When I started this piece, I had a single phrase rolling around in my head — oddball Italian varietals. The word oddball seemed to apply to the quirky nature of a few of recent arrivals, and emphasize them as distinctly not run of the mill.
Then I started reading into them, and I realized my mistake.
Food and drink should engage us in a lively conversation, and foster a spirit of conviviality among our guests. No better chance to reach for that ideal than the extended holiday season. But the task can be daunting. How do you pull it off? Turn to the pros.
Around the shop, when one of us is searching for inspiration or talking through an evening's plans, we tend to crack the spines of a few books and magazines and thumb the pages for clues. It works. These are resources we can hold in our hands, come back to again and again, that help us stay sharp out on the leading edge.