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Curtis Stone opened the twenty-five seat Maude Restaurant in January of 2014. I was able to get my first reservation for March 2014 which featured artichokes. It was ten delicious courses in which artichoke was integrated into each dish, sometimes featured, other times less obvious. The experience was so unique and special that I was hooked. I went six times in 2014. Then in 2015, I went twelve times, every single month that year and was declared a Maude Superfan. In 2016, I went ten times, choosing to skip November and December when black and white truffles were featured (I had to give my credit card a rest). Each month the featured seasonal ingredient changes and no ingredient is repeated with the exception of white and black truffles. The ingredients I have enjoyed so far are: 2014: Artichokes, Rhubarb, Morels, Berries, Pear, Winter Squash 2015: Pomegranate, Parsnip, Fennel, Asparagus, Almonds, Avocado, Chili, Fig, Passion Fruit, Apple, White Truffle, Black Truffle 2016: Carrots, Potato, Pistachio, Radish, Garlic, Cherries, Zucchini, Plums, Grapes, Chicories Here we are in 2017 and it is time for a new year of Maude meals. With the Maude team taking a much needed break, they started mid-January, offering the first menu for January and February. The theme for January/February is lime. I am known at the restaurant for taking photos of each dish and trying to carefully write down each ingredient, even though they give us a menu at the end of the meal. So, I decided that this year I would share the meal each month, really as a way to remember all of the amazing flavors of the dinner.
One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants is not in my neighborhood. It is across the city but that will never stop me from going back to Kali.....again and again! Kali is the baby of Chef Kevin Meehan and Wine Director Drew Langley. Chef Meehan worked at Citrine and Patina Restaurant Group before launching his underground passion project Kali Dining. Langley worked as Wine Director at Providence for a decade. He and Meehan had met years prior while together at Bastide and Citrine. With a shared passion for fine dining hospitality, Meehan serves a menu of contemporary California cuisine paired with Langley's creative and concise international wine list in a casual, neighborhood restaurant. The menu at Kali consists of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. While elements of the dishes change seasonally, there are a handful of my favorite dishes that I can find when I am there. Kali offers a five-course tasting menu option for $65 ($95 with wine pairing). But if you are with a group of people, I suggest ordering a la carte. While the menu is not a share-plate menu, with four people you can order a handful of first course selections to share and then select a a few second course selections off of the menu and then share them to get a taste of all of the different flavors.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.

In the past week, I have dined out at four restaurants and at three of these, there was a Greek wine on the menu. More and more, we are seeing Greek wines in the U.S. And, after traveling to Greece the last two summers, I was starting to feel confident in my growing knowledge of the wines. But this week, I learned about yet another wine region in Greece called Pangeon and the winery Biblia Chora.

There are 28 wine districts in Greece, and within these districts are the 58 wine areas that have been designated with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. One of these regions is Pangeon in Northern Macedonia, approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Thessaloniki.

Established as a PGI in 1995, the vineyards of Pangeon are located on the slopes of Mount Pangeon and on Mount Symvolo at altitudes of 350 to 480 meters. A Mediterranean climate by day and a continental climate by night, the region is known for lots of wind, high altitude and cold nights. The soils of clay, loam and stone are home to many local and international varieties, including assyrtiko, roditis, malagousia, muscat of Alexandria, viognier, gewurztraminer, chardonnay, sémillon, sauvignon blanc, trebbiano, agiorgitiko, lemnio, pamidi, grenache rouge, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.