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Revel in Northern Italy

Todd never even stops to take a breath.

Just weeks after his sold-out wine dinner featuring cuisine and wines from the Rhone region, fellow foodie and certified sommelier Todd Getzelman is setting his sights on Northern Italy for a four-course dinner that will transport your taste buds to Piemonte, Liguria, Veneto, and Friuli.

On February 27 at 6:00 pm, at his urban wine lounge and tasting room Revel, Getzelman will team up with acclaimed local chef Janet Jones to create an evening that celebrates the cuisine, wines, and rich culture of this delicious region.

Are you ready? Or shall I ask, “Siete pronti?”

 

Spring vegetable flan topped with wild greens tossed in walnut oil

Paired with Durin-Pigato, Riviera Ligure Di Ponente

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Agnolotti pasta filled with butternut squash and green peppercorn tossed with bottarga butter

Paired with Villa Varda – Cabernet Franc, Friuli

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Grilled polenta cake with hearty stracotto drizzled with onion ash oil

Paired with Ronchi – Barbaresco, Piemonte

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Green apple panna cotta

Paired with Dama Del Rovere – Brenton Lessini Durello Brut

 

One of the things that makes these dinners so unique is their intimacy. The event is limited to 30 guests so reserve your seats now while you can. Tickets are $48 each, not including gratuity, and can be purchased on the events page at RevelTucson.com.

 

Andrea Nguyen Headed to Tucson

For enthusiasts of Vietnamese cuisine, Andrea Nguyen needs no introduction.

For everyone else, she’s a James Beard Award winner whose cookbooks, newspaper and magazine columns, and other vehicles for Vietnamese food storytelling have catapulted her to gastronomic glory. And that glory will be revealed on March 2 at 4:00 pm when she takes over the Culinary Stage at the Tucson Festival of Books for an hour of cooking and conversation.

I nearly flipped my pho when I was invited to moderate this session. I’m a life-long fan of Vietnamese food and my palate gets excited at the very mention of banh mi or cha lua. When my wife and I attended weekly childbirth classes in preparation for the arrival of our first born in 1994, we scheduled corresponding stops at a small Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from the hospital for a post-pushing-practice meal. It became a weekly tradition. And to this day, every time I see a beautifully wrapped spring roll, I think about my first father-to-be lesson in the science of swaddling.

Ms. Nguyen will be sharing stories from her latest book, Vietnamese Food Any Day: simple recipes for true, fresh flavors, at the March 2 session. She’ll also do a live cooking demonstration, and I can only hope that her crispy caramelized pork crumbles will take center stage alongside her.

I hope to see you there!

 

Secrets revealed at Proof

In my Inside Tucson Business column this week, I share some secrets behind the early success at Proof Artisanal Pizza & Pasta.

Gunpowder?

16th century tax collectors?

A pineapple pizza that has the potential of fostering world peace?

What?!

Check out my story here.

 

Cocktails for Breakfast?

My new “Food-n-Booze” series launched earlier today on KVOI’s A Morning Affair with Mark Bishop, and we talked about the shared spirit of Arizona chefs, brewers, winemakers, sommeliers, and distillers.

In that context, I shook up a round of OBCs, anchored by the Orange Blossom Vodka from Arizona’s own Grand Canyon Distillery. If the Grand Canyon is the 7th wonder of the world, then the Grand Canyon Distillery must be the 8th!

I’ve since had listener requests for the recipe, so here it is, the OBC, courtesy of Tiki Dan and his personal expression of the classic cocktail called the Clover Club!

Just make sure not to skip the dry shake at the end. This is what really emulsifies the egg whites to deliver that spectacular crown of foam.

And, yes, with these egg whites and citrus notes, this is the perfect breakfast cocktail…for the weekend, of course!

 

 

 

OBC

  • 2oz Grand Canyon Distillery Orange Blossom Vodka
  • .5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5oz Vanilla Simple Syrup
  • 1 Egg White
  • Shake with 4-6 ice cubes for :20 seconds, HARD
  • Strain off of ice and Dry Shake again for :20 seconds HARD
  • Pour into Chilled Coupe glass
  • Let sit :20 seconds then add 3 drops of AZ Bitters Lab Citrus Sunshine bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Twirl or dehydrated Orange Slice

Cheers!

 

A Dos for Dillinger

This is Aaron.

Aaron Long.

And Aaron looks happy, doesn’t he?

He’s part of the leadership team at Tucson’s Dillinger Brewing Company and he has every reason to smile. The brewery will be celebrating their second anniversary on February 2, from 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with a release of what sounds like some spectacular suds.

* An imperial maple porter

* A barrel-aged imperial stout

* A mixed fermentation barrel-aged saison

All of that barreling suggests that Aaron and his brewery business partner Eric Sipe are whiskey enthusiasts as well, which I learned when chatting with them in their taproom recently over a flight of brews.

For Aaron, his call is typically the mesquite-smoked Whiskey Del Bac Dorado from Hamilton Distillers.

For Eric, it’s the Lagavulin 16, the Bernheim Wheat, and the Blanton’s Bourbon.

But I digress. The second anniversary bash is all about the beer, and when you add live entertainment and grub served up by the Substance Coffee Diner Food Truck, you’ve got yourself a blowout that’s decidedly Dillinger-worthy.

Just don’t miss the triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich from the Substance crew, stacked on buttered, toasted, and Parmesan-crusted French bread with cheddar and Gruyere cheese. You won’t only thank me for that tip, you’ll shower me with gifts.

Happy dos to Dillinger!

 

Si Charro

What does a slogan or tagline really mean?

Apple wants you to “think differently,” while Volkswagon encouraged you to “think small.” When Skittles is inviting you to “taste the rainbow” and Nike is challenging you to “just do it,” Greyhound simply says, “leave the driving to us.”

The common theme here is an invitation, prompt, or challenge for you to take some sort of action. It’s about getting you to think, taste, do, and leave. A vocabulary of verbs.

But there’s nary a verb in the tagline of the Charro family of local restaurant concepts. In fact, it’s just one word, and as I noticed at dinner last night, it’s a word that weaves its way from the back of the house to the front. It’s positioned prominently on each employee’s shirt. It’s a unifying theme around which every team member rallies, and literally embodies, and it’s built on the profoundly simple promise of yes.

“Si.”

This got me thinking as I was slurping fresh oysters from their shells at Charro Del Rey, the Flores Family’s newest concept downtown. I was surrounded by the pledge and the power of yes. To me, the very attitude that anchors the idea of yes is that there are no excuses. No obstacles. No nos. There isn’t a single thing that will stand in the way of delivering a memorable culinary and cocktail experience, and whether you’re at El Charro, Charro Steak, or Charro Del Rey, you’ll see yes in a whole new way.

When a company’s culture is built on the promise of yes, and when yes defines who you are, the market will naturally respond with a community-wide chorus of Si.

Si Charro!

 

Celebrate unusually on National Peanut Butter Day

Hooray! National Peanut Butter Day is on January 24. But instead of celebrating with a pedestrian PB&J, consider some otherwise unusual options to get your sticky fix.

I reveal a few of these ways in this week’s Inside Tucson Business, and you can read my story here!