Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - What I'm drinking for Thanksgiving

It's the best time of year!!!  My turkey-day pre-game was strong this year, we hosted 14 people in our apartment for a Friendsgiving feast.  Jared and I handled the turkey, gravy, and cranberry, while our guests really brought their A-game with allllllllll the sides.  

Two of my favorite wines from the evening are below, they just so happened to both be produced by third-generation winemaking families!  I think they both deserve a spot on your holiday table if you're looking for something fun and slightly off the beaten path. 

First up, 2013 3 Generations Riesling from Lakewood Vineyards.  We picked up this bottle on our visit to the Finger Lakes and have been saving for a special occasion.  Riesling is a classic Thanksgiving pairing as the bright acidity helps to cut through all of the rich foods and multiple flavors going on throughout the meal.  While Rieslings can range in sweetness, this one from Lakewood is bone dry, but with sweeter aromas of stone fruit:  peaches and pears cut with bright lemon zest.  It made for a particularly good pairing with our starter of maple bourbon butternut squash soup!     

Another fun wine, the Lettere from Paolo Palumbo has a light effervescence and is slightly off-dry.  Paolo is a third-generation winemaker, located in the hills surrounding Naples.  Lettere is a DOC town that is known for wines made from a blend of native grapes:  Piedirosso, Aglianico, and Sciascinoso.  The nose was rather herbal, with notes of stewed plums and meat jerky on the palate!  I loved the texture; the bright acidity and slight bubbles paired nicely with our turkey, stuffing and root vegetables during the main event.    

I'm forever thankful for cheese!

Herbed butter bird

We've come a long way from the 4 girls sitting around my tiny kitchen table in my old apartment!

It's become tradition that everyone must write down what they're thankful for, we had some creative entries this year!

Wine:  2013 Lakewood Vineyards 3 Generations Riesling
Purchased:  At Winery
Price:  $20

Wine:  Paolo Palumbo Lettere Red Wine
Purchased:  Bottlerocket
Price:  $16

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2016 Benevolent Neglect Riesling

It's no secret that every somm in NYC loves to hit up Peking Duck House in Chinatown.  The restaurant is BYOB making it the perfect place to geek out on perfect pairings.  One such pairing is Riesling, which we decided to follow-suit and brought along the 2016 Riesling from Benevolent Neglect.  What makes Riesling a go-to pairing for Chinese food?  Typically there is some residual sugar (a lot or a little depending on style) as well as bright acidity which help cut through the spice and richness of Chinese dishes. 

This Riesling is lower in RS (more to my taste) and very well balanced.  Notes of citrus and tart green apple are rounded out with a silky, honeyed finish.  The winery only makes 50 cases of this wine and unfortunately the 2016 is now sold out but you can buy the 2017 here.   

Wine:  2016 Benevolent Neglect Riesling
Purchased:  gifted
Price:  $28 retail

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Restaurant Round Up - October Eats

Highlights below from a delicious month!

So happy to finally check out an authentic "red-sauce" joint on Arthur Ave in the Bronx.  Tra Di Noi was really delicious - especially the calamari and lamb gnocchi!  Read about the wine we drank here!

Another trip upstate for a hiking adventure led to a hot dog lunch at Forrest's Sidestreet Cafe.

I caught a cone from Dominique Ansel Kitchen on the last weekend for their seasonal soft-serve window, the cold brew flavor was delicious!

Another NYC dining institution can be crossed off my list - the Peking Duck House is a great group dinner option with reasonable price-fixed menus and BYOB!

I was asked to join the dining committee of Parlor and finally tried their weekly seasonal chef's tasting menu at their new location.  Presentation and ambiance get an A+, food could use some work.

It's been so nice being back in the city on weekends, took advantage of ourdoor dining weather for brunch at Cafe Gitane.  This is the first place I recall ever hearing about avocado toast, they were certainly on the forefront of that trend!  Happy to report it's just as good as ever.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2011 Travaglini Gattinara

This past weekend was full of firsts including a trip up to the Bronx for dinner on Arthur Ave followed by the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.

We enjoyed dinner at Tra Di Noi, I especially enjoyed the wine we drank, the 2011 Gattinara from Travaglini, a family-owned winery in the Piedmont region of Italy.  The wine is 100% Nebbiolo (the same grape that is used in Barolo and Barbaresco) and a perfect "red sauce" kinda wine.  While Nebbiolos in Barolos and other red wines can be overpowering and highly tannic, this wine was soft, velvety and delicious!  A beautiful garnet color with aromas of red fruit, vanilla, and spice; the palate was full bodied with notes of cherries, plums/prunes and more spice notes (likely due to the 3 years of aging in Slovenian oak).  Relatively low alcohol at 13% makes this an easy sipper!  

Fun fact - Travaglini wines are easily recognizable by the unusual bottle shape which fits the curve of your hand, said to help catch sediment during decanting!    

As for the food - we had burrata and the calamari salad with tomatoes and onions (I don't even like calamari and this was amazing) to start followed by gnocchi with lamb ragu and veal scaloppine.  The roasted potatoes that arrive with entrees were perfection!

We walked off the delicious food and wine with 20k steps around the Chihuly exhibit.  This is the last weekend of the exhibit and tickets are sold out so see below for highlights!

Wine:  2011 Travaglini Gattinara
Price:  $29 retail

Monday, October 23, 2017

Travelogue - Marfa, Texas

I can't say it was at the top of my "must-see" travel list, but earlier this summer a dear friend's 30th birthday gave us girls a great excuse to venture to west Texas to the land of art and burritos aka Marfa, Texas.  In all honestly I didn't even know this was a destination a few years ago, but thanks to Instagram (and Beyonce) Marfa has become quite the hot spot in quite literally the middle of nowhere!    

We flew from NY to El Paso (with a stop in Dallas) where we picked up a rental car for the 3 hour drive to Marfa.  There is minimal cell service and long spurts without any amenities so plan accordingly!  About 30 minutes outside of town lies the infamous "Prada Marfa" so we stopped for the requisite photo op before cruising into town.

We checked in to our safari tents and yurts at El Cosmico before heading out for drinks and nacho apps at Planet Marfa then dinner at Capri.  

The hibiscus margarita at The Capri
The best queso of the trip from The Capri
Birthday girl!
Day 2 - we woke up and made our way to Do Your Thing for coffee and "magic toast" - they aren't lying, this stuff is pure magic.  Homemade sourdough with several different toppings to choose from, the homemade almond butter, sea salt and honey was amazing, but it's hard to pick a favorite among the seasonal jam and butter or the classic butter and cinnamon sugar!  The coffee is great too but be forewarned, this isn't NYC and service comes with a smile but was rather slow.    

Fueled on toast magic and coffee, we made our way to the Judd Foundation.  Donald Judd really put Marfa on the map so to speak.  The guided tour takes you through La Mansana de Chinati, his personal living space and studio with several works installed throughout the property.   

No photos were allowed inside the actual space so we snapped this group shot at the entrance!
Judd Foundation offices in town

Hard to believe we were hungry again but we hit the Food Shark food truck for falafel lunch.  So good!

We spent the afternoon wandering town and the other galleries including Ballroom Marfa.  

My favorite piece on display in town was Andy Warhol's "Last Supper" at the Ayn Foundation.  

Art everywhere you look in this town!
One night in safari tents was fun but we made the switch to the Hotel Saint George for the remainder of the weekend.  The pool situation was necessary in the 100 degree heat!  

We ventured down the block to dinner at Stellina and around 11pm drove out to see the "Marfa Lights".

Day 3 began at Marfa Burrito for homemade burritos.  Ramona opens her home to customers for authentic breakfast burritos!  

From there we walked out to The Chinati Foundation for more works by Donald Judd.  

On display - Judd's 100 untitled works in aluminum - 100 boxes of aluminum all have the same outer dimensions while the interior is unique in each piece.

Outside - Judd's 15 untitled works in concrete make for a great photo op!

Dinners on Sunday in Marfa are tricky as most places are closed.  We had an early takeout pizza by the pool from Pizza Foundation and a late night burrito snack from Lost Horse Saloon.

Monday morning we doubled down on Tex-Mex with breakfast at Mando's (not worth it) and then lunch at L&J Cafe in El Paso which makes for a quick last stop before the airport.  Our entire trip was a quest for the best Tex-Mex and to be honest, everything was a bit underwhelming.  L&J's enchiladas were the most satisfactory of the bunch.  

All in all a fun weekend trip!  Had we not had the pool you could easily see everything there is to see in one full day, but relaxing afternoons with several rounds of frozĂ© made for a super fun long-weekend!


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