February 16, 2009

Peggy Markel: an Indian Culinary Adventure at The Kitchen, in Boulder Colorado—celebrating her 14-page spread in current Food & Wine magazine. [Slow Food, Kate Lacroix, Hugo Matheson, Graham Markel]


The seeds of social revolution are sown at gatherings of minds, conversation, conviviality, wine and great slum dog millionaire food. Congratulations to all for hosting a most delicious, stimulating and sensuous Grand Salon.  ~ Regards, Richard Foy.

The below, re: Peggy Markel, comes via Graham Markel.

I can’t think of anyone better to write about this India dinner than I, except a better writer. My mother is Peggy Markel, I work at The Kitchen, I’m good friends Kate Lacroix [Peggy’s PR magic-worker], and I worked for Elephant. Lets not talk about the latter.

Last night I had the night off.  I decided to go to work anyway. No, I’m not crazy (depending on who you ask). My Mom, Peggy Markel, put on an Indian dinner with the chef of The Kitchen, Hugo Matheson.

The folks over at Food And Wine magazine decided they love my Mom almost as much as I do. They decided they love her so much that they gave her a 14-page spread in their latest issue. They wrote about her latest trip to the Rajasthan region of India.

My Mom has been conducting culinary tours all over Italy and Morocco for almost 15 years. She knows those places like the back of her hand. She even has an apartment in the middle of Florence. She has been to India exactly once.

Knowing my Mother, I’m sure she already has India on lock-down. I wouldn’t be surprised if she knew every one of the over one billion Indians personally. The blue-eyed Southerner has an unmatched talent for discovering food, culture and the people whom best personify that. She has befriended some of the most guarded people in the world with a couple of smiles. Her passion for food is readily apparent. Being the one of the lucky few that has eaten her meals on a nightly basis for years, I know her talent as a cook.
This is why I knew going to The Kitchen on my night off would be well worth it. Hugo and the rest of the kitchen staff cooked dishes straight from the pages of Food And Wine. With the assistance of the one and only Peggy Markel, they perfected them.

I had been to the test dinner at my mother’s house. It was good. But, it left me wondering how The Kitchen would make it better. Would they have a sacred cow out front for a little bit of authenticity? I had the right idea, but wrong animal. In the end they did something that is expected of this “greenest restaurant in the West.” They bought a lamb from our local friends at Cure Organic Farm. As soon as I heard that was on the table, it immediately whet my appetite. The lamb dishes were the freshest, and my personal favorite of the night. Also, they had Mauritzio, the head Baker from Udi’s, make the naan bread. The food was stupendous. I ate more than my fair share of food, with no concern for my waistline (Have you ever seen a fat Indian? Neither have I).

The wine flowed like the Ganges and went with the food like Gandhi to non-violence. Karim, the in-house sommelier, chose a white wine from Movia and a red wine from France. The bar made Chai Martinis as an aperativo. My sister is allergic to dairy and had hers with soymilk. The tables were adorned with rose petals, candles and some other stuff. Décor is not my area of expertise, but it looked beautiful. Bollywood style dancers were the only things missing from the whole experience.

The myth, the woman, the legendary Kate Lacroix made the whole thing happen behind the scene. Kate is worth her weight in rubies. I know a lot of you don’t know Kate. She is a local Boulder publicist. She is the one that tied all the threads together to make a wonderful dinner. Lacroix matched the talents of Peggy Markel and Hugo Matheson. She introduced my mom to Food and Wine and made the article happen.  She is the guardian angel of the whole shebang, or maybe the guardian Shiva. Most importantly, she understands what my mom is doing with company and has been a great ambassador for her philosophy.

I have eaten Indian food all over the world. Last night was the best. Before last night I never really wanted to go to India…but now I see it in my future. Bring on the Taj Mahal, bring on the people, and most of all bring on the culinary adventure! Or, maybe some just some hot Bollywood dancers?

 Graham Markel is a natural writer. He’s written extensively about his travels and adventures, and we hope to publish more of ’em. As long as he spellchecks ’em, first.



Excerpt via Charlie Papazian:


…It started innocently enough as a simple invitation to join long time friend and neighbor Peggy Markel as she hosted a Four course family style Indian dinner with wine pairings at the renown Kitchen Restaurant  in Boulder, Colorado….

…The occasion was to celebrate Peggy’s “Simply Indian” feature in the February issue of Food & Wine Magazine .  Having founded her company in 1992 Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures  has found success with connecting cuisine, culture and lifestyle in such exotic settings as Tuscany,Amalfi , Morocco,  SicilyElba and other areas of the world.

I have to reveal too, that her family was the second to join the membership of the American Homebrewers Association in 1978 when I founded the organization…The culinary origin of the food we were served was from the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, where Peggy has recently researched her itinerary for a new12-day trip she’ll launch in October.  The food came onto the table like a bountiful tsunami.  I tasted, compared, contrasted and settled down.

I discovered some interesting things.  The full malt flavor of Victory Prima Pils   paired consistently well with the cereal, vegetable and legume dished: cilantro corn fritters,three lentil dalspiced millet with onions and stewed okra with tomatoes.  The earthy grainy tones, the sweet corn and the cumin, coriander themed spice married magnificently with both the malt and hoppy character while the effervescence and quenching light-medium body freshened the palate.

The delicate and light bodied coriander spice, orange peel and yeast infused Avery Rascal, a Belgian-style witbier  was everything but an idle accompaniment with the grilled lemon spiced quail and spinach with creamy yogurt.  Returning to the coriander-cumin spiced lentils the witbier offered an entertaining drama of similar characters.

Last but certainly not least, Chimay Blue was withstood and refreshed the palate to the stronger flavored servings of yogurt marinated lamb kebabs, lamb keema as well as the rich, creamy spinach with yogurt.  In the end...for the rest, click on his blog on The Examiner.

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