Saturday, September 13, 2014

momofuku noodle bar

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, my favorite ramen in New York City is at Ippudo. But after my fantastic meal at momofuku ssäm bar, I knew I wanted to give momofuku noodle bar a chance to redeem itself.

Friday, September 05, 2014

2010 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve

There are lots of bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends coming out of Napa Valley priced in the $30-$40 range. Many are, in my humble opinion, overpriced and banking on the fame of Napa as a wine region.

Not so with the Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve. This blend (72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% each Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec) was simply a luscious drink. The nose held rich, ripe black fruits, including blackberries, plums and sweet black currants. This opened up to vanilla, oak, herbs, and subtle spice. Medium-bodied, the tannin was there for structure, but overall, the wine was silky and elegant, with complexity enough to drink on its own or pair with food. This is new world winemaking at its best. Concentrated fruit, yet complexity and subtlety with structure and balance.  I enjoyed it over two nights. I was extremely pleased with the bottle and not at all disappointed by the quality for the price. When I'm craving Napa Cabernet, I know what I'll be turning to.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

2010 Domaine Tempier Bandol

In Provence, France, the Peyraud Family is producing some really stunning wines. Founded in 1834, Domaine Tempier uses organic farming, hand harvesting, and family tradition to create a Mourvedre blend that is an iconic expression of the Bandol appellation.

When I first opened the bottle, it seemed tight and closed so I pulled out my decanter and gave the wine some time to open up. In just 15 minutes, the transformation began and continued through the night as I enjoyed the wine.

Blackberry and plums were the first fruits I picked up in the nose. Hints of cranberry were present as well, but this is definitely not fruit driven wine. Dried herbs, earth, dust were ample on the nose, with spice and white pepper coming through. There was solid tannin, well integrated and the wine  had more acidity and minerality coming through than I originally expected. It was a real beauty to drink, very masterful in subtlety and complexity, a real sign of quality and care in winemaking. I enjoyed every last sip and can't wait to drink again.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Yardbird: Southern Table and Bar

The Yardbird in Miami has been on my list of places to try since it opened in 2012. From the James Beard nominations to the write-ups in food magazines, everything was telling me that this was a restaurant I must try. So when I did a mini-vacation in Miami this summer, I knew I had to go.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2008 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano

Barolo is one of the iconic wines in the world. Made from the noble Nebbiolo grape in Piedmont, Italy, it's known for being powerful, high acid, high tannin, high alcohol and very long lived. In fact, until recently, the idea of drinking Barolo young would've been sacrilege.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Ah, the Brooklyn. This cocktail was a very tricky sell for me and for a while I couldn't understand why. I love rye whisky, I love Manhattans, so why didn't I love my first ever Brooklyn?

Because I made it wrong.

Okay, not wrong, exactly, but not right. Making the Brooklyn taught me a couple of important lessons. First, all the components in a cocktail recipe are there for a reason, try the cocktail basic first, so you understand those components before you play with a recipe. Second, when a cocktail doesn't taste right to you, even a  tiny tweak in proportions  can make a huge difference. To be honest, that second one I really learned when I started making Martinis, but it wasn't until the Brooklyn that the lesson really stuck.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

momofuku ssäm bar

David Chang has changed the restaurant world. His Momofuku empire was named as the "Most Important Restaurant in the US" by Bon Apetit last year, and for good reason.  The Momofuku brand pushes high end food in a casual atmosphere. No longer are white tablecloths necessary for an exceptional meal. Asian fusion is no longer a fad, but a cuisine in its own right.

So when I hit momofuku ssäm bar last winter. My expectations were very high.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2010 Renieri Invetro

Sometimes, I pick up a bottle of wine for a completely random reason. Like tonight. I bought this IGT Super Tuscan at Total Wine for one reason only, because it had a glass stopper instead of a regular cork. Oh, yeah, and it cost $14.

The Vino-Lok system uses glass instead of cork and has been around for several years now, but until recently I had never seen one. When I found this bottle had the glass stopper curiosity got the better of me. And I will say, it was pretty fun to open the bottle and have the novelty top.

But corks and toppers aside, what's really important is what is inside the bottle, and I have to say, the Invetro delivered, especially at the price point. Balanced with dark berries, ripe cherries, earth,  spice,  moderate tannin and pleasant acidity. Not as big and complex as the greats, but a delicious bottle, especially with food.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Always Sunny

I was eating at the Ravenous Pig last weekend and had the most delicious cocktail. It was barrel aged and they called it "It's Always Sunny."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Macarons: You CAN use store-bought egg whites!

How to use store-bought egg whites for macarons

I've been toying with this recipe for almost a year now. At first, it was general annoyance at having to wait days, aging egg whites and trying to use up leftover yolks. But after failed attempts, near misses, and almost successes, I became obsessed. There had to be a way to wake up in the morning and just make macarons. It shouldn't be weather dependent, aging egg-whites dependent, or anything else - just grab your ingredients, use solid techniques, and go.