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Cocktail Class is in Session

New York Sour. Paper Plane. French Fantasy.

Guests that were part of our culinary and cocktail cruise aboard the Celebrity Edge had the opportunity to make these libations under the instruction of Tas, the ship’s senior bartender, during our private mixology session.

Frivolity ensued the moment that the ice cubes were dropped into the shaker as we learned about things like dirty ice, names of glassware, and how to scientifically thin out Blue Curacao.

Enjoy my interview with Tas who definitely brought a sense of adventure to the experience!


Oh, that EVOO!

Everything I’ve learned about extra virgin olive oil came from time spent with Tom and Nancy Alfonso of Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils & Balsamics, and when I told them I was going to Greece, they instructed me to visit a local olive mill.

Ever the obedient student, I did just that!

The adventure began with a tour of the Kotsonis Estate Company, an 8,000-tree olive grove that has produced olive oil in this region since 1900. Following the tour, we sipped some of their best, a product called 3,000 BC, while enjoying a multi-course lunch with wine pairings.

Enjoy my interview with sisters Antigoni and Mando Kotsoni who shared a beautiful story about their family business.


A Salute to Ouzo

You can’t visit Greece without taking a deep dive into the wonderful world of ouzo, and what better place to sip Greece’s national spirit than at an ouzo distillery celebrating its 150th anniversary!

I had the unique opportunity to chat with Yiannis Karonis, 5th generation owner/distiller of the Karonis Distillery in Nafplion, who walked me through the story behind his spirits. In addition to ouzo, he’s also producing local beauties tsipouro and mastika, each with special Karonis family ingredient expressions that he stopped short of sharing. Yes, he’s able to keep a secret.

Enjoy my spirited interview with Nafplion’s spirits celebrity!


Getting Craft Beer into Greeks

The last time I was in Europe two years ago, I didn’t find as many craft brewers as I expected to. The beer scene was still very much dominated by Old World traditions with nary a pale ale or IPA to be seen. Fast forward to today and people like Angelos Feros are changing that.

This brew master’s work at the Mykonos Brewing Company in Greece is attracting serious buzz. He’s on a mission to “get craft beer into Greeks,” and once I sat down with him to learn more about his plans, I wouldn’t be surprised if his brews filled up his fellow Greeks and spilled onto the international stage. Could the U.S.A. be in his sights?

Enjoy my interview with Angelos!


What’s Your Perfect Wine Blend?

You have a pipette, a glass flask, and bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache. Your mission is to create what you think the perfect wine blend is from custom percentages of these varietals.

This was the mission, and guests on our culinary and cocktail cruise had the opportunity to blend their own wines under the instruction of Ivanna, our Celebrity Cruises sommelier!

Once the blendings were complete, I sat down with Ivanna and a few of our guests to see how their wines turned out.

Enjoy this fun interview!


A Taste of Rome

When in Roma we eat and drink like Romans, and our walking food and wine tour introduced us to everything we needed to know about what Roma looks like on the plate and in the glass.

Enjoy my short conversation with Luisa, our tour guide from Roman Food Tours, as she summarized an amazing four-hour evening.



Fall Football Tailgate Talk

Fall! Football! Tailgates!

This is one of my favorite seasons from a culinary perspective, and game day gastronomy was the topic of my recent appearance on the Sports Exchange with Justin Spears on ESPN Tucson!

We covered a wide range of issues in our conversation about football cuisine which included upping your tailgate game from burgers and dogs to smoked meats, an analysis of the spectrum of smoking woods, and more.

We also heard from Chef Ryan Jones about his new NFL Sunday Game Day rib special at Fini’s Landing, and dished out the details on Casino Del Sol Chef Ryan Clark’s Sol Bowl Tailgate Championship.

Make your next tailgate a touchdown for your taste buds!


In a New York Spirit of Mind

I had a private audience with Carlo DeVito last week.

But this memorable moment wasn’t at one of his book signings or other celebrity appearances. It was just him. And me. At the Hudson-Chatham Winery satellite tasting room on Main Street in Tannersville, New York in the heart of the Catskill Mountains.

I saw a sign on the door that said local spirit flights, and, of course, I walked in and prepared for takeoff.

It turns out that Carlo is a nationally renowned authority on craft spirits. He’s also the author of Big Whiskey: Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, the Rebirth of Rye, and the Distilleries of America’s Premier Spirits Region. Lucky for me he was pouring that afternoon, and he introduced me to some of the best booze that the Empire State has to offer.

Enjoy our conversation here about some of the things making news at Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery, Taconic Distillery, and Black Dirt Distillery.



A Sonoran-Southern Smash

Chef Travis Peters recently added several new dishes to his menu at The Parish, with foodies celebrating what he calls a “smash” of Tucson and southern cuisine.

I sat down with Travis last weekend for a quick conversation about the new menu, his smashings, and his glimpse into the future which very well may include a new concept!

Enjoy this interview and, as Travis always says, “Rock on Tucson!”


New Menu Making News at Ten55

French fries inspired by a North African chile?

A classic mornay sauce kicked up with cheddar, Gruyere, and sage to create a cauliflower gratin?

Sliced and seared pork meatloaf sliders?

Several new items were just added to the menu at Ten55 Brewing Company and Sausage House, and I caught up with Chef Zack Ghidotti after my introductory tasting to learn how it all came together.

Enjoy my interview here!