GW Fins Bourbon Flights, NOWFE Wine Dinners and Cookbooks

I was not surprised to learn that there is a National Bourbon Day because there is a national day for just about everything. June 14 is also Strawberry Shortcake Day. I’m pretty sure it’s about the dessert and not the 1980s doll/animated character, but I would not be shocked if it was the latter. 

I say this not because I believe bourbon doesn’t deserve a day. On the contrary, I have come to appreciate bourbon whiskey, and I feel like we can all celebrate on the 14th as long as we all understand that in addition to Flag Day, we’re celebrating bourbon and not strawberry shortcake in whatsoever form.

I raise the topic of Bourbon Day because that’s when GW Fins is hosting a weeklong special featuring drams from Basil Hayden, Bulleit, Maker’s Mark and Buffalo Trace. The special runs through June 19, Father’s Day, and the flight of 1 ounce pours costs $25.

I hope that by the time you read this you have already made reservations for a NOWFE wine diner. If not, you’re probably out of luck, but it’s still worth a call. Some of the best meals I’ve had in New Orleans were at NOWFE dinners.

I accompanied my father-in-law to the library the other day because he wanted some new audio books. When I was a youth, I spent a fair amount of time in libraries, because books were a thing then and, as it happens, still are.

I picked up two cookbooks: “Cooking with Japanese Pickles” by Takako Yokoyama and “Amber & Rye” by Zuza Zak. I think the first one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s about pickles and most all of them are Japanese in origin. It’s a topic near to my heart and so far I’m enjoying it.

The other one is about the food of the Baltic nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and I have to tell you that I picked this one up because I am unfamiliar with the foods of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It’s not likely I’m going to smoke herring over juniper, but it’s a pretty book and I am fascinated by regional variations on dishes like fish soup, or borscht, or potato dumplings. In Lithuania they make a sort of dumpling/empanada with lentils and lovage, an herb that smells a lot like celery.

Of the two books, I’ll almost certainly use “Cooking with Japanese Pickles” more than “Amber & Rye.” I like to make pickles and the recipes in Yokoyama’s book look good. But I’ll probably learn more from Zak’s book, because I’ll become familiar with ingredient pairings and flavors that I’ve never experienced.

And indeed, had I not gone to the library, I’d never have seen either of these books. I’ve fallen out of the habit of perusing the cookbook section of bookstores because, alas, I’ve fallen out of the habit of visiting bookstores. But the library had a great selection of cookbooks and books on food, generally. I’m sure you’re all members, but if not, you should sign on if only to check out new writing on food.

Finally, happy birthday, my lad. You’re the best.


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