Archive for the ‘Shameless Self Promoting’ Category

Leaving a job…trying to find a new one…getting ready for a highly anticipated trip to Martha’s Vineyard for some good old fashioned East Coast Summering….oh. And writing this.
For any of you who have never read Thought Catalog, its a great online magazine that gives young writers (like yours truly) a great outlet to get random articles/essays published. The writing is fun and often really insightful so take a look and make sure to read my article!

Thanks all and much love until I return!

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The other night I attended a lovely event hosted by Sonoma Cutrer. The evening started with a discussion, moderated by one of my idols, Barbara Fairchild. The panel included Chef Michael Lamonoco, who owns Porter House New York, where yours truly worked as a hostess for about 4 months when I first moved and when I still thought that I was the exception to the “magazines aren’t hiring” rule.

Also on the panel was famed Chef Charlie Palmer, cookbook author and writer Dede Wilson, longtime food journalist and critic Ray Sokolov, and Mick Shroeter, winemaker for Sonoma Cutrer.

The prospect of being in the same room with, let alone possibly meeting Barbara Fairchild had me shaking in my boots just enough to zap my appetite for the day. The wine served was a California Chardonnay that was zippy and fruity rather than oaky and buttery. The discussion was centered on the idea of American food trends, so naturally, Barbara asked about the biggest trends of the last 30 years had been.

No matter how many different ways they tried to say it, the answer from everyone on the panel was the same: fresh seasonal and local ingredients. There were jokes about how frozen Dover sole was once an innovation, and about how restaurant patrons back in the day didn’t know the difference between a freshly caught diver scallop and one chiseled out of a frozen bag. The biggest shift, agreed on by all present, was that fresh and quality ingredients had become available, in demand, and had changed the way that everyone was cooking.

The follow up question was, of course, to name three chefs who made a difference in food trends of the last 30 years. Chef Lamonoco went first and mentioned Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Palmer, and the French chef  (my French is nonexistent…) who brought contemporary French haute cuisine to NYC. All of these, I thought, were noble choices and all of the parties mentioned certainly did make a significant contribution to modern American food.

However, after all of the other members of the panel went on and discussed their choices, the feminist in me couldn’t resist screaming inside my head:


(By the way, she had spent that morning with Michelle Obama – you know, the president’s wife? No big deal.)

While the feminist in me can be hot headed,  she also has a point.

To be honest, it should not have been surprising. At the end of the day, though women have made huge contributions to the culinary industry, its still a world predominantly run by men. That’s not to say that women have not been successful – especially outside of New York.

When I think about Los Angeles, where I grew up, and the culinary scene out there, I think about women who have built veritable culinary empires like Nancy Silverton, Susan Fenniger, Suzanne Goin, Zoe Nathan,  and Candace Nelson.  Even the food critic for the LA Times is a woman (though S. Irene Virbilla is hard-up for fans these days) – hell, Ruth Reichl got her start as the LAT critic and Barbara Fairchild ran Bon Appetit from the west coast!

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I’ve rounded up some  California wine makers that make great wine and happen to have breasts, too.

Heidi Peterson Barrett: Winemaker at Screaming Eagle & La Sirena Winery (her own label) via CalWineries.com:

“In 1992, Barrett went to work for Screaming Eagle. Screaming Eagle is one of those wines that everyone has heard of, but not many have tasted. It is an emblematic California wine, perhaps the California wine of the last few decades. And once again, it was Barrett’s exquisite blend of art and science that made this wine a reality.

Her first vintage, the 1992, also received a 100 point score from Parker. (Two in one year!) At the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction, a 6 liter bottle of this wine was purchased for $500,000; the most expensive single bottle of wine ever sold.”

Sally Johnson:  Winemaker at Pride Mountain Vineyards. Pride Mountain Winery is located on Spring Mountain, one of my favorite areas of Napa. I’m not alone, here, and Johnson managed to make one of Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of 2010.

Laura Zahtila is the owner of Laura Zahtila Vineyards in Napa Valley. Laura is the owner and winemaker and they make teensy tiny amounts of amazing wine.

Anne Vawter: Winemaker at Oakville Ranch Vineyards. Vawter worked under Heidi Peterson Barret at Paradigm, one of the most prestigious winemakers in Oakville before moving on. Oakville Ranch Vineyards was the first in the area and has always been known for being the best so Vawter’s position is an important one.

Helen Turley: Winemaker at Martinelli, Marcassin, and Turley Wine Cellars.

Via thelifestyleloft.com:

“A name that has become synonymous with truly great California wines is Helen Turley, one of the most sought-after winemakers in the world. […] Now Turley’s efforts are so revered that she recently graced the cover of Wine Spectator beside the suggested title “America’s Greatest Winemaker?” 

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Brooklyn Uncorked event hosted by Edible Manhattan. I was especially excited because the theme of the evening was New York wines. A few weeks ago I was supposed to go to the North Fork for a weekend of tasting with a couple of GF’s but inclement weather kept us city-bound and dry.

The event was held at the gorgeous Brooklyn Academy of Music and, without further ado, lets get to it.

The men of New York love pink. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to see so many dudes swilling Rosé at a New York wine event (Rosé’s from Long Island were among the first NY wines deemed drinkable by the wine world at large), but I was bemused by the confidence with which so many guys stepped up and demanded a taste of the pink stuff.

“Half and Half” is not just a dairy product. A lot of the wine makers were pouring Chardonnays that they were calling “half oaked”. These wines were half chardonnay that had been fermented in oak and half chardonnay that had been fermented in steel tanks. I can’t say that any of them were my favorite – they all tasted a little half baked but the concept was new and interesting.

I didn’t see a single screw top. This struck me as really interesting especially because most of the wines last night were definitely being marketed as wallet-friendly and screw tops are an easy way to pass savings along to consumers. Perhaps this young wine industry is afraid of being construed as cheap and have stuck to cork in an attempt to seem old-school? Too bad I had at least one glass that came from a corked bottle last night…

Gimmicks abounded. My favorite had to have been the wine called “Anomaly” that was being poured as a “white Pinot Noir”. Basically it was an non-sparkling Champagne (if the juice of Pinot Noir grapes is separated from the skins early on it will retain a white color – its only through prolonged contact with the skins that wines become red). Also, you’d think that in a post “white Zinfandel” world, you’d want to avoid calling your wine a “white Pinot Noir” or a “White Merlot”. Alas….

One winery, called Channing Daughters, was serving a Friuliano – a fairly obscure wine made from the grape of the same name that hails from Northern Italy. It was a brave move and the wine was pretty good – also, their Rosé was one of my favorites.

A quick note on the food: don’t serve giant fried batter-coated balls of fish-and-things-on-a-stick if you don’t want a lawsuit from someone who loses their sense of taste from trying to eat one. Cold pork belly does not taste good even if you serve it on a buttermilk biscuit. Minus any bonus points that would have been gained from the biscuit if the biscuit is hard. Do not pronounce “pistachios” as “pis-tass-ee-ohs” – you’re already serving Pâté, do you really have to convince us that you’re fancy? Lastly, although I feel bad that you’re standing behind a table of food that no one has touched all night, you’re the one that decided to serve liverwurst mousse.

• Finally, although I was really pulling for Long Island on this one, a lot of the wine from this region still has a long way to go. There was a lot of green wine (in the bad way), a lot of wine that was just too tight, and a lot of bitter aftertastes. Sadly, I found myself grimacing post-swig a little too often throughout the night. The exceptions were some really nice sparkling wines (my favorite was Sparkling Pointe’s Blanc de Blanc), some delicious Rosés, a delightfully smooth Cabernet Franc from a winemaker called Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, and the Channing Daughters’ Friulano.

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Hey (wine) lovers,

Make sure you all head on over to Refinery 29 for an awesome round up of 10 great wines under $15 that I put together! Refinery 29 is one of my absolute favorite fashion/shopping blogs and collaborating with them was fabulous!

Here’s the link: 10 Great Bottles in NYC

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Today’s wine story in the NYTimes Dining & Wine  Section is all about the underrated magic and allure of some of my absolute favorite wine – Cru Beaujolais. Their favorite pick is also one of my absolute favorite picksChateau Thivin’s Cote de Brouilly @ about $23/bottle.

A town in Beaujolais

While Beaujolais is especially fantastic for summertime (a chill can make its flavors really sing), it’s a wine that I like to drink year-round for its delicacy, undeniable femininity and bright flavors. It’s a wine that for a very long time had a marred reputation – brought on by the copious production of bad Beaujolais Nouveau and drinker’s of Cru Beaujolais were chided for poor taste by those who didn’t know any better.

At the end of the day, however, I’ve always loved these wines because they’re so delicious it’s easy to gulp them down without stopping to consider all the subtleties that are lingering below the surface. Always the English Major, I like to think of Cru Beaujolais as a great book – something classic that everyone has to read in high school and inevitably ends up in the favorite books column on Facebook.

Beaujolais Tasting in 2009 at Georges Dubouef

So, here’s what the NYTimes had to say about Cru Beaujolais


Here’s what I wrote about it way back in June of 2010 (originally published on Poor Taste)

Suck it, NYTimes.

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Hi everyone! Soo last night Vine Talk premiered on the PBS station here in NYC and the website finally launched, too! Head over to the blog section to see all the hard work I’ve been doing for this fantastic and super fun project…you can check the website for the show’s listings in your city (public television is very strange and the show has different days/times according to city – yeesh).

The first episode was all about Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and featured guests Nora Ephron (whom I have a very bratty and beautiful wiener dog after – my Nora also loves food and is tremendously fat), John Lithgow, Chef Jonathan Waxman, and S. Epatha Merkerson of Law & Order fame (and who, coincidentally lived in my humble little apartment on the UWS before she hit it big). The hosts are Ray Isle of Food & Wine Magazine and the inimitable Stanley Tucci.

Make sure you stay tuned to both the show and the blog!!!

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This might as well be me.

I may be the most financially reckless person I know. Or the most fiscally irresponsible. Regardless of how you want to say it, I am bad with money. Chalk it up to that second X gene, enabling parents, a lack of discipline, a loose character, youthful naiveté  – whatever.

I blame the economy, the recession, the City of New York and any other factor at play that abdicates me from assuming any and all responsibility for bad financial habits.

I was so thrifty last week I only spent $50 to feed myself from Sunday dinner through Friday dinner (with the exception of a quick jaunt to Momofuku Noodle on Thursday Night). That is 5 light breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners – 15 meals on $50. That’s roughly $3.33 a meal. And yet, come Monday morning I find myself nearly destitute yet again

How is this feat possible? First off, I’d like to thank Café Gitane in the Jane Hotel for freeing me of, really, at the end of the day, a superfluous $24 that I was keeping in my bank account out of sheer curiosity– you know just to see what would happen to it if it stuck around for a while. That $24 was instead dispensed on a cocktail of iced-tea flavored water, a mound of ice, a squirt of lemon, and a splash of Jack Daniels. The extra shot they gave me to turn the whole sorry thing into some remote semblance of a cocktail cost me $10. I could have bought a pint of Jack Daniels with $10.

Next, Employees Only, you had a part to play in this whole production, too, and I’d like to see you get the recognition you deserve.  You served a beautiful Sazerac. It was gorgeous! Delicious! And $14.

Last, Cabbie that didn’t know how to get from 13th Street and 7th Avenue to the corner of Jane and Washington Streets (It’s straight by the way. You go straight.) –  thank you. Thank you for relieving me of the $9 that was burning a searing hole in my pocket, really, and don’t ever change.

So what does any of this have to do with wine? It doesn’t really. It’s merely a reminder to all of you that no matter how much more than you I know about wine, I’m still just an idiot sometimes. That being said, if I make sense out of wine and the strange world in which it resides, it should be cake for you. Instead of drowning my financial anxiety in a glass of wine tonight, I’ll be scrounging around my fridge for something to take the edge off the gin I’ve got stashed away in the back of my freezer. Because that’s the only alcoholic beverage in my apartment. Donations are welcome.

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