Nestled on a hillside in northern Virginia, Breaux Vineyards' 105 acres of vines are looking good this year, according to General Manager Chris Blosser.
While California still makes the vast majority of American wine, all 50 states produce it. Virginians have been growing grapes for some 400 years, starting in the Jamestown settlement, and the wine business has surged in the state over the last decade. Soil and climate conditions in Loudoun County, where this family-owned vineyard is located, make it one of Virginia's top wine-producing regions.
The drought plaguing much of the country has hurt corn and soy crops, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating that 2012-2013 corn yields would hit the lowest level since 1995-1996. But the drier than normal growing season can be good for grapes.
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Even though Portugal played a key role in the Age of Discovery, traditional Portuguese cooking remains somewhat of an uncharted territory for the American palate.
George Mendes, the executive chef of Aldea restaurant and a first-generation American born to Portuguese parents, is here to lift the lid on what the western part of the Iberian Peninsula has cooking.
Five Cornerstones of Portuguese Cuisine: George Mendes
There they were with their cold, beady branzini eyes shooting a shiver down my spine. I was in trouble. I had no escape. I was about to (gulp) eat...fish.
I appreciate a good dinner party and from time to time, I've been known to scrap together a decent menu. There's always one common denominator: an animal with legs. Our good friends, Lily and Tyler, should know this better than anyone. Rib roasts, leg of lamb, beer-can chicken - they've enjoyed it all.
But last December, we went over to their house for a holiday dinner party. My hopes were high for a large chunk of landlocked meat. Prime rib? Crown roast? I knew Tyler would do it right. So when he unwrapped the butcher paper and revealed a half-dozen of those European seabass, everything went black.
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