Story Book Town that adds PAZAZ ™ to the North East

Over the course of time I have visited quite a few wonderful places. From the south to the north, east and west there are beautiful towns that capture a spirit that lives in all of us. These towns have one thing in common; they are unique and carry a theme that transcends the prototypical architecture and layout that is planned and pedestrian. Usually there are added features such as an ocean, lakes, rivers, mountains that add a tranquility otherwise not captured by main street USA.

Below is a short list of the most beautiful towns I’ve been blessed to visit in North America:

    • Key West, Florida
    • Old Colorado City, Colorado
    • Ashland, Oregon
    • Alexandria Bay, NY
    • Skaneateles, NY
    • Cazenovia, NY
    • Tiburon, CA

The closest I’ve felt to not being in this country while still being in it was Key West Florida. If you drive from Miami down the Florida Keys you will experience an unparalleled overseas highway that will take you approximately 4 hours to your destination. Along the way the vistas on either side of the highway sometimes make you think you are floating on water.

Once you arrive in Key West, an island in the Florida archipelago, you see the famous pastel-hued conch-style homes which became home for one of America’s most famous writers, Earnest Hemingway. At night the streets come alive with dancing to reggae music and other island genres. The whole town is a playground for artists, musicians, and of course writers. In addition to all that there is the fact that the seafood experience is ridiculous. Prawns, Yellow Tail Snapper, Mahi-mahi, and my favorite Grouper, are so fresh and delicious they levitate your senses to another level.

I could write a vignette on each of the towns above but the one I’m going to tell you about is not on the list above and is not in the US but in the south east of Canada. The town I speak of is Niagara-on-the Lake.

The town is a post card with cobble stone streets, 18th century clock towers, horse drawn carriages, world class restaurants, and world famous wineries. As you head east from Niagara Falls about 40 minutes you’ll see Niagara-on-the-Lake located in the Ontario Province of southern Canada. It’s located on a peninsula where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario across the river from New York.

Just the location is spectacular enough but when you’re there you feel like you’re inside a Thomas Kinkade painting living in such beauty that can only be a fictional representation of reality.

From the Prince of Wales Hotel with its Noble Restaurant to the Peller Estates Winery and restaurant, not only is the food world class but so is the wine. Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for ice wines.

Ice wine is made by picking grapes (usually Riesling) in the middle of a cold January night after the sugar content reaches 25 brix and immediately pressing them. Each grape then offers just a few drops of “liquid gold”. Try Inniskillin for an introduction into the sublime for an amazing ice wine experience.

As the town above reflects the PAZAZ ™ of a sensory gift so do the products that we have so carefully selected for your recipe creations. PAZAZ ™ to the town is the PAZAZ ™ to the kitchen unfolding the miracles unveiled to reveal the perfect experience.

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Food Paired with Wine adds PAZAZ ™ to your Experience

Tom Cruise towards the end of the movie Jerry Maguire says to Renee Zellweger, “You complete me.” A truer word has not been spoken when it comes to food and wine.

As my experience in the restaurant business has taken me to many different places the understanding and wisdom I have realized through that portal of the culinary arts has helped me in many different facets of life.

Attention to detail, communication through the discerning eye of the guest, and of course the humbleness when you realize the vast subject you’ve undertaken. All of these nuances gives your life outside the culinary world a perspective of three things:

    1. How much you know.
    2. How much you don’t know.
    3. How much you don’t even know what to ask.

So that leads to a quest to find the knowledge that will create an experience for the guest that goes beyond their expectations. This starts with trust. When a guest asks you your opinion regarding the pairing of food and wine this sets the stage for an interesting communication, and remember its not important what you like.

The art of this communication is to ask the questions that will lead you to what the guest is looking for. It is important that the pairing of food and wine is kept simple and straight forward. I have realized, after talking with several Master Sommeliers, this is not a game to prove how much you know. This is the expertise of leading the guest to style and structure providing the perfect solution for the ultimate goal.

That goal is to enhance the food experience with a wine that tastes better because you correctly paired the perfect wine based upon the guest preference and the knowledge you’ve acquired through years of learning this very task. There are several indicators as to how to choose the wine with the food the guest has chosen.

Is their preference red or white wine? Dry or sweet? Do they prefer bigger or more subtle wines? And so the dialogue continues until you’ve arrived on a category. Within that category comes the question most don’t like to ask but must be considered, price point.

Obviously if they like white burgundies but only want to spend a $100.00 they perhaps can be gently persuaded to move to a more realistic category. A category that would provide a better product than a $100.00 bottle of white burgundy for half the cost of a comparable product. This would lead them to a California chardonnay.

The gentle movement of regions from France (old world) to California (new world) can be achieved by telling them that in 1976 at the now famous “Paris Tasting” the 1972 Chateau Montelena chardonnay produced by winemaker Miijenko Grgic (now Grgich) beat all white burgundies in a blind tasting thus creating the platform for international recognition of new world wines.

As the barrels are important to the production of wine so are the kitchen tools used to enhance the food chosen by the guest. There are no greater culinary tools than the PAZAZ ™ kitchen tools. The Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, the Heavy Duty Aluminum Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

You will find when you go to and purchase the PAZAZ ™ kitchen tools… they complete you.

Vegas adds the PAZAZ ™ to the West

Having lived in different cities in the United States that geographically are located in the north, south, east, and west I must say that Vegas continues to deliver within the confines of, but not limited to, construction of major projects, celebrity chefs, food of all kinds, and of course entertainment.

Nancy and I arrived in Vegas in 2002 and here is a list of just a few of the construction projects we’ve witnessed completed:

      1. The entire 215 six-eight lane highway
      2. The Wynn Hotel/Casino
      3. The Encore Hotel/Casino
      4. The Green Valley Hotel/Casino
      5. The Red Rock Hotel/Casino
      6. The Entire City Center (so large they wanted to give it a separate zip code)
      7. Two Water Parks
      8. Demolition and sometimes reconstruction of many already established restaurants and casinos
      9. The T-Mobile Arena
      10. And of course the two billion dollar “Las Vegas Stadium” new home for the Raiders football team

All of the above construction projects are finished except for the “Las Vegas Stadium” which will be completed before the beginning of the 2019 NFL football season.

In the last twelve months we’ve seen “One” the Michael Jackson show (Cirque du Soleil), Tony Bennet, Ringo Star and his All Stars, La Reve (Cirque du Soleil), and the Moody Blues 50th anniversary tour, all at different venues in Las Vegas. This is but a very small sampling of the entertainment that’s available every night in Las Vegas.

Of course to compliment the world class entertainment you must have world class chefs offering their ever changing delectable culinary treats. Chefs like Jean George, Joel Robuchon (named chef of the century in 1989 by the prestigious guide Gault Millau), Guy Savoy, Jose Andres, Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, and of course Wolfgang Puck are but a few of the almost thirty world class chefs represented in Las Vegas. With top flight purveyors accessing products from around the world usually within 24 hours to compliment the talented and ever changing restaurant scene… the product selection and quality is literally unsurpassed.

As Vegas gets bigger, better, faster, through change in every different medium it is the constant evolution of gracious hospitality that connects the dots for the expanding list of guests from our own USA and other countries around the world.

The guests are more demanding because the world through smart devices seems like a smaller more accessible place. The guests expect more because of the exposure unfolding before us reflecting the constant stratospheric dissemination of information. Reviews of everything raise the bar through the human element of experience so that others can make a more intelligent decision.

PAZAZ ™ products mirror this revelation because of the five star quality reflected by the reviews of customers from around the country. All hand-crafted products, the Silicone Non-Stick Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack are now being used by some of the above world class chefs. There is one item that is included that I’m very proud of but I have to admit so far the world class chefs seem to ignore… my complementary cook book included with the purchase of the PAZAZ ™ products.

But who knows, if someday I see one of my recipes being used by any one of the chefs mentioned above I will know that duplication is the greatest form of flattery.

PAZAZ ™ and the Art of Discovery

Today I’m in Chicago, a town I’ve never been to before. Earlier this year Nancy and I were in Boston, this in some ways reminds me of that experience. Discovering new amazing places and then crafting that experience in a short period of time is an art.

Because time is limited this actually helps me design a list of places to see. Reviews, speaking with people that have been here, and then sculpting the list to conform with our own interests creates the perfect vacation strategy.

It’s been years since I fondly remember the days of frequenting the Jazz nightclubs of San Francisco. Friday night we heard the Denise Thimes Quintet at the Winters Jazz Club in Chicago. What an amazing ensemble featuring drums, bass, guitar, piano, and of course, the vocals of Miss Denise Thimes. The harmony and driving beat behind the sensual yet powerful voice of Denise Thimes was something I will never forget.

Denise was personally asked by Aretha Franklin to sing at her 70 birthday party in New York City. Only a select few elite musicians were represented at that event. I admit I had no idea who Denise Thimes was. After about three minutes I quickly discovered that inner smile you can only associate with the moment you discover something special. I found the driving rhythmic sub plots and the complex tonality of chord changes within the context of many of the Jazz standards to be an elevated level of musician ship rarely witnessed in small Jazz venues.

After the Jazz we finished the night at an acclaimed Chicago fine dinning restaurant, BOKA. Finishing strong is important and BOKA didn’t disappoint. The chef sent out several treats as compliments to enhance the meal and set the tone for the dining experience.

Ricotta dumplings topped with fresh black truffles were among the surprise gifts from the kitchen. Jon Leopold the general manager was very kind and gracious coming to our table to help orchestrate the food and wine.

I’m not sure how much restaurant people realize their dialogue, graciousness, and personalized touch enhance what would otherwise be just another good meal. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that at that point I had to reach out to Mr. Leopold and tell him about PAZAZ ™ and the brand I am very proud to have created.

The next day was filled with discovery as we took the Architectural Boat Cruise up and down the Chicago River. What a wonderful way to hear about the history of Chicago through the historical insight of those that helped create its beautiful sky line.

After the boat cruise it was on to the Chicago Art Institute one of the oldest and most respected museums in the United States. I was in awe as I stood so close to the original art of Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Matisse, and so many more.

I’d have to say that my favorite painting was “The Old Guitarist” painted by Picasso when he lived in Barcelona. Picasso was 22 years old at the time and this period was called his “blue period” (1901-1904). The painting reflects the artist’s sympathy for the downtrodden as he knew very well having been penniless during all of 1902.

That night, after being very active all day, we dressed for dinner and went to what turned out to be a very magical dining experience. It is rare when you come upon a restaurant, Spiaggia, that evokes the feeling of rapture. By mere definition it is “the transporting of a person from one place to another” or “the feeling of ecstasy, bliss”.

I want to thank Lucas Chapman the general manager as he and his staff conducted, performed, and executed a dining event that will never be forgotten. Just one example was the chef coming to our table and personally shaving white truffles into a hand crafted gnocchi. There were so many wonderful nuances that were added by Mr. Chapman and the staff with each course being performed flawlessly.

Again I promoted PAZAZ ™as the ultimate Silicone Baking Mat (used in chef Jean Georges Restaurant at the Aria Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, and Michael Mina’s restaurant, Bardot, at the Aria), Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. I will be sending Mr. Chapman samples to enhance their experience in the kitchen of Spiaggia using the finest kitchen tools, PAZAZ ™.

Today it was the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Soon we’ll be leaving this amazing city but what I’ve taken away from this town is that as in any city its the people you meet that helps create the experience that eventually turns into something you’ll never forget.

Beyond the musical and culinary treats their is so much beauty within the windy city.