At a handful of restaurant bars around the country, you’re likely to find the bartender in the kitchen—well before prime bar time—using a Vita-Prep or a Cryovac. He or she may be taring a laboratory scale to weigh out precise amounts of gelatin or xanthan. or maybe the bartender is rolling out a liquid-nitrogen tank to perform a spherification or clarification technique for a component of a libation in progress. What’s going on here?

Americans love lamb, but they rarely prepare it at home. Perhaps because it is more expensive than other red meats or because of its traditional reputation as a food reserved for holidays, Americans have left cooking lamb largely to the restaurant experts. It’s not surprising that 75 percent of white tablecloth restaurants feature some kind of lamb on the menu.

At its best, cocktail mixology is truly an art, engaging each of the human senses—for example, the feel of the proper weight of the glass and the thin rim, which delivers an elegant sensation to the lips; or the aromas of fresh mint and nutmeg, which transport the recipient of these scents to remote lands or memories of childhood. And just as sweet or pungent smells differ from each other by virtue of their different stimulation of the senses, so also do colors vary and evoke different emotions. A drink becomes impressive when it succeeds in touching the sensibility of the guest by finding the avenue to his or her brain and heart.

Winter means a return to hardy leafy greens that can stand up to frost in the garden as well as bold culinary treatment in the kitchen.

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The Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) raise nearly half a million dollars at first-ever Barrel Auction!