The truth about the grocery store brands you love (infographic)

Think you know everything there is to know about the brands you love? Maybe not. This infographic (shared by financesonline.com) depicts the reality of the majority ownership of brands in the grocery store aisles. It’s a bit on the salacious side (“dominate”? “disturbing”?) but the information seems sound and pretty interesting. And, if you’re like me, you shop in the produce and fresh protein section more than anything else and might not even care. But it’s good to know. Pass it on.

Read more: The truth about the grocery store brands you love (infographic)

Five tricks that will help you lose weight while still being a foodie

Mixed Nuts

I’m a foodie. Food obsessed. Food experimenter and cook. Food grower. So I’m not talking about tricks like eating 10 grapefruit per day or living on only avocados, although both of those are part of a foodie arsenal. Here are five easy, implement-today additions to your life that will absolutely help you shed pounds. How do I know? Worked for me. It can for you too.

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Wine review: Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast

Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

A wine from Robert Mondavi needs no introduction. Their (in)famous family has been producing wines for decades in Napa Valley and their family feuds filled the gossip columns in wine mags for years. When they were acquired by the behemoth conglomerate Constellation Brands in 2004, I worried if the wine quality which Robert Mondavi so held true would suffer. For a while, I think it did. But this 2013 Sauvignon Blanc impressed me. Pleasantly so.

Read more: Wine review: Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Private Selection

Recipe: Crispy Sea Bass or Mahi Mahi with lemon dill sauce

Crispy Sea Bass

Due to its healthful aspects — high in protein, vitamin B-12 and iron — fish is something I try to eat at least twice a week. It can enliven a boring week of chicken, pork and beef. But it can be challenging to find super fresh fillets that don’t sport the stomach-turning “fishy” taste; frozen is often what I reach for. But you can still find excellent fresh fish at the grocery store and fish counters, however, you must be vigilant — always ask the guy behind the counter to let you smell the fish before it’s wrapped. Even a whiff of fishiness is a good indication it’s been out of the water a while. Your nose will let you know the deal. This recipe calls for either sea bass or Mahi Mahi, but you can use other white fish as well (halibut or cod come to mind). Tilapia isn’t ideal since it’s too thin, and oilier fish like salmon or swordfish won’t work either. You can also half this recipe. To keep the fillets crispy for the next day, store in a plastic container with wax paper on the bottom.

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Visit California wine country: Reserve Lunch at Franciscan Estate Winery

Franciscan Scallops

As someone who has been in the wine trade for many years, I’m privy to plenty of special experiences… wine dinners, library tastings, chef-prepared lunches, etc. Most of the time, these sweet gigs aren’t accessible to the general public. Which I’ve always thought a frickin’ shame. Why shouldn’t a winery provide as much fun to the evangelists who sing praises through social media as much as the guy who recommends the wine at a shop? But that’s how the game is played. At least for now. Exclusivity isn’t the case at Franciscan Estate Winery in Napa Valley.

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Spring vegetable recipes: Three sauces for steamed or roasted asparagus

Fresh Asparagus

Although vegetables have their own fabulous goodness on their own, when you tire of the same ‘ole thing, a simple sauce goes a long way to renewed or increased deliciousness. My favorite spring vegetable is asparagus, a perennial plant related to garlic and onions and native to Asia, Europe and North Africa. It’s super high in fiber and nutrients like vitamins B1 and 2, C, E, K as well as folate, copper and manganese. Enjoy with abandon.

Read more: Spring vegetable recipes: Four sauces for steamed, grilled or roasted asparagus

What to buy at Trader Joe's: The full guide to their food

Trader Joe's Loot

Although it’s been three years since I moved to California, I still wallow in the awesomeness of Trader Joe’s (TJ’s). Their business model of offering only private-branded food and beverage is unique, so you kind of have to test out the merchandise to see what your favorite items are. Not that this is grueling work. They sell an insanely varied line of foods (around 4,000 SKUs), from über gourmet chocolate to some of the best frozen foods you can find. Having the corner on each specialty item appears to be working for them. Based in Monrovia, California outside of Los Angeles (but owned by a German company), TJ’s is privately held and the actual producers of their grocery items remain secret. This is a fantastic story from CNN.com highlighting Trader Joe’s success and reveals some of their inner sanctum. I know my friends in Tampa FL have been anxiously awaiting the opening of their first TJ’s, and I heard there was line snaking around the block when their doors finally unlocked. Wait no longer.

Read more: What to buy at Trader Joe’s: The full guide to their food

Video: Winemaker Mark Beringer on why the 2012 vintage was stellar

Winemaker Mark Beringer being interviewed

The 2012 vintage in Sonoma and Napa was legendary – lauded by many a wine writer as well as those who really know, the winemakers. The red wines from 2012 are starting to hit the shelves and I wanted to find out the real deal on the hype. So I had a chat with Mark Beringer, a fifth generation winemaker at Artesa Winery in Sonoma’s Carneros region who has wine in his veins. I figured this guy would know the scoop.

Read more: Video: Winemaker Mark Beringer on why the 2012 vintage was stellar