December 23, 2007

Philly Uncorked

Corks has teamed up with The Wine School of Philadelphia to bring you Philly Uncorked—an informative and entertaining wine video program. The first episode is about Chianti. Wine School professionals Keith Wallace and Maria Valeta teach us about this region and the wine it produces, give us a range of winning picks and describe a perfect food pairing. Keith also shares a very technical term of art that’s used to describe unappealing wines. Watch the video here.

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December 10, 2007

Menu for Hope 4

Menu for Hope

Menu for Hope is an annual charity fundraiser organized by Pim Techamuanvivit, author of Chez Pim, the most respected food blog on the Internet. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired Pim to find a way to help, and the first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2006, Menu for Hope raised $62,925 to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry. This year, the money will again go to the U.N.'s World Food Programme.

For two weeks every December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, entrants earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of their choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

To support this cause, I have submitted “Two Class Gift Certificate” to be used at The Wine School of Philadelphia, which was generously donated by the school. Valued at $100, this certificate is enough for two seats to most wine classes offered at the school. You can take two classes yourself, or you and a friend can attend one class together. Even better, you can use this gift certificate for anything that the school offers, including custom-made crystal glassware. The Prize Code for this gift certificate is UE42.

If you’re interested in bidding on this prize or any of the other prizes being offered, here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose a prize or prizes from the Menu for Hope at You can also visit Serious Eats, which is acting as the host for all of the prizes being offered in the East Coast region:

2. Go to the donation site at and follow the instructions to make a donation. Make sure to use the Prize Code of the item on which you’re bidding. If you’re bidding on the Wine School of Philadelphia gift certificate, the Prize Code is UE42.

3. Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 for the results of the raffle.

Good luck and thank you for your support.

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December 09, 2007

That's Professor "Wine Snob" to You, Pal

The Wine School of Philadelphia

In Taste, its 2007 dining guide, Philadelphia Weekly said I am “one of the biggest wine snobs you’ll ever meet, and you’ll be glad you found your way into his sommelier presence.”

Now, it will be easier for you to find your way into my “sommelier presence.” I am now an instructor at The Wine School of Philadelphia.

But those looking for snobbery will be disappointed. Much like the wine writing on my blog, the classes I’ll be teaching at the Wine School are designed to demystify wine and make it more accessible to the masses. The school offers classes at two locations: its main location at 2006 Fairmount Ave. and at its newly-opened satellite classroom at Pinot Boutique, located in Old City at 227 Market St. Sign up for a class here.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about a special opportunity to win a gift certificate good for two classes at the Wine School.

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December 06, 2007

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

The Ducks Drink

In his Inqlings column yesterday, Michael Klein reported that Hugs for Puppies (“HFP”) and Professionals Against Foie Gras are hosting a “No Foie Gras Gala” this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square. HFP has become infamous for protesting restaurants that serve foie gras, and its tactics have been disturbing enough to convince courts to issue two injunctions against the group.

But, as Klein reported, this time the shoe is on the other foot. In a karmic twist of fate, a group of people who support foie gras plan to protest HFP's gala.

I learned that the pro-foie gras protest is being spearheaded by Terry McNally, co-owner of the London Grill—one of the few restaurants to stand up to HFP. McNally said that, unlike some of the people who protested her restaurant, she isn’t interested in acting crazy. “I don’t actually want to ‘protest’ as much as wanting to be there [to share] correct information,” McNally said via email. According to McNally, the protest begins at 5:30 p.m.

But McNally and her supporters may not be the only ones who will be there. Turns out that a film crew from France is in the country filming a documentary about foie gras for French TV. My source tells me that the film crew may make a detour to Philly on Saturday evening to film the gala protest.

And if that wasn’t enough foie gras redux (re-ducks?) for you, check out this article in the recent issue of Esquire by John Mariani called “The Truth About Foie Gras.” Mariani visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras recently and he came to the same conclusion I did.

UPDATE: I just confirmed directly with Lacroix that Chef Matthew Levin will be serving the pro-foie gras protestors free canapés, including medallions of foie gras. Sounds like the protestors may end up eating better fare than the gala attendees.

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