Daily double

caviar.jpgCaviar. Again.

At lunch, it was an unremarkable wisp of caviar atop the sour cream that adorned a starter of Norwegian smoked salmon. Nice. Classic. But totally expected, and nothing to get excited about.

But at dinner it was a decadently different story. Even without caviar service, the sight of men in kilts makes me go weak at the knees. So when I entered the bar at the St. Regis Resort and saw a kilted Scotsman, I knew it was going to be quite the evening. And indeed it was.

In the brief moment before a white-gloved waiter appeared bearing politically-correct North American Hackleback caviar, I found myself shimmying up to the Scotsman. Evan was his name and whisky was his game. Beckoning me to follow his lead, Evan extended his arm, allowing the waiter to deposit a dollop of inky-black eggs on the back of his hand at the base of the V formed by his thumb and index finger. I watched as he ate it from his skin, rolling the roe in his mouth, gently cradling them with his tongue.

According to caviar connoisseurs, eating caviar off your skin is unadulterated bliss.

I agree. You don’t really eat caviar as much as you caress it with your tongue, causing the eggs to literally pop, which creates an extraordinary, sensual mouth feel. With nothing between you and those jet-black jewels, you can use the tip of your tongue to burst the eggs against your palate, releasing the entirety of their essence in your mouth. Big, complicated, and changing from the instant they made contact, it was hard to say which was headier, the caviar itself or the Talisker 175th anniversary Single Malt that accompanied it. Both brought the taste of the sea to the fore, and sent me swooning for the nearest seat.

Then again, maybe it was the sight of a man in a kilt.

Instant kitchen

cia.jpgCan an instant gratification junkie happily coexist in the kitchen with a partner who embraces the Slow Food movement?

Absolutely. If the CIA has anything to do with it.

At next month’s auction benefit for the Vintners Hall of Fame Dinner in Napa, the high bidder will walk away with an Instant Gourmet Kitchen, comprised of 80 essential items of cookware, bakeware, cutlery and tools. Makeover and Make a Difference will assist the winning bidder, at no charge, in donating their old unwanted kitchen items to a deserving charity, creating a second wonderful donation as part of their winning bid.

Those who like it slow will adore the rondeau, suitable for sultry braises, while the digital instant read thermometer will quickly satisfy those in a hurry.

If you can’t bid, you can still click to get your own Instant Gourmet Kitchen. What a fabulous way to outfit the kitchen at a vacation home. $5000.

Luxury pours

fn_cabchard.jpgQuality. Uniqueness. Exclusivity.

Those were the characteristics that wealthy Americans were asked to consider when naming the best premium brands of wine and liquor. Their responses to the Luxury Institute’s survey are, undeniably, right on the money.

Champagne: Dom Perignon

Tequila: Patron

Scotch: Macallan

Wine: Far Niente

Vodka: Grey Goose

Gin: Bombay Sapphire

Cognac: Grand Marnier

Rum: 10 Cane

Whiskey: Woodford Reserve

So, what’s in your glass?