BEYOND THE TONY TASTES: Quibbling with a good friend over drinks about what makes something a tony or swanky foodstuff might be a fool's errand, but the two you will likely have a pretty lively time running that particular errand together. Once upon a long ago, alighting upon just what was sophisticated eating, according the swells in the know (think ultra-famous chefs and magazine editors), was kind of a snap: look at price, look at rarity, look at how far one had to travel to eat the food in question. If it was around the block, forget it -- not a swanky foodstuff. If you had to cross statelines, or venture to Europe, then you probably meant business. Caviar, sparkling wine, and certain mollusks fit the bill, but nowadays?
PRACTICALLY EVERY FOOD... has gotten its chance to leap out of the luncheonette and go for greater gastronomic glory. Comfort foods, from mac 'n cheese to pot pies, count here, as does fried chicken, which has had a renaissance -- or, quite honestly, four or five renaissances -- since the whole culinary-comfort wave began at the end of the last century. If this is your favorite dish, then Flavor! Napa Valley has your event on Saturday, Nov. 22 at the CIA at Greystone.
FRIED & TRUE: Culinary author Lee Brian Schrager hosts a two-hour session that's about the many ways to prepare the outdoorsy, pack-it-anywhere staple. Napa Valley chefs will chime in on the matter, and you'll likely leave having fresh opinions on frying times, oils, temperatures, and the all-important question of what goes into the batter.
MORE FLAVOR! The fried chicken afternoon is just one reason that Napa Valley's falltime feast isn't all about straight-up rarefied eating; a session on the perfect English muffin is also on the Flavor! Napa Valley calendar. So, truly, what make a dish, ingredient, or taste rare beyond compare? One might wager that the answer is if it special, and singular, to the taster.