Monday, October 21, 2013

New whisky bar offers drams & Michelin-starred cuisine in Edinburgh, Scotland

By Sarah Doyle
     
Those feeling parched in epicenter of Edinburgh, Scotland, will have to look no further for refreshment than SCOTCH, an intimate new whisky bar in the five-star Balmoral hotel. More than 400 whiskies are available to whet your palate here—single malts, blends, young malts, mature malts—making it the largest selection of Scotch whiskies available to the public in Edinburgh.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scotch Whisky Review: Laphroaig Càirdeas 2012




After writing my first article about Laphroaig for Robb Report in 2005, I was admittedly ecstatic when the distillery deemed me an honorary member of the “Friends of Laphroaig.” This meant that I, along with my fellow “FOL,” would be granted one square-foot of land on the Isle of Islay, as well as access to exclusive bottlings reserved for members only.

Luckily, I was living on that very isle at the time, and I eagerly journeyed to the distillery to graciously accept my small piece of Islay, the world’s foremost whisky wonderland.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

From Adrbeg Distillery: A Secret Ingredient

By Sarah Doyle



Perched on the Isle of Islay, a raw, mist-driven island off the west coast of Scotland, Ardbeg Distillery has been renowned for its complex, smoky Scotch for nearly 200 years. After the Old Kiln Café was added to its visitor’s center in 1997, however, the Scotch was forced to share the spotlight—at least to those who appreciate a good meal.

“Our food is very unique to the area so everyone really embraces it,” explains Jackie Thomson, the café’s manager. “We found there to be a real demand for this sort of thing.”

Housed in Ardbeg’s original 1815 kiln room and malt barn, the Kiln Café emerges like a warm, welcoming beacon on the often blustery landscape, its twin pagoda roofs rising ceremoniously into the air like points on a crown. Inside, the visitor’s shop bustles, while appreciative murmurs from the adjoining whisky tasting and nosing bar acts as soothing mood music. The furnishings are modest. The mood, relaxed. The smell, marvelous—a mixture of cinnamon and peat smoke, with a dash of salt delivered from the surrounding sea.

“Originally, we planned to serve only simple treats like scones and tea,” says Thomson, whose husband, Stuart, acts as Distillery Manager. But resident baker, Mary McKechnie, had a yen for culinary experimentation, especially when it came to Ardbeg’s arsenal of barley grist.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Central Coast Day Trip: Templeton, Calif.

By Sarah Doyle


This Paso Robles neighbor is worth a day trip. Read on to discover the underdog of California's Central Coast.




Why go now? This often-overlooked Central Coast destination is brimming with small-town charm and newfound epicurean appeal.

The sweet spot: Catch May’s lingering-green hills before summer’s triple digits hit.

Where it is: 6 miles south of Paso Robles. Population: 6,900. Dress Code: Cowboy boots and a reuseable shopping bag

Getting there: Templeton is about 160 miles south of San Jose and 211 miles north of Los Angeles, in San Luis Obispo County. (Map)

Namesake: Named after Templeton Crocker, the grandson of Central Pacific Railroad co-founder Charles Crocker, Templeton is the only town along the El Camino Real that isn’t named after a saint.

Most popular Saturday morning destination: Templeton Park is home to the most bountiful—and beautiful—farmer’s market in the county. (Crocker and 6th St.; Sat. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) 

Where to fuel up for the day: Joebella Coffee Roasters serves expertly-roasted, organic, fair-trade coffee and tea. (1121 Rossi Rd., suite C; 805/461-4822)



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Thailand: Dodging Death for Frogs Legs & Eggplant

By Sarah Doyle
 

Resting silently beneath the crowd like a slumbering serpent, a single train track winds its way through the heart of Mae Klong food market in Thailand’s small province of Samut Songkhram. Flanked heavily by bushels of crisp winged beans, water spinach, bulbous knobs of jack fruit, and palettes of artfully-arranged fish gawking in unison, the narrow track serves not only as a place for vendors to display their wares, but also as the market’s main walkway. Until, that is, until the train makes an appearance.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pasolivo Artisan Olive Oil

 By Sarah Doyle



T
ucked beneath a canopy of knobby-kneed oaks, Pasolivo, in Paso Robles, Calif., creates what are perhaps some of the most vibrantly-flavored olive oils in the world. At least that’s the message from the year’s International Olive Oil Competition in Los Angeles, where the company won two best-in-show awards.

In an area known primarily as one of the country’s most prolific wine regions, Pasolivo’s tasting room and shop are a welcome sight to weary, numb-tongued wine tasters who are in need of a palate cleanser. There, visitors can sample the yield of over 9,000 estate-grown olive trees. Not only are the olives hand-harvested, they’re also crushed, bottled, and labeled on-site.
“It’s almost unheard of for an olive oil producer to do everything themselves,” says manager Joeli Yaguda, whose husband, Joshua, is the company’s olive miller. “It’s a massive commitment, but it really allows us to control every step of the production process.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to the Future: Barrel-aged Beer

By Sarah Doyle






With the advancement of stainless steel brewing in the 20th century, the tradition of barrel-aged beer went by the wayside. Recently, however, barrel-aging has begun to rear its heady goodness, as brewers rediscover the plush, aromatic, complex tones that wood can impart to beer. Here are three of my favorite brews.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kilchoman Distillery: Islay's New Kid on the Block

 By Sarah Doyle 




As the first new whisky producer on Scotland’s Isle of Islay in 124 years, Kilchoman (pronounced Kil-HO-man) Distillery has a lot to prove. Joining an esteemed brotherhood that includes Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Bowmore, Kilchoman strives to set itself apart by growing and malting its own barley (100 tons) and eventually performing every phase of the whisky-producing process on-site.

Idol of Islay: Laphroaig Distillery

By Sarah Doyle






With its virulent peat-smoke scent, sea salt tang, and a flavor reminiscent of “cough syrup,” Laphroaig (pronounced la-Froyg) may seem like a dubious choice for the “Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the World.” But in 2005, Laphroaig’s Original Cask Strength malt was awarded that very title by Whisky Magazine, as well as three gold medals at the 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“Laphroaig is definitely an acquired taste for some people—like caviar or oysters,” says Ken Lindsay, Laphroaig’s Brand Ambassador. “For others, their first dram is like a rite of passage. They say, ‘Oh my God, this is what I’ve been looking for all these years!’ It’s as though they’ve found their soul mate.”