Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Pfaffl Rossern Grand Reserve Chardonnay

It's become tradition that my man cooks lobster for Valentine's dinner and he really outdid himself this year!  Lobster tacos with homemade corn tortillas, seriously heaven! 

Paired with this delicious Chardonnay that we brought back from our trip to Austria, what a perfect match!  I fell in love with Pfaffl not only because of their amazing wines but because it's run by second-generation brother/sister duo Heidi and Roman and they inspired me with serious goals for my wine project with my brother.    

I think Roman says it best right on the back of the wine label, "This is a favored child for me.  Stirred, not shaken - the lees that is!  Weekly for an entire year.  You can smell and taste it".  Aging on the lees with weekly batonnage gives the wine its rich, creamy flavor profile.  Aging for 18 months in oak also increases the depth of flavor and concentration of this wine, but it's buttery without being oakey, so so good with lobster!     

Wine:  2015 Pfaffl Rossern Grand Reserve Chardonnay
Purchased:  At Winery, I'm sorry this looks to be rather hard to find in the states!
Price:  $34

Monday, March 5, 2018

Restaurant Round Up - February Eats

After taking a little break from dining out, I made up for lost time enjoying a staycation weekend of dining out over President's Weekend as well as a visit from mom, giving me a great excuse to try new spots and revisit old favorites!  

First up, Martina is the fast-casual little sister to Marta, a Danny Meyer pizza mecca.  The pies come out quick, are paper thin, and the most expensive menu item tops out at $12 making it perfect for a casual date night.  The meatballs and white beans were also delish.  They do offer half bottles of Krug Champagne if you're feeling fancy!

Dinner at Casa Mono with a yummy bottle of wine!

After over a year, I made it back to Hearth in the East Village.  There is nothing better than sitting at the chef's counter and watching the action in the kitchen!  They are also offering 20% off white wines by the bottle and have so many fun things to choose from so go now!!!

I was so sad to hear that Two Hands is no longer serving dinner!  It was one of our favorites for a quick, easy, relatively healthy and affordable dinner spot.  But their brunch is equally delicious, if a bit more hectic and sceney.  I finally tried the ricotta hotcake and it was what dreams are made of!  

Brunch at Loring Place had to end with the infamous "blizzard".

Any meal at Buvette is a treat but there is something extra special about breakfast at the bar.  The waiter was hard-selling the brioche fresh out of the oven which came with the most adorable pat of butter and fresh jam.  The special avocado toast with spicy yogurt was filling and delicious.

My best foodie friend once told me she had one of the best meals of her life at Somtum Der and I've been meaning to go ever since.  It was seriously delicious, full post coming soon as to what we ate and drank (they allow BYOB for $10 corkage!!), but we ended the night with the shaved ice with condensed milk, which is certainly something to look at but was not why you want to come here!

Out in Clinton Hill we had a delicious and colorful brunch at Golda.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Frontón De Oro Tinto Tradicional

I hate how long it takes me to revisit certain restaurants, there's never enough dinners in a week!  We finally made it back to Casa Mono after having an amazing meal there almost three years ago!  I'm happy to report it was just as delicious as I remember.  

We went with a red wine from the Canary Islands this time around.  Frontón De Oro is located 3300 feet above sea level on terraced slopes on the island of Grand Canaria.  Made from predominantly Listán Negro grapes, aged for only 3 months in neutral American oak, the wine was bright and fresh with a nice peppery spice and dark fruit flavors.  

It was a great food wine and paired nicely with our fideos with clams and chorizo, Dorada al la plancha, and confit goat with charred avocado and pistachios. 

Wine:  2015 Frontón De Oro Tinto Tradicional 
Purchased:  Casa Mono
Price:  $18 retail

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Bott "Csontos" Tokaji Furmint

Ever since our trip to Tokaj, I jump at the chance to try dry Furmints when I see them on restaurant menus as they are such great food wines; and February just so happens to be the national month of Furmint!  On a recent visit to Liholiho Yacht Club in SF (one of my best meals of 2018 so far) we spotted the 2015 Bott "Csontos" Tokaji Furmint and had to get it.  While in Austria, our friend Gunter recommended a visit to Bott Pince, but unfortunately we didn't have time and didn't even get to sample her wines while in Budapest.

The wine did not disappoint!  Furmint is known for being a grape that wonderfully showcases the "terroir" of the region in which is was grown, taking on nuances and complexities of the soils and such.  High acid is what makes it such a great food pairing wine.  Judit and her husband Jozsef hand tend the vines in 6 different plots of vines.  The "Csontos" vineyard is on a south facing slope, providing long days of consistent sunlight that allow for gentle ripening.  The wine is then aged in neutral oak with native yeasts.  The volcanic soil adds a mineral depth to the wine, the slow fermentation and aging creates a round finish, all with notes of stone fruit and honey.      

Now for the food, seriously amazing.  Literally everything we had was so delicious, but the beef tongue buns and curry mussels were unforgettable!  Our neighbors at the bar said the whole fried lobster was also not to be missed but we voted for more small dishes so we could try multiple things.  

The infamous "baked Hawaii" topped us off (although not a must order if I do admit).  

Service and vibe rounded out the experience, I seriously can't wait to go back!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Restaurant Round Up - January Eats

I was a little late to the dry January club, eating and drinking right up through one last indulgent weekend in SF in mid-January.  Below are some highlights before I had to cut myself off for a little breather!

After years of seeing posts on Instagram, I finally made it down to Marché Maman.  This smoked salmon bowl with crispy hashbrown waffles was filling and delicious!

Another first, I finally tried the famous hot chocolate from City Bakery, said to be the best in the world, and gives meaning to the phrase "drinking chocolate"!  Every year they have a Hot Chocolate Festival with a daily flavor.  Check out this year's flavors here!

Brunch at Jeffrey's Grocery is always a treat.  A new brunch item pairs their delicious latkes with smoked salmon, poached eggs and avocado.

Cocktail hour at sister restaurant Joseph Leonard is equally delightful.

An early and unexpected snow day had me craving comfort food, my man was nice enough to indulge me with homemade black truffle pasta with fresh mushrooms!

My dear friend Sydney tied the knot in the most gorgeous wedding at San Francisco City Hall, the food was unbelievable, hard to say that about most wedding food!

While in SF for the wedding, we had breakfast at Jane on Fillmore and lunch at RT Rotisserie.  

But the highlight of our quick food tour through SF was finally trying Liholiho Yacht Club.  While we almost lost an arm trying to grab bar seats for dinner, it was well worth it.  
The "baked Hawaii" is truly a thing of beauty!

And now for that cleanse.......

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wine Wednesdays - A Day in Tokaj

One of the highlights of our time in Hungary was a day trip to Tokaj.  We debated whether to embark on the 5 hour round trip train ride when we had such limited time in the country but I'm so glad we decided to do it.  Our amazing experience had everything to do with our guide, Greg, from Tokaj Today.

We took the 7:30am train from Budapest and settled in for the 2.5 hour ride.  Greg picked us up and off we went to our first winery, Barta.  Labeled as a "mid-sized hobbyist" the Barta family bought and replanted one of the oldest and most prestigious vineyard sites in the region, the "Old King" vineyard, in 2004.  The site had been long abandoned and overtaken by the surrounding forest as no one wanted to put in the time and effort of cultivating by hand due to the steep terraces (quantity over quality was the name of the game throughout the communist era).

After a quick tour of the historic winery building we settled in to the tasting room by a roaring fire where Greg walked us through their offering.  We tasted 10 wines ranging from dry to sweet.  The wines were mostly made from the Furmint grape, a high acid grape that beautifully shows off the terroir of Tokaj (read about my first experience with Furmint here).  Depending on the style it can range from fresh and light to honey'd with notes of apricot and fresh melon.  We also tasted the sweet wine Szamorodni which must be made from 1 of Tokaj's 6 authorized grapes, it can be made either sweet or dry in style.         

Greg pulled out a handful of those famous botrytised grapes, full of "Noble Rot" for us to taste!  Like the sweetest raisin you've ever had.

Next up, the wonderful world of István Szepsy, one of the more world-renowned Tokaj producers.  István rarely does tastings himself anymore, but we were lucky enough to actually meet him as he was dropping off some wine at Barta!

His daughter Kinga has created a restaurant and tour and tasting option that offers the full "world of Szepsy".  Greg instructed us to get in to our own Gator tractor and follow him out to the vineyards.  We stopped at 3 different vineyard sites and tasted the wine from that site, such an incredible experience!   

We tasted two dry wines (one younger, 2015 and one older, 2009) and one sweet to really get a sense of the range of these wines.

It was quite a thrill rolling through the hills of the vineyards!  All that tasting certainly worked up an appetite, we were ravished once we returned to Percze.  The meal was one of the best during our time in Hungary all paired with more delicious wines from Szepsy.

Duck leg with beet puree and mint sauce and panko crusted cabbage rolls! 

All paired with more delicious Furmint. It's amazing how these producers can take the same grape and create so many different wines with nuances you can taste!

Our last stop was a taste of "Young Tokaj" with winemaker Péter Rôbert, the owner of Ábrahám, a "garage winery" established in 2006.  Péter and his wife are former philosophy students who decided to return home and make wine from the family vineyards.  

We had a quick tour of the barrel room before settling in to the cozy tasting room.  

Rôbert makes sometimes 20 different wines in one year from one lot of Furmint, playing with fermentation and aging style to create the different bottlings.  The labels are all different as well offering a fun update to traditional wines of the region.

Greg raced us back to the train station and we settled in for a much needed cat nap!  We ended the day with a delicious dinner at the oldest ruin bar in Budapest, Mazel Tov.

Tokaj is certainly one of the lesser known and experienced wine regions of the world but I would highly recommend moving it up on your destination bucket-list!


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