Yao Ming Launches Eponymous Wine Label

Winemaker Tom Hinde and Yao Ming
Winemaker Tom Hinde and Yao Ming

Yao Family Wines


by Barnaby Hughes


Former pro basketball player Yao Ming has not been idle since retiring from the Houston Rockets in July 2011. In addition to enrolling at the Shanghai Jaio Tong University and working on behalf of elephant conservation, the thirty-year old has begun producing a pair of premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.


Yao Ming and Tom Hinde, President and Director of Winemaking of Yao Family Wines, presented the portfolio at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles recently. The grapes are sourced from multiple Napa sub-appellations and include small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

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St. Patrick’s Day — We’re Not in Ireland Anymore

The Bushmills Irish Buck from FIVE restaurant in Berkeley, CA
The Bushmills Irish Buck from FIVE restaurant in Berkeley, CA

by AJ Rufus


The fifth-century priest who is credited with banishing snakes from Ireland, converting multitudes by using the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity, and having an ashwood walking stick that miraculously transformed into a living tree would no doubt be stunned to know that his annual feast day — March 17 — is now celebrated largely in bars. But he could at least draw comfort from the fact that all this glass-raising has kept his name very much alive, which is more than we can say for St. Narcissus, St. Mathilda and St. Julian of Antioch, who also have feast days this week.


The patron saint of Ireland has also inspired mixologists to devise astounding St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, served only on or around March 17.


This weekend, the Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles will be serving the kale-based Jolly Green Machine.

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TSA to Allow Small Knives, Golf Clubs, Bats and More on Planes – Travel News

TSA will allow pocket knives on planes
TSA will allow pocket knives on planes


Samurais and winemakers traveling with their equipment still have to check their sabres and bottles, but starting April 25, small knives, novelty bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment currently banned from planes will be allowed on board, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new carry-on rules.

 

 

 

 

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New Chef at Culina Modern Italian

by Sophie Gayot


The Vatican in Rome has a new Pope, while Culina Modern Italian, the restaurant at the Four Seasons at Beverly Hills, has a new chef: Mette Williams. I have been following her career as she worked her way through the kitchens of Wolfgang Puck‘s Spago Beverly Hills and CUT as well as Lexington Social House and One Pico.

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S.Pellegrino 2013 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

2013 Almost Famous Chef competition  Kristen Thibeault with Sophie Gayot
2013 Almost Famous Chef competition winner Kristen Thibeault with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


The winners of the 11th S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition, held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., have just been announced.


During two challenges, The Mystery Basket yesterday, and The Signature Dish today, ten competitors had to prove to the judges that they can cook. The chef judges were Rick Moonen, Tony Mantuano, Jean Joho (2012 GAYOT.com Best Restaurateur in the US), Michel Richard, Susur Lee, and Mark McEwan; the media judges Dana Cowin, Mitchell Davis, Jacob Richler, Betsy Andrews, and me.

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