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For Serious Sippers, Snackers & Smokers

I take my whiskey seriously, and whenever I come across an opportunity to share my passion with those who also celebrate the wisdom of what’s been called “the water of life,” I clear my calendar in anticipation of the kind of sipping and storytelling that memories are made of.

Memories will be in the making this Saturday when a portfolio of exquisite bourbons (and a bonus rye) take flight at Casino Del Sol as part of their last-Saturday-of-the-month series of “Whisky SOLcial” pairings.

Casino Del Sol’s executive chef Ryan Clark gave me the initial tip on this flight tasting, and when a three-time Iron Chef of Tucson pairs select bites with whiskeys of this magnitude, you know that it will be done deliciously, intentionally, respectfully, and gracefully, like the very life that Ryan chooses to live out every day.

And finally, for cigar enthusiasts like myself, the taste bud trifecta is complete with a thoughtful selection of premium cigars from which to choose that will round out this monumental tasting, at a venue that warmly embraces the spirit of the cigar and those who embody it.

On March 30, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, at Casino Del Sol’s Prema Lounge, you can choose a Regular Flight or Premium Flight, and enjoy corresponding chef-driven bites and a premium cigar that will join these whiskeys in activating parts of your palate that you never knew existed.

The menu follows, but secure your tickets now, right here, while they’re still available!

 

REGULAR FLIGHT

$50 for whiskey flight, food & cigar

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Cut (paired with a spice ash-rubbed scallop with a truffle demi)

Knob Creek Single Barrel (paired with honey comb and blue cheese espuma)

Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Rye (paired with cocoa-rubbed prime rib with confit baby potato)

Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Select (paired with a bacon fritter and cherry compote)

 

PREMIUM FLIGHT, with same food pairings

$100 for whiskey flight, food & cigar

Old Rip Van Winkle (10 year)

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve (15 year)

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve (20 year)

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve (23 year)

 

CHOOSE A CIGAR FROM THIS LINE-UP

Davidoff Winston Churchill – Late Hour Toro

Arturo Fuente – Reserva Don Carlos

Camacho – American Barrel Aged Toro

My Father, Garcia & Garcia – Le Bijou 1922

 

A Passport for Craft Spirit Enthusiasts

For many years dating back to the early 1990s, I was a registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C. My office
was steps away from the U.S. Capitol and, in full disclosure, I can tell you that every lobbyist stereotype applied,
from smoke-filled rooms to multiple martini lunches.

#guiltyascharged.

But what happens when the issues for which you’re pursuing legislative relief mirror the spirituous tools
of the trade themselves?

Fast forward to 2019 and meet Deborah Patt, co-owner of Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman and a
member of the Arizona Craft Distillers Guild.

Patt understands the critical need for the Guild’s voice at the Legislature to represent the state’s craft distilling industry, and she’s developed a program with her statewide colleagues that seeks to accomplish three things – raise money for the Guild’s important work, drive business to its member distilleries, and expose consumer palates across Arizona to the volume and variety of spirits being distilled here.

They’re calling the program a “Moonshine Map and Spirit Trail, A Passport to Arizona Spirits,” and it has all the makings for one heck of a series of road trips.

For $10, you can get a passport featuring a dedicated page for each participating distillery. Bring the passport to a distillery and get that respective page stamped with no purchase necessary. When you collect all of the stamps, just send in the completed passport and you’ll receive a special gift, ranging from company merchandise to spa packages to hotel stays.

To make it even more irresistible, when you bring your passport to a participating distillery, you’ll also get 10 percent off bottle purchases.

Distilleries that are currently participating in the passport program are Hamilton Distillers (Tucson),
Thunder Canyon Brewstillery (Tucson), Elgin Distillery (Elgin), Adventurous Stills (Tempe), CaskWerks Distilling (Tempe), San Tan Brewing and Distilling (Chandler), OHSO Brewery and Distillery (Scottsdale), Cellar 433 (Jerome), Grand Canyon Brewing and Distilling (Williams), and Desert Diamond Distillery (Kingman).

Additional distilleries are expected to hop on the map next year, but the 10 charter participants are all you need now to get your road trips underway.

You can purchase your passport at participating distilleries or online right here.

So what’s Patt been enjoying these days from her own personal portfolio?

“Our Barrel Reserve, a rum that’s been aged for three years that works well in a cocktail, like an Old Fashioned, as well as neat, all by itself,” she said. “And honestly, and I know it sounds odd, but I love it with root beer.”

I love this lady, and I’ll be hitting the road to Kingman shortly… passport in hand!

 

Wine on the Go? Yes you CAN!

Don’t let the absence of a glass bottle and cork keep you from enjoying a sparkling wine on your next outdoor adventure!

In my Inside Tucson Business column this week, I offer some tips for bringing a little more effervescence to your next expedition.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!

 

How Eston Stogner Rowls

I first met Chef Eston Stogner during an interview on my radio show two years ago from a restaurant where he was working at the time.

I learned a lot from this inaugural moment, including the fact that he’s been working as a cook and chef in town for more than a decade. He told me, “If you’ve been living in Tucson in the last 10 years, it’s likely that I’ve cooked a meal for you.”

During the interview I sampled a great many dishes that represented the Stogner style, and was immediately struck by something that he called the Cohiba.

As a cigar enthusiast, and regular fixture at Jerry’s Cigars, I love the history and tradition of the Cohiba cigar, and was eager to learn how this particular stick inspired one of his dishes. I discovered that it was essentially a rolled and fried version of the iconic Cubano sandwich, with pork, pickles, ham, and Swiss cheese, that resembled a cigar when it was plated. Delicious.

And that, fellow foodies, was my introduction to Stogner’s rolls.

Earlier this week, he opened his first restaurant of his own in Vail aptly called Bowld: Bowls and Rowls, which serves up a variety of dishes in both bowl and roll formats, such as a pizza bowl, a shrimp bowl, a fajita rowl, and that Cohiba-inspired dish which he now calls the Cubano rowl. Add burgers, salads, and more bowls and rowls than you can imagine, and you’ll be rowling out of Bowld with a smile.

The restaurant, which is located at 13160 E. Colossal Cave Road, also features items that accommodate many of today’s dietary lifestyles, such as low-carb and keto.

Rowl into Bowld and check out the next delicious chapter of the Stogner story, and don’t miss a puff…er, a bite…of that Cubano!

 

White Wine on the Winter Dinner Table?

In my Inside Tucson Business column this week, I suggested that the term winter white is regrettably becoming an oxymoron.

It saddens me this time of year to see beautiful white wines being robbed of their opportunity to shine on dinner tables of the unenlightened simply because spring hasn’t yet sprung.

Check out my story here, and let me know your thoughts!

 

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

___________________

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!