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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Dirty Martinis….Cincinnati Chili and a Night to Remember???

Posted: April 26, 2009
by: Mark Stine

Ok …this is a combo blog with interesting recipes for the last gasps of late winter/and the ongoing chilly springtime we seem to be having in many parts of the country.


After seven months of a business travel freeze, courtesy of the economic downturn of 2008-2009, I had a sudden trip to New York City come up. Well this gave me the ability to follow up on a “reunion” with coworkers from Intergold, the marketing arm of the chamber of Mines of South Africa, where we had all worked back in the early 80s. My former Associate Laura had actually tracked me down via Google, after 20 some years and found me of all places through the GourmetStation blog listing and after getting hold of Kathy “Hubie,” another coworker we were finally able to make the reunion happen for this planned trip.


The weather was chilly…the sky kind of grey…but our hostess for the event “Hubie” had planned on Dirty Martinis as a warm up drink with appetizers. I was put in charge as bartender for the night and after being introduced to the shaker...the Grey Goose vodka and a bottle of Dirty Martini olive juice, the stage was set.


Many people prefer Gin for their more traditional Martinis…but when using Vodka…one is correctly to refer to the drink as a Vodka martini. Dirty Martinis for me are a perfect choice as I often buy jars of olives, pour out the juice and replace with vodka to let the olives marinate in the vodka, which can also provide tasty appetizers.


Dirty Martini Recipe


2 oz. Vodka or Gin
3/4 oz. Dirty Martini Olive Juice
1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth

Chill a Swank martini glass in the freezer or add ice and water to get it "very" cold or use a silver shaker with ice and make the best darn Dirty Martini you have ever had. For an added flourish, check out the following website for some really cool contemporary Martini glasses

( http://swankmartini.com/home.htm )




Needless to say our happy little reunion trio knocked back a number of these Dirty Martinis…which led to some “Dirty Dancing” ...a popular Patrick Swayze movie that came out in the 80s and we were on our way. It can be said that some among us were feeling no pain and the memories from our former working environment 29 years ago came flooding back.


Kathy, who I had always affectionately referred to as “Hubie” from a former name- Huber, prepared a wonderful comfort food menu to go along with the Vodka Martinis. Since I don’t have her special meat loaf recipe….I thought I would substitute a regional “delicacy” for the purposes of this blog from my own hometown region.


Cincinnati is noted for its Skyline Chili and local hometown derivations. This following recipe was given to me in 2006 by my Aunt and she has used this recipe for over 50 years!





Cincinnati Chili recipe from Audrey Ankenbauer 

2 lbs ground beef

1- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 quart of water

3 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar

3 medium diced onions

4 tablespoons of chili powder

1 teaspoon of red pepper

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the above ingredients till the beef is smooth.


Put in a cheesecloth bag 2 garlic “toes”, pickle spices from a small box or tin, red pepper and bay leaves and tie it all up tight and add to the mixture.


Cook the mixture for 3 hours along with the cheesecloth ingredients and if you like a more traditional chili, you can add red kidney beans. When you are finished cooking you can also serve with oyster crackers as a garnishment on the side.




The preferred serving style  for Cincinnati chili is often served over spaghetti and topped with cheese, onion and hot sauce and variations are referred to as “two-way”, “three-way” or “four-way chili.” You can Google Cincinnati chili at Wikipedia and learn its greater history and origins, ethnic derivations designed to expand the culinary base in Cincinnati history.


According to the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the local populace consumes over two million pounds of chili each year! Combine that with Dirty Martinis, a DVD of Dirty Dancing …drink Martinis and commence your own Dirty Dancing and you then have a fun filled evening for any rainy chilly night!

Dapo Alade

Posted: April 19, 2009
by: T.Alexander

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to see the world through the eyes of an artist. Are they born with insight – an ability to capture a glimpse of truth? Or are they conditioned through experience, as many of us are, to develop and channel ordinary talents? Perhaps both. Let me introduce you to Dapo Alade, his experience and his art. You decide for yourself.


Dapo Alade


Many highly creative people cannot limit their expression to a single canvass and Dapo is one of them. His passions extend beyond visual arts to peace efforts, forums designed to predict the Mayan calendar of 2012 and matters of our spiritual nature. It should come as no surprise that I met Dapo on a spiritual network of people studying A Course in Miracles. These efforts are Dapo’s output. So what then is the input, the source of these efforts?


To start with, that beautiful word “diversification”. Dapo is African, so his life experience and art experience started in Africa, extended to Europe and finally reached to the US (currently Atlanta GA). Dapo has over 30 years experience in advertising and marketing with visual communication skills including audiovisual, photography and illustrative drawings.


Art is communication. In the private esoteric world of the artist, art is a chat about the nature of reality; one’s perception of truth. However, in the public world of commerce, the chat is purely and simply about “persuasion”. Dapo’s global perspective, international experience and people skills allow him to be a master in both worlds; a rare talent.


So if you’re in the market to invest in art, engage a highly experienced artist in an existing commercial project or create a new and exciting project that needs the perspective of an artist, Dapo would like to meet you.






Sources To Learn More About Dapo Alade






The Gift of Wine

Posted: April 9, 2009
by: T.Alexander

This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips. Courtney writes about the grants for culinary. and she welcomes your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80@ gmail.com


The Gift of Wine Never Goes Out of Style

Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, graduation – let’s face it, as long as the recipient is of legal age to consume alcohol the gift of wine never goes out of style.  And just because you’re going to reapply an old favorite doesn’t mean you can’t do it with some new pizzazz! 


It’s all in the presentation.

There’s more to giving a classy bottle of wine as a gift than just slapping a bow on the bottle and leaving it on someone’s counter.  One great way to really endow the wine you’re giving with special meaning is to include a hand written message about a particular bottle’s history.  You don’t have to buy expensive wine for it to taste great – that’s something everyone should know by now.  But the same goes with small batches of wine from smaller wineries. 

Explore your local area and interview the folks who make the wine.  You’ll find that they are more than willing to share the passion that goes into each squeezed grape.  A little quote from someone personally involved with the bottle you are giving away can really drive home your message.

The gift that keeps on giving, or for as long as it fits your budget!

Nowadays wine sellers are on to the notion that not all of us have thousands of dollars to keep our celebrated friends bathing in expensive wine.  To the contrary, almost all online wine sellers that offer repeated deliveries of seasonal wines offer multiple options to gift the opulent liquid. 

At www.goldmedalwine.com, a favorite of celebrities and the common folk alike, they offer terms as short as one single delivery, a delivery every three months for a year, or every month if you wish.  The choice is completely up to you, and the caliber of wine is also available for upgrade.  Are grandma and grandpa celebrating that Golden anniversary?  Then you may want to upgrade to the wines of the Diamond series which can go for as much as $189.00 a month!  Of course, the sky is the limit when it comes to hand picked tastes and mom and pop vineyards.

Some of my favorites 

Enthused?  Here are some favorite sites that have pleased many and offer lots of reasonable terms.  One of the easiest is to check out www.wine.com and search through their selection of wine clubs.  You may have to do a little homework but if you have an idea of the particular style or taste you’re looking for one great feature is lots of relevant reviews. 

Want to delve into other realms and clubs and pair them with the wine you’re giving?  Check out www.greatclubs.com where you can find clubs on everything from smoked sausage to cigars.  The possible pairings are endless and can have those on your list just counting the days till their next shipment.