As I delve deeper into my wine curiosity, I’ve discovered that the more the bottle costs, the more I tend to like it. It’s just an early observation (sure to be debunked), and I won’t let it lure me into splurging. That’s when I’ll jump ship from the wine-buying altogether. However, that rule of thumb has really been guiding my buying from the start: Look for expensive wine offered at a discount. The price breaks can come from a volume seller like Kroger, or getting 10% off for buying six or more at World Market , or taking advantage of a local shop’s bulk buy offer like Strawberry Street Vineyards or Once Upon a Vine’s bargain basement sections. And then there’s Crazy Gary, the bombastic online powerhouse of wine wheeling and dealing. His new daily deal at CinderellaWine.com is delivering BIG flavors at reduced prices. The few bottles I’ve purchased did not disappoint. We’ll hear from Gary Vaynerchuk, himself, in a moment.
These wine buying scenarios have been a real adventure for me. And clearly, the fever is starting to take hold, because I don’t feel right if I don’t open a new bottle each night. It’s like I’m missing an episode of Dexter or True Blood, depriving myself of delicious red red kroovy. But I have to admit that my limited framework for analyzing/appreciating wine sometimes gives me the feeling that even the well-chosen cheap stuff often tastes of sameness – a good same, but unspectacular. I’m sure that will change as I figure out how to buy a wide variety and keep it interesting. Regardless, I’m starting to feel like Morgan Spurlock, halfway into his 30 days of McDonalds meals. Ugh, not the same fast-food version of wine again! But, I soldier on.
If you’ve heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, you probably know that he’s trying to “change the wine world.” (more…)
Today, the last of the 25 lb Thanksgiving turkey was finally consumed at my house. It’s taken forever (19 days), but the commitment to see this turkey-eating experiment through mirrors the painstaking decision-making process that led to my eating the thing to begin with. If you haven’t seen that blog entry, it’s pretty much a prerequisite for this one (and there’s an epilogue reflection on the whole thing at the end of this). After much consternation, I decided to play it by ear when Thanksgiving festivities got underway at my house. Due to an enormous graduate school project, I sequestered myself in the basement during most of the turkey prep. My squash dish was already prepped and awaiting a spot in the oven. My kitchen appearances did seem to correspond with turkey basting intervals, so I snapped a few pictures for posterity. But, for the most part, the meat party was going on without my involvement.
When the turkey came out of the oven to rest for a while before serving, it was a hurried time, everyone finishing their dishes and finding serving utensils. Carving duty was being batted around like a hot potato when I walked in, and wouldn’t you know it, they lateraled to me. Fortunately for all concerned, I was good at it so many years ago, and hadn’t forgotten how to excise an entire side of breast meat for the serving platter. However, what I hadn’t planned on was the screaming hot turkey juice that would spatter when I cut through the crispy skin. The meat could barely be handled, even though the bird had rested for a while. In my attempt to get at the dark meat, I had a tug of war with the drumstick, sawing at cup and ball joints with my knife and again scalding myself with the juices. (more…)
They say that the average human uses less than 10% of his or her brain-power.There is a similar saying that if you’re not drinking a variety of wines, you’re only using 10% of your palate.*Well, I’m content giving 90% of my brain a rest (as most of my readers have observed), but I really wanna mobilize and stimulate as many of my taste buds as possible.If wine can do that, count me in. Plus, a lot of my fellow food bloggers are into wine, and I’d like to be able to hold my own in a conversation when the topic comes up. Hopefully, they’ll chime in here and contribute to my education.
But, wait. There’s a catch.Wine is expensive.It’s a luxury of the bourgeois class.Or at least, that’s how it often appears when you add up all of the etiquette, paraphernalia, and affectations that go along with wine drinking.It seems like the rigmarole pursuit of flavor is such a bizarre contortion to put yourself through and it can take you into really irrational spending. Then there’s my real pet peeve: doubling the price of a meal just for a beverage. Wine drinking, as a hobby, has a lot of baggage to overcome if I’m going to get really involved in it.The truth is, I’ll willingly spend entirely too long with my nose in a glass, swirl it around vigorously, make aerating bubble sounds in my mouth, and then search for flavors and words to describe them, and I’ll love every minute of it all while enduring my wife’s sighs and eye-rolls.It’s mostly tongue in check for me, since I don’t really know what I’m doing. I just want to feel like I’m enjoying aristocratic flavors at proletarian prices. Is that too much to ask?
How I shop: In my heart of hearts, I want to spend every penny with my locally owned wine shops.(more…)
I wish I had picked up an instrument when I was a kid. My mother had me take piano lessons as a pre-teen, and I can still play the melody from Ode to Joy on almost any keyed instrument. But, that’s the extent of my musical ability. This little guy is off to an early start on his ukulele. But the real noteworthy musical happenings in this clip is the artist’s timing, humor, and sense of emotional charged moments. It’s like whoa.
I don’t know how old this little man is, but Jasper is pretty musically curious. He loves drums and dancing to anything with a beat – the more frantic the better. Maybe my little guy and I will have to learn an instrument together.
I had wanted to eat at Enoteca Sogno since they opened four years ago, but just when I started to get curious about good wine with food, the news came out that Broad Street’s Italian bistro and wine bar was being forced to close. According to the Style Weekly article, the space was needed by the landlord, Justin French, and his new restaurant, The Republic, a couple doors down. The Republic was just getting set to open, but apparently it was urgent that they use the nearby existing restaurant, Enoteca Sogno, as a catering business, or a lunch location, or… well, the justification seems to change with the weather (maybe Justin French and The Republic feel they need that storefront to be empty?).
This struck me as curious, if not obviously underhanded. I wanted to know more. So, I poked my head in while across the street at Pleasants Hardware, to see what kind of restaurant had to be protected from another restaurant two doors down drawing diners and drinkers to midtown Broad Street. The menu seemed like standard bar fare, with a few flavor flourishes to peak your curiosity. Not very alluring to me, but it really looks to be more of a rock’n'roll bar than an epicurean destination (think Stronghill, with less interesting design). And then there’s their legal smoking section, clearly a focus of the business plan. Too bad, really. I’ve got nothing against smokiness in a restaurant, but I wouldn’t want to give up two restaurants to make way for one smoking section. You can read that to mean, yes, I hold The Republic responsible for the shady behavior of their business partner, Justin French, and for depriving diners of a beyond decent Italian restaurant in a part of town that could use the business. (more…)