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Tastemakers:Palette Bistro Seafood and Sausage Paella/Copa di Vino

Rick Coates - June 13th, 2011
Palette Bistro Seafood and Sausage Paella
Last summer’s Paella (pie-AY-ya) in the Park was a major hit; not only did it sell out days in advance, it was also the talk of the town. Certainly the Porterhouse Productions event will be one of the most sought-after tickets this summer as well (August 5 at the former Clinch Park Zoo and tickets go on sale soon at www.porterhouseproductions.com), but must we wait once a year to enjoy paella? 
Thankfully this Spanish/Mediterranean inspired dish is available daily at the Palette Bistro in Petoskey. Prepared in a “personal sized” paella pan the Palette Bistro Seafood and Sausage Paella is an exceptional dish reflective of its Spanish origins. Perfectly seasoned shrimp, scallops and andouille sausage blended with rice and peppers this paella has a hint of zip to it and pairs nicely with a Gewurtztraminer or summer wheat style beer (it was nearly 90 degrees so beer was the best pairing on this particular day and I dined outside on their street-level patio) 
The service team was quick to suggest and promote local or Michigan made products. The bartender greeted me first and I asked about draft beer; she proudly suggested one of six Michigan made beers offered on tap (in fact, they only have Michigan beers on tap). When I said I planned on having the paella, she was quick to recommend Bell’s Oberon as the perfect pairing. I couldn’t help hearing at a neighboring table that the out-of-state guests were given detailed tasting notes on the beers they inquired about by my server; it was as if my server was an employee of the breweries. When my bread was presented she was quick to point out that it was baked locally from the Crooked Tree Breadworks and as she poured the olive oil and balsamic vinegar she showed me the bottles and said they were from Fustini’s that has a shop in town.
This sort of service and attention detail really didn’t surprise me with Patrick Faylor at the helm. Faylor, a partner in the Wine Guys Restaurant Group (Roast & Toast and City Park Grill) was the longtime GM at City Park where first class service was a top priority. 
Palette Bistro is a nice fit into an already hip culinary scene in the region. Since Palette took over the Andante location it had some big shoes to fill; chef/owner Bob Stark launched Andante 20 years ago and it quickly became a dining destination. No surprise there as Stark learned his craft during his 10 plus years with Stafford’s Hospitality. 
To see a complete menu and view upcoming events check out palettebistropetoskey.com.
--Rick Coates

Copa di Vino

For wine drinkers, enjoying a glass or two while playing a round of golf is a challenge. While high-end liquors and beers are available on the beverage cart, typically the wine drinker has to settle for some non-premium wine in a single-serving bottle that is poured into a plastic cup which ends up spilling all over. That problem is over thanks to John Martin of Copa di Vino Winery in Oregon. 
Martin was touring France with his wife a few years back to celebrate their 20th anniversary when he discovered wine sold in individually packaged glasses. He returned to Oregon and quickly began working on the concept. Last year he launched Copa di Vino, a single-serving wine that comes in a glass (actually 100%  recycled plastic PET, that has the feel and look of glass). The 6.3 ounce container comes with a cap allowing for it to be covered when not sipping (this works well when bouncing around on a golf cart or on a boat).
Copa di Vino is available in Merlot, Cab Sauv, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel and Riesling. These are all solid wines and certainly exceed their price point (retail around $3.49 to $3.99 each, expect to pay $6 to $8 on the golf course) in taste and flavor. 
Copa di Vino is starting to pop up at golf courses all over the country. Wine shops in the region are also carrying this convenient wine for camping, tailgating, concerts and boating wine. This wine is also perfect for the beach or when traveling to enjoy around a hotel pool. For details check out www.copadivino.com --Rick Coates
 
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