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Standard-style Bourdeaux label (left) versus the modern Chateau de Launay

Whisky Without Mystery



When this product first came out last year (or a littler earlier), I was a bit skeptical. It's blended whisky—but under this new brand, it cuts through the opacity of a lot of Scotch whisky labels. The brand is called John, Mark & Robbo, representing a few guys who describes themselves as "three mates (two of us brothers), who passionately believe that decent quality whisky should be enjoyed and not worshipped."

What you don't know might (not) hurt you


Alaska's answer to good food: Blackened halibut pizza.
In a word: delicious.

Me and My Berry Bowl

Does anybody out there have a berry bowl, or know what one is?

I had never even seen or heard of them until a few months ago. Over Memorial Day weekend, I reunited with my parents and close family in Vermont. It was my cousin Pete’s graduation from Middlebury (my alma mater) and former President Clinton was the speaker—all worth a cross-country trip. As my father ceaselessly reminded me, it had been 12 years since my graduation, however, much to my relief, not much had changed. In fact, it felt like I’d never left.

The Luck of the Irish



As the 7x7 food department’s editorial assistant, I was asked today to do a little guest blog, so here it goes …

I’m really picky when it comes to baked goods. Blame my mom. She’s the pastry chef. Her sour cream scones have ensured that I have rarely, if ever, found another scone to be worthy. The fact that such a great pastry is often executed as a bland, baking-soda-flavored hockey puck has led me to skip the scone entirely unless it’s mom-made.

The Beauty of Nopa


Neyah with a special, unlisted cocktail

You know they're doing something right at Nopa when you’re willing to wait 25 minutes for a bar stool, and fight off vicious competitors while doing it. It's clear why people are so eager to get seats here: The bar is genius.

More of Italy's Finest


Gaia Gaja with Mauro Cirilli

Next winemakers to come into town was Gaia Gaja (the first and last name are actually pronounced the same way), the daughter of perhaps Italy's most famous winemaker, Angelo Gaja. Here is Gaia, sitting next to Mauro Cirilli, Perbacco's terrific sommelier.

The Gajas, father and daughter, produce many different wines, but are best known for the Nebbiolo-based wines from the Piedmont region of Italy, as well as for Brunello di Montalcino, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Italy's Finest

When I say “Italy’s Finest,” I'm not talking about the Carbinieri, Italy's state police force that’s the butt of many jokes (e.g. "Why do Carabinieri always work in pairs? Because one knows how to read, the other how to write").

Not long ago, I attended a couple of tastings featuring Italy's finest wines—the ones you don't get to taste every day, but are worth writing about when you do.


Big Beer Phenomenon

A few months ago, I wrote “Drink Big” about the very large, German-style glasses at the beer and sausage hangout, Gestalt. And now, I’m here to tell you about another, entirely different sort of place where you can get more extra-large beers—Osha Thai.


Pinot Daze

I’m leaving the wine expertise to Jordan, but judging by this weekend, I’ll venture to say that Pinot Noir is still hot.



On Sunday, I went to the third annual Pinot Days down at Fort Mason. The turnout was impressive—with more than 3,000 fellow garnet-teethed, purple-lipped pinot lovers sipping and about 200 wine producers (mostly from California and Oregon) pouring. With guide and glass in hand, my friend and I worked our way through the crowds and tasted our way around the pavilion.
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