Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting My Greek On

What's deep amber in hue, comes in a beautiful blue and gold labeled bottle, tastes like an adult caramel, and packs an epic burn? Metaxa! This hefty liqueur is made with aged distillates and aromatic Muscat wines from the Aegean islands.
Perfect on its own, but especially delicious when enjoyed with an authentic gyro, courtesy of the Palm Desert Greek Festival. The Hellenic side of my family would be proud...Opa!
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Lighter Flavors and Fare a Perfect Fit at Figue

With the desert summer swelter arriving ahead of schedule, lighter flavors and dishes recently sampled at Figue Mediterranean in La Quinta represented a welcome palate shift.
A limoncello lavender champagne cocktail kicked things off nicely.
The crisp steely flavors of this refreshing Vouvray paired well with a delectable slice of fresh salmon atop a hunter's salad.
The saffron carrot sauce that complemented these melt-in-your-mouth seared diver sea scallops was the perfect foil for a strawberry-like, floral Rose.
That same Rose also seemed destined to meet up with this flavorful Provencal stew of scallops, mussels, and clams in a saffron orange broth. Easily one of the best seafood dishes I've had in a long time.
With the heat here to stay, I'm sure I'll be back for more champagne, and soon...
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Food & Wine Fest An Experiment in Flavor Combos

Pan roasted pork belly & shrimp crab cake with Yuzu-Wasabi sauce and Meyer lemon pickled onions...
Sizzling Scottish salmon drizzled in olive oil and dusted with salt and pepper...
Yummy bites and novel flavor combinations were the order of the day at the Palm Desert Food & Wine Fest. Chef Joane Garcia-Colson of DISH-Creative Cuisine in Cathedral City matched up some of her decadent eats with a variety of Iron Horse Vineyards champagnes.
Chef Art Vasquez of Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse whipped up some hickory smoked/BBQ braised Chicken Osso Bucco with a summer slaw that included California Cherries soaked in my very own Gypsy Red wine.
 And before my departure...a flowery, perfumey blend of Cab, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Zin, Chardonnay, and Sauv Blanc from Tess Winery. I closed my eyes and tasted strawberry and watermelon. The perfect refreshing end to a heady day.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Have Wine, Will Pair

Since the recent launch of Gypsy Red, my very own private label red blend produced by talented winemaker Allen Kreutzer of Drytown Cellars, I've enjoyed some amazing food pairings. My winter crock pot beef roast atop sweet potato mash was no exception.
Gypsy Red is a smooth, silky, medium bodied marriage of Merlot and Zinfandel that hails from the Eastern Sierra Foothills, and she was born for barbecue. No one does that sort of thing better than Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse at The River in Rancho Mirage. That's me with my first born vintage, which holds a spot on their newly retooled wine list :)
Here's Gypsy pictured with "The Big Pig," a big ole bite of smoky brisket that is to die for when matched with the red cherry and baking spice in the wine.
Never one to eat lightly (just ask Mom), I also partook in a boneless beef short rib sampler that was accompanied by a mouth-watering date coleslaw. I'm proud to say that the talented Chef Art will be bringing Gypsy with him to this weekend's Palm Desert Food & Wine Fest, where he'll rehydrate some dried California cherries in a special wine sauce for that slaw. You won't wanna miss it!!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Forty-Six Reasons to Celebrate Wine

Gloria Ferrer bubbles and a place card with my name on it...not a bad way to start an evening...
and when that first sip is followed by poached shrimp atop goat cheese know you're in for a real treat.
I recently enjoyed a preview of the New Year's Eve Celebration planned for December 28-31 at Fleming's Steakhouse, and indulged in the restaurant's brand new release, a 2009 Cab called Forty-Six Diamonds.
The wine is a collaboration between Fleming's Director of Wine, Maeve Pesquera, the talented folks at Hall Wines, and renowned artist and wine enthusiast Thomas Arvid.
This big, smoky, cherry-fragranced red naturally cries out for food, and paired with a mouth-watering filet topped with lobster-brioche bread pudding (I'm allergic to lobster, so I enjoyed some succulent crab legs dipped in butter), I had one of those 'last meals' sort of moments.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fall Before the Storm

The fall season in South Jersey is pretty hard to beat in terms of foliage-related beauty.
I had the pleasure of spending some time there visiting family and friends, just a week before Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on our beaches and farms.
Part of that memorable visit included some yummy wine tasting at idyllic Bellview Winery's Italian Fest in Landisville.
From dandelion to blueberry, Bellview offers more that 30 varieties of vino for the tasting.
My favorite that day was the Lumiere, a Bordeaux-style blend that was dark and smoky with rich red fruit.
With loved ones in tow, temps in the mid 60's, and blue skies as far as the eye could see, I am hard pressed to remember a time when wine has tasted better.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Battle of the Bottles: Old versus New

When you pit Old World against New World in terms of vino, you create a battle of very different styles and tastes. 
For instance, I did enjoy the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs at Flemings recent 'Bottle Wars' event in Rancho Mirage, but preferred a yummy French Brut Champagne from Nicolas Feuillatte. Yet in my very next sip, New World was king with a creamy Napa Chard from Merryvale, over the forgettably flabby Tuscan II Borro.  
In this battle of the palate, guests voted for their preferences in two additional categories: Merlot and Cab-Merlot blend.
For me and my wine-loving friend Cheri, the next one was a close call...a tobaccoey, tannic offering from St. Emilion (our overall fav) won out over the blueberry-filled Burgess Merlot.
Same for our final pick, the woodsy Chateau de Parenchere, enjoyed for its subtle fruit rather than the spicy Australian blend from Greg Norman.
An order of salt and pepper shrimp later...
We were sated and ready to do battle yet again...
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