I attempted a trifecta my first-ever day at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Here, the highlights:
WINE: I kicked off my day tasting Italy’s most extravagant wines at a tasting led by David Lynch, who recently announced he’s leaving NYC’s the John Dory to become wine director at Quince in San Francisco. Lynch made a passionate case on why Italy’s Ca’ del Bosco Brut “Cuvee Prestige” can hold its own against French Champagne and blew my mind with a 15% alcohol 2003 Le Ragose Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Star sighting in the seminar: A certain chef in orange clogs who Lynch worked with at Babbo for seven years.
BEER: Texas chef Tim Love pulled an all-nighter in the Hotel Jerome courtyard slow-cooking a deer, goat and lamb for a killer Belgian beer-paired lunch. Master beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt led the crowd through the tasting of Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe Blonde. Inside gossip: In need of an early-morning, Texas-style pick-me-up, Love requested a shot of ice cold, Crown Royal. Apparently the hotel staff mistook his Texas twang and brought him an ice cold shot of canola oil.
COCKTAILS: Oahu native and cocktail genius Julie Reiner led a rowdy, standing room only seminar on tiki culture and mixed classic tiki drinks including a Zombie, Bermuda Zwizzle, Mai Tai and the Lychee-Lemongrass Fizz featured on her menu at the Flatiron Lounge in NYC. Rumor from the audience: Reiner was shocked and saddened when someone in the audience informed her that Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s classic tiki bar Mai-Kai is closing.