“I left my heart in San Francisco” (in a glass of aged RHUM and elsewhere)

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First,  a bit of background:  I was asked by Ed Hamilton, the world renowned authority on Cane Spirits to be a judge in the "Ministry of Rum” tasting competition, held yearly in San Francisco.

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A Pilsner Haus and Biergarten in Hoboken and Some More Personal Photography

bobrow-pilsner-3 Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken, NJ is almost all ready to open June 30.  Why should I be interested in a Biergarten?  Perhaps the answer to this lies squarely in the lap of my parents, who took me to Europe on a regular basis while growing up.  There were always German Beers in our house.  I was never denied a few ice cold Becks with dinner.

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A Visit to Shinn Vineyards Reveals More Than A Mouthful of Wine

bobrow-shinn-7 I hardly slept a wink last night with the rich flavors of the Shinn wines spinning through my head.  The day spent driving around the verdant farms turned vineyards, to the Greenport Brewery to eat oysters by the water and then finally home. The aromatics of this wine stayed with me all day into the next.

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An Interview with Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Food on the Travel Channel

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Andrew Zimmern is coming to eat something bizarre at a restaurant near you. He won't make you join him at his decidedly funky dinner table and he's cool with that.

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Bone Marrow

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If you had asked me a few years ago, the last thing I ever would have thought I’d be doing was scooping the salty contents of a cow’s bone onto a piece of toast and eating it. Not that I have anything against the idea, I just didn’t realize restaurants were pumping the dish out so readily to throngs of hungry foodies demanding it. And what’s more, they are charging $15-$25 per plate and people are still chomping at the bit

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Bourbon/Rye Bonne Vivante- Hollis Bulleit – Five Questions

bobrow-hollis-bulleit-circle I grew up in Lexington Kentucky, but I’ve got gypsy blood in me so since I turned 18 I’ve moved around quite a bit. I’ve spent time in Boston, East Village in New York, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, Aix-en-Provence France (with stints in London, Spain, and Italy), and now I’m on the west coast. So I’ve certainly earned my street cred to have the World Ambassador of Bulleit Bourbon title. The one thing that I learned from my Mama was to always cook with love. No fighting in the kitchen lest it get into the food.

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Gary Allen Wants to Take You Out into the Woods to Pick Mushrooms

bobrow-gary-allen-circle However, in spite of what our mothers told us, not every wild mushroom is plotting to kill us. The trick is to be able to distinguish between those that will delight us and those that will destroy us. The best way to develop this ability is, as I did, from an experienced mushroom hunter. Admittedly, not everyone is lucky enough to know such people. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Many excellent books and magazines can answer the beginner’s questions (and debunk dangerous myths that could kill an inexperienced mushroom hunter).

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Gary Allen Wants to Take You Out to Gather Mesquite Wood

bobrow-mesquite-circle Mesquite is best known as the classic Southwestern fuel for smoky-flavored barbecue. When I was a child, visiting the Texas side of the family, long before I knew there were such creatures as gourmets — and certainly before gourmets knew about mesquite — I knew ALL about mesquite. It was just common knowledge that mesquite provided the hottest, best smelling, and tastiest firewood for outdoor, Texas-sized, feasts.

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German/French Country Cooking: Choucroute

bobrow-choucroute-circle Some of most poignant memories of this time centered on bowls of soup or a mound of sliced sausages, sauerkraut, smoked pork cooked until melted and served with tiny boiled potatoes.   It was what I demanded to eat.  I didn’t want anything else other than tortellini in brodo while in Italy and Choucroute while in Alsace.

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Greek Revolution 1970’s sometime…

bobrow-greek-revolution-circle My mom insisted on going to Greece to discover the antiquities in Crete.  The travel agency had warned us, the government was in a state of violence.  The year of our trip was somewhere in the early 1970’s.  Civil disobedience was running all over Greece, similar to what is going on today. From the moods and whims of Zeus, Hera and the other Gods, to the present day, nothing really changes- Someone had set off a series of car bombs in Athens so we made a beeline to Crete.

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Hoosier Momma- The Best Bloody Mary Mix in America? I Think So.

Hoosier Momma Who taught you about flavor? My flavor comes from everything I’ve experience in my life, from my childhood helping my mother to spending 15 years in the restaurant industry and attending culinary school. It allowed me to form my own flavor. I grew up in a house full of flavor.

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I’d Like to Take You Inside my Photographic Mind for a Week or so…

bobrow-photo-12This week on Wild Table, I’d like to share with you some recent photographs.  Perhaps this week will reflect the passion I have for photography or maybe the reason is my first photo show in Princeton, NJ for the Princeton Arts Council, Pinot to Picasso.

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June Jacobs-CCP

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Mom’s remarks echo the typical American experience: coconut seems to be something folks either love or hate. Since I’ve always liked it, I have a hard time understanding the intense dislike I’ve seen displayed. Dislike of many foods is often related to texture even more than flavor.

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Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala and Some Recent Photography

bobrow-manhattanclassic-8Hannah Lee has my vote for the be-all, do all contact point for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.  Hanna is the principal at “Hanna Lee Communications.”  When I contacted her to receive a press pass for the Gala, I didn’t have to say too much.  I knew what kind of night was ahead of me.

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New Column for Wild River Review’s Wild Table/The Five Questions

bobrow-wt-jon-ashton-circle The other day, Chef Jon Ashton started following me on Twitter. I'd first heard of him after seeing him with Giada De Laurentis several years ago. He has an infectious smile, a lovely Liverpudlian accent (his patient, quiet voice reminded me of the Beatles music) Jon has the determination to follow his dreams through living his passion. What is his passion? I'll let the questions and his answers speak clearly of this energy for humanity.

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Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz: Mixology Magicians-The Five Questions

bobrow-mixology-magicians-circle In the modern world of Mixology, there are new ways of making classic drinks. One of these new ways involve the use of aromatic and flavor packed cocktail bitters. These are not your bitters of yore, but revolutionary techniques using culinary creativity in the applications for Nick and Ira’s handcrafted cocktail bitters.

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One Question for Saucy Smith of Lobster Sandwich on Twitter

bobrow-lobster-5 She “ruled the roost” in her kitchen; wood burning stove and crank water pump and all.  Nannie stirred the pots, stuffed the birds, rolled out the dough and canned the veggies while she firmly instructed her numerous daughters and daughters-in-law.  My mother,Virginia, was a star pupil.  Men, quite simply, didn’t cook in June’s world.

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Painkiller NYC

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Painkiller in NYC is not your usual Tiki Bar. And Manhattan is not your usual island. Step off the street- dark-brooding-heart full of feverish dreams – this a slice of historical element meets downright drunk behavior.

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Real Corned Beef and easy to make Vegetarian Borscht

bobrow-corned-beef-circle What is Mile End?  Well, for one it is a neighborhood in Montréal, Canada that is known for its artistic slant.  Canadian expat- ex law student-  Noah Bernamoff is the owner with his wife, Rae Cohen at the namesake restaurant in Boerum Hill, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY.

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Some Notes on the Loss of Electricity, a Scotch Tasting, Leslie Carothers, and a Small Request to Visit the Website Named Modenus

bobrow-cast-iron-circle Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m plenty passionate about oily, aged Rum.  So much so that during the power failure a few short weeks ago- I warmed up the sailor’s way- drinking hot buttered rum.  Not for the buzz- it was there- but to heat my bones from the inside out.

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Some personal history, Governor’s Island in NYC and Meatopia

bobrow-meatopia-circle Good BBQ takes time.  Nothing is done quickly or without meaning.  “Shut ‘em down boys” is commonly heard shouted by the pit master.  This means in simple language, to shut down the vents on the BBQ grill so the meat can cook “low and slow” gently napped by the sweet smoke that swirls from smoldering hard wood chunks.

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Some Photography for a Tuesday

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Sunday Dinner with Johnny “Meatballs”

bobrow-johnnymeatballs-circle Last Sunday, by the kind invitation of Johnny “Meatballs” DeCarlo and his lovely wife Megin- I traveled to their gracious home for Sunday Dinner. They asked me to their home to share some of his signature meatballs and gravy.

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The Five Questions with Laury and John Bakie

bobrow-bakie-circle Also on Twitter I came across Chef Lynn Bourinaris, CEC, CCE.  Lynn is a marvelous person who truly exemplifies the passion needed to be a chef.  She runs the culinary arts program in Sussex County, NJ at the technical high school.  Lynn and I have shared conversations on Twitter about food, wine and culture.  She used to be in the bagel business, but though the magic of time and energy- found herself in her dream job of teaching kids how to cook.

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The Five Questions With Tia Dobi, Owner and Creative Director, Expand The Brand

bobrow-tia-dobi-circle Tia Dobi and I met on Twitter (which, she reveals in Q5, brings in big bucks). Talking food uncovered this charming marketer’s true grit. Quoting one of her Los Angeles branding clients, "To say that Tia is passionate is like saying blueberries are just blue. She is robust, inspiring, and inventive."

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The Five Questions: Arianna Armstrong

bobrow-arianna-circle Arianna publishes a blog named GRAPESMART where wines don’t have to be expensive to be delicious. Those that speak clearly of the Terroir. (Taste of the place) Her wine tasting notes are written for real people who enjoy their wines as part of their everyday life. With food, without food, she clearly writes with a smile on her face.

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The Five Questions: Chef David Robinson

bobrow-david-robinson-circle My culinary influences have been like my life: An unlikely confluence of seemingly random events. As a kid, I was rounding the TV channels and I discovered Graham Kerr, who was the first person I saw having hedonistic fun in the kitchen; cooking and eating for pleasure.  The Galloping Gourmet – part imp, part sybarite, part court jester – introduced me to more European-type fare. Later James Beard then Julia Child.

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The Five Questions: Christo Gonzales

bobrow-christo-gonazles-circle Christo Gonzales: I get inspiration from all kinds of things. Seasonal foods are the biggest driving force to what inspires me and then its Jacques Pepin.  Jacques Pepin has such skill and ease in the kitchen that he can break down the most complicated of dishes and present it in such a clean and straight forward way.  Its like watching a maestro play the piano – he makes you feel like you can do it too.

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The Five Questions: Claudine Pepin

bobrow-claudine-pepin-circle Claudine PepinIt matters little where I am – it matters whom I am with.  Family and friends trump all.  However, with all my family and closest friends, in a small beach town with great local food and wine, and, of course a petanque court, that would be quite perfect! I’m not one for long long sit-down dinners – but a casual  warm evening, outside, and you can smell the trees, grass and feel the ocean breeze – and hear lots of laughter – and remember it’s not about how much the wine costs – it’s who you share it with that makes the best memory!

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The Five Questions: Colman Andrews co-founder of Saveur Magazine

 Colman The weirdest thing I’ve eaten in Spain–and not necessarily weird in a bad sense—is dinner at El Bulli, which is always way out in space (though with its roots in local ground). Other than that… I think percebes (gooseneck barnacles) are pretty bizarre, and I’m not a great fan of them. Then there are espardenyes, the sea slugs fished off the Catalan coast, but those I love…

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The Five Questions: Craig Newmark, Adam Seger, and Ed Hamilton

bobrow-newmark-circle We all eat, some of us eat then write about it, others taste a special wine and always remember it.  Still others have told me that some foods that they prepare bring a tear to their eye. Being a good listener, I try to capture these thoughts and put them down on paper.  My goal in the Five Questions is to share the passion of food, drink and life.  They all intersect, thank you for permitting me to share my thoughts and my dreams.

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The Five Questions: DeBragga Meats, NYC

bobrow-meats-10At DeBragga, we believe that the finest expression of beef comes after it has been properly dry aged. No matter what grade or what breed, dry aging concentrates and develops the ultimate flavor of beef. When a Rib, or a strip, or a short loin, is dry aged, the meat is left on a shelf for a period of time in a room where the temperature is around 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is constant airflow surrounding each piece.

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The Five Questions: Dianne Jacob

bobrow-dianne-jacob-circle Dianne Jacob: I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. My immigrant parents were obsessed with food, mostly as a way to connect with their past in China. My father made pickles, yogurt, and grew obscure Chinese vegetables. My mother was in charge of getting dinner on the table every night, as we did not go out to restaurants. But her real love was baking and canning. She probably made at least a dozen kinds of jam every year, and our chest freezer was full of cakes, cookies, and bars.

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The Five Questions: Dorie Greenspan

bobrow-greenspan-circle I recently spent about an hour on the telephone with Dorie Greenspan, sharing a lovely conversation about the nature of food and how food makes us feel inside.

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The Five Questions: Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni Several months ago I mustered up enough courage to write to Frank Bruni.  He had just released his book , "Born Round", and I wanted to share with him some thoughts that I had.  A conversation ensued and we exchanged some emails.

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The Five Questions: Jeff Deasy

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My Greek Great Grandfather brought a recipe for lamb and macaroni with him when he came to America. My Mom made it for Sunday dinners and special occasions. It was the first recipe we published on the American Feast web site. It was accompanied by an account written by my Mom of my Great Grandparents and my Grandmother on their first day in America after arriving at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. I love the flavor of that meal and the warm memories it brings.

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The Five Questions: Jeffrey Hayzlett

Jeffrey Hayzlett

You are on the road most of the year. What foods do you enjoy that you miss most when traveling? Do you have a favorite restaurant? What are they famous for?

I do not miss much when I travel. I find that I'm in various cities around the world, so I get to experience whatever I like whenever I want it, for the most part. I'm able to get the foods I like because of the diversity of places you can go around the world.

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The Five Questions: Jennifer A. Wickes/Foodwriter, Recipe Developer, Award-Winning Cook

potato Jennifer A. Wickes: I was born in Ohio and have memories of my mother throwing fantastic parties and my father baking pies and cookies. I wanted to do both!

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The Five Questions: John Lundin, Owner of Bluewater Organic Distilling

bobrow-john-1 I’m pretty sure that I met John Lundin through my friend Jackie at DrinkGal.com, but then again I might be wrong.  But as anyone who has spent any time on the open ocean can tell you, once a sailor, always one.   Like the time that I met Ed Hamilton from the Ministry of Rum.  It was over an ice cold and quite refreshing rum cocktail on the stern of my family’s yacht moored off Tortola about twenty- five years ago

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The Five Questions: John T. Edge- BBQ Culturalist

John T Edge

I first came across the writing of John T. Edge about ten or so years ago. His name came up in conversation about the correct spelling of the word potlikker. Until that point, I'd always thought that potlikker was spelled as such. However, the person with whom I was speaking was convinced that the word was Pot Liquor. And I, being a Yankee- and a damned Yankee at that- was wrong. Just wrong.

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The Five Questions: Johnny “Meatballs” DeCarlo

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So what is it about Italian food and the heart?   Does the history call to us?  Are the flavors so unique?  What is it about growing up in New Jersey that makes us irresistible to the media?

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The Five Questions: Mark Gillespie- WhiskyCast

Bobrow - interview Mark Gillespie One of my passions is Bourbon Whisky.  I'm fortunate to have a collection of Antique Bourbon, some dating back to the early 1950's.  They are all in impeccable shape and every sip I take is like a liquid history lesson.

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The Five Questions: Mark Kurlansky, The World Without Fish

bobrow-withoutfish-1 I sat for a while yesterday for a conversation with Mark Kurlansky, the New York Times Bestselling author of Salt (2002) Cod (1997) The Big Oyster (2006) The Basque History of the World (1999) The Last Fish Tale (1999) All these books speak to Mark’s passion for salty air and what the influence this air means to world survival.  For Mark, it seems that his life is filled with all things fishing.

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The Five Questions: Max Watman

bobrow-watman-circle Max is one of the undisputed author-stars of the spirits-journalism world.  His topic is small batch- handcrafted Whiskey.  Specifically the kind of Whiskey that doesn’t have a tax stamp on the side.  I like his way of telling stories.  He states, “I’m not a distiller; I tell stories.” Thanks Max.  You are a marvelous story-teller, which is exactly what we do on Wild River Review.  We tell stories.

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The Five Questions: Miyanda Wilson-Mixologist/Poet/Cocktail Conceptualist

bobrow-miyanda-circle Vegetarian Lasagna and a Purple Lobster Cocktail. I enjoy them both for two reasons, one; because I never have them alone and I'm the only pescatarian in my circle and for the lasagna to have no meat, everyone loves it! I take time to pick the vegetables that I put into my lasagna, usually spinach, corn, diced tomatoes and colored bell peppers. The key to my sauce is proper seasoning and slow simmering. And of course lots and lots of cheese (minus the ricotta). The other reason I enjoy it so much is because good food and good drink go together so well.

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The Five Questions: Owen Lee

bobrow-owen-lee-circle Owen Lee is a “man for all seasons.” He is a writer, a chef, a drinker and a gifted videographer. I became his friend and now I’m sharing his passion for the things behind his persona. In his words: I’m obsessed with food, music and culture. My roots are in Latin America. My voice is in many places on the web.

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The Five Questions: Patrick Evans-Hylton

Patrick Evans Hylton Patrick is a cook, a celebrated bon-vivant, a story-teller and a true Southern Gentleman.  He has impeccably good taste, writes with a smile and has that uniquely lovely, Southern accent.  I found myself slipping into my old Southern accent immediately when speaking with him.

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The Five Questions: Peter Francis Battaglia

bobrow-battaglia-circle Peter Francis Battaglia is a man who wears many hats -  business, social, food, photography, his Italian heritage, his children, his wife-  food, food and more food.  He loves talking about food, preparing food, and living food.  In many ways the exemplification of Italian regional cuisine comes through his efforts to preserve these edible history lessons.

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The Five Questions: Philippe Cases, Florentina, and Regina Schrambling

bobrow-casses-circle This week, the Five Questions are moving in a slightly different direction.  Instead of two interviews, I've brought three people together to share their passion for good food, great story-telling and fine wine.  It is my pleasure to bring these interesting people to the pages of the Wild River Review

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The Five Questions: Rocky Yeh- Cocktail Visionary/Bon Vivant

bobrow-rocky-yeh-circle If you adore cocktails and know the difference between a Ramos Gin Fizz and a Gin & Tonic, his name may already be tattooed on your wrist.  If not, Rocky Yeh is one of the pioneers in the new field of mixology.   I thought with the holidays upon us, why not add to our holiday wish lists.  How about asking for a round trip ticket to visit Rocky perform cocktail magic in his own element in Seattle?

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The Five Questions: Sarah Maslin Nir

bobrow-nir-circle Sarah Maslin Nir (Writer for The New York Times-City Room) (The Five Questions)+ A plate of Short Ribs and Balsamic Vinegar

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The Five Questions: Stacy Baker co-founder of Served Raw Magazine

bobrow-stacy-baker-circle Stacy Baker: If I could be anywhere right now, it would a scene much like these, filled with people who wake up with the drive to create.  Authors, chefs, mixologists, painters, songwriters … the sideboard would be locked and loaded with an arsenal of spirits, fresh produce and hand-made mixers for completely improv’ed cocktail making (sans vodka or canned/jarred anything).  Food … I like lots of little bites of everything, so the menu would basically be an explosion of small plates that are intensely flavorful and memorable.  The goal: We’re not leaving until we’re … firing synapses in a whole new way.

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The Five Questions: Steven Diamond

bobrow-diamond-circleSteven Diamond is a fixture in Las Vegas. Steven is the personification of Dale Carnegie with a dash of Liberace thrown in for good measure.

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The Five Questions: Steven Grasse- founder of The Quaker City Mercantile and Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

bobrow-steven-grasse-circle He is the creative force behind Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Root, Snap and Naragansett Beer.  One of his talents is Brand Reinvigoration.  There are not enough hours in the day to keep up with his myriad of projects and intoxicating, liquid driven dreams.

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The Five Questions: Steven Shaw- Founder of eGullet talks Hand Sliced Corned Beef and Pastrami

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I first met Steven Shaw when he came to speak during a class I took at the International Culinary Center at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. I was taking a series of food classes around NYC. My teacher at the time was Alan Richman who is a food journalist with a basketful of James Beard awards.

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The Five Questions: Tamara Kaufman Food Stylist for Photography

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And then there are the mystery potions that I use in my work…Glycerin, Mallose (a browning agent) and the many items that I use to keep food looking beautiful on camera. Food dies quickly and stylists use some tricks to help the food stay fresh looking on set.  I strive for a balance between real food/recipes and adding final touches that make for a beautiful composition.

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The Five Questions: Ted Rubin, Social Media Wizard for OpenSky

bobrow-ted-rubin-circle If you could be anywhere in the world, right now, where would that be, and what would you eat?  Key Largo… diving for Florida lobsters all day in the hot sun and cool water, take them back to the dock for a huge bbq with margarita’s and beer… ahhhh! That’s living!

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The Five Questions: Thomas Merolla, Mixologist Supreme for Botran Rum

bobrow-merola-5 The kind folks at Botran Rum send me a couple of mini-bottles of their rums the other day for my mixing delight.  Ever since I participated with Ed Hamilton in the 2010 Ministry of Rum competition, I’ve been hooked on rum as my  primary cocktail go/to both in winter and in the heat of the summer.

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The Five Questions: Tia Keenan, Fromager

bobrow-tia-keenan-circle Cheesemaking is a vocation, a lifetime craft.   The best cheesemakers are translators of milk.   But I translate cheese!  I extend it through my cooking and presentation and then I feed it to someone.  In that work I try to honor the vision of the cheese maker.  I try not to impose too much of myself on the product but at the same time keep it compelling and true to my own vision.  It’s a delicate balance and something I think about constantly.

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The Five Questions: Trudy Thomas (Mixologist Supreme) Jordan Silbert (QTonic Founder)

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Trudy Thomas is the Director of Beverages at the Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa.  It is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

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The Five Questions: Week Two

bobrow-20100824-circle What popped into my brain at that moment in time was a new vision of Wild Table.  A Wild Table that attempts to discover and strip away the hidden thoughts of people when talking in the context of food, wine, liquors, memories and tears.  Why tears?  I believe that if we cook food, and truly enjoy what we eat enough, this energy or shared experience  connects all people.  We eat from day one and hopefully until the end game.   I want to discover the very core level of human beings, like myself, who have a true passion for food and intoxicating liquors.

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This Infernal Heat

bobrow-infernal-heat-circle There’s no shortage of delicious food in Carteret County, but Chef Park adds two special elements–locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, paired with appreciation for his family’s food history to produce the ‘wow’ factor. He says he realized the importance of these special elements after he finished his formal culinary education at the CIA in New York.

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Wild Table Archives 2009

wildtable2009-circleThe beginning issues of the Wild Table column

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Wild Table Archives January – June 2010

bobrow-wild-table-archives-2010-circle Classic articles from January through June 2010 Wild Table columns

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Wild Table Visits NYC for Culture!

bobrow-nyc-culture-circle New York and the art world collided this past week at the Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC.  I was there to meet Eric Kroll, the world renowned photographer who had a photograph in the show.  The Steven Kasher Gallery is a fantastic gallery, showing artists from Andy Warhol to National Geographic photographs.

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