Joel Peterson has been making wine in California’s Sonoma Valley since before tourists saw it as a vacation destination. The Ravenswood Wineryfounder’s parents introduced him to the crushed grape early on, after bottle of 1945 Châteauneuf-du-Pape was tasted at their 1951 Thanksgiving dinner, along with an early 1950’s Château d’Yquemthat cost $3.45 a bottle. Joel’s father started one of the first wine tasting societies in the San Francisco region of California, and would look to his young son, with a fresh, naive nose, to identify aromas in the wine. If Joel smelled apple, the society would taste the night selections with apples; if he smelled licorice, they would taste with licorice. He helped influence the pioneering society with a fresh perspective. Joel’s fate was set then and there.
He started Ravenswood in 1976 with a total of 327 produced cases. Today that number has grown to hundreds of thousands. When he started he wanted to create a great Bordeaux blend, but knew that he wasn’t ready to compete with the big dog of the time, Robert Mondavi, so he decided to be a small fish in the small Zinfandel pond and create something special from this truly Californian grape. In order to develop respect for this fruity grape he co-founded ZAP, Zinfandel Associates and Producers, organization. The first ZAP conference had about 50 people in attendance, 25 of which were from the wineries. Today it is an international conference, with the annual San Francisco event hosting and attendance of over 9,000 Zinfandel lovers and additional conferences held all over the country.
Clearly, Joel’s desire to craft classic style wine, from what he believes is the best grape to grow in California, from exceptionally old vines, has proven successful. He has an uncompromising determination to create the best his vineyards will allow, and today he is the largest producer of Zinfandel in the world. Follow the jump for more.1 Comment »
I just lunched in Preston Center and noticed a sign going up. Texas de Brazil Express. My good friend and investigative reporter Evan Grant jumped out of the car and got the scoop: It’s going to be a casual version of Texas de Brazil with sandwiches made from their Latin meats. Should be open in about a month.
Dianna and Adam Lee met about 17 years ago while working in the wine and epicurean departments of Dallas’ Neiman Marcus. They both had a passion for wine, a desire to move to California and make award winning Pinot Noir. Now, 15 years after moving West and launching their winery, Siduri (the Babylonian Goddess of wine,) and sister winery Novy(named for Dianna’s family) in Sonoma Valley, their dream is an award winning reality. They make over 20 wines from grapes sourced throughout California and Oregon.
Keeping true to their Dallas roots, they nurture these grapes from juice to wine in tanks named after some of the greatest Dallas Cowboys to play the game. (I liked the Roger Staubach tank personally.)
On June 11 they venture back to Dallas with a 4 course wine dinner in the Dallas Zoo’s Flamingo Room. The dinner will feature 6 of their wine selections, including their 2006 Siduri Rosella’s Pinot Noir, a wine that received a 92 point rating from the Connoisseurs Guide. Follow the jump for menu details and how to make reservations.
Café Italia, the Tex-Italian restaurant will close in late August. Owner Scott Jones, who is allegedly still involved in the operation of Screen Door in One Arts Plaza, announced today that he will replace Café Italia with a new concept. Café Italia opened on Maple Avenue in 1984. Jones bought it in 2001 and opened the Lovers’ location in 2002. Mr. Jones has rehired Louis Mendes, the man who opened the original restaurant to oversee the last few months of operation. According to the press release: “He added his Tex-Italian fare to the menu to offer the uniqueness that has helped make Café Italia successful year after year. The restaurant has continued to garner rave reviews and was even named by PaperCity as a “Top Five Dallas Restaurant.” Jones is also working on a new concept in Fort Worth.9 Comments »
Bob Sambol owner of Bob’s Steak & Chop House on Lemmon Avenue has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. “I’m filing for Chapter 11 with Bob’s,” said Sambol. “I’ve never recovered from my almost $2 million dollar loss in Denver and coupled with the downturn in the economy, it is what it is. It is the best thing for the restaurant.”
In November 2005, Sambol and former partner Bill Lennox opened a Bob’s Steak & Chop House at Cherry Creek North in Denver. It closed in 2007.
What does this mean? “The restaurant stays open, the employees and taxes get paid, but past bills are lumped together and renegotiated,” said Sambol. Bill Lennox, Sambol’s former partner and current owner of the Bob’s brand is on board with the move.
The filing for bankruptcy is not related to Sambol’s legal hassle with a former customer, Lee Thompson, Jr. “There’s no word on that,” said Sambol. “Nothing is going to be settled for 7 to 9 months.”15 Comments »
Almost a year ago, Stacey Yervasi tried a slice of Janie’s pound cake at Whole Foods and told us all about it, here. Last week I got something in the mail besides a bill or a press release: a box filled with my very own pound cake from Janie’s. Janie’s Cakes come from Tyler, Texas. No, Tyler isn’t Dallas, but NN has a lakehouse out that direction, which makes it blog worthy to me (and of course, they ship their goods all over the country). Anyway, the one they sent me is their latest flavor, La Dolce Vita. It is chocolate and plain pound cake swirl with a “chocolate ribbon,” aka chocolate sauce, in the middle (Remember the 90′s? Think a molten lava cake center). The white and semi-sweet chocolate shavings on top added a nice textural element to the moist (nose crinkle) and buttery poundcake.
Oh, and: Janie makes her cakes using eggs from chickens she raised at her home. She has over 300 chickens in her backyard. She also uses Madagascar vanilla from Nielsen-Massey Vanilla, Imperial sugar, unbleached King Arthur Flour, and USDA grade AA butter. No artificial stuff, no preservatives. And the yellow and white-striped box is totally cute.
You know what I wish? I wish Janie would come to Dallas and sell her cakes at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. I really liked the one she sent, and I think they would make great hostess gifts, or something yummy to have on hand when I’ve got company. Also, I’d like to munch on a slice when I pick up my Canton peaches. Just a thought.1 Comment »
I’m sure most of you have read a lot of books about food. (Hi Ruthie, nice tweets!) Lately most of the ones I’ve read have been about the dark side of dining—I just finished Food, Inc., the newest in a line of reports on food poisoning, labor and animal abuse, the industrialization of our food supply, and world hunger. So I was delighted when I opened my mail this morning to find the copy of An Alphabet for Gourmets I’d ordered. It’s been over twenty years since I first read MFK Fisher’s 26 sensuous chapters devoted to some of her long-time obsessions (potato chips, macadamia, and caviar) and is full of quirky and eccentric essays on culinary traditions. If you’ve never read one of Fisher’s books—and there are many–you should. Here’s a little sample.2 Comments »
Okay, it’s no shocker that GQ’s list of the 25 best pizzas in America — it’s in the latest issue featuring cover boy Christian “I’m gonna kick your @#!#in’ arse!” Bale — is heavy on pies from New York. Chicago’s Great Lake takes the top spot. Detroit scored twice. Even Phoenix came in at No. 4. (Really? Phoenix?) And I’m not going to get all huffy, wailing toward the Conde Nast Building, “What about Dallas?!? Where’s the love?!?” Because lets be honest: we shouldn’t be on the list, should we? I mean, I love CoalVines bolognese pie, Eno’s cracker thin crusts, and anything from Campania. But I’ve never thought of Dallas as a pizza powerhouse. But I could be convinced otherwise. So, let’s hear it: Who has the best pizza in Dallas and should we contend for a spot on GQ’s Northeast heavy list? Comment away and may the best pie win.26 Comments »