Saturday, January 27, 2007

Viva Vodka


Hi, this is chez Stella posting here for my pal, Chef Ben. Can't wait to hear about your travel experiences, Ben- we miss you!

But in the meantime, I have a food (and drink) story of my own...

For my husband's birthday that just passed a couple of weeks ago this month, I gave him a visual treat of a cookbook called "Viva Vodka"- a fabulous book of recipes for vodka-based drinks (of course!) I also wanted to buy him a Polish vodka to go along with the book. He's Polish, a vodka aficionado, and very proud of the vodkas that come out of Poland. So that's why it HAD to be a Polish vodka.

In this book author W. Park Kerr mentions the premium Polish vodkas like Belvedere and Chopin, but he also mentions one named Quotes. No luck finding it on the internet, my local wine/spirits shops, etc. so I decided to call his company for info. They passed on my inquiry to him, but I soon forgot about my quest until...last weekend W. Park Kerr walked into the downtown SF shop I manage! I didn't know it was him until he made a purchase and I saw his name on his credit card. He happened to be in town for the Fancy Foods Show. Talk about a small world...

Park is the founder/owner of a specialty food business called El Paso Chile Company- and for more than 20 years has been busy devising new and delicious ways to celebrate life south-of-the-border stye. If you like this type of cuisine-check out elpasochili.com for a look at his products: cookbooks: "Sizzlin' Suppers", salsas such as Chipotle Cha Cha Cha, and dips like Cuban Black Bean Dip. I was introduced to his company when I lived in El Paso for a brief stint many years ago. I even picked up a couple of his cookbooks then. Some of you might have seen his Key Lime Margarita Mix in stores like Williams-Sonoma.

Back to the meeting...Park told me where he bought this vodka (at a little shop half a block from where I work!), and a couple of days later brought back a huge bag of goodies for me to sample. The book photographed above was included in my gift bag. Park even distills his own tequila under the name Tequila Nacional. I am an even bigger fan after meeting him- he is such fun and is so passionate about food AND especially drink!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chez Stella: So when's your vodka tasting party?!?

Chef David

chez stella said...

I knew I'd get that response...:-)
I'll have to plan one soon!
You're invited- of course!

Chef Ben said...

Hey Stella, thanks for posting in my absence. That was cool that you got to me the author of the book. So what else did you get in the gift bag?? ;-)

Seth said...

I've been looking for the OP brand of aquavit for the last couple years, it seems to have disappeared. Maybe I should try that little shop around the corner from you.

chez stella said...

Ben-
It was fun posting once I got the hang of it:) By the way, in my gift bag I got a couple of cookbooks, several salsas, bean dips, margarita mix, and salt for the margaritas!

chez stella said...

Seth-
So...do you live in SF? The liquor store next to me is Zain's Liquor on 3rd (@ Market)
In his book Park Kerr also mentions these websites for that exotic liqueur: Wallywine.com; wineglobe.com; internetwineandspirits.com