Eat, Drink & Be Merry

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Culinary Adventures Foodie Travel Planner Specialty Foods Farm-to-Plate & Beyond Healthy & Mindful Cooking

Wine, Bourbon & Brews History, Culture & The Arts Food & Beverage Industry

CONTENTS TASTE OF PLACE 8. Soak Up the Coastal Maine Vibe in Portland 18. The Ice Cream Museum in New York 24. Natchitoches Culinary Adventure 28. Arizona’s Fresh Foodie Trail 34. Experience Exeter in Central California 36. Pike Place Market in Seattle FOOD, INGREDIENTS & RECIPES 42. Queen Creek Olive Mill 46. Mama Gizzi’s Pasta 48. Sena Sea Wild Alaskan Fish 52. New Produce Trends 56. Crème Brûlée French Toast Recipe 58. Banana Pancakes Recipe 60. Pan Roasted Filet Mignon Recipe

Contents Continued…


CONTENTS HEALTHY & MINDFUL COOKING 61. Cooking and Consciousness 62. Heart-Healthy Cooking & Eating WINE, BREWS & SPIRITS 64. Eight at the Gate Australian Wines 70. Sip & Stay in Woodinville Wine Country 78. L’Ecole No. 41 Winery in Walla Walla 84. LDV Winery in Arizona 88. Esso Coffeehouse & Roastery 91. Cask & Kettle Hot Cocktails TRAVEL & EVENT PLANNER 92. Savor San Benito County, California 94. Experience the Land of Enchantment 96. Northeast Colorado Farm & Ag Fests Contents Continued…


CONTENTS HISTORY, CULTURE & THE ARTS 98. Iconic Hollywood Dishes, Drinks & Desserts 100. History of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country 102. Agriculture as an Art Subject

RESTAURANT, FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY 110. Trust in the Food & Beverage Industry 114. Midyear California Employment Law Review 118. Wine Insider: Chrishon Lampley 119. Restaurant Insider: Marie Coleman


EDITORS BLOCK “I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.” Erma Bombeck There’s nothing like authentic regional dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Like strolling through a charming historic downtown, sampling an area’s food and drinks provides a sense of place and shares the stories of the people and legacy of the land. From coastal Portland, Maine to the farmlands of central Arizona, this second issue of Big Blend’s “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” Magazine, provides a taste of place with foodie trails to follow, culinary destinations, farmers markets and festivals to attend, quality ingredients to savor and cook with, and delicious recipes to try. Of course, there are plenty of fine wines, brews, and spirits to sip on along the way! This issue also focuses on heart-healthy and mindful cooking, a dash of art history, entrepreneur success stories, and legal and leadership advice for those in the food and beverage industry.

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Mama Gizzi’s Ravioli Lollipops by Lisa D. Smith. Story on Page 46

Keep up with our new “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” podcasts, stories, and recipes: Big Blend e-Newsletter Big Blend Facebook Page Facebook Food & Cooking Group Twitter Instagram Pinterest

Cheers! Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter team in podcasting, publishing, and travel.

BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


by Debbie Stone

It’s all about lobster!

Travel Writer Debbie Stone on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. PAGE 8

On the Lucky Catch! It’s lobstah, not lobster, when you’re in Maine. That’s the first thing you learn upon boarding the Lucky Catch trawler. But it will certainly not be the last, as by the time your excursion is over, you’ll be a font of knowledge about this notable crustacean. Taking a trip with the Lucky Catch was one of the highlights during my stay in Portland, Maine. This fishing boat plies the waters of Casco Bay, giving visitors a taste of the daily routines of a Maine lobsterman/woman while cruising near picturesque lighthouses, historic civil war forts, and the “Seal Rocks.”

like shells, shedders, shorts, culls, and keepers. And you’ll participate in the preparation of baiting the traps and the excitement of hauling them up, as you anticipate a bumper payday. Before rejoicing at the sight of a cage packed with glossy orange and black-speckled creatures, however, your guide will explain t that each lobster has to be measured (from eye socket to end of carapace) to determine if it’s of legal size – and thus, a keeper. It it’s too small, or oversized, or a female with eggs, it’s tossed back.

Often, a variety of marine life will enter the trap, including rock and hermit crabs, snails, and starfish. The captain will put them in the seethrough live tank on board for observation. At You’ll hear about lobster habits and become a walking, talking lobster lexicon, spouting off lingo the end of the day, they’ll be thrown back into the sea. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 9

Lobster is not cheap.

Portland Continued… You can purchase any of the lobsters caught on your Lucky Catch adventure for wholesale or “boat” price. If you don’t have a kitchen or pot at your disposal, you can take them across the pier to the Portland Lobster Company and they’ll cook them up and serve you a fresh lobster dinner. Lobster is big business in Maine. There are about 7,000 licensed lobstermen and women with upwards of three million traps in the state. The traps are made of wire and attached by a line to the colored buoy on the surface of the water. Each lobsterman/woman has his/her own individually painted buoy for identification.

contracts even stipulated that employed help could not be fed lobster more than twice a week. Over the years, this crustacean’s reputation and esteem have risen substantially and today, it’s viewed as a delicacy (and a luxury) in many restaurants and is usually the most expensive entrée on the menu. On the coast of Maine, this sought-after food is ubiquitous.

The state’s average lobster harvest in a year is about 100 million pounds. What most people don’t realize is that lobstering is a physically grueling job, where you work long hours, often in inclement weather. Plus, the investment to get started in the business is sizeable. It’s interesting to note that lobster as a food wasn’t always popular. Folks actually turned up their noses at eating these creatures. They were used for compost for gardens, fed to the hogs, prisoners, and domestic staff. Some job PAGE 10

Get your fresh lobster cooked here!

Old Port It’s a lobsterpalooza with lobster shacks everywhere you go, each one claiming to be the best. You’ll also find lobster in every form and preparation possible, from Lobster Benedict and Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese to Lobster Pot Pie and Lobster Carbonara. But despite its prolific presence in this part of the country, you’ll still pay a price for the fresh stuff.

entertaining information about the geography and history of this colorful section of Portland. You’ll learn, for example, that there are 2,500 islands off the coast of Maine, of which only fifteen are inhabited, and 3,500 plus miles of coastline. Within Casco Bay alone, there are 200.

You’ll also hear about the Great Fire of July 4, Portland is definitely nirvana for seafood 1866, which was accidentally ignited by a aficionados. But this small city is much more firecracker. It decimated the town, destroying than that. It’s a veritable foodie haven and a craft 1,800 buildings, the majority of which were beer mecca. It has become the East coast’s must- residences, leaving both rich and poor homeless. visit foodie city, boasting a highly touted farm-to- Aid poured in and in the following two years, the fork philosophy and practice. city was almost completely rebuilt, giving it the characteristic brick, Victorian architecture that’s One of the best ways to get a taste of the town’s still prominent today. culinary scene is to do a walking food and beverage tour in the Old Port area with Maine Your personable and knowledgeable guide will Foodie Tours. This leisurely-paced excursion take you to several artisan shops, restaurants offers a great introduction to the local food and and pubs, where you’ll sample a mix of classic drinks while providing interesting and Continued on Next Page… PAGE 11

Portland Continued… Your personable and knowledgeable guide will take you to several artisanal shops, restaurants and pubs, where you’ll sample a mix of classic Maine, Maine-inspired, up-and-coming, fancy foods and beverages. The narration is lively with the inclusion of lots of additional recommendations on where to dine and imbibe. Don’t miss a trip to The Holy Donut (go early!) for donuts made with Maine potatoes. The potatoes give these yummy creations a moist texture that makes them melt in your mouth. You’ll have twenty flavors to choose from, like fresh lemon, maple bacon, dark chocolate sea salt, and toasted coconut with a coconut milk glaze.

The Holy Donut

On our tour, Timothy, a Portland native, was the guide. The group was comprised of people from all over the country, most of who were first-time visitors. First stop was the Portland Beer Hub. No, we didn’t actually start the day with beer, but rather with a traditional Maine drink called Moxie. At one time, Moxie was marketed as a medicinal beverage, before becoming more mainstay. I would describe it as a cross between Dr. Pepper and cough syrup. Our sample of Moxie was accompanied by savory meatballs from Micucci Grocery, a famed Old World Italian market in Portland. The Moxie Second stop was Gilbert’s Chowder House, where the offerings included New England clam chowder, seafood chowder, or a chicken corn chowder. I had the seafood chowder, which was packed full of lobster, clams, shrimp, haddock, and potatoes. Our guide explained the differences between New England and Manhattan chowders and also proceeded to tell us that locals sometimes put tabasco sauce on top of their chowder for extra flavor. I opted out of this tradition, preferring to eat my chowder unadorned. We moved on to Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub, a Maine institution and one of the earliest pioneers of the brewing renaissance in the state. We sipped a seasonal blueberry beer and a Halloween pumpkin ale, accompanied by tasty PAGE 12

Seafood Chowder

Lobster roll and homemade potato chips lobster rolls and handmade potato chips while enjoying the pub’s convivial English-style ambiance. Sit on the patio or window side to people watch and take in the atmosphere of charming, cobblestoned Wharf Street.

chocolate-making is more than a business. It’s an art.

We sampled a Needham, a traditional Maine candy comprised of chocolate, (dark chocolate in Dean’s case) sugar, coconut, and potato. The potato, unbeknownst to me, is a classic staple in At $3 Deweys, we had a crisp Pumpkinhead Beer, the state, and at one point, Maine was the top rimmed with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, and harvester of potatoes in the country. I thought it fresh, haddock tacos. While sipping and tasted like a homemade Mounds bar, and I could munching, we heard the amusing story of the have easily eaten another…or two. name behind Deweys. Years ago, when the sailors came to port, they would head to the In addition to food, Portland is known for its bordellos. The prices for “services” back then lighthouses. These coastal sentinels are beloved started at $1 for “lookies,” $2 for “touchies” and icons of Maine. In Portland Harbor, there are six $3 for “doies!” to choose from. Cape Elizabeth’s Portland Head Light is the region’s most recognized. And it’s a The last stop on the tour was Dean’s Sweets. This beaut! This famed 1787 beacon is the oldest in specialty shop produces over thirty varieties of Maine and a darling of photographers all over truffles, caramels, and buttercreams, using the the world. finest imported chocolate. For Dean Bingham, who left a forty-year career as an architect to Continued on Next Page… open the confectionary with his wife Kristin, PAGE 13

Welcome to the Black Point Inn

Portland Continued… The popular landmark is situated along the shores of Fort William Park, a ninety-acre greenspace with hiking and recreation opportunities and dramatic ocean views. It includes the keepers’ quarters building (now a museum with interpretative displays and a collection of lighthouse lenses), which until 1989, was home to the head and assistant lighthouse keepers and their families. The U.S. Coast Guard now maintains the actual light and the fog signal. As you look out over Portland Harbor, provided it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see an additional four lighthouse towers, including Spring Point Ledge, Ram Island Ledge, Halfway Rock, and Cape Elizabeth.

leisure. Built in 1878, Black Point was once one of the grand hotels in Prouts Neck. Today, it’s the last remaining hotel in the area. This historic grand dame has been extensively renovated over the years, but still manages to retain its quintessential character and traditions, while providing all the modern amenities and luxuries you’d expect from an upscale property.

Accommodations are plentiful in Portland, but if you want to stay somewhere really special, reserve a room at the Black Point Inn on Prouts Neck. Just minutes from downtown, this property is located on a ruggedly breathtaking section of the coastline. Surrounded by water and beaches on three sides, it offers captivating views and peaceful trails to meander at your PAGE 14

Spacious king room at the Black Point Inn

Jazz on the veranda at Black Point Inn The inn boasts an excellent onsite restaurant (The Chart Room), a cozy lobby, where tea and cookies are served each afternoon, an all-weather sun porch, and a delightful veranda to take in the picture-perfect views and listen to the surf. The latter is the ideal spot to have a libation before dinner, as well as dine al fresco while watching a fiery sunset and listening to live jazz. There’s something for everyone at The Chart Room, from casual pub fare and seasonal specials to creative entrees. Start your meal with the Bangs Island mussels, crispy Brussels sprouts, or harvest salad with roasted butternut squash. You’ll dine on such dishes as grilled salmon, baked haddock, Maine Lobster tails, short rib stroganoff, and Jamaican jerk chicken, among other notable entrees. Definitely save room for the Maine blueberry pie ala mode or the pumpkin cream cheese torte. I can vouch for both, as my husband and I shared these sublime desserts. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 15

Haddock with shrimp at the Chart Room

A fiery sunset at Black Point Inn

Portland Continued… Our room was spacious, with a comfy king bed and sitting area, and a mesmerizing view of the beach and bay. Hard to leave the confines of this cozy domicile, but the outdoors beckoned. One morning, we took the Cliff Walk, a 1.75-mile path along the shoreline’s cliffs. Another day, we strolled on the sandy beaches. If you’re seeking creative inspiration, this is the place. In fact, that was the case with artist Winslow Homer, who spent over 25 years at his family’s cottage on Prouts Neck painting the landscape.

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

Staff at Black Point are to be commended. Everyone we interacted with was hospitable and gracious. It’s obvious that the inn, which is managed by the Migis Hotel Group, takes pride in providing unpretentious, yet attentive service. The number of repeat guests each year says it all. If you go: Black Point Inn: Maine Foodie Tours: Lucky Catch: All things Portland, ME:

Portland Head Light PAGE 16


by Debbie Stone PAGE 18

Mapping out Ice Cream around the world. New York City has museums galore, focusing on everything from art and science to history and space, as well as niche specialties such as digital and film media, transit, Jewish heritage, Latino culture, and even a spy museum devoted to exploring your own superhero powers. With nearly a hundred museums in and around the Big Apple, visitors are guaranteed to find one that appeals to them. If you’re looking for a museum that’s not only interactive and immersive but also tasty, head to the Museum of Ice Cream. You’ll learn plenty about this popular treat, plus, you’ll get to sample it in several forms. It’s innovative, fun, and most of all, delicious! The museum currently has locations in NYC, Austin, Texas, and Singapore. The New York City site opened in 2016 to rave reviews and since then, it has attracted over several hundred thousand satisfied visitors. Founders Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora are credited with the concept, while Figure8 is the parent company. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 19

Dance through the Rainbow Tunnel Ice Cream Continued… Escape reality as you walk through the doors of this ice cream fantasy land. You’ll feel as if you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s factory. Thirteen multisensory installations are spread among three floors of the 20,000 square-foot building and decorated to the hilt to reflect the seasons and holidays. This past holiday season, it was “Pinkmas,” and everything was done up in, you guessed it – pink! Each space elicits imagination and creativity while providing dozens of Instagram and photoworthy moments. Follow the “melt this way” arrows, as you engage in activities like sliding down the indoor Ice Cream Portal, taking a ride to outer space in the Celestial Subway, dancing through the Rainbow Tunnel, and meandering amid a wonderland of hanging bananas and jumping in the Sprinkle Pool. And yes, all ages are encouraged to participate!

Sprinkles Pool

from a guest of the then Maryland Governor William Bladen. A few years later, an ad for ice cream is posted in the New York Gazette by confectioner Filippo Lenzi, marking its marketing debut. The cone makes its entrance at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when a waffle maker and ice cream maker join forces. Today, our country produces a whopping two billion cones a year. The 1920s saw the invention of the ice cream bar, while the 1930s brought soft-serve ice cream to our palettes. It was a stroke of accidental genius when Tom Carvel’s ice cream truck had a flat tire, causing his ice cream to slightly melt. His customers went wild for the results and soft-serve became a mainstay.

A map in the museum directs your attention to ice cream around the world, with numerous Along the way, you’ll learn some fun facts about unique delights, including Hazelnut Gelato in ice cream. Remember the date 618 A.D., as that’s Italy, Tiger Tail in Canada (a blend of swirling the birth of ice cream, attributed to the Chinese black licorice in orange-flavored ice cream), Tang Dynasty. Flash forward to 1744 when ice Hokey Pokey in New Zealand (vanilla base with cream in America is first written about in a letter crunchy, gooey, honeycomb, toffee pieces) and PAGE 20

Keso in the Philippines (a salty-sweet combo of cream and cheddar cheese). You’ll discover that China buys the most ice cream, followed by the U.S. and Japan, but in terms of consumption per capita, New Zealand takes the lead, then the U.S., Australia, Finland, and Sweden. Question and answer boards inform you that the average American eats twenty quarts of ice cream per year. And as for why we love the stuff so much, you can blame your addiction on science, as ice cream has the perfect mix of sugar and fat – the main energy sources that human brains are designed to crave.

Visitors can give themselves an ice cream-related name to wear during their tour. After reading some of the monikers for celebs, including Oprah Winfreeze, George Coolney, Katy Berry, Dwayne the Rocky Road Johnson and Leonardo Continued on Next Page…


Slide down the Ice Cream Portal

Good enough to eat!

Ice Cream Continued… DeCreamio, you’ll be inspired to invent your own. My son, for example, whose name is Jake, chose “Jocolate,” while his wife, Bri, was “Brinana Split.” I, on the other hand, became, “Debbin’ Dots.” You can also use magnetic letters to decorate a wall in response to prompts like: “Share your earliest memory of ice cream with your cone panion,” “What is your dream?” and “What advice would you tell your younger self?” I’d need more letters, more wall space, and a lot more time to answer the latter!

Talk about a sugar rush! And for the adults in the crowd, there are several blended alcoholic drinks available for an additional cost. Entrance is by reserved timed tickets

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

As for treats, there are plenty. During my visit, the smorgasbord included a cone of “Creamy Peppermint Snow,” which was vanilla soft serve with peppermint crumble, followed by a cherry popsicle, a choice of a scoop of gingerbread or peppermint ice cream or raspberry sorbet, and for the finale, a doughnut hole in whipped cream with a fruity syrup drizzled on top. PAGE 22


Get a Taste of Louisiana’s Oldest City! By Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: From meat pies and Creole cuisine to daiquiris and craft brews, this episode focuses on where to "Eat, Drink & Be Merry" In Natchitoches, Louisiana with Arlene Gould and Kelli West of the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and the oldest city in Louisiana. Celebrating a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American, and Creole cultures, this destination knows how to serve up some mighty flavorful fare, including its infamous Natchitoches Meat Pie!

with restaurants and eateries serving up delicious dishes that appeal to everyone’s palate. When it comes to authentic Louisiana and downhome Southern cooking, pay a visit to Merci Beaucoup Restaurant, Mama's Oyster House and Papa's Bar & Grill, Mayeaux's Steak & Seafood, Almost Home Family Restaurant, and nearby Grayson’s Barbecue.

The life of the Natchitoches Meat Pie evolved from its Native American roots back in the 1700s, to the Spanish adding some spice, and then local families adapting this empanada-style recipe into their own. Designated as Louisiana’s State Meat Pie, this regional specialty is celebrated with an annual festival in September, and served at numerous restaurants and eateries, most notably Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, an authentic soulful Creole Cuisine experience not to be missed!

Maglieaux's Riverfront Restaurant serves up a delicious blend of Italian and Creole cuisine, and El Patio Mexican Grill and El Rio Cantina both cook up fabulous south-of-the-border fare. And serving freshly made-from-scratch meals, Legacy Café is part of the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center’s Workforce Development Program that focuses on transforming lives and building community through food.

With Natchitoches being such a culturally diverse community, it shines as a culinary destination PAGE 25

Continued on Next Page…

Fried delights at Mayeaux’s Natchitoches Continued… Now if you really want to take a unique foodie adventure, how about following the Louisiana No Man’s Land Gas Station Eats Food Trail? Yes, gas stations! The Trail includes an introductory 21 stops in the seven parishes that make up Louisiana’s No Man’s Land. Delicacies in these roadside stops include meat pies, tamales, salads, burgers, pies, cookies, boudin, smoked meats, ice cream, and much more. One of our favorite stops is the French Market Express which is conveniently located next to many of the area’s brand hotels and serves traditional Natchitoches Meat Pies, plate lunches, and their famous yam cakes.

Plan your Natchitoches Culinary Adventure at and download the Louisiana No Man’s Land Gas Station east Food Trail at

When it comes to libations, watch for the opening of Flying Heart Brewing which recently took over Cane River Craft Brewery. The brewery is housed in a refurbished cotton gin building that is nearly a century old. There’s also the annual fall TappedTober Craft Beer & Wine Festival that raises funds for local charities. And, Natchitoches has drive-thru daiquiri shops, the perfect frozen treat for those warm summer days! Last but not least, stop by Cane River Candy Company for some nostalgic candy and sweet treats! PAGE 26

By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

Queen Creek Olive Mill Grove Courtesy PAGE 28

Queen Creek Olive Mill Grove Patio Area Who would have thought that ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Zoey Shircel of Visit Mesa and travel writer the Sonoran Desert is made up Linda Kissam. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the of fertile land? Yup, there are podcast on PodBean. lots of interesting cacti to see, but I think you’ll be delighted and inspired to know that there is a glorious food trail to follow in the East Valley section which is about 60 minutes from Phoenix. What this means for both tourists and locals in Arizona is a juicy road trip through the Mesa area to discover a destination offering an abundance of fresh locally produced food. attraction where visitors can find everything from peaches to olives to lettuce to citrus of all kinds, ice cream, and even BBQ during their visit. The Fresh Foodie Trail is an Arizona touch-feelsmell culinary education featuring innumerable The Fresh Foodie Trail is made up of the towns mouthwatering treats in a 10-stop tour. Next are of Gilbert, Mesa, Florence, and Queen Creek. It is my top six picks for you to visit. promoted by Visit Mesa, as an “agritourism” Continued on Next Page… PAGE 29

The Fresh Foodie Trail is a culinary-themed road trip that takes visitors along its freeways and back streets to experience the town’s countryside charms. Who knew?

Agritopia Arch courtesy

Foodie Trail Continued…

You can find the entire trail on along with nearby restaurants. Agritopia in Gilbert Agritopia® is a community located in Gilbert, AZ designed to promote village life and preserve urban agriculture. There is a working Farm at the heart of this neighborhood. The Farm at Agritopia runs a self-serve farm store open from 7 am-7 pm daily, as well as a Wednesday farmers market from 5 pm-8 pm during the season. There are several restaurants and a brewery open to the public.

veggies sourced from The Farm at Agritopia is a taste not to be missed. The salads are special featuring a mixture of crisp carrots, ripe tomatoes, and just-picked lettuce from the soil. Superb lunch stop. Barnone at Agritopia courtesy of

This planned community offers a modern village lifestyle surrounding 11 acres of urban farmland, where a tree-lined sidewalk leads you to chef driven restaurants, where creative spaces encourage craftsmanship, and where charming homes nestle close. Here, people live, work, eat, shop, create, and come together. Within the four walls of the Johnston family’s original home is Joe’s Farm Grill. With its 60’s era vibe, diners can dig into comfort food whose ingredients are plucked from nature elevating the menu of classic backyard barbecue staples. Its fresh-ground chuck signature hamburger encased in fontina cheese and layered with PAGE 30

Jalapeno Bucks at B&B Citrus Farms courtesy

Jalapeno Bucks featuring B&B Citrus Farms in Mesa B&B Citrus Farms is one of Mesa’s original groves that dates back to 1915. Generations of Mesa visitors have made a stop here as part of their travels to load up on local citrus and to ship cases of fruit back to friends and family in colder climates. Great local citrus and produce live at this small farm market. Hungry diners can walk a few feet to enjoy adjacent Jalapeño Buck’s outdoor BBQ and Mexican food plates. This is a very popular place with lines out to the street. Local’s insider tip: Place your order online, then eat on the provided picnic tables. If not, expect a 30+ minute wait just to order.

Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek This is a full-sensory experience. The scent and shade of the olive trees, the fun olive tour, and the amazing indoor culinary-focused market set a high benchmark. Be sure to plan your visit around breakfast lunch or dinner as the food is really good. Perfect place to go for date night, take out-of-state guests, or plan a family outing. Dog and child friendly. For foodies, the mill’s gourmet market showcases a collection of signature olive oils, vibrant vinegars, luxe spa items, and take-home gifts. Enjoy complimentary

Queen Creek Olive Oils tastings of the oils while waiting to take the Olive 101 Tour. Offered on the half-hour, tours go behind the scenes showing off the cold pressing operation while experts answer questions regarding this beloved oil. Be sure to check out their monthly events. Continued on Next Page…


Schnepf Family Farms Foodie Trail Continued…

Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek Experience one of Arizona’s top agri-tourist locations and hear about this fourth-generation family farm while enjoying a hayride through the organic orchards and gardens, riding on a train, or visiting the Farmhouse Museum and Country Store & Bakery. Schnepf Farms is designated as an Arizona Treasure. It is a great outing for families, seniors, and bus tours. This fourth-generation family farm is the largest peach grower in the Southwest. It hosts events, peach picking, has a delightful UPICK garden, country store, bakery, glamping opportunities, and epicurean showcases Arizona Cuisine as part of its Dinners Down the Orchard event series each spring. For visitors on the foodie trail, a stop at the Farm Fresh Bakery, open Thursday to Sunday, means you can buy their signature peach cinnamon rolls, brownies, or the memorable caramel-topped apple pie. This is a great place to breathe in fragrant peach blossoms on the orchard trail. Bring your camera. Visitors can even hop on a train to take it through the farm and orchard.

Schnepf Farms U-Pick Garden courtesy


True Garden Urban Farm Tower Garden courtesy

True Garden Urban Farm in Mesa

The Windmill Winery in Florence

See the future of “green” gardening at True Garden. This first-of-its-kind facility, operated by solar power, was designed in partnership with Future Growing LLC with a vision to drastically reduce the region’s agricultural water consumption while making local, living produce available year-round in the hot desert regions of Phoenix and the Southwest US.

The Windmill Winery offers two distinct, but compatible venues. The first is a lovely historic site for a wedding or event staged either in the big red barn or the lake area. The second is a venue for wine tasting. Both venues overlook the Superstition Mountains.

The wine-tasting spot offers signature wines that are locally produced featuring grapes that thrive The 5,000-square-foot vertical urban garden in the Arizona desert terrain. Enjoy classic destination can be a bit hard to find. Located in a varietals like Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Pinot small strip mall, the outside does not reflect the Grigio as well as newcomers such as Pinotage, grandeur of the inside. There is a weekly farmers Alicante Bouschet, and Barbera. Tasting flights market as well as educational courses for visitors and a charcuterie board is the way to go. Inside about the production of healthy and nutritious or patio seating. food using no soil. Featuring innovative hydroponic gardening techniques, visitors can Indulge your senses in the carefully tended learn about organic growing practices and landscaping, live animals, a lake, and stone sustainable farming. pathways surround the property. Take a walk, and breathe in the fun, quirky, but polished Call ahead or check out their website for limited atmosphere. public hours and monthly events, and check out Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a their Farmer’s market every Wednesday and professional travel, food, and wine writer who Saturday from 8 am-12 pm. specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit PAGE 33

A Charming Art & Agricultural Community in California’s Sequoia Country Tina Rice, CEO of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, joins us on this episode of Big Blend Radio to share what there is to experience in Exeter, a gateway community of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. Exeter is an agricultural community known for growing citrus, deciduous fruit, and table grapes. It welcomes visitors to explore its charming historic downtown that features over 30 delicious variety of restaurants, boutique shops, and family-friendly annual events and festivals. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Learn more about Exeter at and plan your visit to California’s Sequoia Country at


Experience Pike Place Market One Taste at a Time By Debbie Stone

Debbie Stone on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


Iconic Pike Place Pig When it comes to food, I’m a grazer. You know, the kind of person who likes to eat little bites throughout the day, as opposed to an actual meal. I enjoy munching every few hours as it keeps me on a steady fueling cycle. It’s a habit that makes me very attracted to food tours because typically these experiences involve sampling different foods in small quantities over the course of a few hours. On a trip to Seattle in June, I opted to take Show Me Seattle’s Taste Pike Place Market Food Tour. Though I had once lived in the Seattle area and had visited Pike Place countless times, the tour offered me a new and different way to view the market.

The market, via its foundation, not only preserves and protects the historic buildings on site but also helps to support the various groups of individuals who live in the community. It provides affordable and low-income housing, as well as a range of services for low-income seniors, the disabled, and homeless populations via its own organizations and social service agencies. These include a senior center, food bank, childcare center, and preschool, and medical clinic.

Created more than a century ago, Pike Place Market sprung from a desire to connect residents with farmers and has become a place where people can talk to the region’s producers and purveyors of fresh, locally sourced, artisanal, Pike Place Market has the distinction of being the and specialty foods. There are more than 85 local longest, continuously operating farmer’s market farmers contracted with the market, who sell in the U.S. It is a nine-acre historic site that is its everything from fruits and veggies to nuts, herbs, own special community right in the city’s hub. honey, and flowers. And then there are specialty Most visitors, and even some locals, don’t realize food vendors, where you’ll find the catch-of-thethat this place is more than a public market. It’s day, meats and cheeses, spices, and teas from an actual neighborhood comprised of hundreds exotic locales. of farmers, craftspeople, small businesses, and Continued on Next Page… residents. PAGE 37

Pikes Continued… Show Me Seattle’s tour is a guided, curated experience that includes tastes from a number of stalls and restaurants within the market. The area teems with dozens of cafes, bistros, and takeout stands, where you can eat on-the-go, have a casual bite, or enjoy a leisurely, memorable meal with a picturesque view of Puget Sound. Cuisine options abound from French and Italian to Asian-fusion, quintessential Pacific Northwest, and more.

The beauty of produce. We washed down our baked treat at the next stop – Rojo – with fresh, cold-pressed, pineapple juice. Then on to Pure Food Fish Market for some delicious Alderwood smoked salmon. Anyone who’s visited Seattle knows that seafood reigns supreme. And Pure Food Fish Market is nirvana for pescatarians. You’ll find fresh and smoked salmon, wild halibut, shrimp, crab, scallops, and other delights of the sea at this four-generation, family-run business.

At Truffle Queen, we got a chance to learn about the “savory side of chocolate.” I’m talking about the truffles that grow underground and are a natural occurrence of Mother Nature. The shop imports its specialty items from Italy, which is regarded as having the highest quality (and highest-priced) truffles in the world. These Our guide Will started our group off with slices of babies can cost as high as a whopping $380 an ounce! apple strudel from Three Girls Bakery. Founded in 1912, this bakery is the oldest continuously We sampled Black Truffle Italian Sea Salt, operating business in the market and was the Truffled Red Pesto, and Pesto Genovese with first business licensed to women in the city of Black Truffle. The pesto would be delicious on Seattle. Getting back to the strudel…the crust was buttery and flaky and the filling was bursting pasta or in a grilled cheese sandwich, or simply on crackers for a snack. with juicy, spiced apple. A great beginning! PAGE 38 On my tour, we enjoyed samples from ten vendors and small businesses. The lineup of locales can change depending on the time and day of the tour but rest assured, no matter what you have, you’ll be tasting some of the best the market has to offer.

Samples at Truffle Queen

The Truffle Queen Truffle Queen also sells other products, including wine, oils, balsamic vinegars, and honey. Our tastings also included a sample of some lemon curd, which was a winner in my book. I could picture, or rather taste this on fresh berries or layered in a cake. Mexican street food is the focus at Los Agaves. Owner Jaime Mendez, originally from Mexico City, opened his spot in the market a few years ago. He combines old family recipes and Pacific Northwest ingredients with flavorful results. We had the tacos al pastor, made with pork and adorned with pineapple.

Piroshky Piroshky At Piroshky Piroshky, the throngs amass early and continue throughout the day. Everyone’s there for one of the shop’s famed, handheld, made-from-scratch pies with sweet or savory fillings. They’re a little slice of Russia in the Pacific Northwest. Our group got the Smoked Salmon Pate piroshky, a yummy blend of smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, and onion. If I had any more room in my stomach after the tour, I would have returned to try the Chicken, Curry and Rice, or the Berry Bedazzle. Alas, another time.

I started to salivate when I smelled the freshly baked cookies as we walked into Indi Chocolate. Pike Place Chowder, we were told, always has a This café and factory makes small-batch, artisan, line coming out of its doors as it gets close to hand-crafted, bean-to-bar chocolate, along with lunchtime. The award-winning New England a range of cacao-based products, from teas and Clam Chowder is creamy, not pasty or overly spice rubs to soaps and lotions. The company thick, with loads of meaty clams. Definitely sources its cacao beans from farmers and measures up to all the accolades. And that’s not cooperatives across the globe. Out of the oven the only chowder available. You can get came a sheet of Indi Chip cookies. The buttery, Manhattan style, crab and oyster, smoked dark chocolate decadence, topped with cacao salmon, seared scallop, and for vegans, there’s a nibs and sea salt, melted in my mouth and was lime and coconut concoction. gone all too soon. PAGE 39

Cod from Seatown

Pikes Continued… Our last place on the tour was Seatown Market and Fish Fry, one of noted chef, restauranteur, and James Beard award-winner Tom Douglas’s establishments. Seafood, of course, is the obvious emphasis here, especially the cookedto-order fry baskets. We sampled the cod, which was nice and flaky on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. During the tour, Will told us about the market’s storied past and regaled us with entertaining stories about its legendary characters. He also provided information about the one-of-a-kind vendors and businesses we visited.

wander around the market on your own. With its various levels and web of alleys and side streets, the area is a rabbit warren, chockful of small shops specializing in books, art, clothing, toys, pop culture collectibles, and even magic trick supplies. Plenty of hidden treasures to discover! Make sure you also spend some time in the crafts market. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the country with unique, handmade ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, metal sculpture, leather goods, wearables, and more. Being able to chat with the artisans only adds to the experience. More:

I was particularly surprised to learn that Pike Place Market is the only historically protected district in the country that was voted on by a public referendum. Years ago, it had been slated to be condemned and razed to build condos. But thankfully, the people protested and the referendum passed. I shudder to think of Seattle without this iconic landmark, beloved by locals and visitors alike. It is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the city. After the food tour, you’ll probably want to

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and to all seven continents.


On Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam and Perry Rea. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


A toast from the Rea family Olive oil has a celebrated history that makes cooks smile and guests rhapsodize. Did you know that premium olive oil is being made in Arizona? Yup! The town of Queen Creek is home to Arizona’s first working olive farm and mill. It’s just about an hour from Phoenix in a quaint – and still working - farm area. As you drive into the dirt parking lot at Queen Creek Olive Mill, you’ll encounter an unassuming metal building and an impressive grove with hundreds of olive trees. There is plenty of Tuscan-style outside seating nestled under mature olive oil trees. Why all the outside seating? Because this is a foodie destination…and a darn good one at that. Unexpected sure, but well thought out and cared for by the owners.

bath and body products, local vendor and artisan wares, and a deli to kill for. Owners Perry and Brenda Rea make the experience come to life with tours, tastings, and a breakfast, brunch/lunch dinner menu. Beer, wine, and cocktails are also available. Eat inside or outside. All facilities are ADA-accessible.

A fun part of your visit is the Olive Oil 101 Educational Tour. The cost is $7.00/person and takes approximately 45 minutes. Wear flat comfortable shoes. The tour begins in the tree grove near the mill where an expert guide shares the background of the mill and introduces the participants to the different types of olives and how they are harvested. Guests then transition into the mill where the guide explains the processes of, “… milling the olives, extracting their oil, and how the Master Blender puts his Inside the metal building, you’ll find a gourmet signature on the finished product by determining food market complete with all the olive-related how the flavor attributes (grassy, peppery, fruity, food and products a connoisseur could fall in bitter, buttery) will be combined.” A short tasting love with. Think bottles and bottles of special or two is included. All in all, my thought is the decadent extra virgin olive oils. Artisan breads, price is worth the result. stuffed olives, wine, tapenades, spa-inspired Recipe on Next Page… PAGE 43

Spaghetti all’Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

Arizona Finds Continued… The owners are proud of their completely natural olive oils. Sustainable farming practices and a commitment to utilize local products demonstrate the couple’s dedication to the environment, and the health of customers and the surrounding community. Plans to improve and expand the property are in the works. Every step on the property and each bite from their kitchens and gourmet market shares their strong family values with customers. Their love of cooking and creating has created a legacy they wish to share and leave for generations to come.

RECIPE: Spaghetti all’Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino By Perry Rea, Owner of Queen Creek Olive Mill Yield: 4 servings. This is an olive oil-based sauce, very easy to prepare and incredibly tasty. You can prepare this meal in literally the same time it takes to boil the pasta. It was a staple growing up in my family. This is also my wife’s favorite pasta dish. Ingredients: 1 pound spaghetti ½ cup Queen Creek Olive Mill Balanced extra virgin olive oil 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped

Ingredients Continued: ½ teaspoon red chili flakes Parmesan cheese, grated Italian parsley, chopped Sea salt to taste Directions: 1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve one cup cooking water then drain. 2. A few minutes before the spaghetti is al dente, add olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes to a sauté pan that is large enough to accommodate the pasta once it has cooked. 3. Cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to turn golden (careful not to burn). Transfer pasta to the sauté pan and toss. Salt to taste. If the pasta is dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Queen Creek Olive Mill is located at 25062 S Meridian Rd., Queen Creek, AZ 85142. Tel: (480) 888-9290, Web:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit PAGE 44


This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Eat, Drink & Be Merry" Show features Leah "Mama" Gizzi and John Storch, owners of Mama Gizzi Pasta in Lake Worth, Florida. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


A Full-Flavored Mama Gizzi Pasta Experience… By Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid It was a beautiful fall day in Lake Worth when we paid a visit to John and Leah’s home where we got the full “Mama Gizzi” treatment. While sipping wine out in their lush garden, we were regaled with wild and funny stories that ran the gamut from Leah starting her culinary business to John’s rock ‘n roll life with The Cravens band, as we were served some of the most delectable and innovative Italian dishes. It was a fun, memorable, and delicious experience. It all started with Bread Breaking. Mama Gizzi’s homemade Italian Herb Bread is made with Caputo and Semolina flours, and perfectly seasoned with fresh basil and parsley, and a sprinkle of nutmeg and garlic powder. Next up was the whimsical Ravioli Lollipops! Served on a fork, these tasty treats feature Impastata Ricotta, Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Jack cheeses all wrapped and cooked in a fresh tomato and basil pasta dough.

Pasta is Amore! We were like grinning little kids when Leah sent us back home with leftovers and fresh pasta to cook and enjoy. Her pasta is not the run-of-the-mill dry stuff you get off a grocery shelf, this is the real deal, handcrafted, a culinary feat that’s made with love, care, and a little bit of spitfire – the essence of who Mama Gizzi is. Her food reminds us to stop, drop the daily drama of life, and simply savor the moment. Savor the kinship of friends and family. And of course, savor that flavor!

In operation since 2007, Mama Gizzi’s Pasta is known for offering the finest pasta and tastiest Then it was time for Mama Gizzi’s Famous Italian meals and desserts to many of Palm Meatballs. Moist and full of flavor, these ground Beach County’s finest restaurants and homes. turkey and beef meatballs are cooked with diced Mama Gizzi’s superior, handcrafted pasta is red onion and served on a bed of Spinach and made with only the finest ingredients. Home of Ricotta Gnocchi, along with Mama’s signature the “No Drama Mama” Dinner Kit, Mama Gizzi is Gravy. also a wholesale food supplier for restaurants and country clubs, as well as a catering business And for dessert? We’re talking mouthwatering preparing everything from dessert platters to full Ricotta Cannolis dipped in Belgian dark chocolate and sprinkled with Pistachios, delicate meals for family events, and office parties, and holiday happenings large and small. Call 561Chocolate Pizzelle Wafers, and heavenly 642-9996 or visit Chocolate Mini Cupcakes laden with Ricotta Cheese Frosting. PAGE 47


By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva” Wild Alaskan Rockfish Chop If you’ve tried to purchase fish at your local market lately, especially if you are looking for the rich deep flavors of Alaskan caught fish, you’ll know that prices are high, the selection is low and quality can be questionable. What’s plan “B?”

Linda Kissam & Sena Wheeler on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

You could go to the source, like my husband and I did last summer. Pulling your fish up from the dock or trolling the deep cool Alaskan waters is quite an experience…and quite an expensive endeavor. Trust me, as vacations go, it was as So, what do I recommend? Skip the markets and costly as going to Europe. By the way - getting think carefully about the time and money it the fish we caught prepared for shipment to our takes to personally fish in Alaska. There is a home in Arizona is one of those wild stories you great alternative, Sena Sea Seafoods, an online recount to your friends over a very stiff, stiff source for wild-caught and sustainable Alaskan drink. fish, including Copper River king salmon, Copper PAGE 48

Copper River Coho fillet River sockeye salmon, Halibut, Sablefish, and King Crab. I can say with confidence after tasting their “Sampler” package that their fish tastes exactly as fresh, firm, and tasty as anything we caught, and it arrives beautifully prepared in manageable portions. The fish arrive frozen. As the owners share, “Freezing fish up front pauses it at peak freshness which maintains the quality of the product.” If it’s frozen properly, like how Rich and Sena do it, it actually preserves the quality of the product better than 99% of the “fresh” product on the market today.

from. Sena Sea offers individual fillets, bundles, meal kits, and the finest salmon shipped directly from Alaska. Browse and select with confidence. Fresh, never-farmed fish, and a commitment to ocean stewardship as they partner with ethical farms, fisheries, and producers around the world. Think delicious, high-quality sustainable food. This company is the recipe for a great meal at home — delivering food that’s better for you, better for the earth, better for the animals, and better for the hardworking farmers, fishermen, and producers behind it all. It’s pretty much a win-win all the way around.

Prices are appropriate for what you get,”… a taste of the Last Frontier … shipped from Alaska.” All fish are wild-caught and sustainable, including the popular Copper River king salmon and Copper River sockeye salmon. The Alaska salmon species are the most desired in the world for their rich nutritional value and excellent taste. They are packed with heart-healthy fatty acids that bring out a magnificent flavor. The firm texture and bright colors demonstrate the high quality of the fish varieties. There is a large selection of packages to choose PAGE 49

Recipe on Next Page…


Sena Sea Black Cod Sena Sea Continued… From our kitchen to yours, we love sharing our favorite family recipes. My Dad was on one of the first Alaskan halibut boats to try fishing for black cod back in the 1980's and this is exactly how our family has been cooking black cod ever since! Ingredients 1 Sena Sea Black Cod fillet (or 4 to 6 portions), thawed 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger root (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger), grated 1 garlic clove, minced

throughout and flesh is separating. Broil on high for 2 more minutes for a nice crispy, brown top. Sena holds degrees in nutrition and food science in addition to being a Mom, foodie, and thirdgeneration fisherman's wife. Visit her at where she blogs about family, fish, and food. Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

Directions Place Black Cod in a glass baking dish, flesh side up. Pour soy sauce over fish. Grate fresh ginger root on top, and add minced garlic. Turn Black Cod (flesh down) into the sauce and marinate for 20-30 min. Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Place Black Cod flesh side up on lined baking sheet. Bake for about 2025 minutes. Cook just until fish is opaque PAGE 50



By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva


Mango Ginger & Coconut Cheesecake What can consumers look forward to when they shop for fresh fruits and vegetables in? Specialty produce guru Robert Schuller, Public Relations Manager from Melissa’s/ World Variety Produce, Inc. knows.

Red Pepper Walnut Spread Muhammarah

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Robert Schueller and writer Linda Kissam. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

A growing group of savvy boomer and millennial consumers, concerned about the impact of specific food groups on their well-being, are embracing dietary changes, creating more opportunities for the next generation of plant-based foods, organic produce, lower-sugar offerings, and other healthy lifestyle products. Why turn to Melissa’s for this information? With over 1000 items available at any given time, Melissa’s imports and distributes exotic fresh fruits, organic products, and vegetables from around the globe. Located in the Vernon district of Los Angeles, California, World Variety Produce began as a source of specialty produce, selling to retailers in the Southern California region.

Division has become a full-service operation that supplies culinary professionals with staples, exotics, and Melissa’s full line of organic produce. It is currently the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States. Today’s consumers are much more attuned to the health benefits of fruits and vegetables than in past decades. They have a keen interest in knowing where their food comes from, and that trend shows no sign of slowing.

Over the years the company’s Food Service

Continued on Next Page… PAGE 53

Melissa’s Continued… Over the years, Melissa’s Food Service Division has kept its finger on the culinary pulse, understanding that customers prefer local products, but there is also a huge market for national staples, worldwide exotics, and a full line of organic produce. Leading market trends indicate that what consumers want is food that’s good on their taste buds, good for their health, and good for the planet. Melissa’s specializes in bringing the world’s best farm-fresh produce to a market near you. Here’s a breakdown of this year’s leading food trends of what some consider the world’s best, most nutritious organic and conventional produce. You can find most items in a market near you or online at

Apple Roses 3. Plant-Based: Dip your toes into plant-based 50/50 recipes that mean you don’t have to give up meat. 4. Booze-Free Bonus: DIY mocktails start with crazy-good fruit and tons of aromatics like papaya, mango, pineapple, apples, and more. 5. Mushroom Madness: Common button to brown and Portobello are popular but seek out different varieties of fresh and dried like shiitake, oyster, chanterelle, porcini, and more. 6. Potatoes: Dutch yellow potatoes, Pee Wee Dutch Yellow potatoes, Gemstone Potatoes, Pee Wee Medley Potatoes. 7. Veggies: Celery Root, Habanero Peppers, Rhubarb, Graffiti Eggplant, White Asparagus.

1. Made for Each Other Immunity Boost: An Immunity Booster package with ginger and turmeric root in a convenient single package.

8. Fruit: Dragon fruit (red and white flesh), Yellow Dragon Fruit, Meyer Lemons, Organic Papaya, and Pink Pineapple.

2. Zero Waste: Check out the mini veggies like baby colorful potatoes, beets, colorful carrots, cucumbers, and more, and don’t forget baby fruits like baby bananas, pineapple, pears, and more.

9. Value Added Products: Packets of Hollandaise Sauce, Immunity Booster (ginger & turmeric pack), and Crepes. 10. New Products: Organic Turmeric, Clean Snaxs, Hatch Pepper. PAGE 54

RECIPE: Hasselback Dutch Yellow® Potatoes 3. Place the potatoes, sliced sides up, on a baking sheet and drizzle with the butter. Sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients and place into the oven.

Servings 4-6; Prep Time 15-20 minutes; Cook Time 15 minutes; Author: Chef Tom Fraker, courtesy of Melissa’s Produce. Ingredients 1 pound Melissa’s Dutch Yellow® Potatoes 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted 6 cloves Melissa’s Peeled Garlic, minced 2 teaspoons Dried Basil Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. 2. Cut a small flat spot on each potato so it sits easily. On the top of each potato, make slices about 1/8 inch apart but only about 3/4 of the way down so you don’t cut all the way through the potatoes.

4. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until fork tender. Featured online at Melissa’s Produce is the leading U.S. variety distributor of specialty and fresh organic produce and related products processed from fresh produce. The company imports exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world. Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit


Eric’s Crème Brûlée French Toast

Creme Brulee French Toast This delicious brunch recipe is from Innkeeper Eric Levinson at the Hummingbird Inn in historic downtown Easton, Maryland. This stately Queen Anne Victorian his hard to miss with its striking copper-roofed turret, lush gardens, and wrap-around porch. More at:

Ingredients (serves 6-8) 6 Large Eggs 2 ¼ Cups Whole Milk ½ Cup Heavy Cream 3 Tbsp Dark Rum (may substitute with Orange Juice) 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract ¾ Tsp Grated Nutmeg ¼ Tsp Kosher Salt Thick Cut Sturdy Bread (Artisanal, Casa de Pana, etc.) about 1” thickness 1 Cup Packed Lite Brown Sugar 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (melted)

Top Right Photo: Innkeeper Eric Levinson Bottom Right Photo: The Hummingbird Inn, Easton, Maryland: PAGE 56

Directions This is an OVERNIGHT process. Can be done without being overnight but needs a minimum 4 hours to rest before baking.

spatula, spread mixture all over the bottom of the dish evenly. – Transfer bread onto baking dish with sugar/butter mixture.

– In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, heavy cream, rum (or OJ), vanilla, nutmeg, and salt.

– Make for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops of the bread is a golden brown and the sugar on the bottom of the dish is bubbling. Careful not to let the sugar burn/get too dark!

– Lay bread in glass baking dish(s) – Pour egg custard over bread, flip bread to make sure both sides are coated.

– Using a spatula, transfer the cooked bread to a clean baking sheet tray – flipping over as you – Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate transfer so sugar side is now facing up. Using a overnight (minimum 4 hours). If possible, flip spoon, spoon any of the leftover sugar mixture over ½ way through if convenient. If not, flip over in baking dish and drizzle over the bread. Let sit 1 hour before baking. for a few minutes – this will cause the sugar to harden some making the expected Crème Brûlée – Preheat oven to 375(F) degrees. topping. – In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar – Dust with powdered sugar and serve with and melted butter. Mix well enough so that but- maple syrup. ter is absorbed. Should be pourable/spreadable. – Make sure the bottom of your glass baking dish is completely dry! Pour sugar/butter mixture into dish and, using the back of a tablespoon or a

Serve and enjoy!


Banana Pancakes with Banana-Caramel Syrup

Serving 6 (3 each), this delicious and popular breakfast dish is served at the Azalea Inn & Villas located in historic downtown Savannah, Georgia. More at

Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain).

Batter Ingredients

PANCAKES: Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter.

2 cups self-rising flour ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar 2 cups buttermilk

Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle.

2 eggs ¼ cup butter, melted 2 bananas, frozen then mashed

Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Syrup Ingredients 3 large bananas, peeled, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Avoid over-mixing the batter.

Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Additional butter for griddle

Method BATTER: Combine first 2 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Mash banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs.

SYRUP: Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Remove syrup from heat. Prior to serving, slice two bananas into ¼-inch rounds; add to heated syrup; serve. PAGE 58


Rosemary Glazed Pan Roasted Filet Mignon By Ivan Flowers, 5-Star Chef & Culinary Instructor Serves 2 2- 8 oz. Filets, cut 1 ½ inch thick 1 Tbsp. Canola oil 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter Salt Pepper

Chef Ivan Flowers on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Pull out filets from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oven-safe sauté pan over mediumhigh heat for 1 minute then add in the canola oil. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the filets. Then place in hot pan, cooking for 1 ½ minutes each side.


Put pan into preheated oven and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Internal temperature should read 115 degrees. Remove pan from oven and place butter and rosemary in pan with steaks.

Spoon the rosemary butter over steaks at least 5 times then remove steaks from pan to a rest on a plate for at least 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to serving plates and serve with favorite sides. Steaks will be a perfect medium-rare.

Tilt pan so butter and rosemary are cooking PAGE 60

Focusing on Cooking and Consciousness, this episode of Big Blend Radio features Shelley Whizin, Founder and CEO of the Soul Diving Institute™ (SDI), established to study and teach the art and science of Being Human. Shelley is also the author of “The Healing Journal”, “The Story of the Magical Baby Grand Piano”, and “What Do You Bring to the Table? A Savory, Sensory and Inspirational Guide to Living a Yummy Delicious Life”. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Check out some of Shelley’s recipes: - The Shelley Whizin Killer Hershey Chocolate Cake - Mike’s Mighty Mediterranean Chopped Salad More: PAGE 61

By Jacqueline A. Eubany, MD, FACC FHRS

Heart-healthy eating is very important in improving your heart health. Recent studies have shown up to a 30% reduction in risk of developing heart disease in people who follow these eating habits. It is not about being on a diet, but more about picking the healthier food options that are better for your cardiovascular system. The more practice you have picking healthier choices, the more comfortable you get doing so, to the point where it becomes a normal habit.

2. Increase your plant proteins like beans.

Eating a heart-healthy diet can lower your total cholesterol as well as lower your bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL). It also lowers your blood pressure and keeps your weight under control.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation, which for women is one 5-oz glass of wine a day with a meal.

3. Eat whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, and avoid refined carbs like white rice, white bread, and white pasta. 4. Diets that are low in sodium (or salt). You want to avoid processed foods that have a high salt content. Kick up the flavor of your meals by using salt substitutes and spices, and limit your daily salt intake to 1 teaspoon a day.

6. Choosing healthier fats like olive oil and/or canola oil. Adding avocado to a salad or meal is great too!

What does a heart-healthy diet consist of? 1. Several servings of fruits and vegetables a day, favoring the fruits and vegetables that have a high micro-nutrient content. These tend to be the darker green, deep orange vegetables like collard greens, spinach, carrots, and bell peppers. PAGE 62

DR JACKIE ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Heart-Healthy Cooking & Eating: Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on PodBean.

Mediterranean Diet & Lifestyle: Listen in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on PodBean.

7. Make animal protein a side dish. Two servings of fish a week is good, and if you are allergic to fish, you can take omega-3 fatty acid supplements. 8. Drink 8 glasses of water per day. In conclusion, eating a heart-healthy diet is extremely important for your cardiovascular health. It can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by up to 30%. This, plus increasing your physical activity level can further decrease your risk. Until next time, Bon Appetite! Dr. Jacqueline Eubany is a board-certified cardiologist and electro-physiologist based out of Orange County, California. She is the author of the best-selling book “Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story,” and a Big Blend Radio expert contributor. Learn more at PAGE 63

8 at the Gate Wines


On Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam and Jane Richards. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


Jane and Claire, owners of 8 at the Gate We all want the best wine at the best price. Eight at the Gate Australian wines is “that wine.” Think best value-for-money wines up to $40. Haven’t heard much about Eight at the Gate in the US market? You will, and the story behind these wines is charismatic.

Australian wines can vary depending on where the grapes come from. Australia’s wine regions range from rugged mountains to lush pastures. Temperatures certainly vary from warm days to misty mornings and crisp, cool evenings. There are more than 100 different grape varieties planted across the country in 65 designated wine regions.

As you probably know, many people buy wine Eight at the Gate vineyards are located on the based on how the label looks. Others trust the famous Limestone Coast, specifically the terroir to bring them a defining and consistent Wrattonbully area. This is home to some of the taste. Others love the story behind the wine. most sought-after grapes in the world. Think rich Others trust the media and competition scores. red soils, ocean breezes, and luminous sun. It IMO, the way to judge value-for-money is to also supports many large and boutique wineries, balance the taste against the price. The further with Cab, Char, and Shiraz being the most you get into your wine journey, the more you successfully produced grapes. develop what I like to call benchmark tastes. In other words, we calculate what we like in certain The owners are sisters Jane Richards and Claire types of wines against the price. A sort of great price-to-taste-quality ratio. The bottom line here Davies. Their love of family, farming, and wine brought them to purchase an already is that Eight at the Gate wines should exceed Continued on Next Page… your expectations. It did mine. PAGE 65

Oak Barrels Wine Continued… established vineyard in Wrattonbully in 2002. With eight children between them, Eight (souls) at the Gate is a common sight around the property. The vineyard has been providing grapes and wine for many iconic wine labels for the past 20 years plus. Since 2005, they have produced their own wine with fruit chosen from the best parts of the vineyard. Eight at the Gate Wines were born in 2016. Jane shares these thoughts on the wine process. “Our soil is free-draining terra rossa, which is ideal for viticulture. The limestone beneath the ground gives us an edge for growing grapes. Because vines don’t like having wet feet, after a rain the limestone drains the moisture away, keeping the ground ideal for the vine to flourish in. But the limestone ground can make life interesting. You can be putting a vine post into the ground, and it can disappear as it falls into a cave underneath!

Our vineyard has been built on the sharing of knowledge and skills. Claire is a qualified viticulturist who studied viticulture and oenology (the science of making wines) at Roseworthy. And I brought the years of experience and knowledge gained in the corporate world. Our wines are perfected by our winemaker, Peter Douglas.” The sisters are proud of what they have accomplished. It all shows up in the taste. Here are my impressions and pairing notes for the four wines sent to me for review.


8 at the Gate Vineyards at sunset

WINE REVIEWS & PAIRINGS Note from the owners, “Our single vineyard Wrattonbully wines, present with their distinct color, aroma, and flavor – the fruits of our labor.”

2016 Cabernet Shiraz


An elegant vintage showcasing soft, tannins, and notes of cherry, dark berry jam, fig, orange rind, and earthy spice. Nicely structured with a long fruit and spice finish.

• Roast lamb • Grilled steak and green peppercorn sauce • Soy and ginger braised duck legs • Sticky barbeque ribs


• Quail saltimbocca, soft polenta, peperonata.

• A well-spiced lamb or beef curry • Cheese and smoky bacon burger • Broiled flank, chimichurri • Beef and mushroom stroganoff and pasta • Smoked brisket, corn, and all the fixings • Sharp cheddar cheese

2016 Family Selection Shiraz

2018 Wrattonbully Single Vineyard Chardonnay A lovely soft Chardonnay with some oak and fruit. Pale straw in color. On the palate, you’ll like the white peach with citrus notes some oak, and (yay!) some mid-palate flinty notes. Cool and refreshing.

Pairings Another nice fruit-forward nose and taste. On the • Grilled Peri Peri chicken and slaw first swirl expect a nose of blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, and cedar. On the palate, the • Bagel, lox, and cream cheese same, plus some cedar, fruit, and warm spice. Expect smooth tannins and a ripe berry fruit Continued on Next Page… finish. PAGE 67

8 at the Gate Family Pairings Continued… • Coq au Vin Blanc – chicken and mushrooms braised in Eight at the Gate Chardonnay and cream finish with tarragon • Tuna Niçoise salad • Boston clam chowder • Crab cakes

2019 Family Selection Chardonnay A nice example of what we’ve come to love in Australian white wines. Medium-straw color. On the nose, lovely stone fruit and citrus. White peach and citrus on the palate with a good medium mouthfeel. A stylish wine. Veganfriendly. Pairings • Broiled peach and prosciutto salad • Roast turkey, especially at Thanksgiving • Prawn with Asian noodle salad • Ripe Brie or Camembert cheese

Eight at The Gate have teamed up with Ian Perry, local Mount Gambier chef to create a selection of recipes and serving suggestions to accompany their wines. Ian has spent over 35 years in the food business working in some of the best restaurants across the world. He now gives back to his craft teaching the next generation of chefs at the Mount Gambier TAFE. Check out some of his recipes (Smoked Trout Salad, Chicken Liver Pate, Grilled Lamb Chops, and Pasta Caponata) along with Eight at the Gate wine pairings on If you’d like to stock your home cellar or restaurant with some of these exquisite wines visit Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

• Lobster salad • Grilled salmon, grilled broccolini, lime mayonnaise • Seared scallops, sage butter • Garlic prawns in a creamy sauce PAGE 68

By Debbie Stone

Debbie Stone on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


Chateau Ste. Michelle Years ago, when I lived in Woodinville, Washington there was only one winery – Chateau Ste. Michelle. Built in the French chateau-style and set amid lush grounds, it was (and still is) the grand dame of Woodinville. A visit to this “queen” for wine tours and tastings transported me to another time and place. And in the summer, I would look forward to attending the winery’s outdoor concerts, complete with colorful hot air balloons drifting above the magical setting. Little did I know that Chateau Ste. Michelle was only the tip of the iceberg of a burgeoning wine industry in Woodinville, and what would eventually become the wine mecca of Washington State.

As to why Woodinville is a “wine magnet,” many believe that location is a key factor. The city is close to Seattle (about a half-hour away), but far enough away to maintain its small-town feel. And when Chateau Ste. Michelle moved to the area back in 1976, it put Woodinville on the map for other industry partners. In 2017, the City of Woodinville conducted a tourism study and found that close to 800,000 people visited the town that year with winerelated activities the dominant attraction. They come from all over the region and beyond to taste celebrated wines from legendary producers and discover lesser-known vintages from new kids on the block.

Currently, there are four distinct wine districts in Today, there are over 130 wineries and tasting the city: Hollywood, Warehouse, West Valley, rooms that make their home in this idyllic locale and Downtown. And there are plans for more and the number is expected to grow developments with construction already exponentially over the next few years. It might also surprise you that the town boasts more 90+ underway. Continued on Next Page… rated vintages than any wine region in the world! PAGE 71

DeLille Cellars

Have some wine at Mark Ryan Winery Woodenville Continued… Though many of the wine establishments are tasting rooms created by wineries located on the eastern side of the state, there are dozens of businesses that actually produce wine right onsite in Woodinville, such as Novelty Hill Januik, DeLille Cellars, Sparkman Cellars, Patterson Cellars, and Lobo Hills, among others. On a recent visit to Woodinville, I did tastings at Mark Ryan Winery and DeLille Cellars. Now, I need to confess that I do not have a sophisticated palette when it comes to vino, thus I am not a dedicated wine writer, so my descriptions of wines are very simple. Most of the time, I’m able to taste the overriding essences of wines, but when it comes to the subtleties, I’m not quite there yet. Truthfully, I like to go wine tasting, not just for the wine, but for all the other aspects of the experience – the ambiance, the backstories behind the place, and the conviviality of the scene. Winemaker Mark Ryan’s journey began in 1999 with a few tons of grapes in a friend’s garage. The first vintage was a success and sold out immediately and the rest is history. Largely a

self-taught winemaker, Mark’s goal from the getgo has been to make the highest quality wines in Washington State. This boutique winery has been ranked “One of the Top 100 Wineries in the World” by Wine & Spirits Magazine, while Mark was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Seattle Magazine. Award-winning wines are the norm here and their names and artistically illustrated bottle labels are notable. The winery’s tasting room in Woodinville has a hip and happening vibe. Vintage furniture, motorcycles, and posters of rock bands adorn the place, while music abounds. The motorcycles come from Mark’s collection, as he has a passion for these flashy “beasts.” One of his wines, Board Track Racer, is inspired by this passion. The posters are representative of the winemaker’s penchants for rock music and reflect a steady diet of attending live shows featuring such groups as the Foo Fighters, Alabama Shakes, Pearl Jam, and The Strokes. According to Mark, the posters also make for good wall art.


Rock music posters adorn the walls at Mark Ryan Winery You’ll find the tasting room staff to be friendly and upbeat, as well as knowledgeable about the regularly rotating selection of wines they’re pouring. During my visit, I sampled the 2020 Lu & Oly, a light, sparkly and bright chardonnay named for Mark Ryan’s two daughters, Lucia and Olivia; 2018 Lost Soul, a Syrah with notes of blackberry and plum; 2019 Monkey Wrench, a well-balanced Bordeaux blend with a long finish; 2018 Lonely Heart, a bold, earthy Cabernet Sauvignon; and 2018 Long Haul, a full-bodied, smooth red, composed primarily of merlot. The latter is named for the many lengthy treks Mark made from his home to the vineyards in pursuit of actualizing his dreams.

viticultural region with a tradition of quality over its 29-year history. The renowned winery has crafted over 200 toprated wines and has received many accolades, including being honored as a “Wine & Spirits Top 100 Winery” and “Wine Enthusiast Wine Star – Top Five American Wineries.”

DeLille’s new modern tasting room occupies a three-story building, where seated wine tastings occur inside on the various levels, as well as alfresco on the patios. I tasted four wines: the 2020 Chaleur Blanc, which had hints of peaches, lemon, and grapefruit with a definite oak influence; 2019 Roofline Pinot Noir, defined by its notes of cherry and raspberry; a rich and DeLille Cellars, a boutique artisan winery, is a luscious 2017 Grand Ciel Syrah; the 2018 Le pioneer of Bordeaux-style blends (both red and Colosse, a lively, plummy Merlot; and the Four white) in Washington State. Founded in 1992, DeLille is widely regarded as having had a pivotal Flags 2018, a Cab Sauvignon with a meld of savory and fruity essences. influence in establishing the state as a premier Continued on Next Page … PAGE 73

Charcuterie plate at DeLille’s

Heirloom carrots at the Barking Frog

Woodenville Continued… I accompanied my tasting experience with a delicious charcuterie plate. The array of meats, cheeses, and fruit paired nicely with the different wines and provided a range of textures and flavors.

Woodinville, Master Distiller, David Pickerel, was a fourteen-year veteran of Maker’s Mark and is a legend in the industry, so you can expect the quality to be top-notch.

The Caribbean comes to life at Woodinville at Puget Sound Rum, Woodinville’s first rum Recently the winery opened The Lounge at distillery. Here, traditional Jamaican rum-making DeLille, an onsite restaurant with a full menu methods are used, albeit with a twist, to create and of course, wine by the glass or bottle. The menu includes fresh pastas, market fish specials, flavorful varieties like Comb & Cane Honey Infused. After a few sips, you might just hear salads, and interestingly, poutine, among other steel drums! dishes. It’s on the list for my next visit to Woodinville. Hard cider aficionados will appreciate the Though wine plays a dominant role in modern ciders at Locust Cider, with such Woodinville, beer and spirits are also offerings as Peach Ginger, Hibiscus, Watermelon, represented at several local breweries and and Mojito. And if you’re curious about the distilleries. If you’ve got Fido with you, check out name, it stems from the drone of locusts that Ales and Tails, a combo indoor dog park and founder Jason Spears heard while waiting for an taproom, and the only facility in town allowing ambulance after having a near-death experience dogs to roam freely off-leash. as a teen. The noise became a symbol of strength, perseverance, and calm – a trio of Over at Woodinville Whiskey, you’ll find smallqualities that have served him well in his cider batch, artisanal spirits. Before coming to venture. PAGE 74

Lovely gardens at Willows Lodge When it comes to accommodations, the place to stay is Willows Lodge. Located in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country on five gorgeously landscaped acres bordering the Sammamish River, this upscale property is a treat for the senses and a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Art, particularly Northwest Coast Native American works, is everywhere you look – in the public spaces, guest rooms, and throughout the gardens. Pieces on display were created by contemporary masters of this artistic tradition and culture. Thematic concepts focus on spiritual, animal, and natural worlds.

You know you’re somewhere special when you drive up to the entrance and see the hollowed shell of a massive, 1,500-year-old cedar snag. Brought here from the Olympic Peninsula, it is a reminder of logging days when twenty-foot or taller stumps were left behind because they were too big to take to the mill. The lodge itself is constructed of 100-year-old Douglas fir timbers, which give it a handsome, rustic appeal. This wood is carried throughout the property and showcased in the impressively crafted furniture.

Right beyond the lobby is the Fireside Lounge, where you can enjoy a libation or two (more wine anyone?). And when the weather gods are smiling, this cozy bar transforms into an alluring indoor/outdoor space with a patio and firepit.

Rooms, each with their own private patio, are tastefully decorated and have stone fireplaces, ultra-comfy beds with 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, and spacious bathrooms with oversized soaking tubs and Molton Brown toiletries. Pampered, yes. Over the top, no. And Enter the expansive lobby and you’re greeted by that suits me just fine, as I’m all about comfort Continued on Next Page… a huge stone fireplace and tall beamed ceilings. PAGE 75

Woodenville Continued… and refined warmth, which is what you’ll find at the Willows Lodge. That and impeccable service performed by a friendly, hospitable staff. Make sure to stroll the grounds, as they’re stunning. The flowers and plants provide bursts of color, texture, and intoxicating scents. You’ll discover water features, sculptures, a stone hut, a gazebo, and…a pair of pet pigs named Basil and Borage! The pigs belong to The Herbfarm, Washington State’s only five-star restaurant. Though situated on the property, The Herbfarm is not owned by Willows Lodge. Worldrenowned, this restaurant offers a nine-course dinner with wine pairings for a unique gastronomy experience. As expected, you’ll have to dig deep into your wallet for this one.

The Barking Frog weather permits, out on the picture-pretty patio. The restaurant’s name comes from Native American storytellers use of the frog as a symbol of wealth or abundance. Executive Chef Bobby Moore works his magic in the kitchen with a seasonal, innovative menu that emphasizes fresh, quality ingredients sourced from local farmers, foragers, and purveyors. My husband and I split the shaved zucchini salad and roasted heirloom carrots with walnut-miso “hummus,” followed by the wild king salmon with a veggie succotash and corn fritters for me, and the grilled octopus and smoked brisket in black garlic barbeque sauce for him – an interesting combo, but one that he continued to wax rhapsodic about weeks later. Other entrees included such dishes as seared scallops, steak for two, grilled pork chop, lamb chops, halibut, and stuffed poblano with risotto.

The lodge’s highly acclaimed restaurant, Barking Frog, gets my vote when it comes to having that special meal, whether in the warm, inviting dining room with its welcoming fireplace or if PAGE 76

You can see Mt. Ranier from outside Willows Lodge For “The Finish,” try the blueberry brown butter cake with mascarpone gelato or the vanilla bean pot de crème with rhubarb compote. You’ll waddle out the door, sated and content. Up the wellness ante during your stay with a treatment at the lodge’s onsite spa. Or spend time in the hydrotherapy pool or sauna. An evening soak under the stars proved to be the key to a restful night of sleep for me. When you’re not sipping or tasting, take time to explore the outdoors. Walk or bike the bucolic Sammamish River Trail, kayak, or go paddleboarding on a nearby lake or river. Also, within easy reach are numerous spots to hike and ski in the Cascade Mountains, a preeminent recreational paradise. If you go: Willows Lodge: Mark Ryan Winery: DeLille Cellars:

Sammamish River

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents. PAGE 77

By Linda Kissam, “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”


Appetizer Party! Washington State features 1,000 wineries located across 19 AVA’s. I tasted several different wines from Washington on my private three-month boat cruise to Alaska this last summer. Some wines offered more than others. Five L’Ecole wines stood out for me.

On Big Blend Radio: Travel writer Linda Kissam and Constance Savage, General Manager & COO of L’Ecole ° 41 Winery. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

For someone who loves exploring the flavors and textures found in the glass, L’Ecole is a real find. The price point is reasonable and the dedication to quality comes through with each sip. L’Ecole says right on its website that it’s “known consistent over vintages. On the other hand, for producing reliable, superior quality wines there are the words “superior quality” that crafted for richness and complexity, vintage after suggest some of the wines will be more vintage.” There’s a duality in that quote that I expensive, with a focus on quality. I’d say both find fascinating. On one hand, it says to me that are true and this is what makes these wines so this winery focuses on producing wines that are approachable. Continued on Next Page… consumer-friendly in taste and wallet, and are PAGE 79

L ‘Ecole Continued…

The Schoolhouse

L’Ecole is one of the pioneers of the Washington L’Ecole No. 41 Syrah Seven Hills State wine scene, which, with every passing deVineyard (2018) cade grows in importance both domestically and White Label / $36 internationally. It was founded in 1983 in Walla Walla Valley. They are now, by far, the most Winemaker’s Comments: Washington State’s prominent and well-known winery there. Their climate and soil are ideally suited to maximize focus is on terroir-driven wines that reflect the the varietal characteristics of Syrah. Crafted from typicity of Washington State and the Walla Walla some of the earliest Walla Walla Valley Syrah Valley. You’ll understand that completely after plantings, this wine manifests old-world tasting their wines. There is a definite taste of attributes of earth and spice, in combination with the new world profile of bold, expressive place in each wine and they are appropriate for everyone from the novice to serious oenophiles. fruit. Lower-priced Columbia Valley wines (generally around $16-$25) are in black labeled bottles. Es- This is a varietally expressive Estate Syrah with tate-grown Walla Walla wines (generally around good balance. On the nose expect fruit-forward aromas of blackberry, black cherry with hints of $22-$75) have white labels. PAGE 80

Seven Hills Vineyard violet, and licorice. The palate is layered with flavors of white pepper, juicy plum, floral spirits, mocha, cinnamon, and ripe black fruit. The style is substantial yet silky, finishing with a tasty flavor-filled mouthful. Blend: 80% Syrah, 18% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre Pairing: Stuffed Mushrooms, Pizza or Lamb, Cherry Pie

L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot (2018)

L’Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (2018) White Label / $39 Winemaker’s Comments: This wine is a blend sourced from prestigious vineyard sites representing four unique soil types in the Walla Walla Valley, 50% of which are L’Ecole’s Estate vineyards. Its old-world structure, dense dark fruit flavors, and elegant tannins exemplify the best of Walla Walla.

Black Label / $25 Expect intricate layers of raspberry, plum, and black cherry. If you give this wine time to really open up, you will be greeted by hints of crushed roses, flint, and cedar. On the palate, this full bodied Merlot showcases with flavors of macerated berries, minerals, coffee, a hint of chocolate cake, and baking spices. The finish ends with a satisfying firm-tannin permanence. This is one you can lay down until 2030 or so. Blend: 80% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot Pairing: Aged Cheeses, Sausage Dish, Dark Berry Dessert

You might want to get two of these. One you can open now but know that it needs time to open up appropriately. I’d give it 60 minutes minimum. It’s a young wine showing good potential. The other one could lay down for 2-3 years. It’s fun to compare and contrast. Characteristic nose of blueberries, black plums, oak, vanilla, tobacco, dark coffee, earth, herbs, and dark chocolates. Full-bodied with medium acidity. Dry on the palate with tannins, blackberries, black currants, plums, cooked cherries, oak, vanilla, herbs, spices, dark chocolates, coffee, earth, light vegetables, and tobacco Continued on Next Page…


Heritage Wines

L ‘Ecole Continued… leaf. Quite a bit of complexity going on. It finishes with a bit of green vegetables and flavorful red fruits.

L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Chardonnay (2019)

100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sourced from a variety of top-notch vineyards and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (35% new). 14.5% alcohol by volume. Pairing: Carpaccio, Duck, Bittersweet chocolate

Winemaker’s Comments: Some of the very best Chardonnays in Washington State are grown in the slightly cooler growing conditions of the Yakima Valley and in the northern latitudes of the Columbia Valley. The Schmitt and Oasis Vineyards (both in Yakima Valley) provide nice tropical fruit notes, while Evergreen Vineyard (latitude 47 on the Columbia River) contributes crisp acidity and minerality.

Black Label / $21

L’Ecole No. 41 Yakima Valley Chenin Blanc Old Vines (2020) Black Label / $17 This old vine, crisp, and aromatic Vouvray-style Chenin Blanc was a big favorite on the boat at a welcome dinner. Think New World wine with a touch of France. Open now and enjoy. Pale lemon in color with a golden hue, it is a standout from the first swirl. Notes of white flowers, citrus, tangerines, honey, peaches, and green apples greet you. In the mouth, tropical flavors of kiwi and guava as well as quince and flinty notes. This is an exceedingly interesting and tasty wine, its complexity leads to a vibrant finish. Medium in body and acidity. Perfect to serve to novice and experienced wine drinkers. Good by itself or with food. The grapes come from the Willard Farms, Upland, and Phil Church vineyards, each planted in 1979. 13.5% alcohol by volume. Pairing: Grilled shrimp appetizers, Rock Fish Tacos, Lemon Meringue Pie

I am not a big fan of Chardonnay, but this one captured my attention with its distinct aromas of dried mango, grilled peach, and honeysuckle. Slightly creamy in the mouth, I would consider this one presenting fresh, with big flavors of ripe pear and apple. Nice long finish. Swirl this one and the aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of apple, and stone fruits. An agreeable sense of acidity ties it all together. Pairing: Crab Cakes, Chicken with Tangerines, Strawberry Shortcake. More at Check out the two food and L’Ecole No. 41 wine pairing recipes courtesy of “Washington Wine and Food: A Cookbook” by Julien Perry and Kyle MacLachlan, on Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit




LDV Winery: Elegant Wines For Any Celebration By Linda Kissam, “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

On Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam and Peggy Fiandaca, co-owner of LDV Winery. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. PAGE 84

LDV Winery Tasting Room Celebration time brings out the craving for rich foods, beautiful wines, and special food pairings. LDV Winery is up to the task, crafting wines that pair perfectly with special dishes of all kinds. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with co-owner Peggy Fiandaca to taste three of their wines and one wine made with their grapes. Each wine was paired with a very special dish crafted by Peggy. It was a delightful afternoon, and I came out of it a fan of what Arizona can do with their grapes. The family-owned estate winery and vineyards are located at 5,000-feet in the Chiricahua Mountain Foothills in Southeastern Arizona which is considered part of the Sky Island Mountain range which has been producing award-winning Rhone variety wines since 2002. The winery produces 3,000 cases of wine annually and LDV wines are vegan, gluten-free, and sustainably grown. This winery has a razor-sharp focus on what success looks like for their winery. They concentrate primarily on single-varietal wines.

manipulation lets the grapes and the end product do the talking. I think you’ll enjoy these posh, elegant wines. Warm environment wines can be so big and bold they often miss the mark. The slow drop-off from summer into fall gives grapes ample opportunity to become fully ripe but the negative is that more natural acidity in the grapes is lost. You can generally assume that warm climates produce grapes with more ripe fruit flavors and less acidity. Somehow this winery beats all the negative predictions, producing world-class wines that please the nose and palate while exceeding expectations. Guests can visit the tasting room in Scottsdale, Arizona. Located in the upscale shopping district of Old Town Scottsdale, there is plenty to see and do all afternoon long. At the tasting room, enjoy a wine flight, a glass, or a bottle of LDV wine inside or on the patio. For groups larger than ten, reservations are required. Contact them directly 480-664-4822 or visit Continued on Next Page…

Careful processing with limited winery PAGE 85

LDV Vineyards in the Chiricahua Mountains

LDV Winery Continued…

To make your special and everyday meals spectacular, you need the perfect wine. LDV owner Peggy Fiandaca suggests you choose the wine first, then find the food that compliments the wine. Here are four wine and food pairings, plus a recipe for you to consider for your table.

2020 Viognier

2014 Sky Island Petite Sirah

$36.00 Twisted Union Winery purchased LDV Winery estate Chardonnay to produce this 100% Viognier aged in neutral oak barrels. Tantalizing aromas of apricot, pear, and pineapple herald a complex medium-bodied wine buzzing with flavors of citrus, vanilla butter, and honey. Pairing: Spicy Thai Noodles (see recipe)

$32.00 / 750 mL Bottle The Sky Island Petite Sirah is 100% Petite Sirah that showcases the intensity of the fruit and is a true reflection of the 2014 vintage. It was aged for an extended period of 35 months in neutral barrels. It was bottle aged an additional 18 months. The wine is very fruit-forward with loads of blackberries and blueberries.

2015 Grenache

Alcohol 15.40% Pairing: Spicy Meatballs

$38.00 / 750 mL Bottle 100% Grenache fruit aged for 35 months in 50% new French oak and 50% one-year French oak with medium-plus toasting. The wine has beautiful floral aromas, giving way to rich fruit & spice on the palate. It is not fined or filtered. A powerfully perfumed nose with delicate fruit. Perfect paired with California roll, roasted salmon, or grilled chicken. Alcohol 14.30% Pairing: Shrimp Tostado

2015 Petite Sirah $40 This versatile food wine should pair beautifully with smoked baby back ribs, pizza, cheeseburgers, rack of lamb, or marinated beef kabobs. 100% Petite Sirah barrel-aged for 35 months showcases lush blackberry and smoky cassis fruit. ($40.00).

Alcohol 15.3% Pairing: Dark Chocolate Brownies PAGE 86


Ingredients ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter 2 T hoisin sauce 1 T soy sauce 1 T sriracha hot sauce (or more if you like extra heat) 1 tsp fresh lime juice; Additional lime slices for garnish 1 medium clove garlic grated 1-inch fresh ginger, grated (or finely chopped) Noodles (angel hair, soba, or what you desire) Unsalted peanuts (about ½ cup) Cilantro (about ¼ cup chopped) 4 green onions Peanut oil

Add more if the sauce needs thinning. Set aside to let flavors meld. Cook noodles to al dente according to the package. Drain thoroughly. Add to noodles, chopped unsalted peanuts, finely chopped cilantro, and chopped green onions. Toss all ingredients and add a drizzle of peanut oil.

Procedure Whisk together the peanut butter, hoisin, soy sauce, sriracha, lime juice, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of water. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but still drip off lightly.

Garnish with a lime slice and a sprinkle of nuts. Wine Pairing: Light, crisp LDV Winery Viognier or a dry New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit


On Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam and Sharon Kroger. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


Espresso machine used daily

Tiramisu Latte

Everyone has their favorite coffee shop, right? That one special destination café they can’t wait to get to so they can enjoy an extraordinary dark rich espresso or a cool whipped and blended Frappuccino. If you think about it, the picture that comes to mind is a comforting place with indoor and patio seating. It’s the perfect place to pump up for the day ahead or to unwind after a busy day. Remarkable coffee shops are special too because they are true meeting places. The truly best ones reflect the passion of the owner.

with exceptional pastries and unexpected tamales – yes, fresh tamales steamed and piping hot. The tamales are sourced from a nearby Mexican bakery La Purisima Bakery. Try the green or red ones. The coffee is an in-house prep delight.

You'll find many coffeehouses in and around the Phoenix, AZ area. Most serve the expected menu of hot and cold drinks - from fancy to pure black and hot. But...Esso Coffeehouse and Roastery is unique among the many coffee houses dotting the Phoenix, AZ caffeine scene. It is a great place for taking a break, located off the 12th street Grand Canal access. Esso makes an outing along the Phoenix Grand Canal a fun and tasty midway destination to recharge. Or, if you're caught up in the VA Hospital nearby or a half-day car repair nearby, think about plunking down here.

Cold-brew aficionados come in by the droves carrying gallon jugs to be refilled. It’s an enthusiastic bunch that frequents this unique coffee shop. In-house roasting each day provides the freshest beans for making custom blends. Esso Coffee is a blend of 3 different beans from around the world. Carefully selected to make the smoothest, most balanced coffee blend you can get anywhere. Established in 2016, owner Sharon Koger began mixing her unique blend in early 2016 with the goal of creating one where quality shines through in the daily preparation. She fell in love with coffee as a kid when she first tasted coffee ice cream.

Order hot or cold premium coffee drinks along

Continued on Next Page… PAGE 89

Coffee and Tamale Tasting

Esso Continued…

Classes are 1-hour 30min. $25/per person 4 person classes. Call Esso for information. It's a great date night or friends’ night out activity.

Daily in-house roasting begins when the store closes. It goes on from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The roaster is stationed by the front door, waiting quietly for its nightly duties. Approximately 250 lbs. are roasted per week. A welcoming interior and shady outdoor patio seating along with solid Wi-Fi, friendly service, a full array of delicious pastries, creative drink items, and reasonable prices make this a destination for coffee aficionados. Sharon has been thoughtful with her choices and the result is a real treasure for the coffee culture crowd. As she shares, “Creating coffee combinations is my passion.” Think about attending one of the educational coffee tastings offered at Esso. I attended one. Quite an experience. I tasted a unique house blend of Brazilian and Guatemalan beans. Separately, the Brazilian beans had notes of unsweetened dark chocolate and a hint of walnuts giving it an interesting finish. The Guatemalan beans were just slightly sweeter with toffee notes and a cashew finish. Combined as a blend, it makes a superior- tasting coffee. This is the signature blend of the house and for good reason. Who wouldn't want a fresh cup of coffee where the beans were just roasted? And the cherry on top is that all coffee drinks are made on a 1972 refurbished espresso machine.

Try these exquisite pairings when you visit: Novia pastry and a Tiramisu Latte Concha pastry and a Lavender Matcha Elote pastry and an Apple Cider Chai Oreja pastry and a Turmeric Golden Latte Tamales and an Esso Soda (My favorite) Sharon’s Tiramisu Latte Recipe: 2 Shots of Esso Coffeehouse Blend Espresso 6-12 oz. Milk of your choice 1-2 oz. Dark Chocolate Splash of Almond Syrup Dust with Cocoa Powder Heat milk to 185 degrees, mix in all ingredients aside from Cocoa Powder. Dust with Cocoa Powder and enjoy. ESSO Coffeehouse & Roastery is located at 4700 N 12th St Phoenix, AZ 85014. Call: 480-560-3067 or visit

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit


On this episode of Big Blend Radio’s Happy Hour Show, Lucinda Wright talks about Cask & Kettle's hot cocktails and what it's like to be a woman in leadership in the beverage industry. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Cask & Kettle produces well-crafted hard coffee and cider cocktails in a pod which offers an easy way to prepare and serve a complete hot cocktail. Everyone’s tastes are covered with cozy flavors like Irish Coffee, Mint Patty, Hot Blonde, or Mexican Coffee and Spiked Cider. The k-pods contain liquid distilled spirits, coffee, and crafted natural flavors. They can be placed into any home k-pod brewing system – or simply poured into hot (or cold) water -- for a smooth, aromatic hot cocktail! They’re perfect for travel too!

Cask & Kettle started thanks to a joke made at an afternoon office meeting in Michigan when co-founders Lucinda Wright and Pete Borozan were in an all-team budget meeting. The group was asked if they would like some coffee and Lucinda quipped only if it included alcohol. That got the creative juices percolating and before long they created a prototype that led to the birth of the company that is now elevating coffee with a variety of spirits for any occasion. More at


Summer Markets & Concerts in Hollister, California Hollister Concerts – Tribute Bands at

About a 2-hour drive from San Francisco, Hollister is the eastern gateway destination for Pinnacles National Park. Its charming historic downtown district is within a few miles of the region’s award-winning wineries, and is surrounded by picturesque rolling hills, golf courses, sprawling ranches, organic orchards, and farms.

Pepper Tree Ranch on June 18: DSB and Ridin’ Out the Storm; July 16: Long Run and Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers; Aug. 6: Petty Breakers and Turn the Page; Aug. 27: Queen Nation and Idol X, Sept. 17: Bonfire and Damage, Inc.

Mark Your Calendar: Downtown Hollister Farmers' Market Enjoy the very best in fresh produce, olive oil, honey, and flowers. Held every Wednesday through September 28, from 3pm -7:30pm in Downtown Hollister.

For up-to-date event news and to plan your Hollister and San Benito County adventure, visit San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau at (831) 637-5315 or visit or

Savor San Benito Summer Market Series - Celebrate San Benito County’s diverse culinary culture, local wines, and brews. This fun, and monthly family event features music and live entertainment, food, drinks, vendors, and activities for kids and families. Held June 5, July 3, August 7, and September 4 at Swank Farms. PAGE 92

Stay New Mexico True in a New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association Inn

New Mexico is a beautiful and varied state, with spectacular mountains, astonishing rock formations, ancient pueblos and cliff dwellings, intriguing desert areas, and lots of prehistoric and Old West history.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Welcome to the first episode of Big Blend Radio’s 2nd Thursday “New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association” Show! Sharing an overview of Bed & Breakfast lodging and travel experiences in New Mexico, this show features NMBBA board members Steve Hiatt – Bottger Mansion of Old Town in Albuquerque, Becky O’Conner – Casitas de Gila Guesthouses in Silver City, and Walt Wyss – Four Kachinas Inn and El Farolito B&B in Santa Fe. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

When you stay in a New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association inn, you can be sure your lodging is as unique and diverse as New Mexico itself. Often furnished with Southwestern arts and crafts, each inn provides a delightful inside view of the culture and peoples in the Land of Enchantment. Walk across locally-woven rugs, snuggle under a hand-crafted quilt, view extraordinary art, and awake to a freshly-prepared breakfast. Savor flavorful dishes highlighting the rich,

varied, and locally-grown ingredients of New Mexico. PAGE 94

Choose an adobe casita, historic hacienda, an elegant Victorian inn, or a wonderful family home and take in New Mexico’s spectacular azure skies, breathtaking mountain views, and Technicolor sunsets. Our rural inns offer evening star gazing, scenic grandeur, and the lullaby of nature’s sounds. Check into one of the many charming inns in the heart of town and you will find the historic streets of Santa Fe, Taos, or Old Town Albuquerque at your doorstep. When planning your trip to New Mexico, make reservations at one of the New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association’s inspected and approved bed and breakfasts or inns. These innkeepers know New Mexico’s secrets and are excited to share them with you during your stay with them. They have local knowledge and will direct you to the best places to visit and explore, the best places to hike and bird, the best dining, the best shopping. Reserve Your New Mexico B&B Stay: PAGE 95


Discover Weld County & Visit Greeley, Colorado Just an hour north of Denver, the scenery escapes the city and stretches into a lush valley region dotted with farms, ranches, and historic towns, along with wide open prairie country, beautiful gardens, rivers and wetlands, and amazing panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. Welcome to Greeley and Weld County in northeast Colorado. The setting for the novel “Centennial” by James A. Michener. An agricultural oasis, and a recreational paradise. A place where family and quality of life are high priority, as is maintaining historical integrity.

Mural - Centennial Village Museum in Greeley

Early in the region’s development, an irrigation canal became priority construction, turning the high desert into an agricultural oasis. Throughout its history, this area has been known for growing sugar beets, corn, and onion, among many other crops – all made possible on irrigated farmland. You can learn more about this region’s rich agricultural history at local museums and historic sites, and taste the local bounty at local restaurants, farmers markets, and annual events. Greeley, the county seat, is home to breweries and distilleries, and its vibrant downtown is the first Go-Cup District in the state. PAGE 96

This summer and fall, you can get a taste of Greeley & Weld County at these upcoming events or festivals: June 4: Johnstown BBQ Day June 10-12: Weld County Dairy Extravaganza June 23-July 4: Annual Greeley Stampede July 20-23: Chainsaws & Chuckwagons in Frederick July 23-Aug 1: Weld County Fair in Greeley July 29-31: Greeley Arts Picnic Aug 20: Front Range Wine Festival in Windsor Sept 3-5: Windsor Harvest Festival Sept. 10: Potato Day in Greeley For up-to-date events news, go to and


Iconic Hollywood Dishes, Drinks & Desserts

Los Angeles is a city where film mingles with food. From healthful salads to sweet treats inspired by California's agricultural bounty, the innovative fare mirrors the rise from a sleepy, western outpost to celluloid dream, where food has always played an awardwinning role. The minds behind these delicious treasures include a pauper who reinvented himself as a prince, a penniless single mom who perfected a treasured recipe to create an empire, and a guru who provided good vibes and scandal alongside cold-pressed juices. Bake up

On this episode of Big Blend Radio, travel writer, tour guide, and author Amy Bizzarri chats about her new book "Iconic Hollywood: Dishes, Drinks & Desserts." Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

the Cocoanut Grove's Coconut Strawberry Cream Tarts and sip a Zombie from the first-ever Tiki bar to create a little Hollywood magic in your own kitchen.

In “Iconic Hollywood Dishes, Drinks & Desserts,” Amy Bizzarri rolls out the red carpet in celebration of Tinseltown's iconic cuisine.


History of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country

Karl Raitz is an author and professor emeritus of geography at the University of Kentucky. Focusing on the history of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country as covered in his latest two books, “Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky,” and “Bourbon’s Backroads: A Journey through Kentucky’s Distilling Landscape,” watch his Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. PAGE 100

BOURBON’S BACKROADS: A Journey through Kentucky’s Distilling Landscape Kentucky’s landscape is punctuated by landmark structures that signpost bourbon’s venerable story: distilleries longstanding, relict, razed, and brand new, the grand nineteenth-century homes of renowned distillers, villages and neighborhoods where distillery laborers lived, Whiskey Row storage warehouses, river landings and railroad yards, and factories where copper distilling vessels and charred white oak barrels are made. During the nineteenth century, distilling changed from an artisanal craft practiced by farmers and millers to a large-scale mechanized industry that practiced increasingly refined production techniques. Distillers often operated at comparatively remote sites—along the “backroads”—to take advantage of water sources or river or turnpike transport access. As time passed, steam power and mechanization freed the industry from its reliance on waterpower and permitted distillers to relocate to urban and rural rail-side sites. This shift also allowed distillers to perfect their production techniques, increase their capacity, and refine their marketing strategies. The historic progression produced the “fine” Kentucky bourbons that are available to present day consumers. Yet, distillers have not abandoned their cultural roots and traditions; their iconic products embrace the modern while also engaging their history and geography.

MAKING BOURBON: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky While other industries chase after the new and improved, bourbon makers celebrate traditions that hearken back to an authentic frontier craft. Distillers enshrine local history in their branding and timetested recipes, and rightfully so. Kentucky's unique geography shaped the whiskeys its settlers produced, and for more than two centuries, distilling bourbon fundamentally altered every aspect of Kentucky's landscape and culture. “Making Bourbon” illuminates how the specific geography, culture, and ecology of the Bluegrass converged and gave birth to Kentucky's favorite barrel-aged whiskey. Expanding on “Bourbon's Backroads,” Karl Raitz delivers a more nuanced discussion of bourbon's evolution by contrasting the fates of two distilleries in Scott and Nelson Counties. In the nineteenth century, distilling changed from an artisanal craft practiced by farmers and millers to a large-scale mechanized industry. The resulting infrastructure—farms, mills, turnpikes, railroads, steamboats, lumberyards, and cooperage shops—left its permanent mark on the land and traditions of the commonwealth. Today, multinational brands emphasize and even construct this local heritage. This unique interdisciplinary study uncovers the complex history poured into every glass of bourbon.

Blending several topics—inventions and innovations in distilling and transport technologies, tax policy, geography, landscapes, You can find both books, “Bourbon’s Backroads” and architecture—this primer and geographical and “Making Bourbon” at guide presents an accessible and detailed history of the development of Kentucky’s distilling industry and explains how the industry continues to thrive. PAGE 101

Très riches heures du Duc de Berry - Limbourg Brothers PAGE 102

Agriculture as an Art Subject By Victoria Chick Trees & Barns Bermuda by Charles DeMuth Agriculture has been an art Victoria Chick on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube subject since the Mesolithic player or download the podcast on PodBean. period. In some eras since then it seems to have been prominent but, in most eras, rarely seen. We know everyone has to eat, so agriculture ought to be an important subject. But kings and emperors that historically have commissioned art have wanted themselves or events in their lives recorded. Leaders of religion have needed idols to worship or paintings and sculpture to help focus worship. Paintings, where the primary subject is agricultural life, have been uncommon in most of art history. Historically, we see most art as an agricultural subject during times when people are the most in control of their own lives.

were painters. Their subjects were the first domesticated animals. Cattle and goats were depicted alone or sometimes with herdsmen. Stylized pictographs on rock walls in shallow caves or plastered walls in areas from Turkey to the Sahara were done from 8000 to 3000 B.C.

The first artists to record agricultural activity

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Art Continued… during the transition time from people living nomadic lives as hunter-gatherers to settling in communities to raise crops and livestock. This was a time when agriculture also influenced design. The practice of growing crops in rows, as well as regular patterns in weaving wool and flax for cloth, influenced the repetitive decoration of pottery, plastered walls, and jewelry making.

Potato Planters by Jean-François Millet showed how cattle were used to provide food, power for plowing and grinding grain into flour. The frescoes were painted on the tomb walls of Egyptian royalty. In Crete, the artwork seems to indicate bulls had a religious significance and were pictured as part of a ritual, not in an agricultural sense.

Another absence of agricultural art occurs during the Persian and Greek Empires. A few relief sculptures showing oxen used for plowing After the Neolithic period, agriculture was not emphasized in art for many centuries. This was a remain from the Roman Republic. Then, the crumbling of the Roman Empire with subsequent period of empire-building in the Middle East. Strong kings used artists and sculptors to depict poverty and fear resulted in the restructuring of society into local medieval fiefdoms during the their conquests. Goddess images representing Middle Ages. This period occurred from about fertility, related to agriculture, were common, the 5th century to the 14th century and is but agricultural sculpture or painting was not. sometimes called the “dark ages”. Exceptions were Egypt and Crete, two ancient civilizations where cattle and crops were The Italian peninsula was the first area in the late depicted in frescoes. In Egypt, the paintings PAGE 104

Gleaners by Jean-François Millet Middle Ages to develop towns that were representational republics, and we see agriculture once again displayed in art.

months. Seven of the twelve scenes had agriculture as a subject. We see plowing, planting, blossoming orchards, harvesting, picking fruit, using hogs to find truffles, and During the early Gothic period in Italy, a visual fallow fields. These paintings are done in the overview of agricultural land with vineyards, context of a medieval social structure where the crops, and animals was depicted in two frescos. peasants worked the land in return for a portion “The Effects of Good Government in the Country” of the produce and the protection of the Lord. and “The Effects of Bad Government in the The castle in the background emphasizes this Country” were painted from 1338 to 1339 on the relationship. The illustrations in the book are walls of the governing council meeting room of meant to remind Duc de Berry of his the Palazzo Publico in the Town of Siena by responsibility to the peasants. But agriculture Ambrogio Lorenzetti. was largely ignored by most artists of the 15th and even the 16th century when religious and Another leap for agriculture in art occurred from mythological paintings, as well as portraits of 1412 to 1416 in France. wealthy patrons, were dominant. The Limbourg brothers were commissioned by the French Duc de Berry to produce a private devotional book. In the calendar section of the book, they used egg tempera to illustrate scenes representing activities for each of twelve

The Dutch painters of the 17th century were the first to develop purely agricultural subjects in their paintings. This was a result of a new republican form of government without a king,

PAGE 105

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Agriculture Continued…

Among the Vines Louveciennes (1874) - Alfred Sisley

complimented by a reformed religious experience that had rejected Catholicism and, with it, religious images. Prosperous tradesmen and farmers became the new consumers of art. Paintings were commissioned of prize livestock. Artists also began to paint for their own pleasure and many landscapes were produced which included farmland. It was not until the late 18th century that agriculture became a more common European painting subject. One reason for this is the French Revolution which changed the art market in France. Gone was the demand for portraits of royalty as well as the market for religious art. The “common man” was elevated and celebrated in humble work. We see this in paintings such as Millet’s “The Gleaners”.

The English Industrial Revolution saw thousands of rural people move to the cities to begin working in factories. Slums developed and so did disease from unsanitary conditions. By the mid1800’s country farms had become romanticized in people’s minds as places of peace, cleanliness, and healthful living. English artist John Constable’s paintings of idyllic farm scenes reflected these views.

American painting of the 1700s and early 1800s was still a mirror of English painting. Portraits, historical scenes, and patriotic themes predominated. It was not until the mid-19th century that painters began to feature activities in agricultural settings. Eastman Johnson and William Sidney Mount are two painters from this period who idealized agricultural life in a realist style. There were also a great number of PAGE 106

Grainstacks, end of day, Autumn, 1890-1891, Monet untrained American painters in the late 18th and 19th centuries that produced paintings of farm life. Their unsophisticated style has been called primitive or folk art and is usually characterized by a lack of linear or atmospheric perspective and colors that tend to be unmixed. Grandma Moses is the most familiar American painter in this style. Although she was born in 1860, she did not begin painting until the 20th Century. At the same time the Industrial Revolution was going on in England, France, and America, a group of artists in France were changing the way they looked at things. They were the Impressionists and were interested in the way the light reflected off surfaces. Because they painted out of doors, it is not surprising that many of their subjects were agricultural. Monet’s “Haystack” series is the best known, but Monet and Sisley painted orchards in bloom as well as gardens.

expressive style in numerous paintings depicting agriculture in Belgium and France. Orchards, vineyards, olive trees, flower, and wheat fields were all subjects in which he found an agricultural organization that allowed him to express his inner feelings. The end of the 19th century in the United States saw many artists produce paintings and sculptures of cowboys doing ranch work. These subjects were easy for westerners to relate to and were enjoyed as well by easterners who found the subjects exciting and romantic. This type of art was popular all through the 20th century and continues today. Modernism, in which simplified shapes were used, was a style from the 1920s into the ’40s. Charles DeMuth emphasized the bounty of American agriculture through his Cubist-inspired paintings of large silos. Other artists, like Blanch Morgan, preferred the curves of rolling hills in farm landscapes.

The Post Impressionists followed the Impressionists in the 1890s. Van Gogh used his

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agricultural crop growing imprint overlaying earth’s structure. In a way, the reasons people desire and even need art have not changed; The size and cost of the art changes but, from the first Mesolithic herdsmen to the Dutch farmers, English city dwellers, and down to calendars on the walls of 20th-century farmhouses, the impulse of those who produce food to have art reflecting the agricultural lifestyle and the appreciation of that lifestyle by the average person have been important driving forces in its enduring use as a subject.

Going to Work by Jean-François Millet

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at

Agriculture Continued… Artists involved in the government’s WPA art programs of the mid-1930s often reflected rural farm life and landscape. As the economy began to recover, many of the artists began working with private printing companies. Lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts depicting agricultural scenes continued to be produced and to sell well. Many artists from this time also made paintings for a new phenomenon – companies trying to maintain loyal customers by giving them illustrated calendars. “Calendar Art” was looked down upon by the New York establishment but filled a need for a still rural American population. Pictures of farm work, rich land, and wellmaintained farmsteads and ranches elevated pride in this lifestyle to those involved. Illustrations for magazines that appealed to farmers and ranchers were other avenues in which artists used agricultural subjects. Fine artists today also incorporate the farm landscape. Wayne Thiebaud is a contemporary painter and printmaker who returned to landscape with bird’s eye view images of mans’ PAGE 108

Lea Brovedani on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. PAGE 110

Driving back from our holiday I recognized a restaurant my friend had posted online. She said they made the best key lime pie in the Florida Keys. My husband’s favorite dessert is… you guessed it, key lime pie. Did we stop? You bet we did, and we were not disappointed. There was a car full of us and we bought all their pies as well as buying sandwiches, drinks, and a couple of tacky t-shirts. The owner of this tiny shop was pleased. People in the food and beverage industry know how important referrals and testimonials are to their business. It’s built on a platform of trust! We stopped at the shop because I trusted the opinion of my friend. What happens when someone posts a horrible review?

Like me, you probably check out reviews when you are trying a place for the first time. The average person spends $25 on a meal at a restaurant. At a high-end restaurant that cost can be 10 or 20 times that. A bad review will drive away 1 out of 10 people. If 200 people see the review, 20 people are eating elsewhere and it has cost the business $500, or in the case of the highend restaurant up to or more than $10,000. This is where to bring in my work in trust. My 5 tenets of trust are: Caring, Commitment, Consistency, Competence and Communication. Make sure that customers are cared for. At the “Welcome Home Cafe” in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, every customer is greeted with a friendly “Welcome Home!” greeting. The owner, if she has time, comes over to talk to you and asks if your meal was to your liking. Chef and founder Stephanie Taylor genuinely cares about people, and it shows. Her reviews reflect the care she gives others.

It probably won’t surprise you to know there is a cost to the business. PAGE 111

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Food industry Continued… The commitment comes through when we see that safety protocols are met. Staff are well trained. Service is as good as it can be. You’ll see it in the way restaurants have come through the pandemic. The ones who are still around made a commitment to their employees, their customers, and to themselves. The next tenet is a no-brainer. Why do we eat at fast food restaurants when we can pick a fancy diner with a greater selection?

Letting the customer know, without whining or whinging about how tough things are, is a skill you need. Supply chain problems, staffing problems, extra costs for health protocols have all whittled down the profit margin for restaurants. Learn to communicate on social media to your advantage. Talk with people when they come through the door. Talk to your staff and gain their insights.

If you get a bad review, don’t ignore it. Respond to the person. If it’s a legitimate complaint, The answer? Consistency. When I’m on a long apologize and tell them what steps you’re going road trip I usually grab a meal at Micky D’s or to take to correct the problem. Offer them Starbucks because I know what I’m going to get. I something if they’re willing to come in and give trust that I’ll get the same meal if I eat it in you a second chance. Alabama or Alberta. If you own a small independent food establishment, you know how Most importantly, seek out reviews from fans. 5 important it is to be consistent. Your signature bad reviews when you only have 20 posted is a dishes should be down to a science, so people problem and can close your doors. 5 bad know what to expect. reviews when you have over 100 good ones isn’t. Communicate with customers who love you and Competence is so important that the make it easy for them to post a review. Department of Labor has posted a competency model for the food and beverage industry. Most Above all, learn to trust yourself! people, at one point in their lives, got their first job in the restaurant industry and gained Lea is a speaker and workshop facilitator on trust invaluable employment skills. who is recognized as a Top Thought Leader on Trust for by the organization Trust Across America, When I was speaking with Lisa and Nancy on Big and is the author of “TRUST Me – Restore Belief & Blend Radio, we agreed that communication is Confidence in an Uncertain World” and “TRUSTED – an important tenet if not the most important Secret Lessons from an Inspired trust tenet to be successful and trusted in the Leader.” More: food and beverage business. PAGE 112

By Ward Heinrichs Esq., San Diego Employment Attorney

Attorney Ward Heinrichs on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

PAGE 114

FAST Recovery Act: The Fast-Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act) bill is now in a Senate Committee. The Committee has a hearing set for June 1, 2022, to consider the bill.

1) In disposable containers, 2) For immediate consumption either on or off the premises, 3) With limited or no table service, 4) To customers who order or select items and pay before eating.

As you may recall from an article drafted earlier this year, AB 257, the FAST Recovery Act, would provide fast-food workers with sector-wide representation. An 11-member council, appointed by the California Governor, would promulgate minimum standards for health, safety, working conditions, training, and wages for the entire fast-food industry.

Minimum Wage & Salary: For California employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will be $14 per hour. For employers with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour. Other cities in California also require a higher minimum wage than the state.

Minimum salaries required for employees to If the bill becomes law it would apply to fast-food qualify as exempt are twice the statewide restaurants operating under a common brand or California minimum wage. Accordingly, exempt restaurants that share standardized decor, employees, who work for employers who have 25 or fewer employees, must earn at least marketing, packaging, products, and services. $58,240 per year ($14/hour x 2 x 2080 However, it would not apply to small restaurant chains because they must have at least 30 stores hours/year), and exempt employees, who work for employers who have at least 26 employees, nationwide before the FAST Recovery Act would must earn $62,400 per year ($15/hour x 2 x 2080 apply. hours/year). Businesses qualify as fast-food restaurants when they primarily provide food in the following way, PAGE 115

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Food Continued…

Women Not Required to Be on Board of The last time we discussed the cases, the judge in Crest II had struck down AB 979 for violating Directors: As discussed earlier this year on Big Blend Radio, California had passed two laws that required corporate boards to have both women and underrepresented communities on their Boards of Directors. Specifically, Senate Bill (SB) 826 required women to be on those boards, and Assembly Bill (AB) 979 required members of underrepresented communities to also be on those boards. The exact number from each group required to be on Corporate Boards depended on the number of board members on each board.

the Equal Protection Clause. Since then, the judge in Crest I struck down SB 826 for violating the Equal Protection Clause. Litigation in other similar lawsuits continues in both state and federal courts. California has not filed an appeal in either Crest I or Crest II yet because neither court has yet filed a final judgment. The state will have 60 days to file an appeal after the courts issue judgments.

COVID-19 Laws: California does not require

mask-wearing anywhere, but each City, County, Now two separate courts have issued orders that and other incorporated body may require maskwearing if they see fit. strike down those laws. The plaintiffs named in those lawsuits challenged each law on behalf of Based in San Diego, California the Employment Law taxpayers. Crest v. Padilla, aka Crest I, had said Office of Ward Heinrichs represents both employers the use of tax revenue to require women to be and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He on Boards of Directors violated the California Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, and Crest and his firm litigate cases that have been filed in v. Padilla, aka Crest II, claimed that the use of tax many different parts of California. Visit: revenue to require underrepresented communities to be on Boards of Directors violated the California Equal Protection Clause too. PAGE 116

Wine Insider: Chrishon Lampley

Love Cork Screw is the wine and lifestyle brand you bring to a game night with friends, the brand you introduce to board members at an annual gala, and the brand you experience for the first time at a couples paint & sip event. This episode of Big Blend Radio features Love Cork Screw Founder Chrishon Lampley, a négociant and wine enthusiast doing good by leveraging her platform to mentor young women and budding entrepreneurs. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Her road to success has not been an easy one, but to Lampley, success is inspiring at least one person to follow and reach their dreams. She learned early on that in order for her to achieve her dreams, she would have to overcome limitations and challenges. Since then, she has built a successful career and shattered every glass ceiling imaginable. Lampley is the founder of LCS Entertainment, LLC, a licensed wholesaler, importer, and a certified Minority Business Enterprise that features Love Cork Screw wines. Love Cork Screw is a lifestyle brand that launched six varietals December 2013 in Chicago. Lampley expanded the brand by touching all

senses and adding five wine-scented candles to the portfolio in 2014. After spending nearly 15 years pursuing her passion, Chrishon Lampley developed a keen awareness of what the traditional wine novice and enthusiast enjoys. She has traveled all around the world to produce quality wine and this year she has made it a priority to make sure that the LCS brand adds nutritional value to each and every label. Transforming the industry as the first black woman-owned wine to launch whimsical labels, Lampley has grown to become a force whose ambition will leave a lasting imprint for years to come.

More: PAGE 118

Marie Coleman – Church Street Cafe Recorded onsite, this episode of Big Blend Radio features Marie Coleman, owner of Church Street Cafe in historic Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hear the fascinating and inspiring story of how Marie started this popular restaurant that's known for serving delicious and authentic New Mexico cuisine, and for being housed within the historic Casa de Ruiz "House of Ruiz" which was built during the founding of Albuquerque, sometime after 1706. This makes Casa de Ruiz the oldest residence in Albuquerque and one of the oldest structures in Learn more about Church Street Café at: the state of New Mexico. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. PAGE 119

Articles inside

Wine Insider: Chrishon Lampley article cover image

Wine Insider: Chrishon Lampley

page 118
Restaurant Insider: Marie Coleman article cover image

Restaurant Insider: Marie Coleman

pages 119-120
Agriculture as an Art Subject article cover image

Agriculture as an Art Subject

pages 102-109
Midyear California Employment Law Review article cover image

Midyear California Employment Law Review

pages 114-117
Trust in the Food & Beverage Industry article cover image

Trust in the Food & Beverage Industry

pages 110-113
History of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country article cover image

History of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country

pages 100-101
Iconic Hollywood Dishes, Drinks & Desserts article cover image

Iconic Hollywood Dishes, Drinks & Desserts

pages 98-99
Experience the Land of Enchantment article cover image

Experience the Land of Enchantment

pages 94-95
Northeast Colorado Farm & Ag Fests article cover image

Northeast Colorado Farm & Ag Fests

pages 96-97
Cask & Kettle Hot Cocktails article cover image

Cask & Kettle Hot Cocktails

page 91
Savor San Benito County, California article cover image

Savor San Benito County, California

pages 92-93
Esso Coffeehouse & Roastery article cover image

Esso Coffeehouse & Roastery

pages 88-90
LDV Winery in Arizona article cover image

LDV Winery in Arizona

pages 84-87
L’Ecole No. 41 Winery in Walla Walla article cover image

L’Ecole No. 41 Winery in Walla Walla

pages 78-83
Sip & Stay in Woodinville Wine Country article cover image

Sip & Stay in Woodinville Wine Country

pages 70-77
Eight at the Gate Australian Wines article cover image

Eight at the Gate Australian Wines

pages 64-69
Crème Brûlée French Toast Recipe article cover image

Crème Brûlée French Toast Recipe

pages 56-57
Pan Roasted Filet Mignon Recipe Contents Continued article cover image

Pan Roasted Filet Mignon Recipe Contents Continued

page 60
Heart-Healthy Cooking & Eating article cover image

Heart-Healthy Cooking & Eating

pages 62-63
Cooking and Consciousness article cover image

Cooking and Consciousness

page 61
New Produce Trends article cover image

New Produce Trends

pages 52-55
Banana Pancakes Recipe article cover image

Banana Pancakes Recipe

pages 58-59
Sena Sea Wild Alaskan Fish article cover image

Sena Sea Wild Alaskan Fish

pages 48-51
Natchitoches Culinary Adventure article cover image

Natchitoches Culinary Adventure

pages 24-27
Experience Exeter in Central California article cover image

Experience Exeter in Central California

pages 34-35
Mama Gizzi’s Pasta article cover image

Mama Gizzi’s Pasta

pages 46-47
Pike Place Market in Seattle article cover image

Pike Place Market in Seattle

pages 36-41
Queen Creek Olive Mill article cover image

Queen Creek Olive Mill

pages 42-45
Arizona’s Fresh Foodie Trail article cover image

Arizona’s Fresh Foodie Trail

pages 28-33
The Ice Cream Museum in New York article cover image

The Ice Cream Museum in New York

pages 18-23
Soak Up the Coastal Maine Vibe in Portland article cover image

Soak Up the Coastal Maine Vibe in Portland

pages 8-17