Small Town, Huge Personality!

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Beauty I thought only existed in nature is now being molded and tortured into the most breathtaking glass you will ever see. During my visit to the Finger Lakes, the conference I was attending had an excursion to the Corning Museum of Glass. Yes, that Corning.

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Inside is a luxurious setting with blown glass everywhere with a modern feel. I had just seen a glass blowing demonstration a few months back at another conference so I snapped some shots and then took to wandering the halls.

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I stumbled as I often do into the ancient wing, which possessed some of the oldest and rarest glass that was owned by king and queens, pharaohs and despots.

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It was during this time alone I sat down to write and reflect on my so far short stay in upstate NY. I was floored by the hospitality, the attention to detail and even the city of Corning itself which struck me as a great town to raise a family. One could live in Corning’s rolling green hills and be content surrounded by friendly faces and quaint appeal. I have often wondered if I should forgo the big city lifestyle and move to a small town. I would like to think that if I did, Corning NY would be the type of place I might end up.

While dodging security and roaming the halls I realized I was late for dinner, which was also the awards banquet for some of the best bloggers in the world. I sat down just in time to get the appetizer and met some new friends as well. Dinner was interesting, zucchini fritters, smoked corn chowder, Beef all served with FLX wines that paired wonderfully and since we got to pick from two per course there was lively debate at the table. The overall feel I got from my visit was excitement, and taking time to enjoy the pleasures of the day. After all, that is what hedonism is all about.

Justin

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Tranqs, Lobos & Zipheads…

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Aside from the obvious perk of getting to stare at a women’s breast under the pretense of looking at their name tag (inside joke, come on people) I quite enjoyed my first bloggers conference. Held this year in the scorching heat of August in the Finger Lakes it was none the less a raving success. During the several days of speed tasting, seminars, excursions and dinners I met some amazing, hard-working, funny and eccentric bloggers; all who seems excited that they could exchange ideas and drink with their comrades in a laid back environment.

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Walking the grounds with Steve Fulkerson who’s family arrived in the Finger lakes in the late 1700’s you get the feel that they know what they are doing in the wine business. Tasting the dozens of exceptional wines you know that the Finger lakes as a whole kicks ass and most likely will only get better. I have been a fan of FLX wine for years but had never been, now I cannot wait to go back. The new and hopefully continual home of aromatic whites the Finger lakes of New York are are stunning example of how far American wine has come in a short time.

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I thought it would be blood sport; there is no one on earth more opinionated than a wine writer but it was tame and an noncompetitive nature seemed to dominate the while experience either by design or the caliber of attendee. The overall friendliness of everyone I met seemed unending and I look forward to next year’s conference in Lodi, CA which is 20 minutes from where I live for those who are spiritually included. (Pun intended)….
All in all Zephyr Adventures put together one hell of show and I will return as often as I can.

A personal note; I was a scholarship recipient this year and would not have been able to make the trip without it, so thank you to all the sponsors and bloggers who believed in me. I hope never to let you down.

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By the way I hope you got the back to the future reference if not you should be ashamed. Much more to come on the Wine Bloggers conference 2015

Justin Koury

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

The Hot Brown!

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This weekend marks the 141st Kentucky Derby and in salute to that tradition I can think of nothing better than to share my favorite thing to come out of KY second only to bourbon.
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The Kentucky Hot Brown
I thought it appropriate that the first restaurant review was of my current death row meal.
In the life of every chef there comes a time when the question of their last meal is asked; also known as your death row meal. My death row meal is and has been for years the Kentucky Hot brown at the Brown Hotel in Louisville KY. My most recent trip to KY yielded a succulent juicy endeavor into the open-faced sandwich once more.

The Kentucky Hot Brown, is not to be missed it is a cacophony of unique flavor that you can only find with the Hot Brown.
Here is the legendary recipe,
Hot Brown Recipe
Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):
• 2 oz. Whole Butter
• 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
• 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
• 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
• Salt & Pepper to Taste
• 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
• 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
• 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
• 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
• Paprika, Parsley
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Tomato Remoulade

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Tomato Remoulade-To accompany best Crab Cakes Ever!!!!
Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
½ cup Diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons Fresh dill fine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*Blend together and plate with your favorite Crab cakes be they Maryland style or West Coast
remoulade
*Pair with Wagner Vineyards Single Vineyard Riesling 2012 Caywood Vineyard

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

The Chicago Indie Spirits Expo…. Event Day

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It may sound cliché but end of summer heading into fall in Chicago is one of my favorite times. The air is crisp the trees are changing construction is ending and the Chicago Independent Spirits Expo is held. This was in my mind the most successful one yet having attended every year since it came to Chicago. The brain child of David Schmier owner of Redemption rye and brought to Chicago by Marty Duffy co-producer   of the CISE.  This is the largest small production spirits show in America. This year’s event was held at the Chicago Hilton downtown and was a marvelous spectacle of the comradery that drives the craft spirits world. The show is a place where craft producers of rum, tequila, gin, vodka and of course small batch whiskey.

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Usually filled with industry professionals rubbing elbows with producers this years show had a decent amount more of the public who regularly consume these goods. “Leigh Mabry of BC merchants explains that she was impressed to see more of consumer and not just restaurant people” If you love tasting small batch whiskey, gins, vodka and tequilas this is the place to go.

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One of the highlights of the show was a panel moderated by Timeout Chicago’s Amy Cavanagh concerning the role of women in the craft spirits industry. Most of the women on the panel have had similar experiences with gender discrimination given that spirits is a male dominated world.  The panel discussion focused on the stories that some of Chicago’s most influential women including:

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Co-owner and founder of Koval distillery  Sonat Hart, Dejorn Huffman the spirits director at Tenzing Wine and Spirits Jenny, Kelly Kniewell – CIO, Fresh Coast Distributor,         Raquel Leduc – Brand Ambassador/Bartender, Herbsainte, Monique Huston – Spirit Specialist, Stoller/Glazer, Anne Marineau – Bartender, Randolph Tavern, Sarah Sheperd Macfarquhar – Brand Ambassador, North Shore Distillery, Jenny Solsberg – Owner, Rhine Hall Distillery, Inna Feldman-Gerber – Co-Founder & President, Premiere Distillery. Filled with the darlings of Chicago’s craft industry the panel spoke about their unique experience dealing with the landmines of the spirits world.

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Monique Huston of Stoller tells me that she “cannot wait for the day that these panels like this will not be necessary”.  It does bring up an interesting question as to why we distinguish between men and women in certain jobs when we all know women work just as hard.

The Indy spirits expo is all about bringing lovers of all things craft and small batch. “Indie Spirits brought out some old favorites that were fantastic but the exciting side was to see how far American Craft Spirits has come, and to realize we are all living the rebirth of true small batch craft distillation” Drew Larson leaders beverage. Marty Duffy says “it was a success with a fantastic turnout and both the exhibitors and attendees were we’re happy, and that’s what the expo is all about”

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Just some of the many producers that were there included…

Headframe

Banks Rum

Barritt’s Ginger Beer

Big Bottom Distilling

Bittercube

Blaum Bros. Distillery

Bunnahabhain single malt scotch

Caledonia Spirits

Caledonia Spirits

Caorunn Gin

Carpano Antica

Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery

Charbay Distillery

Chartreuse

Classic Imports

Compass Box scotch whisky

Cornstar

Corsair

Craft Distillers

Deanston single malt scotch

Death’s Door

Del Maguey Mezcal

Demerara Distilling (El Dorado Rum)

Dimmi Liquore

Distillerie de Biercée

Dryfly

Duncan Taylor

Edinburgh Gin

Encanto Pisco

Fernet Branca

Ferrand

FEW Spirits

Gabrielsen Cognac

Glenfarclas single malt scotch

Glenrothes single malt

Gordon & MacPhail

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

Grand Marnier 1880

Great Lakes Distillery

Greenbar

Haas Brothers

Haus Alpenz

Heering liqueur

Jersey Artisanal Distillery

Journeyman Distillery

Kappa Pisco

Kavalan whiskey

Koloa Rum Co.

KOVAL Distillery

Letherbee Gin

Luxardo

Lyon Distilling Co.

Marnier Lapostolle

Martin Miller’s Gin

McClary Bros. Vinegars

New Holland Brewing & Distilling

North Shore Distillery

Old Petrero Rye

Oola Distilling

Orange V

Pacific Edge

Pig’s Nose scotch

Quincy St. Distillery

Redemption Rye

Rhine Hall Distillery

Scorpion Mezcal

Sheep Dip blended malt scotch

Shrubs & Co.

Siete Leguas Tequila

Sonoma County Distilling Co.

St. George Distillery

Tail Winds Distillery

Tequila Tapatio

Teeling Irish Whiskey

Templeton Rye

Terlato

Tobermory single malt scotch

Tullibardine Single Malt Scotch

Veritas Brands

Warehouse Liquors

WhistlePig Rye 

Zaya Rum

Sadly, I was under the weather and attended to take pictures and meet with vendors, I was unable to taste anything so I went the whole day without a drop.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle