Friday, August 9, 2013

Down with the Count at the Carlton Restaurant

The Carlton restaurant is consistently one of the best fine dining restaurants in the City.  They also have a killer slate of wine dinners throughout the year.  We attended an interesting one last week featuring Buena Vista winery of Sonoma Valley.  The winery is one of the oldest in the U.S., founded by Count Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman who emigrated to the United States in the 1830's.  The Count introduced European vinticulture techniques to the Sonoma Valley, and created some of the earliest European quality wines in the New World.  In a tale only too familiar in the modern day, the Count was forced out of the operation of his own Buena Vista winery by his investors.  He set off for Nicaragua, where he was intent on making rum and spirits, but dies in a mysterious accident in 1869.

As always, the Carlton's food was spot on, with Executive Chef Simon DeJohn at his best.  My favorite was a braised short rib with beet risotto (and I don't like beets!), and the lamb manicotti, which had a Southwest vibe, almost like a savory lamb enchilada.  The whole meal was fantastic, as is the food there everyday.

That's me pictured with my wife Suzanne, and Carlton proprietor Kevin Joyce and his wife, Maggie.  With us is "The Count," that is, actor George Webber, who plays Count Haraszthy and, at the wine tasting, told his story in first person while in character.  You may think it sounded a little hoaky, but it was like having a floor show to go with your dinner.  It was a fascinating personal story and an interesting look at the birth of wine production in Northern California.

The Buena Vista wines were excellent as well, in particular the new "The Count Founder's Red."

And don't forget that we partner with the Carlton for our Cultural District packages -- the Carlton's limo will take you to and from the theater after your meal.  See here for more details.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Appearing on KDKA TV News

I was featured in a KDKA TV (Pittsburgh CBS Affiliate) news story reported by the Kristine Sorensen on Bridal Brokerage, an Internet outfit that matches couples with cancelled weddings with couples looking to step into their shoes. Kind of a neat concept. The story showed off our Priory Hotel and Grand Hall exceptionally well.

Kristine I thought presented an interesting story highlighting what I think is a win-win-win proposition through Bridal Brokerage.  She is a real professional and truly one of the most down to earth and pleasant people you would ever meet in the media.

Here's a link to the KDKA story.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Really Powerful Day

I was extremely proud to receive this recognition from the Military Families Network.  It is an American flag which had been flown in a drone over Afghanistan.  We received the recognition for a donation that our Priory Hospitality Group had made to MFN to help finance hot weekend breakfasts for service people at a forward operating base in Afghanistan, FOB Sharana.  Pictured are my in the first row are my sons Max, Will, and Charlie, and Mark Mazzarella, who was a civilian adviser at FOB Sharana and who helped organized the hot breakfast program.  In the rear is Lt. Colonel Shauna Hauser, who is the commanding officer of the 1st Recruiting Battalion, U.S. Army, located in Harrisburg, PA.

It was a pleasure and honor to meet. Lt. Colonel Hauser and the other soldiers at this event at the Roberto Clemente Museum.  I was proud to have played a very small part in the festivities, but it does make you remember that there are many soldiers, sailors, Air Force personnel and sailors who are still at risk in eastern Asia, and whom we have to remember with our prayers.  

The event was sponsored by Dwayne Rieder, who owns the museum, and his Engine House 25 Winery, which shares space with the museum (and makes some great wine too).