The great grape swap
October 14th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

I had a good friend once who, when ordering Chinese takeout, would always order exactly the same thing: kung pao chicken. One time I said, why not get something else? She replied, "But I like kung pao chicken." And there the conversation ended.

Fair enough. But there are two ways to look at something you know you like. You can see it as a simple prescription (I like kung pao chicken, therefore I will order kung pao chicken, now get out of my face) or as a loose guideline to all the other things you've never had before that you might like (I like kung pao chicken, therefore I might also like cold noodles with sesame sauce and shredded chicken, what the heck?).

Ditto wine. People buy millions of bottles of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Grigio. They're four of the most popular varietals in the U.S. (Chardonnay's number one, by the way, by a long shot). But take your fondness for Chardonnay as advice rather than as an answer, and the world opens up.

To that end, here are some affordable alternatives to those varieties.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Wine


In search of Nepal's culinary identity
October 14th, 2011
02:30 PM ET
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Fragrant spices, savory vegetables and delectable presentation make Nepalese cuisine just as intriguing as the culturally infused country from which it originates. But many people might have trouble defining what exactly constitutes food from Nepal.

Neerakar Uprety went back to Nepal for a three-week visit in July 2011 after living in the United States for eight years. The Washington resident's goal was to see his home country's meals in a new light. He tried several different foods and shot gorgeous photographs of their presentation.

Uprety maintains a blog called Nick's Palate about his love of exotic foods, and he shared several of his pictures with CNN iReport as part of the Destination Adventure ongoing travel project.
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Filed under: Buzz • Destination Adventure • iReport


Box lunch: Chewing on words and disastrous decadence
October 14th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • With more pressing national matters like the debt and job crisis, is food writing still relevant? - Amateur Gourmet


  • Food activists should take a page from the "Occupy Wall Street" book. - Mother Jones


  • This $34,000 dessert - the world's most expensive - proves that all that glitters certainly isn't gold. - Gawker


  • Got something brewing at home? Hop over these common mistakes. - Food & Wine


  • A British expat gets lost in translation when it comes to American cooking. - NPR
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News


October 14th, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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Imagine, if you will, Paula Deen with a couple of tattoos.

Now, imagine her behind the wheel of a semi, hauling 100,000 pounds down a two-lane back road as a vegetable stand pops up in the distance.

Just like Paula Deen would, Camille Pask gets on the brakes and whoas it down. It’s more than curiosity or a chance to break the boredom of the long rolls over the road; it’s a time to pick up something awesome for lunch.

Pask is a rare woman in many respects. She drives more than 100,000 miles a year as a long haul trucker, but she’s also a trained gourmet chef. The worlds intersect in the back of the cab of her rig, which she co-owns with her new beau, Chris Woolf.
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Filed under: Chefs • Food Trucks


Breakfast buffet: National apple month
October 14th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

It ain't all about the pumpkins! - October is National Apple Month.

This is prime time and peak season for one of our favorite fruits, so get ready to grapple for some apples all month long.

Forget the "apple of discord" and forbidden fruit lore associated with this fine fruit, apples are crisply delicious and outrageously good for you. Plus, according to Greek lore, apples are symbolic of love.
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