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Untangled Vine

An attempt to sort through all things wine. Specifically of, and about, but not limited to: Food and Wine in Toledo, Ohio. Plus the day to day musings of a Wine Distributor...
 

A Nationwide Network of Farmer's Markets?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

As the subculture of would-be gourmands try to get their hands on the best produce, we all agree that locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy products etc... are really something that we can all strive for. In some cities, these are more readliy available than others. With the advent of the one-stop shopping experience, convenience has trumped quality, and small farmers. My congressperson, Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) has again proposed this bill (h.r. 710) before congress. Kaptur is asking for federal funding for local farmer's market in everyone's community. The proposed bill stipulates that these farmer's Markets are to include a majority of locally and family owned farms. Not only has Slow Food U.S.A championed this measure, countless other growers have gottne behind this bill as well. Unfortunately, this bill is in it's (at least)third incarnation. The previous votes have gone along party lines (shocker!). Now political idealism aside (and that means you alleged libertarians!) this is a pimple on the budget, but it is the sort of legislation that can inspire (food) cultural change. Please take some time to research this measure, and barrage your congressperson (especially those represented by Republicans), and ask them to ignore party lines, and vote for a change for both consumers and farmers.

Clarification: This is a bill that only loans out money for Farmer's Markets, and only helps to capitalize money "not exceed 25% of the cost of the individual Markets". You can find the language of the actual bill here

I have been preliminarily given permission to interview Rep. Kaptur next week, and I'll be anxious to hear some of the particular challenges she is facing with this bill. Stay Tuned...

Critics' Arrested Development

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tom Wark (does this guy sleep?), over at Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog, has again, stumbled on an interesting trueism, something that really hit home for me. And he used Arrested Development as his example (which gives him unlimited credibilty in my book...).

Read his post at above link. Here are my comments:

Arrested Development's imminent departure has been the saddest news in my home in the last several months. I've never quite been able to fathom that this comedy couldn't find an audience as big as some other death rattle celebrity reality show. I believe it is the perfect comedy. I know that the final 2 hours is sitting downastairs on my TiVO, but I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it, I must be in some strange denial. It's strange, I listen to certain Film & Television critics, but I have a tough time listening to any Wine critics. Through trial and error, I have found that certain critics of film and television are the appropriate personal filters for all of the crap that is out there (how the hell is that Jim Belushi show still on the air!?!?!?!?!). While wine critics seem to filter out all of the interesing wine, and leave us with the wine versions of, well, jim belushi (sorry Jim, it's been downhill all the way since your pissing scene in the Man with One Red Shoe...). It's a very interesting question... I just need to learn to not fall in love with brilliant television anymore, I guess I'll see if the Apprentice is on.

Uh oh, Adam's on his high horse again...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A year ago, I spent the better part of the afternoon writing a very angry and venomous rant about how Toledo can improve the diversity of its cultural landscape. I have reconsidered said article, and I can’t help but feel like it’s time to reiterate, restate, and reassure upon what I said in 2005.

Dear Toledo,
You have done me proud, you have embraced the concept of a food and wine community. Restaurants that take wine seriously like Mancy’s Blue Water Grille Cohen & Cooke and Diva are busier than ever, and have garnered much deserved buzz around town for both their food, but also their wine program and well-trained staff. And this sort of adaptation has been sorely needed in this community for some time. The tide is turning because of establishments that offer a true voice by their cuisine, ambiance and dedication to individuality. All of these qualities will be the defining traits of this community. As much as we may embrace them, we also fall very short on the promise offered. Independent restaurants in Toledo continue to be outpaced by newly opened chain restaurants throughout this city. Every anchor restaurant at Westfield Shopping center is a chain, as well many of the restaurants in Levis Commons. Every dollar spent at one of these chains filters money out of Toledo at an alarming pace. This is money that will never be used to contribute to our community. Chain Restaurants continue to be the bane of our existence, and by their very nature, they are a catalyst for homogenization.

I recently participated in, what I consider to be, the best food and wine event I have seen in Toledo. During this event, I was speaking to a group of about 65 or so diners, and I made the off-handed comment that it almost didn’t feel like Toledo. To which I was greeted with boos and murmurs. Well, I apologize if I offended anyone, but Toledo needs to start recognizing it’s own problem. We may talk about locally owned-businesses, and how we really want downtown to improve, and we want to be like other great cities that have rebounded, but sometimes it seems like we are using Fort Wayne as our template rather than Chicago. In great cities like Austin, Texas, Louisville, Kentucky, and Portland Oregon, movements have begun to “Keep Austin (or said City Name) Weird!” These movements are the last battlefronts for individuality of these communities. They haven’t yet been overrun by homogenization. And although, the battle front has advanced quite far into our corner of Ohio, it’s not too late to fight back. And the best way to do that is with your wallets and your feet.


Here is my recipe for Toledo Food & Wine Success:
1. Spend some time trying restaurants that are not a chain. It’s too easy to be lazy when deciding where to eat out, but it takes someone that truly cares to break the routine.
2. Explore parts of the city where you don’t live, see what else is going on outside of your corner.
3. Ask about restaurants that are using locally grown produce.

4. Find out the name of the chef at your favorite restaurant, time willing, they will come out and chat with you about inspiration and ingredients.
5. Get yourself on mailing lists, find out when special events are happening, these can be the best experiences.
6. Tell your friends. If you have a great meal at one of our locally owned restaurants, tell a friend, send out an email, and give details.
7. Order adventurously. Because of our lack of variety, we order predictably, next time you’re out, order something other that Steak, Chicken or Salmon, it will give the chef hope that they can try dishes that inspire them

Check out my Links

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I know that when I look at other blogs, I rarely look at the links listed. At this time, I'd like to call your attention to MY links. I have assembled a list of all of my favorite wine blogs, plus some other fun stuff. Please take a moment or two to patronize some of the other bloggers. I know that you'll find some cool stuff...
 
   





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