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Category Archives: Malbec

The rich, dark and juicy wine.

The Meaning of Easter: Pizza Pot Pie and Bready Quiche

So, here was my day yesterday.

Drove Cara to work.  Caia was playing with some coins (please don’t judge us, we try our best, it will never happen again) until she started asking where her coins went, which I couldn’t find, which I enquired about, to which Caia responded “My mouth,” to which I asked, “You mean: you ate them?” to which she replied, “Yes.”  Checked her car seat.  No coins.  Sheepish daughter looked away, sheepishly, and said, “My mouth.”  Called the doctor.  The doctor told me that unless the coins were blocking her airway, she’ll be fine, and eventually poop them out.  BUT … we’ll have to check to make sure they all come out.  Check her poop for coins.  All of her poop.  For all of the coins.  It’s like the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie ever.  Pirates of the Caribbean 9: Four Brown Coins.  Cara called the daycare to let them know what was going on.  Daycare called me at lunch to ask me to pick up our daughter, as they were worried that the coins might be lost in her chest somewhere.  And somehow.  Despite explaining to the owner of the daycare that the digestive and respiratory systems are not connected, she was too worried about the coins finding their way into Caia’s lungs to let her stay at daycare.  I picked Caia up and was advised to take my two-year-old to get a chest X-Ray.  All of my strength, I swear, not to call another adult names in front of my daughter.  (At least she didn’t advise me to put her in an MRI.)  Drove home.  Cara got stuck at work and wouldn’t be home when she thought she would, which meant that I was stuck at home.  Took the dogs for a walk with a toddler who has now taken to hitting daddy in the face whenever it pleases her.  Put Caia in her car seat to pick up Cara.  Caia starts asking “Where’s my money?” and checking her seat for it.  Thought bubble, “What if the coins fell in between the seats and are on the floor somewhere.  Pull car seat apart, lift, and discovered Barbossa’s treasure. (Thank. God.)  Got back to work around four.  Stayed till six-thirty trying to catch up.  Ran out of time to post.

My apologies.

This past week was Easter.  We hope you found someway of enjoying it with friends and family.

We decided to follow in our tradition of untraditional Easter meals with two dishes that seemed destined to compete for our attentions – Pizza Pot Pie and Bready Quiche.

The original title of this post was going to be “Easter Deathmatch!  Pizza Pot Pie vs. Bready Quiche!  Two Dishes Enter, One Dish Leaves …” but then I realised that no dishes would be leaving, so the post would be starting off with a lie, and an “Easter Deathmatch” sounded too Roman.

If you haven’t already familiarised yourself with The Silver Palate Cookbook, you should.  Filled with useful, everyday recipes, as well as cunning twists on old standards, it’s a must-have in any kitchen.

That’s where we found the recipe for Pizza Pot Pie. This is an event as this was the first baking attempt on my part that’s ever gone according to plan: I made the dough myself.  (Therefore, the recipe was brilliant!)

If you’re a baker, you’re laughing at me right now.  Deservedly.

If you’re not, then you are right to tremble before my Awesome.

Anyway, the food …

On the Menu: Berry Salad, Bready Quiche, Pizza Pot Pie, Lemon Squares, Easter Cookies (Decorated by Rene)

Bready Quiche is what I call it, even though it probably has a much more authentic-sounding name.  Basically, it’s quiche, but with bread instead of pastry as a crust.  Megan made it.  It’s one of her specialities.  It was awesome.  Slap a little hot sauce on there and you almost feel like you’re in Montréal.

The Pizza Pot Pie is super fun.  All the fixins of a pizza … only inverted!  What?!?  The crust is on the top?  What?!?

Megan’s salads are always awesome.  Spinach with goat cheese.  Blueberries and watermelon.  Raspberry vinaigrette.  Shallots.  Delicious.

We were so happy with our wine slushies the last time, we decided to salute the Saviour with another round.  This time, we used a slightly bubbly wine to see how that worked out for us.

It worked out fine.

With dinner, we went more traditional and had red.

Wine: Punta de Flechas, Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Malbec, 2010, Argentina, $195 MXN
Rating: One Bottle

A little young and a little closed to really enjoy this Argentine red.  Hints of juniper and roses with a sharp finish.  We were eating pizza, however, so it wasn’t the entirely wrong wine to be drinking.  It just could have been a little better.

With dessert we had a treat, as Wendy had brought down some late harvest wine.

Wine: Quail’s Gate, Optima Late Harvest, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, 2009, $29.99 CAD
Rating: Three Bottles

I love Quail’s Gate.  I always have.  When I was in restaurants, I made sure that, if it was available, we had at least one bottle from Quail’s Gate on our menu.

This late harvest is a triumph.  Buttery toffee coats your mouth and honey is left on your tongue.  Then, vanilla and peaches greet you so you hardly even notice the ice creamy notes behind them.

It’s like drinking pie.

There is a slightly acidic finish that can catch you in the back of the throat, but when something is this sweet, it’s to be expected, and it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.

If you like dessert wines (ice wine, late harvest, etc.) then this is a wine you should definitely try.  Considering we were having lemon squares, this was a very nice pairing.  Megan and I were trying to figure out what to make for dessert.  I mean, what goes with Pizza Pot Pie and Bready Quiche?  Lemon tarts?  No: Lemon squares.  Were they good?  Well, there were about half left when it was time to actually serve dessert.  I literally had to stop looking at them, as I was eating one every time I passed the plate.

She also made some Easter cookies that were decorated by Rene.  We all complimented him on the fine job he did, too.  All by himself!  Impressive.

Right.

Finally.

Done.

Next week, no delays.  Just Pulitzer-winning material.

(Do they give Pulitzers for blog content?)

Cheers!

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Chilli Con Carne? What Are Ya’, Chicken?

After what seems like a fortnight, I got back in the kitchen this week and it felt so right.  For those of who you have missed the action, I fell off a scooter a few weeks ago and it fell on top of me and then I had an owie in my thorax.  Well, in my thoraxal area.

I wanted something that would be like comfort food, but not too unhealthy, since it has been two weeks since I’ve been able to hit the gym.  (That’s right: when I go to the gym, I hit it!  Booyah!)

None of that worked out, of course, since I got an idea to make chilli in bread bowls and then realised that eating healthy is something I do every day that isn’t Sunday.  So I compromised and substituted chicken for beef.

On the Menu: Chilli Con Pollo In Sourdough Bowls, Three Fruit Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

The secret to a good chilli, as any chilli cook will tell you, is the secret ingredients.

Just what the doctor ordered, I could feel all my injuries healing like Wolverine after a fight with Sabretooth.  (Oh yeah: I went there.  What?  I’m Canadian – it’s valid.)

And everybody else seemed to enjoy it as well.  There were a lot of silent moments around the table.  Long, contemplative moments, until Cara started talking about circuses and animal cruelty, and the moment was shattered like so much carnivore guilt.

Whatever … it was delicious while it lasted.

The dessert was incredible, as usual, and we were all so full by the end of it, we could hardly finish seconds.

Thank god we didn’t overdo it on the wine …

Wine: Santa Ana, Torrontés, Argentina, 2011, $73 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Super light and citrusy, this white is refreshing and easy to drink.  If you like a wine with a lot of stuff going on, this might be a good contender.  Grapefruit, limes, oranges, peaches, and apples dance around your mouth like so many monkeys, trained to do so by their human masters.

(Dammit, Cara!)

This bottle was mostly consumed before dinner, along with a couple of Guinness I found at Chedraui, so it wasn’t long before we were decanting the red selection of the night.

Wine: Quattrocchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2009, $178 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Four eyes?  Shut up your face!

Everyone liked this wine.  Chocolaty and beautiful aroma, with, as Susan put it, “nice curtains,” which means the same thing as legs.  Strawberries and lilacs play on the nose, while cranberries roar across your tongue, like the lions are spurned to do by their tamer under the big top.

Big thanks to all of you who sent us your words of congratulations and encouragement this week.  We really appreciate hearing from you.  We love you guys!

Until next week, may all your days be filled with creepy calliope music.

Cheers!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …

The palm trees are bearing fruit, the macaws are squawking in the jungle, and there is a smell of the ocean on the breeze.

Oh, and tacky crap is hanging in stores from every possible window, shelf, wall, and precipice.

In our house, we are slowly shaping it up to look half-way presentable for the Big Guy.  The girls – Cara, Caia, and Megan – decorated the tree (that we bought on Sunday morning … a week before Christmas … in the Caribbean … for $7.25 … Charlie Brown, anyone?) while Rene and I chatted with Rene’s parents after a meal prepared by yours truly.

And I only lost my cool once.

(Okay: twice.  Toddlers and gas ranges make me edgy, what can I say?  Plus the dogs are running around, bumping into everyone, trying to get at the chicken … And Megan made the cookies.  Shut up.)

On the menu: Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with a Honey Cinnamon Glaze, Asparagus in a White Wine Butter Sauce, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Icing

This was a dry run for Christmas dinner.  Since we have a larger kitchen, it was decided (by Megan and I) that for everyone’s sanity (and safety, lest our knives find your legs and biceps for traipsing through our kitchen yet again to ask if you can help when all we’ve asked if for you to not walk into the kitchen!  Seriously!  It’s like, ten hours of cooking!  Get the fuck out of here!) Christmas dinner would be prepared at our house this year.  So, I made the chicken as if it were a magnificent bird deserving of only the tenderest of care.

The chicken was dusted with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stuffed with cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  Potatoes lined the roasting tray and it was in the oven at 200 degrees for about two hours.

The potatoes and tomatoes were given the same treatment but with a drizzle of honey and a about five knobs of butter thrown in to soften the acidity of the tomatoes.

In hindsight, the white we chose this week would have gone better with dinner, but we were really excited about the red, so we started with that instead.

Wine: Don Manuel Viallasañe, Keltehue, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2011, (Price Unknown)
Rating: One Bottle

Blueberries and cloves play on the palette in this wine (with a really classy label).  We hung onto this bottle for a couple of weeks (which is why we cannot remember the price) because the label told us it was going to taste great.  It was okay.  Kind of forgettable, really.

With some time and some air, this wine came around.  Also, the subtler flavours of blueberries and cloves complimented the fare nicely, so all was not lost.  We just weren’t that taken with it, is all.

We took a breather and decorated the tree and talked about the coming week and what a crazy couple of months it’s been and how nobody has really started their Christmas shopping yet and how nobody really wants anything this year anyway, and it’s really just about Caia and what presents we all get for her, but seriously, everybody needs something to open Christmas morning, so it was basically a lot of posturing by everyone because who isn’t going to buy anybody nothing at all anyway?  Then, the baby in bed, and the night winding down, we opened the second bottle and sat outside and planned for the holiday feasts coming.

Wine: Graffigna, Centenario, Pinot Grigio, Reserve, San Juan, Argentina, 2010, $179 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

This was a lovely little Grigio and highly recommended by us for anyone who likes this varietal.  Chewy and very fruity, it carries itself well, staying away from the more citrusy Pinot Grigios we’ve tried in the paste, and instead favouring mango and peachy flavours.  The sweetness is tempered nicely with a tangy finish that leaves your mouth feeling zingy and not cloudy, as some sweet wines do.

Even though we may have enjoyed the Malbec from earlier more had we switched up the order of the two, sitting outside with the warm breeze and the night sounds, this wine fit the mood perfectly.

This next week is going to be a bit chaotic and we probably won’t get away with just one post, so look out for a few days of Christmas posts coming your way this weekend.

Also, I have three days off this week, which is almost unheard of, so there will be more time for us in the kitchen.

Until then,

Cheers!

Birdies, Bubbles, Balloons, and Elephants, Too

Birdies, Bubbles, Balloons, and Elephants, too

As promised, this week was insane.  We moved from the condo that Megan and Rene had let us use for the past two years, almost to the day, and into our first home.  As anyone who has done this before will tell you, moving sucks.  Everything is heavy – there are no light boxes.  Stairs are too narrow – couches are not made to be moved up or down flights.  There isn’t enough patience in the world – no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you seek to restrain yourself, you will snap at somebody.  Maybe just the guy filling your tank with gas for the eighty-seventh time in two days, but somebody’s gonna get it.  Accept it: you’re just not that strong.

Moving into your first house is even suckier since it’s mixed in with all of those little thoughts that fly around your head making you wonder if you can actually pull this off.  Being male, I cover it all with dollops of bravado.  I also become an expert on many mechanical things, and also physics.  This does nothing to change the laws of those two fields, however, and without a working knowledge of pulleys and levers, my faux knowledge of very basic mechanics and physics comes crashing down around my head.  Sometimes in the form of a washing machine.  (Nota Bene: If you are getting the carpenter to help you move, and he doesn’t speak English, be prepared to forget ALL of your Spanish at crucial moments.  Like when the washing machine door opens and tries to eat you alive half-way down the stairwell.  “Dammit!  What’s the Spanish word for ‘Stop?’  Somebody!!  Get me a Larousse!”  What did I wind up shouting?  The Spanish word for ‘drop it.’  Yep.  I did that.)

With this in mind, I would recommend that you cap off the biggest moving day of your life with a child’s birthday party.  Preferably yours, since, for you, there will be no escape.  Oh, there’ll be crying, sore legs and feet, bruises, and vomit, but no escape.

Our beautiful daughter, Caia, turns two today.  And for that, we are immeasurably grateful.  Her party was a huge success (thanks to a late-night trip by Megan and I to City Club and Sam’s Club the night before).  Many thanks to all of our friends who helped make it a special day for our special girl.

The theme was based on four of her favourite things: Birdies, Bubbles, Balloons, and Elephants.  She loved it.  We had a bubble machine and everything.  (I wish I still got that excited about bubbles.  I get excited, but, you know …)

Around four in the afternoon, our guests left, and Caia crashed.  We took her to our new home, put her down for the night, and within minutes, Cara, too, was out.  I returned to Megan and Rene’s place and we sampled a bottle of red.

Wine: Santa Julia, Reserva, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2008, $130 MXN

Rating: Two Bottles

Nice and plummy and figs.  This would be a fantastic wine to drink with Christmas Cake or Plum Pudding, but on its own, it fell a little flat.  While it deepened in flavour with a little air, it remained a one-note wine and just a little too basic for our liking.  Port-like in colour and consistency, though pleasant, it needed to be paired with something to compliment it more fully.

We did find their commitment to sustainability fascinating, however, and we’d like to see more vineyards taking a greener approach.  Winemaking occupies a lot of land, so it only makes sense that wineries set good examples as stewards of the lands they occupy.

And on a topic completely off-subject, it’s time for my thought of the week.

A colleague just walked into my office and commented on the Christmas music I was listening to.  The song playing was “Let It Snow,” and he said, “I like that song,” and I said, “I wrote this song!”  Now, everybody knows that “Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!” was written in 1945, which means that, in order for me to have written that song, I would have to be at least sixty-six years old, OR, I would have had to travel back in time in order to write it.  Since we know that I am no sexagenarian, clearly, I travelled back in time.  Now, here’s where I blew his mind: I was only able to write the song because I heard it first in the present allowing me to time travel and write the song in the past.

That means that I wrote the song in the past that I later heard in the present that allowed me to write the song that I wrote in the past.

He’s still thinking about that.

Until next week …

Cheers!

A Tale of Two Quiches

This week was a short one.  Cara and I are in full swing, getting the house furnished and applianced, painted, air conditioned, scraped (don’t ask), and prepped to move in to.  Megan and Rene were running all over hell’s half acres making bio-diesel.  (I’m not joking.)

Megan also had a stressful week so she wanted to, quote: “Bake the SHIT out of it.”

As you were.

Menu: Quiche Lorraine & Quiche with Spinach and Feta

Wonderfully light and fluffy crust.  Megan has a real touch in the kitchen.  Especially when she’s baking mad.  Even Caia enjoyed some quiche.  (Well, she actually enjoyed putting it on one plate, then transferring it back to another plate, then into her mouth.  Then back onto the first plate.  She did eat most of it, eventually.  What do you want from her?  She had two Hello Kitty plates to work with!)

Caia: “Teetee.”

Me: “Are you giving Kitty some Quiche?”

Caia: (not looking up, focussed on the job at hand) “No.”

       (Pause.)

Caia: (sotto voce) “Teetee.”

Wine: Terrazas de los Andes, Reserva, Malbec, Argentina, 2008, $295 MXN
Rating: One-and-A-Half Bottles

Lots of alcohol and high tannins make this wine a little tart for my taste, but the girls seemed to like it.  (Of course, Megan was drinking to forget, so …)  Plum and cherries with overtones of chocolate.  We all remarked that it was a difficult wine to get to know.  A little closed, but with great appeal to the ladies.  Or as I like to call them: The Pill-Poppin’ Booze Hound Sisters.

We chatted about the future this night.  Changes abound and change is sometimes all we have to rely on.  It was an interesting evening.  The family business is taking off (that’s the bio-diesel part I was referring to) and Cara, the baby, and I are soon to be moving away from the commune.  (We’re moving a three minute drive down the street, but that won’t stop us from getting sentimental about it!  Don’t judge us.)

We quickly finished this bottle and moved on to the second.

Wine: Pigmentum, Malbec, Cahors, Georges Vigouroux, 2008, $140 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Very smooth and very thick.  This wine looks like red ink as it swirls around your glass which is fitting, since, according to their website, Pigmentum is Latin for “thing that gives colour.”  Rene weighed in on this one (rare) and thought it a totally inoffensive wine.  Very smoky and musky and peppery on the nose.  And then there is a fragrance wafting from the surface of the wine.  Floral, sweet, soft … like perfume.  I think it’s roses (maybe?) or …lilacs?  No wait … it’s lilacs.  Definitely lilacs.

The girls didn’t take to this one quite as much which made absolutely no sense to me.  I think they’re crazy.  Then again, this wine had a lower alcohol per volume content, so that probably weighed heavily in their estimation.

The baby went to bed and the adults spent the rest of the evening watching funny things on the interweb.

That was pretty much it.  Just two bottle this week.  Cara’s back to work now, which means that we’ll probably be getting back up to three or four bottles any given Sunday, since she is a BIG stress drinker.  (She’s going to kill me for this post.  The poor girl: Didn’t know what she was getting into when she met me.)

On a separate note: We are now down to ten spots left for the TSB Event at Cava Veinte 33 on September 17.  Get your request in soon!  At this rate, we’re probably going to be sold out by next week’s post.

Till then,

Cheers!

Salads For Dinner? Lucky Duck!!

This week, I thought we’d go back to our roots.  You remember: overly elaborate dinners; swearing at food; drunk by seven pm; nobody eating until Wednesday … Our roots!

On The Menu: Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Cashews; Chicken Caesar Salad

The easiest way to make these salads … is to buy them from Costco.  Yes.  I am sorry, but we spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday shopping for furniture and appliances and if you think that sounds like fun I would like to punch you in the neck.  The finding stuff that you like part is fun.  It’s the finding stuff that you both sort of  like part that starts to get the grumpy juices flowing which is like a fine aperitif for when one of you finds something that they really like that the other person doesn’t care for at all.  Like a faux-vintage clock.  That says “Paris” on it.  That matches the colour scheme for the house perfectly and is over-sized (and has working parts!) and that someone just can’t see is amazing and a total find and costs practically nothing.  Ohhhhhh … but just wait till we are at the buying towels and fake-plants stage.  Then we’ll be hearing a lot of “Whatever: I’m buying it,” followed by tossing the towels or the plastic orchids into the cart only for someone else to be serving a big dish of “Oh I get it: when it’s something that I want, you get to veto it, but if I say no, then we buy it anyway?”  This will be followed by embarrassed looks from store employees and suggestions from the “helper” employee with things like, “Well, why don’t you pick something that you like?” which will be met with “Because it’s not that simple, Fabrizio!”  Finally, after someone making a scene for twenty minutes like a child, Cara will hold the towels in her hand, like she is about to smash someone in the face with them and say “You really feel that strongly about them?”  Then we’ll see who gets to wrinkle his nose and shake his head in that “That Smells” way.  Then we’ll see who wished she had let someone buy his Awesome Clock!

Oh yeah: the salads were okay.

Wine: Lucky Duck, Malbec, Argentina, 2009, Price Unknown (Megan Didn’t Have the Receipt Handy At Time of Drinking)
Rating: Two-And-A-Half Bottles

Cara and Megan loved this wine.  And it’s not hard to tell why: it’s easy to drink, has very low tannins (on the non-ish side), and it tastes like fruit.  Strawberries and cherries with a sweet-tart finish.  This is a very smooth, very simply wine.  A wine you could easily drink anytime without having to think about it.  For my tastes, I did find it a little too simple, but, then again, I get bent out of shape over clocks and towels, so …

To rectify that, I opened the bottle that I’d picked up that day.

Wine: Primus, “The Blend” (Cabernet Sauvignon 46%, Syrah 20%, Carmenere 19%, Merlot 15%), Veramonte, Chile, 2008, $235 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

(Full disclosure: I picked this wine because it was called “Primus.”  I sang “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” the whole time I was opening the bottle.  And it worked: I opened that bottle so goddamn fast.)

This wine was a little hard to pin down at first and needed to breathe for a while.  A little “closed” as they say.  En parlance.  In French.  Translated back into English.

Heavier tannins than the Lucky Duck, but not so strong that you forget the last time you had a glass of water.  Peppery and black currant on the nose.  A lovely wine.  Perfect for silently judging your fiance’s taste in horlagerie.  Also perfect for making plans on how to surreptitiously buy all of the things you want in your house without your fiance finding out until it’s too late.  Also perfect for trying to figure out how it could be “too late” for her to do anything about your purchases without tying her up or maiming her.  Also perfect for making you think that you are a master criminal who is hell-bent on buying home decor.  Mwah-ha-ha, indeed.

Later this week: Exclusive Wine Tasting Announcement in Playa del Carmen.  Only open to TSB subscribers, so get on it, y’all!

Till then,

Cheers!

Oh what a night …

Posted on

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!

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