Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wine’

L’illusionista;

Since we decided to go to a party on Valentine’s Day to mix things up a bit, Saturday will be our designated night of staying in and making dinner, our normal way of marking the holiday.

I proposed to add a twist to the festivities, however–using a rewards certificate from Amazon.com, I managed to get a copy of Fellini’s 8 1/2 after seeing how much we both enjoyed watching La Dolce Vita a few months ago.  Given that it was filmed in and around Rome, we’re going to try some Roman dishes and sip on some Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (which, by the by, is becoming more prevalent here in the States and is an extremely well-priced Italian red compared to others, but that’s another post).

Here’s the original film trailer to set the mood:

Some initial thoughts for meal ideas include Roman-style lamb, bucatini alla’amatricana, and stracciatella alla Romana, but other suggestions are  more than welcome in the comments.

Read Full Post »

I apertivi;

One small part of Piemontese life that we didn’t experience extensively was the bar culture–specifically, the before-dinner-drinks, or apertivi.  Most of our time spent in town (or in Torino) was in the afternoon and we were content to sip on either a beer or a glass of wine with a slab of pizza to tide us over before the dinner hour, and having some amazing wines completely at our disposal meant that cocktails weren’t given much consideration.

In the months since we’ve returned, though, I’ve taken to flipping through the completely gorgeous book Autumn in Piemonte, a shower gift from a dear friend, and I recently caught a section that described aperitivi and some of the traditional libations that accompany this oh-so-elegant alternative to American happy hours:

dscn2860

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Until I was flipping through my dad’s Weekend section of the WSJ last weekend, I had no idea of the historical signifcance of today:  it’s the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day, or the day that Prohibition was legally reversed here in the United States.

image

(source)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The Box Wine Chronicles, Part  I:

Back in February during my unexpected long weekend in Oak Brook, tucked away in the suburbs of Chicago, I was fortunate as my hotel was linked to an upscale outdoor mall that happened to boast quite a few restaurants from the Lettuce Entertain You company, which boasts restaurants featuring everything from French bistro to Italian American food.  Given that I had my meals covered for me for the weekend (no one could help the heinous, and only, snowstorm of the 2008 winter season in New York falling that weekend) I was able to sample a number of these restaurants, and my last meal prior to waiting for my shuttle to the airport was at the only outpost of Antico Posto, the company’s “authentic Italian” concept with a heavy emphasis on wines, especially wines kept in pressurized containers and poured out via taps instead of bottles.

I was intrigued by the concept, and my lunch that Sunday was delicious–veal tortellini with pan-drippings and butter, accompanied by a nice glass of Sangiovese.  And when I had to do some reading up on alternative wine packaging a few months later, I remembered this restaurant and its approach to preserving the vast quantities of wine they store on-site, especially when exploring the scourge of the wine industry:  box wines.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Almost a year ago I picked up a copy of Food & Wine magazine that touted “Italy’s Best Recipies.”  touting some of each main “food” region’s best specialties.  This led to us making Piadina with Ricotta, Proscuitto and Arugula, which is freaking delicious, but it also left us with a tub of ricotta cheese that we somehow had to use up.

Being one who hates wasting food if she can helps it (especially when it comes to cheeses), I took inspiration from the original recipe and started with a lump of ricotta that was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and then I added a dash of Herbs de Provence for good measure.  Adding some warm pasta and Parmesan, I ended up with a delicious, super-easy-comfort dish that is perfect for those nights when you’re cooking for yourself and you don’t want to dirty a lot of dishes in order to make a meal:

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Contrary to the title of this segment, I am generally not a fan of California wines.  Not because they aren’t tasty, but because they often seem a bit…overpriced.  Thanks to a much wider, global market to source wine from it’s so much easier to find a decent bottle of wine for less than $10, much less $15 or $20, and just going by what I find in both my local shops as well as the state stores in PA, California wines tend to not have that value per bottle.

Except for one that we found over a year ago:  Red Truck.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The sudden turn for the chilly has made me want to seek out comfort food in a serious way.  Saturday marked the first day since we’ve been back in the States that wasn’t lovely and temperate, and prompted me to lobby for a warm, rich sauced pasta for dinner that night in lieu of one of our normal lighter dishes.  A few minutes of Google searching yielded a lovely recipe for a ragu that originally called for venison, but that we turned into a lamb version:

 

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In my last installment, I alluded to the fact that for casual, anyday use, I tend to prefer juice-style glassware to stemmed only to reduce the breakage inevitability.  Since then, I’ve found a number of contenders, some good, some serviceable, and others…well, they aren’t my first choice.

  • The European Wine Glass:  my first love, found initally at Crate & Barrel senior year-ish, and a model in stability and wear and tear.  Unfortunately C&B had to go and discontinue it–bastards–and when I tried to find replacements when the first of my six-glass set broke, whenever I googled the term “European Wine Glass” I would be directed to blogs and websites extollineg the C&B’s version.  Five of these still are alive and kicking, and prior to going to Italy were our go-to-glasses.
  • The Ridel O Stemless collection:  I got a pair of these as part of a gift swap two years ago, and while technically more stable than their stemmed counterparts, they are still highly delicate and only come out on certain occassions.  They are too nice not to use, nor do I feel a strong inclination to toss them–after all, they are Ridel.
  • Crate & Barrel Rings juice glasses:  Michael found these when we were browsing the store during our last Black Friday (aka the day after Thanksgiving when people go mad shopping) and noted that they were a paltry $0.95 each.  Wanting a viable, less-breakable alternative for parties, I ended up buying at least eight–I can’t say the price wasn’t right.
  • Crate & Barrel Zip Tumbler wine glasses:  The replacement for the Euro Wine Glasses, these are thinner in construction (thereby eliminating a rather important reason why the original was so great) with etchedrings on them, but not to be confused with the Rings juice glasses where the rings are part of the blown design.  Someone gifted us with six of these according to our registry, and they will be nice glasses to use at a dinner party.  They are loads better than the “Vino” glasses they also issued–fat and stubby, with the word “VINO” etched into them–como se diche “tacky” in italiano?
  • And the glasses we are currently using tonight as Michael finishes dinner (I was a good sous chef and finely diced the onions, sliced the garlic and drained the chick peas!).  Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what they are, because the nice wine store manager two blocks down gave me three of them from the four that came as a promotion for Francis Ford Coppola’s Rosso wine.  I can, however, give you a picture of one of them:

 

They bear a very strong resemblance to the IKEA glasses we used for our mineral water at Baur B&B, but are thinner both in the glass wall as well as the actual shape (as you can kind of see in the photo).  Any one out there recognize this glass?  Brand would be greatly appreciated–not only for me to acquire more (for a promotion, these are quality, classy glasses!) but for everyone else to partake as well.

Any other suggestions for Weeble-for-adults glassware?

Read Full Post »

Beneath the vines of California wine;

Perhaps due to my registry stalking, I have glassware on the brain in a big way.  Oh, who am I kidding–I’ve had an odd fascination with wine glasses for even longer than it was legal for me to drink–the multitude of options out there would fascinate me.  I’d browse Pier One to look for candles, but my eyes were really drawn to the gorgeous wine glasses–and due to my ultimate weakness for anything in a deep blue, those colbalt blue glasses that were featured heavily on the first few seasons of Friends were the first ones I ended up purchasing upon embarking to college:

 

Nothing screams mid-1990’s like pretty much anything from Pier One.   Which is probably why they haven’t been doing as well as of late.

Over the years, I’ve since added to my glassware collection–some out of want, but others out of need.

And what spurred that need?  One word:  breakage.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

A post on one of my daily reads reminded me that I have been severely remiss in not sharing one of my particular passions with my ten (hey, I’m feeling generous today) readers–wine!  So here at Arial is not Helvetica, a new regular column is here, somewhat aptly named “Beneath the vines of California wine;” (from one of my favorite Decemberists songs “California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade”).  I’ll be sharing everything from glassware, to glass-care, and oh yes–my favorite bottles and where I like to buy them.

I am by no means a wine snob, as my normal price range is from $7-$15 (the upper level for special wines, and my maximum is $30), and I am known to pick up a bottle of Yellowtail when I either want something simple during the week or want a crowd-pleaser when my friends come over.  I do tend to favor non-American wines (which makes the title of this feature highly ironic), but there are a few delicious California bottles that will make an appearance here.  I draw the line at the Almaden and Franzia boxes, however, as they are the rotgut vodka of the wine world and will only make you feel horrible the next day.

First up:  It’s an Alaia!

source

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »