Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sarah's Icon

Double Date

A few days back, Jason and I went out with the lovely friends (and foodies) Leah and Eric to Sarah’s a Cajun/Thai/Asian fusion sort of restaurant in a quiet quaint part of the Riverbend area here in New Orleans. The first order of business was wine—as we each examined the wine list, we decided on a red, nothing too fruity, and a reasonable price. The one which interested me had to not be too light and fruity (nix Pinot Noir) nor too heavy and bulky (nix the Cabernet) and I didn’t really want a straight-up Aussie Shiraz, that grape could do well with the meal as we began deciding on food. I was interested in a wine from Ravenswood, called icon, it was a Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Grenache, & Mouvedre, but was a little pricey, so I didn’t want to decide. Eric went on and ordered it from our lovely server (great service—but bad jokes on her part). It was perfect with the dinner. I had shrimp in a spicy red coconut curry, and Jason had an amazing duck breast, grilled in a Port reduction sauce. Mmm—Duck and Port.

2002 Ravenswood Icon
• Sonoma County, California
• 88% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre, 6% Grenache (Oh, Rhone varietals!)
• Aged 24 months in French oak, 35% new
• 14.2% alcohol/volume—not a problem.
• The light was low, but it was a rich garnet red tending toward purple.
• Nose, mmm, nice balance and complexity, a little peppery, dried tart cherry or boysenberry, leather, a nice light hint of oak.
• Tasty wine and good with food. It had a nice balance, medium-body, nice firm acidity, which I love, and a light black fruitiness followed by the spice, hint of toast (not too much). and a long, refreshing finish.
• I think the acidity helped this one with the food, as well as the balance, it wasn’t overbearing and I think the age was perfect. Mmm. I’d get this one again.

Alsace in Oregon

Oh, That Fateful Pair.

I’m talking about Asian cuisine and gewürztraminer. Last night, Jason and I decided it was time for the good ol’ Chinese takeout. So we decided on the Chinese/Vietnamese August Moon on Prytania near Touro Hospital. It was no Dragon Express, but it was tasty, and we ate too much. Before we went, though, wine was on our mind. We walked down the street to Sip and paroused their selection of wine that’d pair with the Chinese, we nixed Riesling because we didn’t want to spike our blood sugar levels and didn’t know which were dry and which were off-dry, and Viognier is always too high octane for a light night of sipping. So it was gewürztraminer—a 2003 Foris from the Rogue Valley (neat name) of southern Oregon.

2003 Foris Gewürztraminer
• Rogue Valley Oregon: this AVA (American Viticultural Area) is south of the more popular or well known Oregon AVA of the Willamette Valley, and Foris uses the cooler climate to make many Alsacian-inspired wines like Pinot Blanc (a new favorite of mine) and gewürztraminer.
• 100% gewürztraminer (also the fact sheet for this wine tells me that it’s proudly 100% estate grown).
• Residual Sugar: 0.2%—now that’s what I like in a gewürztraminer.
• Eye: Nice light hay color. Very pale sunny. Mmm.
• Nose: Super floral, honeyed, orange blossom even, but a little closed for a gewürztraminer, not too spicy but clean and refreshing summer aromas, with a little mineral quality to it even. Almost like a Viognier.
• Mouth. Wow! Dry! We love it! Very smooth, floral, refreshing up front, with a lovely purity, then an almost peppery finish to it—really fun. The finish is long complex and dry-y-y-y in the best possible way. It’s a little high in alcohol, but now that I look back on it, it’s so great. Lovely job, Foris.
• $16.99 @ Sip
• Paired with some Spring Rolls in a peanut sauce, with Bean Curd & Veggies, and a Spicy Scallops w/Veggies. Mmm. I ate too much…but we finished the bottle off right away!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Creamy Oysters

Fried Burgundy

So Jason and I decided to hit Crabby Jack’s, an amazing friend seafood and creole joint out on Jefferson Highway in the middle of, well, an industrial park. Jack Leonardi, a local chef who owns a very popular restaurant in the Riverbend area (where Carollton meets St. Charles near the river), opened this lunch-only seafood joint as a much more casual alternative to his other place. Crabby Jack’s is amazing, it’s not uber-cheap, but the place is basically a counter where you order and cram in with the entire lunchtime crew to get your hands on the best seafood around. They are known for their Po-boys but the menu consists of fried catfish, shrimp, oysters (my absolute favorite), chicken, amazing heaped salads, and just about anything. The service is fast and friendly, which is incredible considering the mad rush of crowds every day. Also they have other specialties depending on the day. Great cole slaw, too. Anyway, when we went (this is my second trip there), we got takeout. Jason ordered the catfish platter and I ordered the oyster platter and we shared, as we almost always do. We drove to Audubon Park, busted out some remoulade from the successful try at fried green tomatoes the night before and had at the creamiest tastiest fried oysters in the world.

Oh, did I forget to mention the wine? A-ha! The day before I headed out to find a nice Chablis, or something similar to go with the food. And I’d been craving a nice minerally, not oaky white Burgundy, primarily thinking Chablis. Well I went to Sip, they were out of any white Burgundy, but said they might be getting some in, and I suggested a 2004 Chablis under $25 if they wanted my business. Jennifer recommended an aussie chardonnay as a replacement and I thought about it. So I walked four or five blocks west on Magazine and went into Martin Wine Cellar, because I remember them having a great selection of Burgundy. Finally, after giving up on someone asking me if I need help, I asked the guy I remembered from spring break to help me find a nice Chablis under $25, and he told me they had a few 2003 left, but that he actually recommended a 2004 Bourgogne Thierry and Pascale Matrot, because it’s a better vintage and a tad cheaper. He also asked me if I had a problem with screwcaps. Ha! I bought it.

2004 Matrot Bourgogne
• $14.99 @ Martin Wine Cellar
• Burgundy, France (sort of the middle of the Burgundy region, much further south than Chablis)
• 100% Chardonnay
• We had to use plastic cups, so I saw a nice rich golden color to it in the white plastic Mardi Gras cup.
• Nose: rich fruitiness, lemon, minerals, a little honeyed almost.
• Taste: voluptuous mouth-filling rich fruit, but a Burgundy kind of fruit, not a bomb, a lot of rich lemon qualities, a little minerality, but not those plunging depths of good Chablis, a nice long, lingering richness.
• 12.5% alcohol/volume
• Great with the oysters and cole slaw, could have been a little less rich for the catfish, but nice, nonetheless. Not exactly what I was looking for—not Chablis-ish enough, and a little too round. A cooler climate would have helped. But not the butter-ball fruit-bomb of some California chardonnay, which I hate don’t care for.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Beginning of a Lovely Relationship with Pink

This entry starts a journey into the land of dry rosé for me. There is no reason not to love a dry pink wine, especially if you like red wine or white wine--wait, that's all wine! Exactly, it's versatile, summery, and goes with almost every food. It's not sweet white zinfandel, although I'm sure I could find a lovely dry zinfandel rosé. Let's start in Spain--and I already have France lined up.

Esencia Valdemar 2004 Rioja Garnacha Rosé

• 100% Garnacha (aka Grenache)
• Rioja, Spain
• Deep rose color, lovely, tending more toward copper/brick than red. I wouldn’t call it a dark rosé, nor a light rosé—more in-the-middle.
• Nose of nicely underripe strawberries, with a little hint of minerals and a light spice. After the wine warms up, a little alcoholic, though.
• Tasty strawberry, rasp-cranberry, maybe even a hint of spice and a nice candy freshness at the end. I’d call it light bodied, but not with medium tart candy kind of finish. A little hot, as in the nose.
• 14% alcohol/volume—a little high for a light summery wine, I think. I prefer my cooler climate whites, we get lower alcohol (below 13% preferably), but if the flavors and aromas work right, the alchohol content shouldn’t matter.
• $14 @ Sip
• I think it’d be better with some light food, some salad, something barbecued seems perfect—shrimp on the barbie, I’d say. Fried Green Tomatoes and remoulade? We’ll find out—stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mere Experience

Wine & Memory

[I know other bloggers and wine and food writers have touched on this topic before, but I’d like to add my two cents to the discussion. ]

I may not remember the detailed taste of my favorite wines, but I always remember them. I remember loving them. I remember who I was with and what we were doing. I remember some quality that haunted me from the tasting. Like the first Chablis I had—I remember it’s sort of piercing crisp minerality that made me want a lot more. It’s like the Pansa Blanca Jason and I had the other day—the first time I made scallops, and the silly TV show we watched as we finished off the bottle. The Malbec I had at my second tasting at Sip stuck in my mind as the epitome of that grape. The 2001 Graziano Zinfandel, and the 2003 Oliver Zinfandel as two ends of a lovely Zin-licious spectrum. I’m sure I’ve had lots of other great wines, but certain ones really stand out as something that I wouldn’t mind repeating. The wine stands as a very specific manifestation of a time a place, and visceral, sensuous experience. Tasty. This is why I am on the hunt constantly, everyone needs more experience.

Juxtapostional Journey

Tuesday, 9 May 2006—My Journey

So yesterday I was feeling a few symptoms of cabin fever (read too much internet), so I decided that the weather was nice not so hot, and that I could use a nice walk around the garden district. It doesn’t hut that Jason lives about, oh, a block from the official beginning of the Garden District, which is bordered by St. Charles on the north, Jackson on the east, Magazine on the south, and Louisiana on the west. Usually I’m content to make the loop from Washington and Magazine, up Washington, pass Lafayette Cemetary stop at Garden Street Book Shop (where Anne Rice always does first signings), turn left down Prytania (I love Prytania.), and head to Louisiana and hang a Ralph back down to Mag, and hit my favorite coffee shop, American Apparel, and the best wine shop ever—all in a short trip. Well, yesterday it was hot, but I just kept on down Prytania because I knew that a third, elusive, wine store was somewhere down yonder. So I kept on past Louisiana Ave, past Touro Hospital, past stinky trash cans, past a house with the most fragrant garden imaginable, and, when I finally saw Jason’s dry cleaner, I knew I was close to something. I was so nasty-sweaty by then that I decided I’d need to stop for some iced tea or coffee or—or—ice cream! I saw the sign, for the Creole Creamery, and was like, meh, I haven’t had any ice cream for a while, and should give it a taste. (Not that I don’t say try—trying implies success or failure, and taste implies mere experience.) So I walked in, the staff was very nice, and I took a gander at the dozens of homemade varieties they offer. Then the drool began to drip. Flavors like creole cream cheese, apricot green tea, dulce de leche, the classics, as well as about oh, fifteen other amazingly interesting new juxtapositions of flavor. I tasted a few and settled on the most intriguing poem in dairy—Dark Chocolate Star Anise. Oh, it’s like, it’s like Shakespeare in a sugar cone. The ice cream’s creaminess takes it to almost absurd proportions and I just about passed out from the calories, but, hey, I usually get fat-free frozen yogurt at Jiffy Treet (Don’t knock it.) in Bloomy. Things indeed have changed.

Also, a note on wine stores. The Wine Seller, on Prytania, is a great little wine store, albeit not a crazy great selection, it’s good, and the staff is positioned right at the door and are very nice and helpful. Now, wine stores like this (and Martin’s) aren’t for the newbie or the neophyte, but instead cater to a slightly older crowd who wants someone to help them, which is fine by me. I saw the staff help two women who both came in and wanted something for a specific reason; the staff helped them quickly and efficiently and explained things to them without sounding like they were talking to kindergarteners. They also has lots of half and smaller size bottles. I almost got a little Veuve. Almost. Next time.

Sippin' Around the World

Sip ‘n Spin

So, it was Tuesday, and in New Orleans, that means I drag Jason to the $10 per person tasting of six wines with some music and a DJ at Sip, the aforementioned favorite wine shop of mine. Mind you, as I write this I’m sitting in the Rue de la Course coffee shop right next door hoping that I could just sit outside with a bottle of wine. But it’s trash day and is a little stinky outside, plus, I don’t know if they’d like it if just little me would down a bottle of rosé alone. Anyway, last night it was a flight around the world accompanied by world music. Get ready for takeoff!

Blanck Pinot Blanc d’Alsace 2004
• Alsace, France
• 100% Pinot Blanc—You’ve loved pinot grigio/gris, then you saw Sideways and tried pinot noir, now you’ve come to the rogue sister of the two, she’s short, pointed, and has a nice sass.
• In the aroma I got a clean brightness, a piercing sharp slate sort of aroma, nice, not unpleasant at all.
• I loved this wine, it was crisp, light (but not too light) a little minerally, and had a quick, short, and dry finish. I’d be great with oysters or a nice broiled piece of white fish and some broccoli or asparagus.
• $16.99
• 12.5% alcohol/volume

Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2004

• Margaret River, Australia
• 49 % Sauvignon Blanc & 49% Semillon (the classic Bordeaux white blend), and 2% Chardonnay
• 13.7% Alcohol/volume
• Nice deep straw yellow
• A little but of a smokey aroma with nice bright tart apple-y edges.
• Like apple smoked bacon—nice but I couldn’t only handle a couple of pieces. And I totally disagree with the website’s tasting notes. I’d pass—too much new oak, I’d say.
• $12.99

Ercavio White Blend 2004
• Spain
• Xarel-lo, Macabeo (the locals), and Sauvignon Blanc (the trendy foreigner)
• Interesting aroma, bright, almost minty citrus qualities to it, with a bit of toasty qualities.
• Wow—the winemaker really let those malolactic bacteria loose on this sucker. Super-creamy! A little of that light citrus/tart apple quality, and the lady pouring said a hint of mint, which I could agree with. Jason loved the creaminess, and I liked it, but want a little more pleasant acidity in my whites for summer. I call it limpid and a tad flabby. But my second favorite white of the night.
• $12.50

Tango Malbec 2003
• Argentina
• Malbec (As you can tell, I can’t find too much information on this wine.)
• This wine had a little fruitiness in the shnoz, and a tad of tannic spiciness, but was a little closed.
• The taste was very cheap light to medium bodied American café wine, although the biting tannins were sort of nice, it was too thin and simple, and we got sick of it in the glass. I thought I was going to feel this way about all the reds of the night, but, as you’ll see, did not. A little too much new oak for my taste, too. Pity, the last Malbec I had at a Sip tasting was phenomenal.
• $9.99

Maculan Brentino 2003
• Italy
• 55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon
• A super-Tuscan! The nose was very lusciously fruity, lots of blueberry, currant, cherry goodness.
• The taste, mmm. It was nice, full, balanced, complex, with amazing yet not atomic fruit, a nice long finish and a little spice, which I needed. Medium-long finish. Would be great with any rich tomatoey Italian sauce. Good to glug into a pan of some Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce.
• I don’t know the exact alcohol content, but it wasn’t evidently too hot.
• $18.50

Pedroncelli Cabernet 2002

• Sonoma County, California
• 76 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Sangiovese, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot
• Aroma of nice fruit, black cherry, currant qualities, and a little sort of nutty tobacco on the nose, too.
• In the mouth it was much more expensive than ten bucks. A definite bargain for the balance of fruit and spice, and not to heavy-handed on the new oak. Great for parties or with chocolate or any sort of yummy hearty winter-y food.
• 13.7% Alcohol/volume
• $9.99

Tasting Faux #2

Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

Who carbonated, sweetened, and then peed in my cran-raspberry juice?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Alella and Scallops

Sunday: Adventures and Cooking

So on Sunday we actually rose early and started the day off right and went around town, looked for a bike, ate some yummy tuna salad for lunch, and decided that’d we’d make dinner. We went to Whole Foods for a good long time and browsed, sampled, sampled, and sampled a little more and decided to make a few things. Scallops, fried green tomatoes, and some Portobello mushrooms with goat cheese and greens. We, (I mean, I) overspent a little at the store, came home and after a while decided it was time to try our hands at scallops. I surfed la internet for a while trying to figure out how to cook them, and I figured it out, high heat, very short cook time or they get tough. Well, I overboiled the broccoli because I was distracted by the shellfish. Jason, on the other hand made an amazing sauce with shallots, garlic, red pepper, butter, flour, wine (I’ll get to it, I promise.), and some veggie stock. I overcooked the scallops a little and kept calling them shallots instead. We needed some bread, so we just has a slice of plain ol’ grain bread. The sauce was yum yum yummy and rich. I wish we would’ve had some cream to use instead of flour. But in the end, we had loads of scallops and it was great. Then the wine.

Oh, the wine! So, on our way home form American Apparel we walked passed Sip and went in, the girl, lounging in the doorway with a glass, told us that she has a couple of bottles open and that she could pour us a few tastes. We had very healthy (more than ¾ ounce) tastes of a Verdecchio and a Viognier. The first was in a really nifty bottle, but was a little to herbal and grassy for me, and the Viognier has the lovely honeysuckle nose and a nice flavor, but not with the scallops. Jason, the red wine fan, suggested that we get a wine that he had at a tasting, even though he’s already enjoyed a bottle. And if Jason is suggesting a white wine—it must be good. And Sip only had one left besides the one used as the display. Yum.

Marqués de Alella Parxet Classico 2004 Pansa Blanca
• Alella, Spain. I need to explain Alella a little. It’s interesting and cute. Alella is a tiny little Denominació d'Origen north of Barcelona—only about 400 hectares of vineyards in total and Marqués de Alella and the region’s other winemaker, Parxet, have joined forces to sort of rehabilitate Alella, and both names are on the label of this wine.
• 100% Pansa Blanca (which I’ve read is either related to or another name for Xarel-lo)
• $12 @ Sip
• Golden hay color—Jason said it reminded him of Wonder Woman’s golden lasso.
• Nose—crisp lemony scents, makes your mouth water, a little bit of lemon curd, blanched almond, and maybe a tad white flowers and mineral scents. Complex yet very simple and not too crazy.
• Taste—Oh buddy, lovely mouth-watering lip-smacking lemon curd with the tiniest touch of creaminess, a nice bracing minerality and, boy does it linger in your mouth. Complex and doesn’t get boring.
• 11.5% alcohol/volume—amazing, I could drink it all night…and did.
• Wonderful with scallops, and would be great with any seafood dish that you’d squirt lemon onto.
• Q: 9.75
• V: 9.75

Sorry, I went back today and got the last bottle of it. Toodles!

Some Fizzled

Saturday: After a long night and a lot of Georgle Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, I slept in. It was fabulous. That night, Jason and I went to Sip, and grabbed a Garnacha (Grenache) rosé from Spain and some Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir NV to quench my desire for bubbly. Needless to say, bubbly isn’t Jason’s cup of tea (or wine), and this one didn’t quench me the way I wanted it to. Blanc de noir sparklers have intrigued me—made totally from black (or red, if you will) grapes--most often pinot noir--that are practically clear in the glass. I poured it with some Tortilla chips and some guacamole.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir NV
• Sonoma, California
• $14 @ Sip
• 12.5 % alcohol/volume
• Very very very pale brick pink color with tiny bubbles
• Light strawberry mineral, a teesny bit yeasty in the nose.
• Pleasant firm taste to it, bright strawberry, a little minerality, a little yeasty (funky) quality, light creamy finish to it.
• Not too bad, but a needed a little more zing or something. Not my favorite, but I did drink it out or the bottle to finish it off the second day. Great with fresh Louisiana strawberries.
• Q: 7.25
• V: 7.5

The Weekend, Lovely

So for the past few days, Jason and I have been relaxing and just having low-key sorts of fun, which obviously involves wine. The weekend was chock-full of food and wine and I’m going to have to rack my brain to remember it all.

Friday…Friday…what did we do on Friday? Um. Well, Friday I ventured out to the wineland that I call Magazine Street here in New Orleans, and stopped by my favorite wine store and the store that bares my name. First, I went to Sip, glad to see the ol’ place, and I talked to the girl working there and told her I was just browsing and that I’d be back later. So then I headed further west on Magazine and went to Martin’s Wine Cellar, and was very disappointed with the service. Martin’s has an amazing selection of wines, many of them very hard to find, but the prices are still good. There’s a great range of wines and prices. The employees weren’t very helpful, and I heard them helping two women, and decided not to ask them for a nice Chablis. Meh, I thought, I’m going back to Sip. So I did. And I told the girl I wanted something pink. She suggested a rosé from France in the Earthy category. It was a measly $10, so I invested. Haven't popped that one yet.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dick & Jenny's

Dick & Jenny’s

As a treat, last night Jason took me out to Dick & Jenny’s, which is a very lovely understated little place on Tchopatoulis [CHOP-uh-too-lis], not too far from his house. Jason had went their a few weeks ago with friends and they held their own “Eat Club” dinner. If you don’t know Tom Fitzmorris, he’s the local food radio personality I mentioned in one of my last posts, and he holds dinners at restaurants around town where people get together to enjoy food and stuff. Well, they don’t ever have a completely vegetarian Eat Club dinner, so Jason’s foodie friends decided to have their own.

Back to last night: I got quasi-dressed up, although the place is so low-key and not pretentious at all, and we headed out pretty early, at like 5:45 or so, because Dick & Jenny’s fill up fast. So we got a table quickly and then I took a gander at the fabulous wine list while Jason parked. Great stuff. I was impressed. But we weren’t getting wine. We were going to have a couple of Sazeracs. What’s a Sazerac, you ask? It’s great. I mean, it’s a New Orleans drink if I ever had one. As one website says: “Tourists have hurricanes [the drink, not Katrina], and locals have Sazeracs.” And here’s how you make one:


1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
3 - 4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 ounces rye whiskey (most New Orleans bars use Old Overholt)
1/4 teaspoon Herbsaint, a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur
(You may use Pernod, or some other pastis or absinthe substitute)
Strip of lemon peel

The traditional method: Pack a 3-1/2 ounce old fashioned glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, moisten the sugar cube with just enough water to saturate it, then crush. Blend with the whiskey and bitters. Add a few cubes of ice and stir to chill. Discard the ice from the first glass and pour in the Herbsaint. Coat the inside of the entire glass, pouring out the excess. Strain the whiskey into the Herbsaint coated glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass so that the lemon oil cascades into the drink, then rub the peel over the rim of the glass; do not put the twist in the drink. Or, as Stanley Clisby Arthur says, "Do not commit the sacrilege of dropping the peel into the drink.

And they are delicious! Not too sweet, they pack a punch, are complex and intriguing, just like the City. So I was more than happy with my drink (Although we weren’t expecting the price: egads!) In addition to the drinks, we had amazing corn-friend oysters on top of some creole slaw. The creamiest most tender and delicious oysters I’ve ever had. In New Orleans, oysters are heavenly. I love ‘em fried. Oi! For the main course, Jason had Scallops and Shrimp and a Crawfish & Brie filled Beggar’s Purse (crepe), africkinmazing. I had a pan-bronzed gulf fish on top of a okra, corn, crawfish sautée thing. Mouthwatering, perfectly cooked. We had to abstain from dessert, although I could have filled myself a little fuller. So great. Best of all was the company and the environment. It wasn’t at all stuffy and could’ve been given the quality of the food. Oh, this City will never stop amazing me. Later today: Wine Shops. (If the rain stays away.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tasting Faux #1

(Tasting Faux are irreverent tasting notes, most often endearing, intended for amusement and maybe even insight.)

2003 Oliver Zinfandel

At about 16.5% alcohol/volume, this wine is like ass-less pants. Fun, arousing, spicy, but not for use in public, and too much of a good thing is just bad. This wine also lacks full coverage and is only exciting at the end. But I do love ass-less pants.

New Orleans: Take 4

So, here I am, once again in lovely New Orleans, visiting Jason (amorous adventures are for my other blog), and enjoying my gustatory and wine heaven. This town is amazing, I feel like everyone here loves food, and, unlike my average Hoosier, the people enjoy adventuring into territories unknown. All of the restaurants in town seem to have amazing wine lists—and what I mean by that is that they have a wide variety of different types of wine on the list, not like Indiana, where you have lots of Cab, Merlot, maybe a Zin or Shiraz, and Chardonnay, maybe Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, and always the White Zinfandel—almost always strictly New World if not simply California.

On an AM talk radio station, radio personality and foodie, Tom Fitzmorris, has a daily food radio show—it’s quite entertaining and informative, although he seems to have a very healthy budget. Check him out, especially if you’re ever coming down to the Big Easy.

Jason and I have made plans to (1) cook more this time I’m down here to save money and time eating out, which is really hard, because amazing restaurants and bars within walking distance abound (not to mention those to which we have to drive). We’ve also planned to (2) go to Dick & Jenny’s and/or the Pelican Club for dinner. For those not privy to New Orleans food culture, those are two great (not necessarily budget-friendly) eats. I’m really excited to make dinner for Jason and friends while I’m here because they have great groceries stores—especially Whole Foods on Magazine Street, which is in an old streetcar station. It has an immense amount of beautiful food and I have a crush on it. I’m going to experiment with new foods I haven’t tackled yet: primarily risotto, but maybe scallops, or shellfish. Speaking of seafood, I have to go back to Krabby Jack’s, the best seafood I’ve ever had. Oh heaven!

Last night, Jason and I went out to Mona’s, a local chain of a few lovely middle-eastern restaurants, with stellar hummus. I can’t find any hummus that compares to Mona’s or Café Lebanon’s hummus—it’s super-creamy, and they always plate it with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. So great. So we popped the only bottle of wine we had on hand (although we had to pass two wine stores on the short drive down Magazine St.), which was an Oliver Winery 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. It actually went nicely with the lebna and hummus we had for appetizer, and fairly well with my sautéed vegetable plate. It wasn’t exactly what I was craving, and I hadn’t eaten much since I was on planes all day, so it hit me quickly. It had that nice brick-red rim in the glass, and a subdued fruitiness and lingering elegant tannins, and still had a bracing acidity that helped it a lot with the food. I don’t think I am in a position to remember it well enough to convey it to you, and I think it’s more of a winter wine—not so much an 80 degree sultry New Orleans wine.

Anyway, the goal of today, was (1) sleep, of which I did for approximately 13 hours, and (2) go for a walk, which was spoilt by rain and thunder. More tomorrow...or later.

Document Design

I am revamping the way I blog my tastings here, and I’ve concluded that loose rules are the ones best to use. I’m going to use bulletpoints, because I am prone to horrid narrative if left to my own devices. That said, I will preface most of my notes with a prefatory paragraph or give the mise-en-scene before the note. (Remember the following is approximate and subject to great changes.)
• Name of Wine
• Location
• Variety
• Alcohol Content
• See
• Smell (after Swirl, of course)
• Sip (the name of my favorite wine store)
• Savor
• Price
• Numerical Ranking(s)

To Start Anew

Preface: I sincerely apologize to my dear beloved reader or two that I haven't updated this for months. The semester took over my life, and the idea of having to totally revise and fill in the gaps proved daunting. But, luckily I kept drinking wine, talking about it, and have recently inundated myself with other wine blogs. I love them, and someday hope to be a place where I can actually help people choose a tasty wine, or at least provide them with some literary gastronomic entertaiment. So, in the next two weeks I will make it one of my goals (and I have very few right now) to update at least twice daily about wine, the wine blogosphere, wine shops, and anything else that strikes my fancy. This way, I can keep this sucker polished and ready for action from now on. Happy reading.