20091231

Long Island wineries plan jazz series


Call it "Long Island Winterfest." Call it “Jazz on the Vine.” It goes by both names.

Whatever you choose to call it, the Long Island Wine Council-sponsored event will feature more than 70 different jazz groups appearing at 26 different member wineries' tasting rooms and other venues during the six weekends from February 13 to March 21.

Steinway Pianos is sponsoring the talent.,

The event also will include special offers at numerous wineries, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs across the east end of Long Island, NY.
ON THE WEB
Winterfest details
Dowd's Guides

20091130

Virginia smoking ban begins Dec. 1

RICHMOND, VA -- Virginia will become the latest state to ban smoking in many public eating and drinking places when December rolls around.

Beginning Tuesday this week, smoking will be banned in most of the 17,500 bars and restaurants across Virginia. The law was signed in February after years of pro and con lobbying in the state where John Rolfe in 1611 planted the first commercial tobacco crop.

The new law does permit walled-off smoking areas with separate ventilation. Private clubs are exempt from the ban. Owners and customers who violate the law are subject to a $25 fine.

As of last week, about 75% of the state's eating and drinking establishments had gone completely smoke-free, said Gary Hagy, a spokesman for the Virginia Health Department.
ON THE WEB
Wisconsin smoking ban
North Carolina smoking ban
• Dowd's Guides

20091110

Saratoga horsey set getting wheels

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- Here's one for your future file: August 18, next summer.

That's the date for "Get Your Motor Running." No, not the Steppenwolf song that opened with that line, but rather a fundraiser for Saratoga Bridges, to be held at a place better known as a gathering spot for the horsey set during the annual Saratoga Race Course thoroughbred season.

Siro’s restaurant, located next to the race course, will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. that day for the 21st annual gala.

Included in the event will be a pig roast, an open bar, live music and an appearance by Goldy McJohn, founding member and original keyboardist of the Steppenwolf rock group that recorded "Born To Be Wild."

Attire will be cocktail casual or biker garb.

Saratoga Bridges began with a community-based home for people with developmental disabilities. It now has a residential program and a variety of day services.
ON THE WEB
Download "Born To Be Wild"
Siro's restaurant
Dowd's Guides

20091107

Canandaigua historic homes tour set

CANANDAIGUA, NY -- This small Finger Lakes city is replete with historic homes, many of Victorian design. Usually, all that visitors can do is drive by them and wonder what's inside as they head to the nearby New York Wine & Culinary Center. Usually.

The Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park has planned a tour of some of them along Howell Street, from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 5.

Six historic Howell Street homes, such as one shown above, will be open for display that day, plus the Gate House at Sonnenberg, just inside the Sonnenberg Gates at Howell and Charlotte streets.

Tour booklets will detail the history of each home, including special architectural features. Visitors will park in the Sonnenberg lot, and tram shuttle service from the main parking lot to the front gates of Sonnenberg will be provided.

Tour booklets, at $20 per person, may be purchased by calling Sonnenberg at (585) 394-4922. They will be available for pickup at Sonnenberg the day of the event.


During tour hours, Sonnenberg's 1887 mansion also will also be open with light refreshments available. Starting at 4:30 p.m., carolers and a Victorian Santa will be on hand at the Mansion. Community members may visit the mansion throughout the home tour hour free of charge.
ON THE WEB
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion
Visiting Canandaigua
Dowd's Guides

20091028

Maine's top lobster chef a new grad

PORTLAND, ME -- Being a good lobster chef is one thing. But, if you're the best in Maine, world-renowned for its lobsters, you've really added to your list of credentials.

If you're planning to visit Maine, you may want to dine at whatever restaurant winds up hiring Mackenzie Arrington (right), who just graduated from the the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

He won the title of "Maine Lobster Chef of the Year 2009" after a weekend cook-off competition at Harvest on the Harbor, part of a food and wine festival on the city's waterfront.

Arrington's dish was a roasted lobster tail on braised cabbage and cornbread.He finished ahead of Melissa Bouchard, chef at DiMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland, who prepared maple butter poached lobster tail served with sweet potato and Fuji apple bisque and frizzles of green onion, and Rick Skoglund, sous chef at the Samoset Resort in Rockland, who prepared butternut-mascarpone lobster ravioli with balsamic pomegranate spinach salad.

The chefs were selected from a field of professionals who submitted recipes over the summer. Their dishes were samopled and voted on by about 200 attendees.

Arrington grew up in Boothbay, ME, son of chef Margaret McLellan. He was awarded $1,000 in prize money.
ON THE WEB
Maine Lobster Council
Dowd's Guides

McDonald's closing up in Iceland

There are currently just three McDonald's fast-food restaurants in Iceland. After next week there will be none.

The north Atlantic island nation, still struggling with the effects of a financial crash that hit it last year when its banks collapsed, will join the list of European countries without a McDonald's. The others are Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Jon Ogmundsson, managing director of Lyst, which holds the McDonald's franchise in Iceland, said the rising cost of importing ingredients and no sign of economic recovery meant the business no longer is financially viable.

He said the cost of McDonald's ingredients, which the company insists be imported, mostly from Germany, had doubled in the last 18 months as a result of severe depreciation of the Icelandic krona and high import taxes.

"I've sold more hamburgers in the last few months than ever before, but the cost is prohibitive. It just makes no sense," Ogmundsson told Reuters. "For a kilo of onion, imported from Germany, I'm paying the equivalent of a bottle of good whiskey."
ON THE WEB
Official Iceland Travel Guide
Dowd's Guides

20091017

Ohio drinkers to get an earlier start

The world will change just a bit for drinkers in Ohio tomorrow.

That's when October 18 rolls around and a new state law goes into effect, allowing the sale of wines and liquors to begin two hours earlier than now.

Restaurants, bars and carryouts will be allowed to begin sales at 11 a.m., courtesy of the state's need for revenue. The change was part of the state budget bill that recently was passed by the legislature.
ON THE WEB
Dowd's Guides

20091001

Keeping up with NY's changing leaves



This is the sort of map you can access to keep up with the fall foliage progression statewide.

It is available from the state's I Love NY website.

The site provides a text foliage report as well as providing additional information on demand about scenic views and foliage forecast.

The latest report says, in part:

"This weekend, look for nearly complete color change and peak conditions at Whiteface Mountain in Essex County, with leaves of deep, rich red and gold. To the west, in the Mt. Arab and Tupper Lake areas of Franklin County, spotters are calling for 85-90 percent color change marked by an abundance of brilliant yellow and orange leaves accented by sporadic reds, which are quickly overtaking any remaining green. Old Forge leaf peepers in Herkimer County are predicting peak foliage, with bright shades of red, orange, and gold contrasting beautifully with the evergreens. Foliage will range from peak to just emerging from the early stages in Warren County.

"The best colors in the county will be found around the Upper Hudson River Gorge area, with 95 percent color change. In the Middle Hudson River Gorge areas of North Creek and Warrensburg, look for near-peak foliage with around 80 percent change. Predominating colors in both areas are bright red, yellow, gold and orange.

"Further to the southeast, the Lake George area should see color changes of up to 30 percent, with a nice display of red, bronze and yellow leaves set within the still predominantly green backdrop."
ON THE WEB
I Love NY tourism site
Dowd's Guides

20090929

Ithaca, NY, may expand smoking ban

From WBNG 12 Action News

ITHACA, NY -- You may be able to dine outside in Downtown Ithaca during warmer months, but soon you might not be able to smoke outside.

"The city is considering the effects of second-hand smoke on the public, and so they're interested in providing a healthy safe place for people where they can come down to the commons and not have to have the second hand smoke," says Vicki Taylor with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

The city is looking to ban smoking in roughly half of Ithaca Commons and within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas.

This plan would result with an entire block of smoke free restaurants on Aurora Street, making customers leave the table and the street in order to light one up.

[Go here for the full story.]
ON THE WEB
State Smoking Laws
Dowd's Guides

20090912

Coffee, tea or wheee!

US Airways may not be the most service-oriented passenger transportation company around, but it is looking to one aspect of creature comforts.

The airline has just introduced a trio of new cocktails to its in-flight drinks menu.

They are a pomegranate martini, a margarita and a mai tai, priced at $8 each. They are made with real fruit juice, triple-filtered water and cane sugar.

The carrier also has added several non-alcoholic beverages, including Red Bull, Starbucks Frappuccinos and AriZona Arnold Palmer Lite Half & Halfs, an iced tea and lemonade concoction, priced at $3 each.
ON THE WEB
US Airways
Dowd's Guides

20090911

Widmer vineyards donated to RIT

ROCHESTER, NY -- In the midst of an unprcedented growth in the number of wineries in New York State, one of the oldest is being closed.

Widmer Winery, located in Naples about 40 miles southeast of here, will be closed by 2011 and the building and vineyards donated to Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT offers academic programs in wine, sustainability and culinary arts.

Widmer is owned by Constellation Brands Inc., headquartered here in Rochester. It is the world's largest wine company.

Constellation CEO Rob Sands said the company plans to move production of its Taylor, Paul Masson and Manischewitz wines from Widmer to its Canandaigua Winery, located about 20 miles away. It said it probably will move the 55 jobs at Widmer to Canandaigua.

RIT is getting a piece of history as well as 860 acres of land on which there are 220 vine acres with 640 vines to the acre.

The foundations of Widmer's Wine Cellars began more than a century ago when Swiss winemaker John Jacob Widmer and his wife, Lisette, moved to the Finger Lakes. He planted his first vines in 1883 and his wine business started in 1888 when he began filling kegs and barrels on request, mostly for Swiss immigrants in Rochester and in Paterson, NJ.
ON THE WEB
Rochester Institute of Technology
Widmer Wine Cellars
Dowd's Guides

Monster whisky bottle one for the book

TOMINTOUL, Scotland -- If you're limited to just one bottle of Scotch, the distillers here in the highest village in the Highlands have come up with just the thing for you.

They've made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by producing the world’s largest whisky bottle for their Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt. It holds the equivalent of 150 regular bottles.

It recently was filled by hand at the distillery in August with 105.3 litres of the 14-year-old whisky, and stands just under five feet tall. The bottle now is on permanent display at the Clockhouse in the Tomintoul village square.

Tomintoul is located in the northeast of Scotland in Ballindalloch, Banffshire.
ON THE WEB
Tomintoul Distillery
Undiscovered Scotland
• Dowd's Guides

20090907

Avoiding stress? Skip these cities

If you're looking to travel to low-stress cities, you may want to consider skipping Chicago.

For the second consecutive year, the Windy City ranks No. 1 in the Forbes.com compilation of America's most stressful cities.

Following in close order:

2. Los Angeles
3. New York
4. Cleveland
5. Providence, RI
6. San Francisco
7. Detroit
8. Boston
9. Washington, DC
10. San Jose, CA

(You can get a slide-show capsule report of the 40 cities studied by going here.)

The study examined the country's 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or metros -- geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics.

Forbes says it looked at June 2009 unemployment figures provided by the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics and cost of living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. It examined median home-price drops from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of this year as provided by the National Association of Realtors. Population density based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI also factored.

Crowding, poor air quality, a high 11% unemployment rate and free-falling home values went into ascertaining the Chicago stress level.
ON THE WEB
The full Forbes.com report
Dowd's Guides

'Water, water everywhere ...

... and not a drop to drink."

That line from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) came to mind on Sunday afternoon when I stopped to gaze at the Cohoes Falls in the little Albany County, NY, city of Cohoes and found someone with a much better view.

A lone bicyclist left his wheels close to shore (see background when you double-click on the image to enlarge it) and somehow managed to make his way to the edge of the falls where he sat down and looked around. He also outwaited me. I presume he got back safely.



ON THE WEB
Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway
City of Cohoes, NY
Dowd's Guides

20090826

Vermont honors its hospitality stars



Suzanne Johnson of Tilley's Café in Burlington, VT, has been named "Restaurateur of the Year" by the Vermont Hospitality Council, the tourism division of the state Chamber of Commerce.

The award is designed for an individual who continues to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a restaurant in Vermont. Johnson, says the Hospitality Council, "is a marketing expert and innovative entrepreneur [who] contributes to the community and supports her staff in improving their service and knowledge. Tilley’s Café is Vermont’s first green restaurant and Vermont’s only restaurant with valet service."

The four other Hospitality Council awards:

• Borden E. Avery Innkeeper of the Year: Bud McLaughlin and Bill Wolfe, Holiday Inn, Rutland.

B&B Innkeeper of the Year: John Perkins and Jay Kerch, The Phineas Swann B&B Inn, Montgomery Center.

Chef of the Year: Gerry Nooney, Sugarbush Resort & Timbers Restaurant, Waitsfield.

Allied Member of the Year: Rochelle Skinner, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation.

Award recipients will be honored at the Vermont Chamber Hospitality Gala, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, September 16, at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa.
ON THE WEB
Tilley's Cafe
Holiday Inn, Rutland
The Phineas Swann B&B Inn
Sugarbush Resort & Timbers Restaurant
Dowd's Guides

20090824

Harvesting hops in Upstate NY

From the Albany (NY) Times Union

... This is the season for harvesting hops, which can be turned into tasty beer. On Sunday, a group of about 25 volunteers gathered at Tom Riley's Johnsonville [NY] farm to strip about 100 pounds of Cascade variety hops from their vines. The bounty will soon become Brown Brewing Company's Harvest IPA.

The hops are not just a local link to a piece of New York's history that was long presumed dead. They're also what makes craft beers a niche market and allows companies like Brown's to expand in a recession, said Gregg Stacy, director of marketing and sales.

"These are flavors a lot of people haven't experienced," Stacy said as he ran a vine through green-stained fingers in search of more hops. "This is the way beer used to be made."

Upstate New York once was the center of America's production of hops, an essential ingredient in making beer. About a century ago, 80 million pounds came out of the region, said Duncan Hilchey, who helped develop the Northeast Hops Alliance, a group of farmers and brewers trying to build a hop resurgence in the state. Farmers recruited beer drinkers from places like New York City to come and help harvest the hops by making it a weekend celebration, with plenty of product sampling allowed and dances called, not surprisingly, "hops."

[Go here for the full story.]

ON THE WEB
Hops In the Backyard
Dowd's Guides

20090823

Empire State Brewery Trails hit all four corners

New York State is known for its numerous wine trails, formal lineups of wineries and related tourist sites. But, what is lesser known are the four Empire State Brewery Trails.

Here, by individual trails, are the member companies. You can check out an interactive online site for additional details.


NORTHERN BREWERY TRAIL

Adirondack Pub & Brewery
33 Canada Street
Lake George, NY 12845
518/668-0002

Brown's Brewing Company
417-419 River Street
Troy, NY 12180
518/273-2337

C.H. Evans/Albany Pump Station
19 Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY 12207
518/447-9000

Coopers Cave Ale Company
2 Sagamore Street
Glens Falls, NY 12801
518/792-0007

Davidson Brothers
184 Glen Street, Route 9
Glens Falls, NY 12801
518/743-9026

Great Adirondack Brewing Company
34 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946
518/523-0233

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
14 Mirror Lake Drive
Lake Placid, NY 12946
518/523-3813

Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company
1472 Military Turnpike
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
518/563-3340

Olde Saratoga Brewing Company
131 Excelsior Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518/581-0492


SOUTHERN BREWERY TRAIL


Black Forest Brew Haus
2015 New Highway
Farmingdale, Long Island, NY 11735
631/391-9500

Blue Point Brewing Co.
161 River Avenue
Patchogue, Long Island, NY 11772
631/475-6944

Brooklyn Brewery
79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718/486-7422

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
99 Castleton Street
Pleasantville, NY 10570
914/741-2337

Chelsea Brewery
Chelsea Piers, Pier 59
New York, NY 10011
212/336-6440

Gilded Otter Brewing Company
3 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
845/246-1700

Heartland Brewery
127 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
646/366-0235

Heartland Brewery
35 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
212/645-3400

Heartland Brewery
1285 6th Avenue @ 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
212/582-8244

Heartland Brewery
93 South Street @ Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
646/572-2337

Heartland Brewery
350 5th Avenue @ 34th Street
New York, NY 10118
212/563-3433

Hyde Park Brewing Company
4076 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
845/229-8277

John Harvard's Brew House
2093 Smith Haven Plaza
Lake Grove, Long Island, NY 11755
631/979-2739

Keegan Ales
20 St. James Street
Kingston, NY 12401
845/331-2739

Skytop Steakhouse and Brewery
30 Forest Hill Drive
Kingston, NY 12401
845/340-4277

Sixpoint Craft Ales
40 Van Dyke Street/234 North 12th Street, 1R
Brooklyn, NY 11231
917/687-1725

Southampton Publick House
40 Bowden Square
Southampton, Long Island, NY 11968
631/283-2800


CENTRAL BREWERY TRAIL


Brewery Ommegang
656 Route 33
Cooperstown, NY 13326
607/544-1808

Butternut's Beer & Ale
4021 Route 51
Garrattsville, NY 13342
607/263-5070

Cooperstown Brewing Company
P.O. Box 276/River Street
Cooperstown, NY 13807
607/286-9330

Empire Brewing Company
120 Walton Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
315/256-7608

Ithaca Beer Company
606 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
607/273-0766

King Arthur's Steakhouse & Brewery
7 West Bridge Road
Oswego, NY 13126
315/343-6033

Market Street Brewing Company
63-65 W Market Street
Corning, NY 14830
607/936-2337

Matt Brewing Company
811 Edward Street
Utica, NY 13502
315/624-2401

Middle Ages Brewing Company
120 Wilkinson Street
Syracuse, NY 13204
315/476-4250

Rooster Fish Brewery
223-301 North Franklin Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
607/535-9797

Sackets Harbor Brewing Company
212 West Main Street
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685
315/646-2739

Syracuse Suds Factory
320 South Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
315/471-2253

Wagner Valley Brewing Company
9322 Route 414
Lodi, NY 14860
607/582-6450


WESTERN BREWERY TRAIL


Buffalo Brewpub
6861 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14221
716/632-0552

Custom Brewcrafters Inc.
93 Paper Mill Street
Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
716/624-4386

Ellicottville Brewing Company
28A Monroe Street
Ellicottville, NY 14731
716/699-2537

Ellicottville Brewing Company
34 West Main Street
Fredonia, NY 14063
716/699-2537

Flying Bison Brewing Company
491 Ontario Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
716/873-1557

Mac's Village Brewhaus
4246 N. Buffalo Street
Orchard Park, NY 14127
716/667-2314

Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
76 Pearl Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
716/856-2337

Rohrbach Brewing Company
3859 Buffalo Road
Rochester, NY 14624
585/594-9800

Southern Tier Brewing Company
2051A Stoneman Circle
Lakewood, NY 14750
716/763-5479
ON THE WEB
New York Wine Trails
Dowd's Guides

20090812

It came from New Mexico

• From the El Paso (TX) Times

MESILLA, NM -- Executive chef Lauro Campos has faced many challenges in his 48-year career, the past 18 at the Double Eagle and Pepper's Café.

"I don't have any problems with any food I am asked to make, no matter how crazy it is," Campos said.

He has pretty much seen it all. Some of the culinary experiments have been successful, while others have not.

Banana enchiladas? No problem, still on the menu.

Chocolate tacos? Not on the menu yet but available for the asking.

S'mores pie? That one didn't work out so well.

So it's no surprise that Campos was receptive when Jerry Harrell, the restaurant general manager, approached him with another challenge -- to develop the world's largest green chile cheeseburger.

Harrell wanted a burger that would make the mouths of guests of Double Eagle and Pepper's Café water and that was big enough to make the Guinness World Records.

What Campos developed was a grilled, 10-inch, 1-pound patty of hand-ground beef draped with roasted green chiles and a half-pound of sliced white New Mexico queso fresco. The burger is then topped with the restaurant's colorful pico de gallo and sandwiched inside a specially baked yeast bun with garlic-infused mayonnaise made by the well-established and respected Lujan's Bakery in Las Cruces.

[Go here for the full story.]
ON THE WEB
Texas Burger Guy
Dowd's Guides

20090805

Philly ale house turns 150

From the Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA, PA — If he were alive today, William "Pa" McGillin probably wouldn't recognize the nachos and watermelon martinis being served at his namesake pub. Yet he'd no doubt be heartened to see that its core commitment to beer and camaraderie has remained largely unchanged since he opened it 150 years ago.

McGillin's Olde Ale House began celebrating its sesquicentennial this week, cementing its status as the oldest continuously operated tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the nation.

Established in 1860, just prior to the Civil War and before City Hall was built, McGillin's sits tucked away in a small alley at the heart of downtown. Even some residents need a map to find it.

[Go here for the full story.]
ON THE WEB
McGillin's Olde Ale House
• Dowd's Guides

20090802

National Buffalo Wing Festival nears

BUFFALO, NY -- If you like the Buffalo wings served at your local tavern or restaurant, you may want to put their quality to the test by visiting the 8th annual National Buffalo Wing Festival.

The event is scheduled for the Labor Day weekend, September 5-6, at Coca-Cola Field, formerly called Dunn Tire Park.

The festival includes the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championships and National Wing Sauce-Off Competition. In addition, the Celebrity Chef Challenge will be held again this year, sponsored by Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce, the original sauce used to create the first-ever Buffalo Wings in 1964.

The festival came about after the 2001 movie called "Osmosis Jones" cited a then-non-existent event called the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Bill Murray starred as a compulsive eater with a goal of attending the Super Bowl of junk food. Buffalo native Drew Cerza seized on that to create the real event.
ON THE WEB
National Buffalo Wing Festival
Dowd's Guides

20090723

Jacques Pepin even more at sea


NEW YORK -- Celebrity chef Jacques Pepin will open a new restaurant late next year. The gimmick: It will be aboard Oceania Cruises' new 1,258-guest Marina.

Pepin's namesake restaurant will, not surprisingly, be French-themed.

The space will showcase a grand rotisserie, Pepin-signature china, antique flatware and Lalique glassware, as well as chandeliers fashioned from crystal decanters.

An art collection comprised of some of Pepin's favorite personal pieces and original works Pepin created especially for Marina will add a personal touch.

In addition to being a popular TV show host, Pepin is the author of more than 20 cookbooks and has served as personal chef to numerous heads of state. As executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, he has overseen the creation and operation of restaurants aboard the line's ships Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

"As we designed the culinary experience aboard Marina, a restaurant by Jacques Pepin was at the top of our guests' wish lists," said Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises' president. "Jacques will present a traditional French dining experience in a casually elegant fashion."

The Marina has been purposefully designed for epicureans with 10 dining venues, including six open-seating, gourmet restaurants with different themes.
ON THE WEB
Oceania Cruises
The Marina
Jacques Pepin: The Apprentice Then & Now
• Dowd's Guides

20090714

Big Apple entries head 'Tales' awards

PDT, a New York City cocktail lounge, was named “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” at the 7th annual Tales of the Cocktail convention.

Not only that. Co-owner Jim Meehan was named “American Bartender of the Year.”

PDT is located at 113 St. Marks Place in Manhattan, near First Avenue.

New York magazine calls it “the hot-dog joint for grown-ups. Actually, it’s the cocktail-lounge annex to Crif Dogs, an East Village mainstay known for its deep-fried Jersey-style franks. Accessed through a vintage phone booth within Crif Dogs, PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell) is a snug, sexy speakeasy with a twist: Along with its high-quality classic cocktails and a well-chosen selection of beer and wine, patrons can order food from Crif’s kitchen next door. Oddly, it works. …

“As well as rendering classic cocktails with unparalleled expertise, mixologist Jim Meehan (formerly of Gramercy Tavern and Pegu Club) offers up irresistible seasonal creations … .”

The Merchant Hotel of Belfast, Northern Ireland, won three awards:

• World’s Best Hotel Bar
• World’s Best Drink Selection
• World’s Best Cocktail Menu

Other winners:

• World’s Best New Cocktail Bar: The Clover Club, Brooklyn, NY
• Best American Cocktail Bar: Pegu Club, New York City
• International Bartender of the Year: Tony Conigliaro, England
• Helen Davis Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Dorelli, manager, American Bar, The Savoy Hotel, London

Tales of the Cocktail is an annual event held in New Orleans, where bar professionals, enthusiasts, writers, chefs and others gather to share information in a variety of seminars and demonstrations. This year’s Tales ended Sunday night.
ON THE WEB
World's Best Bars: NYC edition
Dowd's Guides

Seneca Falls gets a Hollywood touch

SENECA FALLS, NY -- The owners of the former Gould Hotel are hoping the structure's new name will signal a wonderful second life for it.

The renamed Hotel Clarence is named for the angel from the 1946 Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life." That's in keeping with the contention of many residents of this Finger Lakes village that their community was the inspiration for the film.

Karolyn Grimes, who portrayed Jimmy Stewart's daughter in the film, is expected to attend the opening. (In photo above, she is seen with Stewart and Donna Reed.)

The Hotel Clarence is scheduled to open Thursday of this week. It is a 48-room hotel with a restaurant and banquet facilities and a restaurant, located in a downtown building that opened in 1918 and operated for decades. Two Syracuse-area developers bought the property in 2007.
ON THE WEB
Gateway to the Finger Lakes
Dowd's Guides

20090707

Let's go to Bahston for chowdah


BOSTON, MA -- Cape Cod is a peninsula chock full of tourists in search of the perfect breakfast and ice cream. It used to be full of folks searching for the perfect clam chowder, but that changed in 1987.

Anthropologists cite that as the year the number of chowder contests and restaurants achieved perfect balance, thus allowing every eatery on the Cape to confidently claim its concoction was No. 1.

The same can be said of the Boston area. However, certain "chowdah" competitions there retain a strong cachet, so if you win the right one you're a major star.

Enter Ned Devine's Irish Pub. On Sunday, it won "Chowderfest" for the third time and has been elected to be enshrined in the event's Hall of Fame.

Manager Greg Springer credits New York City chef Sean Ryan's 20-year-old recipe.

The 28th annual Chowderfest was held as part of Boston Harborfest, a Fourth of July festival showcasing the city's heritage. Eight restaurants competed for the title of Boston's Best Chowder. Organizers says 2,000 gallons of New England's signature dish of clams, cream and potatoes were served to about 10,000 people.

Ned Devine's Irish Pub also won in 2004 and 2005.

The establishment, located in the historic Quincy Market building (a/k/a/ Faneuil Hall), is a two-story facility that includes Ned Devine's, Parris Lounge and the Parris Nightcluib.

It has a wonderful dress code it enforces from Labor Day through Memorial Day, and it is very straightforward:

No hats
No tank tops
No logo'd T-shirts
No athletic jerseys
No sneakers of any type
No work boots
No flip flops
No hooded sweatshirts

How very refreshing.
ON THE WEB
• Dining in Boston
New England Clam Chowder Recipes
• Qunicy Market/Faneuil Hall
Dowd's Guides

KY cooperage will begin welcoming visitors

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Brown-Forman announced today it is opening its world-famous cooperage to visitors for the first time in its history.

The barrel-making facility also has had its name changed, from Blue Grass Cooperage to Brown-Forman Cooperage. Brown-Forman created the facility in 1945.

Barrels are crafted there from American white oak for the aging of spirits owned by Brown-Forman, such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, El Jimador and Herradura. Brown-Forman is the only spirits company in the world to make its own barrels.

Tours must be arranged in advance online through Mint Julep Tours or by phone at (502) 583-1433. Mint Julep Tours also is offering an “All Woodford, All Day Tour” which includes transportation to both the Brown-Forman Cooperage and Woodford Reserve Distillery, a guided tour, admission to both venues, and lunch.

Is it worth the trip? Having visited Woodford several times as well as having a private your of the cooperage, I'd definitely say yes. The cooperage is a beehive of activity that turns out more than 1,500 barrels a day.

Here's a small photo tour of what I saw the last time I visited.

William M. Dowd photos


Workers known as “barrel raisers” assemble 32 staves into barrels.



As part of the process of a zero-waste manufacturing stream, some scrap wood is made into dowel pegs to hold together barrel headers.


Barrel headers are coated with beeswax, then run through a charring apparatus.



Finished charred headers are stacked up until the remainder of the barrels come off the assembly line.

Meanwhile, the barrels are “toasted.” Wood begins to ignite at 482°F, creating a controlled char of the inside of each barrel.
Once barrels are fully processed, they are put on conveyer belts and head for their final destinations.
ON THE WEB
Mint Julep Tours
Brown-Forman
Visiting Louisville
Dowd's Guides

20090706

Long Island wine country in a growth spurt

From Newsday

Recession or not, a new crop of wineries, tasting rooms, vineyards and wines is making its way to Long Island wine country this season, suggesting that the business of sipping may not only defy but thrive in tough economic times.

From the planned September opening in Southold of a 10,000-square-foot tasting room and winery called Sparkling Pointe devoted exclusively to sparkling wines to a quaint red tasting shed across the road called One Woman Wines & Vineyards, Long Island will play host to nearly a dozen new winemaking operations over a one-year period, pushing the total to more than 60.

The "newcomers" include some stalwarts in the business. Just this week, Jason Damianos, the winemaker of Pindar Vineyards fame, plans to open a two-story, 5,500-square-foot winery and tasting room called Jason's Vineyard in Jamesport. His plans preceded the economic downturn, Damianos said. But financial changes since then actually have helped, because interest rates are down. "I'm hoping they stay low," he said.

[Go here for the full story.]
ON THE WEB
Long Island Wine Country
Dowd's Guides

20090704

Miss Liberty's crown re-opens for July 4

NEW YORK -- With a tip of the nation's hat, the Statue of Liberty opened her crown to the public for the first time since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The iconic statue that sits on Liberty Island, once known as Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor received the first passenger ferry of July 4 at 7 o'clock this morning. As part of the festivities, a special swearing-in ceremony for new citizens was held under a tent. Seven U.S. servicemen from various countries took the citizenship oath.

Visitors who climb inside the statue to reach the crown must negotiate a narrow "double helix" staircase, working their way up 146 steps with no turnarounds allowed. The total steps from the statue's base to the crown is 354.

The statue, whose official name is "Liberty Enlightening the World," was created by French architect Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and shipped from France as a gift to the U.S. in 1886, the nation's centennial year.

It is made of a pure copper sheeting hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron), except for the roch's flame which is coated in gold leaf. It originally was made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal which in turn stands on a foundation in the shape of an irregular 11-pointed star. The statue is 151 feet tall. With the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 feet.
ON THE WEB
• Visiting the Statue of Liberty
• Visiting Ellis Island
Dowd's Guides

Bare essentials for Air New Zealand



Bad taste, good taste, or just a taste of good fun?

That's the debate over the Air New Zealand commercials that have everyone from luggage-handling ground crews to pilots and flight attendants clad in nothing but body paint that resembles their work uniforms.

Private parts are strategically hidden, but for amateurs the employees do a fine job of representing their employer.

I even suspect passengers would pay more attention to the pre-flight safety briefing if these painted versions became the official everyday uniforms.

Go here for the commercial and here for the blooper outtakes.

ON THE WEB
• Tourism New Zealand
Dowd's Guides

20090703

Rhone wine dinner festival gets under way

"Celebrate Summer the French Way," a two-week promotional event involving 27 restaurants in nine states plus Montreal, begins tomorrow, July 4.

The project pairs French cooking and Rhone Valley wines. It is held in collaboration with Maitres Cuisiniers de France Restaurants, will offer a special $30 prix fixe menu paired with Cotes du Rhone wines along with complimentary Maitres Cuisiniers de France "Celebrate Every Day the French Way" booklets.

The event is scheduled to coincide with both the American and French days of independence, officially beginning on July 4 and continuing through July 18, Bastille Day.

Daphne Payan, Rhone Valley wines brand ambassador, says the "Celebrate Summer the French Way" honors the commonalities of French and American culture.

"The versatility and food-friendliness of Cotes du Rhone wines make them perfect for by the glass experimentation and allows diners to try pairing the wines with a variety of different fare," she said.
ON THE WEB
• Participating restaurants list
• Dowd's Guides

20090628

No surprise, Riesling tops NYS Fair wines

SYRACUSE, NY -- Belhurst Winery's 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling won the blue ribbon for "Best In Show" at this year's New York State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

As a run-up to taking that honor, the wine took "Best of Category - White" double gold as well. Not a terribly surprising decision, considering rieslings' preeminence among New York wines. This year, 61 New York wineries entered 390 in the contest.

The competition was held at the Wegmans Pride of New York demonstration kitchen at the fairgrounds in Syracuse. Competition for fair ribbons are held in categories ranging from dessert cakes to dairy cattle, most of which will be decided during the Great New York State Fair scheduled for August 27 to September 7.

However, commercial wine judging traditionally has been held well before the fair to allow winners to use the results in summer marketing. The award-winning wines are featured in a special display in the Horticulture Building during the fair.

Belhurst (shown above) is located near Geneva, overlooking Seneca Lake. It is dominated by Belhurst Castle, a stone building dating to the 19th Century which is part of a year-round lodging complex that includes White Springs Manor, a Georgian Revival Mansion with period guest rooms, and the Vinifera Inn.

[Go here for a full list of category, double-gold and gold-medal winners.]
ON THE WEB
• New York State Fair
Belhurst Winery and lodgings
Dowd's Guides

20090615

Excavators target colonial RI distillery

NEWPORT, RI -- An archaeological team from Salve Regina University plans to return to a historic residential site this summer to dig for a colonial-era distillery.

The team, working with the Newport Restoration Foundation, began excavating at the Thames Street site in the summer of 2007. Thomas Richardson II, an 18th Century Newport merchant, sea captain and slave trader, also manufactured rum, using slave labor, on his waterfront property.

The team, led by Jim Garman, chairman of the local university's Cultural and Historic Preservation Department, used ground-penetrating sonar tests that indicate the possible presence of the remains of a distillery.

Rum was commonly manufactured in New England during that period as part of the triangular trade among Africa, the Caribbean and New England involving slaves, rum and molasses.
ON THE WEB
• Go Newport
• Newport Mansions
Dowd's Guides

A flair of language piques curiosity

LONDON -- They shall sip whisky, flaunt tartan, bang the drums and dress as a cow.

That's the sort of sentence that will grab anyone's attention. If you want to find out a bit more about what Scotsman writer Stephen McGinty refers to, just go here for his mini-report.

20090613

And the winnahhhhhh -- Glen Breton!



OK, it's over. I think it is. Then again, who knows? I never completely count out those tenacious folks at the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Scotland's trade group, which has a history of pouncing with full legal force on any entity it thinks may be encroaching on its members' turf, had appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to proceed with its third appeal of the use of the word "glen" by a small Nova Scotia distillery. The SWA has consistently claimed the word tends to confuse consumer into thinking the single malt whisky is made in Scotland -- even though it says "Canada" on the label, a label that also bears the Canadian maple leaf.

After a protracted, nine-year-long fight, the Supreme Court now has refused permission, which would appear to be the final blow to the SWA argument. In any case, Glenora Distilleries now is clear to register its trademark Glen Breton whisky under Canada's Trade Marks Act.

Glenora President Lauchie MacLean said he has always believed that Glenora competed honorably for success in the very challenging marketplace of single malt whisky, and that he hopes the SWA and its members will accept the ruling and that there will be open communication going forward.

The Glenora Inn & Distillery is located in Glenville, Inverness County, Nova Scotia. The heritage of the community definitely is Scottish, from the name of the province -- which means "New Scotland" -- to the name of the county, taken from the location of the same name in Scotland.

You can read my coverage of the naming battle in chronological order:

• Tempest in a glen
• Canadians backing Glen Breton with dollars
• Scotland vs. Cape Breton, Round 2
• Canada's Glen Breton loses labeling battle
• Glen Breton wins another court round
• SWA not giving up on Glen Breton
• Battle of the 'glen' continues in Canada

And, you can go here to find out the availability of Glen Breton.
ON THE WEB
Glenora Inn & Chalet
Nova Scotia Dept. of Tourism
• Dowd's Guides

20090604

San Antonio: A city with a river for a heart

William M. Dowd photo

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- From 10,000 feet the first impression you get is of land as flat as a pool table but considerably less green.

Swooping a bit lower, the snaky San Antonio River comes into view, cutting through the heart of this city that began in 1718 as nothing more than a Franciscan mission in a remote northern province of Mexico.

And then I am here, in the second largest city in The Great State of Texas. Home of both the tiny Alamo and of the 7,000-acre Lackland Air Force Base, among other military installations. Proud location for such modern entertainment complexes as San Antonio SeaWorld, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the Alamodome, home to the NBA's Spurs. A community that is home to numerous colleges, from the University of Texas/San Antonio to the University of the Incarnate Word. A place soon to be home of the Museo Americano Smithsonian.

But, above all, there is Paseo del Rio, the River Walk.

It is the heartbeat of San Antonio, a waterway down below street level, accessible by stairways or elevators.

Paseo del Rio is the culmination of generations of fooling around with the depth, flow and direction of the river as part of various flood-control, navigation and ecological projects.

Since the 1960s, when the city got ultra-serious about making a portion of the San Antonio River a world-class draw for locals and tourists alike, it has continually developed its amenities under strict zoning regulations.

The river is flanked by pedestrian walkways that lead past dozens of cafes, shops and bars, each with umbrella-shaded tables lining the riverbanks.

Cypress and magnolia trees reach out lazily over parts of the water. Thick stands of philodendron flank stone benches. Flower gardens are tucked into every available niche in the stonework that dates from the 1930s as part of a government renovation project.

Large barge-like tour boats ply the river, sometimes quietly, other times with boisterous passengers exchanging brief choruses with singing cafe patrons on land.

River Walk, a tourist magnet for margarita-sipping in outdoor cafes and chowing down in restaurants dishing up Tex-Mex, is going to keep growing. Nine more miles in the $279 million project are due by 2014. Two miles of that stretch were opened this week, doubling the River Walk in size.

The River Walk food covers the spectrum from pub food to fine dining -- Tex-Mex, Cajun, Japanese, Italian, German ... . You can dine at waterside or indoors, on the pedestrian level or on small balconies overlooking the passing scene.

As I strolled both sides of the river on a sunny Friday afternoon, I shared the narrow pathways and climbed the arched stone bridges that link the two sides with a seemingly endless flow of young parents pushing strollers and herding lagging toddlers, of older couples strolling hand in hand, of groups of obvious tourists trying not to get separated, and with Mexican visitors here for the day from the other side of the border down near Laredo, a mere 2 1/2 hour drive away.

Curiously, despite the mass of humanity, a laid-back atmosphere persists -- no pushing, no jostling for space. It was all more civilized than a visitor from the aggressive northeast could have expected.

The next day I found out that despite how busy the River Walk is during the day, when the sun goes down on Saturday night the activity rachets up, way up. Seating is tough to come by as evening closes in. No wonder, with all the free music and people watching to be had.

I commandeered a patio-style chair at the water's edge near a bend in the River Walk. Strains of Tejano music trickled from several bistros. A loud sing-along from a nearby Irish pub made one almost unconsciously join in. A jazz combo behind me played New Orleans-style music on a tiny open-air stage.

For one moment I couldn't quite believe another sound intruding into the mix. But, there it was. The skirling of bagpipes bouncing off the underpinnings of one of the arched stone bridges. It was real, shared courtesy of a Celtic organization in convention downtown and anxious to test the River Walk acoustics.

The jazz musicians good-naturedly waited for the impromptu concert to end, then resumed their own music after the piano player observed, "Ain't that some kind of jazz?"

Captivating though it is, the River Walk is not all there is to San Antonio, a city that might have ended up being called Yanaguana for the original Payaya Indian name for the river. It was renamed on June 13, 1691, by Domingo Teran de los Rios, first Texas provincial governor who selected San Antonio as the name after participating in a St. Anthony's Day mass at the water's edge.

The Alamo, a brief stroll from the Riverwalk, obviously is a must-see for all visitors.

Many people know that the building we refer to as The Alamo is quite small, virtually empty, and not particular inspiring to see. But The Alamo of the famous 1836 battle in which an overwhelming Mexican force overran a small band of 189 Texians -- as the independence- minded locals were then called, foreign adventurers, frontiersmen, freed slaves, and various others was far different from today's unimposing physical structure.

The history of The Alamo -- originally called Mision San Antonio de Valero but renamed by soldiers from the Mexican town of Alamo de Parras when the complex was turned into a cavalry post -- is clearly spelled out in poster-sized displays and in pamphlets supplied by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who operate the admission-free site that has a gift shop larger than the main building.

At the time of the fateful battle in which such American icons as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie died, The Alamo was a series of buildings, including the present mission structure and the Long Barrack, the first recorded hospital in Texas.

The Alamo is located in an otherwise frivolous neighborhood. It is fronted by a large plaza, one corner commandeered the day I visited by a self-styled street preacher, another by an ice cream vendor. The vendor drew a larger crowd.

Across the street are a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, a souvenir T-shirt store and a jackalope museum and store that is a tribute to the mythical cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope that is one of the Southwest's great tongue-in-cheek creations.

Oddities are not confined to that area of the city, however. The Buckhorn Saloon, established in 1881, takes up an entire corner plot on the major East Houston Street thoroughfare that is lined with non-theme hotels and restaurants. It is a combination lunchtime restaurant and museum of Old West memorabilia ranging from stuffed animal trophies to personal items from William S. Hart, perhaps the greatest of all silent film cowboys.

In addition to its historic architecture and safe downtown walking areas, San Antonio takes great pride in its wide array of museums. Rather than the typical museums so many cities offer, those in and around the city often are very specific to the region. And not all of them involve animals and cowboys.

Take the San Antonio Museum of Art. It houses a vast collection of pre-Columbian art and antiquities as well as modern and Mexican folk art and the 30,000-square-foot Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Arts.

The Witte Museum is a complex of historic homes and log cabins and is known for its history and science exhibits of Texas dinosaur finds and Paleo Indian cultures of the Rio Grande Valley.

The University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures showcases the 27 major ethnic groups identified as shaping the culture of the state.

Outdoors, the area has many attractions both inside Loop 410, the interstate route that encircles the city and makes getting around simple, and outside. In addition to the aforementioned theme parks, there are the San Antonio Zoo, Travis Park -- named in honor of William Barret Travis who commanded the Alamo, the 33-acre Botanical Gardens, the Japanese Tea Gardens and the 232-acre Friedrich Wilderness Park that offers hiking trails in hilly, heavily forested land.

San Antonio is a complex city that, with its lack of big-city skyscrapes and hustle-bustle sort of sneaks up on you. It's a nice feeling.


ON THE WEB

San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau
Community Portal
My San Antonio.com
The NBA Spurs
The WNBA Silver Stars
Stock Show & Rodeo
San Antonio Zoo & Aquarium
Dowd's Guides

20090602

WI nears OK for spirits samples, on-site sales

The Wisconsin State Legislature's Joint Finance Committee has proposed allowing the state's makers of spirits to provide samples and sell their wares on site.

That is a provision in the proposed state budget approved Friday by the committee. Analysts expect the budget to be approved by the full Legislature.

Wisconsin's wineries and breweries already may provide samples and make sales to people who visit their facilities.

There are three craft distillers in the state -- Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee, Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison, and 45th Parallel Spirits in New Richmond. Some wineries have said that if the proposal is adopted into law, they will distill wine into brandy.

20090519

Wisconsin going smoke-free

MADISON, WI -- If you're a smoker, Wisconsin no longer is your kind of place.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed a smoking ban Monday, making bars, restaurants and other workplaces smoke-free starting next summer.

"Today is a day that we all can take a deep breath and enjoy the accomplishment that will occur here today," Doyle said just before signing the bill in the Capitol.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a compromise last week that bans smoking in virtually all workplaces but delays the start date until July 5, 2010, later than Doyle and other supporters wanted.

Indian-run casinos are exempt from the ban because lawmakers do not have the power to fully regulate them under federal law. Also exempt are existing cigar bars and specialty tobacco shops.
ON THE WEB
Travel Wisconsin
Wisconsin Tourism Attractions
Dowd's Guides

20090517

NC joins neighbor in restaurant smoke ban

North Carolina is the latest entity to join the growing global ban on smoking in restaurants.

The state legislature this week passed House Bill 2 to ban smoking in restaurants, and a spokesman for Gov. Bev Perdue said the governor is expected to sign it into law this coming week.

"The General Assembly finds that secondhand smoke has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma attacks in both smokers and nonsmokers," according to the final version of the bill. "It is the intent of the General Assembly to protect the health of individuals in public places and places of employment and riding in State government vehicles from the risks related to secondhand smoke."

Neighboring Virginia's legislature passed such a law in February, and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed it in March. It is scheduled to take effect in December.

About 60% of Virginia's full-service restaurants already are smoke-free, according to statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Health from restaurant inspections.


ON THE WEB
• Explore North Carolina
• Touring Virginia
Dowd's Guides

20090514

Waterside dining history on Long Island

GREENPORT, NY -- A recent Business Week magazine compilation of the oldest restaurants in the U.S. didn't rank as No. 1 the very establishment recognized as the one that has been operated the longest by the same family since inception.

It's Claudio's, located harborside in Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island. The National Restaurant Association authenticates it as the oldest, same-family-run restaurant in the United States.

This charming, maritime restaurant was established in 1870 by Manuel Claudio, a Portugese merchant sailor who gave up the whaling life to establish a presence in this fishing-and-tourist village that now extends to Claudio's Marina, Claudio's Clam Bar, Claudio's Liquors, Claudio's T-Shirts & Souvenirs, and even Crabby Jerry's, which inexplicably eschews the Claudio name.

One side of the establishment looks out over the harbor. The "blind'' side is dominated by a Victorian-style bar salvaged in 1886 from a New York City hotel being demolished. The romantic days of Prohibition rum-running and America's Cup sailing competition touched Greenport heavily, and there is pictorial evidence of those days all around the walls.

The food? Wonderful clams casino using tiny local Little Necks with bacon, garlic, cheese, peppers and spices. Succulent broiled fresh swordfish steak with herbed butter, and an equally succulent fresh flounder in white wine sauce. Pepper-and-herb crusted mahi-mahi. A true New York-style cheesecake. A tangy key lime pie. Good coffee, fine drinks and good service.

Tempted to visit? The restaurant is open from mid-April to December 1st at 111 Main Street. Phone (631) 477-0627.
ON THE WEB
• Claudio's restaurant
Dowd's Guides

20090513

Kentucky Bourbon Trail re-launches

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail today marked its 10th anniversary by unveiling a new logo, brochure, souvenir passport and commemorative T-shirt.

“This is a significant milestone for one of Kentucky’s most popular tourism attractions,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to introduce a fresh new look that reflects the growing bourbon revolution.”

The association created the Trail in 1999, inspired by the tourism and marketing opportunities in California’s wine country and Scotland’s whisky trails. The Trail features eight historic distilleries located in the Bluegrass country:

• Jim Beam
• Maker's Mark
• Buffalo Trace
• Four Roses
• Heaven Hill
• Tom Moore
• Wild Turkey
• Woodford Reserve

Visitors who collect stamps on their souvenir "passports" at all eight distilleries can redeem the passport for a free Kentucky Bourbon Trail T-shirt. This year’s shirt commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Trail.

The Trail also has added a Facebook page, and a revised Web site and Twitter page are due to be launched soon.
ON THE WEB
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Dowd's Guides

20090511

Maine Beer Trail unveiled

PORTLAND, ME -- Most states have wine trails. Some cooperatively operate a whiskey trail. Maine now has a beer trail.

The Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Brewers Guild today announced the unveiling of the Maine Beer Trail.

The purpose is to attract visitors to Maine to enjoy the micro- and craft-brewing industry found throughout the state. A brochure (seen at right) provides a guide to more than a dozen of the state's breweries and brew pubs. Brochures can be downloaded and also will be available at Maine Visitor Centers and participating breweries and brew pubs.

Maine ranks fourth in the nation in the number of breweries per capita, with one brewery for every 42,000 residents, according to the Brewers Association.

It is home to New England's first microbrewery, D.L. Geary Brewing, established in 1986 in Portland. Gritty McDuff's opened its doors in 1988 and became the first brew pub to open in Maine since prohibition. It has sites in Portland, Freeport and Lewiston/Auburn.
ON THE WEB
Maine Restaurant Association
Maine Brewers Guild
Dowd's Guides

20090506

Vermont broadens wine, spirits tastings, sales

MONTPELIER, VT -- Vermont winemakers and distillers got good news Tuesday when Gov. Jim Douglas signed a bill allowing them to sell more products on-site.

Previously, wineries could offer tastings or sell bottles of wine. Distilleries could do neither.

Now, wineries also may sell glasses of wine on-premises, and distilleries can offer tastings and sell bottles of their spirits.

In addition, wineries will be allowed to sell and offer tastings of other winemakers’ wares, rent their sites for events such as weddings, and produce and sell fortified wines such as ports.

Vermont’s first winery was founded 25 years ago, and the state now is home to 20.

Ed Metcalfe, of Whitingham, told the Associated Press he was on the fence about opening a distillery in Vermont if he couldn’t sell his vodka and specialty liquors on site. He said the new law cinched it for him, allowing him to sell and offer tastings at the distillery he plans in Marlboro.
ON THE WEB
Vermont's Wineries
Vermont Craft Distillers
• Dowd's Guides

20090501

It's Opportunitini summer in Las Vegas

Introducing The Opportunitini.

The 20-gallon, gin-based martini was created at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas as a fundraiser for Opportunity Village, a local not-for-profit that provides vocational training, job placement and respite to people with intellectual disabilities.

Proceeds from sale of individual drinks made from the giant cocktail were raised Tuesday with Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman pouring in the final bottle of gin.

The Opportunitini was created by bartenders at the Hard Rock and will be on the menu, in standard size, all summer.
ON THE WEB
• Hard Rock Cafe/Vegas
• Opportunity Village
• Dowd's Guides

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