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Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Church of England vs. Man U.

There is nothing worse than making a beautiful dinner that everyone enjoys only to have it go undocumented.  Oh, I will write about it, you will read all about it, but you will be deprived of the photos, my friends.  Why?  Because Megan is jealous.  You’ll see.

Megan and Rene have left for London to see Rene’s uncle ordained as an Anglican minister.  (Hey: I have a blog with a readership in the dozen, but you don’t hear me bragging.  What’s that, you ask?  Who’s bragging?  Well, not Rene’s sequestered uncle, I can tell you that.  All right: No one’s bragging.  Leave me alone.)  They left Monday morning, so Sunday, for them, was all about packing.  As with most couples, it is the women-folk who care about what goes into suitcases.  We men-folk simply arrive with magically filled valises, ready for whatever this vacation brings us.  Bring it on, world!  I got my suitcase packed with almost no effort (by me).  I am a man, dammit!  Let’s see what you got!)  So, Megan was understandably unavailable for the dinner preparations.  It was up to me to feed the troops, and my plan was a simple one: make a kick-ass dinner that would make anyone rue the day they ever went traipsing across the globe to see the culmination of some uncle’s life-long goal accomplished.  An honourable quest, I thought.

As Megan was (selfishly) packing her (Rene’s) stuff, we agreed that having dinner at the condo would make more sense.  I opted for something of a tasting menu.  I thought five courses of smallish entrées would allow us to sit and chat more as we reflected on Rene and Cara’s uncle becoming a man of the cloth.  (All joking aside, and whatever your beliefs may be, you must respect a person who devotes themselves so entirely to their faith as to represent that faith as a formal representative of it.)  I was going to begin with something closer to an amuse-bouche than a proper entrée, but with the intent of hinting at promises of things to come.  Something to spark the palette’s interest.  The menu was carefully planned out to be varied, yet harmonious – simple, yet thrilling.  It was, in short, to be my shining glory.

And then I ran out of gas.

Yep.  Right after I lit the oven and put the chicken wings on to braise, I realized the error of my ways.  With a sputtering flame that threatened to die, I (being a man) devised a plan.  So simple, so clever, so male.

Use Megan’s oven!!  (Yes!)  Of course, the obvious problem with my plan (shut up) that we were having dinner next door, at the condo.  So, that meant that I hump every dish being served up the stairs, through the rain, to our place.  Why didn’t we just eat at the house, you might wonder.  Well, that is none of your business.

So, I cut the menu down into a more traditional appetizer/main-with-side type of a thing, as I wasn’t going to be able to plate and cook fifteen different dishes and haul them upstairs by myself and be able to enjoy anything that seemed like company.

But, back to the original point, that it was a great dinner and Megan refused to take pictures of it because she’s jealous and wants to steal all of my thunder!

On the menu: Braised Chicken Wings in a Curry/Salt-and-Pepper Marinade with a Honey and Dill Dipping Sauce, Pan-seared Green Beans and Red Bell Peppers, Chicken Breast Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Red Bell Peppers and Topped With Whiskey Fried String Beans

It really was a fun dinner.  I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s latest book, Medium Raw, and it took me back to my days in the restaurant world and it made me wonder if I could do it all over again if I had to.  Being thirty-five with a daughter, of course the answer is no.  But, for small bursts of showiness, I can still reach into my bag of tricks and pull out some heat.

It was made all the more fun by the fact that my diners were in a different location, and that I had to plate the dishes at the house and carry them up the stairs, ready to eat.  It was like the old days.

The goat cheese I used was a little too strong, however, and it overpowered the chicken a bit, but it was still a lot of fun to pretend that I had a high-end restaurant in my condo that seated only three people and a toddler.

And everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The chicken wings were gone by the time I got upstairs, and the main was gobbled up good.

Just after I served the wings, we cracked the only bottle of the night.  Just one this week, but we were very pleased with it.

Wine: Viña Tarapaca Ex Zavala, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, 2006, $204 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

We love it when we find a wine that meets expectations.  Without spending a ton of money, here’s a wine that you can enjoy with dinner or just on its own for its own sake.  Very smooth and chocolaty, this wine sits well on the tongue without trying to be too complicated.  Hints of herbs with an earthy, mustiness, that gave it a very drinkable quality.  Tastes exactly like a cabernet sauvignon should (that cost twenty dollars).

In short, a good find.

The night ended, as so many of our nights do, with Rene toddling off to his couch, Cara and Caia toddling off to bed, and Megan and I sitting up and chatting.  Also, we watched The King’s Speech.  It was good.  You should watch it.

And so, we are unsure of what this coming week will bring us.  Megan and Rene are gone until next week some time, which leaves just the three of us, and Caia, frankly, isn’t much of a drinker.  It’s always “Wawa” this and “Mommy” that with her.  While I want to sit around and drink a really nice Pinot, she wants me to read her the same Sesame Street book for the eight-hundredth time.  Which I always do.  It’s a really good book.

We’ll keep you posted.

Until then,

Cheers!

Happy Father’s Day, Every One

So this was my second Fathers Day and a wonderful day it was.  Cara has begun work at a new resort which insists that its staff spend a night with them as guests.  No problem.  They are also encouraged to invite their families.  Merci beaucoup!

Waking up in a four star resort is kind of awesome.  A breakfast buffet by the sea is even awesomer.

We got home in the afternoon just in time for Caia Skye to have a nap.  Then, we went next door to Megan and Rene’s to enjoy a Fathers Day dinner and some wine.

On the menu: Bruschetta, Caesar Salad, Gnocchi Bolognese, Garlic Bread, Chocolate Gelato with Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Decaf Espresso with Coffee-Infused Whipped Cream

That was my Fathers Day dinner.  What’d you have?

It must be said that when Megan outdoes herself, she outdoes herself well.  The bruschetta was a beautiful blend of ingredients; perfectly balanced, light but not empty.  Each flavour complimented the other.  Garlic flirted with basil; olive oil with tomato.  It was a symphony.

The Caesar salad wasn’t bad either, (if by not bad, you mean wicked) as Megan used a lighter, less creamy dressing, instead of the thicker, eggier version most of us are used to.  And it was a good thing, too, since it allowed us more room for the gnocchi.

Like tiny little pillows, they were, landing sleepily on our tongues.  But instead of a cheesy, cream sauce, Megan opted for a heartier Bolognese.  And it was marvellous.  The contrast of sharp, acidic flavours from the tomatoes and beef was tempered by the soft texture and taste of the dumplings.  You know it’s good when people are halfway through their plates before anyone speaks.

We took a break while Cara put the baby to bed, and to allow our stomachs to relax, waiting, anticipating, the sweetness that was to come.

All the while, we enjoyed a very nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine: Beringer, Founders’ Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2009, $210.95 MXN

Rating: Two-and-a-Half Bottles

This was a really nice find.  While at the resort, the Royal Haciendas, we ran out of preserves, so I made my way down to the store they have there.  I was impressed to find a half decent wine selection.  I came across this Beringer, which I was drawn to by the shape of the bottle.  (I know, right?  I’m an idiot.)

Crisp, and on the slightly sweeter side (but in a good way).  Pear, apple, and grapefruit dominate this lovely little uva, and we drank it slowly, savouring each sip.

It warmed well, too, which is a rarity in whites.  Generally, we’ve found that as a white wine warms up it takes on a sourness that is almost always unpleasant.  Not so with the Beringer.  It kept its character to the very end and was a find accompaniment to dinner.  Although a red might have suited the fare a little more, bear in mind that it is a zillion degrees Celsius down here, and five hundred percent humidity.  We finished off the bottle just in time for dessert.

The chocolate gelato, Megan found at Walmart.  The rest, was her.  She made the chocolate biscotti from scratch.  She whipped the cream and infused it with coffee.  She made the decaf espresso.  She blew our minds.  It was a labour of love, honouring my second year as a dad, and I loved her for it.

As the meal settled into our now full bellies, we contemplated watching The King’s Speech, but then we all of us started to doze, and knew it was time for bed.

Not a lot of laughs this week, but that’s what happens when everything goes smoothly.*

Next week, I promise I’ll get back in the kitchen so you all have something to grin about.  “Oh that Craig … Always burning something!”

Until then,

Cheers!

*I thought about detailing my night at the resort, the near-tropical storm that raged throughout the night, waking the baby in the middle of the night; my prostatitis that makes me feel like I need to tinkle every thirteen seconds; the fact that the only bathroom in the condo was blocked by a restless toddler in a strange crib who awoke with the slightest noise, screaming for “mama;” because Cara had meetings all day starting in the morning and I snore, I slept on the couch, without a blanket, dreaming of Terminator 3 (why?!?).  But I thought it would seem a little douchey of me.  You know, to complain about your free night at a luxury resort?  A little wanky.  So I didn’t complain.  I recounted.  Fuck you.

Frustrations, Set-backs, and Mind Your Own Business

This week was going to be a very fun and relaxing TSB.  Like so many of our Sunday sojourns into oenophilia, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Cara, baby Caia Skye, and I went on an overnight to Tulum, staying at a lovely (if basic) beachfront resort.  We were going to head back in the late afternoon, pick up some curry from Curry Omm, take it home, and enjoy a quiet night with no disasters and no responsibilities.

One of three things went wrong with that plan before it could even really be hatched.  The first thing that went wrong is that I got a very unexpected visit from my uncle Uti, from the Urethral Mountains.  He has never visited me before, spending most of his time visiting my female friends and relatives.  Thankfully, my good friend Cipro was still at my house, so I took him along with me to Tulum.  Also, it really burned when I peed.

Second, on our way back from Tulum, we were shocked to discover that Curry Omm is not open on Sundays.  Shocked, mostly, since we hadn’t bothered to call earlier to find out whether they were open Sundays in the first place.

Thirdly, Megan had an appointment with a photography client that went horribly awry, pushing back our dinner plans from the usual time of (between) six o’clock (and eight o’clock) sharp.

So, hero that I am, I rushed to the store, bought some New York steaks, some potatoes, and some body wash.

Since I was on antibiotics, I could not partake in the wine this week, and a good thing too, since it sucked from all accounts.  Sadly, this was the first time Rene had gotten involved in the festivities.  He picked out this week’s selection.  Hopefully, it doesn’t sour him so badly on the experience that he shuts down completely.  We’ve worked hard to get him to this point, and I’m afraid that, with a set-back like this, we might lose him forever.  (Then again, that’s why God invented scotch.  For the purposes of this post, God is Scottish.)

Wine: Blackstone, Winemaker’s Select, Pinot Noir, California, 2009, $169.95 MXN
Rating: A Half-Bottle

One half of a bottle, and that’s only because it came in a bottle.  Kudos for getting it in there!  Seriously, why bother making a wine, printing labels, and sending it out into the world if it’s just going to taste like that?  Not to be mean, but it really wasn’t very good.  Sorry for the harsh language and the biting prose, but that’s just how I feel.

Maybe it was the Ciprofloxaxin talking, or maybe it was that my taste buds were all revved up for some authentic curry, but my man-parts hurt a lot this week.  (As it turns out, I had incorrectly self-diagnosed myself as having a urinary tract infection, and what I actually have is something even more related to man-parts than I had previously suspected, ORRRR even hoped for!  More on that next week!  With photos!  And a video play-by-play of my visit to the doctor’s office!)

Whatever the reason, I really hated this wine.  All of it that briefly touched my tongue before I spit it out on account of the heavy medication I was on.  Megan confirmed my suspicions, and the un-drunk glasses of the stuff justified my vitriol.

The steaks were good, so let’s talk about them.

On the menu: New York Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Sides of Disappointment and Discomfort.

I mentioned the discomfort, and the disappointment, but not the steaks, and they really did turn out nicely.  I tried something that I’ve always wanted to try, and I highly recommend you try it too at your earliest convenience.

Step One: Bring the steaks up to room temperature.  This helps relax the meat, and makes them more receptive to step four.

Step Two: Rub the steaks with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Let sit for fifteen minutes or so.

Step Three: While steaks are sitting, melt 100 grams of unsalted butter.  Let it cool down while the steaks finish sitting.

Not A Step, But A Good Tip: Make sure that the steaks know that they are not being punished.  They are merely sitting so that they have a chance to relax into their new salty, peppery clothes.  Talk to the steaks.  Let them know how happy you are to meet them, and tell them a little about yourself.  This will help build rapport with the steaks, which will pay dividends later when it’s time to close the sale!

Step Four: Place the steaks in a large freezer bag and pour the now cool, but still liquid butter over top of them.  If the butter has become a little clumpy by this time, whisk it a little bit with a fork.  Or with a whisk.   Let the steaks, covered in salt, pepper, and butter, sit for about an hour, or an hour-and-a-half; whenever Megan gets back from the meeting with her clients.

When you are grilling the steaks, you will want to have a spray bottle of water on stand-by, or a bottle of water, to put out the flames that will shoot up when you put the steaks on the hot grill.  If you don’t, the flames will lick your steaks until they are burnt and poopy.  Poopy is a technical, culinary term.  Ask anyone.  No, you’re  stupid!

Okay … so, next week will be better.  Next week we will bring you fun, excitement, and photos of me in humiliating situations.

Until then,

Cheers!

Oh what a night …

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So, for the second time, TSB welcomed guest reviewers to our Sunday ritual.*  As mentioned in last week’s post, our guest was to be Briar, our friend and compatriot, Valkyrie and poetess, philanthropist and volley-ball enthusiast.  At the last minute Cara invited our other friend, Michael, so we had an even six-and-a-half for dinner, because we count our baby as a body at the table.  Only, a very small body.

Now

Last week, when I went on at length about taking it easy and not planning and how it is awesome and makes everything taste fantastic and everything work out like you’ve got a team of culinary elves working for you in the kitchen,  and I went on to spend the rest of the blog waxing poetic about the fucking jungle and how it sings us to sleep in our hammocks woven out of hemp … well, I was pretty drunk when I wrote that.  And it was mid-week.  And it was nine in the morning.  (Did I mention that I was drunk?)

Well, you’ll be glad to read that everything went back to normal this week.

We had planned on making sliders (mini-hamburgers) three to a person, each burger a different flavour.  That was to be Megan’s contribution.  Mine was going to be barbequed yam and potato French fries.  There was to be some kind of salad to accompany this.  There was going to be some kind of dessert.  It was all going to be so simple and easy, that we were going to have the blog finished and posted Monday morning, and everyone would be sending us congratulatory emails and our readership was going to increase by a thousand-million percent.

How’d it turn out?  Fucking incredible.

Short version: Briar arrived at four o’clock – right on time.  I showed up three minutes later, having torn around Walmart picking up virtually all of the groceries for the night in a mad dash reminiscent of the shopping spree craze of the seventies and early eighties.  (Mehh, when you don’t plan, mehh, everything turns out awesome, mehh.)  We opened a container of dip that was goat cheese, with a layer of pesto, with a layer of sundried tomatoes, which was awesome, which we didn’t make, which required beer, which was all because we were making mini-burgers and French fries on the barbeque?  (Really?  Barbequed fries?  Is that even a thing?)  We required beer also because, truth be told, we were stalling going outside because it was raining.  And we didn’t … have … rain … coats.  Okay.  It sounds very wussy-ish, I know, but what would you rather: cold beer, or wet hair?  So then, when we finally got our asses in gear, I put the yams on first, only to check on them moments later and find them charred to cinders.  Yum!  So ended the barbequed fries debacle.  Then Megan put her burgers on, which we test ran two nights earlier, which went very well, only something seemed to be wrong with the barbeque, since it charred her burgers as well.  Not like, burnt on the outside, but like, charred beyond all recognition as food, like, “Hey, who put turds on the barbeque?  Come on, guys!” charred.  So, we started from scratch – me trying to make regular French fries and Megan redoing the burgers and staying on them like hawks over mice.  No jungle pet sounds for us tonight!  No, sir!  Our easy-going barbeque turned into an insane sprint to the finish, with Megan and me slinging burgers and fries (that STILL don’t turn out well) and our guests taking turns telling funny stories, getting tipsy, and wondering when they could eat.  So, after all our careful planning to not have to plan, we wound up eating at 7:30 again.

But, the pictures look nice, don’t they?

On the menu: Sliders (two kinds – the third got ixnayed when we started to run out of time) – #1 Rosemary and Feta; #2 Smokehouse Dry Rub (Williams-Sonoma); French Fries; Steamed Anxiety and Mashed Stress

K.  Back to the wines.  Right around Operation Desert Yam and Burger-gate, we thought, “Okay, let’s get drunk.”  We opened the first bottle of wine of the evening.  A charming little bottle that Briar brought with her.

Wine: Bianchi Particular, Malbec, Argentina, 2007, $495 MXN
Rating: A Solid Two Bottles

The story behind this Particular selection (nyuk-nyuk) is that the Bianchi family chooses certain wines that they set aside for themselves.  A reserve, if you will.  Now, they probably don’t eat it with sliders and fries.  But, hey, neither did we, since we were through this bottle before we’d had a chance to serve dinner.

We really liked this wine.  Lots of deep, red, and fruity flavours.  Plums and black cherries, this is a very rich wine, yet very smooth.  This wine would probably go very well with burgers and fries, but we’ll never know, because no one is to make burgers and fries at our house again.  Ever.

What we did drink with dinner was a wine that Megan and I had picked up from Costco the week before.  (Our maybe it was Megan picked it up, on her own, from City Club … who cares?)

Wine: Wente Vineyards, Estate Grown, Louis Mel, Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2008, Price Unknown, Let’s Say … A Million Dollars.  Impressed?
Rating: One-and-a-half Bottles

Good, but a little tart.  Also, strangely, a little too sweet.  The salient flavours of this wine were lost on all of us.  We tried to determine what we were tasting, but the combination of sweet and tart confused us.  (Have we mentioned that we known nothing about wine?  We have?  Oh, good.)  After the Bianchi, the ol’ Louis Mel went down like water, but in a good way.  We all liked this wine; we just couldn’t figure out exactly why.  Being that there were five of us drinking the wine, the bottle didn’t last long.

So, we scrounged around and came up with …

Wine: Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007, $269.95 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Is the name of that wine really Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007?  In French.  Yes.  But more accurately, no, it is not.  It is, however, on the label, so I thought, you know, for comedy, I’d include the whole thing.  The real name of the wine is only “Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007.”  Much shorter.

What did we think of this wine?  “Peach!!” was what, quite literally, sprang from Briar’s mouth when at first she sipped from Père & Fils.  It’s label sure is busy, noted another.  Yes, observed someone else.  I like wine, said I.  My handwriting is messy, says my notebook.

Okay, so, we may have overdone the drinks this week.  Is our review of Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007, fair?  No.  Good?  Certainly not.  Honest?  Yes, it is that.  In all honesty, by the end of the evening, we were exhausted.  More to do with the laughing that went on.  We traded jokes throughout the night, Rene especially.  Groaners for the most, but in a very good way.  Jokes you could tell almost anyone.  Unless they were German.  It kept our spirits aligned and didn’t let us take the evening too seriously.  Megan and I died slow, culinary deaths on our cutting boards, but everyone had a good time, and that’s what matters to us most.

(Plus, if we say that’s what matters most to us, then we don’t feel quite so bad for sucking in the kitchen.)

Next week, we have no guests.  Next week will be different.  I promise, back to reveries in the backyard, gazing up at the stars.  Not a bunch of semi-incoherent rambling about burgers and barbeques.

Till then,

Cheers!

* The first guest we had was Canadian celebrity, Sahara MacDonald, which we have yet to post for legal reasons.  Sahara’s publicist, Damian, told us that they are still approving the post content for release, and that it may be some time before we get it back.  Celebrities!*

*Sahara is actually a really down-to-earth, grounded person, and one of our best friends.  The truth is that we got really lazy for a couple of weeks and haven’t gotten around to writing the post in which Sahara appears.  We can tell you, however, that it is juicy.*

* Spoiler alert! Sahara picks a fight with our dog, then they make up, then the dog tells Sahara a funny joke, then Sahara pets the dog, then they are friends … but that’s all we can say .. okay, one more thing: Sahara is awesome!

Williams-Sonoma vs. Neiman Marcus

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There is something very freeing about planning things on the fly. Megan arrived back in town Sunday morning from a trip to Florida with her mom. We zipped over to Costco, picked up what we needed for dinner that night, and drove back home at a leisurely pace. Once home, we lazily sipped cocktails, sampled victuals, and prepared the evening feast.

Not having set plans kind of gives you a little freedom from expectation. If you do not know what you are going to make, it keeps your menu simple by necessity. The more complex a meal, the more planning is required. Without advanced planning, you generally don’t have a lot of things on hand to compliment a complicated and varied menu.

We focused instead on catching up with each other after Megan’s short absence. Rene and Cara got home at reasonable hours, respectively, and, sitting in the backyard, swinging in hammocks, drinks in hand, listening to the birds, with the baby frolicking with the dogs, we all enjoyed a sleepy Sunday afternoon that languidly crept into evening.

Megan came back with tales of women of a certain age, shopping in Neiman Marcus, with their dogs. And not, like, dogs in a handbag. Not dogs under their arms. Like, Afghans, and Dalmatians, and … giraffes. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, there are women who walk their dogs … in strollers. Not baby strollers. No. Dog strollers. Strollers made – especially – for dogs. Now, I have never heard of this is my life, so I can only imagine that it is a phenomenon that is fairly indigenous to places like Fort Lauderdale and Beverly Hills, but if this is a common thing in the States, what in Hades is next? I mean, I have enough of a hard time with children on leashes! Dogs in strollers? No wonder people in other countries cock their eyebrows at us …

Though, it would make for a great prank on exchange students.
You: “See, Milosh? Here, dogs are revered as Gods. In fact, that’s where we get the name for leftovers in restaurants.”
Milosh: “Please to tell Milosh.”
You: “Oh … they are called Goddie bags and you must give them to your Dog-God the minute you get home, or your wife will go to hell.”
Milosh: (with spiritual angst, shacking with rage) “In my country, they would for killing you of that.”
You: “Yeah, well …”
      (Woman walks by with dog in stroller. You fall down on the ground, prostrate and whimpering. Milosh starts to cry.)

In her travels to the land of the Blue Hair (aka, Fort Lauderdale), Megan also found a store that she seemed to take a liking to. I have to admit, it sounded a little exotic for my tastes, and I’m not sure it’s a store that will catch on, especially not with women and gay couples. They call it Williams-Sonoma, and if it makes it, I will be surprised.

From this purveyor of house wares and fashion items, Megan returned with something that will no doubt become a welcome addition to our kitchens. It is a sleeve containing four tins, each filled with dry rub seasoning, one more delicious-sounding than the last.

On the menu: Dry-rubbed Salmon, Ranch Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Veggies

Salmon is such a fun thing to eat. Especially when you let the Potlash Dry Rub that Megan brought back with her absorb into the salmon for thirty minutes beforehand. With a dry rub, you really don’t need to do too much work, since the rub itself gets into the meat, fish, or poultry on its own. It affords you more time to take it easy, and enjoy a glass of wine.

A tip about grilling salmon: If you don’t make the grill hot enough, you’ll completely fuck up your fish. Just sayin’. Make sure the grill is clean, too. There is nothing worse than salmon with burnt steak on the bottom.

The chicken is a fun recipe. Put the chicken in a bowl. Pour ranch dressing all over it. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and smoosh all the ingredients together. Let it sit for a few hours and grill it as normal.

While the chicken and the salmon were sitting, eyeing each other suspiciously, we sipped the first wine of the evening.

Wine: Shaya, Verdejo, Old Wines White Wine, Spain, 2009, $169.95 MXN
Rating: Blechh!!

The most astute assessment of this wine was made by Cara: “It tastes exactly like white wine.” And it does. And nothing else. It also gives you the wine look. You sort of squish up your features like someone snuck a lemon into your face.

Going in, we kind of thought this wine might be a stinker. Why did we buy it? The label, of course! The pretty label that made me think of parties my cool relatives used to throw, when they were in their thirties, and people would do the neutron dance in their living room.

We must doff our caps to their marketing, however. Pretty bottle, even prettier description of the train wreck found inside.

“As a morning mist disperses across the undulating countryside the Shaya deer emerge from the surrounding pine forest to forage. The gnarled vineyards planted a very long time ago in the sandy riverstone soil produce the finest Verdejo in Rueda. There is a distinct minerality in these wines which compliment the abundance of fruit flavours.”

Amazing. Really something. I especially like “a very long time ago” as a unit of measure. I also like the use of “riverstone” and “minerality” as words. Also, I like how the deer forage. You can almost taste them foraging in each glass of this cheeky little selection. Perhaps it is the deer one can taste that makes one’s face look like a deer’s ass after each sip.

Moving on.

Dinner was great. In between dinner and returning to the backyard where we enjoyed a few more glasses of wine and conversation, I checked my email. I got a message from a friend with whom I haven’t spoken in a long time. He caught me up a little, and mentioned TSB. Specifically, he mentioned how impressed he was that I could afford $269 bottles of chardonnay.

It was my mistake. I forgot to include the MXN affixation letting you know that the price was in pesos. While I would love to review a $269 bottle of anything, those days are not yet upon us.

Moving on.

Wine: Nobilo Regional Collection, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2008
Rating: One-and-a-half Bottles

Fruity and crisp, this wine was a huge improvement over the last bottle. But, unlike the Kim Crawford from last week, this wine lacked character. Not amazing, not terrible. Dry and pleasant, but like a kiss from a girl at a bar hours before last call, forgettable.

That said, sitting under the stars, listening to the night music, the trees rustling, the water dancing in the fish pond, it was acceptable.

Next week, we are hosting a guest. A friend of ours, Briar, invited herself and we graciously accepted. She will be bringing a surprise bottle and we will continue our search of a fine bottle of white wine. On the menu? Mystery!!

Until then,

Cheers!

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