Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

What's in a name?  A topic I've been thinking a lot about lately, particularly when it comes to wine labels.  What makes a label stand out, why does one gravitate towards one bottle vs. another, and how much are people reading the labels when deciding whether or not to buy?
I came across an interesting article on Food52, breaking down the basic things to note on a label.  The stylistic differences of old world. vs. new, the shape of the bottle, and varying degrees of government regulation all contributing to what goes on a label.

Old World Traditional French
Clean, Classic, Napa Valley
Fun and Quirky 
Clean Minimalism
 As a consumer, I'm curious to know, what stands out to you?  And how much does the label really matter?  
Leave comments, would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guilt-Free PB Blondies to End the Week!

As we wrapped up a solid 12 day, post fashion-week, work week, I thought I'd bring a treat for my coworkers.  

I decided to try these salted PB blondies, made with chickpeas!  Flour, sugar, and butter free!  I subbed PB2 powdered peanut butter for even more calorie saving.  And they were a hit!  There was one remark that these might not have been as indulgent as my Nutella stuffed sugar cookies that I've made in the past....but who doesn't love a guilt-less treat at the end of a long week?  And with these, we could all help ourselves to two!

Happy Weekend!

Could not be easier - throw ingredients in food processor and blend! 
TJ's was out of chocolate chips, so I made do with some leftover Hershey's minis in dark and milk chocolate.
Add chips to batter and pour into greased pan, bake, and voila!
Not the prettiest, but they didn't last long on the plate!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

For those of you that didn't know.....September is California Wine Month.  This past Monday I attended the California Road Trip tasting event at Astor Wines.  My first event at Astor Wines, there were 70 different wines, divided by regional tables from all over CA.


 After laying the "foundation" with tacos catered from Empellón, we made a beeline for the Napa Valley Table.  We started with tastes of Groth 2012 Sauvignon Blanc followed by Trefethen 2011 Chardonnay.  From there, we made an attempt to avoid the crowds of people wanting to get their "money's worth" and tried to find tables where we could actually chat with the people pouring the wine.  We had great luck at the Santa Barbara table, while doing some research for an upcoming trip!
First stop, Napa Valley for a taste of home....
But my favorite by far were the lovely people representing the Wine Institute of California (they threw the event).  Here we tasted the Kenwood Vineyards 2009 Cab and the 2011 Joel Gott Cab.  They insisted we try the Kenwood ($60) to make our $40 ticket worth while, but I have to admit I much preferred the $18 bottle of Gott.  I was also a fan of the label, 815 being the birth date of Joel Gott's daughter.  
If only we had a Gott's burger to go with.....
The Wine Institute is throwing additional events throughout the month of September.  If you're in the San Francisco area this weekend I highly suggest checking out the event at the Ferry Building this Saturday.  For tickets click here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Club - The Long Goodbye

Just over a year ago some friends and I joined together to start a book club, and I am happy to say that we've actually kept it up for an entire year!  This month we enjoyed the lovely setting of Becky's backyard to discuss Raymond Chandler's "The Long Goodbye".  I really liked the book, although reviews were mixed among the group.  Overall it was an easy read, perfect for the beach!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

While at home last week, we spent the evening by our country club pool.  Admittedly my absolute favorite time by the pool, just as the sun sets, the heat of the day starts to fade, and we're able to pull out  the wine.  This time we started with a 2012 Spottswood Sauvignon Blanc.  It paired especially well with our snackies, including figs 2 ways:  first with goat cheese, honey and cracked black pepper, and second wrapped in prosciutto and broiled with balsamic vinegar.  

The wine was bright and acidic, with notes of citrus and ripe stone fruit.  A great wine for food, and perfect for enjoying the last few days of summer!

Good 'til the last drop!
Wine:  Spottswood 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased:  Unknown
Price: $36.00
Would buy again:  Yes!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Beautiful Night for a Little Tennis

Augusta called and asked if I wanted to join her at the U.S. Open for the men's quarter finals on Wednesday.....bleary eyed from a sleepless night on the redeye, I didn't hesitate!  Sleep when you're dead I say!  And the Open is the quintessential NY end of summer event.  It was a perfect night, not too cold, not too hot.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching the face off between the two Spaniards, Nadal vs. Robredo, and of course practicing our Español!  And Nadal just won again tonight advancing on to the finals on Monday vs. Djokovic.  Vamos Rafa!

Cool as a cucumber

The gratuitous shirt change post-win!

Dinner of champions

Friday, September 6, 2013

#Montauk Livin'

Yea summer's unofficially over, I'll be holding out until September 21st when the calendar tells me it's official, hopefully we're in for a few more weeks of warm weather and weekends by the pool, Indian summer??

I spent several weekends out in Montauk this summer.  Since moving to NY, I feel like I've gotten a pretty good handle on the other Hampton towns, but this is the first year actually staying in Montauk (me and everyone else who has just recently "discovered" the final frontier of Long Island's most eastern point). 
Six years ago my mom and I took a trip out east, we spent 3 nights in East Hampton and then decided to spend a few nights out on the beach in Montauk.  We ran screaming back to the city (dirty, sandy motel where the sheets didn't stay on the bed, no decent place to eat, no people to watch).  Boy how times have changed.  Now crowds line up starting at 5pm to get into Surf Lodge on a Saturday night and even the most casual dive bars require greasing the palm of the bouncer for speedy entry.  Every weekend I must have heard at least one local or long time Montauk vacationer complain about what has become of the place! 
Us New Yorkers need the escape from the city on summer weekends, my question is why travel 3+ hours to line up and pay to get into a sweaty, crowded bar when one could certainly do that in the city on any given weekend?? 
My preference is to get out there and enjoy the outdoors, make the most of the BBQ, great friends, wine-fueled dinners with the freshest seafood and produce, early morning walks, beach time, and bike rides.  All things that are just that much better outside of our dear city. 
A few of my favorite discoveries and adventures from my weekends out east......
The fog on Fort this SF??
The infamous mouse head at the American Hotel

Lunch in Sag Harbor

The BEST ice cream I've ever had, Big Olaf's in Sag

Taking advantage of a rainy day with a little wine tasting at Channing Daughters

Grilled shrimp, halloumi w/watermelon and basil oil, tomato/basil/corn/nectarine salad....why is it that everything taste better grilled?!?!

BYOB Lobster Deck - Perfect place to watch the sunset

BBQ with my old coworker Emily!
Fresh Oysters

My favorite activity, biking to Amagansett for Lobster Rolls!
We tried both Lunch and Clam Bar, I would have to say Clam bar wins for the lobster roll, but those sweet potato fries and hefty glasses of wine at Lunch are not to be messed with!
Big girl glass-makes the bike ride home that much easier!

Biking to the lighthouse for a sunset picnic

Morning walks in Shadmoor State Park
The "other" lobster roll joint on highway 27
Clam Bar lobster rolls and Rosé 

Pink skies at night.... 
Sunset at Navy Beach 

Minutes old lobsters from St. Peter's Catch

Is it too early to start planning for next year???


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