t says: That’s a shnazzy line, right? “What if I could turn water into wine?” It’s got a lot of head-turning power. I’m sure someone might actually read this article now. Who knows how the end product will taste? I’d blind-taste it just for fun (but I sure as hell wouldn’t buy one).
t says: It’s about time that someone made a not-ridiculous-looking wine carrier! It doesn’t look like it’d accommodate wider pinot/chardonnay bottles, though …
t says: When visiting SF on a recent trip, I let kp choose our dinner. He opted for 1760, a restaurant located at 1760 Polk street. Not knowing anything about the restaurant beforehand, I was excited to go, as kp was excited for some octopus dish that was a “Top 100 in SF” item according to 7×7. What he/I/we did not know was that the place had be wrecked by SF’s critic, Bauer; he didn’t have one good thing to say about their food! Funny thing about Bauer is that we had crossed paths (like two ships in the dark of night) before, having eaten at Sons and Daughters right before his review broke; now that was a restaurant which we were initially lukewarm about but apparently has gone on to garner Bauer-love and a Michelin star.
So how did 1760 fare? Check it out:
February 2014, Wednesday Dinner, Party of 2. kp and I were ushered in from the rain and seated immediately by a smiling hostess – they got points already.
In all, 1760 did a wonderful job with the dishes we ordered, and still, there were plenty more that we wanted to try! The lack of “cohesion” that Bauer pointed out isn’t a big deal, as I enjoyed the opportunity to compose a unique adventure from start to finish. I think that the key is to find awesome dinnermates who are willing to share so that you can maximize the tastes. While not every one is the blow-you-away-killa’, everything was nicely done with a delicate, deliberate hand … oh … and that monkfish liver mousse just straight-up killed it …
t says: This post might hurt my credibility among wine enthusiasts in the Philly-SoJo area, but I have to do it … Here goes nothing …
I, like many others, frequent a cool little wine store called Moore Brothers. Right across the Ben Franklin Bridge, tucked away in an office park in Pennsauken NJ, is an entire store that is kept at “ideal wine temperature” (~55/56 degrees). It’s a pretty cool idea, and it gets the proprietor major points from wine geek customers. On top of that, co-owner Greg Moore has a lot of Philadelphia-centric history, having been sommelier at Le Bec-Fin back in its hayday, when it was the super-awesomest-restaurant-in-all-the-land. Then when he and his brother opened up Moore Brothers, it had this kitchy little shtick where it was going to sell little-known wines that offer bang-for-the-buck and were the exclusive product of sincere relationships with the growers/producers/winemakers. It was almost like you were directly supporting the farmers, themselves – kinda like a CSA … for wine … from other countries … And the staff is always very courteous and willing to help out in anyway they can, especially because the selection is so limited and there are no shelf-talkers.
a and his dad are big Moore Bros (MB) fans, and I have to say that I, too, have been known to buy quite a bit from MB (at current count, I have 7 bottles from them on hand). The cause of our addiction is those accursed emails … you see, if you get on the mailing list, your inbox gets filled to the brim with these lovely messages from Greg Moore. He talks about such-and-such vintner with whom he’s sharing a rack of lamb in Loire, or so-and-so farmer with whom he’s walking up and down the rows of vines in Bordeaux. Other times, he talks about eating at Philly restaurants like Russett and Bistro St. Tropez, so it’s like he’s “one of us” (except we’d never go to Bistro St. Tropez). And the descriptions! The descriptions! I swear that every wine he has ever sold has been the best wine ever made …
Want an example? You know you do. This one is probably my favorite example of a “gregmoore” (this is a new noun that we’ve made – let’s see if you can define it by the end of this post.)
But you know what – I’m actually ok with gregmoores like the above. I like the romanticism, the enthusiasm, the fun. I even loved it when MB would take pot-shots at other wine critics, especially Parker, as it meant that at least they had a firm opinion on what they felt were good wines, and what they felt were overrated wines. And even as I grew weary of the gregmoores in my inbox over the years, I was still a fan of their tastings and great meet-the-maker visits (when I could make them), so it was worth keeping in the loop. Plus, I have to say that MB does have some great wines (e.g. every Riesling that a picks up from them) that justify all of the other verbosity.
There is one thing that has made me swear off MB – and I’ve seen it time and time again:
Electronic gregmoores are also similarly recycled! I must have read the same frickin’ grain-of-salt email 4 times over the years (those who are on the email list know exactly what I’m talking about). And should he be writing about a new vintage from the a producer written about in the past, much like the above, they reuse the SAME tasting note! I understand that producers try to carry forward very similar styles of wine from year to year, but not every year is going to have “Braeburn apples, hazelnuts, apricots, and brioche moving in and out of the foreground”. Maybe one year it’ll be a Pink Lady apple, or a Gala apple, or a frickin’ Red Delicious! All this has made me sad. I trusted MB to be on my side. Yes, that’s naive as hell (MB is a business, after all), but I at least wanted honesty out of the relationship. You may have some great wines in your store, sir, but it doesn’t change the fact that you lied to me. It’s over. I’ve unsubscribed from your emails, moved all of your past emails to my spam folder, scorned you on my blog, and deleted your number from my iPhone. (And I’m keeping your wine.)
t says: I had the opportunity to visit Napa with kp and another colleague (our fourth, a, bailed at the last minute), but only for a day; we had a lot of stuff to cram in a single afternoon+evening. Realizing that our better halves were unable to join us, we nicknamed it “the manly epicurean adventure”. Below is a recap of all we conquered:
Don’t let the above picture mislead you: I was sad that g wasn’t there – she would have loved it. And of course we missed a … but … be that as it may, I’m pretty sure I can say that Man Trip 2014 was a success!
t says: Ah, Sunday morning brunch … who doesn’t love eating brunch on a Sunday morning? Well – as much as people enjoy eating brunch on Sunday, the truth of the matter is that finding a venue is difficult. You want to go to Honey’s on South? You have a better chance getting in if you blasted through the wall from the neighboring petshop. Sabrina’s? Good luck – they serve enough French toast per platter so that patrons can sit and linger over two meals worth of time. Or even cute little ‘ol Day by Day? Beware – they start seating people a good 10 minutes before they’re open. So what’s a hungry person to do at, let’s say, noon? Well, with bw, g, and another friend, we decided to let Yelp help our cause … and before we knew it, we were walking down the treacherous ice-laden sidewalks to Rex 1516.
February 2014, Sunday Brunch, Party of 4. The place is kinda cool – it just sneaks up on ya’ as you’re walking. They do have one of those ridiculous golden stands outside with a menu, but I would have walked right by it had I not been forced to count down the blocks (each block was another opportunity for me to fall on my butt and look like an idiot).
The atmosphere is dark, by virtue of the exposed brick and dark (but well-worn) wooden floors. Pretty cool bar scene, probably. As far as the menu, it was chocked full of what I like to call New-Orleans-to-the-Extreme! There’s shrimp and grits … with pork belly. Biscuits and gravy … using “everything bagel biscuits”. Chicken and waffles … benedict. I’m ok with New Orleans-to-the-Extreme – I wanted to eat everything. But, first things first – before I could go for creative dishes, I went with something potentially easy: Bananas Foster French Toast. Just take some French Toast and toss it in some Bananas Foster, right? Nope – make the French Toast out of Banana Bread while you’re at it. The result was DELICIOUS. Visually, it looked like a large plate of “brown”, so they aren’t going to win any beauty contests with this dish, but it tasted wonderful. I don’t think I’ve been this happy with a brunch dish since Cochon (R.I.P.). And my brunchmates seemed as if they enjoyed their selections, and each voiced an opinion that it’s definitely worth coming to again. Because of this, we went back to Rex 1516 1-2 weeks later … this time with sr and ha!
February 2014, Sunday Brunch, Party of 4. This time, I took pictures:
So I guess the second time around, we came across some dishes that were “good”/”solid”/”well-done”, but not necessarily blow-me-away like the banana bread French toast. I do like some of the little spins they had to the chicken and waffles and the biscuits and gravy, but they could have been executed a little better; ultimately, I can’t say they were so addictively-good or head-and-shoulders-above options available at other brunch establishments in the city (and everyone knows how prone to hyperbole I am!). What I can say, however, is that they take reservations, they’re not crowded, and they have what seems to be a very intriguing wine list:Next time, Rex … next time …
t says: So, as I had foreshadowed at the end of the last post about PLCB’s 2011 Broadside Cab, I went back to buy another bottle to have as a good back-up. And while that seems easy enough, I happened to go on Valentine’s Day…
(g interrupts: t doesn’t understand how funny it was to reference this Pretty Woman line on Valentine’s Day … like in the movie Valentine’s Day)
The cashier line went straight across the store and curved down one of the aisles to the front windows. As I looked out the window with my bottles in hand, I couldn’t help but curse my bad luck and what would undoubtedly be a waste of precious Valentine’s Day time (g was cooking a splendid meal at home). An unintended effect of the line was that I was given the opportunity to essentially “tour” the store but looking up and down every aisle and reading every Chairman advertisement … smirking and muttering wise-ass remarks under my breath (I couldn’t help myself – the line put me in a foul mood) …
But then one wine caught my eye:
I’ve been really getting into some California wines that have been using Italian grapes, so this would be like Italians using … well … kinda-California grapes (not really – this region in Italy has been using sauvignon blanc, or “SB” as I’ll abbreviate it, for a while). And it was on sale! And those who know me know that I have really poor impulse control when it comes to sales (my entire work ensemble is composed of clothes I bought on sale – not one item was purchased not on sale, from shirt to shoes, outerwear to socks). Upon seeing this wine, a battle ensued on my shoulders: the angel shouted loud and clear, “don’t be stupid! don’t be stupid! it’s a ‘Chairman’s Selection’! you hate the Chairman!”, while the devil whispered, “but what if it’s delicious? maybe a will call it ‘impressive‘ and you’ll call it ‘interesting‘? and it’ll be a wine you found in a state store. and it’s inexpensive ... and then you can blog about it. you know how much you like that …” With logic like that, how could I say no? Sorry angel, you lose again …
A few days passed, and, because g was prepping us up some lovely lemon-accented sockeye salmon (a real treat!), I pulled out the d’Attimis SB, ripped off the peculiar pre-perforated foil, corkscrewed out the cork like it was my job, and splashed some into our glasses. It was time to test the Chairman again. As I swirled, a nose wafted up out of the stemware with stone fruits (peaches), citrus fruits (lemon), pineapple, and a bit of fresh-cut-grass. It was not at all what I was expecting, as Italian whites, for me, are often a bit more floral or a bit more rustic (hay … lots of hay), not necessarily tropical fruity … but I’ll take it! And as I swished, the same flavors came through on the palate as well, with a lovely mouthwatering effect and smooth viscosity. I swore it was a New Zealand sauvignon blanc … a good New Zealand SB. Maybe I opened the wrong bottle? Maybe someone was playing a joke on me? (I know it’d be the kind of joke I’d like to play on others … right, a?). I said, “hmmm” so as not to let on to my enjoyment and eagerly waited for g’s reaction. The result: “oh this is good! passionfruit! how much was it?” Game-set-match – g likee (but I’ve never had real passionfruit before, so I don’t know what exactly that tastes like, but I trust g ‘implithitly’ (that’s another movie reference/joke)).
Now, keep in mind that g and I are sauvignon blanc fanatics. We like them juicy and very zippy. We like them with minimal oak, and if they have a dose of petrol or linoleum, all the better! If you want some kind of full-bodied, fleshy, vanilla-laden Chardonnay, this wine will rub you every which way but right. But if you’re the kind that reaches for Kim Crawford as a “go to” white, then this will be right up your alley. But be careful – there is a shocking amount of acidity that feels like lightning in your mouth on the finish. Basically, if you ever needed an eye-opener of a wine to wake you up in the morning (not that I endorse AM drinking), this would be it. This producer also makes a pinot grigio and cab sauvignon blend (more on that below).
Could it be? The PLCB is now 2 for 2 in terms of wines that I’ve taken a chance on and been impressed! And, this wine seems to be in great abundance at the 20th and Market store, as it’s on the butt-end of an aisle with a big Chairman’s note placard (i.e. not on one of the shelves along an aisle with the other wines), so I look forward easy access for some time. So now I’m at 2 “cellar recommendations” that can be found in PLCB stores! Yay! (There is a third wine, a white named Silencis, but it’s a bit pricey at $18, and not as widely available).
Ah – and now time for some fast updates about other wines I’ve recently tasted between me writing the above and it going to post:
2) The second follow-up was the cabernet blend made by Conte d’Attimis-Maniago, the producer on this post. There will be a special someone who will like this Italian red, but it’s not me. While some of what I don’t like about it might be “stylistic” or “terroir” or whatever, I suspect that my biggest problem is the 50% of what the producers are calling “cabernet franc carmenere” (I thought that cabernet franc is different than carmenere?) mixed in with the 50% cabernet sauvignon. And that’s not to say that I don’t like cab francs or carmeneres, but when they come from a relatively cool climate, they could lead to a pretty green-tasting wine … like this one! As I sipped this surprisingly light-bodied red, it attacked me with this bitter green vegetal flavor (imagine biting into the stem of a cluster of grapes) that I didn’t find pleasant. However, had that been removed, I really do like the nice red fruit, and light-to-medium body – it would have been a pinot-drinkers cab. Oh well – I can’t win ‘em all …