by Sean Graves | Thursday, June 5 | Posted in Food

Most of us are aware of the old saying, "Never trust a skinny chef." I would like to change that to: Never trust an oenophile without grape-stained lips. If you know someone who likes wine but whose lips do not carry a purplish hue, then it means they haven't been drinking Chilensis Lazuli, and you should no longer take their advice on wine.

Read more ...
by Don Winsor | Thursday, June 5 | Posted in Food

The amazing and sometimes frustrating thing about coffee gadgetry is that some are seemingly so simple, with absolutely no moving parts, that it seems you mightn't need to pay for such a thing. Why couldn't you just make one yourself? Such is the case with pretty much every pourover device, from the prettiest ceramic funnels to the most basic plastic models. While it's often possible to craft your own, you will usually benefit from the experience of those in the know when purchasing something like a Hario v60 dripper.

Read more ...
Thursday, June 5 | Posted in Food

For me, Emporia has always represented the half-way point on the trip to Kansas City. That's changed with the new Radius Brewing Company at 610 Merchant St., which opened in late April.

The restaurant is worth the jaunt through the Flint Hills with grazing cattle in the rolling green pastures, ancient barns and creaky windmills. The stunning landscape has been described for hundreds of years more poetically than I care to attempt but it is aptly labeled as "God's country" by the religiously-inclined. The vast beauty can move the most jaded at sundown, even from the turnpike.

Read more ...
by Sean Graves | Thursday, May 22 | Posted in Food

I don't have a catchy story to set up this wine. It's too good not to talk about right from the get go.

I undid the screw cap of the Groundwork Grenache Blanc with that super-satisfying "rrriiiiipppp" noise it makes and poured it into my glass. I swirled and took a whiff of one of the most unique smells I have ever sensed in a wine. Underneath the honeysuckle, floral and herbal essences, was something more savory. I still can't quite place it, but it reminds me of capers.

Read more ...
Thursday, May 22 | Posted in Food

While my college days spanned well over a decade, I managed to completely bypass a key part of the experience: beer pong. I cannot say that I am sorry to have missed out on this particular phenomenon. Bad beer made more unappetizing by a dirty ping pong ball garnish is not exactly my kind of thing. My extended educational experience was also absent the consumption of Summer Brew, that collegiate cocktail made with light beer, vodka and lemonade. Yet another deficiency of my youth that I am quite content with.

Read more ...
by Don Winsor | Thursday, May 22 | Posted in Food

Today in Bar Harbor, Maine I visited my favorite new spot in months — Matsumoto Joe's. It's a tiny, Japanese-themed shop where all the syrups are handmade and the espressos are pulled via a gorgeous manual machine. Sitting on the counter which curves across the perhaps eight foot wide shop is a beautiful Victoria Arduino Athena Leva.

Read more ...

But actual local coffee houses have their own news.

by Don Winsor | Thursday, May 15 | Posted in Food

If you haven't been there, it's somewhat hard to fathom that Puerto Rico is actually part of the United States. You don't see it as a place with a developed urban coffee culture or a selection of awesome gastropubs, but upon visiting San Juan you see the truth. San Juan offers the feeling of a city just U.S. enough to feel familiar but with plenty of local culture and atmosphere to prevent it from feeling homogenized.

Read more ...
by Sean Graves | Thursday, May 15 | Posted in Food

Upon a recent visit to an Italian restaurant, I felt like eating a big bowl of pasta with meat sauce and drinking a nice glass of big-bodied Italian red. Unfortunately, this restaurant didn't have a great wine list, favoring cheap California Cabernet over affordable great tasting Italian wines.

Read more ...
Thursday, May 8 | Posted in Food

You may have noticed on the front page F5's tagline — "work like a farmer, party like a rockstar." I say, forget partying like rockstar — you should work and party like a farmer. Specifically, a Belgian farmer.

More specifically, a Belgian farmer from a century or so ago. Back then, those French-speaking farmers were brewing ales that have since evolved into the modern saison. And, as everyone knows, there ain't no party like a saison party.

Read more ...

Freedom is just another word for having something French to use.

by Don Winsor | Thursday, May 8 | Posted in Food

In recent days, I've been forced to rely on my press pot for decent coffee. Also known as the French press, or perhaps the "freedom" press if you're that strange sort of person, this pot is really the simplest way to make a basic pot of coffee when you lack more specific accoutrements. ("Accoutrements" is a French word, or a "freedom" word if you're an absolute moron.)

Read more ...
Thursday, April 24 | Posted in Food

Over the past few weeks, my wife Emily and I have been spending a large chunk of our evenings out on the porch. After I get home from work and she's finished with school, we'll grab our dog, Charlie, and head out to the porch to watch people roll by and talk about our day. It is the perfect way to "power down" after a long day at work, my wife by my side, dog at my feet, and a glass of wine in my hand. We watched the first good thunderstorm of 2014 from the porch while drinking Gysler Silvaner.

Read more ...

What beer to choose for the born again drinker.

by Will Darrah | Thursday, April 24 | Posted in Food

Those of you who caught my column last week know that I gave up beer for Lent. And while I successfully went 46 days without a drop, let's just say that it is nice to have that behind me.

When I headed to the liquor store to restock the fridge I found myself faced with a very interesting question: What beer should be the first?

I pondered the question with friends and got some good input but was unable to nail one beer down. We discussed some rare beers that they had in stock but in the end decided that the first beer should be a favorite beer instead of an adventure beer.

Read more ...

Vattan's Sauvignon Blanc nails the profile without too much grapefruit.

by Sean Graves | Thursday, April 17 | Posted in Food

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I spent three marvelous days in Paris. Everything great about the city was on display for Emily and I as we wandered along the Seine River, marveled at the beauty of Notre Dame late at night, ate foie gras until we couldn't stand it any more, and toured the vineyards and tasted the wines of Champagne Jean-Michel in Moussy, just a short trip by train from the city.

Read more ...

They taste pretty good compared to liver failure.

by Will Darrah | Thursday, April 17 | Posted in Food

According to the band NOFX, "Bob spent 15 years getting loaded, 15 years 'till his liver exploded." They then proceed to pose the question: "What's Bob gonna do now that he can't drink?" Well let me tell you, if Bob was a beer lover, his prospects are pretty dismal.

Read more ...

And a shoe company makes pretty good coffee.

by Don Winsor | Thursday, April 10 | Posted in Food

Five or six years ago when I first visited Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I met an American expat named Thomas who ran a small coffee stand selling prepared coffee (both iced and hot) and beans from his little "cloud coffee" plantation in the nearby mountains. Thomas and his wife, Yolanda, were the first I'd ever encountered who used frozen coffee in the ice cubes for their iced coffee. I still maintain that this is the best way to prepare iced coffee, particularly if you use cold brew in the cubes as well.

Read more ...
by Sean Graves | Thursday, April 10 | Posted in Food

It is very easy to explain why people love Pinot Noir. The ultimate "Anti-Cabernet" wine, it seems always approachable, always elegant, always perfect for black-tie cocktail parties or for lazy nights on the couch. There are many great high-end Pinot Noir such as Sea Smoke, Peay, or just about anything coming out of Burgundy, and then there are some fantastic lower end Pinot Noir like Pinot Project or Routestock.

Read more ...
by Sean Graves | Thursday, April 3 | Posted in Food

When it comes to Chardonnay, I tend to crave butterballs that have sat in oak for quite some time. Many of my colleagues have accused me of having the same palate for Chardonnay as my Grandma.

I, however, am unapologetic. Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but — much like my love of the Miley Cyrus song, "We Can't Stop" — I feel no guilt about it.

Read more ...

This pre-sweetened and spiced coffee is just like abuelita used to make.

by Don Winsor | Thursday, April 3 | Posted in Food

With very little effort you can find coffees from Ethiopia, Central America, Indonesia, and of course Colombia. Harder to find and given a lot less attention are coffees from Mexico.

This might be because of a less concentrated industry and a lack of marketing; as soon as Starbucks features a Mexican blend you can bet this will change. I'm in Mexico now and have found several noteworthy coffees here, especially some from small, high-grown "cloud forest" plantations.

Read more ...

And it is not always bad to be a bird.

by Will Darrah | Thursday, February 20 | Posted in Food

I have said it before and I say it again: I don't like strong ale, mostly. I write this while enjoying an Old Rasputin, one of my favorite beers, which is also a strong ale. Well it is really an imperial stout but that makes it an ale and a strong one; so there. As Schane Gross, the owner of the Anchor, 1109 E. Douglas, is getting ready to put on the fifth iteration of her Strong Ale Fest it seems high time to air the issue.

Read more ...

Don Winsor goes very near to Jurassic Park searching for the perfect local coffee since he's there anyway.

by Don Winsor | Thursday, February 20 | Posted in Food

"I'm just going to say 'I'm writing this week from Costa Rica' and not explain how or why that came to be."

"No one will believe you."

"I don't believe me."

"Fair enough."

I'm writing this week from Costa Rica, home of enough coffee and chocolate to choke a band of mountain guerillas, or gorillas. I have been excited to get to this part of the world again because I didn't take full advantage of the native coffee available in this country, most famous for being the closest embarkation point to Isla Nublar, home of Jurassic Park.

Read more ...