December 2017 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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The Flats in Beverly Hills sits on a corner of Wilshire Blvd, one block east of La Cienega. Outside, construction of the Metro's Purple Line has the street blocked off but inside, The Flats was bustling. At the helm of The Flats is Michelin-starred Executive Chef Paul Shoemaker who has worked at Alan Ducasse, French LaundryWater Grill, Providence, Firefly and Bastide, as well as his own restaurant Savory in Malibu. I first met Chef Shoemaker at the opening of Intro Art Gallery and Chef’s Table in North Hollywood where he offered a multi-sensory interactive dining experience. It is hard to forget the edible “dime bag” he served us that was made with Japanese rice paper filled with powdered foie gras, cocoa puffs, pine nuts and carbonated caramel. I was excited to try his newest endeavor, The Flats.   
Visiting the island of Madeira has been at the top of my bucket list for years! And this past week, my wish came true. Madeira, the subtropical volcanic island with mountainous terrain surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, is magical and hence it is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Only thirty-four miles long, Madeira is a beautiful island. It seems like everyone who lives there has an ocean front view, including the one I had from my hotel window. I only had three days on the island and I kept busy. I visited the Mercado dos Lavradores (farmers' market) in the town of Funchal, where everything grown on the island can be found, such as island bananas, a variety of passion fruit (who knew there were so many different types?!?!) and a very unique item called a monstera deliciosa that was described to me as a banana pineapple. There is also the fish market where the local scabberfish, a very long, black ugly but popular fish, can be found.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
We are bombarded of late by the news of men abusing their power. It can be overwhelming to listen to story after story after story about how men treat women. It is important to remember how many extraordinary women there are and many of them work in the wine industry. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded about my visit to Chêne Bleu Winery earlier this year.
Located in the Rhone Valley, with one foot in the northern Rhone and one foot in the southern Rhone and at the crossroads of four appellations: Gigondas, Cotes du Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone and Sequret, Chêne Bleu Winery is the project of the Rolet family.
Xavier and Nicole Rolet purchased the property in 1993 and spent the next 10 years restoring and renovating the 340-acre estate to include vineyards, the winery and Le Verrière, the former priory that now offers guest bedrooms and suites.
And, while Xavier (proprietor), and his brother-in-law Jean-Louis Gallucci (winemaker, cellar master and chief problem solver) are both key members of the team, at the heart of Chêne Bleu Winery is a team of extraordinary women.