Ari's Top 5
Here’s a quick roundup of 5 Zing things Ari is excited about this week—stuff you might not have heard of!
Cristina Salas-Porras with Hudson Vineyards bottles of oil

Hudson Vineyards’ 
New Harvest Olive Oil 
at the Roadhouse

Peppery and terrific award-winning 2017 oil

Shots of whiskey…shots of espresso…but what about a third kind of shot? One that’s savored much more slowly and is probably the healthiest of the bunch. It’s time to think about ordering olive oil by the shot.

I’ve been friends with Cristina Salas-Porras and her winemaker and farmer husband, Lee Hudson, for a good twenty-five years now. I’m honored and touched to have their great oil available at the Roadhouse.

Lee started growing grapes right around the time we opened the Deli in the early ‘80s on his property in Carneros, an ideal location, with it’s cool bay breezes and stony, volcanic soil. Shortly after beginning to produce his own wine in 2004, he started growing olives. The farm also grows vegetables that are sold to top Bay Area restaurants like Chez Panisse, Bix, A16, and Quince (all places I eat at regularly when I’m out that way).

This year’s oil has been recognized by the Good Food Awards as one of the country’s best (congratulations, Lee and Cristina!—Cristina is posing with the oil and the award above). It’s made with classic Tuscan varietals resulting in a really wonderful peppery, green, front forward, fresh-tasting oil.

“The oil is the result of many hands coming together at the farm to make something we are all proud of,” Cristina told me. “Having been a long-time admirer of all things Zingerman’s, we are honored to have a place at the Roadhouse table.” The flavors are big, bold, meaty and memorable; the agriculture is sustainable, and clearly, after all these years, so are the relationships.

Visit us at the Roadhouse and order up a “shot,” pour it out on a plate, and enjoy it with some warm sourdough bread from the Bakehouse. Kudos to our courageous Roadhouse kitchen crew for presenting it in a way that most folks aren’t used to! If you like olive oil even half as much as I do, for $5 (like seriously—$5) you can take your evening from average to excellent.

P.S. Hudson Vineyards is right across the road from one of our favorite wine suppliers and long-time ZingTrain client, Domaine Carneros (they love open book management, you might too!) in Napa, California.

Reserve your seat at the Roadhouse for a shot
Épices de Cru tin of Black Pepper

Yupanqui Pepper 
from Ecuador

From Quebec to Quito—loving spices at every latitude!

Our February Spice of the Month, available at the Deli, totally caught me off guard when I tried it for the first time. Spicy but sensual, deep and complex, interesting and exotic; it’s got all sorts of cool things going on, including a little finish of citrus. The flavor stays so nicely on my palate—hot but not too hot, it wakes me up!

The most interesting thing about this pepper is where it comes from. It grows about as far from Kerala, India (the black peppercorn capital of the world) as you can get. This stuff comes from Ecuador. That’s right. The Democratic Republic of Ecuador in South America, a beautiful place and home to the Galapagos Islands. Ten thousand miles away and literally on the other side of the world! It was a shock. I’ve never even heard of black pepper coming from there! It’s certainly not native. Chiles, yes. Peppercorns? No way!

Even the name is noteworthy—in Quechua, the native Inca language, Yupanqui means “glittery, memorable, priceless,” all of which hold true for this terrific pepper. In the local culture, it also seems to mean “to serve as a guide and lead by example,” which is pretty clearly something the Yupanqui family is doing for craft, quality, and entrepreneurship in Ecuador. The family founded the first experimental pepper station in Ecuador—the only one of its kind in South America.They’re working in an excellent ecological environment for pepper growing and are very committed to progressive business practices with the community, their staff and the environment.

Our friends at Épices de Cru “found it” and, knowing my passion for pepper and the Zingerman’s love for quality, sent samples our way. Here’s the story straight from Marika de Vienne: “A few months ago, David Yupanqui came to the store at the behest of his Montrealer brother-in-law. The Yupanqui family has been in the pepper business for close to 30 years, but they do mostly commodity pepper. A few years ago, while talking to his father, David decided that they wanted to start selling the more artisanal pepper they grew for themselves.”

PS: T.R. Durham from Tracklements has done up a cold-smoked salmon for us that’s spiced with the Yupanqui pepper! Delicious!

Available at the Deli—ask for a taste today!
Smoked salmon plated with microgreens

T.R.’s Miso Smoked Salmon at Miss Kim

Great new small plate at our Korean connection in Kerrytown

Try this totally delicious, sumptuous new small plate designed by Ji Hye and co. at Miss Kim. It’s a beautiful plate, delicious, delicate—a great way to start an evening meal.

I asked Ji Hye Kim, our partner and the chef, for the story behind the salmon. “I always wanted to have raw fish over rice dish. This was a cool, local way to do it," she says. "T.R. has always been a huge supporter of Miss Kim and my work. He’s a great friend. He’s also one of the best fish smokers in the country, and he’s right next door at Tracklements! The salmon is marinated first in mirin and miso and then cold-smoked over oak. And he’s doing it just for us. He’s calling it Miss Kim Smoked Salmon.”

The thin slices of salmon are served over rice that’s lightly dressed with rice wine vinegar. We dress the salmon with a bit of mirin, soy sauce and perilla oil—used frequently in Korean cooking, the oil has a nice nuttiness to it that marries marvelously with the salmon. The whole thing is topped with a generous pinch of micro-shiso greens from Black Pearl Farm. Stop by this week, grab a glass of wine, and order some up!

PS: Ji Hye and Miss Kim are featured in the new issue of Edible WOW in a beautiful article! Check it out!

Save your spot for some Miso Smoked Salmon
Rush Creek Reserve with Bakehouse Country Miche

Rush Creek Reserve Cheese

Wonderfully unctuous cheese from Southern Wisconsin

This is a great, sensuous soft cheese from the man who makes the award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Pleasant Ridge is made only when the farm’s herd are out in the pasture—from the spring through to the early autumn. When it gets too cold and wet for the cows to stay outdoors, they’re brought into the barn, hence the milk can't be used for Pleasant Ridge.  But it’s actually excellent milk, six or seven years ago Andy had the idea to turn it into this luscious new offering.

Rush Creek is crafted in the style of a Vacherin Mont d’Or, which will likely mean little to most Ann Arborites but might raise excitement amongst those who know and love fine French and Swiss cheeses. It’s a washed rind cheese—thin, slightly sticky rind, wrapped in a wood band and aged for about eight weeks so that it’s nice and creamy and sort of prototypically unctuous inside. Andy says, “The Rush Creek relies on the sweetness, the texture of the milk, the heaviness of it in the fall, and the delicacy of the cheese maker’s touch. As the milk comes into the autumn months, fat goes up, protein goes up, and it gets to be a bit rich for a hard cheese, but it’s perfect for a soft cheese. This type of seasonal calendar has existed for hundreds of years in parts of Europe.”

Rush Creek is hard to make, but easy to eat. The truth is, you could just spoon it out of the rind and eat it as is, but in the winter, I really like to eat it atop some good, locally grown, just-cooked potatoes. I like the potatoes cooked ‘til they’re really tender, then cracked open. Drop on a bit of butter, some sea salt, some of that Yupanqui black pepper (!!!) and then spoon on the Rush Creek. I leave the rind behind—just spoon out the creamy center of the cheese. Eat it with a couple good slices of the Bakehouse’s Country Miche bread. Really delicious!

Get your own unctuous cheese from the Deli
Jelly Bean, the inspiration

The Third Annual Jelly Bean Jump Up Begins February 1

Fundraiser for SafeHouse Center

Ever had a dog that was the love of your life? Jelly Bean, a sweet little Corgi, was that for me. For most of her 17 years we went running together, hung out through hard times and good times, and survived multiple surgeries (both hers and mine). If you’ve had an animal in your life, you understand the bond that builds.

As many of you who’ve been here for a while already know, Jelly Bean died at the end of May, 2015. If you’ve lost someone important in your life—human, canine, feline or otherwise—you know it’s not a good feeling. When Jelly Bean died, I wanted to take the sadness and turn it toward something positive, something to honor her positive contribution to my life, and really to the life of so many others over the years. Jelly Bean was a very special dog and such a big part of my life for so many years. SafeHouse is an even more special cause. If you can help spread the word about our 3rd Annual Jelly Bean Jump Up, that would be great. Guests may want to drop some coins, or some dollar bills, or a check in the boxes we've set up around town, or donate to the cause online. Every little bit really does make a difference.

Participating businesses include the Zingerman’s Community, Plum Market, Probility, Old National Bank, and K9 Clubs.

Support the Jelly Bean Jump Up for SafeHouse online
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