Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, May 28, 2010

hot dog! help me out

How do you like your hot dogs? That burning question, to be answered by you, will be the subject of a story I'll be producing for our July 4 News-Herald.

It's another Ben Franklin project effort to produce an entire newspaper using only free tools found on the internet. We made newspaper history when we produced our May 20 paper that same way. That's why you may have been directed to this blog through a posting on Twitter, one of the free tools I'll be depending upon.

Hot dogs are part of the American psyche and it's not as simple a question as you may think. Some insist on all-beef dogs, some are loyal to a certain brand, some use them as an ingredient in other dishes. Some swear by skinless dogs, while others want the skin to split before consuming it. Some people steam their hot dogs, while others wouldn't consider eating one unless it was speared on a stick and cooked over an open fire, camping style. Mustard and catsup are favorite condiments, but it doesn't stop there.

By the time this story sees print I hope to have gathered dozens of ideas, some recipes for condiments, your hot dog preferences and perhaps a little something about buns. But I need your help.

Weigh in here or check out my Tweets on Twitter and my Facebook account. I'm really new at all this so perhaps you'll have some suggestions in those areas too. I welcome them all.

I'd really like to hear from you before June 11 because I'll be in France the following week (see earlier blog) and will need to wrap this up when I get home.

So: How do you like your hot dogs?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cline Wines: an intriguing story

By itself a wine dinner is a wonderful way to discover and learn about wines and taste foods ideal for pairing with different vintages. But the experience is flavored by the crowd, its curiosity and its questions.
I'd like to tell you that the video with this blog is moody because of the lovely evening I spent this week at Sapore, Loretta Paganini's fine restaurant in Chester Township. But in truth it was a splash of Cline Pinot Gris that clung to the lens of my FlipCam and somewhat blurred its images.
Diners that night were mostly Paganini followers, curious well traveled folks who greatly appreciate fine food and fine wines. The questions they posed to Cline Cellars' Keith Morris made for a fascinating experience.
I was familiar with the winery's Ancient Vine Zinfandel, one of my favorites with grilled meats in the summer. The vines still used for that wine date to the early 1900s when they were planted in Sonoma by the Jacuzzi family.
Valeriano Jacuzzi came to this country after his suggestion to the Wright Brothers resulted in success for their flying machines. The Wrights had propeller problems and Jacuzzi, a furniture maker in Italy, wrote to suggest that if the Wrights twisted the propeller wood in the same way Jacuzzi twisted his wooden chair legs, it would strengthen the wood.
The proposal worked and soon the Wright Brothers were pioneers of flight. Their supporters sent for Valeriano Jacuzzi so he could continue to advise the brothers. Jacuzzi arrived in the U.S. along with several of his own brothers and their families. They settled in San Francisco and began to make furniture in this country. Missing the farms of their native Italy, they began to buy land in what is today southern Sonoma County where they planted grapes and made wine as a hobby. Meanwhile, they invented the Jacuzzi as a way to help a family member who had medical problems.
Fast forward to 1982 when Valeriano's grandson Fred Cline consolidated the family's vineyards and began to produce Cline Wines. The vineyard is organic and solar-powered and maintains a herd of 1,700 sheep and goats to eat the beans it grows between the vines to nourish the soil. Last summer the Wall Street Journal rated its fragrant Viognier as the best value Viognier in America. We also tasted the Cline Cashmere, an extraordinary blend; the pinot gris, Zinfandel and late harvest Mourvedre. Some of these wines will also be poured on May 29 when Holden Arboretum hosts its annual wine and food event among the rhododendrens.
Get details in Wednesday Food.

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