Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Year in Review: Part 2

Let us continue to look back to 2007.

In the first part of My Year in Review, I discussed the five biggest and most important food and wine events of the past year for me. Now I want to touch on some smaller events and items, including some of my favorites in certain categories.

This is certainly not a complete list. It is more just a small sampling of memorable matters I have posted about over the past year. Just several items that I want to emphasize though by no means are they the only memorable items of the past year.

Favorite New Restaurant: L’Andana is a new Italian grille in Burlington. It is the fifth restaurant owned by famed Chef Jamie Mammano, who also owns Mistral, Teatro, Sorellina and Mooo. L'Andana very much impressed me, with its creative dishes, large quantities and delicious food. You can read my multiple reviews of L'Andana. I look forward to returning there for many more good meals, as well as their future opening for lunch.

Favorite Dessert: The Wine Ice Cream by Mercer's Dairy of New York also impressed me this past year. You can read my review of their tasty products. It is a creamy ice cream with a distinctive flavor of wine. Though they currently are not available in any Massachusetts store, they can be mail ordered. I do hope they become available in the near future in Massachusetts.

Saddest Event: The most unfortunate event of the past year was the closure of Savory Tastes Cafe in Reading. This was one of my favorite restaurants and I was much saddened when I learned it would be closing. I am hoping though that in 2008, Chef Stephen Bell will open another restaurant in a new location. He is a very talented chef and I miss his cuisine.

Important Wine Event: The first wine auction in Boston was held this past September. Skinner, a large auction house, will hold about two wine auctions each year. They are partnered with the Lower Falls Wine Co. Their first wine auction had over 200 lots, including a number of rarities. Though I was unable to attend their first auction I do hope to attend their next one. I was fortunate enough though to attend their special pre-auction wine tasting which was an incredible event. They had an amazing selection of high-end wines available for tasting.

Favorite Food/Wine Movie: If you have not seen it yet, then go out and get the DVD of Ratatouille. Sure it is an animated movie about a rat who wants to be a chef. But it is a fantastic movie that foodies will love. It is also movie that both children and adults will enjoy. I just loved this film and I am sure I will watch it again and again.

Favorite Local Winery: For a few years, my favorite Massachusetts wines have come from Turtle Creek Winery. I visited their winery this year and it helped cement my support for this excellent winery. The wine maker, Kip Kumler, was a fascinating and passionate man. If you can find his wines, buy them. You won't be disappointed.

Favorite Cookbook: I have been reviewing a number of cookbooks over the past year. The stand out for me was Pure Flavor: 125 Fresh All-American Recipes from the Pacific Northwest by Kurt Beecher Dammeier. I loved the Chef's philosophy, his recipes and the whole style of this cookbook. Plus it was a visually pleasing book.

Favorite Food Book: I enjoy watching Bourdain and Zimmerman on television but found a new book in a similar wine, The Year of Eating Dangerously by Tom Parker Bowles. I was unaware of Bowles prior to seeing his book hit the stands. But it was an enjoyable romp across the world. Bowles is an interesting writer and his experiences are well worth reading.

Favorite Food & Wine Fusion: While in Spain, I visited the winery of Abadia Retuerta. Beside their fine wines, they also sold wine-infused salts. I have used them several times now, on everything from duck to beef, and love them. They certainly add flavor and I find them rather unique.

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