Posts Tagged ‘labor wines’

Adventures to San Francisco & the Bay

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

 

Recently, three members of The Nyman Group had the opportunity to head to the San Francisco and Bay Area for meetings, events and tastings, experiencing quite a few elements that the area had to offer.

 

Desiring to embrace a classic San Francisco restaurant landmark, we ventured over to Swan Oyster Bar at 1517 Polk St. (no website and they don’t answer their phone, fyi). – a seafood haven founded in 1912 that is cash only, you wait on line for the 16 bar stools and sit elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike.  Every fish and bivalve served are extremely fresh and completely delicious.  We sampled an oyster platter and then the mixed seafood salad, mounded with Bay Shrimp, Dungeness crab and Prawns, which was then served with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, mixed with some of the back fat of the Dungeness, in the shell.  WOW!

 

Needing some caffeine to charge us for the afternoon, we stopped over to see our good friend, Nick Floulis, at his 27-square foot coffee bar (yes, really), Hole in the Wall, located in North Beach at 524 Union Street.  Hole in the Wall only serves pour-over coffee (very cool and impressive), in three distinct roasts – Blonde, Brunette (lovingly known as North Beach) & Redhead, right on Union Street.  They’re fully embraced by the local community and a great spot for a damn good cup of joe.

 

We then moved along to one of our main reasons for the visit, heading to the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Experience Trade Tasting, being held at the stunningly beautiful venue, Bently Reserve.  Zinfandel is commonly referred to as ‘America’s Grape’, even though it is not native to our country, it has been fully embraced as American in flavor and palate appeal.  Tasting through the over 75 wineries, our favorites were definitely Turley, Klinker Brick, Gamba and Brown Estate.

 

Needing sustenance and wanting another San Francisco classic food and beverage venue, we made our way to NOPA in the NoPa (North of Panhandle) neighborhood.  Established in 2006, NOPA is more than a restaurant, but a gathering point for the local community for good eats, a lively bar scene and late night dining.  We were able to swap standing room only into seats, ponying up to the bar and holding down that area with the buzzing activity around us.  The Half Roasted Chicken was tremendous in flavor, having been brined and basted in an herb butter, and the Country Pork Chop with Brussels Sprouts, Cara Cara Oranges, Mustard and Sesame was divine.

 

Next stop on the tour was to The Independent, one of San Francisco’s premier live music venues, to take in a performance by Kamasi Washington.  The jazz saxophonist was in town as part of the 2016 Noise Pop Festival and came under critical acclaim in 2015 for his album, The Epic.  The show proved to be just that as Kamasi and his band (which at times included his father!) laid down a 90-minute set filled with jazz, funk and a room full of mesmerized fans.  To witness this is a room that holds just 500 people was truly special. Following the show we headed just up a touch of Divisadero St. to swing into Bar 821 for an amaro to finish the evening.  Upon arriving, we looked at the wall of the bar where to amari and digestivos were listed and, we were all immediately and completely in awe of the variety they had available.  There were at least 30 amaros and another 20+ digestives, with tasting flights and bottles from Italy, the U.S.A., Switzerland and France.  We were able to sample a great variety, including Brovo #4, an American amaro from Seattle, Washington, which we never knew existed!

 

Wrapping up the evening, we had decided to rest our heads at the recently renovated The Buchanan Hotel, in Japantown, right on Buchanan.  This Kimpton property had clean and spacious rooms, friendly staff and a perfect location for our trip.  We would gladly recommend the hotel to any travelers, business or leisure for your next visit to the Bay.

 

Friday morning we hosted a breakfast meeting at Sweet Maple, located right now the street from our hotel where they are focused on fresh ingredients, gigantic portions and fun combinations of flavors.  We were able to sample one of their signature items, the Millionaire’s Bacon (which was featured on the Discovery Network) – thick, free range bacon baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper.  Damn good!

 

After some meetings and exploration, we headed over to Union Larder, a neighborhood joint at the corner of Union & Hyde that refers to itself as a Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie Bar.  Our afternoon stop was perfect timing, as it wasn’t too busy and allowed us to sample the menu, most specifically their House-made Charcuterie and Uni Pate with Fruit Mostarda, a really cool concept of pate.

 

Venturing further down into the city, toward the Financial District (FiDi), we went to see our friends at The Hidden Vine, a wonderful wine bar in the shadow of the TransAmerica Building, complimented by their regulation size Bocce court.  They are great supporters of our Director of Operations’, Labor Wines wine project, featuring the Pinot Noir by the glass.

 

Next on the Bay adventure was a quick BART trip to Oakland for the Vance Joy/Elle King concert at the Fox Theatre.  On this warm February night, it was a breath of fresh air to see Oakland so alive and bustling with activity as patrons entered and exited bars and restaurants. Glancing into the windows of hustling hot-spots and seeing folks eating and drinking, smiling and conversing reassured us that Oakland is continuing to rise again, city-wide.  Just a couple years ago people would have called you crazy to paint a picture of the scene on this night.  The Fox was one of the venues that really led a change for the neighborhood and with shows like Vance Joy, a diverse, happy and fun-loving crowd invaded Oakland in a great way.

 

Saturday morning, we stopped over to the Fillmore Farmer’s Market, which is small but has a nice collection of vendors, purchasing some heirloom carrots, salmon jerky and fresh pastries.  A really fun treat to enjoy a piece of the area’s local flavors.

 

Escaping the city, we were taken to a classic restaurant for lunch, Max’s in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, which has been open for over 25 years and is run by our good friend Dennis Berkowitz.  His restaurants are truly run for their customer’s pleasure and enjoyment, and happily boasting, ‘everything you’ve always wanted to eat.’  Max’s menu is vast and full of deliciousness, and we sampled too many dishes!  Having the chance to taste their Corned Beef (Nitrate-free!) and Pastrami, was a heavenly experience.

 

Capping off the trip, we had the pleasure to get a full tour of Max’s Commissary, located in the shadow of San Francisco International Airport.  Being shown around this massive facility was quite the perspective, seeing all that they produce for their various operations, located around the bay.  We were given a Chocolate Covered Macaroon that was the size of our fist, truly unbelievable!

 

All told, our 2 very full days in the Bay Area, were tremendous.  Mixing our meetings in with pleasure, we came, we saw, ate, drank, listened to music and caught up with some great people.  Can’t wait to be back there!

 

Tourist in Paradise

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Life is what you make of it in eating, discovering and enjoying.  However a food blogger friend of ours, Ralph Raffio has a better take on life and food of course, saying, “Like many wonderful people in my life they know about and take enormous pleasure in good food. Eating is an important part of the pleasure, but it isn’t the biggest part. Sharing is. It’s everything, actually.” So, with that great perspective  began an interesting visit to the East Coast to share some new experiences and visit some old haunts with friends, associates and several thousand other ‘tourists’ in the height of travel season, at the end of Summer. The greater New York area was where I grew up and lived on and off for decades and each time I return to the area, there are of course fond and trying remembrances, but mostly pangs of joy.

 

Long Island’s South Shore is well known for the Hamptons, however one of the best kept secrets  are the older mid-island beach towns around Patchogue that are rich with small local restaurants, farm stands, culture and history.  Delfiore Pizzeria is a great example of a simple and easy restaurant with very good pizza.  It is a local favorite and very accommodating as to type and style of pizza.

The area markets also feature local produce and dairy products, which are the hard to get ingredients in many of our big cities today, but just right for a Summer cookout and dinner party.

 

The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts are rich in culture, heritage and brimming with new and established restaurants along with food markets all primed for the season.  Guido’s is a perennial favorite of locals and a must stop for picnic preparations for a night at Tanglewood.

 

Just across the Connecticut state line, in Lakeville, is The Woodland a favorite for fresh local fish, sushi and daily specials; extremely popular with the natives.

 

New York, New York – a heck of a town!  Russ & Daughters has been in business for decades and finally decided to open a café which features their tremendous smoked fish selection. My only complaint is, why did they wait so long!

In the mood for a light lunch or brunch, but with some panache and people watching included, head over to Sarabeth’s on Central Park South and you certainly will not be disappointed. It’s a comfortable spot to relax, enjoy a salad, an order of crab cakes which are one of their specialties’ and glass or bottle of Labor Wines Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

When in New York and the Yankees are playing, ride the subway to the game and a night at the Stadium is must, along with eating ballpark food, meandering around and talking to other baseball fans.  Quite the wonderful experience.

 

The Oyster Bar at Grand Central is the quintessential New York old school restaurant occurrence, which is as much of yesterday as it is today.  The best selection of oysters, clams and fish that there is in the City with a dining room and counter seating that is all about food and a nod to history.  By the way, if you’re looking for one of the best wine lists, both by the glass and bottle, this is the place to come too.

Walking neighborhoods in the City is one of the great enjoyments of life and not just a past time.  The Upper East Side is full of trendy restaurants, wonderful shops and plenty of people watching.  But to really experience New York, one needs to have a hot dog; if you’re not going to Nathan’s in Coney Island, you need to head to Papaya King on 86th & 3rd Avenue to enjoy a true New York treat.

After a busy day touring the Metropolitan Museum and viewing art from around the world, since New York is the ethnic melting pot of the country (not sure about this phrase), a visit to Chinatown hits the spot.  The oldest continuing operating Chinese restaurant, serving only Dim Sum since 1920, Nah Wah Tea Parlor is the place to visit.  They are welcoming and always busy, with over 30 choices prepared to order, it most certainly never gets boring.

Continuing on with the ethnic vein, it’s not often you can find Southern Indian cuisine in the states, as most Indian restaurants feature the Northern version of the food.  Anjappar Chettinad, located in the heart of the Murray Hill neighborhood answers this call with plenty of delicious options, including Fresh Whole Grilled Fish, Mint Sauce & House made Chutney, Onion Kulcha and Chicken from the Tandoor oven, accompanied by Vegetarian Biriyani, the traditional roasted rice dish, washed down with strong tea.

 

There are most certainly hundreds or thousands of restaurant options in New York, but your own personal taste and pocketbook can also be your guide to great food, experiences and ambiance. But for a last stop before you leave or a late night experience, one needs to cross the Hudson River and head to the Ironbound ‘Portuguese’ District in Newark, New Jersey.  There are many different types of restaurants, from Churrascaria’s to traditional and home style to simple bars that serve food and drink.  But to truly enjoy a working class local environment where you will be welcomed as you arrive, go and experience Seabras Marisqueria on Madison Street.  Belly up to the bar and feast your eyes on the fresh shellfish and hot food display.  Take a walk by the glass enclosed kitchen and view the fresh fish display and the cooks working the stoves.  The food, wine list, total ambiance and hospitality will assure you of a great time.

It is said one can never truly go back and enjoy the memories of life, but a visit to the East Coast and the New York area are as close as you can to enjoy Paradise!

 

 

Mr. Nyman goes to Washington…

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Over Memorial Day Weekend I had the pleasure to be able to travel once again, back to our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. for a long weekend and enjoy the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, being held up the road in Baltimore.  I went to support my alma mater, the University of Denver Pioneers, who I had also played lacrosse for and on their first Division I team, graduating in 1999.  As well, I have always had an affinity for D.C. from my childhood years but greater more so after living there in the early 2000’s.

After flying in on Friday night and getting settled, I had a chance to catch up with a great friend who wanted to take me out for a night on the town in the District.  But first, we had to start in Arlington, over the river for a quick bite and cocktails at Circa.  A much needed cocktail and some snacks were in order, along with catching up with two buddies who were joining us for the evening.

Catching an Uber (drunk driving is VERY heavily frowned upon in D.C.), we headed towards 14th Street, currently the hot corridor in the city, starting at Barcelona, a tapas themed bar/restaurant.  It is a VERY lively place, with a big bar scene, large outdoor patio and high-energy environment.

 

Walking down the street, we popped into Pearl Dive; a multi-story seafood concept with a big bar downstairs, cocktail lounge upstairs along with a bocce court on the second floor.  Awesome to see the unique concept, including multiple sensory experiences there.

 

The last stop of the evening, on the same street, was for a glass of wine and some snacks at Ghibellina, a modern Italian spot, in their bar.  This was a great service experience, with the bartenders truly delivering upon the promise of Hospitality, through recommendations and going above & beyond what we needed.  We were able to have their Varieta Di Salumi Artigianali, which was a great board of various salumi, all more delicious than the last.

 

Saturday was to be the big day and I wanted to get to Baltimore as soon as possible to support my boys.  We hit the road and made our way to the important Lot O – where all of the tailgates were being held for the Final Four teams.  It just so happened that the University of Denver party was right next door (separated by one tent) to the Duke University party, our opponent in that day’s game.  There were parents, alumni, fans, friends and plenty of others there to cheer on our Pioneers; a truly great morning.  This was the 4th Final Four that I have had the pleasure to attend and the 2nd one in four years watching my university play.  There is such a fantastic energy in the air during the Memorial Day Weekend of lacrosse, definitely which was not lost on me.

 

Unfortunately, my boys, while staging furious rally, fell short to the Blue Devils on Saturday.  While there were no shortage of long faces, it was a truly tremendous season and a pleasure to watch as an alum.

 

Coming back to the DC area, we decided for an early evening cocktail at The Graham Hotel, on their Rooftop patio, overlooking Georgetown and DC, all the way down K Street.  This is one of the newer hotels to open in Georgetown, keeping with the trend of smaller, boutique hotels offering unique experiences.  It was a gorgeous evening out, perfect for cocktails and good friends.

 

We then moved on to a classic restaurant from other city’s which is actually newly opened in D.C., Joe’s Stone Crab in the former Union Trust Bank location.  Choosing to sit in the lounge, we enjoyed a delicious bone-in Halibut Fillet along with Roasted Sweet Potato with Maple Pecan Butter.  Included in the atmosphere was some great people watching, including Washington Wizards star player, John Wall.

 

Last stop of the evening turned out to be a damn fun one, heading underground to Heist Nightclub on Jefferson.  Heist is a TINY club/lounge, accommodating less than a 150 people and you could feel it; with the vibe running hot, music being loud and party going strong.  We enjoyed this energy late into the night for sure.

 

 

By Sunday I was in need of a small detox, which fortunately came courtesy of a workout at Sports Club LA next to The Ritz Carlton, D.C.  After enjoying a steam, long hot shower and down time, I was back in the game and ready to go!  We ventured down to the Washington Harbor in Georgetown at the Waterfront for Brunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers, a temple of a restaurant that had lines running out the door, with an ode to all who allow restaurants to do what they do with their products.  Fortunately, we were able to score a seat at the bar before taking a walk to check out the full range of various offerings of the Sunday Brunch.

 

 

Before heading out, my friend and I enjoyed our annual multiple games of shooting pool, at a really cool little neighborhood spot in Arlington, Carpool.  Definitely a joint, but plenty of games and fun to choose from for a casual night out.

 

Continuing on, we headed towards downtown D.C. to one of my buddy’s favorite places, The Hamilton.  Just blocks from the White House, The Hamilton is much more than just a restaurant, with multiple bars, hundreds of restaurant seats and a subterranean concert venue!  We headed inside to the 2nd bar, which is actually right by the Sushi Bar (yes, really) taking over the side of the bar, with a great view of the crowd coming in for the show later that night, Lisa Loeb.

 

We enjoyed a fantastic selection of fresh sushi including Hamachi, Big Eye Tuna and plenty more fish, before I enjoyed a Roasted Asparagus Salad with Ramp Pesto.

 

 

Memorial Day Monday was back to Lacrosse up in Baltimore, starting at a Baltimore staple, Miss Shirley’s for a quick breakfast sandwich (on gluten-free bread I might add!) topped with plenty of Old Bay.  After watching Duke win their 2nd straight National Championship with my buddy, who is a Duke Alum we realized we needed a solid late lunch/early dinner before I headed out on my flight.  Going for a simple, straight forward yet classic option, we headed to the Capital Grille in the Inner Harbor, catching them right at 5pm when they opened.

I must say, I’ve had the pleasure to dine at quite a few Capital Grille’s and this was definitely not one of their top locations.  It could have been the Memorial Day Holiday, just a bad night or something else, but the restaurant was off overall.  My buddy’s steak was overcooked (Filet) and my Sirloin was also overcooked, plus was a vein-end piece of meat.  Things happen and they attempted service recovery pretty well, but it just wasn’t the best option.

 

Getting to the airport now full and exhausted, I was ready to head home back West.  Overall, it was a great trip catching up with some damn good people, lots of go go go and proud of my University of Denver Pioneers.  Looking forward to being back in our Nation’s Capital sooner rather than later and enjoying what it has to offer…

 

 

 

October with The Nyman Group

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Hello friends!  As we’re well into Fall right now, with Halloween around the corner, things at The Nyman Group are never boring.  It’s an exciting time for us and we wanted to take a moment to share with each of you.

 

Robert J. Nyman

Robert was recently quoted in an article in Hotels Magazine in a piece by Ann Bagel Storck, titled ‘Prime Cuts’ – innovative ways to keep Food & Beverage costs in check.  You can find the piece here, with Robert’s words on the first page.

Additionally, Robert recently was a guest of ‘The Radio Show’ with Glenn Haussman of Hotel Interactive – take a listen to Robert’s commentary here regarding current food trends in the industry.  He is a regular contributor to Glenn’s podcasts and it’s a great perspective overall.

 

Corey T. Nyman

Corey had the pleasure to be invited to pour his Labor Wines 2011 Pinot Noir at the Vegas edition of Cochon, held on Sunday night October 21st.  This was the All-Star Cochon event with 10 chefs from around the country gathering in Las Vegas to share their different flavors of pork while being joined by wines, spirits and beers, along with great friends.  Take a look here to find out more about the event and see some photos as well.

 

Craig Asher Nyman

Well, for Craig the biggest weekend of his year has finally arrived! This Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Downtown Las Vegas Craig’s hard work culminates in the launch of the Life Is Beautiful Festival.  He has been working on a large variety of aspects of the event including Booking, Ticketing, Packages, VIPs and too many more to count.  Take a look here to learn more about the event and if you still haven’t bought your tickets and are going to be in Vegas, come on down!

 

 

The latest at The Nyman Group

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Greetings to all of you – just wanted to share some of the happenings for us at The Nyman Group.

 

Robert has continued his writing for Hotel Interactive, crafting another piece, titled, ‘Four More Years’ which was recently published online.  Click here for the full article.  If you have any thoughts or opinions, we know he’d love to hear from you, so feel free to send him a note here as well.

 

The last quarter of 2012 has proved to be quite an exciting one for CAN Media and Craig.  Most recently he was hired as Head of Music & Live Performances for Aurelian Marketing Group’s, Life Is Beautiful Festival, a two-day event planned for the Fall of 2013 in Downtown Las Vegas. Additional partners in Life Is Beautiful include Another Planet Entertainment, Downtown Project and MAKTUB Marketing.  CAN Media was also retained by spirits company William Grant & Sons to handle PR in Nevada.  The portfolio of spirits includes Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Milagro Tequila, Stolichnaya, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Hendricks Gin.  Craig also completed a successful entertainment consulting opportunity with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Entertainment Team serving as the interview talent for Sunset Sessions, a three-day music event of up-and-coming bands and musicians.

 

Recently, Corey launched the Sunday Feast Dinner Series with his good friend Chef Geno Bernardo and creating ‘Labor Wines & Local Swine’ for the inaugural event.  Held on Sunday, November 4th, the dinner was a fantastic experience held at The Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas at Geno’s restaurant, Nove Italiano.  Check out the blog post and photos from the event here on the Labor Wines website.

As well, Corey just received some fantastic press in Vegas Rated, a national magazine that is based in Las Vegas in regard to his 2010 Pinot Noir.  Their digital edition can be found here and the spread is on pages 56 & 57.  The wine has been receiving great support overall, especially in Vegas at restaurants on the Strip and some local specialty shops.

 

We look forward to having a chance to catch up with each and every one of you hopefully before the holidays, either in person or over the phone.  Hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving with your family – enjoy the time together!

 

 

A chance to give back…

Monday, April 30th, 2012

On Wednesday, April 25th I had the pleasure to speak with the Restaurant/Bar Concept Development & Entrepreneurship class at my alma mater, the University of Denver, Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management. I am fortunate that I also sit on the Executive Advisory Board at the school and I take an extreme amount of pride in doing so. I try to take every opportunity to return to the school and share my expertise and when the invitation came to visit, I immediately jumped at the chance.

Assistant Professor, Dr. Cheri Young and Director, Operations Eric Lane are teaching a class on developing business plans and concept development, while working with a local entrepreneur to help him develop his gluten-free beer concept/brew pub. They asked me to give the students a consultant’s perspective, while helping to lead them in the right direction. What made this class special was that it only contained 8 students and all are seniors graduating in the next few months.

The professors let me know I would have the full 1 hour and 50 minutes of class to speak, conduct a question-and-answer session and true back & forth to engage the students, which I was extremely flattered by and definitely appreciated.

I tried to give the class a varied perspective overall, while guiding them through the process.  To start I shared with them my personal background and industry experience, including how important that the University of Denver was and remains to me.  Then, I had to give them a ‘reality check’ by driving home the point that passion will only get you so far, but focusing on ROI is a key with any concept and operation.  We then talked about the overall methodology of a business plan/concept statement, in broad terms and what was needed in this report.
The life of a consultant and what it means to be a consultant – this was an interesting conversation to have with 20-22 year old students soon to enter our industry.  This can sometimes be tough for people overall to grasp, since everyone believes that they can be a consultant.  On the value of experience – too many people call themselves consultants, however, few have the true time, knowledge and awareness of the industry to provide clients with an appropriate perspective and valued analysis.  Finally, I shared a case study by The Nyman Group of a former client of ours that showed the students the positives and negatives of the hospitality industry, along with a comprehension of how we do our job.
I finished speaking, talking about moving forward and their role in the hospitality industry upon graduation.  I let the students know that they could feel free to contact me directly and I would happily remain available to them should they have any questions that I could assist with.

I can’t wait to return to campus to visit with the students and more classes soon. Next trip will before our Spring EAB meeting, held the day before graduation and I will then have a chance to meet the graduating seniors and their families at the going away celebration. I’m thrilled I continue to have the chance to give back to the university and program that I love and care so deeply about. Don’t ever forget about the value your experience in your chosen industry has, especially for those who are just starting in the business – you have something to teach! Give back and share…

 

 

Saturday Night Truck Stop & Throwdown!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This past Saturday night I was asked by Jolene Mannina (known better to many in Vegas as the brains behind Sloppi Jo’s (@SloppiJos) food truck and the founder of Saturday Night Truck Stop (@SNTruckStop) to be one of her guest judges for the Back of House Throwdown.  This event is held every Saturday night, starting between 8pm and 10pm, then going into Sunday morning until about 2am to 4am with a collection of 4-6 different Las Vegas Food Trucks gathered selling their culinary delights to locals and tourists at Tommy Rocker’s (@TommyRockers), located right behind the Strip.

 

Jo had created the throwdown as a way to bring out two local chefs from Strip restaurants, give them a basket of ‘secret’ ingredients and then 30 minutes on the clock to create two dishes on one of the food trucks that gathered for that night’s Truck Stop.  It is a pretty cool event which has gotten great backing from the local restaurant community and their staff.  My co-judges that night were my buddy, Geno Bernardo (@ChefGeno) – Executive Chef of Nove Italiano at The Palms and Dominic Scali, better known at The Vegas Foodie (@TheVegasFoodie), a local food blogger and great guy.

 

This week’s Throwdown pitted Chef Jason Johnston from Bellagio against Frank Ortiz from Wynn & Encore.  Chef Johnston commandeered the Rusty Pickle Food Truck (@RustyPickle) with his Sous Chef Severin Nunn, while Chef Ortiz hopped onto the Redneck Kitchen Food Truck (@RedneckKitchen).  The secret ingredients were a tough collection, but all easily manageable to create some fantastic dishes – they included Brown Rice Flour, Chicken Thighs, Italian Sausage, Celery, Sumac and Rice Paper.  The chefs were then allowed to use anything found on the food trucks to further embellish their dishes.

 

Aside from some brisk winds and some short 10-15 minute rain sprinkles, the crowd was supportive from the start, getting behind each chef and cheering them on.

 

The best dish of the night was created by Chef Johnston, which was a take on a Vietnamese Summer Roll – using boned chicken thighs, roasted vegetables and a Sumac Aioli (that really stole the show).  Between us three judges, we were extremely impressed by their creativity, abilities to pull off dishes in only thirty minutes and flavors.  After some serious debate and conversations, we came to a conclusion and the winner was…Chef Johnston!

 

I was thrilled to be asked to participate and can’t wait to be back to judge another contest, especially on a warmer night!  Next time, I promise to bring a bottle of Labor Wines too…