An exclusive glimpse into the potluck party of a food editor; plus, Austin in Oregon and this week's Event Menu
At my potluck birthday celebration, the guests are bringing the food (yum!), and the bar offerings will be locally inspired cocktails. The Vineyard Spritzers are based on a delightful aperitif from Cafe 909 made with Flat Creek Estate Pinot Grigio, Topo Chico mineral water, and lime; the Bloody Marys will be Tito's Vodka and Boggy Creek Farm Tomato Tonic; and the margaritas will be made with Watermelon-infused Tequila (from the upcoming Fonda San Miguel cookbook) and Paula's Texas Orange liqueur. You are encouraged to try all of these at home!
Last summer, contributor Wes Marshall reported on the great time Eastside Cafe co-owner Dorsey Barger had at the Pinot Noir camp sponsored by a coalition of Oregon wineries. This year, four Austinites were among the 250 wine retailers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and wine stewards invited to attend the five-day tour of wineries in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Austin campers were Grapevine Market co-owner Steve Savina, and wine stewards Amy Gerber from Fonda San Miguel, Gary Thompson from Wink/Zoot, and Julie Lin from Sullivan's. Gerber describes the trip as "invigorating and very educational." Savina concurs, pointing out that "it wasn't just drinking all the time. We had tastings in the mornings and spent the afternoons in the various vineyards, learning. There are lots of small wineries in that valley, and they work very well together, focusing on quality rather than quantity. It was also interesting to see they all seem to agree that organic, sustainable agriculture is the way to go, and they have ongoing discussions about the best way to accomplish it in their area." Savina noticed definite differences in the wines in different areas of the Willamette Valley and said the wineries there are working to establish several distinct viticultural appellations. Even though the general public isn't invited to Pinot Camp, it's still a big win for Austin wine lovers: Any of these campers would love a chance to share their newly acquired expertise with some well-informed wine suggestions. Take them up on it.
Summer Wine Camp
July 14-21 It won't be necessary to storm the fortress or wield the guillotine, just drop by Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413) and join the festive celebration of Bastille Day with their special menu this evening. 6-10:30pm, Thursday, July 14.
If you're looking for a watermelon to make some infused tequila, you can't go wrong at the Melon Mania festival this weekend at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market (Toney Burger Center parking lot, 280-1976). They'll have watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, and all kinds of delicious foods made from them. Go early for the best selections. 9:30am-1pm, Saturday, July 16.
Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter
If you want to submit a recipe, send it to email@example.com