2 bottles of red, a bottle of white…

Other than the fact that my count doesn’t match the Billy Joel song, it doesn’t only have to depend upon your appetite; come on.  There are so many factors to take into consideration.  Likes, dislikes, meal, mood, interest in new stuff, desperation?!

Anyway, I work wine tastings on the side and the past couple I’ve done have introduced me to some new vintners, which is something I quite enjoy.  I definitely have my favorites and normally stick to those — must expand!

The two reds were both Pinot Noirs from California, but very different.  The first was Frei Brothers in Russian River Valley.  Very light with the traditional fruit notes.  Would pair nicely with a salad or light/white meat or seafood.  Fruit would be great too, or why have food with it?  Come on.

The second Pinot was MacMurray Central Coast.  Very ‘thick’ for a Pinot.  Almost a light jam texture with some fig notes, maybe some cherries and light chocolate.  This could totally be paired with steak/heavier meat.  Loved it!  I picked one of these up before I left the store.  Both of these were around $20.

IMG_2887[1]Now the bottle of white I have recently added to my list (and wine rack) is the William Hill Sauvignon Blanc.  To me it screams grapefruit, which I love.  It’s definitely a citrus-laden wine.  Nice and crisp and runs $12-$14.

IMG_2908[1]Do you have any new wine finds?

Buddha Beer

Got to try a new beer last weekend that I definitely hadn’t heard of before — Lucky Buddha.  It’s imported from China and is a light brew in a cool bottle, I will say.

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It has a bit of a unique flavor to it, but nothing to write home about.  To me it was a traditional light beer — they label it as “brewed and bottled at the Thousand Island Lake in China fusing the finest quality malt, hops, rice and water from this pristine region delivering an Asian style lager that is truly an enlightened brew.”

With a low ABV (4.8%) it would be good for a hot summer afternoon day when you don’t need anything heavy.  Another thing to note about this, the bottle is smaller than it should be — only 11.6oz.  Totally get skimped on that level.  The 6-packs were about $10.

Riverside Hotpot

Checked out a new and new type of restaurant recently.  It was Riverside Hotpot.

riversideSome history of hot pot —

“The Chinese hot pot has a history of more than 1,000 years. Hot pot seems to have originated in Mongolia where the main ingredient was meat, usually beef, mutton or horse. It then spread to southern China during the Tang Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. In time, regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood. By the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 to 1912), the hot pot became popular throughout most of China. Today in many modern homes, particularly in the big cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, propane, butane gas, or induction cooker versions.
Because hot pot styles change so much from region to region, many different ingredients are used.”

In short, you get tons of food, especially since it’s all you can eat!  First you pick the base broth you want:

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Then choose all the veggies and meats to throw in there.  OMG!  Way too much to pick from!

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They bring the broth out first so it can heat up.  Then they start bringing the other stuff out and you throw it in there when you’re ready and at what pace you like.

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You go and go until you are maxed out.  It’s just amazing.  They also have a spice bar, with sauces and topping, that you can choose things from, including soy sauce, sesame seeds, green onions, etc.  So much fun.  What’s also great is you can make it full of veggies, full of seafood, full of meat — it totally caters to what YOU want.  I can’t wait to go back!

Breathe, Decant, Aerate

I received a free copy of Cook’s Illustrated in the mail recently (can’t complain about that) and there was a funny/interesting piece about letting wine meet oxygen.  There are so many thoughts about how long you should let a wine breathe, if it should be decanted, if you can use a simple aerator.  It also depends on what varietal, the age of the wine and more.  So these guys have some fun tips on doing this quickly.  What do you think…and how do you normally aerate your vino?

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Rioja

Popped open a new bottle of Rioja last night that I found in my wine rack.  Don’t know when I bought it or if I knew why I bought it.  It was Vivanco Rioja Reserva 2008.  Wow…very nice.  The nose had light oak on it.  The wine itself had some fruit — I got cherries and strawberries, and a bit of spice.  I saw on the label that I had scribbled $24.  DIdn’t see that before I opened it, just to have a glass of wine with a weekday dinner.  Oh well, definitely worth it.

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Smokin’ (Scallops)

Scallops = good.  Smoked flavor = good.  Combining the two = must inspect.  Came across some Smoked Scallops the other day while at Whole Foods and it just sounded intriguing.  I was planning to make some form of salad for dinner and they seemed liked they’d be a great ‘topping’ for it.  The scallops were small — as in nowhere near U5s.  Likely U50s?  Do they count that small?  I just don’t know the count for the size of that (yes, I’m biased; I love U5-10).  Anyway…picked them up in the nice package.

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Got home, opened the package and popped one in my mouth. WOW!  Nice taste!  That smoke, just like that taste I like in Pinotage.  In the end (after nibbling on several) threw them on top of a nice arugula salad.  Worth trying if you’re up for something new.

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Honey Goat Cheese

As you might have noticed I’m always on the lookout for new non-cow’s milk cheese.  Since I’m lactose intolerant and now know I can enjoy goat and sheep stuff, life is good!  Whole Foods had quite the displays out yesterday for Easter and the one that caught my eye was a Dutch goat cheese with natural honey flavor.  I love the proper name — Hollandse Honey Bzzz Chevre.  It was pretty good.  It was that nice sweet hint in it.  For goat cheese not too soft, which is what I prefer.  I would say it’s along the lines of a soft cheddar.  Worth checking out if you’re looking for something new.

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