Wacky Wine Wednesday

Rosé has been in my glass these days. This past weekend we had the first real burst of sun and warmth. Windows have been left open in the apartment and we each purchased a little orchid plant*. To top it off, we went to Bin14, Hoboken’s cherished wine bar, and enjoyed a rosé wine flight.

Three wines were presented and the winner was a floral, fruity combo from Jean-Luc Colombo.

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This little night out gave me a hankering for rosé so this week I opened up a wacky pink hued wine to share with my clients.

Vicentin Blanc de Malbec is a 100% Malbec that sees no skin maceration. The grapes are gently pressed to extract the juice, not color. This is a common practice in Champagne, but quite unconventional when making Malbec from Argentina. I must say that I am quite happy with the resulting light pink wine. It is juicy, tart, refreshing and pretty. The perfect pour for a picnic, which I plan to have in the near future.

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CHEERS!

 

*No, but seriously we did each purchase an orchid without knowing it. Guess we were all feeling the spring fever.

Spaghetti….but not really.

Last night I experimented with Spaghetti Squash for dinner. I read that you can cook the squash one of two ways: whole or cut in half. I decided to cut it in half. One upside-down and the other right side up (just to experiment) . I put a little bit of water in the deep pan and put a tiny bit of oil inside the half that was right side up.*

When done cooking,  I paired the “spaghetti” with sautéed red kale, onions and tomatoes.

Delicious. Easy. Fresh.

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*Results of a soft squash ready to scrape out of the skin are quicker with squash upside down.

 

Finding an apartment in Paris

If I ever was to “become French” and actually move back to the country I dream about, this little site would be my best friend.

Apartment searching in Paris is expensive, time-consuming and exhausting. Much like finding an apartment in a city like New York. So this site works like a dating site, in that you create a profile as a buyer or seller and explain what you are looking for. When you are matched with a seller (or prospective buyer), you are contacted and able to set up an appointment.

Less waiting in lines at open houses, less headache for everyone and hopefully more luck finding a new home.

Disclaimer: video is en Française. 

Sweet and Swedish Saturday

I have an intense sweet tooth. It was triggered during my time in France. I mean seriously, who can resist the tartes and cakes at every corner patisserie?

I am more of a chocolate and ice cream person, however, recently I ate some amazing gummies from Sweden. Sockerbit was first introduced to me when my roommate brought home a white bag of treats. I tried them out and was impressed. Then the other weekend, on a lazy weekend stroll while waiting for brunch at Buvette (more on that later), I stumbled across the stark white candy store in the West Village.

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The smågodis at Sockerbit are all GMO free, trans fat free and colored from nature. But all of that aside, they are delicious and fun. My bag was quickly filled with shapes, colors and flavors. My favorite so far has been the salted licorice candy. Yes, salt on my gummy. It sounds freakish, but seriously, these Scandinavians are on to something here.

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Stop by the store and try it yourself:

89 Christopher St., New York, NY 10014

Parcin’ it in Philly

I recently made my way back to the city of brotherly love for a weekend with friends.  Phialdelphia is where I grew up and the city I knew before all others, but at this point in my life it is no longer home. So for this trip I made a point to get a few suggestions for bars and restaurants in the area.  I tend to go to the same few places since college and I was ready for something new.

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Lucky for me, my friend lives off of Rittenhouse Square so we were right in the thick of things. The first night, we got cocktails at a few places including Twenty Manning and The Pub & Kitchen. Both bars served up decent cocktails amid a fun ambiance, but Pub & Kitchen took home the pie. Mostly because I was hungry and the kitchen was closed during our stop at Twenty Manning, but also because the DJ knew the way to my heart: Notorious B.I.G. (I did mention I was from Philly, right?!).

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A smart man once said that Saturdays are meant for drinking and eating heavily before 5pm (I’m sure someone has said this….), so the next day we did just that. A long and lazy brunch was had at Steven Starr’s Parc Restaurant on the corner of the park. We left this French inspired hot-spot full and a bit tipsy, so I dare say it was a successful morning/afternoon.

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That evening, we joined forces with even more friends and traveled across the city to the “Brooklynesque” Northern Liberies area. This is a neat, up and coming area of Phialdelphia that I enjoyed experiencing a bit this past summer. This weekend we went for mexican dinner at Cantina Dos Segundos. Many spicy margaritas and tortilla chips later, we reconnected with old friends back in center city at Black Sheep Pub. A crowded bar that smelled of beer was the perfect spot to reminisce about high school memories.

A solid weekend that left me exhausted and thirsty for more Philly.

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Mornings

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about getting up earlier than normal to seize the day.

Oddly enough, my New York Magazine was also featuring notes about early risers and things to do and experience in the early hours of NYC. It was a great article and inspired me to use my day to the fullest, even if it means getting out of bed earlier. I’m actually thinking that it may be the best time for me to write.

For most of my life, my days started very early. I was a competitive swimmer, which meant jumping into cold waters at 5am most mornings. So you might assume getting out of bed is a piece of cake, but let me assure you that it is not. I am not and never have been (even as a swimmer) a “morning person.”

All of that being said, there is something special, productive and peaceful about an early morning run, read or cup of jo. So this year I’ll try to capture more of the early to experience more of the peace.

Do you get up early to get certain tasks accomplished? Do you get up early for exercise? What about a simple pleasure or time alone?

wacky wine on wednesday

We went from below freezing temperatures last week to a rainy, humid 50 degree Monday. What gives?

Wacky weather is getting me thinking about wacky wines.

{wacky} slightly odd and peculiar.

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Velenosi Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. This is possibly one of my favorite wines as of late. It, to me, is the definition of a peculiar wine. For one, if you were to smell it blind-folded you might think you were presented with a Gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer is a white wine; Lacrima, a red wine. Can you get where I am coming from with the wacky part now?

Velenosi’s Lacrima has been described as a bouquet of violet flowers (this floral aromatic is the reason for the confusion with Gewürztraminer). If this scares you away from the wine I understand. Personally, I love the florals of this wine paired with soft tannins (meaning the wine does not “grip” onto the sides of your mouth). So I urge you to be daring and try Lacrima if you can get your hands on a bottle (use www.wine-searcher.com for a retail location near you).

The wine’s peculiarity doesn’t end with it’s characteristics. The wackiest part is that not many people know about this wine. I even presented it to one of my very knowledgeable wine buyers and they did not believe me that Lacrima was the varietal (the grape). This is mostly because Lacrima is exclusively produced in an area of Italy called Morro d’Alba and not all producers export their wine. There is not much marketing or promotion of this wine and you will not see it on most shelves. Morro d’Alba is located in Le Marche, a region on Italy’s central eastern coast. So this is one of Le Marche’s hidden gems and Velenosi Vini is a producer dedicated to sharing the region’s treasures with us in the States.  I am lucky enough to work with this wine as a sales professional in the U.S. and I hope that you all can have a sip of it in the near future. You won’t be let down.

THE Deli of New York

Last weekend I had my first experience at the famous Katz’s Deli. It was a spur of the moment decision at 3am, so aside from the noteworthy reviews the food warrants, you can imagine how satisfying it was for us at that particular moment.

I am a bit embarrassed that it took me two years of living here to actually order from Katz’s. Granted I tried (once) last March. It was my birthday and I planned a lunch at Katz’s but when we arrived the line encircling the building was less than inviting and we bailed with growling stomachs.

So last weekend, after a night of late night (early morning?) concerts, we were excited to see the neon red sign glowing, indicating that this place was open 24/7. Score!  *I think it should be noted that at this hour of the day some 100 people were also eating here.

Upon entering the deli, you receive a ticket. Once the order is taken at the counter, the ticket is marked and you pay on the way out. No exit without a ticket. So even if you are not eating, you must return your ticket if you want to leave (which is what the guy in front of us realized in his drunken stupor). But honestly, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that being stuck inside Katz’s wouldn’t be the end of the world for anyone. This place knows what they’re doing. From pastrami and corned beef to half-sour pickles and matzoh ball soup; I don’t think you can go wrong unless you’re a vegetarian I guess…

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On this outing my friend and I went for the half sandwich and soup deal. For me was the reuben plus matzoh ball soup and my friend the pastrami and split pea. Word to the wise: always eat with friends. It increases your probability of eating more than what you paid for :)

For those who are not familiar with Katz’s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, let me shed some light on their history. Katz’s is a “kosher style” deli that opened its doors 125 years ago. They are known for their hotdogs and pastrami sandwiches, but literally any sandwich you choose will knock your socks off. The freshly sliced high-quality meat will be piled high between soft slices of bread that just barely contain the amount of deliciousness inside. Katz’s developed a strong community during the early 20th century when many immigrants packed into the surrounding area.  They have maintained tradition and quality throughout three depressions, numerous recessions, the construction of the Subway and two World Wars. They truly are THE BEST DELI in NYC. I think you should give it a try.

Central Park Wheels

This weekend my sister came up to New York City for a visit. We both have done so many of the tourist attractions throughout the years and decided that it was time to do something new and different.

My first idea was a horse and carriage ride. The week before she visited, Central Park was extra inviting with the snow covered trees, icy ponds and freezing temperatures. I was dreaming up hot chocolate and blankets. However this particular weekend greeted us with a winter heat-wave of sorts and the carriage ride seemed less attractive as we saw the melting snow mixed with horse poo.

We settled on a less conventional route: a bike ride. I am talking about a tandem bike ride to be exact. It was down-right hilarious. I literally couldn’t stop laughing during the first few minutes (and each time after we took pit-stops and worked to get back on the bike, moving in unison.)  It was a rocky start, especially because the breaks were less than effective and we didn’t even have a bell….but once we got the hang of it (and once I learned that slacking off with pedaling in the back messes up the pilot up front) we were pros.

I would recommend it as the best way to see the park in its entirety while also being able to chat with your copilot. What a great memory on a beautiful day.

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Down the coast of California

The beauty of traveling to the West Coast is that you naturally wake up early, meaning more time to seize the day. And seize we did! The last morning of our road trip we woke up before the sun and made our way to the farthest edge of California. I drove the windy drive through Big Sur down through to Santa Barbara. I highly recommend this to anyone spending time in the San Francisco area. I am pretty sure that during the first hour I pulled over almost every 5 minutes. It was a cold morning that warmed as the day continued, and the fog coming off the ocean crashing onto the rocks was eery and picturesque.

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The drive from Carmel to LA was diverse and relaxing. The drive through Los Angeles was another story entirely. Luckily I was not behind the wheel because the heart attack I was having from the congestion and stop-go traffic was enough as a passenger alone. I’m not going to write about it because I am still trying to forget about it. We arrived at the airport and dropped off our car (on which we had racked up some 900 miles ), met our best friend there and headed to LA Fashion Week event with her in West Hollywood. Us “road-trippers” were less than dressed appropriately for such a function (I remind you that this is all one day–early morning to Big Sur, to Santa Barbara lunch and toes in the sand to LA sweaty traffic congestion). What’s a girl to do in a moment like this? Oh that’s right, you just act like it’s no big deal to grab some clothes and change in a restaurant bathroom. Walk in looking like traveling grease balls–walk out looking like sexy mamas…all in a day’s work. :)

We enjoyed a party scene with drinks and a swanky Sunset Blvd hotel, but mostly we enjoyed the following two days spent relaxing in the beach towns surrounding Newport Beach where our friend lives. We explored, bummed around and simply caught up as friends. It was the best part of our action packed trip.

A redeye flight home to top it all off and I can honestly say that I was not my normal self for at least a week. What a busy whirlwind trip, but totally worth it!

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