle Pickles are probably the best pickles in the world. In the words of the original “Pickle Lady” Billie Shaw, they start out sweet and finish spicy.
Ask them about it when you stop by Charlie Palmer at the Joule at 1530 Main Street in Downtown Dallas.

Coast Global Seafood has some great daily specials going on right now that help make your holiday dining brighter.

Mondays - half price bottles of wine up to $100, including favorites such as Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay, Layer Cake Shiraz and more.
Wednesdays - Legacy Happy Hour with free appetizers such as calamari, oysters on the half shell and spicy rock shrimp from 4 to 7 p.m.
Thursdays - Cocktail Cruise with $5 house martinis and cosmos, as well as happy hour drink prices and $5 appetizers all night long.
Thursdays through Saturdays - live music from 8 p.m. until close from favorite local jazz duets and trios. Guest can enjoy the great music while taking in a spectacular view of the "dancing fountains" located just outside the COAST patio area.

COAST is located at 7501 Lone Star Drive, Suite B150 in Plano, Texas. For more information or reservations please call (972) 265-4722 or visit

Paula Lambert and the Mozzarella Company are offering their holiday favorite Christmas Cheese.

As Paula explains, "It's a once-a-year treat that we make only from Thanksgiving through New Year's. It's a crumbly, spreadable round of cheese festively flavored with a combination of chiles. It's a pretty cheese...a vibrant red round topped with a swirl of green jalapenos strips. Some might call it a Mexican cheese, but you'll just call it "good" when you taste it! It pairs nicely with beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Just one bite won't be sufficient.

It all began many years ago as a mistake. Something happened to one batch of our cheese. It just did't turn out exactly as it should have ... it wasn't a bad cheese, it just wasn't the kind of cheese it was supposed to be! So, we decided to convert our mistake into something new. Because Christmas was coming, we wanted to create something good for the holidays. We decided to add a variety of red chiles to make it spicy. We molded it into small discs that would be perfect for serving when guests stop by. We decorated the top with a star made of green chiles. And voila...Christmas Cheese!

Now our mistake has become a Mozzarella Company annual tradition, and many of our loyal customers have made Christmas Cheese part of their family holiday traditions. They flock to our cheese factory for our special, little, handmade cheese. Many buy 10 to 20 cheeses because they make perfect gifts for neighbors, teachers, and friends. And they are great to have on hand for quick, last-minute hors d'oeuvres and hostess gifts. Wheels of Christmas Cheese weigh a little over a half pound each and cost $12. They are great for snacking as well as for melting. They stay fresh for a month or longer...but they won't last that long at your house!
You can order online or call 214-741-4072.

How about some wine with that cheese? (Only at my house that phrase is usually "How 'bout some whine with that cheese!") Wine Guy Darryl Beeson explains the secrets of life and mysteries of the universe when it comes to Beaujolais. (Here's the only new wine you want that snooty waiter referred to in the headline to bring you!)

Beau-jest of fine wine

by Darryl Beeson

Most people that enjoy wine know about Beaujolais Nouveau, a fresh and fun red wine made with the gamay grape. It is youthful but maybe simple. For very little money, one may bump up to a cru Beaujolais of which there are ten. Compared to the wines of more central Burgundy, these wines offer bang for the buck. The finest producers would lead with Georges Duboeuf and Louis Jadot.

Brouilly is the largest cru area in Beaujolais. It covers about 20% of the Beaujolais wine region. Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly are two different crus (crus meaning specific growing regions). Cotes de Brouilly is grown on the slopes of the hill. Brouilly is grown at the bottom. Brouilly wine is packed with flavor. Some say that Cote de Brouilly is both aggressive and elegant. The wine is more rich because the grapes get more sun exposure than the ones at the bottom of the hill. Brouilly is better when consumed young while Cote de Brouilly should mature 4 or 5 years before tasting.

Another is Fleurie, meaning "flowery". Duboeuf captures these flowers on their lables and are easy to spot in a wine shop. Fleurie is a fruit-forward wine. Some call it the Queen of Beaujolais. Moulin à Vent would be the counter-point King. In total the ten crus Beaujolais and offer great wine value for an interesting red wine. Most are under twenty dollars.

The name Beaujolais comes from the house of Beaujeu, a name which first appears in the mid-900s. This region became famous in the 19th century for the textile industry rather than wine. The wines are now overlooked by many consumers.

On the subject of Beaujolais Nouveau, it used to be sold as "Beaujolais Primeur." The late Alexis Lichine observed in his first book on French wines that these wines did not merit even a mention. "It was a young, fruity wine sold in barrels and served in carafes in restaurants in Lyon and in specialized bistros in Paris--strictly the cheap places. In the early 1950s, this vin nouveau never saw the inside of a bottle or traveled overseas." Things changed big time. It is now very chic to enjoy this wine of the same vintage of the current year, harvested a few weeks before. It is officially released on the third Thursday of November each year. North Texas has the largest Nouveau Beaujolais festival in the world.

(Note: November 20th was the date this year for the Nouveau Beaujolais celebration in Dallas. The party was a smashing success at the Hotel Intercontinental, thanks to the hard work or Isabelle DeWulf and the French American Chamber of Commerce.)

Our friends with Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits are giving away a great trip for two to Napa Valley! Now, that's the holiday spirit! All you have to do is go to their Facebook registration page.

This is a 6 day, 5 night Napa Valley get-a-way (Monday-Friday) at the Vintage Inn with round-trip airline tickets for two. The Vintage Inn is a AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning elegant French country-style inn located in the heart of Yountville featuring breathtaking gardens and a central watercourse. Stay includes Champagne breakfast buffet. The deadline for entries is December 31st, and the trip has to be used in 2010. Good luck.

Be sure to join us at Centennial Fine Wine in Addison on Inwood for a free holiday tasting of Veuve Clicquot Champ
agne, Thursday December 10th from 4 until 7. Cheers!

How about leaving the driving to us? If you're attending the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting on March 6th at the beautiful Sheraton Dallas Hotel downtown, consider the "Savor Dallas Shuttle"--Ride FREE, clean and green! We'll pick you up and take you to the biggest wining and dining event of the year, and then make sure you get back to your car safely. You'll save on parking, gas, and stress. Check out our website for the Shuttle location nearest you:

The Savor Dallas Shuttle is presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits--promoting responsible consumption and eco-friendly alternatives.

Happy holidays. Jim

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A toast for the holidays!

Delicious holiday bubbly from Veuve Clicquot brings the Savor Wine and Food faithful (and you know who you are), another fun, free event at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits on December 10th. Come raise a glass or two with us!

Savor Wine and Food—invites you to get you into the spirit of the holiday with a bit of the bubbly—In fact, some of the finest Champagne on Earth: Veuve Clicquot will be featured on Thursday December 10th at the beautiful Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits location on Inwood Road in Addison. Veuve Clicquot’s Cyndi Mendez and I will be on hand from 4 until 7 p.m. to preview three delicious Champagne varietals. Taste them all, and get all your questions answered about pairing Veuve Clicquot with your favorite holiday meals and for entertaining. Centennial will offer special pricing, too. Come join the fun. We’ll see you Thursday December 10th, from 4 til 7 p.m. at Centennial in Addison. While you’re there, be sure to register for some great prizes, including tickets to Savor Dallas---so purchase necessary. Veuve Clicquot Champagne—a special free event for you. Holiday bubbly is waiting for you. We look forward to raising a glass of cheer with you.

More on the way. Doing the "holi-daze" dervish. How 'bout you?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bountiful wining and dining for Turkey Day

As the great soul song sang, "Just be thankful for what you've got." This week, I've got some Thanksgiving updates for you whether you want to dine in or take out. Plus, some upcoming wine tastings you'll want to know about.

First, here's an update on the hot cooking show I'm emceeing next week in Austin for the nice folks who do the interactive cookbooks for the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. You can join the fun. There are still tickets available for the big "Chefs Under Fire" challenge in Austin on November 30th. 9 amateur chefs going head to head. Each cooking a recipe selected for them by either David Bull from Bolla, Kent Rathbun from Abacus, or Tyson Cole from UCHI. All three chefs judge the "Iron Chef" type competition. The winner walks away with much culinary booty and big bragging rights. It will be fun. We'll be taping the show in front of a "live audience" (you included, I hope). Here, I must insert my wife's favorite line in regards to "live audience", "Oh, that's opposed to the dead audience you had last time I guess?!?" Well anyway, it's a tough room at my house. So come join us in Austin. I can take the heat. Get details on tickets here:, or phone 512-970-3456. You can also email them at: It's going to fun just to see the amazing new facility on the UT Campus where the event will be held: The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

In case you haven't been WineTastic lately, they have some great wine events coming up and great wine tasting everyday. They're under new management, too. Old friend Terri Burney has taken over sommelier duties. She and her husband Don (who passed away) used to run Grand Tastings in Uptown. Go in and raise a glass for the holidays. Here's a sample of some activity on the way:

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 from 7-10PM and Saturday, December 5th, 2009 from 2-7PM. WineTastic pops the corks on some of the finest bubbly from champagne cellars such as Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger, Moet & Chandon, Mumms, Perrier Jouet, Charles Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Roederer, Schramsberg, Taittinger, Laurent Perrier, and Iron Horse to name a few. With more than 25 Champagnes and Sparkling wines from around the world to taste, you're sure to find some new holiday favorites. This is a great opportunity to stock up on your favorite Champagne and Sparkling wines for the holiday season! Think hostess gifts, holiday gifts, and holiday celebrations. Take advantage of our case discount pricing. A selection of cheeses and hors d'oeuvres will complement the selection.

Price: $40.00 non-member/$35.00 wine club member.

Holiday Tasting featuring Big Reds

December 10th and 12th

Big, Red Wine Tasting Event On Thursday December 10th and Saturday December 12th, WineTastic will offer some of the best in hard-to-find wines from a number of top shelf vineyards. The wines poured during this event are very small production, boutique wines and very hard to find. Whether you missed this tasting event in the past or if you attended the first Big, Red event, you are in for a treat! These small production, boutique wines will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don't miss the Holiday Big, Red Wine Tasting Event.

Price: $40.00, which also includes assorted cheeses from our importers and paired hors d'oeuvres (excludes tax and gratuity
WineTasting is located at 4140 Lemmon Ave, Suite 130 (at Douglas), Dallas, TX 75219

There are Thanksgiving specials galore. This one caught my eye: old friend and master chef Morris Salerno is hosting a Thanksgiving buffet at his two restaurants, The Grotto and Salerno's from 11 a.m. until 2. Reservations are available at both locations, The Grotto - 972-318-0515 (, Salerno's - 972-539-9534, ( Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.

And, if you'd rather bring the spread home, Cobb Switch Barbecue is doing the cooking for you. They're offering packages on whole smoked turkeys or hams with all the trimmings. Give them a call for more details, 214-483-3600.

If upscale dining is the answer for you---

Forget the pots and pans and make a reservation at Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas for Thanksgiving Day. The three course holiday menu will be served for both lunch and dinner: 11am-3pm and 5-8pm. For the first course choose from roasted butternut squash bisque, seared bay scallops, chicken fried Bob White Quail and more. For the second course enjoy a traditional turkey with a Texas twist featuring tortilla dressing and jalapeno cranberry relish or try an English Style glazed antelope. For dessert indulge in the famous Fearing’s dessert trio. For reservations, please call 214-922-4848.

Or, Chef David Bull (right) is saving you the trouble and serving up a decadent Thanksgiving spread for you and your family and friends. Make a reservation at Bolla on Thursday, Nov. 26th and indulge in four courses of deliciousness for only $65 per person. The first course offers a smoked pheasant salad, followed by a course of either sea scallops or lobster ravioli. The third course features a turkey breast and your choice of either banana bread pudding or pumpkin brulee for dessert. Call 214-871-7111 for reservations.

Remember, Savor Dallas tickets are a great holiday gift for the wine and food lover on your list. Get special prices on tickets through the holidays. Cheers! And happy Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hot chefs do a role reversal in Austin and Christy Rost hosts a PBS Thanksgiving

Ready, Fire, Cook! "Chefs Under Fire" hits Austin--check it out online or in person.

"Chefs Under Fire" is a turn the tables type "Iron Chef" competition that puts amateur chefs in the line of fire, so to speak, of three top chefs who have each been challengers on the foodie favorite TV show. This time, though, David Bull from Bolla (R), Kent Rathbun (L) from Abacus, and Tyson Cole from UCHI, are going to judge the aspiring chefs who will each be cooking a recipe selected for them by one of the pros. The scene is set for a lot of fun in Austin on November 30th. Join me if you can make it. I'll be hosting the evening at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus. If you love a good food fight, this competition is for you. There is very limited seating for the special evening, so hurry before tickets are gone. Get more details about attending by clicking on "Chefs Under Fire" at the producer's website:, or phone 512-970-3456. You can also email them at:

Kudos are in order for a dear and talented friend, Christy Rost, who has hit the culinary big time in a big way. The lifestyle expert and television chef hosts a one-hour Thanksgiving special, "A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving" on more than 100 public television stations and over 200 Create TV stations on Sunday November 22nd at 1 p.m.. That includes KERA-TV, Channel 13, the Dallas-Fort Worth PBS station. The Thanksgiving special was filmed at "Swan's Nest," the historic Breckenridge home more recently known as Revett Manor that Christy and her husband, Randy purchased three years ago from Glenn and Mary Campbell.

As Christy's press release says, "Memories are made around the family table, especially during the holidays. Families talk, laugh, and reminisce as they feast on course after course of treasured family recipes passed down through the generations."
Christy is making memories in her newly restored dream home. This historic 5,600-sq.-ft. home, built in 1898 as a wedding gift and named "Swan's Nest" by gold baron Ben Stanley Revett, sits high in the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado. Again to the release: "A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving artfully weaves holiday cooking in Christy's historic kitchen with home decorating how-to's, easy-to-replicate tablescapes and documentary-style highlights of Swan's Nest's extensive renovation, a process more than two years in the making, as well as the colorful history of Swan's Nest's flamboyant original owner."

Christy has worked hard for over 10 years to make her dream come true of having a nationally syndicated TV food show. Way back in the last century, when I hosted the "KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White", Christy appeared with us every other week with a new and fun recipe or home entertaining idea. She has hosted numerous cooking demos for us at the "Jim White Celebrity Kitchen", and sent many a trusty recipe our way for God bless her tenacity. Her efforts have paid off. I hope this is the start of "something big", and that everything continues to "come up Christy". Break a leg, my friend, I'll be tuned in on Sunday November 22nd, at 1 p.m. on Channel 13. I may DVR, though, and skip the pledge breaks.

If you love great Bordeaux, (and what's not to like?), join our friends at Centennial for a very special wine dinner event at Bolsa on Monday November 23rd. Centennial's Fine Wine Buyer Lance Storer hosts the dinner featuring 2005 Bordeaux:

Chateau Le Doyenne, 1er Cotes de Bordeaux 2005
Chateau La Prade, Cotes De Francs 2005
Cotes De Baleau, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2005
Chateau Doisy Daene, Sauternes 2005

Lance knows his stuff. He is a graduate of the Court of Master Sommeliers (Level One), and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (Level Three). He is preparing to enroll in the Institute of Masters of Wine program, the most prestigious in the wine industry. In the process of his education and his job at Centennial he tastes more than 6,000 wines each years. Taste four very special ones with him at the exciting dinner. For reservations call Bolsa at 214-367.9367. A very fun place that takes me back to my Oak Cliff roots (when nothing this good was around, and no one knew any better).

The Bolsa team is comprised of Oak Cliff residents Chris Zielke and Christopher Jeffers who have partnered with Alexander Urrunago and Royce Ring. The four share a common vision to create a laid-back little place that attracts a wide range of local folks for a variety of occasions. The team has enlisted local Chef Graham Dodds to lead the kitchen. Chef Dodds prefers to work with locally grown organic ingredients and will handcraft a delicious four course “carte du jour” for the dinner.

Bon appétit!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Let me know. We'll share your ideas.

Happy dining,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wining and dining news you can use from single malts to San Antonio

Savor a night of Ardbeg at the
Second Floor Restaurant

Join us for a dandy tasting of some of the world's finest single malt Scotches on Tuesday November 17th, as "The KRLD Dinner Club with Jim White" and our good friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits roll out another great event. Taste what many call the "smokiest" and "peatiest" single malts from Ardbeg Distillery. Their senior brand ambassador Davinia Small leads the tasting at the wonderful Second Floor Restaurant in the Westin Galleria Hotel. Chef Scott Gottlich will prepare an ample supply of heavy appetizers that will pair with the wonderful elixir of the gods.


Almonds & Pistachios
With Truffles and Parmesan
Tasting of Regional Cheeses
With Traditional Accompaniments
Poached Shrimp
Chilled Celery Root Soup and Beet Jellie
Salmon Rillette
Watercress and Orange Honey
Arugula, Blue Cheese and Golden Raisins
Creme Brulee
Chocolate Espresso with Raspberries

This very special tasting is limited to 40 seats only. The price is only $25 per person; incredible to get to try these great single malts and Chef Gottlich's wonderful food.
For more information, or to schedule a reservation for this
Spectacular event, please contact Jason Henry at 972-450-2978
or email him at

Opa! The Fort Worth Greek Festival is back November 13th through 15th. Have fun--and great food--at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2020 N.W. 21st Street in Fort Worth. Call 817-626-5578 for more details.

There's a great food and wine event going on this week in San Antonio. Please read on for more information on the delightful "New World Wine and Food Festival". A perfect destination if you happen to be around San Antonio next week, or certainly worth making a special trip! Enjoy! And, if you attend, please let us know how you enjoyed it.

A week of food and wine awaits you in San Antonio November 8-15, 2009. More than 25 events make up the San Antonio New World Wine & Food Festival with something for every taste and every budget.

Three of the most popular events of the festival include:
The Best of Mexico
Friday, November 13, 2009
The Vault, 209 N. Presa Street
7:30 p.m.

The Grand Testing
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The Grotto at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
7:00 p.m.

Totally Tejas (that’s Totally Texas y’all)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Rio Cibolo Ranch
1:00 p.m.

For more information on this year’s New World Wine & Food Festival, visit or call 210-822-9555.

Aurora has a Sunday brunch on November 15th. What a great way to start the week! Call for reservations: 214-528-9400. And, Avner Samuel has another of his almost famous cooking classes coming up November 21st. The class and four-course lunch with wine pairings is $95, and appropriately, chef's theme is "Holiday Collection".

Here's more good news for folks who want to dine out on Thanksgiving. Steve Fields Steak and Lobster Lounge is offering a traditional Thanksgiving menu--roast turkey and all the trimmings--along with their regular menu from noon until 8 p.m. The Turkey Day spread is $23 for adults and $14 for kids. Call them at 972-596-7100 for reservations.

On behalf of our friends at Share Our Strength (the national counterpart to the North Texas Food Bank), I'd like to offer you these ways of helping with childhood hunger this holiday season. Give thanks for our multitude of blessings.

Send Share Your Season Holiday Ecards
Make a donation to Share Our Strength on behalf of your friends, family or colleagues, and send a holiday ecard, letting them know that they're helping hungry children. Share Your Season ecards will add extra meaning to your holiday gifts this season.

Tell Your Friends about Share Our Strength
The only thing better than being a part of the Share Our Strength community is joining with a friend. Encourage your friends to do something about childhood hunger and to purchase holiday ecards.

Join Our Online Communities
Let your friends know about our holiday campaign to end childhood hunger. Follow Share Our Strength on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook, and be the first to know about upcoming news and events -- then share it with your friends.

By sharing your season in one or more of these ways, you will help provide kids with the healthy food they need every day so they won't have to worry about hunger.

Every child has the right to grow up happy and healthy. Thank you for doing your part this holiday season.

I hope the spirit of the season is filling your heart with generosity.
All best!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Mansion chef slips into town under the radar

Bruno Davaillon is here and already has cards! That's always a good sign! The new executive chef of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is in the house and is busily preparing his menu. Look for highlights to be filtering in over the next few weeks. We had the chance to say hello and welcome him to Dallas during a special wine dinner hosted by Shari Staglin from Staglin Family Vineyards. Bruno is engaging and friendly. It will be very interesting to try his cuisine. Eric Brandt remains in the kitchen as executive sous chef. Michael Flynn continues to run the wine and beverage program with great flair. Although, sadly, we learn that rising star sommelier Scott Barber is a victim of the recession. His position at the Mansion was recently eliminated. Downsizing is no fun for anyone. We hear that Scott is moving around the state doing some consulting, and one of his gigs is with his old colleague (and former Mansion chef) John Tesar at John's new place in The Woodlands. I thought you'd like to see the lowdown on Bruno. I checked out his bio on and share it with you here:

"Bruno Davaillon grew up as a member of a farming family in France's Loire Valley, which meant early access to fresh butter, cream, eggs, vegetables, and animals, dream ingredients for a future chef. According to Davaillon, "My great aunt had a big farm. At six or seven, I remember being in her kitchen, using all the natural products from the farm. That was the key." By the age of 14, after years of helping his family cook farmhouse meals, becoming a chef was a "natural choice."

A few years later, Chef Davaillon enrolled at Chateauroux Culinary School, where he attended cooking classes and apprenticed at La Ligne, one of the best-known restaurants in Tours. He performed admirably, and after he graduated from culinary school in 1982 with a CAP degree, he managed to stay on at La Ligne as First Line Cook.

Davaillon earned his first international restaurant experience as Lead Line Cook at Tante Claire, a Michelin Three Star restaurant in London.

For the next eight years, Davaillon cooked in France, as Chef de Partie at Domaine de Belmont and Chateau de Locguenole and as Sous Chef at La Vieille Fontaine and La Ferme St. Siméon. Davaillon honed his creativity during this stretch.

In 1997, Davaillon transitioned to the United States, working as a private chef for Ambassador Antonio Fernandez, planning menus for lunches, dinners and formal functions.

In 1999, Davaillon continued with his personal Manifest Destiny, accepting the position of Chef de Cuisine at Encore Restaurant in Los Angeles' St. Regis Hotel. Thanks to his high profile position and noteworthy performance, he earned his first Executive Chef post, at Beau Coup in San Francisco.

It was in San Francisco that Davaillon met a chef who knew Alain Ducasse. The famed French chef was planning his first Las Vegas venture, and Davaillon had a compatible approach to cuisine. According to Davaillon, "I never worked with Mr. Ducasse prior to Mix, but I always appreciated his approach to cuisine. I was very curious about what he was doing. It's very quality produce driven, very simple. Go direct to the flavor. There aren't six or seven flavors on the plate. It's very sharp. I have a similar approach." Ducasse agreed, and Davaillon was hired as Executive Chef at Mix. Davaillon moved to Vegas in April 2004 and the restaurant opened on the 64th floor of THEhotel by the end of the year.

According to Davaillon, "You can find classic dishes from Paris and Monte Carlo, but you can also find eclectic items, world cuisine." At Mix, the food is important, but they're offering a "great package," including a unique location and "feeling."

To stay seasonal, Mix changes the menu every three months. Despite being located in the desert, the restaurant is able to get every ingredient they want, eased by Ducasse's reputation in the industry.

Mr. Ducasse has final say on every aspect of what happens at the restaurant, food and otherwise. Every two months, he visits Mix to taste new dishes that Davaillon has developed. Once he signs off on a dish, it's promoted to the menu.

As with savory items, when it comes to desserts and wine, Mix reports to a corporate pastry chef and wine director at Groupe Alain Ducasse in Paris. Davaillon stressed that it's a collaborative relationship, not contentious in the least. "We still have freedom. They just want to know where we stand. They don't force us. We work together. It's a good team."

Chef Davaillon is excited to be a part of the recent influx of culinary talent to the Las Vegas dining scene. "In the past five to six years, everybody's coming here. It's a competitive environment. It reminds me of New York or San Francisco."

Davaillon has traveled thousands of miles from the French farmland of his youth, and he's absorbed mountains of culinary knowledge since he first cooked in his Great Aunt's kitchen, but in many ways, his approach is quite similar at Mix. As always, his goal is to deliver market-fresh ingredients, simply prepared and stylishly presented."

The Cowboy Cook rides again! Our good friends Grady Spears and June Naylor are back in the saddle. "Cooking the Cowboy Way" is their latest cookbook collaboration. You'll have a chance to meet them and get an autographed copy of the new book at Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap on November 16th. Featuring hors d'oeuvres and Republic Tequila, it'll be a book signing to beat the band. Call 800-367-1721 for details and reservations. Talk about a great spot to catch up with a cowboy cook! Speak of the devil, Tom Perini and his wife Lisa are hosting their 5th Annual "Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit" April 23-25 at the Ranch. They always bring in a great lineup of chefs and winemakers. Stephan Pyles is among the highlights. Get details here

Happy trails, podner! Until we meet again. Jim

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thanksgiving bounty and blessings shared

It's the time of the season for yummy Thanksgiving treats and a birthday celebration for Dallas Fish Market

One of our top seafood restaurants is celebrating its second anniversary by helping a great cause. Congratulations to Mike Hoque and his team at downtown's Dallas Fish Market who will throw a party on November 16th to help raise money for the Austin Street Shelter. Bon Appétit named Dallas Fish Market one of America's Top 10 Seafood restaurants in 2008. They'd like to give something back to the community for the support they've had. Here's where you come in. Call or email Bea Feagin at the the Austin Street Shelter and arrange to get a ticket to the November 16th event: 214-428-4242, ext. 18, Tickets are $45 and proceeds go to Austin Street Shelter's work of providing emergency shelter and services to the homeless. As you might imagine, the Center is currently experiencing heavy demand. Besides a good time and a good feeling, your ticket gets you Chef Randy Morgan's signature hors d'oeuvres, classic cocktails and top wines. The invite says that Chanel and Macy's Galleria will provide gifts for event guests, too. It'll be worth it just to see the smile of gratitude on The Reverend "Bubba" Dailey's face. She's the executive director of the Shelter, and will be on hand to greet guests and celebrate the occasion.

Bistro Louise is taking reservations for Turkey Day. $45 per person plus tax, gratuity and beverages. $16.95 for children 5-11. See the complete menu and make reservations by visiting the website, www.bistrolouise. Louise is also offering a "Thanksgiving Dinner for 8 To Go Menu" and a la carte "Thanksgiving To Go Menu".

Or, how about Thanksgiving at a wine resort? The folks at Messina Hof Winery are welcoming guests to their unique setting in Bryan to enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast and their Texas wine country hospitality. Besides food and wine tasting, they have lots of activities going on year-round at Messina Hof including cooking classes, cool "murder mystery" dinners and movies in the vineyards. Get all the details at Messina Hof's website, or by calling 800-736-9463, ext. 234.

If Italian is to your liking for Thanksgiving, Bugatti Ristorante has a special menu for the 26th. Visit their website for details, or phone 214-350-2470.

The hardest working guy in show business, Chef Tre Wilcox now has a new lunch menu (in addition to new dinner menu and wine list) at Plano's Loft 610 Restaurant. And, former Abacus colleague Jermaine Brown signs on as executive sous chef of the restaurant. As long as Tre sent it, I thought you might like to see what's on tap for the lunch-


Jalapeno Marinated Jumbo Shrimp, with Jack Cheese Grits and Tequila Lime Sauce

Cucumber Yellowtail Roll, with Citrus Sweet Soy, Wasabi Sauce and Pickled Ginger

Mesquite Grilled Baby Lamb Chops, with Balsamic Honey Glaze

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Champagne Sauce and Chive Olive Oil

Crispy Duck Spring Rolls with Pomegranate-Chili Dipping Sauce

Soup, Salads and Sandwiches

Soup of the Day

Caesar Salad

Mixed Field Green Salad with Carrots, Fennel and White Balsamic Vinaigrette (add Grilled Chicken +4)

Red and Yellow Tomato Salad, with Marinated Mozzarella, Basil Pesto and Balsamic Reduction

Asian "Field Green" Salad, with Sweet Chili Lime Dressing and Crispy Wontons

Baby Spinach Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese, Bosc Pear, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Marinated Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Sour Cream, Red Onion, Lettuce and Tomato

Spicy Pulled Pork Sub with Butter Pickles and Provolone Cheese

The 610 Burger with Smoked Cheddar, Pepper Bacon and Dijon Mayo

Crispy Southwestern Chicken Sandwich with Pepper-Jack Cheese, and Avocado Pico

Herb Roasted Chicken Pasta with Oven Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan Cream Sauce


Grilled Wild King Salmon with Pomegranate Brown Butter and Wild Mushroom Risotto

Crispy Seared Lemon Sole with Bacon Whipped Potatoes, Asparagus and Chardonnay Sauce

Chili Spiced Fish Tacos with Spicy Jasmine Rice and Mango Pico de Gallo


Grilled Asparagus, Steamed Vegetables, Bacon Whipped Potatoes or Truffle Risotto


Lemon Tarragon Italian Custard, with Strawberry Champagne Sauce and Fresh Blueberries

The "Top Chef" Failed Banana Bread Pudding, with Toffee Sauce
Chocolate Brownies, with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

LOFT 610 Urban Restaurant & Lounge 5760 State Highway 121 Suite 175 Plano TX 75024 (972) 377-2500

Hope you've had a chance to visit the new WineTastic on Lemmon Avenue near Inwood. They are doing an incredible job under the management of Terri Burney who previously owned Grand Tastings on McKinney Avenue. She and her husband Don ran the place. Unfortunately, Don had a heart attack in 2007 and passed away. Terri recently closed Grand Tastings and was very happy that the opportunity came up with WineTastic. It's still a retail store, but they have lots of tastings and special events. 214-559-8910 or

Meals are made for wine. Fess Parker once told us he even drinks a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc for breakfast, with his eggs. Cheers, Davy! (Daniel to younger readers).
Be well,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Who's that knockin' at the Screen Door?

Mico and David are in the house and need to add a wing for their partners.

I stopped by Screen Door in One Arts Plaza on Friday to see if I could catch up with David McMillan and Mico Rodriguez. In case you hadn't heard, there's been a big change at the restaurant (you ain't seen nothin' yet!). In one swell foop, Chef Fitzgerald Dodd is out (and the Southern menu he served is soon to follow), and celebrity chef David McMillan (Nana, 62 Main, Consilient Restaurants) is in with plans to revamp the menu within a couple of weeks. He and Mico have formed a partnership called MCM Restaurants with restaurant mogul Robert Colombo (Trece, Villa O, et al) and Teiichi Sakurai from Tei-An "with a goal of developing creative restaurants that are conceived and run the best way possible". Screen Door is MCM Restaurant's first project. Mico is back in fine form after a 10 month hiatus from the restaurant biz. It was a rough ride. A divorce from his wife, Carolina Galvan-Rodriguez, a "divorce" from his partners at M Crowd (Mi Cocina), and what appears to be a divorce from the personal demons that caused his tragic descent after his meteoric rise with M Crowd, have produced a man on a mission. As Mico puts it, "Lucy (Billingsley) has asked us to come in and observe and make recommendations to get this place turned around. We've just started. We have a lot of work to do. Robert is a fantastic partner. David is a gifted chef. We plan to open restaurants, and I want to do a Mexican Food restaurant as soon as the non-compete clause is up in 19 months (from his break with M Crowd), but right now we are engaged to make this restaurant live up to its potential." As we speak, the swirl of activity around him increases. It is less than an hour until opening time. He is meeting with sales reps, planning upcoming events, and barking orders to employees to remove facades in the restaurant entrance and change seating arrangements. He is organizing a new wine list, and taking a call from Robert Colombo. He asks someone to get David for me and the dervish continues.

Chef McMillan earned his stripes as Hollywood caterer to the stars (among them Barbara Streisand) before accepting Paul Pinnell's offer to take the kitchen helm at Nana in the Hilton Anatole. The restaurant rose to 5 star prominence before David left to open his widely acclaimed 62 Main restaurant in Colleyville. Bedroom communities are notoriously rough places to run upscale restaurants. David closed his dream place and started overseeing concepts with Tristan Simon's Consilient Restaurants (including Hibiscus, Victor Tango's and Fireside Pies). He is steady, mellow, and one of the most supremely talented chefs I have ever known. He is glad to be back in action again and is looking forward to putting his imprimatur on the Screen Door menu. Check them out as you venture downtown to see the new AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Tre rocks the house and Plano

One of the best chefs on the planet, Tre Wilcox, is in full swing with Loft 610. (He'll be joining us for the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting on Saturday March 6, at the beautifully renovated Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Downtown Dallas.) He has created a new menu for Loft 610. As long as he sent it to me, I thought I would share it with you:

Crispy Duck Spring Rolls, with Red Chili- Pomegranate Dipping Sauce Jalapeno Marinated Jumbo Shrimp, with Jack Cheese Grits and Tequila Lime Sauce
Cucumber Yellowtail Roll, with Citrus Sweet Soy, Wasabi Sauce and Scallions
Mesquite Grilled Baby Lamb Chops, with Balsamic Honey Glaze
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, with Champagne Sauce and Chive Olive Oil
Braised Pork Belly, with Pickled Cucumbers, Fennel and House BBQ
Seared Rare Hawaiian Tuna, with Spicy "Thai Style" Mushroom Sauce

Soup and Salads

Soup of the Day Mixed Baby Field Greens, with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Caesar Salad, with truffle cheese
Red and Yellow Tomato Salad, with Marinated Mozzarella, Pesto and Balsamic
Asian "Field Green" Salad, with Sweet Chili Lime Dressing and Crispy Wontons
Baby Spinach Salad, Fried Oysters, Blue Cheese, Bosc Pear, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Hawaiian Escolar, on Stir Fried Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms and Yellow Curry Sauce
Poached Maine Lobster and Seared Sea Scallops, on Angel Hair, Tomatoes, Capers, Basil
Wood Grilled Salmon, with Bacon Whipped Potatoes, Asparagus and Chardonnay Sauce
Pan Seared Nova Scotia Halibut, with Baby Brocolini and Spicy Ginger - Lemongrass Broth
Herb Roasted Chicken Pasta, with Oven Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan Cream Sauce
Blue Cheese Crusted Prime Ribeye with Mixed Fingerling Potatoes and Marsala Glaze
Smoked Bone-In Pork Chop, with Mushroom-Scallion Risotto and Balsamic-Port Reduction
Braised Beef Short Ribs, with smoked cheddar-jalapeno bread pudding and grilled jicima slaw
Grilled Buffalo Tenderloin, on Sweet Potato Puree, Wilted Spinach and Ancho-Shiner Sauce

Grilled Asparagus, Steamed Vegetables, Bacon Whipped Potatoes or Truffle Risotto

Lemon Tarragon Italian Custard, with Strawberry Champagne Sauce and Fresh Blueberries
The "Top Chef" Failed Banana Bread Pudding, with Toffee Sauce
Golden Cake, with Blueberry Honey Syrup and Rum Whipped Cream

They have also expanded the wine list. LOFT 610 Urban Restaurant & Lounge, 5760 State Highway, Suite 175, Plano TX 75024, 972-377-2500.

Mama Mia, that's a tasty pizza pie!

We had some kind of fun the other night getting to know Jay Jerrier who owns Cane Rosso, the company that makes delicious mobile wood-fired pizza. He and his team are making pizzas every Wednesday night at Lakewood favorite Times Ten Cellars. Stop by beginning at 6 p.m. for a delicious Neapolitan pizza and a tasty glass of wine with Times Ten (they have just opened a new location in Fort Worth, too--near University Drive and 7th Street in the Cultural District-- 1100 Foch St, Fort Worth, TX 76107, (817) 336-9463. Cane Rosso has imported an authentic Italian wood-burning oven and housed it on a custom trailer that can be transported directly to events. We are planning on having them with us at Savor Dallas during the Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday March 5th, and during our "Sunday FunDay" benefit for the North Texas Food Bank on Sunday March 7th, at Dallas Farmers Market. You can contact them to do some incredible pizzas for a party or school function you have coming up. 214-577-6747, Get more details at their website, They adhere to the strict standards of the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana. They use only imported "00" flour, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and house-made Flor di Latte to create an extremely fresh and light pizza. See you at Times Ten Cellars!

And now the whole sordid story can be told. Drum roll please!

Besides being one of the country's best (and wackiest) winemakers, Randall Grahm, the original "Rhone Ranger", owner of Bonny Doon Vineyards is a helluva writer. His new book just landed on my doorstep last week (thanks to University of California Press!). "Been Doon so Long--a Randall Grahm Vinthology" is a collection of some of the wild and wonderful works that readers of Randall's newsletters and other missives have been howling over for years. From the Hugh Johnson forward:

"This eclectic collection at last brings to a wide audience the irreverent, zany voice of Randall Grahm, visionary California winemaker and founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard. An iconoclastic send-up of the wine industry and a celebration of unsung grape varieties, the book features, among other things, Grahm's hilarious literary parodies - Joyce, Kafka, Pynchon, Salinger, and others - together with song lyrics, snarky satires, poems, lectures, and more. Subtle undertones of gravitas with faint suggestions of earnestness lie beneath the humor, however, as Grahm passionately addresses the state of wine today: Where in wine does "greatness" truly repose? How might true originality in New World wines be found? Do New World winemakers have the integrity and courage to unreservedly embrace terroir? This trove includes a very personal take on Dante's Inferno (Grahm's own vision of Wine Hell) and a collection of tunes from the rock opera "Born to Rhône." Other pieces offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Rhône Ranger wine movement and of Bonny Doon itself, told through the story of its adventurous wine labels. Been Doon So Long is a highly entertaining journey to find the "truth of all things that may be found in the unlikely medium of a wineglass." (I really wanted to find a way to say "Quoth the Raven, 'never more'.")

If you love wine and revile those whom take it too seriously (see what I mean), by all means buy this book as quickly as you can. Quoth the website ever more: "For more information and to follow the book tour, visit: Order online or by phone 888.819.6789 and we will happily send an inscribed book to any number of your dearest friends. For shipments to far flung Old and New World destinations, please contact the Mothership directly at or 1.831.425.6705." See what I mean? Even the commercials are fun with Randall.

Just had lunch with Adam Richardson who is winemaker for Cupcake Vineyards (and Concannon Vineyard), and International wine director for Underdog Wine Merchants based in Soledad, California. Adam is a native Australian, and former aviator with the Royal Australian Navy. He has been a serious winemaker for more than a dozen years. The delicious Cupcake Wines mostly from the Central Coast of California include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand), Riesling (Yakima Valley, Washington), Petite Sirah, and Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina). Suggested retail on the wines is $13.99. They are infinitely inviting, and comforting as, well, a cupcake. Underdog is making some great wines from around the world under the aegis of The Wine Group, and more are on the way. Look for them at a friendly retail outlet near you.

G'day, Mate! Drink responsibly.