5 Reasons to Visit Taos

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Luxury travel website Tripveel released its latest “5 Reasons to Visit . . .” feature today with 5 Reasons to Visit Taos.  We especially love #3: Yes, The Blonde Bear Tavern.

Located within Edelweiss Lodge & Spa—The Blonde Bear Tavern personifies the unique personality of Taos Ski Valley like no other. Chef Jon Mudder has transformed this once-sleepy restaurant into a world-class destination that is now known throughout the Rocky Mountains for its critically-acclaimed food.

Read the whole thing here.  Their Instagram post is here.

Tripveel is powered by Booking.com and OpenTable, part of the Priceline Group.

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The Merryvale Wine Dinner – a Few Photos

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Flowers by Taos Floral Designs

Our Sixth Annual Wine Dinner with Merryvale Vineyards was thoroughly enjoyable.  The pairings seemed spot on (if I do say so myself!), the wines were marvelous, and the vibe was perfect:  lively, friendly, family-like.

Here are a few shots of the food as we plated it in the kitchen (photos courtesy Kim Pippinger):

Coriander-Seared Yellowtail Tuna | Citrus Suprême | Fennel
Seared La Belle Farm FoieGras | Fresh Mission Fig Brûlée | Pancetta Crème Anglaise | Gastrique of 1996 Château La Tour Blanche Premier Cru Sauternes
Porcini- and Rosemary-Crusted Tenderloin of Beef Medallions with Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon/Merryvale “Antigua” Sauce | Duchess Potatoes with Smoked Onion Soubise | Winter Vegetable Napoléon
Grilled Bosc Pear | Caramel | Queso de Valdeón Blue Cheese | Piñon Crunch | Elderflower Coulis

A special thanks to René Schlatter, all our guests, and of course to our wonderful staff.  See you next year!

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Sixth Annual Wine Dinner with Merryvale Vineyards

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The Blonde Bear Tavern and Merryvale Vineyards will be hosting their sixth annual wine dinner in conjunction with the 32nd Taos Winter Wine Festival on Friday, February 2nd at 6:00 pm. Merryvale proprietor René Schlatter will be on hand to guide guests through his portfolio of estate-bottled wines.

Merryvale Vineyards is a family-owned Napa Valley winery producing small production lots from select vineyard sources. For over 30 years Merryvale has been turning exceptional Napa Valley grapes into world class wine. The winery is world renowned for rich, powerful Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, along with its iconic Bordeaux-style red blend, Profile.

Merryvale’s historic building was the first winery built in the Napa Valley after the Repeal of Prohibition in 1933, and has become a favorite destination for visitors to the Valley.

Merryvale is committed to protecting and preserving the environment through conservation, renewable energy and sustainable farming practices. It has received Napa Green Vineyard, Napa Green Winery and Bay Area Green Business certifications.

The Menu (Subject to Change)

Hors d’œuvre
Crostini
– Wild Mushroom | Hazelnut Pâté
– Gravlax | Beurre Maître d’Hôtel
– Grilled Shrimp | Avocado Pico De Gallo
Arancine | Rumi Afghani Saffron
Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay 2015

First Course
Coriander-Seared Yellowtail Tuna | Citrus Suprême | Fennel
Starmont Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Second Course
Seared La Belle Farm Foie Gras | Fresh Mission Fig Brûlée | Pancetta Crème Anglaise | Gastrique of 1996 Château La Tour Blanche Premier Cru Sauternes
Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir 2015


Main Course

Porcini- and Rosemary-Crusted 1855 Tenderloin of Beef Medallions with Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon/Merryvale “Antigua” Sauce | Duchess Potatoes with Smoked Onion Soubise | Winter Vegetable Napoléon
“Profile”, Merryvale’s Signature Bordeaux Blend 2013

Dessert
Grilled Bosc Pear | Caramel | Queso de Valdeón Blue Cheese | Piñon Crunch | Elderflower Coulis
Merryvale “Antigua” NV

 

 

 

The Merryvale Vineyards and Blonde Bear Tavern Wine Dinner
Friday, February 2, 2018
6:00 pm
$125 per person plus tax and gratuity

The Blonde Bear Tavern
Located within the Edelweiss Lodge & Spa
106 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
575.737.6900

Reservations Required

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Great News! You Can Now Make Reservations on Yelp

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Hey Blonde Bear Tavern admirers. The rumors are true. This ski season you’ll be able to book tables exclusively on our Yelp page.  #bookonyelp

We’re excited to announce that The Blonde Bear Tavern will be accepting all reservations exclusively on Yelp, our website (coming soon), this blog (see column on the right side) and our Facebook page (Click the BOOK NOW button).

Now when you make reservations at The Blonde Bear Tavern you’ll enjoy a simplified, faster reservation experience and receive confirmations through text and email. Also, on busy nights, you’ll be able to add yourself to the waitlist and receive a notification when a table becomes available.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

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“1855” Black Angus Premium Beef Featured at Ben E. Keith’s Food Show

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I will be a Featured Chef at this year’s Ben E. Keith Holiday Food Show on September 20th at the Albuquerque Convention Center.  I will be working with Tom Bertelle, the company’s expert Center-of-Plate Manager, and we will be featuring beef from JBS Swift Group’s1855” Black Angus premium beef.  I will be preparing prime rib.

I had the opportunity to sample this beef a couple of weeks ago and tasted several cuts:  filet, bone-in New York, and bone-in rib-eye.  All were excellent with marvelous earthy meat flavor and perfect mouth-feel.  This meat stands up to just about any I have ever tasted.

1855” sources its beef from two ranches located in my home state of Nebraska:

Wagonhammer Ranch

Jay Wolf

When you live in Wheeler County, Nebraska — where the cattle outnumber the people — you know you are in an area that understands beef.

The Waggonhammer Ranch is a family-owned and operated ranch that opened its gates in 1910.  The Black Angus cattle this ranch produces are highly sought after and known to be of the highest quality.  Besides the attention to detail, the toil, and the sweat, Jay Wolf, rancher-owner at Wagonhammer, believes it is something specific that helps the cattle he raises earn the reputation they do.

“This is rich cow-calf country.  We’ve been blessed with great grass,” says Wolf.  “We take good care of the land, and it takes good care of us.”

For more than a century, the Wagonhammer Ranch has proved that the best Angus beef starts with a strong passion and understanding for what it takes to produce it.   “My father was a Rancher, his father was a Rancher and I am carrying on all that they started.”

 

Pawnee Springs Ranch

Steve Boeshart

At the wheel of his pickup truck driving the perimeter of the Pawnee Springs Ranch, Ranch Manager Steve Boeshart shares his passion for producing quality Angus cattle.  “Ranching is a lifestyle.  It’s not a job – it’s a way of life.  And it is a lot of fun.”

When you raise the exceptional cattle that come from North Platte, Nebraska, everything on the ranch must be considered.

“We run and maintain everything ourselves to make it all more usable and more cattle friendly, it seems to be our second biggest challenge,” Boeshart says.  “Mother Nature is out first.  Trying to figure her out is always interesting.”

Boeshart, his family, and everyone involved in the Pawnee Springs operations are always trying to build a better herd by considering everything from feed to weaning to genetics.

It is a lot of work, but one Boeshart enjoys in every aspect. “It’s getting up in the morning and doing what we do. I enjoy it all.”

Nebraska’s Lush Grasses

These ranchers have a great respect for the industry and for their land.  They raise cattle in a very humane way, free from the stress of most industrialized mega cattle ranches where most of this country’s beef is raised.  The cattle are processed at a plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, just 20 miles north of where I grew up in Hastings.

Most folks think of beef in terms of a commodity, but believe me, as a Nebraska native and chef, I know better.  “1855” beef proves my point.

Come taste for yourself on September 20th.  Stop by and say hello and sample some of the best beef you’ll ever taste.

I’m proud to be serving this beef from two of Nebraska’s hardest-working and talented ranchers.  See for yourself in the video below (the default audio is off, so be sure to turn it on near the lower right corner!):

USDA Prime Black Angus Beef Foodservice & Retail | 1855 Beef

 

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First Annual Summer Wine Festival

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Mark your calendar!  The First Annual Summer Wine Festival is scheduled for next weekend, beginning Friday, August 18th.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, Aug 18

  • 5pm  Open Hearth Dinner Under The Stars Featuring Chef May and Vara Wines
  • Live Music by Ry Taylor

Saturday, Aug 19

Taos Wine Fest Adult Activities (Included with Registration)

Taos Wine Fest Adult Activities (Additional Fee)

12pm

  • Wine & Swine! Wine & Pig Roast at Bavarian
  • Sponsored by Sonoma Cutrer
  • Live Music by The Trummors

5pm – 8pm

  • INDULGE : A Grand Tasting Event at Taos Ski Valley Plaza
  • 30 wines, 15 restaurants, 10 breweries, 3 hours
  • Live Music & Dancing By Sol Connection

VIP Tasting  Lounge Experience Sponsored by Gruet,  Edible Magazine  &  Brown Forman

Sunday, Aug 20

11am

  • Champagne Brunches Sponsored by Vara Wines, Steorra & Yalupa

Several local restaurants, including The Blonde Bear Tavern, will be participating.  See you there!

For more information, click here.

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Kitchen sponges are festering germ dens—and sanitizing them doesn’t help

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Some germy places in the house include the kitchen faucet and sponges. Typically people wash their hands after handling raw meat in the kitchen and frequently use sponges or cloths to wipe germs from surfaces in the kitchen. (Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Scientists have long thrown shade at the unassuming kitchen sponge. The household staple skulks in sinks amid dirty dishes and soggy food scraps, sopping up and amplifying microbial forces capable of invading clean food spaces. The savvy kitchen-goer may think they have this situation locked down—a simple toss through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle or a sizzling swirl in the microwave… and done. Sudsy germsplosion averted.

Nice try, says science.

In a comprehensive study of 14 household sponges and their microbial inhabitants published in Scientific Reports, researchers confirmed that kitchen sponges are indeed domestic abominations. Moreover, any sterilizing attempts only seem to temporarily free up sponge-space for potential pathogens, which rapidly recolonize the festering scrubber.

I haven’t used a sponge in my personal kitchen for years.  Blech.

Read the whole thing at ARS Technica.

Further Reading:

The New York Times:  We Need to Talk Some More About Your Dirty Sponges

 

 

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