Friday, August 28, 2015

Passe Rose

As usual, I find that, when it comes to booze, I'm right on trend. Rose is so yesterday. When Bon Appetit - a wonderful magazine, but not crazy edgy - says so, you know it's true. (Like BA, I am also not crazy edgy...which is why I am not ahead of this curve.)

This is not to say that I have not been drinking any rose this summer. Oh, I have. But between the grapefruit beer and the specialty cocktails, my pink wine consumption has slipped a bit. Honestly, it's been good for my head. As in, fewer headaches.

In the linked article, BA editor Adam Rappaport makes a few suggestions for what to drink instead of rose. My favorite pick? Vinho Verde. On this, I am trendsetting! (Not that VV is all that new of a US drinking trend - but it never did explode the way rose did.)

Rappaport describes it as "the Sierra Mist of Portugal." It's funny because it's true.

And that has summer written all over it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

August So Far

Today is the first day of school for Dixon. Shortest summer ever (literally - it was barely two months, from start to finish). 

We did make the most of that time, though. I have some writing to do about June and July...but I haven't organized those photos yet (I day). So, instead, here's August - so far:

Top from left: BBQ at Willie's; beef tallow at Sugarvale, post-concert McDonald's, Kit + Erin at Willie's
Middle: Pretty carrots; me with friends Zim and Gene at George's bday; pre-ZBB Bill; Left Foot Braking band
Bottom: Cherry Slammer by Alicia; Curious Traveler shandies; Snacks at Bluejacket; end of summer dinner at our house

Week One: We kicked off August with a 40th birthday party for Bill L., at his house in Annapolis. My friend Rob's band, Left Foot Braking, plays, and a good time is had by all. Later in that week, our friends Sam and Stacey, and their kids, come to visit and I fail to take any photos at all. But we did have a fun lunch at CVP and a lot of very, very big laughs about the old days, when Sam and Cooper were post-college roommates.

Week Two: This was a big one. Tuesday night, we celebrated George's 40th with a surprise party at Greene Turtle in Towson, which was a very good time. Thursday, we had drinks with local friends and Friday, Cooper and Bill and I took a half day to head to DC for the Zac Brown Band/Avett Brothers concert at Nationals Stadium. We met my sister and Clark for the show and also got to hang out with a bunch of other friends, including Alicia's cousin Kelly. 

We had pre-concert snacks at at Bluejacket, including fried chickpeas, soft pretzels and a charcuterie plate, then we walked over to Willie's Brew and Que, where we were pleasantly surprised, especially with the pulled pork and pimiento cheese - we'd headed there mostly for the beer, to be honest. While there, we also got lucky: I won a raffle, including tickets to the show and a hat for Bill. Since we already had tickets, I gave the prize to a nice girl repping Sam Adams - in exchange, she hooked us up with a bunch of Curious Traveler shandies. Funnily enough, the company actually sent me a couple of the shandies earlier in the summer - and I loved them. So that all worked out!

Post-concert, we discovered that the area around the stadium is severely lacking in late-night food. So...Bill bought all of the food at McDonald's. And it was good. There's nothing quite like a 1 a.m. cheeseburger to make you feel good about yourself in the morning.

The next morning, we returned to Baltimore and wrapped the whole experience with a killer breakfast at Miss Shirley's in Roland Park. Just good stuff all around.

Week Three: Things calmed down a tiny bit last week, but we still managed to end the summer with a bang. Friday night, we had a fin d'ete dinner at our house, starting end ending with cherries, courtesy of Alicia. She made gorgeous cherry, vodka and lime cocktails to start and, for dessert, a cakey cherry cobbler. In between, we ate roasted carrots and fennel, a tomato, plum and mozzarella salad, crab cakes and, thanks to my general skittishness with poultry, slightly undercooked chicken (yum).

Saturday, Cooper and I went to another 40th party and, while we had a sitter, also squeezed in a couple great drinks and snacks at Grand Cru and Sugarvale in Mount Vernon, where we ate the beef tallow candle (sounds gross, tastes good, looks awesome).

And what I haven't mentioned is that on the in between nights, we went to about 8 restaurants - my reviewing schedule has been intense lately - and also put in some dinner-at-the-pool time. 

This month has been so much fun. I'm exhausted, even after just writing this, but it's been a blast. And now, with Dixon back at school all day, I'm ready to buckle down. To prepare for...more fun things. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Stop It With This Kitchen

Jenny from My Favorite and My Best finds the best rooms. I mean:

Even though I have some concerns about temperature/humidity control and all that wine...this kitchen makes me melt. I want it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

VinePair Gets Me - and My Stars

I'm not sure when I first came across VinePair but I can tell you this: they know how to make me click on stuff.

Nothing they write is terribly complicated, but their reliance on maps and adorable drawings just does it for me. I can't resist. As much as I love longform writing...I can't get enough of their short-ish, focused and actually pretty smart approach to booze education.

Today's draw: this feature about what you should drink according to your Zodiac sign.

Though I am a totally rational adult, and someone who is super science and data-driven, and also someone who realizes that astrology is the opposite of science-y and data-y, I am also a complete horoscope junkie. It's embarrassing, but I love them.

So of course I loved reading that my Capricorn nature suggests I should drink ice wine. I'm not so sure about that - really, I think it means I should try making ice wine, not drinking it. But still, I get the point.

And I loved that Cooper should be drinking Malbec. Because, well, yes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Booze + History + Adorable Illustrations

So many of my favorite things, all in one short video:


Found via Eater on Facebook

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Hemingway Pub Crawl

I love this article, on PUNCH, about the lasting mystique of Hemingway the Boozehound and how that has made the bars he frequented - so many years ago - visit-worthy shrines.

I'm certainly one of those people who makes a point of visiting Hemingway's old haunts. Last year, when we were in Paris, we ate (and drank) at Les Deux Magots, Cafe de Flore, Closeries des Lilas and Brasserie Lipp.

On a previous trip to Paris, I spent a very, very entertaining evening at Harry's American Bar.

I've also been to Sloppy Joe's in Key West (and to Hemingway's home there).

That's a lot of Hemingway action.

It's not that I think stalking Hemingway's barstools will make me a better storyteller or a crisper writer. But there's something undeniably alluring about drinking in his favorite spots.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

View through the Wine Glass

This is some interesting stuff.

The Washington Post's Dave MacIntyre talks with a sommelier from Fleurie, a restaurant in Charlottesville, and she reveals all kinds of little things that influence the way she recommends wines. She's obviously very into the tailored approach and there are some cool insights here (such as: if you like to butter and salt your bread, you'll probably be more receptive to intense wines).

She also speaks very delicately; she's careful not to sound judgmental or to offend, though it would be easy to do both when you are talking about pairing wines "not just with food, but with the diner as well."

I liked the article very much...and I can say that I always appreciate when a waiter/bartender/somm reads us correctly. But it's always slightly unnerving to be reminded that critiquing goes both ways. We're sizing up the restaurants we visit. And they're doing the same right back at us.


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