Hospitality Hive

Updates, opinions, and news for anyone working in Orlando's Hospitality community

Looking for Something to “Wine” About?


Well, here’s some interesting wine news from the hospitality desk:  In a recent survey about global wine and travel trends conducted by market research firm StudyLogic, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts discovered that after a long day, one out of every two people would reach for a glass of wine (48%) rather than their smartphone/tablet (15%) or – get ready for this one – even their spouse (15%).  Yes, you read that correctly.  Having a chat with your spouse was given the same percentage ranking of importance (or lack thereof) as reaching for your electronic device, aka crack cocaine of personal choice. [see previous Hive posting RE more on this phenom at Welcome to the Experience Economy ]

Further, and perhaps even more surprising, were that survey results also showed 23% of the respondents would be willing to give up sex for a week in return for a premium highly rated glass of wine.  (Hey, I’m just reporting the facts here.  Please don’t diss the messenger.)

So what does that mean to you and I? In broader terms, a lot of us like wine, oh yeah, and we like it real good.

This was reinforced to me in a recent outing, appropriately labeled a Vine and Dine Event, that I was happy to participate in at the Everglades Restaurant, Rosen Centre Hotel.  On this particular night, the focus was cooking with wine wherein each of the five overindulgent gourmet courses were prepared-and-paired with an excellent wine selection. (Reminds me of a kitchen towel I have that reads, “I cook with wine.  Sometimes I even add it to the recipe” except in this case it’s the real deal.) Making this even more enjoyable was that each course received a little educational introduction by the attending winery representative as well as some kitchen ‘dishing’ from Chef Fred Vlachos.  That’s right – first a little education, then a sip or two, then the individual courses served up in proper gourmet presentation style followed by, well, more than a few little sips. Ahhh. Here’s the savory pictorial summary:

A preview at entrance of the goodness still to come.

A preview at entrance of the goodness still to come.


For openers, a poached foie gras with fig compote & raspberries




Course II – Cioppino served with a Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2012 from Sonoma. Exactly what you would have chosen, right?


The main event - grilled lamb chop with tomato mist jam, polenta & asparagus complemented with Pinot Noir sauce and served with a 2012 Foley Johnson Pinot Noir

The main event – grilled lamb chop with tomato mist jam, polenta & asparagus complemented with Pinot Noir sauce and served with a 2012 Foley Johnson Pinot Noir














And for the grand finale – our fifth and final course – we were served Pear Belle Helene (poached pear balls) drizzled with chocolate sauce and a side of a 2012 Elysium California Black Muscat.  It looked something like this, only better because my camera will never do justice on desserts.  Sayin’ :

Pear Belle Helene

Pear Belle Helene

Now I don’t know about you but this entire menu was ‘just like I make at home’ – only NOT!  This was some seriously delicious gourmet food along with the interesting wine pairings which is exactly the point of these very special events.  But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself at any number of upcoming Vine and Dine options offered at a variety of Rosen Resorts. The next one is already scheduled for May 22 and is being called, “Champagne Wishes and a Mycologist’s Dream”. (Feel free to look that one up, I know I had to.  The ‘mycologist’ part, not the champagne. . .and hint-hint, this is for mushroom enthusiasts which many consider to be the meat of the vegetable world.  You’re welcome for that free cultural and culinary introduction.) Price is $75.00 per person plus tax and service charge.  Hotel valet parking included.

And I’d also like to add now that we’re certain about our global love of wine in relation to travel it seems only right to experience this excellent epicurean option and dining extravaganza at an area hotel as opposed to just any old restaurant that might offer a similar program.  This is because another finding in that survey – last statistic, I promise – was that nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) claim that they are more adventurous in trying new wines while on the road I know, you’re gob-smacked, right?

[Also worth noting is that most of the stand alone restaurants that offer wine pairing dinners are normally much more expensive, so I thought you’d appreciate my mentioning same.]

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Regarding my descriptions, admittedly, things got a little fuzzy after the second course, which by the way was actually the third wine presentation since we also had a wine reception prior to dinner. . .but, well, who was counting glasses and refills, right?  Anyway, our event was made even more memorable by the lovely printed menus at each place setting with detailed information.  What, like you thought I was a really talented writer with total memory recall?  Not by a longshot, especially with all that wine flowing!    

I dare you to have total recall if all these wine glasses were filled and then emptied by you!

I dare you to have total recall if all these wine glasses were filled and then emptied by you!

Chin-chin, dear readers!




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Wrong Date? What Do You Mean It’s the Wrong Date?

They moved the date.  I swear they did!  We – two perfectly sane, college educated adults – most certainly could not have both read the invitation wrong.  The Halloween costume party we were invited to would be held, most certainly, on Halloween night, oh yes it would.  In particular because this was a year in which the actual holiday fell on a Saturday night.  The bigger question that came into play was the one involving my costume-hating-Halloween-grinch of a husband.  Would he actually agree to dress up as something – anything in a costume – for the sake of attending what promised to be a really fun party at the home of some really great friends?

[pause while holding breath for answer. . .]

Okay.  Yeah.  He finally, reluctantly agreed setting in motion a couple of weeks worth of word play back and forth about we would wear.  I was game for almost anything; him, not so much.  In the end, for some odd reason, when the big night finally came, I found myself as the clown driver in our car while ‘Sheikh Abdul Fat-Sal’  (please don’t ask – it just happened, and please don’t judge as we were NOT making any political statement whatsoever.  We were just trying to get to a costume party!) finally decided to get in the mood and play the part.  After all, he had relucatntly allowed my sister and I to wrap him head to toe in a couple of white bed sheets, draped him with tons of gaudy necklaces (please, I did already ask you not to judge us, right?), and used mascara to enhance his five o’ clock facial growth.  To that he slipped on the sunglasses and voila’.  Sheikh Abdul Fat-Sal was born.  Whew.  It’s no wonder that my last minute scramble to find a costume was easiest to complete by simply putting on the clown costume my sister usually wore along with her frizzy red headed wig.  Easy-peazy, and to be honest, at that point, I knew that husband was already going to be the hit of the party (no one, NOT NO ONE, could even believe he had agreed to go to a costume party).  So when it came time to get in the car and go, he decided to play the part of a rich Sheikh and have me be his driver while he sat in the back seat.  All the better for our entrance at said Halloween party.  Except that this is where the big mistake comes in.

Yeah.  It.  Really. Happened.



After laughing our heads off while driving down the highway being spotted by other Halloween revelers and sharing lots of horn tooting and such along the journey, we arrived at our destination only to find the house was dark.  Quite dark.  Say what?

Our first thought was that we were just early.  Very early!  So we sat outside and waited, watching little trick or treaters bobbing in and out of other neighborhood houses – it was after all, Halloween.  But then we realized no one was actually going up to our friend’s dark house.  Hmmm.  Curious, right?  The Sheikh pulled out the invite we had with us for directional purposes and discovered that yes, indeed, the Halloween party that we intended to go to that night had been held the week before.

Ok then.

So, what does a clown driver do with her Sheikh passenger when they’re both all dressed up on Halloween night with no place to go?

Well, in the end, we decided to join all the other club-hopping freaks that night (hey, we were much younger then!) and ended up still having a whole lot of Halloween fun despite the humiliation and disappointment of not getting to show our witty costumes off (um,at least husband had a good one) at the intended party.

And because I know you want to know, days later we discovered that our friends had held their party a week ahead because they had to be out of town on Halloween night.  (What?  Who does that?)




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