In Food on May 11, 2012 at 10:15 am
My very favorite food in the whole wide world is a perfect cheeseburger, and fortunately I am married to a man whose burger skills rival the best in the west—and that includes an I-can-die-happy-now rendition that burger queen Nancy Silverton grilled up in her backyard for our friend Carolynn’s birthday. But as much as I would love a cheeseburger just about any night of the week, I get that it’s not a great idea health wise. And so I’ve been experimenting with alternative burgers using leaner proteins than beef. So far, this Shrimp Burger with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli from FOOD52 takes the cake. Sautéed fennel, shallots, red pepper and meaty chopped shrimp are bound together with roasted garlic aioli (which doubles as a condiment on toasted burger buns).
The orange zest in the aioli totally makes this burger. It’s subtle but adds a brightness to the rich aioli and shrimp. More later on the actual making of the aioli—it took me FIVE attempts—but now that I’ve got the hang of it these burgers will be making the scene all summer. I served with a bottle of Stony Hill Gewürztraminer and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pairing, but a citrusy beer like the super-smooth 60-minute IPA from Dogfish Brewery would also hit the spot.
In Drink, Food on January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am
If there is one dish that is dreadfully out of fashion that I unapologetically adore, it’s penne all vodka. Yes, that’s vodka pink sauce my friends and no, it is not 1972. I love Lidia Bastianich’s version, which includes a hit of heat from crush red pepper. Go liberal on that. And, if you’re feeling like you need to class up the joint, serve with a smoky, smooth bottle of 2009 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino ($30) from Tuscany, available at Larchmont Village Wine & Spirits and BevMo.
In Drink on May 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm
We don’t see a ton of dry white wine coming out of the Bordeaux region—and why would we? Less than 10% of the region’s vineyards are used for producing dry whites. But, as a “savvy b” (aka Sauvignon Blanc) girl, I grab a bottle when I see it. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are Bordeaux’s classic white grapes, and are most often used for those sublime Sauternes dessert wines with lofty price tags. But check this out. Currently, Whole Foods is offering a delicious dry white that’s 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon and 10%Muscadelle called Chateau Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc. It’s crisp and refreshing with light grapefruit and mineral notes—and at less than $12 a bottle, it’s priced to please. We’ve been enjoying with fish and salads, but also with salty snacks before dinner.
In Drink, Food on April 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm
There’s a reason ratings matter. One sip of Standish Wine Co.’s “The Relic”—the 2004 received 99 points—and you’ll understand why. As one critic put it: “devastating.” It is that beautiful. Sourced from 99 year old vines in the Barossa Valley, this totally gorgeous and luscious Shiraz showed up as a guest at a dinner party hosted by our friends Matt and Lizzie last weekend. I loved the wine’s dark berry fruit and peppery kick, and it was a match made in the heavens above with Lizzie’s perfectly grilled lamb chops and crispy skillet polenta. Sadly I’d cleaned my plate before I thought to snap a picture. But I promise you, that good.
In Drink, Food on March 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm
On Friday night while we waited for the grill to heat up for our main course, my husband and I sat down to start with a bowl of Moroccan Carrot Soup scented with toasted cumin and a spicy and fragrant glass of 2008 Breggo Gewurztraminer. I’m just in love with this wine, and love how well it plays with spice and the slight sweetness of the carrots and allspice. You would think it might be hard to get worked up over soup, especially one that is this simple to make. And really, when it comes to wine pairing, is soup the first thing that comes to mind? This duo makes the case. Convincingly.
In Drink, Out of Town on January 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Thank those of you who have emailed about my “Backbreak Mountain” column in the February issue ofBon Appétit magazine! It’s a story that I’ve wanted to write for a very long time now, but I could never have imagined just how much the experience would change the way I felt about a glass of wine. Most of all I am grateful to Doug, John, Elias, David, Uriel, Andy and the Shafer Vineyards team. You guys ROCK. I also wanted to share some photos from that night. Before this experience, I considered my greatest physical accomplishments running the Los Angeles Marathon in close to 90-degree heat and enduring childbirth (in that order). But neither of those events was as physically taxing as picking 11.75 tons of grapes on the side of a mountain in the middle of the night. These photos were taken after about three hours of backbreaking work picking hillside Cabernet Sauvignon in Shafer’s Sunspot vineyard. I lasted about four hours. These guys barely broke a sweat. And then they picked another vineyard. Hard core. Punk rock. And why we love our hillside Cabernet just a little bit more.
Photos by Andy Demsky
In Drink, Media on December 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Los Angeles Magazine has a series of cover archives up on its website. How AMAZING is this cover from the month and year I was born? And how fitting that the cover model is pedaling wine. I flipped out when I saw it and emailed my friend Mary, who edits the magazine today. Mary did a little digging and discovered that our cover model was Ken Cohen, owner with his wife, Sherry, of The Wine Seller, which was located at 538 1/2 N. La Cienega. (A quick Google reveals that today a hardwood flooring company occupies the spot.)
Mary adds, “He was featured in a story, ironically enough given that we just did a similar piece in the December issue, on ‘The City’s Best Wine Shops,’ by George Christy.” Mary photocopied the story and mailed it to me. Also included that 1972 cover story were survivors Duke of Bourbon, Red Carpet Wine, and Wally’s West Liquors, complete with a picture of a 30-year-old Steve Wallace. (Funnily enough both Red Carpet Wine and Wally’s are featured in the current issue’s roundup of the city’s 10 best wine and liquor shops.)
In addition to the hairdos, the article provides plenty of entertainment. For starters, the prices were NUTS. Back then at Wally’s you could snap up a bottle of 1969 BV Burgundy from Napa Valley for $2.25, or a 1966 Les Forts de Latour claret from Bordeaux for $15.99 (today Wally’s fetches $249.99 for the 1970 vintage of Les Forts). It’s also fun to see where Angelenos were a few decades ago with their wine buying habits. I, for one, am totally on board with Sherry Cohen who “stresses that it’s about time women became actively interested in the wines that they drink.” And I love her husband’s cautionary coverline concerning Chateauneuf-du-Pape. (I mean, the last thing any of us wants is to get rooked buying Chateauneuf, the horror.) But while the Cohens may have come and gone, isn’t it kind of great that so many of the L.A.’s original young turks of wine still rule the roost today?
Thank you, Los Angeles Magazine, for sharing these awesome archival covers. And thank you, Mary, for sending this most excellent guide. I think I know what I’m uncorking tonight and just pray that I didn’t overpay…
In Drink on November 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Q: How do you please a Champagne addict, White Burgundy loyalist, Pinot Noir enthusiast, Riesling devotee and vodka drinker who are breaking bread together at the Thanksgiving table?
A: You don’t.
I’ve given up trying to please everyone with just one bottle because it’s futile. Plus, I don’t know about your Thanksgiving table, but at mine the wine disappears pretty quickly so it’s a safe bet that if a few different bottles are open someone will polish them off. And, after reading my friend Patrick Comiskey’s article on dividing and conquering with Thanksgiving wines over on Zesterdaily.com, I’m feeling emboldened. So this year, I’m uncorking a cornucopia, if you will, of wines and people can have at it as they will. The line-up will look something like this.
2007 Schramsberg Brut Rose ($35). This Napa Valley sparkling pink is one that everyone at the table agrees on. I love the bright cherry notes and it is a beautiful wine with turkey. And given that my family lives in the Napa Valley, it’s a little nod to home.
2008 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling, $19. This is a great wine for the meal—crisp acidity to cut through all the richness of the food, and gorgeous mineral and peach flavors. And it won’t break the bank if you need a couple bottles.
Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault ($ You don’t want to know). Typically there is a bottle of White Burgundy designated for my father’s use and nobody is allowed to touch it. That’s okay, I’m usually hoarding my Riesling.
2008 Ponzi Reserve Pinot Noir ($60). This one is my sister’s favorite, and I have to say I wouldn’t kick it out of my glass either. At all.
In Drink, Out of Town on October 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Speaking of the October issue of Bon Appétit, my column in that issue is about the Douro region of Portugal. I was there a year ago this week doing research for the story and wanted to share some of my photos from the trip. The terrain is some of the most beautiful wine country I’ve visited in the whole wide world. Look at those hills, and the river snaking through them. Below is Quinta do Crasto, where brothers Miguel and Tomàs produce some of the region’s most spectacular reds.
Before lunch, we had salted almonds and olives, both plucked from trees on the property, which has been home to a working winery since at least the seventeenth century.
Oh, and they make a pretty mean 1970 Quinta do Crasto Colhieta Tawny Port, which was never released commercially, but Miguel uncorked for our lunch. Luscious nutty and butterscotch flavors. I want to time travel back to that afternoon.
Their friend winemaker Luis Seabra from Niepoort was also at lunch, and shared what was my favorite bottle of white on the trip—the 2008 Niepoort “Tiara” Branco, made from unpronounceable grapes like arinto, codega, donzelinho, viosinho, rabigato and more. It was GORGEOUS, and in no way was I biased by my tiara fixation.
And let’s not forget the cheese…
But nothing quite beat coming home to see this little guy dressed as a bee for his second Halloween.
In Drink, Food on August 24, 2010 at 8:51 am
Over Bastille Day, my sister, Claire, was in France for the wedding of her oldest and dearest friend. The party started in Paris and then moved to the groom’s family’s chateau on the water in Normandy. While in Paris, my sister struck up a friendship with the owner of a wine shop in the Marais. She asked him for a recommendation that would go with her favorite pasta dish—Clams in Spicy Pernod Sauce with Linguine, Mr. Foodinista’s specialty—and one that we couldn’t find in the states. His answer was a 2008 Domaine des Anges Côtes du Ventoux ‘L’Archange.’ It’s a rich, honeyed Rousanne balanced by crisp notes of lime and lovely nutty flavors. Once back on US soil, Mr. Foodinista obliged with the clams…
And Claire’s ami at the wine shop was right. The richness of the wine was nothing short of heavenly with the spice of the red pepper flakes and Pernod in the sauce. Good to the last drop. Who’s going to Paris and can sneak a bottle back?