Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The French are passionate about their food, and trout has always played a prominent role in their cuisine. Today, French-inspired bistros, cafés and brasseries have experienced a resurgence across the US, and many are featuring rainbow trout on the menu. Its delicate flavor and tender texture lends itself perfectly to classic herbs and seasonings, sauces and French-inspired sides.

And when establishments look for freshness and value, they look to Clear Spring Foods,which provides a number of cuts and sizes including Clear∙Cuts─ the only 100-percent guaranteed boneless rainbow trout fillets available in the market today.

Menu Watch
Anis Bistro, located in Atlanta, offers “a taste of Provence in the heart of Buckhead.” This charming casual bistro’s vision is to transport its patrons to the South of France. Its traditional French fare strives to include the most authentic ingredients – from wines and cheeses to seafood specialties such as trout. In fact, a staple menu item, Truite Meunière, features pan-roasted trout and wilted greens with marinated artichokes, capers and lemon browned butter.And to the west, the Bistro Vendôme in Denver pan-sears its Idaho rainbow trout with caramelized fennel, haricot vert and grape Sauce Vierge for an impressive finish, calling this menu creation Truite avec Raisins. For more traditional presentations where the delicate, mild flavor of the trout emanates through, look to the Harbor House, lakeside in Milwaukee, or Brasserieby niche, not far south in St. Louis. Both prepare their rainbow trout simply, yet wonderfully with almonds and tender green beans.

Clear Springs Rainbow Trout is the perfect foundation for creating signature appetizers and entrées.
Hot Smoking rainbow trout lightly over birch wood is a flavorful technique. Enhance smoked trout with juniper berries and serve with a creamed horseradish sauce and cranberries for a European flair. Hot smoking both “smokes and cooks the trout at the same time.” This process requires much less time and effort than cold smoking.
wine sauce provides great aromas and flavors for easy-to-prepare entrées. Cooking trout directly in a wine sauce is effortless, and any semi-dry white wine is a good choice, whether accompanying the dish or during preparation.
MARINATE trout in a combination of herbs and nut-infused oil vinaigrettes to put your own signature touch on your menu and leave lasting impressions on every guest.
From smoked to sautéed, dusted to crusted, rainbow trout offers the ultimate in menu versatility and a great choice in addition to,or as a substitute for, other seafood items.

Be sure to visit for additional menu ideas!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bartender's Corner: A look into the beer and spirits industry

Traveling with alcohol enthusiasts

By Sam Ujvary


Earlier this week, I was in New York and wanted to explore my immediate surroundings. I made a friend escort me around the Lower East Side where I was staying and had minimal requirements: It had to be somewhere I've never been before (anywhere) and it had to be outside of the four walls at which I had been aimlessly gazing (also anywhere). He brought me to this little unadorned door on Eldridge Street that's as hidden as Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Ring a buzzer and step behind the black velvet curtain—you've entered some sort of 1950s Film Noir haven. On the other side of a window that reads “Tailoring Alterations” is a quaint, dimly-lit speakeasy. If you've read our previous post on prohibition, you know my love of all things Capone, all things whiskey, and all things bootleg-inspired.
The unassuming, low-key lounge eliminated the decision-making process when they eradicated the menu. Instead, the bartenders design a beverage around your taste buds' current desire. If there's one thing I love, it's not making decisions. If there's one thing I love more, it's not making decisions and ending up with a perfectly crafted cocktail in front of me. This one, a glorious whiskey-strawberry-chocolate-bitters concoction hit the proverbial nail on the head. As I was sitting at the bar watching the bartender make off-the-cuff drinks for a heavy Monday night crowd, I thought, these guys really get it.The speakeasy and no-menu concepts may not be new, but they're not going anywhere either. In a city where hidden doors and underground gems are plentiful, if you really know what you're doing when you open a bar, most signs will still always point toward success. I don't know much about New York hotspots, but I know cocktails. And I couldn't be happier that the admiration for the craft is continuing to snowball so that alcohol education know-it-alls, ingredient aficionados and meticulous mixologists can continue to spread the love. For these liquid culinary masters—I'll be your craft guinea pig any day.

Here's to you.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What you need to know about Maine Lobster is right at your fingertips

Experience the world of Maine Lobster through a free online learning experience for professional chefs and foodies alike.

With quite a prestigious presence on menus and plates around the world, the Maine lobster has certainly marked its territory. With a sweet flavor all its own, the shellfish has made its way from Northeast dockside restaurants to established kitchens and food service operations. Because of its popularity and ability to update classics, the Culinary Institute of America has teamed up with the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) to offer a free online learning course titled “The Professional Chef Discovers Maine Lobster."

The program truly provides a crash course on the versatility and use of lobster, including chef-tested recipes, which are all downloadable and demonstrated in streaming HD by CIA Chef Scott Samuel and other special guests. The course also explores how to tell the difference between hard and soft shell lobsters, how to efficiently shell a lobster and extract the meat, how to find and use lobster roe, how to pair wine with lobster, and how to prepare a variety of contemporary dishes using the Maine favorite. The content is designed to be suitable for both foodservice professionals and food enthusiasts, so all are welcome.

Through this partnership and guide, you’ll also get a more in-depth look into the world of Maine fisheries—think maintaining sustainability, catching Maine lobsters, estimating meat yield, etc.

“Maine lobster brings decadence to the menu and is a treat for any chef to work with,” says Chef Samuel. “I developed the recipes in this series to celebrate and complement Maine lobster’s famously sweet flavor.” Among the recipes demonstrated in this online culinary course are bisque, lobster cakes, rolls, risotto, and more.

Sponsored by the MLMC, the free online learning program takes viewers to the coastal waters of Maine where lobstermen and women pull up their catch, and straight into the kitchens of the CIA’s Greystone campus. MLMC represents more than 5,000 lobstermen and women, 300 dealers and 15 processors as a statewide organization.

“The Professional Chef Discovers Maine Lobster” was produced by the CIA’s digital media team, which (did we mention?) has won two James Beard Awards for Best Webcast. To learn more about the online learning experience, be sure to visit

-Megan O'Neill 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bartender's Corner: A look into the beer and spirits industry

[Tequila (book)worm]
Adult beverage education

By Sam Ujvary

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon one of the greatest casual reads I've encountered in a long time; Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History. An omnibus of mini biographies alongside quaint illustrations featuring stars of Old Hollywood, Mark Bailey and Ed Hemingway have really outdone themselves. The appeal of this book comes from each bio boasting stories of respective Hollywood stars while intoxicated.

Enjoying every page of this book, I couldn't help but want to share its pages with readers, starting with the man himself, The Great Profile.
Having famously said, "You can't drown yourself in drink. I've tried; you float," John Barrymore was quite literally the Don Juan of his time. Also known as the greatest actor of his time, Barrymore enjoyed his fare share of overindulgences. Part of the Bundy Drive Boys, Barrymore pursued a life of debauchery with his closest friends when he wasn't starring in films and on the stage. Using his suave demeanor to get out of situations that scotch got him into, the amount of alcohol Barrymore consumed went unmatched. 
Perhaps Barrymore mellowed as he aged, though the stories argue otherwise. For the last two years of his life, he was a permanent guest on the radio show of singer Rudy Vallee. And every day at 4 pm, on his way to the studio, he'd stop at St. Donat's Bar on Sunset and order his favorite drink: a Pimm's Cup. You can't get more civilized. (Of All the Gin Joints; page 9)

Pimm's Cup
2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
3 oz. freshly squeezed lemonade
1 lemon-lime soda
2 cucumber slices
1 mint sprig

Pour Pimm's and lemonade into a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Top off with soda and stir. Garnish with cucumber and mint.

Here's to you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Share the Gift of Strength with Mercadito

Hunger in America is anything but hidden; threatening the future of America’s youth in overwhelming numbers. It’s a domino affect that starts at the kitchen table and impacts everything from schooling to relationships. Taking action is giving the gift of strength—and with Mercadito, it’s as simple as a taco.

Now in its fourth year, Mercadito’s Taco for Strength campaign is a year-long effort to combat childhood hunger. Chef Patricio Sandoval and 12 acclaimed chefs from around the country join in this fight and offer a signature taco by each chef every month. The October Taco for Strength from Mercadito gives diners the pleasure of Chef Jason Vincent’s—formerly of Chicago’s Pilsen-neighborhood Nightwood—fantastic cuisine. Each month, Sandoval welcomes a renowned chef to support Share Our Strength, and Vincent did not disappoint with his Lamb Carnitas Taco.

"Spring lamb is one thing, but fall lamb is what I really look forward to,” he says. “They've grazed on clover all summer so the fat is aromatic and vegetal, and the meat is perfect for braising."  

The Lamb Carnitas Taco will be available at all Mercadito restaurants (New York, Chicago and Las Vegas) throughout the month of October. 

In 2013, Mercadito sold a grand total of 2,595 Tacos for Strength, raising nearly $2,000 to benefit Share Our Strength. This is the first year that the restaurant has engaged accomplished chefs outside of the restaurants’ markets to create a signature taco. Five percent of the sales from Vincent’s taco will be donated to Share Our Strength. The tacos will be available for dinner (four per order) for $17.50 or for lunch (three per order) for $13.50.
-Megan O'Neill

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bartender's Corner: A look into the beer and spirits industry


Profiling the leaders of the pack
By Sam Ujvary

Liquid Brunch

Everyone loves brunch—in fact, I don't trust a person who doesn't enjoy a good weekend brunch. It's been known, for some to stay in on a Saturday night, just so they're prepared for Sunday brunch. Bloody Marys, bottomless Mimosas, and bacon. This is what life's all about. I'm always fascinated to find people who have the ability to come up with a seemingly outrageous idea for a new drink that I can enjoy with my crèpes.
Gina DelMonico-Williams love brunch. The Webster Grill bartender has been making cocktails for 20 years, having started in the industry as a short order cook back in Lakewood, Ohio. As she was browsing the aisles at a local liquor store one day, a bottle of Maple and Bacon liqueur caught her eye. And those ingredients are the cornerstones of brunch.
For Delmonico-Williams, as for most of us, bourbon screams autumn, and autumn. With that in mindand the help of her culinary team at Webster's Grillshe decided to fat-wash bourbon with bacon in order to develop a perfect new brunch-themed cocktail. "While we were working with the bacon, our chef, Matt Jost decided to experiment with brisket jus and we found the right mix," she says. "The brisket gave the bourbon that smoky aroma and flavor." 
She decided to take those ingredients to create an approachable bourbon cocktail that everyone would love to drink. Keeping with the bacon theme, breakfast came to mind. They even made the drink look like a plate of bacon and eggs, utilizing shaken egg whites and a lemon peel, with a bacon garnish. 
Whether enjoying the cocktail creation during brunch, with a steak dinner or simply on it's own, the perfectly balanced ingredients leave you with a smooth, salty-yet-sweet finish. Well done, Gina.

How to make: Bacon N Eggs

2 oz Bacon and Brisket Infused Very Old Barton Bourbon
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Maple Syrup
2 T Liquid Egg Whites
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Shake vigorously for 7 seconds, double strain into a coup glass.  Garnish with a swizzle bacon stick and an orange peel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AllergyEats Conference to Provide Important Solutions for Food Service Professionals

As a restauranteur, chef, or food service professional, food allergy protocols can seem daunting.  How do I improve food allergy procedures? Is there an easy way to modify a recipe to avoid allergens? What policies can I implement to keep guests safer? AllergyEats looks to answer those questions and more at the 2014 AllergyEats Food Allergy Conference for Restaurateurs & Food Service Professionals: How to Maximize Safety and Increase Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Revenue.  The conference is geared towards restaurant chefs, owners and managers, college and university dining directors, and other food service professionals that strive to become more knowledgeable about accommodating food-allergic and gluten intolerant guests safely, comfortably, and profitably. 

The conference will take place October 1st at the Radisson Martinique in New York City and will feature a roster of prestigious speakers including well-respected restaurateurs that excel at accommodating food-allergic guests; notable food allergy trainers; physicians and allergists; experts in the financials of food allergies, and other specialists in creating allergy-friendly recipes.

These presenters will provide valuable information about accommodating food-allergic and gluten intolerant guests, reducing the fear around food allergies, and building customer loyalty and profits.  They'll also share actionable tips to make restaurants safer for food-allergic diners.

Topics will include Food Allergies in Colleges and Universities; The Financials Around Food Allergies; Food Allergy Basics; Restaurants That Get it Right; Modifying Recipes for the Food-Allergic Diner; and more.

"Our speakers will discuss protocols to improve communication, avoid cross-contamination, create allergen-free meals, and better accommodate guests with dietary restrictions," says Paul Antico, Founder and CEO of AllergyEats, father of three food-allergic children, and passionate food allergy advocate. AllergyEats is a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the United States. It is a peer-reviewed directory of restaurants—all rated by people with food allergies, for people with food allergies. Their database has more than 600,000 restaurant listings across the U.S., from large chains to small mom and pop shops. With their free, peer-based site and app, users are able and encouraged to find and rate restaurants based solely on their ability to accommodate food allergies.  The site, app and related social media forums help families with food allergies reduce the guesswork surrounding dining out.

Advanced registration for the AllergyEats Conference is required.  Registration is $279 per person, and group discounts are also available. To register and for more information, visit the conference website
-Megan O'Neill