Keep Your Eyes open for these upcoming Events

Check out what is happening October 27th! It's a field trip!
More Info to Come, just starting to gather info now. Plan is to rent a van and have it tote us around, stopping at Tequesta Brewing Company, Bx Beer Depot, World of Beers, Due South and do tastings at each location. Like I say, I am just starting to do the legwork now, so just save the date state.
Let me know as soon as you know you are interested so I can plan accordingly
the cost of this event will be in the range of $30-$35. Purchasing beer at the stops will not be included so that you can budget your flights or single pints for yourself. Your price will include a delicious "lining your bellies" lunch at the Serenity Garden Tea House and your transportation for the day. Timeline and More to come

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gulps does Brunch in cool style

January provided cool breezes to South Florida this year but thanks to Gulp we are warm with good food, good friends and the Screaming J’s.  This month we were at the warehouse on a cool but sunny Sunday for a small bite brunch paired with traditional and not so traditional cocktails.  You can never call Gulpers traditional.  bartender ashley

DSCN1908An Ovation must go out to the Screaming J’s who were the co-stars of the day with their crazy mix of jaz, blue grass and a bunch of other music.  Not to mention they are awesome guys.  Thank you guys for the great music and laughs!

I also want to take a moment and give a big shout out to Ashley who was our bartender for the afternoon.  Great job Ashley!!

Ok, now the for food and drinks.

For me, this experience was more about the food,there wasn’t too much “pairing” going on.  Coreen and LeBeau too this opportunity and showcased their culinary creativity with the menu.

salmonFirst, there were salmon, capers and cream cheese topped pirogues which Jim said had great texture and put him in mind of lox and bagels.  The potato filling added another layer of creaminess for a lovely alternative to a bagel bite.      Served at the same time was pickled okra.  I didn’t taste them but again Jim said they were delicious.                                                 DSCN1890

Then came the ham and cheese sliders on Hawaiian rolls.  I know that doesn’t sound all that special but let me tell you about the sauce that was brushed over the top of the rolls and then baked on for a crispy savory condiment curve ball.  Coreen mixed Worcestershire, dijon mustard, minced onions, and butter and slathered it on.  It was love at first bite.  A little crispy top, into a soft bun and salty ham and savory cheese.  It hit all the flavor buttons! 


Up next was what Coreen referred to as an egg boat.  This was a fun take on a breakfast sandwich.  Scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese on a crispy bread boat.  For those who wanted to go lighter the sausage was swapped with spinach.  I had the spinach boat and loved the crunchy bread, creamy scrambled eggs and the touch of bitterness with the spinach.  Tasty!


4th on the menu was an interesting bite.  It was a croissant filled with bleu cheese, chocolate and strawberries.  I have to be honest this wasn’t my favorite.  There was too much going on in the flavors.  The trio of fillings were all strong flavors and I felt fighting each other.  The bleu and strawberries would have played nicely as would have the obvious chocolate and strawberries.  It was just one ingredient too much, for me.  I also wanted some more texture.  Sarah suggested slivered almonds and I think that would have been nice.

cocktailsNow, we were not eating these without libations.  I enjoyed the Asian Bloody Mary a lot.  It was with Siracha, soy sauce, wasabi paste, tomato juice and vodka then rimmed in nori salt.  It was tangy, spicy and full of umami.  It was delicious and pretty.  The other drink I had was the Pineapple Mary.  Pineapple juice, smoked paprika, lime juice, simple syrup and orange zest came together for a light refreshing cocktail.  It was nice then Coreen came over and gave it a hit of siracha.  Holy delicious Spice Batman!! The hot sauce took it from being a nice friendly drink to one that was hot and a bit naughty.  I am so making these for my next Sunday brunch!!  Okay, I have already made them and it was Wednesday night.  Dang that was good!  The other interesting cocktail was dubbed the Dorothy Parker because Luna was channeling  the iconic lady with her cloche hat, and sweater over the shoulders.  This was a sexy little drink using the newest trend in beverages, coconut water and champagne.  Dorothy, I mean Luna enjoyed it saying the coconut was subtle letting the champagne be the star.  (Really she said the coconut wasn’t a punch in the face). 

Back to the food.  Next up was the Cheesy croissant topped with a runny yolk, over easy egg, bacon and a little cheese.  She had me at the runny yolk.  eggstarttoast

After that came the shallot and feta tarts.  The carmelized shallots played so nice with the feta for a sweet and tangy combination in the mouth.  I would have liked the tart to be crispier.

The finale was totally worth the wait.  Gingerbread French toast topped with bacon and a vanilla chai syrup!  I know just typing it makes my mouth water.  The syrup stood up to the bacon and said chill, you’re not the only guy here and my taste buds were dancing with the lovely mix of flavors.  It was a harmonious bite!  The other thing that was cool about this was the bread was really gingerbread from Pepperidge Farms.  I love discovering new things and I can say without a doubt this group has introduced me to more culinary innovations in the 8 years than probably the rest of my life put together.  That is just amazing to me.  Thank you Coreen!  Thank you LeBeau!

Ok, that does it for January!  Next week, (I know it’s already February), is the February event.  It is on, you guessed it Valentine’s Day, February 14th at 7:30pm.  It will be held at the Warehouse and Coreen promises it to be a low key evening of food, wine and love.  Don’t miss it!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Winner of the Gulp Holiday Food Pairing is….

I love this time of year!  I love the music, the lights, and the parties!  As a Gulper one of my favorite parties of the Season is our annual Food and Wine Pairing Competition.  Interested competitors put a team together decide on a tasting dish and pair a wine with it, then they prepare enough for all the judges, (about 20), and the winner gets a prize.  It is win-win for everyone.

This year there were 5 teams which translated into Good Eats for this blogger/judge! 

Team 1 - Deb Knepp, Alicia Lee Bray Brand, Chris Pawlowski and Heather Hatter, aka, Team Pinot Envy presented a bacon stuffing croquet with a cranberry, Gran Marnier and truffle glaze.  Along with that was a mushroom stuffed with goat cheese.  Oh yeah is was good.  It was paired with your choice of either a Mirassou Pinot Noir or a Wild Haven Pinot Grigio.teamPinotEnvyNow I have to tell you I got one of the first croquets of the evening.  I don’t think the oil was hot enough because it was greasy.  Later I went back for another on the recommendation of fellow competitor and judge Barry and it was hot crispy and the glaze set it off with a tangy, smoky sweet addition.  It was really good.  The mushroom was stuffed with goat cheese.  Need I say more?  Oh yes I do because when I tasted it with the glaze it was a wow!  I chose the Pino Noir for the pairing and loved it.  The light oak and deeper berry flavors of this very drinkable wine matched the smoke of the bacon and the sweet of the glaze.  Really nice job by the team with the best name of the night, Team Pinot Envy. 

Team 2 - Jimmy Brogan, Kelly Schultz Brogan, Luna Primerton, Wally Lurz  presented the crowd with a meaty take on a sweet treat, bacon lollipops.  With my first bite I was transported back to my childhood at the legion hall baseball snack stand and eating a Slow Poke.

baconpopsLike my childhood treat the bacon pops were chewy, chocolate-y, caramel-y salty goodness.  You, (okay I), couldn’t eat just one.  This treat doesn’t send you into adult delights until you pair it with a Bridgman Syrrah.  The woodsy blackberry notes bring it all together.  The salt mellows out, the chocolate is a little richer and the smoke of the bacon pops.  This was seriously delicious.

Team 3 – Coreen, Barry Imhoff, Serenity Garden Tea House, Chris Bryan put together a beefed up grilled cheese sandwich with a side of rainbow chard and bacon.  This uber sandwich was filled with short ribs, pickled onions that got then a carmelized treatment, arugula, and if all that wasn’t enough they threw in bacon!  One would think the little side of rainbow chard was extraneous when in fact it was a perfect accompaniment. 

grilledcheeseThe fresh flavor of the greens cut the richness of the short ribs and cheese bringing balance to what would have otherwise been a heavy, heavy sandwich.  They paired this with a Gulp favorite, Federalist Zinfandel.  The Federalist also lightened the sandwich and added a needed acidity that brightened every bite.  

Team 4 - Kelly Lee, Tracy Cottle, Michelle Getty, Adriel Wright, Mariana Nascimento put together what I thought was the prettiest presentation with all the tulle and silvery Christmas tree.  Their food would not be ignored either.  Succulent chicken, veggies and light sauce were enveloped in an eggroll wrapper to create beautiful chicken pot pie bundles. 

chix pot pie bundlesIt was wonderful and I think what made it most fun was I could pick it up and eat it without all the filling oozing out everywhere.  It made me think of 18th century England and street vendors selling savory pies to Victorian shoppers.  It was warm, comforting and perfect.  They paired it with a clean and crisp Hugl gruener veltliner.  It lightened the richness of the gravy while the food gave the wine a buttery quality.  It was an excellent pairing.  This group didn’t stop there.  They included dessert.  Oh yes they did.  They made a pecan pie bar.  Holy nutty sweetness that was good!  I will say the wine didn’t pair as well with the dessert.  I just put my glass down and munched away.

Team 5 - Pam Schuster, LeBeau, Ashley Renee Wall, Natalie Rogers were our late entry of the evening.  Even though I am an impatient judge their offering was worth the wait.  They created a spicy pork bun with pickled vegetables and drizzled it with a habanero hunan sauce.  It was spicy, tangy, and crunchy with a hint of sweetness.porkbunsThey enrobed all that porky, crunchy goodness with a steamed bun.  With that warm, soft sweet bread and the filling, I was in food heaven!  They paired it with a Penfold Shiraz.  I am not sure it worked as well with the pork bun as it could have.  I would have gone with a Sangiovese for a red option or maybe a Savignon Blanc for a white.  The shiraz was just too heavy for the bright bite of the pork bun.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I didn’t put either the bun or the wine down.  I belonged to the clean plate and glass club!

Now for the drum roll please!!!!

The winner of the 2013 Gulp Holiday Pairing is:…..wait for it…..anticipation…………Team……the suspense is killing you, isn’t it?……….the winner is:  Team 3 with their grilled cheese with short ribs and carmelized pickled onion sandwich!!!!  And the crowd goes crazy!  Ticker tape is flying!!!  Woo HOO!!!  Congrats to Coreen, Barry, Bryan and Audrey for their winning pairing!

Team 4 won a $20.00 gift certificate to Hullabaloo’s for 2nd place.  Their pretty table display edged them over the competition to win this coveted award!

In the words of our Founder and Head Gulper, Coreen “Everyone is just getting better and better at this whole thing, making the competition very tough to vote for all of us. But I hope everyone had fun, I know I did! Happy Holidays to Everyone!!”

See you next year!! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gulpers took a fieldtrip

Yep, you read it right we went on a fieldtrip this month. 

Veteran’s Day was a  beautiful Sunday afternoon when a small group of Gulpers got on a bus hired for the day with a driver.  Let me just say now how wonderful it was to have a driver for the day.  It was a real treat I recommend highly.  Coreen made sure there was plenty of cold water in the bus to enjoy between stops.  Our driver Johnny was great.  He was funny and charming and made sure we got everywhere on time. 

Barrel_GrainOur first location was a funky little place called Barrel & Grain.  This new gastropub is located behind E.R. Bradleys on  Datura Street in downtown West Palm and overlooks Meyer Amphitheatre.  It reminded me  of a couple of pubs I visited in Ireland.  When we walked in we were immediately greeted by the man behind the bar who invited us to come sit.  When we explained we were meeting people he directed us to the hightop tables.  Our waitress, Cass was friendly and attentive.  She pointed out the brunch menu with johnny cakes, smoky devilled eggs, and fresh baked corn bread.  They also had specials on the blackboard behind us.  She mentioned another brunch special; for $9.00 you could have unlimited Bloody Marys or Mimosas.  Coreen ordered the devilled eggs and Johnny had the B&G burger, both from the brunch menu .  I ordered the pumpkin, feta and almond soup from the blackboard.  We all ordered the unlimited Bloody Marys.  They used a jalapeno vodka and garnished it with a pickled celery.  They were delicious and strong.  When the food came we ooohhed and ahhhed over the pretty presentation and did it again after tasting.  The eggs were super creamy andB_G food the bacon was a perfect touch giving you breakfast in a bite while the paprika oil gave an extra punch of flavor.  Johnny’s burger was also delicious and the pickled green tomato lightened up the rich burger with a nice tartness.  It is important to note: the sign of a good restaurant isn’t just how great the food is but what happens on occasion when things aren’t quite perfect.  The bottom bun was very soggy and falling apart making the burger not so easy to eat.  When we let Cass know she insisted on replacing the whole plate!  Johnny got a fresh meal toot suite and this time everything was perfect.  My pumpkin soup was luscious and silky.  The feta gave a wonderful tang to an otherwise slight sweet soup.  The almonds were a crunchy element so I got crunchy, sweet, tangy and creamy all in one slurp.  Damn near a perfect bite.  The only criticism would be I would have liked it hotter in temperature but I didn’t put my spoon down long enough to ask to heat it. 

After a short pickup stop to gather the rest of our group we headed to BX Beer Depot wheGulpers at BXre a homebrew competition was under way.  You all know how much we love Sally and the crew, many hugs and laughs were exchanged.  It felt like a homecoming.  Out behind the store various tables and awnings were setup hosting the brewers’ and their hoppy goodness.  For $10.00 we became judges and tasted over 20 different brews from Rum Cake Brown Ale to a Pumpkin Porter to a Bourbon Imperial Stout.  Steve said, “$10 is terrific for tasting all these brews.  I love the Maple Brown Ale!”   I, your friendly blogger loves BX Beer Depot!  It is always filled with interesting and passionate people talking about and sharing  their brew obsessions.  Every contestant loved their creation and were so proud of their accomplishments. BX Competition      First Place in the Open Judging, aka, people’s choice was the Siracha Honey Ale followed closely by the Cream Soda Ale which I think was Adriel’s favorite pour of the day.  

Back on the bus with two more Gulpers we headed to a late lunch at Serenity Tea Garden House.  Boy, Audrey serenity tea houseFarrelly I love your place!   It is a slice of whimsical, Beatrice Potter and English Rose Garden all rolled into one.  This quaint and picturesque location is tucked away just off Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.  My experience began upon walking up to the door.  A small front garden  welcomed us, inviting me to sit at a cozy and brightly covered garden table for a spot of tea and crumpets.  Why did a bunch of winos and beer drinkers stop at such an unusual place for grub and what does this have to do with the field trip?  Well, I’ll tell you. Gulp isn’t just about drinking.  We are about pairing food and libations.  We love new experiences and we believe in supporting each other in new ventures.  Our fellow Gulper Audrey just took the tea house over in 2013 and we wanted to share her amazing place!  Walking through the door it is like entering a Victorian home with cabbage rose fabric, lace doilies, tiffany style lamps and tea pots….everywhere!  I just wanted to pull out my book, order high tea and read for the next five years.  Audrey made us box lunches containing a duet of pork sandwiches, a Mediterranean pasta salad, and a blueberry scone with clotted cream and jam. We made ourselves at home at one of the larger tables.  As we sat we noticed the lovely touch of Sunday hats.  Audrey invited us all to wear them as we enjoyed our meal.  Bryan looked especially Jackie O in is pillbox hat.  sunday hatsWe tucked into our sandwiches while Audrey served a selection of iced teas.  The pulled pork sandwich in smoky sauce included a special crunchy element with pickled cucumber and it paired wonderfully with the green tea lemonade.  The slow roasted pork sandwich was savory and then amped up with pickled onions.  Dang delicious.  I liked the mango tea with that one.  The best part of the meal though was the blueberry scone with clotted cream. It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture!  (Desserts are very distracting to me. I grabbed the picture below from Audrey’s facebook page). With my first bite I was back at Dromolond Castle in Ireland  having high tea with my sister Margaret.  I loved it with the cardamom berry tea.  I took some of that with me when we left.

food and more

After waving our goodbyes to Audrey we headed Due South, pun intended.  Due South Brewery is a new comer to the brewery scene in South Florida.  Opening in May of last year they have been mixing it up ever since.  Located in Boynton Beach this busy brewery also touts a taproom where visitors can come in and taste what they are cooking up.  For $6.00 you can order a sampler flight and taste 4 different brews or select from the blackboard any of 11 Due South brews and 4 guest taps.  Coreen had the Coastalisious Apricot Ale which she loved.  If anyone else wants to add what they liked best from Due South please feel free to add a comment here.  Next to the seating area was a corn hole court where a few of us sipped our libations while tossing bean bags at boards with holes in them. due south I loved it!  Johnny and Michelle kicked me and Tracy’s butts.  We will get you next time guys!

Well that wraps it for November my friends!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Hanukah and I will see you in December!  If you are looking for some pairing ideas for the holidays stop on back and check out our wine list.  I really like a Gewürztraminer. Its spicy notes go really well with the turkey and gravy.  A sangiovese would be a lovely pairing with the cranberry mold and stuffing.

Next month is the annual Holiday party and pairing competition.  Get your teams together and start making plans for December 7th @ 6pm.  The location is the warehouse in Lake Park.  Can’t wait to see what you all create this year!  Who will top the tomato bacon jam crostini’s?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It was a Chateau St. Michelle Kind of Day

Chateau-Ste-Michelle-10001464Chateau St. Michelle began on the estate of Lumber Baron Frederick Stimson in the Columbia Valley of Washington State.   It is the oldest winery in Washington State, founded in 1954 when the National Wine Company and the Pommerelle Wine Company in 1954 merged.  They called it the American Wine Company.  In 1967 created a new line of premium wines called Ste. Michelle Vintners.  In 1976 the whole company took the name of their most popular wines and became Chateau St. Michelle.  With annual production of 2 million cases they are the largest producers of Riesling wines in the world, yes the whole dang planet. They make a really tasty Gewürztraminer too.  LeBeau has shared their wines at different tastings over the years,  (Wait a minute!  We have been doing these for years!  Holy Wine Drinking Batman!  It’s been 7 years!), but until this September tasting we hadn’t focused on a single winery let alone the Chateau.  It was a lovely treat to spend time tasting and learning how varied and delicious all the wines from one winery can be.

On to the tasting and more fun facts!

DSCN1375As we sat at our tables Lebeau gave us our first pour from Chateau St. Michelle.  It was from their Indian Wells line simply called Red Blend.    Merlot was the main grape at 68% with Syrrah following with 28%.  It made for a very fruit forward medium body wine.  The color was a soft purple and it smelled of raspberries and smoke.  The flavors were also berries and smoke with a hint of vanilla and maybe a little cinnamon.  Audrey said, “  Very Drinkable.  Deb followed immediately with  “Except for Deb.”  Yes she spoke of herself in third person.  I reassured her the Riesling was coming.

The First Course:  Before I describe this first course let me tell you Lebeau wasn’t the only one to narrow his focus to one  label.  Coreen paired all the lovely Washington State grapes with well known food from the same state.  She is very smart. Okay, now the food.  This first course was probably my favorite food of the day.  Coreen took pears frompear quesadilla Yakima, WA. diced them layered them on a tortilla with ham, bleu cheese and a little ginger then grilled them for one of the most unique and flavorful quesadillas I have ever had.  It was salty, sweet, savory, and tangy.  It amazes me how mellow bleu cheese gets when it is heated but how much more flavorful the pears are when they get the same treatment.  The ham pulled them together for a unified bite and I bit several helpings worth!  Lebeau paired this delectable treat with a Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.  One first smell this straw colored wine was very green with notes of grass and green peppers and of course that classic Sauvignon Blanc aroma, cat piss.  On the tongue there was a slight effervescence and acidity. The taste was peaches and grapefruit.   When paired with the food the acid mellowed and the citrus really popped.  The food changed as well the bleu cheese became buttery and the ginger popped.  I thought it was a great pairing.  Mariana called it, “A melody of flavor.”  Steve Hussey didn’t like it quite as much.  He said,  “The pairing nullifies the sweetness in both the wine and the pears.”

salmonThe Second Course was another classic Washington State staple, salmon with a coffee rub on a crostini topped with an amaretto cream sauce.  The salmon was well prepared and the crostini was good and crunchy. Lebeau paired this with an unusual choice.  #1 it wasn’t from Chateau St, Michelle but Seven Falls, also a Washington State Winemaker.  #2 it was a Cabernet Sauvignon which isn’t a typical pairing for fish since it is such a big flavor. The salmon is a hearty fish with its own big flavor and with the coffee rub and amaretto sauce it matched the black cherry, coffee and smoke notes in the wine.  Wally loved this pairing.  I felt the coffee rub was too subtle and I wanted more salt.   Steve Hussey said, “The Cab removed the fishiness of the salmon and made it very edible from a guy who doesn’t really like fish.”  Sara also liked this pairing a lot.  She said the amaretto was a very nice note.  Brittany loved the salmon and the bread.

While we waited on the finishing touches of the pan sauce Coreen’s guest chef and Aunt was making; LeBeau shared some fun facts about Washington State wine growing.  The state is, in some views, even better situated for wine grapes than California, for instance:  Washington gets 2 more hours of sun each day.  The main growing area in the Eastern part of the state only gets 8 inches of rain per year.  More sun, less rain means the vines have to work hard for nutrients and water which means smaller more concentrated fruits at harvest which means more intense juice at fermentation which means…you get the picture.  porktenderloin

The third course arrived with oohs and aahs over the aroma of the pork with cranberry and portabella stuffing and drenched in a pan gravy made with butter, cream, rosemary and love from Chef Aunt Mo. While the first course was my favorite bite of the day this course was my favorite pairing. The pork was wonderfully tender and juicy and thanks to a previous pairing class I recognized the umami in the mushrooms which made me want more.  LeBeau paired it with the Chateau’s Cold Creek Riesling.  It is was no slouch in the aroma area either, slightly perfumy with peaches and spice.  The flavor doesn’t disappoint with a little bite of acid.  I took a bite of the pork, then a sip of wine and holy peach stones batman it was smooth.  I think I was the only one who tasted hay in the wine but I was raised in the Midwest and had four brothers.  I have tasted hay…it that too much information?  

apple crumbleThe final dessert course was classic Washington State.  Coreen made an apple cobbler with what else but Washington State apples.  She topped it with a crumble of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Of course, it isn’t apple anything without a lovely scoop of ice cream and Coreen would never disappoint.  LeBeau paired it with a new Riesling from the Chateau.  It is called Anew and it was created especially for women.  The screw-cap bottle is designed with a lotus flower and the marketing program is targeting active women in the 25-45 year range who enjoy activities like yoga, and meditation.  I am chuckling as I write this.  Anyway, it is a nice wine with a light effervescence, drier than the Cold Creek and tastes of apples and grapefruit zest.  It would be great lounging by the pool with a good romance novel.  The wine complimented the dessert bringing out the cinnamon in the crumble and adding another level of juiciness to the apples.


Well there you have it my fellow Gulpers!  It was a fantastic day with good friends and even better food and libations.  Check out the pictures below of all those who attended enjoying the day.  See you next month for October and beer.  I know you knew I was going to say that one.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

What is a Sunday by any other name? Why, it’s Gulp of course!

il_fullxfull_455716645_ea50We have paired wine with BBQ, Italian, Thai foods,  music and now Shakespeare!  Yep, Willy was the feature of this July’s Gulp.1005081_10200639040674312_1090327051_n

Under the cover of a pavilion in Jupiter’s beautiful Carlin Park we joined the cast of Shakespeare by the Sea’s production of “Coriolanus” for a preshow tasting.

Shakespeare was obviously a good eater since so many of his plays are full of food and drink references.  Coreen and LeBeau did a fantastic job of wading through all the possibilities to create a fun and light menu for a warm, breezy, Florida summer, afternoon picnic. 

Forsooth, let us move to the banquet and quench our curious minds and stomachs with all that delicious menu!

The First course was matched with a few quotes.  I liked As You Like it:  “Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.” IMAG0300

Coreen’s Aunt Buttons made a classic picnic dish, devilled eggs and Coreen added a splash of siracha for a special spicy kick.  This was a stand alone appetizer that several enjoyed an icy beer with.

Jim Brogan said, “Hail to thee cooking woman! I must needs know the preparation of these vittles.  I am bedeviled by the deliciousness of thee eggs.” (translation:  These are the best eggs I have ever had. Can I get the recipe?)

The second course was inspired by a quote from Twelfth Night:  “I warrant there’s vinegar and pepper in’t.”

moscato and tartsThat could mean anything right?  Coreen took it to a really crazy and interesting place with a citrus peel tart.  She mairnated orange peels in vinegar, pepper, sugar and maybe a splash of juice then spooned the mixture into those cute little phylo tart shells.  I tried one and thought, “Hmmm, I am not sure about this. I get the pepper, not much vinegar and they’re bitter.”  Coreen said, “Wait until you get the wine and then try it again.”  LeBeau poured us each a lovely moscato  from Seven Daughters Winery.  It is made in an Moscato d’asti style with a light fizz which gives a crispness to the moscato grapes.  I took another tart and then a drink of the wine and “Oh Romeo, Oh Romeo!”  It was magic, like the light on Juliet’s cheek.  The bitter little tart became candy in my mouth.  Sweet, succulent and full of orange.  I must have eaten a half dozen of them with the wine.  When the next course was announced I mourned, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”


The third course got it’s inpiration from Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry IV.  I liked the straightforwardness of R & J": brie and pinotblanc “They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.”  Coreen made a brie stuffed with dates and carmelized onions and served it alongside a crusty baguette.   I loved the mix of sweet and savory, creamy brie and crunchy bread.  LeBeau poured a pinot blanc from the Alsace Region of France.  I love this quote from, “Pinot Blanc (Pinot Bianco in Italy, Weissburgunder in Germany) is a white grape used in the production of still and sparkling wines around the world. The variety is a mutation of Pinot Gris which is a mutation of Pinot Noir – in other words it is part an ancient, genetically unstable, family of Pinot grapes.”   These bottles came from Trimbach Vineyards.  I found this strange bastard of the Pinot Noir grape to be lightly fragrant with peaches, the flavor was refreshing, with a touch of oak.  Paired with the brie everything smoothed out got creamy and luscious.  Oh so delicious!  Merrily we noshed and quenchethed our thirsts.

While we waited on the star of the day, the fourth course, Lebeau talked about how technology has changed they way we preserve wine.  Before refrigeration the large vineyards built caves or cellars to keep the fermenting juice and aging wine at a consistently cool temperature, around 50-60 degrees.  This was considered room temperature and it shouldn’t be confused with the temperature of a Florida home in August without air-conditioning.  Properly refrigerated wines can last a very long time.  He gave the example of a 200 year old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Finland in 2010. It was VERY cold water. The divers found over 160 bottles of champagne.   Some of the bottles of Veuve Clicquot and Juglar were still in tact.  The Cultural Authorities and a small group of journalists were allowed to taste 2 of the intact bottles.  They were perfect!  In the words of the Bard, “Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.”

And then came the bird.  The Shakespearean inspiration came from Henry IV, A' shall answer it. Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell cornishgamehenWilliam cook.”   The cornish game hen was roasted earlier in a honeyed cardamom glaze and served at room temperature alongside a bed of citrus rice.  It was paired with a jammy Garnacha from Volteo Winery in Spain.  The tart cherry and pepper notes in this medium bodied wine enhanced the cardamom flavor in the  chicken which was still juicy and tender.  A renaissance Colonel Sanders would have said, “Hark, mine digits are licked clean by a greedy tongue.”




Finally, as with all Gulp Pairings,  Coreen is no fool and saves the sweetest of dishes for the last.  Inspired by Twelfth Night, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”  Dessert was a a cool, creamy chocolate berry fool.  A fruit fool is a dessert that goes back to Shakespeare’s time.  It is made by folding in mashed fruit, typically stewed, into a custard.  Coreen updated this recipe by folding the berries into a luscious chcocolate whipped cream and topped with a Nilla Wafers crumble.  LeBeau added the perfect accent with a little pour of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.   With a sigh of pleasure I exclaimed,  “Now is the summer of my stomach’s content!  Those were some fine victuals!”


As the day came to an end some strolled the beach, others prepared for their parts in Coriolanus and some headed home with happy full bellies.   As I waved goodbye for another month Shakespeare came to mind one more time, “Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.”  See you in August!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

June was full of Summer Wines and BBQ

Hi Gulpers! 
I am sorry for my tardiness in posting June’s pairing event.   I was home in Missouri visiting my family while all of you were munching, gulping and chilling at the warehouse.  In my absence a brave volunteer documented all the fun.  Take it away Gulp Volunteer! (click here for the pictures!)
july13gulpGULP! Food And Libations--Summer Wine Dinner, Lake Park, Fla.
It was hot and muggy when I arrived at the GULP! Food and Libations Summer Wine dinner.  Everyone seemed busy including the guests who were clumped in small groups both inside and outside the floral decorated warehouse. All were there to taste how the barbequed food of Chef Romain Dagot went with the summer wine selections of LeBeau Kpadenou, co-owner of GULP! Food and Libations.
The other co-owner Coreen Gottschalk entered the room. “We are sharing the warehouse with Palm Beach Organics. You all know Chef Chris, Right?” The guests clapped wildly. “Chef Romain's opening up a restaurant in Delray and wants to use you as a guinea pig,” continued Coreen, “We have never had a crowd this big before, sort of yeah!”
Jazz music played softly in the background as Chef Romain described his first course, “It is a duck confit amuse-bouche with potato skins, and summer greens.” He used a Carolina style barbeque sauce, “Because of the vinegar it has more of a bright flavor. Hope you enjoy,” he said.
Florida born Chef Romain spent all his childhood summers in France and later attended a culinary school in Lyon. This was his first catering event and I could tell he was nervous from how fast he explained each dish.
LeBeau served Two Vines Gewürztraminer (2010) which was high in acid to cut through the duck grease. He said, “Barbeque is something to do more with summer. Gewürztraminer means spicy. It is a cold climate grape. This particular wine is from Washington State and is lower in alcohol.”
The delicately hollowed out potato skins were filled with crispy fried duck fat, tender duck meat and bacon flavored dark greens. Unfortunately the Gewürztraminer got lost in the flavor of the duck.
I sat at a table with some ladies from Dublin, Ireland. There was Audrey Farrelly, manager of O'Shea's Pub on Clematis Avenue, West Palm Beach; Laura Alonso and her American husband Mike; and Marie Doyle and her American fiancé Nick Flade, a bartender at O'Shea's Pub. Also at the table was Shawn Powell, a server at City Cellar in City Place; and Deb Knepp, a broadcast journalist.
Audrey said, “Coreen kept inviting me to these events. I told her to not stop inviting me because I needed something to commit to. I've been coming for three to four months now.”
Laura said, “I've never been to something like this. Audrey told me about it.”
At the same time Audrey explained, “I dragged them along.” Everyone laughed.
“So far so good for first course,” said Nick.
Shawn said, “I've had Romain's cooking before and it's awesome. And LeBeau's wine knowledge is out of this world. When I heard they were putting on this dinner I had to come.”
The heat index rose to about 90 degrees at the end of this course and many people took a break outside in the tented rear parking lot.
Back inside, the second course of pork ribs came with a new wine, and my table companions started high fiving as it was poured.
LeBeau explained that the Penfolds Hyland Shiraz (2010) wine came from Adelaide, Australia, making it a hot climate wine. He added that the best choices for barbeque were Shiraz and Syrrah. “The same grape is used, for both of those for you who didn't know or don't remember,” He said with a smile, and added, “Australian wines go well with barbeque.”
He told us it was a heavier wine and so would be hotter to drink instead of light. This was not entirely good news because the temperature inside the warehouse was creeping higher. This was when the demand for cold water increased.
Chef Romain said, “You are eating: baby back pork ribs marinated with a ginger beer, fresh ginger and molasses sauce.” He also roasted the potatoes before he mashed them. “I do like a bit of bite on the ribs so the meat doesn't fall off the rib. It's the way they like it in cooking contests,” he said with a smile. “The salad is to offset the heavy meal. The meat's going to knock you on your butt later,” he said, adding, “I don't like to serve people things I do not like. I hope you like them.”
The deep burgundy colored wine had a strong tannin mouth feel and a delicious oaky flavor. The spiciness of the wine made the barbeque meat taste spicier. My impressions of the dish were: creamy, smoky, spicy, and bright.
Then everyone chomped down on the ribs, slathering barbeque sauce all over their faces and hands. I looked around the room and noticed most people were enjoying the ribs so much they forgot to drink the wine. Mike said, “This is one of the top ten things that ever happened to me. This food is amazing.”
There was a discussion at my table about the poor quality of potatoes in America compared to Ireland. The Irish ladies came to an agreement that the mashed potatoes served with the ribs were delicious.
LeBeau called for a Question and Answer session between Chef Romain and the guests.
Someone asked: “Do you like vinegar or mustard more?”
Chef answered, “Mustard.”
Someone else asked, “What temperature did you cook the meat at?”
Chef answered: “Low and slow.
Then Jim Brogan, a regular, asked, “Will there be mats provided so we can take naps?” To which the guests answered with laughter.
After the ribs were licked clean, most of the guests got up and went outside again.
I asked Jim his impressions of the meal. “I don't want to just motor through the food. I want to enjoy the pairings. These guys spent so much time,” Jim said. Then it started to rain and the conversation was cut short. Jim suggested I talk to Wally Lurz another long time fan.
I asked Wally how he learned about these dinners. Through friends he told me. “The pairings have always been new and interesting. I like learning about different styles of wines and different tastes,” he stopped for a breath and then continued, “Do you know how all of this happened? It started with Coreen wanting to learn more about wine. We taste what we taste. It's been very rewarding. We keep coming back. We have a lot of duck this time,” he said.
Back inside, I sat down, just as a cool, wet breeze blew in from the rain. As the break ended LeBeau walked through the rows of tables handing out something, “want one to cool off with an ice pack?” He asked, as he handed me a little package of Arctic heaven. Guests rested the ice packs on their foreheads, necks, and some even wore them as hats.
Once everyone was cooled down, LeBeau said, “A little bit of business we have to do. Can I get a hand for Romain?” The crowd responded with thunderous applause and continued as LeBeau went through the list of volunteers: Chef Chris, Photographer/server Tracey, Coreen, himself, and guest blogger Helen A Lockey. “For the first time ever we are starting a tip jar because everyone is volunteering their time,” he said holding up a large plastic jar. “The next dinner is July 14th,” he said smiling.
The third course came out quickly after the announcements. It was pulled pork butt on honey cornbread with coleslaw. The meat was hickory smoked with ginger.
Chef Romain started, “It is pulled pork butt,” but could not continue over the noise from the guests repeating, “Butt, butt, butt.”
LeBeau came to his rescue explaining that butt did not mean the backside of the animal, but was in fact referring to the shoulder of the pig.
Jim said loudly, “Oh, that's what it is,” then laughed and other guests joining in.
LeBeau introduced the next wine, it was a 2011 Rosé from Bertarose, “Merlot grapes are for red wine,” he said but got interrupted by a small boy walking by who commented, “Correct.”
The audience roared with laughter, and Chef Chris smiled and said, “That's my son ladies and gentlemen.”
LeBeau continued, “All wines are made from the same grapes. Rosés crush grapes with the skin for a short time.”
I turned my attention back to my meal. I sipped some rosé then took a mouthful of cornbread, pulled pork, and slaw. The slaw was made with Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, and carrots. The rosé wine brought out the sweetness in the bread and brightened the coleslaw. Of all the pairing I liked this one the best.
Conversation about the meal was lively at my table despite the heat.
Nick said, with rivers of sweat pouring down his face, “It's kind of like you're gaining weight but losing weight because you're sweating.”
“This is my favorite course,” Laura said.
I moved to another table and talked to pharmacist Angelique Hazard. She was wearing a light cotton dress because she knew it was going to be hot inside the warehouse. “We've been coming to GULP for over a year. We've been to at least four to five of them,” she said, stopping to take a sip of wine, “The first one my husband treated me. It was an Italian one. It was really enjoyable. They used to have them at the beer depot. It's a great afternoon with friends.”
There was a commotion near a refrigerator. Chef Chris had opened the refrigerator door to reveal a chair inside. He smiled, turned, climbed in, sat on the chair, smiled again and closed the door. Guests started giggling.
Chef Chris eventually opened the door, climbed out and said, “That's my chill spot,” making guests roar with laughter. He offered his chill spot to Coreen and LeBeau, who quickly said, “yes.” Another chair was found so they could both enjoy their refrigerator ride at the same time. When the door opened again people grabbed cameras and phones to click pictures paparazzi photographer style.
When everyone had had their turn at the refrigerator rides dessert was served. It was a pancake battered, deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with blueberry compote, bacon, honey, mascarpone cheese, and goat cheese. It was served with Sangria.
LeBeau's Sangria recipe was, “You take wine, hard liquor, in this case Everclear, and fruit juice and combine them together. Then you serve it over ice.”
“Good job LeBeau,” said Shawn, clapping enthusiastically.
“Thanks,” said LeBeau smiling, “Every bottle of wine we had tonight is for sale, we have one of each,” he said, holding up a bottle. “Again thank you Romain and Chris.” And guests agreed with loud clapping.
The dessert was sweet and crispy on the outside with a thin smear of honey. The inside was gooey with warm peanut butter and dark globs of sweet blueberry. The cheese had all but melted into the dessert.
Shawn told me he was a first time diner, “The ability to learn and eat some really good food brought us here. We'll be back.”
Then just as the temperature inside the warehouse cooled down the dinner was over. Later, as volunteers collected plates and glasses Coreen said, “I'm glad people liked this style because there were no leftovers. For July we'll do it somewhere with AC.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gray Mockingbird Community Garden is Lake Worth’s New Eden

DSCN1341Last Friday night I was treated to a delicious jazzy evening at Gray Mockingbird Community Garden.


What is Gray Mockingbird Garden you ask? Well, Gray Mockingbird is a community garden situated on North D Street in Lake Worth.  Their mission is to teach sustainability and resiliency on land generously donated by the Scottish Rite. 10%-15% of food raised is donated to feed local hungry people. The dinner I attended, held in the garden under the shade of a big oak tree, was a fund raiser for the organization. Jazz pianist Gianni Bianchini treated us to old school Sinatra sounds while our own GULP Founder, Coreen, prepared an outstanding 5 course dinner.  Check it out!






Cantaloupe, prosciutto, cream cheese canape








Roasted new red potatoes wrapped in bacon with a sour cream and chive dipping sauce appetizer









gazpacho with crème fresh








Summer stacked salad of watermelon, feta cheese and arugula with a balsamic glaze drizzle






stuffed chicken breast


Cream Cheese and Mango Chutney stuffed Chicken Breast
Yellow Squash Casserole






There should be a picture of dessert: 

Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas with
Sapodilla Ice Cream

I ate mine before I remembered to take the picture.  My excuse was the giant rain storm headed our way and we ended up in the Kitchen for dessert!  You gotta love Mother Nature.


Here are a few images I caught of the Garden.  Hopefully it will inspire you to get involved by donating cash or even sweat equity!  You can find out how to contribute by visiting their website: or liking their Facebook page:

Don’t miss July’s GULP Pairing!  It is A Shakesperience!  July 21st on the grounds of Shakespeare By The Sea. Each course will have a Shakespearean theme. Then, stick around after the GULP! event for the final performance of Shakespeare's Coriolanus at 8pm when a handful of our very own GULPERS will take to the stage and behind the scenes to top off your Sunday Shakesperience! Tickets $35 ~ More details to come soon!