Tips for your Best Wine Tasting Experience

There’s more to a wine than its taste and color. Apart from the look and taste, the smell or aroma of a wine can also help you distinguish if it is of truly great quality. According to Wine Mag, there are several factors that may affect your assessment of a wine when tasting it. “Cooking smells, perfumes, even pets can destroy your ability to get a clear sense of a wine’s aromas. A glass that is too small, the wrong shape, or smells of detergent or dust can also affect the wine’s flavor,” the article said.

To learn more about how to effectively taste wines, I’ve listed a few tips below:

Color and clarity
Blogger and wine connoisseur Stacy Slinkard suggested that you “pour a glass of wine into a suitable wine glass. Take a good look at the wine. Tilt the glass away from you and check out the color of the wine from the rim edges to the middle of the glass (it’s helpful to have a white background – either paper, napkin or a white tablecloth).” Additionally, an aged red wine normally has distinctive orange tinges as opposed to that of a younger red wine. Older white wines, however, are darker than younger variants.

“To get the best whiff of the wine’s aroma, spend a good 10 seconds swirling the glass with some vigor. This allows the alcohol to volatize and will lift the wine’s innate scents towards your nose,” shares information website

If you are unsure which wine to pick up for dinner, aromas can give you a hint. The M&S Flaxbourne Pinot Grigio 2011, for instance, goes perfectly with chicken and most light pasta dishes. The wine is intensely aromatic, with a hint of floral and citrus notes, complementing the light taste of most chicken and southern pasta dishes. You wouldn’t want to pair a strong wine such as a Tikves Vranec Merlot with a spicy or heavily flavored dish, as their tastes may contrast each other.

The overall taste of a wine depends on the combination of the flavors and aromas, which is why it is imperative not to skip the smelling procedure of wine tasting. To know if a wine tastes great or not, keep in mind these following characteristics from

Tannin: The unpleasant flavor usually comes from grape skins and seeds. It is important to the finish of a wine. Most obvious in reds. Can taste astringent, hard, dry or soft.

Acidity: Gives the wine crispness and freshness without which the wine is flat and sour.

Fruitiness: Intensity is dependent on the variety, growing conditions and winemaking techniques.

Sweetness: Comes from the wine’s fruit flavors as well as any fermented grape sugars left in the wine. If there is no perceived sweetness, a wine is “dry.”

Body fullness or thinness: A function of both alcohol and glycerol.

With these tried and tested tips, you are sure to enjoy your wine tasting experience.


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Chef’s Boardroom Barrel Tasting Event

On Tuesday, April 23rd, Chef personally invited 30 guests to join him for the opportunity to taste a series of Pinot Noirs from the Pali Wine Company’s Single-Vineyard Designate Series. These wines each came from a small section of the vineyard and had small production quantities of around 50-70 cases each. It was a chance for Chef’s guests to try some unique and limited wines, and for Chef to flex his culinary muscles. All who attended this exclusive, first in the series of invitation only events at Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room had an exciting evening.

Our host for the evening was Steve Grass from Pali Wine Company. Steve works out of Pali’s Chicago offices and made the trip to Indianapolis specifically for this dinner. He shared his vast knowledge of the wines with the guests in the intimate setting of Chef Joseph’s Boardroom. The wines that Steve brought were all 2010 vintage Pinot Noirs from the West Coast. Chef then paired each with one of his amazing culinary creations.

We started with the 2010 Shea Vineyards Pinot Noir. This was a classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – full fruit and the anticipated earthiness. Chef paired this lovely wine with a creation of Mushroom and Bacon Duxelles over Israeli Couscous with a Sundried Cherry infused Oil. Perfectly matched and amazing flavor!

We moved to the Sonoma Coast for the second Pinot Noir from the Durrell Vineyards. The wine was much bolder than the first and needed some good fat to enhance its flavor. Chef chose a Duck Tenderloin Potpie. Yum!

The third course took us to the Santa Rita Hills and the Cargassachi Vineyard. When the guests tasted this wine there was an audible gasp (and lots of “wows!”). An amazing Pinot Noir was at hand. Full and smooth, it needed to be paired with a winning dish. So, Chef offered Grilled Salmon, Sautéed Foie Gras, Strawberries, and a Vanilla Butter Sauce. More gasps from the guests as this dish was presented, then the room fell silent. The pairing was culinary nirvana!

And there were two courses to go!

The meat course was an Herb Risotto served with a Bleu Cheesed Crusted Lamb Chop in a Cognac Demi. Again, wow! This was one beautiful dish that needed a beautiful wine. The Bluffs Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley tasted as though it was bottled just for the lamb!

And finally, a dessert course ended the night. The wine was the FIddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir (back to the Russian River Valley) and the dessert was a Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Crème Brulee. Chef needed something in the dish to enhance the earthiness and body of the wine, so he finished the dessert with a touch of Hickory Sea Salt.
The energy of the room was electric as the final wine was poured. Steve from Pali was amazed by how well Chef’s dishes complimented the wines and wanted to take many of Chef’s recipes back to Pali! No one left hungry!

Everyone had the chance to purchase some of the wine from the few remaining cases that were on hand – I did!

We are planning to host another small vineyard tasting in the future, and see what Chef can come up with to wow us again!

The next time you see Chef, ask about receiving a personal invitation to our next event!

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Chef Joseph’s Useless Wine Factoids

Useless Wine Factoid

Useless Wine Factoid #1:

The early Church declared that alcohol was an inherently good gift of God to be used and enjoyed. While individuals might choose not to drink, to despise alcohol was heresy.

Proudly doing the Lord’s work since November 2011!

Useless Wine Factoid #2:

A beer lover or enthusiast is called a cerevisaphile.
A wine lover or aficionado is called an oenophile.

I prefer to call them friend.

Useless Wine Factoid #3:

In our Bicentennial Year of 1976, the world was shocked when two Napa Valley wines bested the top French wines in Paris at a blind tasting judged entirely by Frenchmen,
all wine experts!
Over three decades later, it is now only surprising when French wines win at similar events.

Two words people: Freedom Fries.

Useless Wine Factoid #4:

The Manhattan cocktail (Whiskey and Sweet Vermouth) was invented by Winston Churchill’s Mother.

My Mother? She liked the Amaretto.

Useless Wine Factoid #5:

Contrary to belief, smelling a Cork reveals little about a wine. Instead, look for a date or other identifying info; look for mold, cracking or breaks to reveal truths about the wine.

Speaking of Corks, someone who constantly talks about wine is called a “Cork-tease”. Just sayin’.

Useless Wine Factoid #6:

Once opened, a bottle of wine will stay palatable five to 15 times longer if it’s stored in a refrigerator rather than at room temperature.  Also, if you want to keep Champagne bubbly in the bottle after opening, drop a spoon in the bottle and refrigerate.  This will keep it bubbly for an extra six hours!

If you have questions about boxed wines, God help you…

Useless Wine Factoid #7:

Sacramental wine is available as Red, White or Amber.  The only style no producer appears to make:  Sparkling.

Bubbly would be like offering a bagel instead of a wafer…

Useless Wine Factoid #8

According to a study by Moet and Chandon, there are 25,000,000 bubbles in a bottle of Champagne.

The study cost $7,000,000, of which I have received only a minor portion to pass this information along to you.


Useless Wine Factoid #9

Researchers say they are only 12 to 18 months away from perfecting a system to prune grapevines using a Robot.

There is also, a Wine Tasting Robot.  When a reporter stuck his hand in it’s mouth he was identified as Bacon.

A fond “Welcome” to our wine picking, pork loving Robot Overlords!

Useless Wine Factoid #10

When wine and food are paired together, they have “synergy” or a third flavor beyond what either the food or drink offers alone.

When you add music and friends, invite me!

Useless Wine Factoid #11

The prohibitionists in the early 1900’s fought to remove any mention of wine from school texts, Greek and Roman literature, the United States Pharmacopoeia and to prove Biblical praises of wine were for unfermented grape juice.

Temperance anyone?  I didn’t think so.

Useless Wine Factoid #12

Plato argued that the minimum drinking age should be 18 and then wine in moderation may be tasted until 31.  When a man reaches 40, he may drink as much as he wants to cure the “crabbedness of old age”.

In other words, Plato argued that you should get off my back!

Useless Wine Factoid #13

The first known reference to a specific wine vintage was made in 70 A.D. by the Roman Historian Pliny the Elder who rated 121 B.C. as a vintage “of the highest excellence”.  It was almost 200 years old!

My wines shelf life is like, a week!   Geesh!

Useless Wine Factoid #14

European wines are named after their geographic locations (e.g., Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot and Bordeaux) while non-European wines (e.g., Pinot Noir and Merlot) are named after different grape varieties.

Still, I think Walla Walla wine flows right off the tongue!

Useless Wine Factoid #15

Today, screw caps are replacing corks on more than just inexpensive bottles of wine. Currently, screw caps seal 75 percent of Australian wines and 93 percent of New Zealand wines, and they’re gaining popularity in all countries, including here in the U.S.

Screw it!

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Wow, Chef Joseph’s First Year Anniversary Blow-out!

So many of our friends came out to see our Special Guest, Molly Meeker of Meeker Vineyards during the 1st night of our 1 year Anniversary weekend. It was great to have Michel Pascal, owner of Carol Company, along to help with the hosting duties!

Tom Forman & John Mays with Molly Meeker

We decided to use the special night as a thank you to the community for all their support, so Chef Joseph put together auction items ranging from Ice Cream to Jewelry, Tapas Dinners to very special Bottles of Wine all donated by dear friends. Molly Meeker even donated a dinner for 20 at Meeker Vineyards along with great quantities of wine! Chef Joseph played the part of Tasmanian Devil running around getting the courses of food out while Molly assisted as Hostess with the Mostess giving descriptions of her families wines and vineyards.

In typical fashion, Molly also told awesome stories from her days of working with the legendary Norman Lear, her husband Charlie, Academy Award Winning Director, producing such movies as Golden Child, Witness, Romeo and Juliet, Hitcher and only a couple dozen more, and Charlie’s unexpected purchase of the Winery. Molly and Chef played off each other as Chef auctioned the items.

Chef finished the evening thanking all of the staff for their hard work and of course those crazy boys from Table 34 at Chef’s past place for putting Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room together.

In the end, Chef and Molly working the room raised over $13,300 for Little Red Door Cancer Agency. Chef personally thanked every one from the bottom of his heart, had a couple glasses of wine with all his friends and closed the evening.

Please continue the giving at

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Our 1st Anniversary: From Concept to Fruition

When Tom and I first started talking about our concept for a restaurant (project Green Room), it was well over 3 years ago. We thought we would get all our ducks-in-a-row and open it “possibly around 2020”.

The Green Room Business Concept

In our travels, we have been to a great number of cabarets across the country, and we miss them when we are back home again in Indiana. That is why we would like to bring the experience home via The Green Room. Simply put, The Green Room is a cabaret that serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and local entertainment to its patrons.
We will serve a selection of finely designed small plate items for lunch and dinner that are local and sustainable wherever possible. The menu will be rotated seasonally to keep things fresh and current. Brunch will consist of traditional fare with a special flair.
The bar will feature fine wines that are available by the bottle or by the glass. We will explore the art of the brew-master by featuring an array of beverages from our excellent selection of local breweries.
We will encourage the arts in Indianapolis by providing a cabaret stage for local talent. This, in turn, will create a gathering space for the artist community, a place to meet and discuss the arts at home.
Clientele will vary widely, but will be primarily directed toward the local downtown residents, the arts community, the theatre going public and the tourist with an eye toward the arts.
The location will feature a contemporary décor, a great patio space and a fabulous floor plan. It resides in an excellent location that is adjacent to many local arts venues and sits on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

Sometimes things don’t happen exactly the way you expect them.

In 2011, when we found that our favorite Chef, Joseph Heidenreich, was available, The Connoisseur Room with its rich musical history was empty, my other business seemed to be in capable hands and our financial advisors liked our plans, we decided to go for it!

Our official, Lunch Only, soft opening in mid-November of 2011, featured 2 weeks with ½ of our sales going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Indiana and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. We believe strongly in giving back to our community!

The challenges have been great, but the response was overwhelming. Our first reviews were from our guests and were quickly followed by an amazing response by the press with Headlines like; Chef Joseph Offers a Great Food Experience at The Connoisseur Room – November, 18, 2011, Chef Joseph’s Adds Some Elegance to Downtown Lunch – November 25, 2011, Chef Joseph’s Provides Sophisticated Dining – December 21, 2011, 2011 in Review: The Best in Food- December 28, 2011, Candidate For Indy’s Best Power Lunch – January 15, 2012, Heidenreich resurfaces at Chef Joseph’s – January 21, 2012, Chef Joseph’s: High-quality Comfort Food – January 25, 2012, 22 Indianapolis Businesses You Should Know – January 18, 2012, Chef Joseph’s is newest downtown hot spot for dining and entertainment – April 9th, 2012, Chef Joseph’s offers Downtown Indy dining decadence – April 9th, 2012, Five Things I Love: Sharon Gamble – April 12th, 2012.

All of these articles were incredible honors and made us feel as though we were on the right track, but being rated one of Indianapolis Best New Restaurants -2012
- May 1st, 2012 by Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, receiving Avanti Ratings, Locally Outstanding Selected and Deserved – A+ Rating – September 6, 2012 and Nuvo NewsWeekly’s – Dining 2012 – Best New Restaurant
- October 11, 2012 on the same day that we were reviewed by Midwest Living Magazine Review
- October 11, 2012 made us feel like Sally Field at the Oscars, “You like me, you really, really like me!”

Now, I am not tooting my own horn, although I do feel that, on occasion, (like your anniversary) it’s ok. None of this would have been possible without our great diverse, culinary and performing art-loving dinner clientele and our executive lunch crowd. Nor without our corporate supporters and friends who have been patient with us while we establish ourselves. Most definitely not without our incredible management staff, Chef Joseph Heidenreich, Jan Robertson and Kellie Helfenbein who have been there since our first planning meeting or our phenomenal and cohesive staff; Sammy, Juan, Butch, Stephen, Jacob, Mikey, Sara, Robert, John, Rey, Iesha and our newest member Michael, or without our great cast of Cabaret performers headed by Sean Baker.

We are currently ranked very highly on OpenTable which is an unbiased snapshot that is strictly controlled by actual diners. This makes us very proud and we will do whatever possible to live up to your great expectations.

Reviews by customers and critics are great markers, but they are not my favorite moments of the past year. Those involve customer service and the fruition of this vision; our first sold-out dinner, each fantastic Wine Pairing, New Year’s Eve dancing with my partner, the first time unrehearsed and spontaneous music happened, the first Open Mic night, the period when our service staff began to make money, the several times guests have shaken my hand and thanked me for what we are doing, every time someone says “My compliments to the Chef” and all the occasions that elicited genuine laughter.

Of course, an Anniversary calls for a celebration so, we celebrate the same way that we did when we opened, by giving back:

Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary!

Thursday, November 15 – “The Meeker Vineyard” Wine Pairing Dinner

Join Chef Joseph’s as we present the hostess with the mostess Molly Meeker, the Owner of Meeker Vineyards as she shares stories of her Vineyard and her years working as a writer for Norman Lear on such shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford & Son,” “One Day at a Time,” among others. 

There will be a live auction for a very special Chef’s Dinner, Wines from Meeker Vineyards and other special items with the proceeds going to the Little Red Door Cancer Agency!
The cost is a mere $60 per person, including tax and gratuity. 
This event is selling quickly, as Meeker is a very popular vineyard with our regulars!

Friday, November 16 – “Open Mic” Night!
Proprietor’s Pick
Sean Baker, the Music Maker is your personal pianist on the Baby Grand. Bring your sheet music and enjoy the adoration that you so richly deserve. With a full bar for liquid courage, it’s all covered. 
The bar opens at 5pm with Open Mic beginning at 7pm.

We continue our One Year Anniversary Celebration with a second night of giving. This time, by purchasing one or more $5.00 raffle ticket at the door, you will be entitled to enjoy all our weekly drink specials on Open Mic night; including 20% off Wines by the Bottle (reserves do not apply), ½ Priced Well Drinks, ½ Priced Martinis and a raffle for tickets to The Cabaret at The Columbia Club, Theatre On The Square, The Phoenix Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Broadway Across America in Indianapolis and more! We will also encourage tipping for your favorite performer. All of the collected tips and funds from the raffle will be donated to The Cabaret at the Columbia Club’s Education Program, which works to encourage and enhance the vocal performance of Musicians in Indianapolis.

Saturday, November 16 – Dinner and Drinks with Nancy Moore and Sean Baker

Presenting our original vision for Chef Joseph’s come to fruition:
Take the NYC atmosphere of The Connoisseur Room, add the Culinary Mastery of Chef Joseph Heidnereich, the Cocktails Extraordinaire of Sara Taylor and the Cabaret Stylings of Sean Baker and Nancy Moore and you’ll see exactly what we were going for.

This is a night for foodies, oenophiles and music lovers. 

We conclude our One Year Anniversary Celebration with a third night of giving. Purchase a raffle ticket for our Wine Pull to win the chance to draw one of several dozen bottles of wine including 4 – $200.00 bottles from Forman Vineyards and William Cole Vineyards. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit our friends at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Indianapolis.

What does the future hold? I can’t wait to see!

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The Thanksgiving Table: 101

Dishing out advice on setting a nice place for friends and family.

It can be a daunting task to host Thanksgiving! So many traditions, so many dishes that simply can’t come up short, so much pressure!

Well, let’s start at the beginning: The Thanksgiving Day Table. A beautiful table can be set without being all “Matchy-Matchy”. Choose your theme. Whether it be colorful, kitschy, period or regional, go for it!
The Thanksgiving TableI chose a natural theme to compliment the décor of my house. I first chose a table runner made of slate tiles from an old construction job I found in the garage. I wanted something natural and appropriate for the setting. Once I had that picked out, I picked everything to go around it. Four standard square tiles run the length of the table with three smaller ones acting as pedestals for votives.

I didn’t have 10 matching plates, so I found some that went together acceptably. Plus I wasn’t looking to spend a lot on themed linens, so I simply used stencils to make leafs cutout of construction paper and arranged them under the plate settings. Besides being fun and playing up the theme, it helped draw the mismatched plates together into a logical theme.

The only linens of any kind on the table are the green napkins with leaf prints to enhance the theme. They are tied with silver leaf Christmas tree ornaments which make a nice gift for your guests to take home.

I don’t like frilly florals, as people have to talk around them, so I used two barely budding Paper-whites to add some life to the table along with some pumpkins and gourds picked up at the farmers market.

Carmel and Chocolate dipped Pears make for a great dessert and place card combination. They really make the table beautiful. After you dip the Pears into melted Carmel and melted Chocolate and let them set up, use a pencil sharpener to sharpen a stick and put it in the Pear’s top. Then cut a slit in the other end of the stick in order to hold the place card, which is made of construction paper and shaped like a Pear leaf. I always like to create a seating chart at large parties to enhance conversation.

Serve wine in a carafe, so you don’t have to worry about impressing your guests with some fancy label. And always go with a buffet. Carving a turkey at a table looks good in the movies, but it is messy and harder than it appears!

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Let’s talk about Fundraising

At Chef Joseph’s our love for service extends beyond the boundaries of The Connoisseur Room. When you love your city and your guests like we do, the love and concern extends outward into your community. We have a number of important organizations that we feel particularly attached to: The Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, Friends of Animal Care and Control, WFYI, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and well, the Arts in Indy in general.

When we work on events for these and other organizations, there are a few things that we find key to the success of the fundraising effort. Mind you, we are not in the business of raising a million dollars!

When you have an active Board and members are connected and concerned, it is easy for them to find10 sponsors for an event. Your fundraising goal determines your sponsorship level. The sponsors may receive advertisement on any promotional materials or press releases, they may also be linked to the event on the event website, and any additional event website that is created. They generally receive “tickets” to the event based upon the sponsorship cost, as well as an additional gift.

Board members should also sell a certain number of “tickets” based upon expected event attendance to the event at a predetermined price. Board members should obtain as many especially interesting silent auction items as possible with a minimum goal set for fund raising from auction sales and recruit a minimum of 4 volunteers that are not attending the event to assist with the management of the silent auction. Board members should also provide printing of all promotional items, including menus and additional items.

You will need a location, food, beverage and staff if you are going for a dining event. At Chef Joseph’s we take the additional steps of assisting in ticket sales for the event, linking and promoting the event on our website and through our social media and publication media contacts. We also assist in providing items for the silent auction, coordinating the auction, event and Board motivation and timelines.

If you can achieve these action items, you can achieve your goals in fundraising and do some real good works for a cause that matters to you. Take an active role in your community!

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International Wine and Food Society

Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room had the pleasure of hosting the International Wine and Food Society’s most recent wine dinner, featuring some incredible wines from Spain. “Spain is near and dear to my heart,” said Chef Joseph Heidenreich, “so I was thrilled to create a dinner for the International Wine and Food Society built around some amazing wines from this part of the world. I have many friends in the village of Toro, which is known for its cured meat, wine and cheese. Cooking Spanish food with a twist is truly exciting and fun!”

The Chef Joseph’s staff worked tirelessly to get everything ready for such a pristine service – from set-up of the dining room, reviews of the menus, planning and preparation of the food, to the execution of the evening – the team came together for an amazing evening of wine and food.

Jeff Epler, one of the distinguished IWFS Dinner guests said, “The Connoisseur Room definitely speaks for itself! The service was excellent, food and wine pairings great, and the camaraderie priceless! Jiles Hoyt, a long-time IWFS member and fan of Chef Joseph’s monthly wine dinners came to the pre-tasting meal, at which the dishes were tasted and approved for the big night. The first course, a wonderful and light beet and tomato gazpacho, was a dish he just couldn’t get enough of. Not only did he come back the day after the pre-tasting event to buy a container of it to enjoy, he made sure that I made several extra servings so that he could come back to the restaurant several times the following week to have it for lunch!

Dan Weisman simply kept smiling at Chef Joseph, exclaiming that when he cooks for events such as this, his talent really shines through, while Mo Reis felt that the pairings were absolutely fantastic and Chuck Lindstrom was gushing over the lamb stew.

Chef Heidenreich was incredibly happy to see all of the hard work pay off, in the smiles on the faces around the room. “Working with great wines makes the food pairing process such a joy. Being able to sit and enjoy a meal and speak to a group of people who are genuinely interested in the wines and the pairing process was, in a word, awesome!”

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The Connoisseur Room Stage

In its origins, a Cabaret was usually found in France below a building where the poor and undesirable would frequent to escape the realities of the outside world.  There was music, singing and dancing.  Additional artists came later, such as jugglers, raconteurs, singers with original music, actors, etc.

As Cabaret’s popularity grew it became a launching pad for unknown talent, allowing them to find an audience, and formerly renowned artists to regain their popularity.  It was a place where one would take a mistress, where deals were made and dignitaries would go to be entertained.  These establishments soon became high-end nightclubs with elegant decor, food and champagne, orchestras and for the enjoyment of the elite.  The caliber of talent became essential. The wealthy and the higher society were now being catered to.

Today, there are rooms all over the world for people who enjoy the closeness and intimacy of Cabaret.

In Indianapolis we are taking note from the traditions of cabaret with clubs such as The Cabaret at The Columbia Club and the city’s newest addition, Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room.

Chef Joseph’s is committed to bringing our guests local Indianapolis talent that they may not be exposed to elsewhere.  Our talented repertoire currently includes such amazing divas as the nationally renowned Brenda Williams, the always-vivacious Nancy Moore, the consummate entertainer Wendy Reed, the arresting Barbara Randall, the sought-after Keleen Strutz and Heather Ramsey.

In the next month, The Connoisseur Room stage will see the introduction of Jeff DeHerdt, D.A. Young, Roger Schmelzer and the album release party and Indianapolis premier of “Scaling Giants!”  Exciting things are happening, including more from our fan favorites at “An Innocent Band” and “Isis.”

One way we keep things fresh is by providing local talent with an “Open Mic” night on The Connoisseur Room stage.  This allows us to invite, review and discover new local talent to bring to our loyal patrons.

We feel very fortunate to be bringing a new concept for the arts to Indianapolis and are increasingly excited about the outpouring of support for what we are doing.  The cabaret entertainment model complements the elegant atmosphere and exciting food at Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room perfectly.

To see some of the performers who attended our last “Open Mic” night, click on some of the links below to watch their performances.  Make your reservation to join us for our next Open Mic Night on the April 20th, and keep an eye on the “Upcoming Events” section of our website for all of the musical happenings at Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room.   We look forward to entertaining you!

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February 2012 Wine Pairing Dinner Pre-Tasting Event

What’s the saying?   Great food, great wine and good friends.  Well, that describes  our pre-tasting event for our upcoming February Wine Pairing Dinner at Chef Joseph’s.  It’s really nice when you have friends with really great palates that you can chew the fat with over some incredible wines.

Amy, Jessica, Cari, Allison, Kelly, Neal, Andy, Rob, Sean and Lee all threw their thoughts on the wines and food into the ring, while I drafted what promises to be a wonderful wine pairing event.  Our thoughts – keep the pours to 2oz. or be sure you have a D.D., as these wines go down easy!

Wine Tasting at Chef Joseph's

A pre-tasting event to determine the perfect dish for each wonderful wine at February's California Dreamin' Wine Dinner.

 First Course

Wine: 2010 Fog Head Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey, CA

Notes: Amy commented that it would complement the freshness of an oyster.  Cari had recently eaten my Goat Cheese with Nacho Cheese Crust and thought it would be nice and fun. Neil and myself were thinking about New Zealand mussels.  And to play off of the pear and apple notes, a chilled jelly.  Nice!

Final dish: Nacho Cheese Fried Oyster and Chilled Mussel with Apple & Pear Jelly

Second Course

Wine: 2009 Black Stallion Chardonnay, Napa, CA

Notes: Cari was thinking of my old spring roll from California Café.  Amy was all over the lighter Vietnamese style.  Made me think of my old friend Yanni who worked with me at the Dallas Mandalay Hotel.  Neil thought I should keep it original with fish sauce.  Rob thought the twist of cheese was “cool.”

Final dish: Vietnamese Crab & Gorgonzola Spring Roll with Thai Fish Sauce

 Third Course

Wine:  2009 Irony Merlot, Napa, CA

Notes: As was talked about the spice and the red and black fruits in the wine, Allison and Neil were all about the veal!  I asked about a stuffed roulade.  “Roll it man!” they agreed.   Amy asked about using dates.  I thought maybe chorizo and fig, but the dates won out.

Final dish: Veal Roulade with Date and Chorizo and a Balsamic Glaze

Fourth Course

Wine: 2008 Black Stallion Cabernet, Napa, CA

Notes: Neil brought up his days in France, remembering the cassoulet.  I thought using the Smoking Goose’s duck sausage and confit would be great.  Andy agreed.  So it’s confit for Neil and Viking Lamb for me!

Final dish: Cassoulet with Viking Lamb, Duck Sausage and Confit.


Wine:  2008 Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, CA

Notes: Jessica and Amy were all over the bread pudding idea.  Neil thought berries would be nice, and I went immediately to crème fraiche.  Torching it like a crème brulee.  Now that’s having fun!

Final dish: Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry Crème Fraiche

I look forward to seeing you all at the February Wine Pairing Dinner on Thursday, February 23 at 6 p.m.

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