New Orleans Wine & Food Experience: Part 3 Saturday's Wine

Friday, we were a bit overwhelmed & just sort of bounced around the two ballrooms full of wine makers, importers, distributors & the chefs with the food...oh the food. Anywhere there was a white beacon, wielding sharp metal, there was also a queue of hungry epicureans waiting for a tasty morsel or two. Every time I turned around La would be stuffing a bite of something into my purple stained mouth.

Saturday we had a game plan. We studied the list of winemakers & crossed off what we tasted on Friday, so we could spend more time trying new wines. La was sticking to all whites & roses. I had so many reds that I missed the previous day, that I only tasted a few whites.

Day 2 Tasting Notes:

2004 KitFox Foxy Red Table Wine: I think most casual wine drinkers in this country have the wrong idea about table wine. Just the phrase invokes a big jug of non-vintage "Red Burgundy" from California...or...a bottle of Chianti wrapped in a basket. Usually cheap, acidic, swill. I have been guilty of this way of thinking, back when I was just the occasional wine drinker. This is not the case at all as proved by KitFox Foxy. Cab Sauvignon/Syrah blend full of blackberries, raspberries & blueberries. A touch of oak brings it all together with a touch of smooth tannins. Great velvety mouthfeel. A top Value at $12.

2004 Ménage à Trois Red Table Wine: (read above statement about table wine) Blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Thick mixed berries. Jammy & fruit forward. Very round & voluptuous in the mouth. Great extended finish. Another great $12 value.

2004 Copola Zinfandel: Sweet, choco-bliss, subtle power, mixed berries & frim tannins. Nice long finish.

2004 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: deep back cherries on the nose & palate. Very earthy with some cola. Long spicy finish.

2004 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast: Very floral nose, loaded with cherries. In the mouth it was silky with lots of cherry, blackberry & spice. Well balanced acidity & the tiniest scosh of tannins. Long spice filled finish.

2004 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris: Crisp, zesty, with lots of lemon & pear. Very nice.

2004 A to Z Pinot Noir: Blend from many vineyards throughout Oregon. Spicy, baked cherries, loaded with brown spice.

2004 Adelsheim Elizabeth's Reserve*: Intense, velveteen, rich fruit, with a touch of cedar. The finish sings.

2004 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir*: Bold, take charge pinot. Full of black cherry, raspberry, cola & brown spice. The lingering finish had a touch of clove.

2004 Redemption Zin: My zin pick of the weekend. From Dry Creek Valley. Medium-full bodied, full of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & pepper.

2004 Mark West Pinot Noir: Made of grapes sourced from Corsica, France. Full Pinot made in the typical Central Coast style. Lots of cherry & raspberry balanced by lots of spice, cola & well integrated oak. Tart acidity & assertive tannins.

2001 Les Forots Côtes du Rhône: Loaded with old word charm. A touch of barnyard on the nose. Deep dark fruit, smokey, earth on the palate lead to a nice long finish.

*Part of the Oregon wine feature.

We tasted MUCH more, but these were the wines that compelled me to take notes. Forgive the cilche, but, there was so much to taste & so little time. We didn't really taste anything that turned us off except for a few over oaked chardonays & we stayed away from the Alize table no matter how enticing the neon blue concoction looked (I am being sarcastic, in case you didn't notice).

One of the great thing about the Grand Tastings was the sheer amount of wine, of course, but all the food being offered. You could literally walk around & grab whatever food looked good (all of it!) & then find whatever wine you thought would pair well with it & stop at many of the tables to enjoy.

If you are interested in who took home the hardware (Fleur De Lis Awards) check it out HERE.

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Whites & Rose Tasting Notes

Italian Wine Tasting Notes

French Wine Tasting Notes

Argentinean Wine Tasting Notes

Spanish Wine Tasting Notes

Merlot Tasting Notes

Zinfandel Tasting Notes

Syrah/Shiraz Tasting Notes

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes

Pinot Noir Tasting Notes


New Orleans Wine & Food Experience: Part 2 Friday's Wine

What a weekend!
First let me start by saying we only attended two days of this five day event, so we barely sratched the surface, but stayed busy all weekend. There were over 600 wines, from all over the world being poured at the Grand Tastings on Friday & Saturday. Throw in all the food that was offered & you have the making for a weekend that would make Bacchus proud.

We tasted so much wine, I am only going to share my notes on the wines that really spoke to me....& what did they say...."Drink Me!"

Day 1 Wine Tasting notes:

2004 Souvrain Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley: One of my favorites.
Very nice, lots of mixed berries, good backbone, very balanced, an elegant Zin.

2004 Peachy Canyon Jester: Another favorite. Blend of Syrah, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Petite Sirah. Luscious mix of red & black fruit. excellent wine & a bargain at $20.

2004 Rodney Strong Reserve Pinot Noir: Very nice, thick cherry,
cola, earth & spices. Very full Pinot.

2004 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz: Think bacon-wrapped-blackberry. Smooth & rich. Superb.

2004 Prosper Maufoux Gevrey-Chambertin: Napolean's favorite wine. Light, delicate, enigmatic, very floral. Fantastic with a duck crepe.

2003 Toad Hollow Rod's Reserve: Rich, full Pinot loaded with baked cherries, baking spice, a touch of cedar & earth. Velvety smooth.

Other wines worth mentioning were, 2002 Toad Hollow Rod's Merlot Reserve, 2004 Renwood Barberra & 2004 Renwood Lodi Zinfandel.

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Restaurant Review: Slim Goodies Diner: Still Cooking with Love

'The Jewish Coonass'- Potato Latkes topped with Spinach, Eggs, and Crawfish Etoufee

We were cruising along Magazine street early Saturday morning looking for some breakfast and any place to shop that was open at 9.00am. (don't waste your time, nobody shops that early in New Orleans), when we passed Slim Goodies Diner.

We love, love, love diner food with a twist. Most of our favorite cities we visit have one and we seek them out in unfamiliar areas. Owned, operated and fueled by locals, they always have the best food for the best price and we generally pick up a hot tip on what to do next, wherever we are. Since our itinerary for this weekend was packed we were just looking for food, and boy did we find it.

The place was packed, Good sign. And we got a table right away, even better. The menu is huge. Its one of those menus that if I am spending more than one day in a place, I want to come back over and over again so that I can try out everything on it. 'Still Cooking with Love' the menu says and it has to be true because food this good couldn't be made without love.

I had the the 'Jewish Coonass' (pictured above)- Potatoe Latkes topped with spinach, eggs, and Crawfish Etoufee. Served with a biscuit so that you can soak up any of the butter that the latkes miss. It was a perfect cure for the slight hangover I acquired after trying to taste as many of the 600 wines I was surrounded by in three short hours the night before, but thats probably a story for another time. The Etoufee was really good. The best I've had in New Orleans. The latkes were great as well. It was my first encounter with a latke so I have nothing to compare to but latkes are now my new favorite way to eat potatoes with my breakfast.

Collin had the 'Bon-Ton' - Etoufee Omlette. I was so engrossed in my meal that I never even got a bite of his. It had to have been good because he almost cleared the plate and the omelet was the size of our heads combined.

Slim Goodies is definitely worth checking out. I would say if you visit NOLA, it's be a shame to skip out on Slim's. Besides all the aforementioned perks to the place, they were one of the first restaurants to open up after Katrina. They love New Orleans, they are helping to bring the city back, and that should make you smile.

Recap- For all you folks with short attention spans-

Slim Goodies

  • Hot Coffee

  • Good Service

  • Nice Atmosphere/Local Flavor

  • Phenomenal Food with tons of choices

  • Doesn't break the budget

  • 5 Thumbs up
  • Labels:


    New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Part 1: Friday Night's Food Sampling

    Alright Folks,

    We made it back from the NOWFE alive and very, very happy. We had some great food and even better wine. My task is to give you the low down on the chow and let me tell you, it was fantastic. The food at the grand tastings was amazing and we attended a seminar that was all about the duck, delicious duck, but more on that later.

    1. Seafood Pasta- The Hilton
    I was starving and there was no line at this booth so I decided to give it a go. The flavor was good but the paste was mushy. Seafood=crawfish.

    2. Grape Tomatoes with Buffalo Mozzarella, Balsamic, Basil and Field Greens- Reginelli's
    I am a salad addict and very conservative with my praise of most restaurant salads, but this one was de-lish. Nothing special or overly imaginative BUT, the greens were crisp and sweet, the mozzarella was meaty and flavorful, and the vinaigrette was not too overpowering or to weak. Only complaint, crunchy tomatoes. Its really hard to get good cherry or grape tomatoes right now. I would have gone with a roma, sliced.

    3. Shrimp Bisque- I can't remember the restaurant for the life of me.
    Probably better that I don't remember the restaurant this was from because it was very weak. Chicken broth was an overpowering flavor in the bisque, and a real turn off.

    4. Mini Muffaletta- Di Martino's
    It was super cute, and really good. Di Martino's is famous for their muffs. The meat was really good quallity. Nice flavor and texture. I didn't pull all the meat out in the first bite (I hate that). I felt that olive relish overpowered a lot of the meat flavor but I imagine its a hard balance to find when your muffaletta is the size of a golf ball.

    5. Lemoncello Avocado Bisque with Lump Crab, Grapefruit Relish and Siracha and Lemon Creme Sauce- New Orleans Grill at Windsor Court
    Absolute heaven. Great avocado and lemoncello flavor went fantastically with the delicate fresh lump crab. The grapefruit relish was so flavorful (I plan on experimenting immediately). The dish was served cool and very refreshing after tasting many many red wines that evening. This was my favorite dish of the weekend.

    6. Soft-shell Crab Bisque with Black Truffle Butter- Commander's Palace
    The food gods were smiling on us this day. Beautiful creamy yellow color with specks of black truffle. Velvety on the tongue. Brilliant flavor, left us wanting more. This was Collin's pick for the weekend.

    7. Duck Crepe with Cucumber Cilantro Vinaigrette- Once again, I do not know who created this dish.
    I am sure I butchered the ingredients in this dish. It was one of the last things I tried Friday night. The crepe was served with micro-greens. The duck flavor was really nice. The rest of the items in this dish (vinaigrette, greens, and crepe) were so light that the duck flavor was the center of attention. A close contender for Friday night fave.

    8. Vidalia Onion and Jalapeno Hummus with Smoked Pita- Fire
    Delicious dish. Chips could definitely stand alone and the dip had intense sweet onion flavor. TERRIBLE choice to eat while attempting to taste and critique wine, however. My palate was wrecked for quite sometime after tasting this dip.

    9. Tiny Lemon Pie- No clue......
    Really nice tiny slice of lemon pie with whipped creme and a blueberry on top. The graham crust was perfect.

    10. Honey Goat Cheese- Forgotten Coast Foods
    This place had some great great cheeses. The honey goat was the perfect finish. A fragrant sweet goat cheese with a light bite and creamy finish. I have to get my hands on some of this cheese. If any of our Memphis readers have seen this cheese or something comparable around these parts, let me know.

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    Cheap Ass Magnum Throwdown #3

    OK...I am a little behind in my wine tasting notes. My note pads seem to fill up just as quickly as my wallet empties. Now for the long overdue, 3rd installment of the C.A.M.T., which luckily was a clean sweep. There was nothing great & nothing that was not worth drinking. All the picks made good table wine, but I don't know if I could drink them on their own.

    2004 Frontera Merlot-YUM. A bit harsh for a Merlot, but still good. The La Playa Merlot was better. Both are from Chile.

    2003 Fetzer Zinfandel-YUM. This was a good Zin for the price. It had the qualities I like in Zin, coffee, cocoa, & berries galore.

    2004 Banrock Station Semillion-Chardonay- YUM. Fruity & off dry. Very easy drinking.


    Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

    I sit here listening to Louis Armstrong, thinking "Yes, I do know what it means to miss New Orleans." With the famous lackadaisical, Dixieland rhythm accompanying, Satchmo's scruffy, one of a kind voice coming through my stereo spearkers, my soul stirs with excitement.

    Now our time has come to revisit the lovely crescent shaped city sitting at the terminus of the Mighty Mississip'. New Orleans holds a special place in our hearts. It is a dense cultural island in the middle of a sea homogeny. We have spent more time there, than we can count. It is our backyard. La & I have spent many weekend getaways there from the time we first started dating back in 1999. We are overdue for a visit.

    Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
    And miss it each night and day?
    I know Im not wrong... this feelings gettin stronger
    The longer, I stay away
    Miss them moss covered vines...the tall sugar pines
    Where mockin birds used to sing
    And I'd like to see that lazy mississippi...hurryin into spring.

    I got my first taste of New Orleans as a kid on vacation with my parents. I remember the intrigue of the aromas of the Cajun & Creole cooking that permeates the air, the first crawfish head that I sucked & the spicy brew it spilled in my mouth, my first street car ride on the St. Charles line (don't call them trolleys...because they are street cars), & the Zydeco & Jazz that fills your ears where ever you are. From that point on, the city, it's food, culture & music have been a cure for the rut life sometimes tosses us into or a place to celebrate lifes little joys & New Orleans is definitely one of the best places in the World to let your hairdown.

    The moonlight on the bayou.......a creole tune.... that fills the air
    I dream... about magnolias in bloom......and Im wishin I was there

    Do you know what it means to miss new orleans?
    When thats where you left your heart
    And theres one thing more...i miss the one I care for
    More than I miss New Orleans

    This time, our trip the Crescent City is going to be really special. We are attending the 15th Annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience this weekend. The NOWFE is one of THE premiere wine & food events in the country. We are only going to be able to make the events on Saturday & Sunday, but the event kicks off Wednesday the 24th. While we wish we could make it to the whole Experience, being able to go to the Grand Tastings & get to try over 600 wines (is that humanly possible in a weekend?) & eat food from some of the cities best restaurants, will definitely be worth it. Not to mention the number of cooking demonstrations & seminars we will have the opportunity to attend. To celebrate Food, Wine & Culture in one of the world's most reknown Food & Wine destinations is going to be fantastic, but being away for so long, it is almost going to be a homecoming of sorts.

    We will be blogging from the event all weekend, so stay tuned.



    WBW #21 & IMBB #26 Fabulous Favorites Festival

    We usually miss out on all of the on-line blogging events, but not this week. By chance of e-fate we ended up having a dinner that coincided with the Wine Blogging Wednesday #21 & Is My Blog Burning #26 -- Fabulous Favorites Festival.

    The concept is simple, bloggers all blog on the same subject, with two plans of attack you can choose from.
    -Pick a favorite bottle of wine from your cellar and create/cook a dish that goes with it.
    -Pick a favorite dish in your culinary repertoire and seek out a wine that will pair will it.

    We happened to have a favorite dish of ours, Lamb Shanks Braised With Anise & Orange & we paired it with a 2003 Broquel Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. The pairing was right on.

    The Cab was big & loaded with youthful tannins. It was a bit on the wild side, but it melded well with the dark dried fruit, sweet tobacco, leather, licorice & subtle acidity. There was something in the background of the nose that can only be described as a new tire smell. Weird, but not bad. The finish was minty & long lasting. A great buy at $15. This wine took along time to open up & calm down, but it was worth the wait.

    As unruly as the wine was, we enjoyed it a lot. It was so nice with the lamb too, which was full of rich star anise & orange. We added some carrots & parsnips to the mix & it turned out divine. We also had some purple hulled peas with rice & La's Grandmother's famous chow-chow.

    It seemed a bit out of season (besides the peas), but this meal hit the spot & proved that hearty fare could be enjoyed in any season. Once again proving that rules are meant to be broken.

    Weekend Cat Blogging: Smokie's New T-shirt

    My mother sent us a big box of goodies this week & along with the stash, she included a T-shirt for Roxi (her grand-dog) & a Superman cape, er...Superdog cape. The t-shirt was too small, but it fit Smokie perfectly. He loves it & it looks super fly on him.

    Check out the rest of Weekend Cat Blogging at Eat Stuff.


    Tasting x2

    I made it to both tastings this weekend & tried some great wines. First, was the Grateful Palate tasting hosted by Great Wines. It was all Australian wines imported by Dan Philips of Grateful Palate fame. There were some outstanding picks in his line-up.
    My scribblings from the tasting...

    Trevor Jones' Boots White '04/'05- a muscat/reisling blend. light & fruity. nice.
    Marquis Philips Holly's Blend '04- a blend of sauvignon blanc & verdejo ***
    Paringa Chard-Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc '04- light & crisp. refreshing.
    Trevor Jones' Boots Grenache '02/'03- my favorite. **** maple syrup, rich, balanced by a nice acidtiy.
    McLean's Farm Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon '04- light & simple, good food wine. nice finish.
    Alliance Shiraz '01- nice thick nose, coffee, deep & dark, with lots of fruit. ****
    Brothers in Arms Shiraz '01- spicy, smooth, thick, meaty, smokey, palate coating, but hot. nice lingering finish.
    Marquis Philips S2 Cabernet Sauvignon '04- dense, dark nose with leather, caramel & dried fruit. Toffee, caramel, sweet roasted peppers & currants in the mouth. deep. nice.

    I talked to Dan Philips briefly & he was a really nice guy. He seemed to float effortlessly around the room, making time to say hello to everyone. Everyone seemed to really like his offerings too.

    Next up, was the "Wines with your BBQ" themed tasting hosted by Buster's. They had a nice spread with three...count 'em, THREE Zinfandels. I was excited to say the least & zipped right through the whites more or less as a formality, but really just to see if anything spoke to me. Two did.

    I tried an Argyle Chardonay Williamette Valley '04 that was very nice. It was crisp & oaky, full of toasted almond sweetness, almost like a jordan almond. I might have to get a bottle at some point.

    The next wine that unexpectedly grabbed my attention was the E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose '04. It was full of bright cherry & strawberry. My notes say "Get a bottle!". I will.

    My notes are barely legible at this point. I already tried two of the three zins, a 2003 Renwood Zinfandel & the 2003 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel both are some of my favorite Zins. The Ridge is loaded with espresso, cocoa & coffee. The Renwood is full of ripe jammy berries & a touch of smokey, meat.

    I also tried a 2004 Alexander Valley SinZin which was very nice but I think the Renwood is much better value at $12, while the SinZin comes in at $17 & doesn't offer anything the Renwood doesn't have.

    I also tried a 2001 Zaccagnini "Stick Wine" Montepulciano. This was my first taste of this Italian varietal & I loved it. It wasn't too acidic, but still had enough backbone to stand up to a good red sauce. It was spicy & full of fruit. This is another one for the shopping list.

    It was a great time & a lot of really fantastic wines were tasted. I wish every weekend was this action packed with tasting action.

    Tasting Notes: 2004 Marquis Phillips S2 Cabernet Sauvignon

    Tim bought a bottle of 2004 Marquis Phillips Cabernet Sauvignon after the Grateful Palate tasting hosted by Great Wines & I gladly prepared a meal for us to enjoy.

    This was one of my favorites from the tasting & I think it was Tim's #1 pick.

    When we got to my place, Tim decanted about 2/3rds of the bottle, while I whipped up some beef filets & zucchini. I cooked the filets with olive oil, salt, black pepper & white pepper in a frying pan. After I pulled the filets out, I tossed in a healthy chunk of butter, a chopped shallot, some sliced shrooms & sauteed until tender. Then I deglazed the pan with a glass of Rock Rabbit Syrah (more on this tasty wine later) & let it reduce until thick. Thirty minutes from pouring the wine, the grub was ready.

    The S2 is a HUGE wine & demands your attention as soon as you catch a wiff, wafting out of the glass. The nose is sweet & thick full of dried black fruits, mint, smoke, & caramel.

    Once it passes over the rim of your glass onto your palate, this wine screams "IT'S ON!!!" & smacks your taste buds & coats your mouth mimicking the bouquet. It does this all while being smooth as silk...Kind of like Shaft. Smooth, stylish, strong & a force to be reckoned with.

    Hush your mouth.

    Damn right.

    I can dig it. Some would scoff at the big, high alcohol (15%), fruit bomb nature of this wine & if that is you....then I would suggest moving on to another bottle.

    I loved it & thought it was full of soul. It was also perfect for the chunk of beef I cooked for us.

    Thanks Tim! I will cook for you long as you bring the wine.


    Oh, Yes...

    It's ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Quick update on my death touch and its effects on our cilantro crop to date..... Our cilantro is alive and kicking. It looks fabulous and we have actually been getting enough out of it to cook with. [Gasp] For some reason our garden soil is very forgiving although after tilling it looks like a waste land. Broken glass, pottery, pieces of what looks like a burnt house (or shed in keeping with neighborhood tradition-see crazy neighbor burns down shed post HERE). Basically the soil is full of crap, and anything we plant flourishes. Garden tip #125437- forget the Miracle Grow folks, what you need is rusty nails, glass, and charcoal. Oh yeah, and compost, lots of it.


    Reminder: Two Free Tastings Today

    Remember Memph-o Wine-o's...
    BBQ inspired wines with wine guru John Vego at the Tower Room. Wine will be poured from 1-4pm.


    Australian wines imported by Dan Philips, founder and brain child of The Grateful Palate will be poured at Salsa on Poplar. Wine will be poured from 1-3pm.

    More info HERE.

    We will try & hit them both. La is out of town, so I think my partner in crime will be Tim, a buddy of mine. The tough part is going to be the logistics & time constraints. Luckily they are both on the same side of town. I think if we head to Salsa at 1pm & taste/shop for an hour, we can be at the Tower Room by 2'ish. We will need to operate with military-like efficiency & ninja-like self discipline.

    I don't think Tim knows what he is in for.


    Tasting Notes: 1999 EXP Syrah

    We have a saying at our house that fits this '99 EXP Syrah to a 'T'....Bomb-Ass-Diggity.

    This phrase is a culmination of slang that was birthed from our hip-hop-centric minds....Yes, we are the MTV generation. While it's origin is a bit unclear, I think it is certain that it was muttered in a drunken haze. This explains the unclear history.

    This Bomb-Ass-Diggity Syrah was a joy to drink. The only problem I have with this wine is the fact that we can only find half bottles of it. 375 ml just teases your taste buds. If anyone in the Memphis area has seen this in full 750 bottles or hell, a magnum, PLEASE let me know.

    We had this with honey, mint, mustard glazed lamb chops, mashed potatoes, asparagus & grilled vidalia onions topped with honey vinegar & it spent about 45 minutes in the carafe.

    The nose was pungent & thick full of juicy blackberry, spicy pepper & a dash of ginger & cinnamon.

    "This wine dances on your palate." were the first words out of La's mouth after her first sip. She was right & this effect caused my taste buds to do the electric boogaloo.

    It was intense, spicy, loaded with black magic. The tannins were in check & balanced along with the acidity that made a supporting appearance...and the finish...oh the finish. It went on for days.

    I haven't had enough & I don't know if I can get enough (is this the sign of a problem?). Tonight I will uncork another & maybe go back for more of this Bomb-Ass-Diggity. It is wine like this that make me wish I had a good place to cellar wine & a budget to support hoarding it.

    A Top Drawer Celebratory Dinner

    We rarely go out to dinner any more & when we do, it is for a special occasion. Last night's celebratory dinner was an outstanding meal at Lolo's Table in Downtown Memphis. The occasion, La getting her practicum at school & her halfway point of graduate school.

    It was Wednesday Wine Night & they were offering 4 wines at $12 a bottle or $4 a glass. An unheard of deal, especially at a nice downtown eatery. We started with the Lolo Plate & a bottle of '02 Folonari Merlot-Sangiovese. The wine was fabulous. La said she could smell it as soon as it was poured, as could I. It was thick & dark, enticing us to take a sip. I expected it to be too acidic for my taste, like most (I haven't tried a lot) Italian reds I have tried. This wine was perfectly balanced & loaded with rich, dark berry flavors offset by a lively acidity that kept things interesting. It was a great match for our plate of cappicola ham, salami, olives, roasted peppers, crostini & parmesan cheese that comprised the Lolo Plate.

    We were off to a great start. Our waiter gave us plenty of time to finish up our first round, chat & wet our appetites. This was a nice change. We have found that even in more upscale joints, that the waitstaff try & turn a table over as quick as the can like they were trained at the Applebee's school of food service. We like to dine & not eat, so this was very pleasing to us.

    Finally when it was time for entrees, our waiter appeared at the perfect moment. La ordered the trout with basil brown butter & I had the flash fried duck with black cherry sauce. The merlot-sangiovese was a nice compliment to the black cherry sauce & the rich duck. La ordered a glass of the steen-chenin blanc to go with her trout. I could tell without asking, she was enjoying it.

    It was a great evening, with great food, great wine and even better company. The trifecta for a happy life.

    EDIT--->Wow, I can't believe I didn't E-brag! We were also celebrating La getting all A's! How could I forget?!?


    The Food Bandit

    I make it a point not to talk about work here, but I cant resist posting this, as it is about food & I find it quite hilarious.
    The following emails have been sent all regarding the food bandit at work, who raids the downstairs fridge quite often.
    I am posting these just as they were sent. As the food bandit keeps striking (he/she is a hungry little bastard & likes chicken wings) & the emails keep flowing, I will keep posting them, until the case is solved.

    Hey Food Bandit,

    The Dr. Pepper and the Orange Juice I left in the fridge were for me, not you.
    I hope you enjoy them.

    Thirstily Yours,

    From: ****************- Executive Producer
    To: newsroom
    Subject: Food bandits secret...

    He/she does not like Italian. I left my spagetti in there for a week and he/she didn't eat it. And you know it's good, my last name is Angelici for crying out loud.
    From: ************ - Assigment Editor
    To: all
    Subject: Food Bandit Strikes once again.

    Okay - I am ticked off.

    I had leftover buffalo wild wings in the news fridge Friday night. I left it
    here specifically to have for lunch Saturday. I left it in a bag with some
    other food I had - all specifically for me this weekend. When i came in on
    Saturday, The wings were gone - a good sized meal's worth. About 10-12 wings
    and potatoes. This is ridiculous. I have little money and am pinching pennies
    - and i always eat my leftovers. If it's not yours - STAY OUT! I want whoever
    to know - you have screwed me for the week on my money situation. I hope you
    get sick off it - b/c i have been sick for 3 weeks. I can't believe at a
    professional organization - anyone would continue to stoop to this an average
    of 3 times a week.

    That's all I have to say.

    it's out of control... i feel for you -- kim!
    I'm guessing -- this person must REALLY like wings?
    i hope something is done SOON to catch this person who is stealing from us and
    who has no regard for others.
    For those who finds this person's behavior amusing -- don't laugh -- you could
    be next!!

    From: **************** - IS Director
    To: ******************
    Subject: Food Bandit Strikes once again.

    someone call the iteam and some special little (small) camera's they have. it
    would make a great tom **** sweeps story.


    On The Road Again...

    When I was a kid, my Dad would belt out Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" for what seemed like the first two hundred or so, miles of our summer road trips. It was an interesting tradition from a very strange man. I have no doubt he is the reason I am so strange myself & full of wanderlust...Thanks Dad.

    We will be singing that song not soon enough. We are planning an epic road trip for June, since our plans for Europe fell through. We are taking two weeks off to drive out to California Central Coast wine country. Oh, hell yes.

    We are stopping along the way at some of our favorite spots for camping, mountain biking, hiking & dining under the stars. Our current itinerary has us stopping in Zion National Park, then on to Cali, to explore from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles. We will then head back east after five days of touring wineries, tasting rooms, vineyards, not to mention some time spent on the beach & on the mountain lion laden Cali singletrack.

    Our first stop heading back East....Vegas, baby. This is where we spent our wedding night & it will be close to our 2nd anniversary, so a lost day or two in sin city is required. But don't expect to read about that leg of the trip hear, because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless of course we go to Nobu or Spago, then you can count on hearing about it.

    After Vegas, it will be time to detox by sweating it all out in Moab, UT...The most beautiful place on Earth & mountain biking Nirvana. Hopefully we won't almost die this time, like we do every time we go to Moab (cheating death is half the fun though!).

    From Moab we are going to drive towards Ridgland, CO for some high altitude relaxing in soothing, hot mineral springs near Ouray. This will rejuvenate our souls which we will need for the day & half of driving home that lies ahead.

    We are giddy with excitement & are long overdue for an epic road trip with just the two of us, our bikes & a wanderlust that has us itching to say "F' it all! Let's get on the road again RIGHT NOW!"

    If you know of any wineries, beaches, trails, State Parks, whatever....we should not miss, please drop us line!



    Camping & Cooking: A Photo Essay

    Road Food: Cracked pepper turkey with baby swiss, mixed greens, onions, mayo & whole grain mustard on whole wheat bread.

    The Destination.

    After camp was set up & a bottle of 2004 Matua Valley Pinot Noir polished off, it was time for dinner.

    The Kitchen with a Windowless View.

    The View.

    The Chef.

    The Meat.

    The Haricots Vert (later, some 3 cheese tortellini was tossed in).

    The Wine.


    The Spread.

    Breakfast was very similar. Just put the Sun in the opposite corner of the sky, replace the bottle of shiraz with a french press full of coffee, the steak with bacon & add some eggs scrambled with tarragon.



    Tasting notes: 1998 Chateau Moncontour Vouvray: Unruly Beast or Lovely Creature?

    We picked up this bottle last week on a trip to Tip-Top Liquors & Wines. We don't usually go to Tip-Top but we were walking home from Golden India after an excellent lunch & less than stellar wine (mine was at least...the bottle was open for days I am sure...) & it was on the way home.

    They have a lot of old-ish bottles stacked everywhere along with the new cheap stuff, mingling amongst stacks of cases of wine, some on two-wheelers still. Even the new arrivals are caked in dust. You can usually get some decent deals on hard to find bottles, but it is gamble.

    I picked out a '92 Chateauneuf du Pape that was $35, but put it back as soon as La saw that it was only full half-way up the neck. It had some dried wine under the foil. What a shame.

    We wanted a white & a red. La just had a Chenin Blanc with lunch & she wanted to explore the grape more, as did I. We saw this Chateau Moncontour Vouvray & that was all she wrote, as they say...whoever they are.

    We also picked up a half bottle of 1999 EXP Syrah which was a hit & we extremely missed the absent 375ml.

    Opening this bottle was exciting. We have never had a Vouvray & I just finished Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Route, so of course I had this romantic notion of tasting something magical that would wisk us away to the Loire Valley, but instead, well....let me quote a couple of sentences from the book....

    "....Vouvray has passed out of vogue, perhaps because it has become a lesson of frustration to locate a good one."


    "Vouvray can be many things from gutter rinse to a work of art."

    With that being said, the first pour scared the hell out of me & I didn't think La would recover. This was before we even put the glass to our lips too.

    We didn't even have to put our noses in the glass to get a wiff of the most noxious, sulfur-laden wine we have ever had. It was like a bad chemistry experiment. We tasted it & it wasn't nearly as putrid as the nose, but still, we couldn't get that scent out of our minds.

    Most people would have poured it out...not us. We stuck it back in the fridge. I am glad we did.

    The next day we both had a glass & it was a totally different wine. There was still a hint of the sulfur, but it was just a scosh & it was way in the background. But otherwise it was a nice crisp, off-dry, delicate wine. It still tasted fresh & lively too. We were amazed.

    We can't say that we would buy another bottle, even though we are sure that the sulfur would blow off. For that matter we wouldn't recommend it either, unless of course you are adventurous & are up for a $12 experiment. We are glad to have tried it & seen how much a wine can change over 24 hours.
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