Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cooking Coarse VBLOG: Perfect Instruction in Fundamental Cooking Techniques

While considering a format for the up coming video portion of this blog, I spend quite a bit of time checking out the competition. I have sifted through hundreds of home made cooking shows, a vast majority of which emulate the Food TV likes of Rachael Ray and Paula Dean. Honest efforts in sharing their food knowledge, but mostly as uninformative as they are uninteresting. Finally I stumbled on a show that is entertaining, educational, and fun to watch. Now I no longer need to worry about going over basics cooking on my blog, I will just send you to a real chef.

In Cooking Coarse Chef Todd Mohr preaches the gospel of self reliance in the kitchen by matching the French technical grounding of Jacques Pepin and the food nerd fact finding of Alton Brown, with the high energy kick of Gary Vaynerchuk. The Chef tells us to burn our recipes and cook like a painter paints, aiming for the result we envision and not focusing on the individual steps. He gives us excellent tools for the job, from selecting the right knives, to making classic French sauces. These 5 to 10 minute clips are perfect for beginners, but even a seasoned cook will learn a new way to sharpen their skills in each episode. Chef Mohr, who runs a small cooking school and catering company outside of Raleigh, NC plays both host and camera man with posts nearly every day, even grilling fish while on vacation in the outer banks. The chef makes it clear that big studios, test kitchens, and PR crews are no match quality content. He may not sell Ritz Crackers like Ray Ray, but you will actually be able to feed yourself from what you learn on this show.

With the market the way it is, it may be time to roll your portfolio into an investment in roasted peppers. Chef Todd Mohr shows you how.

I have already added the web site to my video blog list to the left, now making the Bo Brothers THE one stop shop for the most useful, informative, and complete food and wine video link collection on the entire Internet. Watch, learn, cook and show your support. Bloggers survive on comments!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tito's Handmade Vodka offers craftmanship, quality, and value

I have been eyeballing Tito's vodka for quite some time. Its front label claims of being "Handmade" "Distilled 6 Times" and "Crafted in old fashioned pot still by Texas' first and only distillery" peeked my curiosity, while its questionably low price tag raised my suspicions. Can a spirit be hand crafted and priced at $18. This must have been a ploy by a massive liquor firm to push cheep vodka on unsuspecting Texans. Then there’s Texas. What do Texans know about vodka? Still, for 18 bones I figured it’s worth a shot. Soon after cracking open the bottle, I realized I just stumbled on the best QPR in the liquor store, and maybe the industry.

This vodka is the smoothest I have ever had, easily beating out industry sweetheart Grey Goose ($32) and our previous favorite Reyka ($27) from Iceland. In many ways though, smooth is a total cop out on a tasting note. With Tito's, however, it really allows the nuanced flavors to be pronounced without being masked by vodka’s trade mark rubbing alcohol nose.

Tito's Handmade Vodka - Tasting Notes
100% corn vodka; distilled 6 times in pot still; 80 proof.

"Nose is soft and reminiscent of citrus peel pith. Medium mouth feel with gentle peppery burn and slight sweetness. The finish is long, peppery, and pleasant. This vodka is better at room temperature, so keep it out of the icebox. Drink neat or on the rocks with a squeeze of lime." – LB

The story of Tito and his vodka is the kind of thing we don’t see enough, a true craftsman and his art. No fancy ads or endorsements, just hard work and a fine product. It all started in the 90s when Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge (his real last name, seriously) quit his office job to start the first legal distillery in Texas. After failing to get interest from investors, Tito spent his savings and maxed out his credit cards to build a single pot still in an old barn outside of Austin. Starting with just one employee and a marketing strategy based completely on word of mouth, the distillery grew from 1,000 cases and one still in 1997 to 160,000 cases from ten stills today. Tito’s vodka is highly regarded and has won several spirits competitions. For more information, including videos, press, history, and even country music written and recorded by Tito (who needs to stick to his day job at the distillery) check out the official website:

You may have trouble finding Tito’s at your local liquor store or bar, since production is still relatively small. As always, talk to the manager and see if they can start carrying it. You may need to be armed with the name of your local Tito’s distributor which you can find on the web site. If all else fails, hit the internet. This vodka really is worth the seeking out. It is, afterall, the Bo Brothers house vodka.