The Side Dish: Daily Blender Best of 2011

And, here it is, folks. The last week of the year. A time for introspection. A time of reflection. A time to open that bottle of wine you’ve been coveting all year. It’s been a long year – for many – both personally and professionally, and I’m feeling all hopeful that the new year will bring a bevy of blessings and wishes.

Here on Daily Blender, I’ve been busy whittling away at the noise and honing in on what really makes this place a favorite destination for food, wine, and spirits enthusiasts. Focusing more on the heart and soul of what makes this community tick, I’ve had the opportunity to make new friends and explore new events, like the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival. In March, I was thrilled to be in attendance at the James Beard Award luncheon here in Portland as some of my favorite chefs were announced as semifinalists. Later in the spring, I made my way to New York City for Food & Wine’s 2011 Best New Chefs stylish soiree. And in the fall, I ventured to the mecca of food & wine – Napa Valley, California – for the inaugural Flavor! Napa Valley weekend.

Top stories holding your interest this year revolved a bit around beverages (or maybe it was just me) with the bartender backlash over the Pussers/PKNY trademark debacle as well as the expansion of Portland’s beloved Stumptown Coffee. Readers were also excited to check out the opening details of chef Jonathon Sawyer’s Noodlecat in Cleveland and the nod to Portlandia from spirits writer Brandon Wise.

My interview with New Orleans chef John Besh was perhaps my favorite of the year – an impromptu Q&A during the blustery Beaver Creek Master Chef Classic in Beaver Creek, Colorado. I was also thrilled to bring the rock-n-roll story of Oregon vintner Scott Wright to the Daily Blender community, and had such a great time touring the lush Evonuk Farms with Maui chef Isaac Bancaco before digging in to the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a farm-to-table menu.

In the new year, I’ll be kicking off the event schedule with the 2012 Cayman Cookout, with further adventures already planned in Indianapolis, Maui, and New Orleans and interviews with chefs José Andrés and Cathy Whims already on the Daily Blender docket for early spring. As new events, chefs, and restaurants seemingly emerge nearly every few minutes, you can be sure the food, wine, and fabulous coverage will continue to flow all the way through 2012.

In the meantime, be sure to check out my ‘Meet Your Mixologist’ profiles over at Societe Perrier, including Q&As with Australian mixer Matt Bax and Pernod Ricard main man Simon Ford, and remember to stay tuned for all the sandy, sunny Cayman Cookout coverage here on Daily Blender in mid-January.

And, as always, thanks so much for your love and support. Onward into our fourth year!

~Jennifer Heigl

*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender

0 replies on “The Side Dish: Daily Blender Best of 2011”