Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 Stephane Aviron Morgon Cote du Py

I recently jumped on the NY-scene bandwagon and experienced The Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren's new supper-club located below the new flagship store on 5th Ave.  My friend Sarah managed to wrangle a reservation for 9:45pm on a particularly rainy Saturday night.  We headed uptown, excited to see what EVERYONE in town has been talking about.

I'm sad to say I was rather disappointed.  The food was fine, some of it really quite good, the atmosphere was good, the dining room is beautiful if not a little staged, but the service left something to be desired, and unfortunately overshadowed all other aspects of the meal.  This article pretty much sums our experience and is hysterically entertaining.  

Perhaps my favorite part of the whole experience was the bar on the first level.  The beautiful girl clothed in a signature tweed hacking jacket ushers you in to what feels like a semi-private club.  We were told our table wasn't quite ready so we made ourselves comfortable and ordered a round.  The Moscow mule came in a particularly shiny copper cup, matching back to the beautiful copper bar.  The best were the salty bar snacks they bring you in addition to your drinks:  mixed nuts, warmed and spiced with rosemary, potato chips and fried olives!


After a 45-minute wait, our table was finally ready.  We were ushered downstairs into the main dining room.  Quickly after sitting down they brought us these gems.  Popovers with Gruyere and caramelized onion, delish!


Then on to the wine, and the focus of this Wine Wednesday (you knew I'd get there eventually).  I went with a 2011 Stephane Aviron Morgon Cote du Py, 100% Gamay from the Beaujolais region in France.  However, the waiter brought out the 2012, which I called him out on, and was met with a snarky remark about how the restaurant had been going through "cases" of the stuff and the wine list just hadn't been updated.  Just checked online, wine list still isn't updated......fine.  First strike in pleasant service, strike two was a command that we had promptly 10 minutes to order until the kitchen closed (it wasn't our fault that you sat us 45 minutes after our reservation time when there appeared to be several open tables once we did finally enter the dining room).  

Anyways, back to the wine.  Once we got our order settled, and got over the different year debacle, the wine was tasty!  Full of ripe, juicy red fruit, good acidity, touch of earthy/mineral notes.  It was pleasing as pie with our corned-beef sandwich (a Mr. Lauren favorite).  


All in all we had a fun Saturday night uptown, and ended up closing down the restaurant.  While I wouldn't rush back for dinner any time soon, the bar would make for a nice after-work drink (if only I still worked uptown).  I'll certainly be looking out for this wine in my local wine shop downtown.

Purchased:  The Polo Bar
Price:  $18.95 retail
Would Buy Again:  Yes

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cookie Butter Cookies aka Crack Cookies

I apologize, I've been sitting on this recipe for a while now!  I made these for Thanksgiving dessert and they were a huge hit, "like crack" I'm pretty sure my aunt proclaimed.  Let's be real, anything with cookie butter is bound to be a winner.  Has anyone tried the cookie butter cheesecake bites at TJ's??  I've noticed them in the freezer section, but I've restrained myself….for now.

These are chewy, gooey, chocolaty with a hint of spice from the speculoos.  It's supposed to snow today in the Northeast.  Let's stay home, and eat alllllll the cookies!  





Cookie Butter Crack Cookies
Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, 1/4 brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 egg yoke
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet, I think dark would be yummy)
1 1/2 cups cookie butter
flaked sea salt such as Maldon for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat over to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a bowl.  Set aside.

Brown 10 tbsp of butter in a small pot over medium heat.  Whisk until color is medium brown and you get a nutty aroma.  Be sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Pour butter into bowl of electric mixer.  Mix in remaining 4 tbsp of butter until dissolved.  Add in both sugars, salt and vanilla.  Mix to combine.  Let sit 3 minutes, then mix again for 30 seconds.  Do this 2 more times.

Mix in flour mixture until completely combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Make an indent in the cookie and stuff with a teaspoon of cookie butter.  Fold the dough around the cookie butter and roll into a smooth ball.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies will look slightly underdone but will firm up when cooling.

Remove from over and place on wire rack to cool.

Devour!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 Acustic Cellars Acustic Blanc

This week, I have a little something Spanish for your Wine Wednesday.  

As I waited for my red-eye flight in Vegas, I treated myself to dinner at Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan.  

The wine (and the food) were yummy!  I asked the bartender for his recommendation, after describing my affinity for crisp, clean chardonnays, he recommended a glass of the 2012 Acustic Blanc from the Montsant region in Spain, part of Catalonia, neighboring Priorat and influenced by a predominately Mediterranean climate.  The winery's name, Acustic Cellar is a direct reference to acoustic music, and their general philosophy of letting the wine be a pure expression of the grape itself.  

The wine is a blend of Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Garnacha Gris, and Pansal, not something I drink everyday for sure.  Aged in small oak barrels for 3 months provided structure and a slightly heavier weight, but not overpowering in any way.  The fruit truly was the star!


It paired nicely with perhaps the best cauliflower dish I've ever had, sauteed with dates and olives, yum!


The giant pans of paella roasting away in the center of the restaurant were quite the spectacle, but weren't exactly conducive to solo-dining.  Next time!


This wine made me excited for my upcoming trip to Barcelona!  Ole!

Wine:  2012 Acustic Cellars Acustic Blanc
Purchased:  Jaleo Restaurant
Price:  $14/glass, $18 retail bottle
Would Buy Again:  Yes

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vegas Baby Yeahhhh

Back in October my BFF and former-NYC partner-in-crime, Emily, and I planned a girls getaway to Vegas.  Emily had never been, I hadn't been since my days as a state champ equestrian where our awards ceremony took place at the lovely Circus Circus.  That was in the 8th grade so I was long overdue for experiencing Viva Las Vegas as a proper adult.  

But the main draw for this trip was a pilgrimage to honor our 16-year old selves, to see Britney Spears perform at Planet Hollywood.  

We recruited a few more gals for a #partyoffive girls weekend getaway.  

We stayed at the Aria, had a classy, blanc des blancs and chardonnay fueled dinner at Giada's and tequila and taco fest at Cabo Wabo, toured the shops at Bellagio, enjoyed some pool time, danced to Britney, hung with David Guetta at XS, brought our A-game to the endless brunch buffets, and I capped off the weekend spending six hours in the Aria spa waiting for my red-eye flight.  All in all, the perfect weekend, time literally stands still in Vegas.  I wish every 48 weekend could feel so long!

We started the weekend off right with drinks at the Cosmopolitan's Chandelier Bar

Before moving on to a yummy dinner at Giada's


I found the perfect slot machine to match my dress!  Unfortunately it didn't bring me the big bucks or "pot of gold" I was channeling......

We hit up the buffets at both Aria and Cosmopolitan.....I found the offering completely memorizing, including this giant layered pancake!

We strolled the strip with a tour of the infamous Bellagio Fountains, one of the things I do remember from my last trip.


This view had me craving a Parisian adventure, and a croissant!
We got in a little pool time
A little selfie-Saturday action in the cab line
McKenzie hooked it up with a prime table at Cabo Wabo right next to Planet Hollywood, perfect for people watching and tequila indulging pre-Britney!
No captions necessary.........












My own little southern brunch medley from the Wicked Spoon buffet
By Sunday we lost Emily......but had to do one last lap to work off that brunch
My red-eye, however painful, turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the other girls' flight was cancelled!  I spent the afternoon enjoying the amazing Aria spa, took myself to a nice dinner, and made my way to the airport.  The snow in NYC stopped just in time for our plane to land on Monday morning.


I know most people would think we're crazy to fly all the way to Vegas for Britney.  And while she may not be the same Britney of our youth (and didn't sing a word) she did dance her butt-off and put on quite the spectacle, in true Britney fashion.  

Perfect girls weekend getaway, perhaps Mariah next year??

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wine Wendesdays with Uplift Studios

Last week I partnered with Uplift Studios to host a very special Wine Wednesday, Uplift Your Wine Education night.  We walked through the basics of tasting, tips for ordering in a restaurant, and busted some of the most prominent wine myths out there.  I poured four wines, 2 Chardonnays and 2 Cabernet Sauvignons.  I think I found a few more "ABC" Chardonnay converts! 


My favorites were the Newton 2012 Red Label Chardonnay, with just enough oak to be medium bodied and "creamy" and the Avalon 2012 Cab, which was rich with black fruit and a hint of oak giving it a velvety vanilla finish. 

All wines can be found at Manor House Cellar in Flatiron.  Mention Uplift or Chardonnay Moi for 10% off!





One thing I learned from the pictures of the night - I like to talk with my hands!
The lovely ladies of Crop Tops and Kale did a wonderful write up of the event, check it out here!

If you're looking to host a wine tasting event please contact me, I'm always looking to collaborate and spread the good wine word ;-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Wine Bar

Last week I met a friend for a glass of wine on a cold Monday night.  We stopped by Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in Soho.  From the moment we walked in it smelled like freshly baked bread, a warming scent for sure!  Small tables and a long bar were occupied by "downtown" cool peeps.  It wasn't overly crowded, we were able to snag a table against the wall lined with bottles in a beautiful glass case.  


I was a bad blogger and didn't snap a pic of our food, but we shared the grilled octopus and the beet salad, both lovely.  Everything that came out of the kitchen to the tables around us looked and smelled delicious!


I enjoyed a glass of Burgundy Pinot Noir, and my friend had a Cabernet Franc from the Loire.

If you're looking for a cozy spot to spend an evening in Soho, I would highly recommend Compagnie des Vins!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wine Wednesday At Uplift - March 4th

Hi!  I'm so excited to announce I'll be partnering with Uplift Fitness Studio to host a wine tasting event next Wednesday March 4th.  Uplift is a women-only boutique fitness studio located in flatiron.  They're classes focus on HIIT and strength training, I've taken a few and best part is they are unintimidating and fun (just how wine education should be)!    

Tickets are $25 and you will get to enjoy 4 wines chosen by yours truly!  It should be a fun night and a great opportunity to learn a little something new! 

Click here to purchase tickets, hope to see you there!


 

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