The weeklong Savannah Food & Wine Festival has announced the many nonprofit organizations to which part of the festival profits will be donated. The sought-out festival will return to Georgia for the week of Nov. 11 to 17, bringing top chefs, sommeliers, and culinary experts to the area.
One of the main events at the festival, the Grand Reserve Tasting, hopes to bring in a noticeable amount of profit, of which part will be donated to a local nonprofit organization, The 200 Club of The Coastal Empire. This high-profile event will offer wine bottles averaging more than $50 for those looking for the "ultimate in wine tasting," as well as host a silent auction of items such as one-of-a-kind wine lots, luxury travel, merchandise, and services, while guests can enjoy gourmet appetizers.
"The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire goals and objectives are honorable and clearly in line with Savannah’s needs. The organization provides immediate financial assistance for surviving spouses and children of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line-of-duty while protecting their communities. We are very proud to be associated with the amazing work The 200 Club provides to our community," Michael T. Owens, president of the Savannah Food & Wine Festival, stated in a recent press release.
Special VIP guests at the Grand Reserve Tasting will include world-renowned sommeliers, winemakers, chefs, and authors such as Lydia and Rob Mondavi Jr., chef Chris Hastings, the Lee Brothers, chef Anthony Lamas, Master Sommeliers Robert Jones and Michael McNeill, and Iron Horse Vineyards.
According to Hugh Golden, chairman of the Grand Reserve Tasting Committee, the event is the must-attend event for wine enthusiasts. "If you appreciate good wine, the festival has a multitude of events you can attend — if you appreciate great wine, you won’t find a better ticket available in the southeast region to taste extraordinary wine than the Grand Reserve."
With community being the focal point of this year’s Savannah Food & Wine Festival, giving back and supporting local nonprofit organizations is of high priority to the festival organizers. Besides The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire, nonprofits that will benefit from festival include United Way of the Coastal Empire, Bethesda Academy, the West Broad Street YMCA, and Mom’s Lemonade Stand.
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The 20th South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is taking over South Florida from May 20 to May 23.
This year, along with SOBEWFF culinary staples like Andrew Zimmern and Martha Stewart, the festival is shining a light on the locals that make Miami a world-class destination for foodies.
Miami's culinary professionals reflect our city's diverse culture. Below, in alphabetical order, are some of the talented personalities to look out for at the festival, from chefs who honor their heritage through food to a brunch hostess in heels.
Good News: Heritage Classic Foundation
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - RBC Heritage Tournament Director Steve Wilmot often finds himself having to remind people about one of the most important reasons Hilton Head Island has a PGA TOUR event.
“Yes, it’s about the excitement of having the PGA TOUR professionals here, showcasing the community is great on TV, but it’s about giving back and it’s about supporting all of these organizations,” Wilmot said.
Returning to that support is as critical to the 2021 RBC Heritage as returning to April.
The Heritage Classic Foundation was unable to impact local charities the way it usually does with last June’s rescheduled Heritage operating at a financial loss. But the organization is putting its non-profit partners at the front of the line of entities returning to the event this week.
“Two things we were focused on were, No. 1 was having a safe, healthy environment for everybody for the tournament, and secondly if not even more important, was getting our charity programs up and running again. We had to shut them down because of the last year, but that’s why we do what we do at the Heritage Classic Foundation and we’re excited about opening those programs back up. So, we’re hoping the community will support our Champions for Charity as well as our Birdies for Charity program and then on top of that, 100 percent of the proceeds go back to those organizations, plus an additional 10 percent that the foundation will put on top.”
The Champions and Birdies programs have generated $20 million for local charities in the last decade. Suspending them for even one extraordinary year was difficult for everyone, just as bringing them back is exciting for everyone.
“We wish we could do more. There are so many worthy organizations that are doing such great work in this community and this area that we’re going to do everything we can to give back as much as we can. So, let’s get it going, get the momentum going, the excitement is there and we’re just excited about being able to give back.”
People Say Gullah Geechee Culture Is Disappearing. BJ Dennis Says They're Wrong
BJ Dennis does not want this story to be about him. He tells me this approximately 27 times over three days, as we barrel down the swampy coasts of South Carolina and Georgia in a boiled-crawfish-red Hyundai Santa Fe with the A/C cranked to five. He tells me a few more times in our follow-up calls, and again over text message. “This ain’t about me.” That’s the refrain. “This is cool and all, but it ain’t about me.”
At first I’m tempted to read it as a classic humblebrag. Lots of chefs say things like this lots of actors and musicians and other famous types do too. But as is the nature of humble-braggarts, most don’t actually mean it.
Dennis' spicy seafood gumbo with okra, whole shrimp, and blue crab claws
I first heard about Benjamin “BJ” Dennis IV because of a pop-up he started back in 2012 at Butcher & Bee, a Charleston café. Seeking to dispel the idea that African American food consists solely of fried chicken and mac ’n’ cheese, the chef built his menus around what his Gullah Geechee ancestors ate: fresh-caught seafood, local produce, heritage grains. The media took notice. But instead of opening a restaurant or hiring a PR firm or competing on a cooking show, Dennis, who is now 40, worked as a caterer and private chef so he could keep hosting pop-ups and collaborations all over the city, then all over the country.
His pop-ups were not just about serving delicious food but also about educating diners, and he emerged as a de facto ambassador for the Gullah community: a farmer, a scholar, and a self-taught historian, just as adept at growing heirloom produce and tracing transnational foodways as he was at cooking ginger-laced pots of gumbo studded with creek shrimp. He got written up in the New York Times for rediscovering a rare African hill rice—thought to be lost forever—in a remote field in Trinidad. He taught Anthony Bourdain about Gullah food in the Charleston episode of Parts Unknown. About how the enslaved brought with them from Africa so many of the crops now considered Southern staples: peanuts, watermelon, okra, sorghum, countless varieties of rice. How their farming skills formed the backbone of not just the South’s economy but of the Low Country cuisine associated with coastal South Carolina and Georgia. How gumbo, Hoppin’ John, even shrimp and grits can be traced back to African dishes, re-created by enslaved people in plantation kitchens.
The descendants of these people, known as the Gullah Geechee, remain here on the Sea Islands and coastal plains of the American South, their longtime geographic isolation a retainer for their distinctly West African identity, including a Creole language that’s still spoken today. Dennis himself speaks Gullah, a lilting amalgamation of English and African dialects he breaks into when excited. He incorporates aspects of it on social media, interviewing elders and captioning photos for his Instagram followers: “Dem boi say e fool up wit dat one pot mux!”
Born in Charleston and raised in a squat brick ranch-style house with a basketball hoop next to the garage, Dennis grew up Gullah without thinking about it. He learned early how to pick vegetables from his grandfather’s garden and crack the crabs in his mom’s seafood gumbo without breaking a tooth. He wanted to be a video game designer but flunked out of the College of Charleston his freshman year and instead got a job washing dishes at Hyman’s Seafood. He worked his way up the line, earned a culinary degree from a local community college, bounced around some popular downtown restaurants. Then he spent four years cooking in the Caribbean—a turning point that would come to define the rest of his career.
“St. Thomas taught me to be unapologetic about black culture,” Dennis says. Seeing statues of black leaders and hearing actual Creole on TV stirred something inside him. Maybe he could use what he knew—food—to bring this sense of cultural celebration back to Charleston. To shine a light on his own community.
Fishing boats in Mount Pleasant, SC
Doing so would mean challenging the contemporary narrative of Charleston’s food scene, which for the past decade has centered on the work of white chefs like Sean Brock at Husk and Mike Lata at FIG. National media (Bourdain included) heralded these chefs for their use of heirloom crops and traditional techniques while relegating decades-old Gullah mainstays like Martha Lou’s Kitchen and My Three Sons to the background, context-builders rather than the main event. But then here was Dennis, a chef with a foot in both worlds, a bridge between the insular Gullah community and the downtown restaurant scene. Here was a chef who could not only acknowledge the Gullah Geechee origins of his dishes, but make those origins—and their present-day implications—his focus.
“I wanted to help the next generation of Gullah Geechee chefs get their just due,” Dennis says, “to walk in the door and not get lowballed.”
Michael W. Twitty, the author and culinary historian, has been following Dennis from the start. “He is it,” Twitty says. “But the thing about it is, he’s not trying to be it. He’s trying to raise a whole generation of people to pick this mantle up. We don’t want to be icons we want to be griots.”
Griot is a word I have to look up, but when I do, it all makes sense: “a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet, or musician. sometimes called a bard.”
Edisto Island is just an hour from Charleston, separated from the mainland by a few slender waterways, but crossing over to it feels like stepping back in time. A man sells melons out of a truck parked beside the road. Mossy oaks hang low, forming living tunnels of green and gray. “Most of the Sea Islands look like this,” Dennis says. “Funny enough, this is how West Africa looks too. When [enslaved people] stepped off here, they thought it was a cruel joke.”
We’re driving through the heart of the 425-mile Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor on a mission, or rather, two distinct but parallel missions: mine, to write a profile of BJ Dennis. His, to turn my profile into something else entirely. Which is why asking him questions about himself falls on the difficulty scale somewhere close to herding cats.
As he says, this isn’t about him. It’s about Gullah culture. People have said it’s disappearing, but that’s just because they don’t know where to look: the no-frills roadside restaurants, the home kitchens, the family farms that dot the Low Country’s sun-soaked archipelago. To understand what it means to be Gullah (which is, of course, tantamount to understanding Dennis himself), we must leave Charleston altogether, go to Edisto and St. Helena in South Carolina, and St. Simons Island, Savannah, and Brunswick in Georgia. We must meet the people who live this culture every day, taste the pots of gumbo and greens their families have been cooking in obscurity for generations.
“Too many chefs act like they’re the first to do X, Y, Z,” Dennis says, “but everything comes from a place. People were doing it before it was glamorous.”
Gullah Grub on St. Helena is one of the country's few exclusively Gullah restaurants.
Owner Bill Green serves up a few of his specialties: fried shrimp, fried shark, green beans, red rice and potato salad.
Ms. Emily Meggett is one such person, and her little yellow house is one of the first stops on our trip. At 86, she’s Edisto Island’s grand matriarch, which is to say everybody’s grandma, though she has 10 children, 23 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren (not to mention 21 cats) of her own. She still cooks for 100-person weddings and funerals, grows okra in her backyard, and never lets anybody leave without something to eat. On her back porch a plastic jug of homemade blueberry wine has been fermenting for nearly a year. “Grab a pillowcase, BJ,” she says, “let’s strain it.” We watch her tip sugar into the bucket of deep purple liquid as she reminisces about the old days, when things were slower, less crowded, more connected. She sets out plastic cups of the sweet but kicky wine alongside crackers with cream cheese and homemade pepper jelly the color of Christmas. “People don’t treat you warm like this anymore,” she says.
It takes an hour and a half to zigzag from Edisto to St. Helena, though the two islands are technically less than 20 miles apart. “If we had a boat it’d be faster,” says Dennis, whose great-grandfather was a ferry driver, “but that life is over now.” Today most of the docks are private, the vessels recreational. It’s a different world, but St. Helena still feels like an enclave. Home to one of the country’s first schools for the formerly enslaved, today an African American cultural institution called the Penn Center, the island was a safe haven from the KKK during the civil rights era. Here is where Martin Luther King Jr. worked on “I Have a Dream.”
Here too is where we meet Jackie Frazier, the owner of Barefoot Farms, manning tables laden with candy-sweet strawberries and plump tomatoes under a hand-painted sign. Three years in a row, his entire crop got wiped out by hurricanes, yet here he remains, bare toes sinking into the soft dirt just like his father’s before him and his grandfather’s before that. We wend our way through rows of melons and collard greens to a converted trailer out back lined with 1,500 quails cooing quietly in their cages.
“You still on that quail egg diet?” Dennis asks.
“Sure am.” Three raw eggs every morning and night, Frazier says, will cure whatever ails you: diabetes, hypertension, arthritis. But they won’t make your children—his are all grown— take over the family business. “It will end with me,” he says. “Nobody wants to farm anymore. You can make a living a whole lot easier doing something else.”
Jackie Frazier at Barefoot Farms on the island of St. Helena in South Carolina
Of course, Dennis points out, kids not wanting to take up their parents’ professions isn’t a problem unique to the Gullah Geechee. But the culture’s centuries-old refusal to assimilate is what’s kept it strong. That’s why educating Gullah youth about their roots and reinstating a sense of pride in their identity is so crucial. Failing that, Gullah culture could disappear.
That’s also why people like Bill Green are so inspiring to Dennis. We meet Green over plates of fried shark and red rice at his restaurant, Gullah Grub, in a white clapboard house. A farmer, fisherman, and huntsman, Green used to have his own cooking show on the local public access channel. “When I was a kid we’d watch him actin’ stupid, cooking dishes we eat,” Dennis recalls. “He was a living legend for us. Unapologetic Geechee.” Today Gullah Grub is not only a restaurant but a training center where Green and his wife, Sara, show local middle schoolers how to cook a simple pot of rice, how to fish, how to grow vegetables. “You’ve got to teach it,” Green says, “because when you leave, you ain’t carrying nothing with you.”
Now 72, Green sees Dennis as a protégé of sorts, and the younger chef gives the love right back: “For Bill to say he’s proud of what I’m doing is bigger than any James Beard Award. This is my award. Sitting here with him.”
Bill Green with a plate full of classics at Gullah Grub on St. Helena island
As our road trip unfolds, there are patterns I start to notice. Some are distressing, like how the region’s growing influx of tourists, and the property taxes that have ballooned in their wake, are pushing the Gullah off their land. On St. Simons Island in Georgia, once home to a robust community of emancipated African Americans, the black population is down to less than 3 percent, with more than a quarter of the housing units occupied only seasonally. Gullah landmarks—like Igbo Landing, where tribespeople captured from modern-day Nigeria overtook their slave ship, then walked together into the murky waters of Dunbar Creek to avoid the fate they knew was in store—are privately owned and bear no official historical marker. We drive past a cemetery for the enslaved that’s now owned by a golf course.
But I also notice encouraging things, like how nearly every Gullah home we visit has a vegetable garden instead of the typical suburban lawn. And how each visit, Dennis slips back to the car and returns with a canvas bag full of seeds to share. He knows by sight what each unlabeled ziplock and glass vial contains: Sapelo Island okra Sea Island red peas orca beans, so named because they look like tiny killer whales. This one came from a farmer in Benin that one grows well in partial sun.
Today this kind of heirloom produce has become rare, expensive, often relegated to the world of upscale restaurants—an irony Michael Twitty wrote about on his blog, Afroculinaria: “Our story has been used to raise the price point of many menus so much so that the descendants of the enslaved cannot afford to enjoy and appreciate the very edible heritage that was nourished by their Ancestors’ skills, knowledge, and blood.”
That’s why community seed sharing is so important, Twitty tells me: “It’s about restoration.” By passing down the same sustenance his ancestors carried with them on the slave ships from Africa, Dennis is able to not only anchor a people to their past, but bring back the kind of self-sufficiency that’s always existed in this community. It’s a small and simple act, but it’s also a revolution.
Seeds in tow, we make our way to Savannah to meet Gina Capers-Willis, who runs the catering company What’s Gina Cooking. When we arrive, her mother, Ella, is seated at the kitchen table, critiquing her daughter’s dishes and regaling us with tales: how she learned to make moonshine at 13, how she found a cheatin’ way to catch crabs in a bucket down on the creek. Dennis sits and listens while I join Capers-Willis at the stove, watching her stir a big pat of butter into creamy grits and then spoon smothered garlic crab on top. Ella approves, giggling at my clumsy attempts to extract the sweet crabmeat as she chomps right through a claw with her 86-year-old teeth.
Gina Capers-Willis runs a contemporary Gullah catering business in Savannah called What's Gina Cooking?
Capers-Willis' smothered garlic crabs are legendary.
Our next stop is the chef Roosevelt Brownlee’s Savannah bachelor pad. When we arrive for dinner, he’s wearing a knit rastacap and a red apron over an African-print shirt, white beard tied in a knot below his chin. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, Brownlee cooked for American jazz musicians touring Europe—Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra’s entire Arkestra (“Muddy Waters used to take his dentures out to eat my chicken!”)—but came home to Savannah and got overlooked for basic kitchen jobs.
“I guess they called me the rebellious one because everywhere I went I’d wear something representing Africa,” he says, sliding four of his famous Daufuskie deviled crabs into the oven, thorny shells filled with fluffy pillows of spiced crabmeat. Watching Dennis’s rise is the kind of triumph that feels personal. “I see him doing things I used to do. Man, they knocked me down.”
Emeril, a new restaurant week and more planned for the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival
Emeril Lagasse and the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival will be back but it’s going to be a lot different.
The annual festival will return June 3 to June 12, featuring a virtual program with Lagasse and the first ever Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival Restaurant Week.
It’s been a challenge for many large scale-festivals to decide how best to stage their events in light of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination rates and the ever-changing state regulations on crowd-sizes.
Last year the festival had to be canceled in the 11th hour, as the pandemic first began to grip the Valley and shutdowns were ordered.
Every year, the festival showcases cuisine from the region’s top restaurants, offerings from vineyards and distilleries from around the world, and cooking demonstrations and workshops. The event is hosted by Northampton Community College and Wind Creek in partnership with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. The festival is also a major fundraiser for NCC, helping fund scholarships and programs for students. Since 2010, the festival has raised more than $2 million.
The virtual program will be broadcast at 7 p.m. June 3 on lehighvalleyfoodandwine.com. The event is free to watch and will feature Lagasse, who has been a nearly annual part of the festival and is among the nation’s most recognized and awarded chefs. Also part of that presentation will be a number of local chefs who will prepare their top recipes for viewers, including Christopher Heath, executive corporate chef for Paxos Restaurants. Chris Cree, founder of Cree Wine Co., will provide insights on pairing the right wine with the right meal. Also on tap: Virtual whiskey tastings featuring Maker’s Mark, Maker’s Mark 46, Knob Creek 9 year, and Basil Hayden’s from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. Music will be by The Craig Thatcher Band.
The festival’s website will also offer a range of virtual vineyard tours and a silent auction, allowing participants to bid on fine wines and travel experiences. Viewers will also be able to order a special meal from NCC’s Hampton Winds restaurant to dine on while watching the program.
The debut Food & Wine Festival Restaurant Week will begin June 4 and run through June 12. Participating area restaurants, which will offer specials throughout the week, include blue, Burgers and More by Emeril, Emeril’s Chop House, Melt, Top Cut Steakhouse, and Torre. More info on that to come.
Since the inception of the festival, more than $2 million has been raised to help students. Sponsorship dollars and silent auction proceeds for this year’s festival will directly benefit NCC students.
Effie’s Shrimp Creole
When folks think of coastal Georgia food, they think of shrimp and grits. That dish is definitely indicative of the Saltwater Gullah and Geechee who lived on the Sea Islands. They most often made the dish with a rich brown gravy or roux, much more akin to a gumbo. Freshwater — or mainland — Geechee, like my family, made something closer to a jambalaya, no okra but richly flavored with tomatoes and red pepper. The rice, of course, stretches it. For me, my mom’s shrimp creole, a recipe handed down through the family, is a comfort food.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 16-ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice or Carolina Gold Rice
1 quart warm shrimp stock, prepared or homemade (recipe follows)
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved for stock
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the peppers, tomato puree, red pepper flakes, and rice, stirring until well combined. Pour the stock in slowly to prevent splattering, as the pan will be hot, then bring the creole to a boil. Once boiling, stir, cover, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Remove the cover, add the shrimp, and give the rice a good stir. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed and the shrimp have pinked and curled. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve and enjoy.
2 quarts (8 cups) cold water
4 cups shrimp shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery rib, cut into 2-inch pieces, including leaves
1 lemon, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Step 1: Pour the water in a large stockpot and set aside.
Step 2: Rinse and drain the shrimp shells. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and toss the shrimp shells for 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Step 3: Add the shrimp shells and vegetables to the stockpot, then toss in the lemon, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat, then strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into quart- or pint-sized containers. Cool the stock completely, then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for later use.
California: Coffee Manufactory, Oakland
Funny, isn’t it, how great things sometimes happen only when you’ve run out of options. This is where Tartine, the San Francisco bakery that helped usher in a new era of American bread, found itself back in 2016, when looking to greatly expand their empire, built on so many citrus-scented morning buns. You can’t, after all, serve some of the country’s finest pastry and bread alongside sub-par coffee founders Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt knew this, but they were having the worst time finding the right partner or supplier for the job, and time was very much a factor. Enter Christopher Jordan, one of those coffee industry grownups who by that time had done and seen it all—his modest proposal, to bring the roasting in-house, most likely didn’t have anyone thinking, at least not at first, that everyone else was going to want their coffees. But with someone as experienced as Jordan, who called in a whole bunch of his very talented colleagues to make the thing go, you look back and you think, okay, so that was pretty much inevitable. The coffee is, as you would expect from a team with this much knowledge, right up there, but equally exciting is just how streamlined and sensible the operation has been from the start. There are six different roasts, each with their own role to play, but with a common goal of continuity and quality. In not very much time at all, Coffee Manufactory has become a calming presence in a somewhat excitable industry, and that’s just the nicest thing.
Tasting notes After years of contenting itself with the status quo, Los Angeles spent the last decade—with a serious assist from out-of-town players𠅌reating a new kind of café culture, and now there are beautiful coffee shops everywhere. While most play the part rather effectively, the coffee too-often feels like an afterthought. That’s never the case at Dayglow, the straightforward Silver Lake café brewing up some of the best beans from around the world, a selection tightly-curated by proprietor Tohm Ifergan. Walking into the Sunset Boulevard shop, with its neon and millennial pink accents, you may be tempted to think you’ve just wandered into another Instagram trap—stay, and be blessed. Still, with so many roasters at the top of their game around the state right now, you don’t want to spend too much time away from the source—there’s hardly a town or city left in the state that isn’t contributing to California’s continuing journey towards utter and complete coffee domination, but here are four you should definitely be familiar with: in Oakland, it’s Keba Konte’s Red Bay Coffee, which has had nearly two years to settle into their impressive roastery, bar, and garden complex, over in Fruitvale (Red Bay has plans to expand well beyond Oakland—keep eyes peeled). In Santa Cruz, one of America’s best little coffee towns since before many of today’s coffee drinkers were born, it’s currently all about the endlessly likable Cat & Cloud, backed by a significant amount of industry experience. In Southern California—now proudly the first coffee producing region on the American mainland, watch this space—of course we&aposll start with the new roasting program backing Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski’s rapidly expanding Go Get 𠆎m Tiger empire in Los Angeles. Nothing in this part of the state during the past year, however, felt quite so yes, please, more of that as the work being done at Arcade Coffee, the low-key roaster (complete with modest, but very welcoming café) making their home in an old video store in Riverside their coffees were among of the most memorable, nationally, beginning with an absolutely plush espresso blend. Arcade’s profit-sharing program, where employees split 10% of the profits each quarter in lieu of tipping, feels like a model worth talking about.
Organising A Holiday Around Food & Wine
Australia’s Ultimate Winery Experiences by state
With Australia’s enviable abundance of wine-growing regions open for mini-breaking wine lovers, sometimes sorting thro.
Whoever said &lsquonever make big decision on an empty stomach&rsquo obviously never visited Australia&rsquos wine regions.
We say a hungry belly is the perfect accompaniment to any foodie escape, providing the internal tracking device needed to navigate the multitude of gourmet flavours on offer.
Planning the perfect food and wine escape is all about you. Do you salivate over savoury snacks or indulge your sweet tooth more than you should? These are the questions to ask yourself as you plot and plan a trip for your tastebuds.
Why plan a food and wine holiday?
We all have to eat. Why not do it well? Even if you&rsquore not much of a glutton, there&rsquos an undeniable culture around food that&rsquos inspirational. From farming to fine dining, there&rsquos magic to witnessing all the behind the scenes passion that goes into producing every morsel of a meal and then tasting or sipping the end result.
Australian food and wine holidays are extra special because we infuse the unique energy of our land into every bite. Don&rsquot know what we mean? Read on.
Bringing steamed bagels to Savannah
The void in the local tour de torus was too much for Harts and Mapleton to bear. So, the idea was simple: Harts wanted steamed bagels, so she opened a bagel shop.
“I just love steam bagels and they weren’t here so, I said ‘Kevin, will you get me a bagel steamer—an industrial bagel steamer—for my birthday?’ So, then we just started messing around in August, giving them to our friends and neighbors, and they were like, ‘Wow, you really should do something with this’,” Harts said.
This is one instance where everyone should rejoice that neighbors voiced their opinions because the bagels coming out of Steamboat Bagels’ bread saunas are nothing short of brunch-altering.
Steamboat Bagels is a project of love simply because Harts and Mapleton both have their own full-time jobs.
“It’s always been in my mind that it is going to be a hobby,” Harts said. “It was never something where I was like, ‘I want to get rich doing this.’”
Though the two haven’t put their financial futures into making bagels just yet, their customers get the very best they have to offer with each sandwich because of the enjoyment that Harts and Mapleton get out of their new venture.
The location for Steamboat Bagels came naturally, too. With little experience in the food industry, the couple decided to start small. First at home, then with friends, and now at least once a month via pop-up restaurant in Starland Yard.
“We looked into getting a food truck and we looked into getting a space but for us with our jobs it just didn’t make sense,” Harts said. “So, we have a partnership with Loki and Starland Yard. It has been really great to do the pop-ups there.”
Truth be told, I had never had a steamed bagel before and was uncertain in my expectations. So often eating a sandwich framed in bagel is a tricky venture. The bagel can be too chewy or the filling too slippery. All holed-breakfast-sandwich connoisseurs know the feeling of taking that first bite and having to hold in the contents of the bagel awkwardly with the pinkies of the hands. It’s a messy situation well worth avoiding if at all possible.
But, by layering up the sandwich on a fresh bagel, then steaming the entire thing — in Steamboat’s special contraptions — you get a bagel sandwich that eats like a panini but is soft like a steamed bun. Harts seemed to agree with my point.
“If you have all the hearty ingredients that we put on our sub with the smoked meat and the smoked cheeses, you don’t really want to have it falling out of the back of it,” she said.
From steaming, the bagel itself remains delicate and easy to chomp through. I am now a full-fledged disciple of the technique bagels that are used as sandwich bread need to be steamed and leave the traditional chewy counterpart for a smear or some lox.
Some of their sandwiches are created on bialy style bagels. Bialy bagels are not boiled like traditional ones, they are instead sent straight into the oven for baking.
The showstopper — and submarine-sized — sandwich was the Bagel Barge, aptly named. It’s debut was the very last pop up.
Patrons get 10 full inches of an everything bagel sandwich roll, which is arguably the best bagel flavor — especially for breakfast sandwiches. Before steaming, the dynamic duo boards the Bagel Barge with all of the breakfast fixins: sausage, cheese and eggs.
The Smokestack was also a winner. Layered inside of a normal-shaped bagel comes tender smoky shredded boston butt, gooey white American cheese, tender egg, salty bacon and a fresh made rosemary garlic aioli.
This is unlike any barbecue sandwich that you’d find in a normal smokehouse.
Between the perfectly soft bagel and the smoke-filled chew of the meat is the perfect marriage of texture. The egg, bacon and cheese add a level of delectably devilish richness that the compliments the slowly-cooked pork shoulder deliciously.
For the next pop up, May 16, patrons will likely find that a Steamboat signature is back on the menu — the pimento cheese with ham. The classic is dubbed the Groggy Sailor. It features a signature homemade pimento cheese, smoked ham, egg and mustard. This one comes layered on a jalapeno and red pepper bagel.
The idea of an egg-only sandwich on the pillowy steamed bagel is not a compromise by any stretch of the imagination. Many people will find that they prefer that as it brings the taste of the bagel to the front of the experience of tasting Steamboat’s food.
Some time in the future, the Sultans of Steam would like to have a quaint brick-and-mortar spot.
“We would love to have a small space were people would get to go bagels and maybe a Bloody Mary or something on the way to the park,” Harts said.
In the meantime, you can follow Steamboat Bagels on Instagram, @steamboatbagels to get the most up-to-date information on Savannah’s newest circular culinarians.
First Hody festival coming to Cedar Rapids
CEDAR RAPIDS — The houbys are on hold, but the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in southwest Cedar Rapids is embracing another festival, serving up food, music, wine tasting, a tree planting and even a cooking demonstration by a Slovak ambassador later this month.
It’s called Hody, which is Czech for “feast,” and is an annual festival in the Czech Republic, held on no particular date between May and September. Celebrations can range from a progressive meal to a multiday celebration, with food, maypoles and music/dancing being the hallmark activities.
Hody 2021 will take place May 21 to 23, with most events happening at the museum, 1400 Inspiration Pl. SW, Cedar Rapids. Many of the events have early reservation deadlines and limited seating.
Drive-up traditional Czech meal: 4 to 7 p.m. May 21 $25, order by today at ncsml.org/hody2021/
Meal to include: pork loin (veprove maso) dumplings with gravy (knedlik) sauerkraut (zeli) one kolach (kolace). Select Czech beer and additional kolaches will be available for purchase at time of pickup.
Linden tree planting: 10 a.m. to noon May 22, at Czech National Cemetery, 2200 C St. SW, Cedar Rapids. Museum President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia Rokusek, Czech Heritage Foundation President Jim Gruntorad, Slovak Ambassador to the United States Radovan Javorcik and Czech Center of New York Director Miroslav Konvalina and Deputy Director Jan Zahour will plant four linden trees donated by Trees Forever. The event is free and open to the public.
Many cultures consider the linden tree, with its heart-shaped leaf, a sacred symbol representing peace, love, prosperity, friendship and good luck.
Coffee and kolaches: Noon May 22 at the museum, following the tree planting free and open to the public. Konvalina will speak about the Czech Center of New York.
Cooking demonstration: 2 to 4 p.m. May 22, at the museum. Ambassador Javorcik will demonstrate how to prepare laugaricio tartiflette (zemiaky z laugaricia). This potato dish incorporates sauerkraut, sweet wine, bacon, smoked meat and lots of cheese. Audience members will be invited to taste the finished dish. This event is free for museum members and $15 for others. Tickets will be available at the door, but reservations are recommended since room capacity is limited to 72. Call (319) 362-8500 or go to ncsml.org/hody2021/
Czech and Slovak wine tasting: 5 to 6:30 p.m. May 22, at the museum, $60. Featuring sommelier Steven Greif. Sample wines from the Bohemian region, an area that traditionally featured sweet wines but has undergone significant expansion.
Greif has been leading wine tastings covering a broad range of regions and styles for many years. Reservations are recommended as the room capacity is 70 call (319) 362-8500 or go to ncsml.org/hody2021/
Jozef Ivaska Jr. in concert: 2 to 4 p.m. May 23, at the museum $10 public, free to museum members reservations recommended since audience is limited to 100 call (319) 362-8500 or go to ncsml.org/hody2021/
Ivaska, a Slovakian tenor, will perform operatic, traditional folk and Broadway repertoire.