We love food and drink, and we hope you do too. Our goal is to share our culinary adventures with you in the hope we may be able to entertain and inspire you to seek out your own unique experiences. We strive to keep our content fresh, sharing opinions on cooking, beer, wine or anything else that crosses our path. Feel free to contribute by commenting on our stories, whether you agree or disagree, and let us know if you've had any good meals lately!
There are moments in life that show you direction, give meaning to your existence. For me, it was the first taste of Fagottelli in Rome...
But I'm jumping ahead. Let's start at the beginning.
I grew up primarily in Michigan, your typical Michigander with aspirations of being almost anywhere else and thinking Lasagna Hamburger Helper to be the height of cuisine. My family was typical lower-income stock, regular meat-and-potatoes, and we didn't complain much. Meals were simple, mostly microwavable or thrown together casseroles, cardboard frozen pizza, and fish sticks. As a result, my tastes gravitated toward the bland, the ordinary, the unsurprising. I hated seafood, liver and most vegetables.
Even when I met Juliet in my early adulthood, the riskiest dish I might try was steak au poivre. She was Michigan through-and-through as well, so we didn't really challenge each other very much. Early on, we were both busy with college and work, so actual food preparation seemed so not worth it. Besides, there were plenty of good restaurants nearby! (And, at that point, good restaurants included TGIF, Applebee's, and any other place just above fast food.) We went on that way for nearly a decade.
Then, back in the late 90's, Juliet caught the cooking bug. She started small: canning salsas and jams; baking bread; actually preparing meals out of a cookbook (gasp!). Some of those experiments were disastrous and we sometimes ended up tossing out a dish and ordering pizza delivery instead. But most were eye-opening taste pleasers, which inspired her to venture more outside her comfort zone and me to explore other meal options. Slowly, she became quite the cook and my old grudges against vegetables began to dissolve.
Over the past few years, we've had the exquisite pleasure of dining at world-class eateries, prepared by highly renowned chefs, culminating in a chef's tasting at La Pergola in Rome, Italy. I can't say I enjoyed every dish presented to me, but there was one that changed everything: Fagottelli "La Pergola". Ethereal pasta carbonara, delicately prepared and expertly served. Suffice to say it was worth the price of overseas flights and hotels, and I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little when it was gone (even now, I'm misting up). After that experience, I began chasing the dragon, so to speak...ever eager to experience something new, seeking out that foodie high again and again.
Now, Juliet cooks wondrous meals and I even contribute occasionally. We've both cultivated an appreciation for different wines, and my love of beer has evolved into small batch homebrewing. We decided to share our culinary adventures with you in the hopes we can entertain and inspire others to seek out similar experiences. We plan on many more days and nights of food and drink. Won't you join us?
When I began working in the culinary industry a few years ago, my passion for all things “food and wine” was ignited...like a molotov cocktail. At the time, I was a fledgling “foodie” who read cookbooks like novels and was inspired by the growing popularity of The Food Network. I made dinner a few nights a week and would occasionally try new ingredients and techniques, but I relied on frozen dinners and take-out more often than not.
Fast-forward a few years and I found myself working side-by-side with some of the world’s most talented and lauded chefs, food stylists, kitchen designers, cookbook authors and food editors. Jeremy and I were able to attend top-rated food, wine and design events across the country. It didn’t take long before meals at our home became somewhat of an “event” and friends started calling me an uber-foodie and a gourmand. I tend to think of myself as a “home chef”...just someone who wants to cook good food for friends and family. Nothing terribly fancy or intimidating, usually somewhat healthy and socially responsible but, first and foremost, delicious and memorable.
The last few years have presented an incredible array of dining opportunities for us: the chef’s tasting at La Pergola in Rome; a five-course luncheon with wine pairings prepared by Chef Michel Richard and Chef Jean Joho at Pebble Beach Food & Wine; lunch at The French Laundry in Napa; a private lunch in the Executive Dining Room at Gourmet magazine (we miss you Gourmet!); lunch at Meritage Oyster Bar in Sonoma prepared especially for our table by Chef Carlo-Allessandro Cavello, and the lunch we made the next day together in Chef Cavello’s home kitchen. Amazing experiences!
We both love to entertain and we tend to have people over for meals and parties with some frequency. Everything from a large Southern style brunch buffet for the masses, vegetarian jambalaya with a small group over a poker game or a multi-course dinner party. The most impressive meal we ever made was a Tuscan dinner party for eight featuring antipasto platters with fresh ricotta, gnocchi in truffle cream sauce, rosemary roast filet with a red wine reduction, arugula and roasted red pepper salad, and assorted gelato and sorbetto with biscotti (the gelato and sorbetto were store-bought but everything else was homemade.)
Despite all this high falutin’ cuisine I am, at heart, a fan of home-style fare. I could very well have been a Southerner in another life. A penultimate meal for me would not be a fancy steak house dinner, but would instead include baked macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, hoppin’ john, corn pudding, stewed tomatoes with okra, pimento cheese and buttermilk biscuits. So, while I’ll never turn down a fabulous glass of wine with some really ripe, stinky, sweaty cheese, I fully recognize that nothing on this earth could ever compare to a slice of my mother’s lemon meringue pie or my grandmother’s baked egg casserole. Two of the best home chefs from whom I had the pleasure of learning.