Food News and Views Dr. Barry Glasner February 28, 2008

Food and Dining Radio Show – 2.28.08


Linda Gassenheimer (LG)Joseph Cooper (JC)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Dr. Barry Glassner (BG)



JC: Joining me now is Linda Gassenheimer. We’re talking with Doctor Barry Glassner about his new book, The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat.


LG: Doctor Glassner is a Professor of Sociology and the Executive Vice Provost at the

University of

Southern California
. He writes that much of what consumers hear about food is inaccurate and unhelpful. Our topic today is, can we believe what we read in the food media? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Give us a call. Fred Tasker is here in his usual seat. Are we talking about wine today?


FT: Yes, I am talking about what I tasted at the Wine and Food Festival last weekend.


LG: We have a lot of calls. Fred, what would you like to ask?


FT: Doctor Glassner, you made brief mention of the French paradox. That is the idea that the French eat more fat but their heart attack rates are lower than our’s. Some people attribute that to red wine and others talk more about the types of fat they eat. Which do you think is more important?


BG: I think it’s a combination of both of those factors and also a third which is how the French eat and how they drink. They do that in a much more relaxed fashion than we do and with take greater pleasure in their cuisine. Some people would say that it’s a lot easier to enjoy French food but there are a lot of great cuisines in the world. When you relax it’s going to have a big effect. This is acknowledged in the official dietary guidelines in some countries.


FT: I think Americans would have trouble consuming fewer calories if they ate a 2 or 3 hour lunch.


BG: Our culture is different in that way but it would be hard to do that at those lunches because of the way they eat. But if you transplant it into our culture it probably won’t work that well.


FT: In French restaurants in

France they take a bite of food and then puff on a cigarette. It’s bizarre.


BG: And smoking really does destroy your health. Their smoking rates are going down too.


LG: I use to live in

France and the food is very expensive there so you can’t get the enormous potions we have here. Also statistics are now changing with the advent of fast food in

as far as obesity is concerned.


BG: Especially for the younger generations, fast food is a lot more common. That has to do with tempo changes in society generally. There are interesting studies of teenagers who go to fast food restaurants. They found it’s one of the few places kids can congregate on their own without adults being around, which is why this happens in the

US too.


LG: Just as an aside, when McDonalds came to

Paris when I was there they were serving Bernaise sauce on their hamburgers.


BG: I was in

China and they’ve adapted their menus to those tastes too. They do a lot of market research.


LG: Dr. Glassner, I applaud some of your theories but am curious about others. You mentioned trans-fats aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. Should we ignore restrictions?


BG: I don’t have a position on this because I think the evidence isn’t clear enough. There’s very limited research on trans-fats and what we do in these cases is we decide, as a politician, I can do well by going out after trans-fats. All I have to do is ban it and people will think I’m saving their health. But the evidence is limited and the costs are great. Who suffered in NY? The small mom and pop operations…


LG: You’re tying it to economics?


BG: We should always ask who is affected by these changes?


LG: Let’s go to a caller.


Caller: Thank you for pushing moderation. I have been an eater in moderation all my life and have maintained a normal weight.


BG: All evidence supports her way of eating.


LG: I was interested to know what reactions you’re getting from Doctors, media and the public?


BG: Mostly very favorable. Some folks don’t agree, especially those who push low-carb and low-fat diets. We have spirited long email discussions and debates. I love that. But by and large the response I have received is very positive, including from people that you’re talking about.


LG: You say that restaurant reviewers rarely reflect the experience of average diners. What’s your basis for that?


BG: One thing I did in researching this book is I ate in many of the best restaurants in the



LG: Oh that’s tough.


BG: Well, someone had to do it. [laughing] I hung out in the kitchens and got to know the Chefs. I had this unique opportunity to see what actually happens.


LG: Was this anonymous and you paid for your meal?


BG: I’ll get there. I was back stage and I would also dine there anonymously. I would also go with the restaurant reviewer from the major publication reviewing the restaurant and what I kept finding is they believe they are dining anonymously when they’re not. Smart restaurateurs make it their business to know when the reviewer is there. One person I went with used disguises and they still knew it was him.


LG: But I think a good reviewer will notice what’s happening in the rest of the restaurant.


BG: But you underestimate the restaurateur! For example I was in a restaurant in

New York, and I arrived 15 minutes early to meet the reviewer. I always do that to see what it’s like before they arrive. The reservation was under my name and they didn’t know who I was and I was greeted like I shouldn’t even have been there. When the reviewer arrived the heavens parted and everything changed in the whole restaurant, not just my table. And he was supposedly dining anonymously.


LG: We’re talking with Barry Glassner about his new book. We’ll take a short break and be back for more.




LG: We’re talking with Doctor Barry Glassner who is a Professor of Sociology and the Executive Vice Provost at the

University of

Southern California
. He’s been giving us a lot of his ideas, but now it’s dinner in minutes time. Today, in honor of you, it’s a family-friendly dinner. It’s Steak Fajitas with Rocky Mountain Rub and Baked Beans.


JC: I love the beans. They taste so good.


LG: They are so easy. If you want the entire recipe go to my website Fred, what’s going on with pod-casting?


FT: We’re pod-casting the show and I also have a new wine blog at the Miami Herald. Go to Those are both there.


BG: I’m getting hungry from that recipe! Also I’m waiting for the wine pairing recommendation.


FT: I was at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival last weekend.. They have some very good wines there that are very expensive, but I also check out the cheapest wines they have. I’m looking for great wines that are $15 or less. I found a couple of real gems. The one that would go perfectly with this Fajita is the 2008 Gato Negro Malbec. It’s Black Cat and it’s from

Argentina. It has a deep violet color, it’s very creamy and has a long finish. This is just $6 at any supermarket.


BG: I have to say that this is very funny because I had an Argentinean Malbec last night. It was great and very inexpensive.  


FT: I also liked the Ferrari-Carano 2006 Fumé Blanc. It’s from

Sonoma County and has a pear flavor. It’s rich and crisp and very inexpensive. I also went to the Best of the Best tasting. The one I thought was interesting was the 2006 Hitching Post Pinot Noir from

Santa Barbara
. Very intense, tart cherry and cranberry flavors. This is the Pinot Noir from the movie Sideways. The Hitching Post Restaurant is in that movie. The wine that Miles orders in that movie is the Highliner Pinot Noir. The people making this wine made 200 cases a year, but since the movie they’re making 2500 cases and they sell them all!


LG: You sent me there to taste their Merlot.


FT: Well in the movie he talks about Merlot and famously says something like “if anybody offers me a *** **** merlot I’m leaving.” That sent Merlot consumption down in the country for a while. But they make it and it’s good.


LG: Yes, it was quite nice. Well we’re almost out of time. It’s been a delicious week. Thanks for joining us. Fred, great advice as always. Next week it’s Restaurant Roundabout and it’s a whole hour. Join me then.


Fred Tasker’s Wine Suggestions

I attended a lot of the tastings at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, always looking for bargain wines, because newspaper readers aren’t usually looking for $50 wines to buy for every day. 

I found two gems:Best value of the tasting was the 2008 Gato Negro Malbec, Finca la Celia,

Uco Valley, Argentina. It had a deep, vivid violet color, with intense black plum and mocha flavors; it was creamy and rich, and only $6. 

Another nice bargain wine was the 2006 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc,

Sonoma County: pears and cinnamon, rich and crisp; $15.

At the Best of the Best tasting, where they served the expensive wines, one very tasty and interesting wine was the * 2006 Hitching Post “Highliner” Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County: intense, tart cranberry and tart cherry flavors, spicy and smooth; $42. This is the wine made famous in the movie Sideways, in which two buddies, Miles and Jack, spend a long weekend getaway in wine country. Frank Ostini, the man who makes the wine, says he was making 200 cases a year before the movie, and today is selling 2,500 cases. So a movie can be very powerful. 




Restaurant Happenings South Florida February 27, 2008

Por Fin, 2500 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables (305)-441-0107

After almost a year’s wait, this Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant is now open. Menu includes bacalao (cod fritters) with Romesco sauce, sea bass with tomato confit and leak chips, tender braised short ribs, and Eggs at Por Fin (homemade potato crisps, mashed potatoes, Serrano ham, and truffle oil). Dessert features Caribbean Passion with passion fruit cream and coconut foam. Reservations required.

1 Bleu, The Regent Bal Harbour, 10295 Collins Avenue, (305)-455-5400.

1 Bleu has opened at The Regent Bal Harbour under Executive Chef Gerdy Rodriguez.  The Regent’s signature fine dining establishment will benefit from a unique partnership with the legendary Le Cordon Bleu, making this only the second Le Cordon Bleu restaurant collaboration in North America. The cuisine takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean; the menu has fresh seafood, organic and locally-sourced produce and the finest cuts of meat available worldwide including Kobe and Wagyu beef.  Chef  Rodriguez also imports fresh seafood specialties from the Mediterranean, like baby calamari and langoustine, cuttlefish, wild line caught fish, razor clams, turbot, and Mediterranean striped bass – all flown in daily from La Costa Brava, Cataluña, Spain.

The River Oyster Bar, 650.South Miami Avenue, (305)-530-1915

On March 4 The River Oyster Bar’s Executive Chef/Owner David Bracha will do an interactive Lesson on the Half Shell. At 6:00 p.m., Chef Bracha’s 2-hour oyster-a-thon includes a tasting menu with wine pairings as well as a guide to the different varieties of oysters; shucking secrets; purchasing tips and the real deal on oysters’ renown as an aphrodisiac (oysters are a rich source of zinc, the key mineral in testosterone production). Guests will receive an oyster knife. The cost of the lesson and dinner: $75 per person (tax and gratuity additional)

Fontana Restaurant, The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave.

Chef Gaetano Ascione, a native of Naples, Italy, is now the new chef at the Fontana Restaurant in the elegant courtyard of the Biltmore Hotel. He worked previously at Quattro Restaurant at the Four Season Hotel in Houston. His menu, including a lavish lunch buffet served daily ($19.99) and a la carte items for lunch and dinner is authentically Italian.

Badrutt’s Place, 1250 South Miami Avenue (305)-415-0070,

Badrutt’s Place celebrates its grand opening on February 27. It’s the first U.S. location of the Swiss palace. The menu includes octopus carpaccio, terrine de foie gras, duck breast with orange sauce, striped seabass in light broth. And for dessert, zabaglione or Napoleon with berries.

Tickets are available at will celebrate the StarChefs Rising Stars Chef Awards March 3, at Mar-a-Lago. The 2008 South Florida Rising Star Winners are Chef Jeff O’Neill of Mar-a-Lago, Chef Alberto Cabrera of Karu Restaurant & Y (Now closed); Chef Michael Bloise of Wish, Chef Clay Conley of Azul, Chef Zach Bell of Café Boulud, Chef David Mullen of Angle, Chef Jeff McInnis of The DiLido, Chef Christopher Eagle of Cielo, Chef Kurtis Jantz of Neomi’s, Pastry Chef Joel Lahon of Nobu, Pastry Chef Malka Espinel of Johnny V’s, Bar Chef Ame Brewster of Café Boulud, Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt of Azul and Sommelier Roberto Colombi of Cielo. The walk-around tasting gala featuring signature dishes from each chef, as well as premium wine pairings, spirits and entertainment will be held at Mar-a-Lago Estate from 7pm – 9pm. Tickets are $150, VIP tickets are $200 each.

Food News and Views – Ellie Krieger-Art Smith-Pedro Ferrer February 21, 2008

Food and Dining Radio Show – 2.21.08

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Pedro Ferrer (PF)
Art Smith (AS)
Ellie Krieger (EK)

LG: Today we have Ellie Krieger from the Food Network show Healthy Appetite – hello Ellie. We’re also joined by Pedro Ferrer from Freixenet. Welcome to everyone.

EK: Thanks

PF: Thank you for having me here.

LG: Sitting next to me is Art Smith. Art is Oprah’s Special Events Chef and was her personal Chef for 10 years.

AS: Thank you for having me.

LG: Fred Tasker is here in his usual seat. Fred writes the wine suggestions for my column in the Miami Herald. Go to to read that and check out my blog.

JC: Look at all those bottles and glasses.

FT: I have 5 glasses and 2 bottles.

LG: Ellie is joining us from New York. She’s coming down to Miami tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s going to be warm and sunny tomorrow!

EK; I’m looking forward to coming!

LG: One of the new events this year at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is “Fun and Fit As A Family.” You and Art are going to take part in it. Tell us about it.

EK: I’m going to be there on Saturday and Sunday. It’s an opportunity for families to cook together and talk about food. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to be turned on to the joys of cooking and food…things that will take them far in life.

LG: For a child to attend you do need an adult. There are going to be cooking classes and there are other events there throughout the day at Jungle Island, formerly the Parrot Jungle. Art, you are there also?

AS: Yes! We’re going to be doing steak tacos with the kids.

LG: I understand there are tickets left. Google “South Beach Wine and Food Festival” to find out more. Ellie, your Food Network show is called Healthy Appetite. I suspect it’s not a large amount. What’s it all about?

EK: I’m a nutritionist and I’m a food lover first. Some things I have noticed over the years is that you have to choose between good food and delicious food. That sense of mutual exclusivity doesn’t have to be there. It’s a mistake to look at food as either one. I help people learn how to love food in a healthy way. I do that in my cook book too, The Food You Crave.

LG: You say in the book that people can eat the food they crave. What are the foods most people crave?

EK: That’s a personal thing, but there are certain universal things. People crave food that tastes delicious. They want a sense of absolute wonderful flavor coming through.

LG: If it doesn’t taste good it doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or not.

EK: I completely agree. We’re falsely trained to think that if it tastes good it can’t be good for you.

LG: There are some people in the studio who say that quite often [laughing].

EK: Yeah, take steak for example. Rubbing it with coffee or chili is good for you, or make tacos with fresh herbs like cilantro.

LG: Art is smiling.

AS: I love your book honey, it’s fabulous! I was just looking at it and I said, “this girl can cook!” I love the nutritional aspect.

EK: That means a lot coming from you. Thanks Art. The nutrition is there but I don’t want people to come to the table with a calculator. It gives perspective on what people are eating. And when I do the nutritional analysis it’s amazing to me how much nutrition is in good food. And in the book I put what each recipe is a good or excellent sources of as far as vitamins and minerals.

LG: We have a caller. Let’s go to the phones.

Caller: Hello, I have a question about the Festival. This is the first year I’ve lived on Miami Beach. Is it possible to walk along and get into something?

FT: You should go to the website and see what’s sold out and what’s not. The big celebrity events are sold out, although the 10pm event with Emeril has some tickets left.

LG: It’s You can’t just walk up to the grand tasting tent and get in. You won’t be able to drive anywhere near it, so walk is the operative word here. They start selling tickets in October. Let’s go to another caller.

Caller: My question is for the wine expert. I go to dinner quite often and I don’t like dry wines, I like sweet wine. I was given a Riesling. Is there something you can recommend?

LG: You can go to Fred’s wine blog on and find out.

FT: Thanks Linda. I have a lot of suggestions there.

LG: We’re talking about the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. We’re going to take a quick break and be right back.


LG: We’re back and we’ve been talking with stars of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival that starts tonight. Ellie Krieger is the star of Healthy Appetite on the Food Network. She’s in New York. Also with us is Art Smith, the Chef to Oprah Winfrey. Fred, you’ve got a lot of glasses in front of you. Are you sharing?

FT: I’m talking with a star of the wine world today. When I say the word Freixenet you may recognize it. The Ferrer Family makes beautiful cava and wines all over the world. The frosty black bottle of cava is very nice stuff and it’s in the $10-$15 range. There’s a lot more to it than that. The Ferrer ownership dates back to the 16th century. They have maintained the status of a family-owned winery since then. Now they own wine estates on 4 continents. Today we welcome Pedro Ferrer, the CEO of the company. Welcome.
Can you tell us about some of the wine estates?

PF: Thank you. In Spain we own Freixenet, it’s located close to Barcelona.

FT: It’s a beautiful place. They have a fabulous tour that’s open to the public.

PF: It’s close to the train station so anybody can go. In the cava region we have Segura Viudas.

FT: It’s a beautiful bottle and we have a pour of it in these fabulous Riedel glasses. Linda wants us to demonstrate the proper way to toast. You clink along the side of the glass, not at the top.

JC: T hey have a nice resonance.

FT: You see the bubbles rising straight up from it.

LG: It looks expensive and fancy.

FT: Yes, but it would be only around $20 in the store.

LG: It comes in a beautiful box.

PF: In the rest of the world we have Sonoma in California, which is one of my favorite wineries. One reason is because it’s named after my mother who shares a name with my daughter. We also make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s very easy to get there from San Francisco. We also have wineries in Argentina, Bordeaux, and Australia.

LG: Do you travel yourself to all these places. That’s a full time job on the plane!

PF: Yes, it’s a full time job on the plane. And also my father is 82 and still extremely active. He travels around to all of the wineries. I was just with him in Argentina last week.

FT: Do you have any idea how many cases of wine you’re responsible for making each year?

PF: Yes I have an idea. [laughing] I know we make 18 million cases of all brands. You need to multiple that times 12, because in each case there are 12 bottles.

FT: I can’t do it in my head but if people are interested I’ll blog about this in the morning.

LG: Ellie, do you mention wine in your program?

EK: Yes! I love to drink cava with Asian food. People shouldn’t save it for special occasions. It should be regular everyday bubbly.

FT: That’s a good point. With Cava you can drink it more regularly. A great combination is Cava and fried chicken.

EK: I have this fantastic oven-baked fried chicken recipe. You really have to give it a try.

FT: Pedro, on what occasion would you open a bottle of Freixenet?

PF: For us one tradition we have where I live is every Sunday we get together with my entire family and we have a bottle of Cava there.

LG: What do you eat with it?

PF: Tapas, paella…traditional foods of the region.

LG: Art’s book is called, Back To The Table, The Reunion Of Food And Family. In Europe you get together with the family at least once a week.

PF: Yes.

AS: Yes, it is great.

LG: Ellie I know you have to leave us. Thanks for joining us.

EK: It has been my pleasure.

LG: Her book is, The Food You Crave. In addition to the “Fun and Fit As A Family,” you’re going to do a cooking demonstration at the grand tent. Also with us is Art Smith and Pedro Ferrer. We’ll be back with more.


LG: And we’re back. We’re talking with stars from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Here with us is Art Smith who was Oprah’s Special Events Chef and her personal Chef for 10 years. What was that like?

AS: That was an amazing adventure and I so loved the time with her. A lot of people know I’m a native Floridian and the son of a cattle rancher. I wanted to be a Chef. It’s interesting how life takes us to these different places. Of course I also worked with Senator Graham and still have a close tie with his family.

LG: I have a special hello for you from his wife. She says you brought up her daughters.

AS: They are lovely little girls.

LG: They’re not so little anymore

AS: No, and now they have wonderful children. They daily demonstrate what being a family is about. They make a point to sit down as a family and eat together. And I love the fact that I could cook local Florida foods. I’m a southern man and I didn’t come from France or some other place. I always wanted to cook what I know, and I know biscuits.

LG: Adele also told me that, when asked what she wanted to do this year for her birthday, she opted for a dinner with her family at your new restaurant Table 52 in Chicago.

AS: We’re going to make it the best! We’re going to have Adele festival. When I found this out I said, “we’re going to make it something special.” So yes, I’ve opened a tiny restaurant, we’re only 32 seats. We average around 200 people for dinner. We specialize in contemporary American food, but with wonderful Southern undertones. We have these delicious chops that my butcher Allen Brothers does for me. We do fried chicken on Sunday and you cannot imagine the line!

LG: We’ve been talking about these biscuits. Let’s remind everyone that you’re going to be at the Burger Bash tonight. Tell us about your burger.

AS: I love burgers. I grew up with my mother making them from me. My grandmother is from North Miami. It starts with our biscuits, which we bake in little cast-iron skillets. We have this wonderful ground filet and my butcher makes this special meat for us.

LG: How do you get them so smoky?

AS: It’s love.

LG: What’s your secret?!

AS: The Executive Chef at the Ritz-Carlton at South Beach is the best. He has a grill and it’s charcoal. So anyway we add arugula and heirloom tomatoes. We make a chutney with tomatoes and it has some wonderful smoked paprika in it. There’s a funny story behind this. I made this burger on the Oprah show. When you make a chutney you have to cook it slowly. And it scorched when I was making it during an all-night cooking session. And I served it and people loved the smoked chutney. So what do I have to do?! Burn it again to get the smoky flavor?! [laughing]

LG: What’s it like being Oprah’s chef?

AS: She’s an amazing woman. Oprah is probably one of the most inspiring women and I love her to death.

LG: So she’s easy to work with?

AS: She loves high quality food because and she does know it. And she loves wonderful wine. She also loves Spain. She’s a remarkable lady and we’ve had some incredible guests. One time I had the opportunity to cook for Nelson Mandela. I was star struck when I met him. When I went over to meet him I said to Oprah, “he’s just amazing.” And she said “honey, I didn’t know if you were going to curtsey or bow.” [laughing] I cooked for President George Bush Senior and his wife.
LG: What did you make?

AS: I made fried chicken and this wonderful pomegranate sauce. I wanted the food to be served family style because I wanted people to share their food.

LG: That’s the name of your book. You want people to come together.

AS: Yes, sometimes plated food is unfriendly. And getting back to the Burger Bash, I love Rachael Ray and everything she’s doing with Yummo and Fun and Fit.

LG: Let’s tell people if they just tuned in that there’s “Fun and Fit As A Family” this weekend. It’s children and families cooking together. It’s learning how to make great, healthy food.

AS: It’s important that we embrace the whole family. With this we can bring the children in and show them. If you want to inspire your children, take your children to a restaurant of a different culture and let them experience it. Miami is a great place to do that.

LG: He’s so happy to be here.

AS: Miami is so beautiful. They didn’t have to ask me twice to come. [laughing]

LG: If you want to learn more google South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Just before we go to the break, tell us about Common Threads.

AS: Four and a half years ago my partner and I felt there was a need to teach children about the world through food. We founded Common Threads. We started with 20 kids in a church basement. I taught a little girl how to eat broccoli. And now we teach 1,000 children.

LG: These are underprivileged children?

AS: Yes, and now we have 3 in LA and 1 in Mississippi. All of these great Chefs have agreed to help us and they’re donating their time.

LG: I’m Linda Gassenheimer and we’re talking with Art Smith and Pedro Ferrer. We’ll taking a short break and will be back with more.


LG: We’re talking with stars from South Beach Wine and Food Festival. 

JC: What doesn’t Oprah like?

AS: I didn’t serve a dish she didn’t like. Probably what she doesn’t like is bad quality.
LG: Also with us is Pedro Ferrer. Well, it’s Dinner in Minutes time. Today’s dinner is a special burger and it’s in honor of the burger bash. It’s a southwestern burger with a quick slaw. See the recipe on my website. Fred, what can we drink with my southwestern chicken burger?

FT: This burger is nice. It’s a great chicken burger. Luckily we have the perfect wine to go with that and Chef Art’s burger, and that is something that Pedro Ferrer has brought. It’s the Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir from their winery in California.

PF: That wine is in my heart because I had two children born there.

LG: For people who just tuned in, Art made us burgers that he’s making tonight which are on his dropped cheddar biscuit bun with smoky tomato chutney and sirloin.

FT: It’s a perfect combination with this wine. Did Gloria start out as sparking wine?

PF: Yes, at the beginning it was. In ’92 we started making still wines. But they’re made out of the same grape verities as the sparkling wine.

FT: Yes, so it’s a lot more like a French Burgundy. This is a $25 wine. So Predro you’re here for an award. Your parents are receiving the Southern Wine and Spirits Lifetime Achievement Award. I know your parents created the winery in California. What else have they done?

PF: My father has multiplied the business by more than 100.

FT: How many years was he running it actively?

PF: He’s still very active. He goes every day to the winery. And he started when he was 12 years old.

FT: You know family-run wineries don’t always stay.

PF: We have been family-run for centuries, and so far so good.

LG: Well let’s toast you. And I understand they’re getting a beautiful Riedel decanter.

FT: Yes, we’re drinking the red wine out of a Riedel Pinot Noir glass. It’s huge and at the top it’s curved out like a tulip. That spills the wine in a way that minimizes the acid.

LG: Unfortunately we’re out of time. Art Smith, thank you so much for joining us. His latest book is Back To The Table, The Reunion Of Food And Family. He’ll be bat the festival this week. Pedro Ferrer, thanks so much for joining us, and many congratulations to your family. Join us next time.

Restaurant Happenings February 20, 2008

Country Club Ballroom at Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, tickets: $300.

On Thursday, February 21, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM, seven top female chefs — Andrea Curto-Randazzo (Talula, Miami Beach, FL); Cindy Hutson (Ortanique on the Mile, Coral Gables, FL); Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake, San Francisco, CA); Maria Frumkin (The French Bakery Café, Miami, FL); Suzanne Goin (Luques, Los Angeles, CA); Susan Spicer (Bayona Restaurant, New Orleans, LA); Traci des Jardins (Jardiniere, San Francisco, CA) – will prepare a spectacular dinner to kick off SoBe Wine & Food Festival. All the courses will be paired with wines by female winemakers — Alexandra Lapostolle (Casa Lapostolle); Florence Cathiard (Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafite); Francesca Planeta (Planeta); Mary Colhoun (Landmark Vineyards); Veronique Drouhin (Domaine Drouhin) — and will be followed by cigars offered by Cigar Aficionado and by Grand Marnier on the Biltmore terrace.

South Beach Wine and Food Festival Auction

The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival Auction is full of treats and surprises. This is your chance to bid on rare wine lots, exotic vacation getaways, luxury goods and gourmet goodies.   Many items are closing on Wednesday, February 20th.  These items will continue the bidding at the Festival in the silent or live auctions.  Place your maximum (absentee) bid if you cannot attend- you can still be an auction winner!

Tickets to the Festival are still available at:

Johnson & Wales,

On March 28th Johnson & Wales University will host Five Fabulous Chefs Dinner to benefit Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline program. SOS Operation Frontline is a nutrition education program that fights childhood hunger by teaching families how to make healthy and budget-wise food choices. The featured chefs are Michelle Bernstein from Michy’s (Miami), Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill (Los Angeles), Andrea Cutro from Talula (South Beach), Patricia Willson from Johnson & Wales (Miami), and Malka Espinel of Johnny V’s (Fort Lauderdale). $250 per guest.

Dogma Grill Catering, contact (305) 725-2366

Dogma Grill owners Jeffrey Akin and Lisa Schejola Akin have launched a new catering division which will prepare anything from the Dogma Grill menu: from hot dogs to salads and desserts for birthdays, parties and business lunches. Packages including two hot dogs, side dish and a beverage start as low as $12 a person.

Food News and Views February 14, 2008 – Dylan Lauren Sweet Treats

Food and Dining Radio Show – 12.14.08


Linda Gassenheimer (LG)

Joseph Cooper (JC)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Dylan Lauren (DL)


LG: Let me ask you a question, what’s on your wish list for Valentine’s Day? Romantic Dinner? Maybe some bling?


JC: Bling? You’re getting hip hop on us!


LG: Yes [laughing]. Or how about everybody’s favorite – chocolate?! Our guest is an expert in this field. Dylan Lauren is the CEO of Dylan’s

Candy Bar and she’s got two stores in Orlando and one in

New York
and she’s the daughter of Ralph Lauren. Welcome Dylan, and thank you sending us all of these sweets.


DL: Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day!


LG: Also here is Fred Tasker in his usual seat. You can read his wine suggestions on my website What are we drinking today? Is it sparkling?


FT: Not altogether. I have to figure out what goes with candy.


DL: Anything goes with candy…wine, milk, water. Candy alone is good too.


FT: Well I have some news to share. On Sunday I’m starting a Web Blog about wine in the Miami Herald. It’s called “Wine Beneath the Palms” because it’s a Miami Wine Blog. You can find it at Also starting Sunday we’re going to pod-cast this radio program. You’ll be able to download us into your MP3 player and listen to us all day. That starts Sunday and you can also find it at And by next week you can also access it from Linda’s website.


LG: We’d love to hear from our listeners. What sweets do you like on Valentine’s Day? Or maybe you have a question for our guest. Dylan Lauren.

Candy Bar is a great name for a store. When I was reading about it I felt like it is pop art meets Disney World.


DL: It’s a fun, interactive candy store. It’s basically anywhere between 5,000-50,000 square feet depending on the store. We have a store near you in Orlando, one in New York and in

Houston. Each store is filled with candy.


LG: When you’re reading about it, it sounds like the designer made it into a candy wonderland.


DL: It’s like Willy Wanka and

Disney Land combined.  It’s very whimsical and a fun shopping experience.


LG: You come from an entrepreneurial family. What made you leave fashion and turn toward sweets?


DL: Well I see candy as a combination between fashion, art and pop culture. It’s sort of a compilation where fashion is very involved in that there’s candy fashions like pajamas, t-shirts and trendy apparel. It’s a very hip store with fashionable customers. It’s a combination.


LG: I wasn’t surprised to learn that you had fashion in the store, but a $500 candy-inspired pocket book?!


DL: Yes, we have bags from great designers who make these candy beaded bags. They range from $25 to $200. The store has something for everyone in different price points.


JC: Does business really pick up before Valentine’s Day?


DL: Yes, Valentines Day is very popular for us…anything with chocolate and anything with the heart motif is very popular this time of year. So it starts now and then there’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up.


JC: Do you have anything kinky for Valentine’s Day?


LG: Joe!


DL: There’s chocolate body paint, gummy bras and candy necklaces.


FT: That could be a sticky situation. [laughing]


DL: There are a lot of fun things and then we also have the classic basics like dark chocolate bars and gift baskets.


LG: You sent us a wonderful basket of sweets. There’s a big red heart that says “Be Mine.”


JC: Why not the chocolate body paint?


FT: Behave!


DL: Well…we also do packaging that’s special and reusable afterward.


LG: You also sent us some 90% cocoa chocolate.


DL: That’s very popular right now. People feel there’s less fat and it’s good for the heart. It’s also rainforest certified. It’s very bitter if you like that. But we also have tons of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and peanut butter and jelly flavored chocolates.


LG: There’s also milk chocolate and dark chocolate covered gram crackers.


DL: That’s a traditional favorite around this time. Those are addictive – be careful!


LG: You have a “Party-On-The-Go” package. How does that work?


DL: In the stores we do birthday parties for people of any age. We do a chocolate water fountain; we have cotton candy machines and lollipop trees… So we take those things to any party across the nation and we set up a Dylan’s

Candy Bar on site.


LG: Do you send this in a package?


DL: We staff it; it’s an interactive party. So we’d come with our staff of Candy Girls with trays, chocolates we pass around, set up the décor…we work with you to make sure it’s fun and festive.


LG: One of my favorites in our gift box was a basket with Twizzlers and Snow Caps.


DL: That’s one of our best selling baskets. It’s great for Oscar weekend. It’s a giant popcorn themed box and it has all the movie concession candies. We have tons of gift baskets for Valentine’s Day, like our Lover’s Basket. There are a bunch of themed heart-shaped things. They’re all on our website.


LG: We’re talking about sweet treats for Valentine’s Day with Dylan Lauren. We’ll take a break and be back.




JC: I’m dedicating that song to Linda Gassenheimer.


LG: How wonderful. Thank you so much Joseph Cooper. We’ve been talking with Dylan Lauren who is the CEO of Dylan’s

Candy Bar and the daughter of Ralph Lauren. She’s going to be here next weekend for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. She’s going to be at the Amstel Light Burger Bash, which is hosted by Rachael Ray. What are you serving?


DL: We’re doing s’mores in five different flavors like vanilla and mint patties. They’re all twists with candy and the s’more.


LG: I’m drooling! You’re also going to be at the Kids’ Kitchen on Sunday.


DL: That’s an interactive seminar where the kids actually participate. They will be making s’mores with lots of different ingredients. They have these jelly candies which will be in the candy bar bag that they’ll all get. We’re also having a bubble gum blowing contest.


LG: Can we big kids come?


DL: Yes. And there may be a licorice limbo…


LG: That sounds fun. Alright well let’s leave the sweets for a moment for dinner in minutes. Today is a special Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s Walnut-Crusted Steak with Fennel and Beans Salad. You can see the recipe on my website Fred, what are we drinking?


FT: Well when you’re talking about chocolate there are many possibilities. For the 90% chocolate a lot of people would drink a dry red wine like a Malbec. Malbec can have some of the same chocolaty flavors in it. If you have a sweeter chocolate like milk chocolate, a perfect match would be red port. You can use an expensive one, but I think a cheap ruby port would work well. If it’s a chocolate dessert there’s a delightful Italian sweet red sparkling wine called Brachetto d’aqui. It’s only $15 and it’s got a raspberry flavor to it. Don’t forget about the wine blog and pod-cast that start Sunday at


LG: This Sunday you’re going to be at the Coconut Grove Arts festival, right?


FT: Yes, I’m following your act.


LG:  I’m going to be at the Culinary Tent at 1:30pm on Saturday and 12:30pm on Sunday. Let’s go back to Dylan and talking about her Candy Store. Dylan, tell me some of your other favorite things at the store.


DL: We just launched candy apparel and pajamas. The pajamas are soft for kids and we also have adult sizes. We have candy rain boots coming up for April showers. They’re very fun. We have a line of kaleidoscope collection, which are our chocolate cordials, malt balls or coffee beans. We have a vacation mix which has cosmo flavored cordials…we also have margarita and daiquiri flavors.


LG: So a lot of it is retro?


DL: Yes, we have the largest collection of hardest to find candies. In the

New York store we’ve expanded our space and we’re going to open up a Candy Martini Bar for adults.


LG: Wow. Well we’re all out of time. Thank you so much for joining us.


DL: Thank you. Happy Valentine’s Day!


LG: Dylan is going to be here at the South Beach Food and Wine festival February 21-24. Join us next week on our extended one hour program for the South Beach Food and Wine Festival including Oprah Winfrey’s Chef Art Smith.

Restaurant Happenings – February 13, 2008


NORTH ONE 10 NEWS – farmers market and new menus
North One 10, 11052 Biscayne Blvd, 305-893-4211,

North One 10 is proud to be part of the Upper East Side Green Market , founded by Claire Tomlin of the Market Company.  The Upper East Side Green Market is every Saturday from 9:00 am till 3:00, Located on 66th and Biscayne Blvd. Look for the North One 10 table this Saturday, February 16th. North One 10, this week, will be offering Espresso, Dewey Hot Sauce, Indonesian Chicken Salad, and “Virgin Deweys.” In addition, Chef Dewey will be foraging in the Redlands and returning with some veggies and seasonal fruit for the North One 10 Table this Saturday.

Grass Restaurant and Lounge, 28 NE 40th Street, 305-573-3355 

Starting February 08 Grass Restaurant and Lounge will be open for lunch. Try this Zagat Rated “28” restaurant, also rated number one for décor, from noon ‘til 3pm.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 2525 Ponce de Leon, (305) 569-7995

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar debuts actor Paul Newman‘s new wines on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:30 p.m.  The Premiere Wine Dinner showcases the winemaking talents of both Francis Ford Coppola and the new release of Newman’s Own ® Wines. The two selections making their debut at Fleming’s Premiere Wine Dinner are the California Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon — the perfect pairings for a sumptuous menu created by chef/operating partner Christopher Wakeman. It will be an evening of delicious food, spectacular wine and memorable times.  $95.00 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. 

Grimpa Steakhouse, 901 Brickell Plaza, 305-455-4757

Grimpa invites you to spend your happy hour with them. All drinks are half-price from 5pm to 7pm on weeknights.

Stir Crazy Restaurant, The Shopes of Pembroke Gardens, 14571 SW 5th St.,

Everyone is invited to stop by to sample some of what makes people nationwide crazy about Stir Crazy.  The morning will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony in which Stir Crazy employees and executives will slice open the ribbon with a cleaver before leading guests inside for a ceremonial “first firing of the woks.” The fun continues into dinner when from 6 – 8 p.m. guests will enjoy performances by Taiko Drummers and Dragon Dancers in celebration of the opening day. 

Blu Pizza e Cucina at Mary Brickell Village, 305-381-8335
The new indoor/outdoor Blu Pizza e Cucina at Mary Brickell Village, a restaurant with a full bar, a brick oven and a 12-seat pizza bar, “just like in Italy” is Blu Restaurants Group’s third restaurant. The cuisine is “a fusion of Trattoria Sole and Blu la Pizzeria del Sole – respectively at 5894 Sunset Dr. and 7201 S.W. 59 Ave. in South Miami.”

Il Gabbiano, 335 South Biscayne Blvd, 305-373-0063.

Il Gabbiano waterfront restaurant has opened with an extensive menu featuring specialties like Carciofini alla Romana $14.25; Burrata $16.00 and Vongole Origanate $14.75. There’s plenty to choose from antipasti, sides (like piselli alla Romana),salads and soups to pasta, vegetables, risotti and gnocchi. Meat and poultry, fish and seafood all hail from Italy’s rich regional cuisines.

Karu &Y Ultralounge and Tottem, 71 NW 14th Street, 305-403-7850.
Karu &Y in downtown Miami, owned by partners Cesar Sotomayor of Arrso Restaurant Company and Elliot Monter, has closed the upscale alta cocina restaurant which was the domain of chef Alberto Cabrera. According to the office manager, Y Ultralounge, Tottem and Tottem Gardens, a Zen parkland intended to host from 800 to 1000 people at concerts, fashion shows, special events and film/television productions remain open.

Food News and Views February 7, 2008 Lowering Cholesterol with Plant Sterols

Food and Dining Radio Show – 2.07.08

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Rebecca Reeves (RR)

LG: Well February is American Heart Month. Do you want to lower your cholesterol? Thousands of Americans take drugs to help lower their cholesterol. Can we eliminate it with our diet? Joining us today is Rebecca Reeves, the Past President of the American Diabetic Association. She says plant sterols can help. What are they? We’re going to find out. Welcome Doctor Reeves.

RR: Thank you.

LG: And Fred Tasker is here today in his usual seat. What are we drinking today?

FT: I’m going to talk about the other substance the helps your heart. It’s called wine.

LG: Great. Well Doctor Reeves is joining us from her office. Let’s start with the basics. What is a sterol?

RR: Sterols are natural substances derived from plants. They are a natural component of the plant. What we know is that these plant sterols can reduce cholesterol in your blood and eventually reduce the “bad cholesterol.”

LG: How does this happen?

RR: The chemical structure of it resembles cholesterol chemical structure. The body doesn’t know what it is when it’s absorbing it so what it does is interfere with absorption of cholesterol in the body. It’s a mal-absorption of real cholesterol in the gut.

JC: The gut [laughing]?

RR: Yes, [laughing] the intestine.

LG: How do we get them?

RR: The actual amount of them in food is very low. We maybe eat 300 milligrams of plant sterols a day. They are mainly found in fruits, vegetables and oils. You’d have to eat an exorbitant amount of these foods. But they have perfected technology of extracting these sterols from the plant. And then they figured out how to make it available for food manufactures to incorporate it into food. And that’s the latest technology that is available now.

LG: How much do you need a day?

RR: There are various amounts in various products available. The range is about 800 milligrams to 2 to 3000 milligrams. You’re going to get the best effect if you’re at 2500 milligrams. The FDA has approved a health claim for plant sterols that starts with 800 milligrams. So you may see reduction in cholesterol if it’s incorporated into a diet with low fat.

LG: What will it say on the package?

RR: There will be an emblem that says “corowise” in a heart.

LG: If another product out there has it sometimes they don’t say. It just says it lowers your cholesterol.

RR: “Benecal” and “Take Control” are margarines with those benefits. There are other products like Minute-Made orange juice that says “heart wise.” The Nature Valley oatmeal raisin bars and Lifetimes cheese both have plant sterol. There’s also an oral grain bread that has plant sterols. Each product has a different amount. You want about 2000 milligrams a day.

JC: Does it come in a tablet form?

RR: Yes there are tablets. The one that’s most beneficial is Cetrum Cardia. It’s very new on the market.

LG: What if you’re going to eat the sterol, you’re taking a drug and you’re going to take a supplement? Can you have too much?

RR: No, it will eventually become excreted. It’s one of the safest according to all of the studies. There are no adverse side effects. And they have done studies taking it in addition to statins.

LG: We have a call. You’re on the air.

Caller: I know you’re talking about sterols, but if you’re trying to watch cholesterol, should you look at carbohydrates or fat?

RR: Fat; Saturated fats and trans-fats. You want to reduce those amounts.

LG: You really need a balanced diet with the right amount of the right fats. You should not give up one ingredient over the other.

RR: I totally agree with you. It’s substituting in olive oils and poly-saturated fats with saturated fats.

JC: What about having oatmeal every morning. I hear that’s supposed to help lower your cholesterol.

RR: It’s good. There’s scientific data behind oatmeal.

FT: I see a product called Activia. Does that help?

RR: No, it’s not in Activia. But there is a product called Promise and it’s a super shot. So if you look near where you’d find Activia you’ll see little containers and you chug the whole thing. You get the whole plant sterol. It’s a kind of a liquid yogurt in which they have placed plant sterols.

JC: Is it fattening?

RR: No, it’s not like eating margarine. You do need to be cautious about the amount of margarine you use.

LG: It’s time for a short break – we’ll be back with more.


LG: We’re talking with Rebecca Reeves who is the Assistant Professor of Medicine at Baylor College. We’re talking about how plant sterols can lower our cholesterol.

Before we go back to the Doctor, it’s dinner in minutes time. It’s the Chinese New Year so we’re having Kung Pow Chicken for lunch. Peanuts and noodles are served at the New Year because they symbolize long life. This dish has both in it. See the recipe on my website. You can use any kind of peanuts. Fred, what are we drinking?

FT: I thought I’d talk about nice new wines I came across. Are there any plant sterols in wine?

RR: No, but wine has flavanoids which have cholesterol reducing qualities.

FT: Miami Herald Wine Columnist Fred Tasker’s Wine Suggestions:

I don’t know if wine has any plant sterols or not, so I think I will just talk about a couple of really nice new wines I’ve come across lately.
Wine fans may be familiar with the nice quality Napa Valley wines of the Hess Collection – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and such. It’s called the Hess Collection because the winery is owned by Donald Hess, an important art collector, and he has his art gallery in his winery.

It’s great to visit. You’re touring this gallery of really ultra-modern art –  the kind where you can’t figure out what it is – and you look through this big window down on to his wine fermentation room.

But the wines I’m talking about art new ones for Hess. He’s just set up a winery called Colomé — at the highest altitude in the world – almost 10,000 feet. It’s in Salta Province in far northwestern Argentina. It’s so high that he says they get more ultraviolet radiation, which produces thicker skins, which give more color and flavor to his wines.

He makes two fabulous wines: A malbec, with a beautiful deep violet color and really concentrated flavors of mulberries and bitter chocolate. It’s $25.

And he makes a torrontes, a crisp, almost spritzy white wine that’s a little like gewürztraminer, with flavors of lychee and white grapefruit. A wonderful aperitif. And it’s only $13.

You probably won’t find these in supermarkets – you’ll have to check your local wine shop. But these wines are worth it.They’re called Colomé.
LG: We have a phone call for the Doctor.

Caller: You’re talking about the plant sterols but are you talking about eliminating medication or using them in conjunction with it?

RR: In conjunction with. Never eliminate medication without speaking with your doctor first.

LG: But you think people could possibly get off meds?

RR: First I’m saying you speak to your physician. Then based on how well you’re doing, sure there’s a chance you could come off meds.

FT: They also talk about point ranges. How does that work with sterols?

RR: Yes, somewhere between 10-14%. So you can see significant reduction.

LG: Yes, that is a worry. People might say “oh, I can eat any pastry I want because I had my sterols today.”

RR: No, you still need to reduce saturated fat. This is not a panacea; it’s a wonderful adjunct.

LG: Does it reduce good cholesterol?

RR: No, it does not affect protection HD cholesterol at all.

LG: Does cooking alter the sterols?

RR: No, heat does not alter them.

FT: It’s win win!

LG: And if you exercise and eat properly…

FT: I know, moderation. [laughing] I hate moderation.

LG: [laughing] But should everybody be eating them? Even if you have normal cholesterol?

RR: There’s no harm for anyone. There is a greater risk in our country for heart disease. So definitely keep track of your cholesterol levels. For prevention I don’t think there’d be any harm.

LG: Thank you Doctor for taking time out from your busy schedule. It has been a pleasure.

Restaurant Happenings February 6, 2008


The Forge Restaurant, 432 Forty-First Street in Miami Beach, 305.538.8533

On Wednesday, February 20, legendary Miami steakhouse, The Forge, along with Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Cruise Lines will welcome some of the country’s finest chefs for the opening celebration of this year’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The official Prelude Dinner is one of the official gastronomical events that will launch this year’s festival.  Now in its seventh year, the festival gathers an extraordinary number of award-winning chefs, food connoisseurs and those just looking to satisfy their eager palates.  This highly anticipated event is no exception. The all-star host committee includes some of The Forge’s very own names such as Proprietor Shareef Malnik, Executive Chef Andrew Swersky and master sommelier at The Forge for the past 30 years Gino Santangelo. For tickets to “The Prelude Dinner,” ($200), please call The Forge. 

Level 25 at the Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Avenue, 305-503-6529.

Sunday brunch, arguably the most decadent of dining experiences, is ascending to a new level at the Conrad Miami.  Dine from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the culinary delights of executive chef Michael Gilligan with unlimited mimosas or Bloody Marys. The Level 25 brunch is priced at $65 for adults and $35 for children under 12, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 

Talula, 210 23rd St, (305) 672-0778,

Talula Restaurant is offering an exquisite and affordable three-course prix-fixe theatre menu for guests attending Spiegel World or just looking for a great meal. The special menu is valid Tuesday-Sunday, and allows patrons to enjoy Chefs Frank Randazzo and Andrea Curto-Randazzo’s eclectic American cuisine before or after they attend the theatre. The prix-fixe menu is available at a pre-theatre seating at 6:00 p.m., with the post- theatre dinner beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Andú Restaurant & Lounge, 141 SW 7th street in Brickell, (786) 871-7005.

A Brickell haven for sexy cuisine, style and sophistication opens Monday, February 11 2008. Owned by entrepreneurial brothers Antonio Viejo and Juan Pablo Viejo, Andú features an eclectic menu of Mediterranean cuisine with international influences, created by consulting chef Jason McClain (previously at 8½ at the Clinton Hotel) and rising star executive chef Nate Martin.  Lighter fare including dips, salads, sandwiches and appetizers ($6-$14.50),  and main plates ($18-$29) include simply prepared steak house-like options such as peppered beef tenderloin in a port wine sauce.

Food News and Views 1/31/08 – Travels Through Italy

Food and Dining Radio Show – 1.31.08 

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Joseph Cooper (JC)

Faith Willinger (FW)

LG:  How about traveling to

Italy today? Faith Willinger is the author of The Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. She has some fascinating stops for us. Welcome.

FW: Thank you. It’s great to be here. The weather is better here than in

Italy right now.

LG: What are we drinking today Fred?

FT: I’m going to talk with Faith about Brunello di Montalcino. It would be a good wine to serve at a Super Bowl party, but not with chips!

LG: We’ve been friends for a long time. It’s nice to see you here Faith.

FW: It’s great to be here. I love

Miami. My dad used to live here.

LG: You’re book is beautiful. There are watercolor paintings in it.

FW: Yes, my sister did the water color paintings in my book. She’s a fabulous artist and she made water colors of the countryside and all of the friends I have.

LG: You’re living the dream many Americans have — living in Florence and touring around Italy, and your tour of

Italy is my kind of trip. You talk about the best places to buy food and out of the way places to tour.

FW: This book isn’t only about restaurants, it’s about my friends. Some of them own restaurants but some are cab drivers. You can get a recipe from anybody. For example I have a beautiful and simple recipe for anchovies from a woman in Positano. She preserved anchovies that were unsalted, soaked in water, dried and then put into olive oil. She put them on bread with butter and it was a delicious appetizer she made for me in 2 seconds.

LG: All of the ingredients have to be high quality.

FW: Yes, this doesn’t work with wonder bread and anchovy paste! It has to be good ingredients.

FT: Your friends do own wineries as well?

FW: A lot of my friends do have wineries and everybody has given me a recipe.

LG: Take us further south. That’s a region not as frequently discussed and visited.

FW: There’s a village in

Puglia where one of my friends has an oven where bread is baked, and the oven is from 1526. It’s a straw burning oven, makes one kind of bread that’s 10 lbs and lasts for over 2 weeks. If you visit Angelo you can see where the bread is made and then have lunch next door.

LG: So it’s open to the public?

FW: It’s open to the public and inexpensive.

LG: Where is this again?


Puglia is the northern part of the heel of the boot. Also there is my friend Pepe who has an

Inn, restaurant and a cooking school. I was so surprised because we stayed in a two bedroom suite and the living room of the suite had a Le Corbusier leather grand sofa. I didn’t expect that for $60 per person.

LG: All of these recommendations are in your book, right?

FW: Yes, with addresses and websites. You can get to all of these places if you go to

Italy, but if you can’t go then you can make the recipes at home.

LG: What do you stock in your cabinet? What is the number one thing to have?

FW: The number one thing is extra virgin olive oil.

LG: And you’ve brought a tiny bottle for us.

FW: Yes, I like to travel with carry on luggage only! This is actually available here. It’s called Castello di Ama.  They’re also a fabulous producer of Chianti Classico. Put this oil on some bread, rub the bread with garlic, and it’s delicious.

LG: I have something else here. It’s so fragrant.

FW: It’s salt from my favorite butcher in the world. It’s called Perfume di Chianti (Perfume of Chianti) because all the herbs from the countryside are in the sea salt from

Sicily. It has rosemary, lavender, sage…

LG: How would you use it?

FW: Sprinkle it on meat or fish after you’ve cooked it. Dario thinks it’s fabulous on steak.

LG: The other product from

Italy we hear a lot about it balsamic vinegar. How do we know what to buy?

FW: There are two consortiums. The one I believe in is the consortium from

Modena. This is a product that takes many years to make. Any bottle that says a certain number of years on the bottle is meaningless. The law doesn’t insist on those numbers and they really don’t mean anything. A bottle of true balsamico is a combination of years. If you’re thinking of buying a middle range balsamic then just buy something inexpensive in the supermarket. It’s only worth spending money on the real stuff because you’re only using it by the drop. Balsamic Tradizionale (extra bold) is the good stuff.

LG: Where can you buy it?

FW: You can buy it in specialty stores and certainly online. I would go to Zingerman’s …you can find it many places. It’s called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from


LG: And you only put a few drops? Like on parmesan?

FW: Yes, or grilled tuna, strawberries, onions…it’s great with so many things.

LG: Or drops in water. I saw that there.

FW: Well you know really wealthy people would drink half a teaspoon as a digestive. It was a sign of wealth.

LG: Tell us more about traveling in

Italy today. Where can we go with the dollar being so weak?

FW: One of the great things to do is go to an Agriturismo. It’s a working farm where you can stay and frequently you can eat there. There’s one outside of Caserta in the region on Campagna between Rome and

Naples. It’s called Terre di Conca. They raise black pigs, grow specialty apples, and you can stay there and eat there. You can have a meal for $25 dollars with many courses and wine. They cook it at a stove right in front of you.

FT: Do I have to help out at the farm?

FW: No! The amazing thing is that the pigs eat a lot of the apples and when I was there he gave me some cured pancetta that he made and when I cut it open it smelled like apples.

LG: Well we’re talking with Faith Willinger about her book, The Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. We’re going to take a short break now.


LG: We’ve been taking a culinary trip through

Italy. Faith Willinger has been giving us tips on creating authentic Italian food at home. Now it’s dinner in minutes time. We’re going back to

America because what’s more American than Super Bowl Sunday? We’re doing Southwestern Chili here. This is one of my favorites because it only takes 20 minutes. You can make it today and then freeze it for Sunday. Find the recipe on my website.

JC: I like the

Tabasco in it. I would let people put it in themselves though to control the heat.

LG: Yes, and at the end I add lime juice which really brings out the flavor. Serve it with whatever you like.

JC: Use paper bowls.

LG: (Laughing) Yes. You can see a photo of the recipe on my website. Fred, what are we drinking?

FT: Today I’m happy to say we’re drinking Brunello di Montalcino. It has great tannins and good acids so it goes well with bold foods like wild game and steak. First I want to put it in perspective. When we think about

Tuscany we think about Chianti. They’re both made with Sangiovese grapes.  But nothing is added to Brunello, unlike Chianti. It is made of Sangiovese Grosso, which I like to call Chianti on steroids. It doesn’t need any grapes added to it. Normally it’s 100%, but Faith says sometimes they add something else.

FW: Yes, some people feel they want a more internationally styled wine. Brunello is such a fabulous wine. The younger brother, Rosso di Montalcino, is sold young and it’s a lot more economical.

LG: We haven’t had it yet because Fred hasn’t shared.

FT: Let’s taste it. This is the Brunello di Montalcino. [tasting] I get mulberries, cherries and really nice ripe tannin, good acid…it’s a powerful wine.

FW: This is a wine that goes nicely with food. Anything you’re buying from 2003 up until now will be a fabulous year. It’s a good wine to buy and a good wine to put in your cellar.

LG: How long would you keep it?

FW: 10 or 15 years. This is a four star vintage. Next year is going to be a 5 star vintage.

FT: Now I’m going to open Rosso di Montalcino.

FW: The color on this is different. It’s a younger, lustier wine that is more affordable. I find in restaurants that it’s the best buy for reds.

FT: This is a $15-$25 wine. This is one you might be able to afford even with the mark-up in restaurants in


LG: This is quite drinkable; it’s quite nice.

FW: It’s delicious; it’s not too big and it would go great with the chili you serve during the Super Bowl.

LG: Yes, and you don’t have to have it with a big meal.

FW: Right, you could hold onto it but why would you? Just buy a case of it and drink it right now. Good wine and bad wine have the same number of calories – why waste them!?


Miami Herald Wine Columist Fred Tasker’s Wine Suggestions:

Today I’m happy to say we’re tasting the fabled italian, tuscan wine called Brunello di Montalcino.  This is one of the truly great wines of italy – big and bold, with ripe tannins and powerful acids that mean it goes very well with robust foods – from those rosemary-scented grilled tuscan steaks to wild game to rich Christmas goose.
 We have to put it in perspective. When we Americans think of Tuscany and wine, we think of Chianti. Chianti is made around Siena, to the north of Montalcino. Both cities are southwest of Florence, in the beautiful Tuscan hills.
 Chianti uses the well-known grape called sangiovese. But sangiovese can need some help sometimes – so in 1852 the Barton Ricasoli decreed that Chianti should be made of sangiovese plus malvasia near, canailo, colorino and mammolo grapes, mostly for added color and structure. Modern Chiantis are sometimes made only of sangiovese, because they’re growing better sangiovese these days.
 Brunello di Montalcino is also made of sangiovese – but of a bigger, more powerful close of it called brunello. I like to call it Chianti on steroids. Brunello doesn’t need any other grapes added to it. So it’s 100% brunello grapes, and must be aged in oak barrels for at least two years – and often longer — before being released. And brunellos are usually best about 7 or 8 years after being made. We’re tasting one of the best brunellos today, the col d’orcia, made by Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, the president of the consorzio that’s holding the big brunello tasting at the Biltmore hotel in coral gables at this very minute.
 The other wine we’re tasting today is Rosso di Montalcino. It’s called brunello’s little brother. It’s lighter, and doesn’t have any particular aging requirements, so you can drink it sooner, with lighter dishes like meat or cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf and other comfort foods or especially super bowl foods. Or Linda’s Mexican pork and bean chili.
 In all, it’s a treat. Thanks for bringing it.

LG: Well we’ve had a very tasty and interesting week. Thank you for joining us Faith Willinger. Her book is Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. It has great pictures and great recipes. Join us next time.



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