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Preview: Fork & Bottle

Fork & Bottle

Jack and Joanne explore artisan food, wine and cheese. This includes sustainable gardening, What To Feed Kids, wine country guide and restaurant reviews, gingerbread houses, cheese resources, recipes, and biodynamic wine producers.

Last Build Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2009 19:12:48 GMT


Restaurant Review: Bistro des Copains in Occidental, CA

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 19:12:42 GMT


Our summer foray to Bistro des Copains doesn't have us running back. But since our visit, the chef has changed although the menu is extremely similar. We liked that it's very true to it's bistro name, offering french-style comfort food in a casual setting.

Fork & Bottle's Holiday Gift Selections

Sat, 06 Dec 2008 04:00:33 GMT

Jack & Joanne offer dozen of gift ideas for Wine Lovers, chefs (young & older), wood-burning oven and BBQ enthusiasts, cheese lovers, connoisseurs, gardeners and bakers... Happy Holidays!

Updated: Our amazing Gingerbread House resources

Mon, 01 Dec 2008 00:56:14 GMT

Joanne has added many new 2008 Gingerbread House kits to our incredibly detailed page on Gingerbread Houses. Check it out!

Recipe: Apple Fennel Dressing

Thu, 27 Nov 2008 01:53:40 GMT

This apple fennel dressing had the perfect amount of lightness and crunch to compliment turkey on our holiday table last year but it would also be lovely with pork or ham.

Recipe: Persimmon Bread Pudding

Tue, 25 Nov 2008 20:46:28 GMT

Enjoy persimmons at the peak of season in this easy to make ahead dessert, which will win you raves at Thanksgiving and beyond.

Restaurant Review: Restaurant Eloise in Sebastopol, CA

Tue, 04 Nov 2008 18:27:30 GMT


Restaurant Eloise, Sebastopol's newest fine dining spot, lured us with the promise of house made charcuterie and an appetizer of bone marrow. We were enthralled and will be back soon.


Getting your Kids to Try New Foods, Eat Diversely and Make Better Food Choices

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 21:29:17 GMT

It's back-to-school time and Joanne has been thinking about how children eat both at home and away from home. Here are some tips for parents to get their kids to try new foods, eat diversely and make better food choices. Included are some suggestions for better snacks and packed lunches.

Great Cheese Find: Cora's Tumin del Dian

Mon, 04 Aug 2008 21:46:30 GMT

Tumin del Dian is a small round of cow and sheep's milk cheese. It's seasoned with pepper and wrapped in a chestnut leaf.

Fork & Bottle's Directory of Irish Farmstead Cheese

Thu, 24 Jul 2008 21:52:55 GMT

After visiting Ireland last year and, tasting many of its great cheeses, Joanne decided to compile this directory of Irish Farmstead Artisan cheeses.

Ireland is famous for its milk, cream and butter – and also lately for its cheese. She’s added tasting notes and photos for a few of the cheeses we encountered on the trip, some of which were bought at Sheridan’s Cheesemongers in Galway, Co. Clare, some at On the Pig’s Back, in the English Market in Cork City, Co. Cork and still others at Trevor Irvine’s stall at St. George’s Market in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Many of the cheeses listed in the directory are available in the US, but a number of them you will have to go to Ireland to taste.

Three Mendocino County Restaurant Reviews

Wed, 16 Jul 2008 17:59:21 GMT

During a two-day visit to the Mendocino coast we visited Café Beaujolais (Mendocino), Le Rendezvous (Ft. Bragg) and the Mosswood Cafe (Boonville). We particularly enjoyed Café Beaujolais.

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Dukkah

Fri, 04 Jul 2008 00:20:04 GMT

Joanne's pork tenderloin recipe is easy to prepare and makes for a delicious main course.

Wine Tasting: Bonhams Pre-Auction in San Francisco

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 23:11:28 GMT

Another excellent tasting, with Chateau de Beaucastel's 1989 CdP standing clearly above the rest of the wines.

More Food Reference Book Reviews

Fri, 30 May 2008 20:56:24 GMT

Joanne has added the following reviews:

The Story of Tea A Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss

Tea Aromas and Flavors Around the World by Lydia Gautie

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by the Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante

Fish Forever by Paul Johnson

Fine Waters by Michael Mascha

Restaurant Review: Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA

Tue, 29 Apr 2008 21:10:51 GMT

We return to Cyrus after a couple of years and have a truly great meal. Prices are up but our recent experience definitely justified the Michelin two stars. The food sets the highest mark in Sonoma county, but we'd still like to see more focus on local purveyors. If elaborate dining is what you seek in Sonoma, Cyrus is the perfect destination for indulgence.

You must not miss the excellent cheese cart... (image)

Restaurant Review: The Restaurant at Meadowood in Saint Helena, CA

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 19:40:11 GMT

Our dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood was lovely. The restaurant has a pleasant, relaxed décor which is still elegant. This casual elegance is reflected in the food from Chef Christopher Kostow. The meal was very enjoyable and we would happily return.

Great Cheese Find: Abbaye de Tamie

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 22:23:20 GMT

Yes, monks can make great cheese. Abbaye de Tamie is such an example. It's a washed rind raw cow's milk cheese. It's not so easy to find, but worth the hunt.

Wine Tasting: Rhone Rangers 2008

Mon, 24 Mar 2008 18:43:20 GMT

The 2008 Rhone Rangers tasting in San Francisco was quiet this year. There were some good wines here, with Copain's wines standing out.

Wine Tasting: Bordeaux 2005

Mon, 17 Mar 2008 21:32:49 GMT

Jack and Joanne taste more than 40 of the better Bordeaux wines from the heralded 2005 vintage.

Wine Tasting: La Paulée 2008

Sat, 15 Mar 2008 00:05:09 GMT

This year's La Paulée event was held in San Francisco. Jack reports on more than 90 Burgundy wines.

Recipe: Fast Lasagna!

Mon, 10 Mar 2008 22:09:49 GMT

Joanne's recipe makes great lasagna fast, cutting some corners to make it quicker and easier, but no less delicious.

Wine Tasting: Empson's Barolo, Brunello and Bellivista

Tue, 04 Mar 2008 18:00:09 GMT

Jack tasted wines from a dozen Italian wineries imported by Empson USA. The wines from Conterno Fantina, Bellavista, Bongiovanni and Ca Rome impressed him the most.

Restaurant Review: The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, CA

Sun, 02 Mar 2008 21:18:46 GMT

Frankly, we were disappointed with our first visit to the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil. There are many good choices for an expensive dinner in Wine County; this one doesn't make our list.

Restaurant Review:Underwood Bar & Grill in Graton, CA

Wed, 27 Feb 2008 02:24:13 GMT

We keep returning to the Underwood Bar & Grill when we are out in Graton (usually purchasing plants). We think it's a nice lunch spot in West County.

Essay: Bad Fruit or Good Cookies - Which is Better?

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 21:31:00 GMT

Joanne shares her thoughts about whether it's better to give kids, as a school treat, out-of-season, "conventionally-farmed" fruit from another continent or, cookies made by a parent with mostly high-quality, ingredients. And, how bad is sugar? Do you think sugar-substitutes are a better choice than real sugar? She invites your comments.

WBW# 42: Fontodi and Tenute Loacker

Mon, 18 Feb 2008 22:57:38 GMT

We taste two enjoyable Italian reds and review them in exactly seven words. We enjoyed the 2001 Tenute Loacker Cabernet Sauvignon-Lagrein Kastlet more than the 2001 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve.

Restaurant Review: Nick's Cove in Marshall, CA (Marin)

Tue, 12 Feb 2008 03:49:53 GMT

Our first to Nick's Cove was quite a mixed bag. We understand the popularity of the spot, but the food and service was not what we had expected from this pricey new waterfront destination.

Restaurant Review: Ubuntu in Napa

Tue, 05 Feb 2008 22:07:03 GMT

We had a nice dining experience at Ubuntu, but this lunch fell a bit below our expectations. Even so, it is the 'go-to' restaurant for vegetarians in Wine Country. We will try dinner there next time.

Still Say No to Girl Scout Cookies in 2008

Thu, 31 Jan 2008 01:16:47 GMT

Our 2008 update on how the Girl Scouts STILL have trans fat in the cookies, despite their promise to eliminate trans fat three years ago. This remains shameful to us, as the childhood obesity and diabetes epidemic continues.

Restaurant Review: Special Dinner at West Country Grill, Sebastopol, CA

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 04:13:14 GMT

We quite enjoyed The Flavors of Bombay Dinner with Niloufer Ichaporia King at West Country Grill. The cashews amazed Jack and we were pleased to see the kitchen so excited about cooking something different.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #41: Friuli-Venezia Giulia Whites - The Round-Up

Mon, 21 Jan 2008 05:30:13 GMT

Here's the roundup for January 2008's WBW. More than 40 participated to report on Friuli-Venezia Giulia white wine. Results seemed to depend more on local choices and availability, than the amount spent, although many of the more expensive wines were enjoyed most.

Wines reviewed were from Radikon, Zidarich, Vodopivec, Jermann, Miani, Movia, Damian Podversic, Lis Neris, i Clivi, Livio Felluga, Adrian Gigante, and many more.

Wine Tasting: Friuli-Venezia Giulia wines

Thu, 17 Jan 2008 21:01:16 GMT

A tasting of four red and fifteen whites at the Jug Shop in San Francisco. I tasted some extremely interesting and outstanding wines from Gravner, Jermann, Vodopivec and Moschini.

WBW #41: Miani and Jermann from Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 20:43:09 GMT

Fork & Bottle are hosts this month for Wine Blogging Wednesday. For our selection, we chose to feature a wine from two of the best makers in Friuli-Venezia Giulia: The 2006 Miani Ribolla Gialla and the 2004 Jermann Capo Martino. Both were quite good, but only offering about $35 of pleasure right now. Some day though...

Bonhams' Pre-Auction Wine Tasting: Massandra Collection

Tue, 15 Jan 2008 18:29:01 GMT

Can they make great wine in the Ukraine? Of course they can, and they have been at Massandra, in the Crimea (Yalta), for more than one hundred years. On November 30th, we tasted one dozen Massandra wines at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco.

Reminder: Deadline entries for Wine Blogging Wednesday #41

Mon, 14 Jan 2008 20:03:53 GMT

A short reminder: For those of your participating, please submit your entry for WBW#41 by the end of Wednesday, January 16, 2008.

Again, the theme is the excellent white wines of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Northeastern Italy.

Wine Sevens

Tue, 08 Jan 2008 23:07:36 GMT

We introduce this page with four Sevens:
  •  Seven Extraordinary White Wines made from unheralded grape varietals
  •  Seven Great Grower Champagne Producers
  •  Seven Great Sonoma County Pinot Noir Producers
  •  Seven Popular, Pricey Napa Wineries not favored by Wine Geeks

Update: Food and Wine Blogs that Score!

Tue, 08 Jan 2008 22:40:18 GMT

Blogs that Score is one page at Fork & Bottle which gets updated ten or more times a year. Five recent additions I'd like to bring to your attention are:

Wooly Pigs – Heath Putnam has some amazing posts here about the raising and slaughtering of pigs (with a gourmet bent).

What to Eat – Marion Nestle frequently blogs on the food issues of the day.

Grow Better Veggies – Cynthia Sandberg (Love Apple Farm) shares her expert knowledge on growing biodynamic vegetables.

Two wine blogs, The Picky Eater (Keith Levenberg) and Rockss and Fruit (Lyle Fass) are written by New Yorkers who know an awful lot about wine, despite being just 30- and 33-years-old (respectively).

And, if I had to choose a Blog of the Year, I would give it to The Ethicurean. Bonnie Powell distills the news on food issues, food concerns and food politics, making it possible for the rest of us to keep up and be informed on the subject.

2007 Photos from our Gardens

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 00:28:33 GMT


It's winter, so although not much is happening in the garden right now, our gardens from 2007 are worth a second look. This page is a collection of photos from our garden for the 2007 calendar year including photos of a couple of unusual additions and visitors.


Great Cheese Find: Cahill's Porter

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 23:55:02 GMT

Joanne's latest cheese find is Cahill's Porter, an Irish farmhouse cheese made with Porter from County Limerick.

Food Sevens - Top 7 Food-related Lists

Thu, 20 Dec 2007 22:10:38 GMT

We introduce this page with five Sevens:
  •  Seven Real Reasons to Buy Organic Food (the one Jack is most proud)
  •  Seven Cookbooks that get a lot of use in our Kitchen
  •  Seven Ingredients you never want to find in a food you’re about to Eat
  •  Seven Favorite Antique Apple Varieties
  •  Seven Notable American Heritage Turkeys

Restaurant Review: Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA

Tue, 18 Dec 2007 23:00:05 GMT

We finally return to the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg (CA), after dining there twice, five years ago. It has improved, but we're still not loving it. The Ahi Tuna Tartare rocked, though, along with the grapefruit and orange sorbets.

WBW #40: Carver Sutro and Switchback Ridge

Fri, 14 Dec 2007 17:20:37 GMT

This month's theme, chosen by Megan (Wannabee Wino), is wine made from the Petite Sirah grape, also known as Durif. Of the two wines we drank, the 2002 Switchback Ridge was big and alcoholic, and the 2002 Carver Sutro was more balanced and food-friendly.

More Cheese Book Reviews

Wed, 12 Dec 2007 22:21:26 GMT

Joanne reviews five more Cheese books:

  •  Cheese & Wine by Janet Fletcher
  •  The Cheese Deck by Max McCalman & David Gibbons
  •  The Cheese Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst & Ron Herbst
  •  The Murray's Cheese Handbook by Rob Knafelt
  •  Vermont Cheese Book by Ellen Coke-Ogden

Restaurant Review: AOC in Los Angeles (A|O|C)

Tue, 11 Dec 2007 21:22:38 GMT

Two new reviews: Jack dines alone, and then a second visit, with family. We like this restaurant/wine bar and, if we lived near enough in L.A., we would visit regularly.

Kids Cookbook & Gardening Book Reviews

Sun, 09 Dec 2007 19:35:20 GMT

Joanne reviews ten more Children's Cookbooks, Garden Books and Story Books:

  •  Fairytale Feasts by Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple
  •  My A to Z Recipe Box by Hilary Karmilowicz
  •  A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illus. by Sylvia Long
  •  The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, Illus. by Shari Halpern
  •  Kids Cook 123 by Rozanne Gold
  •  Great Gardens for Kids
  •  The Magic School Bus Gets Baked In A Cake by Joanna Cole, Illus. by Bruce Degen
  •  The Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad by Joanna Cole, Illus. by Bruce Degen
  •  The Magic School Bus In a Pickle by Joanna Cole, Illus. by Bruce Degen
  •  The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds by Joanna Cole, Illus. by Bruce Degen

Christmas Gingerbread House Gallery

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 20:46:05 GMT

Joanne and Trent have been building Gingerbread Houses for three years. We have compiled a gallery of Christmas Gingerbread House photos. 2007's houses are currently underconstruction (not up yet). Cross the yellow tape at your own risk.

Restaurant Review: The General's Daughter in Sonoma (revisit)

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 21:31:31 GMT

Although our second visit to The General's Daughter is not quite as good as our first visit, we still regard it as the finest restaurant in Sonoma (that we've been to).

Dining with Kids in Restaurants

Wed, 05 Dec 2007 05:11:50 GMT

While we're far from experts on parenting, we think that kids should get to eat real food at nice restaurants. Joanne offers encouragement to parents and then explains the rules plus tips, tricks and gadgetry to make it a success.

Fork & Bottle's Cheese Sevens

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 23:45:39 GMT

This is the debut of a new F&B feature - Lists of Sevens. We're starting with four lists for Cheese:
  •  Seven Great Irish Farmhouse Cheeses
  •  Seven Great Fondue Cheeses
  •  Seven Cheeses to Eat with Beer
  •  Seven Great California Cheeses

Fork & Bottle Pantry Feature: Butter Resources

Thu, 29 Nov 2007 19:29:11 GMT

We love butter. Unsalted, salted. We've been tasting the butters of the world and Joanne has compiled a list of the ones we've tasted. A few years ago we even hosted a butter tasting. This page will grow and expand as we sample more butter and find more butter sources.

A Guide to Buying Wine at Auction

Tue, 27 Nov 2007 05:08:36 GMT

If you ever have considered buying wine at auction, Jack's guide will lead you through many of the ins and outs of choosing where to bid and how to be successful. The focus is on purchasing Drinking wines rather than Collectible wines.

How to Build a Gingerbread House Kit

Fri, 23 Nov 2007 23:19:22 GMT

Joanne, for the first time, mixes and bakes the walls of a Gingerbread House using a bake-your-own ginger bread house kit. Although this page is not a step-by-step instruction set, it's close enough that most questions you'll have are answered. (It's not rocket science, but it does take some careful planning.)


How to make a Party or Holiday Cheese Platter

Thu, 22 Nov 2007 00:39:23 GMT

Putting together a holiday cheese platter? This quick guide from Joanne might help expand conservative cheeselover's horizons and their guests. Included are tips on plating and choosing cheeses as well as ideas on what cheeses to choose for your holiday cheese plate. Joanne also offers some suggestions for more kid-friendly cheeses.

Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner 2007

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 17:56:00 GMT

This is our third year of Joanne doing a diary leading up to our Thanksgiving meal. This year, we're having one of the rarer breeds of heritage turkeys, a Slate Blue. Except for the wines, just about everything being served is local, organic and/or from the farmers' market.

Updated with final photos, menu and text.

WBW #39: Vincent Dureuil and Guillemot-Michel

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 17:45:32 GMT

This month's theme, chosen by Neil (Brooklynguy), is Burgundy from the Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise. A biodynamically grown wine we chose was the 2005 Guillemot-Michel Macon-Villages Quintaine. It was delicious and very appealing right now - restaurant ready. The 2005 Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Rully 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes was in need of at least several years, if not more, before we would be loving it. (It took three days for it start to come around, showing great promise.)

Both of our wines really impressed us and we would buy them again.

Recipe: Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta & Walnuts

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 22:39:30 GMT

Brussels Sprouts get a bad rap. Perhaps restaurants are to blame, as my father complains constantly (he loves brussel sprouts) that all the restaurant ones he gets are undercooked and inedible (or cooked to horrid mush).

I've converted a number of confirmed brussels sprouts haters at Thanksgiving with this recipe. Simply, they are nicely cooked with some bacon, butter & crispy walnuts. These brussel sprouts have a mild flavor and a nice al dente texture. They are easy to partially make ahead and finish the day of. We'll likely have them this way again this year (with Boccalone pancetta), as we scored the very last "club" at the farmers' market.

Bet you didn't know: It is spelled both brussels sprouts and brussel sprouts.

Great Holiday Kitchen Gadgets & Essential Items for the Kitchen

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 00:23:11 GMT

We've updated our page for the Holidays. All items we've tested and can truly recommend. - Joanne

A gift for the Cooking Engineer – the ultimate thermometer – and the one I use everyday:
Thermapen Digital Thermometer

A gift for those who use a lunchbox or lunchbag - For the Daily Zen of Lunch:
Zojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel Lined Lunch Jar, Silver

For the cook who likes to make gratins: Kyocera Adjustable Ceramic Slicer

For the cook who'd like to make perfect rice everytime: Zojirushi NH-VBC18 10-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer with Induction Heating System

For the cook who is serious about stews and soups (or roasting!): Le Creuset French Ovens

For leftovers - an alternative to plastic wrap: Silicone Universal Lids

A gift for seafood lovers: The best lobster & seafood cracker: Zyliss Lobster/Seafood Crackers

A gift for a Cook who makes Gravy or Stock: Glass Fat Separator

A gift that will please the dishwasher: Cucina Detergent

A gift for teflon users: A better choice than regular teflon - Look Cookware

My Favorite Kitchen Pan and the most versatile piece of All-Clad I own: All-Clad Ltd 13" Braiser

A great gift for tea drinkers - The best way to boil water: Simplex Coil Bottom Kettle (for gas stove tops)

A great gift for coffee lovers: KitchenAid Pro Coffee Grinder & Bodum Thermal Stainless Coffee French Press

Great gifts for cooks who love to bake:
An Awesome Spatula: Chef'n Silicone Switchit Spatula
The very best whisk: Rösle Flat Whisk
The essential item for a baker or roaster: Silpat Food Grade Silicone Mat

Great hostess gifts for cooks:
The Ultimate Spice, Cheese & Chocolate Grater: Microplane Graters
The best cutting boards: Epicurean Grooved Cutting Surfaces
The ultimate best oven mitts: Duncan Industries: Kitchen Grips Oven Mitts

For the cook who has everything: For Sharper Knifes without Fear: Füri Rachel Ray TechEdge Pro Knife Sharpening System

A great gift for a BBQ enthusiast: Outset Non-Stick Grill Basket – Copper

Restaurant Reviews: Plumpjack Cafe in Squaw Valley

Sat, 17 Nov 2007 22:05:13 GMT

Plumpjack Cafe is the most upscale dining spot in Squaw Valley. And like every other Plumpjack-owned restaurant that we've dined at, it has a hotel chain-feel to it, rather than an independent feel. So, they don't many chances with the food and the wine list is more boring than it should be. We'll reluctantly go back, but we really think they can improve if they just had the desire to.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Baked in a Pumpkin

Fri, 16 Nov 2007 21:46:03 GMT

Was this the original Thanksgiving pumpkin pie? Who knows, but it tastes great and is even a fun cooking project to do with your junior chef...

Restaurant Review: Graham's at Squaw Valley, CA

Thu, 15 Nov 2007 23:15:49 GMT

We were excited about visiting Grahams after viewing their winelist online. Too bad the food that evening didn't justify the high prices. Do we need to pay a $12 entree tax just because we're in ski country?

Great Cheese Find: Selles sur Cher

Tue, 13 Nov 2007 01:29:54 GMT

Joanne's latest cheese find is the renowned AOC Selles sur Cher from the Loire Valley. This ash-covered goat cheese has intense acidity, while its complexity speaks of its terroir. Best in Spring and Fall.

Recipe: Cheese Herb Scones

Thu, 08 Nov 2007 02:01:00 GMT

Trent first made scones in a kid's cooking class. Joanne adapted a few recipes to end up with this one using a premium cheddar like Lincolnshire Poacher and fresh herbs from the garden. The bread flour makes this scones more like buns and they are a great cooking project for little cooks; they are very easy to make and the results are delicious. Try them with soup, as an after school snack, with dinner or even as Thanksgiving side dish!

Restaurant Reviews: Where to Dine in Squaw Valley (nr. Tahoe)

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 21:28:07 GMT

Here are our reviews of the casual restaurants in the Village at Squaw, including Plumpjack Balboa Café Squaw Valley, Auld Dubliner Irish Pub, Fireside Pizza, Mamasake and Plumpjack Bar. The Plumpjack Bar is the best of the lot. We also visit the new and only wine store, Uncorked - Wine Store & Wine Bar.

Spooky Kids Halloween Party

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 21:55:56 GMT

Joanne and Trent threw a Halloween party last year and Joanne wrote up some notes about the party preparations. They made swamp punch, frog burgers, pumpkin cakes and tombstone cupcakes. In addition, they made popcorn ghosts to decorate the table and, for the guests to take home.

These Pumpkin Cakes are not too sweet - more like a pumpkin muffin but the icing, which is tinted with natural food coloring, made them really cute for the party. Joanne ended up serving them on a bed of green tinted coconut (grass).

Wine Tasting: Terry Theise Grower Champagnes Fall 2007 Tasting

Fri, 26 Oct 2007 17:35:32 GMT

This was my third time tasting through Terry Theise's Grower Champagne lineup. I tasted all 67 wines that were available that day. I've long been a fan of Vilmart and they were showing really well, again. But quite a few others really impressed me, too.

Afterwards, I tasted some other wines available from Winewise, with the Tissot and the Lopez de Heredia standing out strong.

Restaurant Review: Unnamed Cafe in Geyserville, CA

Wed, 24 Oct 2007 01:31:18 GMT

Formerly the Chateau Souverain restaurant, the Unnamed Cafe has a beautiful view. The food is good enough to stop at when you're hungry and in this area (which has few restaurants). But, it's not a destination and the wine list is only for those who want to drink the wines of Rosso & Bianco. (Good thing they have beer!)

Restaurant Review: Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar in Santa Rosa, CA

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 01:48:44 GMT

The first pizza-focused restaurant in Sonoma County that we really enjoy and frequently visit. Sustainable sources and many organic and biodynamic wines, too.

WBW #38: 2005 Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines

Tue, 16 Oct 2007 19:59:34 GMT

This month's theme is dry Portugese wine. We have reviewed the 2005 Quinta do Crasto Reserva Vinhas Velhas from the Douro. It is a wonderful red field-blend of perhaps 30 varietals that wowed us with it's concentration and balance. Worth buying and cellaring.

Recipe: Zucchini Mini Muffins

Thu, 11 Oct 2007 18:55:32 GMT

Joanne and Trent create a delicious recipe for those spare zucchinis in your garden.

Restaurant Review: Solbar in Calistoga, CA

Fri, 05 Oct 2007 18:15:21 GMT

A visit to Solbar, the restaurant at the new Napa Valley resort, Solage, proves to be a pleasant lunch spot. Joanne really liked their handmade Potato Gnocchi with summer vegetables, local herbs and hobb's pancetta. The Gulf Shrimp & Vegetable salad was pleasing:

Wine Tasting: Bonhams & Butterfields Pre-Auction Tasting 9/2007

Mon, 01 Oct 2007 18:41:56 GMT

Last week, we attended another worthwhile tasting at Bonhams & Butterfields. The standouts included the 2001 Dujac Bonnes Mares, the 1975 Stag’s Leap SLV Lot 3, the 1997 Voerzio Barolo La Serra and the 1998 Chapoutier Ermitage Les Meal. A half-dozen first-growth Bordeaux were all quite good but none rocked.

Restaurant Review: Bar Crudo in San Francisco

Mon, 24 Sep 2007 23:45:29 GMT

Our first meal exceeded our expectations at Bar Crudo, a small restaurant in San Francisco near Union Square. We are quite eager to return for their excellent seafood, such as their Lobster Salad, coupled with a wonderful beer list.

Recipe: Hot Potato Salad with Bacon

Fri, 21 Sep 2007 18:37:26 GMT

This is Joanne's recipe for a German-style Potato Salad. Yum!

Restaurant Review: Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver, BC

Wed, 19 Sep 2007 01:33:21 GMT

Blue Water Cafe was our favorite restaurant during our short stay in Vancouver, BC this last April. Simply put, this restaurant specializes in seafood and it's excellent. We are eager to return.

WBW #37: 2002 Terlano Lagrein Porphyr Riserva

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 20:25:42 GMT

The theme this month is indigenous grape varietals, chosen by Tyler (Dr. Vino's wine blog). We chose a red wine grape, lagrein, which is native to Alto Adige. Our 2002 Terlano Porphyr is an excellent wine, but would be better with additional aging, as it's still tight, even after being open for more than five days.

Restaurant Review: Oliveto in Oakland, CA

Wed, 12 Sep 2007 18:20:47 GMT

We finally made it to one of Oliveto's Oceanic dinners. We feasted on a diverse selection of seafood. The pink sea bream was excellent and we loved the shaved octopus. (One of the special wines of the night totally rocked, too.)

Wine Tasting: 2007 Family Winemakers

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 05:51:38 GMT

Jack focused mostly on whites this time and was quite pleased with the Chasseur Chardonnays. The wines from Ramey, Calera (Mills vineyard pinot noir vertical) and Littorai also stood out.

Restaurant Review: Manresa in Los Gatos, CA

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 19:47:33 GMT

Finally, we write up our two dinners at the heralded Manresa in Los Gatos, CA. Our 22-course meal last year was spectacular. This year's Alain Passard-L'Arpege dinner was a wonderful tribute to spring vegetables. Manresa is definitely worth a special trip.

Great Cheese Find: Seelander

Tue, 04 Sep 2007 18:29:15 GMT

Joanne's latest cheese find is Seelander, a selection of the reknowned Swiss affineur, Rolf Beeler. It is Gruyere-like in nature, making it a great addition to a Fondue, but is wonderful on its own. Seelander has a long finish.

Restaurant Review: West County Grill in Sebastopol, CA

Thu, 30 Aug 2007 22:34:44 GMT

We enjoyed our visit to this bright new restaurant in Sebastopol. The atmosphere at West County Grill is appealing and the food was good. We liked the emphasis on using local suppliers and that they have a wood-oven. We'll happily return for another meal there soon.

Recipe: Fried Gubbeen

Mon, 27 Aug 2007 17:10:32 GMT

Joanne's Fried Gubbeen cheese recipe was inspired by a lunch item at a pub in County Cork. Gubbeen is a wonderful washed rind Irish Farmhouse Cheese (which is imported into the US) but you could also use any washed rind cheese for this recipe. It makes a wonderful accompaniment to a salad or appetizer.

Restaurant Review: Odyssey in Windsor, CA

Sat, 25 Aug 2007 01:57:19 GMT

Our first visit to Odyssey, the new hot restaurant in Windsor, CA, garnered mixed feelings. There is definite promise in the food and the choice of ingredients, but we felt as if there was still some ironing out to do on the details.

Wine Tasting: The Sorting Table

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 21:42:03 GMT

An excellent tasting of The Sorting Table's portfolio. The White Burgundies from Remoissonet and Henri Boillot were outstanding amongst a strong field of wines.

Restaurant Review: Rodney's Oyster House in Vancouver, BC

Tue, 14 Aug 2007 00:58:00 GMT

During our short foray to Vancouver, BC in April, we made a point of asking for the locations of the best oyster joint. Rodney's was by far named the most, so off we headed. We can see the appeal. Rodney's is a casual, pleasant spot, with a great raw bar. We would happily return to feast there again on oysters.

Restaurant Review: Rare in Vancouver, BC

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 21:59:21 GMT

The Aldergrove Duck Breast was singing at Rare. The food was quite good but the service was a bit too in your face. Still, we would definitely return.

Side note: Our four-year-old did his first tasting menu, eating most of the courses.

Artisan Charcuterie Resources

Mon, 06 Aug 2007 20:58:46 GMT

Joanne has assembled a great shopping resource of companies offering artisan charcuterie which practice sustainable or good farming or that use heritage meats. It's a work in progress so keep checking back.

Recipe: Melon Sorbet

Fri, 03 Aug 2007 17:50:46 GMT

A simple, fun recipe for making melon sorbet from most any kind of sweet melon. Make it with your kid(s)!

Restaurant Review: 'wichcraft in San Francisco

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 20:08:22 GMT

A lunch at 'wichcraft was a bit better than the reviews we had read but still, this is not a destination. Before or after a movie at the Metreon or shopping at Westgate, it beats the chain restaurants in the area.

Eight Cookbook Reviews

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 19:58:01 GMT

Joanne reviews eight more cookbooks:

  •  The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen
  •  Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine by Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark
  •  Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger
  •  Michael Mina: The Cookbook by Michael Mina
  •  Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

The other three reviews are on this page:

  •  Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon by Claudia Roden
  •  Instant Entertaining from Donna Hay
  •  Kaiseki: The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto's Kikunoi Restaurant by Yoshihiro Murata

Restaurant Review: Angèle in Napa, CA (revisited)

Fri, 27 Jul 2007 23:47:26 GMT

A second visit to Angèle wasn't as good as our first. Still, we like the ambiance and the menu, and will return.

Great Cheese Find: Timanoix

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 19:25:05 GMT

Joanne discovers Timanoix, a soft cow's milk cheese brought into the US by affineur Pascal Beillevaire.

Update: Kids' Food Books and Kids' Cookbooks

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 21:05:29 GMT

Joanne reviews seven more books:
Ratatouille (movie tie-in)
The Paper Bag Prince by Colin Thompson
How to Make An Apple Pie by Marjorie Priceman
A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra
Sweet Treats by Carolyn Beth Weil
Fun Foods by Stephanie Rosenbaum
There's a Hair in My Dirt by Gary Larson

Two Recipes: Celeriac and Potato soup and Celery Root and Potato with Apple and Bacon soup

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 21:41:17 GMT

Joanne provides you with two excellent recipes to turn those gorgeous celeriac (celery root) you see at the Farmers' Market into delicious soups.

Restaurant Review: Willi's Wine Bar in Santa Rosa, CA

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 18:40:44 GMT

Perhaps our seventh visit to Willi's Wine Bar, it's not a destination but a change-of-pace. The food is likable but the wines fall short.

The Artisan & Farmstead Cheese Pairing Project

Thu, 12 Jul 2007 16:18:18 GMT

Fork & Bottle, along with some cheese-aficionado bloggers, tested pairings with more than a dozen cheeses: Black Gold, Comté, Cone de Port Aubry, Fleur Verte, Garrotxa "La Bauma", Kuntener, Langres, Picolo, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Pozo Tomme, Pt. Reyes Blue, Queso de Obeja Blanda, Red Hawk and St. George.

Restaurant Review: Go Fish in St. Helena, CA

Mon, 09 Jul 2007 22:23:17 GMT

Our second visit was excellent - the food was simply delicious. Bravo Go Fish in Saint Helena, CA (wine country).

Wine Tasting: Return to Terroir - Biodynamic wines in Los Angeles

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 01:50:43 GMT

About 200 biodynamic and organic wines were available to taste at Nicolas Joly's yearly American tasting, Return to Terroir. An excellent tasting - well worth going to if you're in the trade.

Restaurant Review: K and L Bistro in Sebastopol, CA

Tue, 03 Jul 2007 00:22:09 GMT

Our latest visits to K & L Bistro find the food mostly delicious, but don't be in a hurry as the kitchen is small and our main courses arrive slowly. K and L is a great casual wine country spot and can be a successful dinner with kids, too.
We always order the Fritto Misto now, too: (image)

Recipe: Raspberry Lemonade

Sat, 30 Jun 2007 22:28:29 GMT

Joanne and Trent whip up and perfect homemade raspberry lemonade.

Joanne and Jack's Cheese Pairings

Fri, 29 Jun 2007 00:06:38 GMT

As part of our Great Cheese Pairing Project, Joanne tastes four cheeses (Fleur Verte, Cone de Port Aubry, Black Gold from Elk Creamery and Point Reyes Blue Cheese) with all sorts of accompaniments including five wines.

Jack tests four cheeses (Picolo from Andante Dairy, Comté, Langres and Kuntener Reblochon).

Wine Book Reviews

Tue, 26 Jun 2007 18:59:55 GMT

Jack has reviewed more wine books. His favorites are:
4000 Champagnes by Richard Juhlin
Italian Wines 2007 from Gambero Rosso
The Wines of France by Jacqueline Friedrich