Dr. Vino's Verdict
Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.
Don’t you think spicy foods taste best with sweet, low-alcohol wines? Because alcohol amplifies heat, a fiery dish with a high alcohol wine is the culinary equivalent of a shouting match. To tame the heat in spicy foods, try a white with low alcohol and a little sweetness, for instance a Spätlese Riesling or demi-sec Vouvray.
Related: Wine 101: Riesling
America's Best Riesling
Hard-core Top Chef devotees take note: Top Chef season 5 contestant Jeff McInnis (most recently of Yardbird in Miami) and a new cheftestant, Janine Booth, who makes her debut tonight on season 11 in New Orleans, will be helming Root & Bone, slated to open in New York City’s East Village in January. Taking over a site formerly occupied by an old soul food restaurant, the new spot will celebrate Southern foodways through dishes like caramelized brisket meat loaf with smoky plantain crème, sunchoke and house-made ricotta “tater tots” and Carolina Gold rice risotto with butter beans and pickled egg yolk. To pair with the chefs’ modern takes on Southern dishes, the restaurant will serve an all-American beer and wine list with a focus on craft brews from the South. The chefs are also forming a partnership with Mama’s Bar next door to offer a hip, Southern gastropub late-night menu and weekend brunch. McInnis and Booth, his chef de cuisine, arrived in town only a few weeks ago but they are already inspired by the local produce: “I live near the Union Square farmers’ market and the vegetables are just amazing,” says McInnis. “The flavor of a carrot here is so beautiful and bright. It’s very different from what I could get in Miami.” And fanatics of the crave-worthy fried chicken he served at Yardbird can rest easy: He’ll be playing with different variations on the dish at Root & Bone, experimenting with spicy, mild and crunchy versions.
Related: F&W Star Chef Jeff McInnis
Top Chef Challenge: Fresh Corn Grits with Shrimp
Less than a mile across in some places, the Detroit River was a haven for bootleggers during Prohibition, as boats would ferry liquid cargo from "wet" Canada to "dry" America. Today, the shipments could be heading in the other direction, thanks to David Landrum and Peter Bailey, the entrepreneurs behind Two James, the first distillery in Detroit since the 1920s.
The longtime friends, who named their company after their dads (both called James), are making small-batch spirits in a former doughnut factory and taxi-repair shop in the Corktown neighborhood. (A tasting room, located in the distillery, serves cocktails and sells bottles.) Distilled with lots of juniper and other botanicals, the duo's London dry gin is inspired by Bailey's father, who grew up above a pub in England. "Wild juniper grows like crazy here, but no one cultivates it. Now we've found some people who are willing to plant it for us," says Landrum. Their rye whiskey, currently in barrels, is made with 100 percent Michigan-grown rye and was inspired by Landrum's dad, who was born in Kentucky.
Despite Detroit's recent bankruptcy, the young distillers are optimistic about the city's future. "I've watched Detroit go through horrible times, but the bankruptcy might actually be a good thing—it's trimming the fat," says Landrum. "And there's a resurgence of people moving back to the city. It's exciting." twojames.com
Detroit: Soul Food for a Hungry City
Ultimate Beer Guide
American Beer, Bourbon and More