Category Archives: Andrew Chalk

The Search for the World Class Gulf Oyster

The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant in New York City, putatively the world’s best oyster bar, refuses to serve Gulf Oysters. “Not high enough quality” as they would have it. Robb Walsh, author of Sex, Death and Oysters, says that Gulf coast oysters can be world class, providing you buy them at the right time and from the right source. The right time is the first quarter of the year, according to Walsh, so I headed down Galveston way to see what I could find. Continue reading

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Three Interesting New Texas Wines

chalk1by Andrew Chalk

Texas is a rapidly improving but young wine region. Just about everything is an experiment. One of the outcomes is an ever-rotating supply of interesting wines. This week two wineries, both of whom use only Texas grapes, sent me some interesting examples of their recent work.

Wedding Oak Winery is located in the pecan capital of Texas, San Saba. The location, in the northern Hill Country, provides grapes for the Texas Sangiovese shown on the left, above. The nose on this wine is redolent of cherries, strawberries and black pepper.  In the mouth there is forward, ripe fruit of cherries balancing the medium plus acid levels. The firm tannins would make this wine a good match with your first attempt at cooking a Tuscan Bistecca alla Fiorentina, albeit from Texan grass-fed cattle.   Continue reading

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FSITO Wine Fools Costco

chalk1by Andrew Chalk

Take a look at the wine bottle above. Where does the wine come from? If you said “Texas” you and Costco (the largest wine retailer in the country) are in the same boat. Below is the shelf label which reproduces the text on the back of the bottle. If gushes “Selected from our finest lots. Careful maturation with French Oak brings deep flavors of dark fruit and cocoa”. Costco is usually meticulous with product descriptions, but was likely fooled by this patter in also labeling the wine’s origin as ‘Texas’.   Continue reading

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Blankenship Named New Exec at CBD Provisions

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by Andrew Chalk

Richard Blankenship is now execuchef at CBD Provisions at The Joule, one of the best restaurants in Dallas. Former execuchef Michael Sidoni gets an internal promotion in the Headington hierarchy (which owns and runs the restaurant) to oversee “new projects”.

Blankenship comes with a deep breadth of experience. He was executive sous chef at the old Charlie Palmer at The Joule, he chef Continue reading

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FSITO Wine Label Fools Master of Wine

chalk1by Andrew Chalk

Take a look at the label wine label above. Where does the wine come from? If you said “Texas” you and Master of Wine James Cluer are in the same boat. In an article on wine label design in San Antonio Magazine he criticized the label for causing “potential confusion created by emphasizing the wine’s Texas origins—with two mentions of it on the label — given that it is a French Colombard”. He was doubtless fooled partly by the cheerful “Texas Style” logo on the front label and the references to the Texas palate on the back. Yet the key to this wine’s undisclosed origins are in the smallest typeface on the label, on the bottom right on the back where the eye is least likely to read it: “For Sale In Texas Only” (FSITO) allows the origin of the grapes to be concealed.  Continue reading

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Veteran Texas Wine Writer Documents The Texas Hill Country Wine Experience

malbec-grapesby Andrew Chalk
Dr. Russ Kane is a prolific writer, oenophile and Texas wine student. His just released latest book may be the definitive guide to the Texas Hill Country wine experience. The book is a mixture of wine, people and history that will enrich any tourist visit to the area. Here is what he says about it in his release notes…
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Your Guide to the Texas Hill Country Wine Experience   Continue reading

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Scotch Drinkers — Don’t Miss This Event

Scotchby Andrew Chalk

We are about to have one of the best Scotch tasting events of the year. Next Wednesday, February 25th March 11th between 6pm and 8pm Sigel’s is holding a tasting of at least 65 different scotches (blended and single malt) at their Greenville Avenue store. The number will likely be over 65 as wine and spirit director, Jasper Russo, is still working on attendees as you read this.

The way it will work is as follows. You walk in and get a “Passport” which entitles you to sample from the tasting booths set up around the store. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commision (TABC) rules limit each person to 20 pours. So you can’t taste all 65 and I would pick out what you want to taste, then winnow it back to 20 and work your way around those. Representatives from the distillers will be serving the whiskies so it is a chance to ask questions as well.   Continue reading

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