Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Preview to One of Next Season's Quickfire Challenges

Yeah, bacon cheeseburgers totally remind me of high school. People would just hover around me hoping to get a chance to lick ketchup off my legs..

Saturday, March 28, 2009

About Last Night...

I knew there was trouble brewing yesterday when I was picking up wines for a tasting I was hosting in the evening, and I thought It would be a great idea to shoot a nip of Rumpleminz, at around 2 in the afternoon.

The wine tasting, hosted for some new friends in Cape Elizabeth, actually went quite well. The theme was "Obscure Varietals." 20 of us easily dispatched about 25 bottles of wine. I was impressed with the new friends...

The wines we tasted were:
2007 Domaine de Regusse Aligote, Vin de Pays (around 13.99 retail)

This was actually one of the more well-received wines, despite being one of the least expensive (just goes to show..) A great balance of creaminess and minerality make this wine extremely versatile. Fresh, crisp, and delicious.

2006 Topanga Vineyards "Celadon" Grenache Blanc, Arroyo Seco (around 22.99 retail)

Looking back I think I tasted this wine in the wrong order. The Aligote interfered with fruity characteristics of the Grenache Blanc. Usually more Rhone Valley in style, It actually was drinking more like a Chardonnay last night. A disappointing showing for a wine that is already nearly impossible to sell.

2003 Dominio de Tares "Exaltos" Mencia, Bierzo (about 28.99 retail)

Often I find Mencia to be way too oakey. Not the case with Exaltos, which has all the Spanish funk in the nose I like so much, then great cherry and licorice notes in the mouth. People got more of an appreciation for this wine once they had it with some meat (tri-tips, which were fucking amazing).

2005 Spann Vineyards Charbono, Napa Valley (About 23.99 retail)

Many think of Charbono as an Italian variety, but actually the grape originated in France's Savoie region, near the Alps. Regardless of origin, this wine tastes like a hypothetical blend of Dolcetto and Barbera from Italy's Piemonte. Black cherry fruit, very smooth and perfectly balanced with bright acids and smooth tannins. Although a fairly big wine, it's not heavy or thick in texture. Yes, I was pouring pretty heavy for these people, but this was when they really started to get excited.

2005 Zimberno Aglianico del Vulture, Campania (about 22.99 retail)

I switched gears here, but nobody seemed to mind. A little lighter than the Charbono, but more dirtiness. Plums and baking chocolate, I love this wine. One of the bottles I opened was so badly flawed that it smelled like paint thinner. At one point this bottle made it's way back over to the table of good wines. Would have been kind of funny if someone accidentally..

2006 Cambiata Tannat, Monteray (about 23.99 retail)

Everyone went bat-shit over this one. Rightfully so, it's definetely the best domestic Tannat i've ever tasted (I've tasted 2). It has a rich fragrance of violets and brush, like Santa Ana winds over a field of sage... No I didn't say that - who was that? Where am I? Holy shit that was wierd.. Anyway big monster of a red wine.

NV Cave Carod Clairette di Die, Rhone Valley (about 17.99)

A beautiful sparkler with a hint of melons. This cleanses the palette after all the big tannic reds. It also goes perfectly with that apple tart.. which was just insanely good. A blend of Muscat and Claret.

Ok. Now that i've drank a million glasses of wine, seems like a reasonable idea to go out in public, right?

After ditching my car in Cape Elizabeth, I got a ride back to one of my "places of work" where my "co-workers" were having a little wine tasting of their own. I don't remember many of the wines we tasted, I think there was a Godello and some Riesling. Maybe German Pinot Noir? My extremely helpful descriptions for the group included:

1. Play-Doh
2. Certain Human Bodily Fluids...
3. Jersey Shortcake (don't ask)
4. A lot of sniffing and babbling incoherently.
5. Wookies

Fearing that I hadn't drank enough still, I comandeered a ride home (which was also to be my ride back to my car today. Thank you Jess) and to my delight, there were people still awake at my house, and they were drinking vast amounts of Tecate and Coors Light. After several of these, I realized that there were some Pierogies in the freezer that i had gotten from a Polish market in Boston. Here's how I prepared them..and how things went down after..

1. Have Dietz boil water
2. Have Dietz brown the pierogies in a pan with butter and caramelized onions.
3. Have Dietz make a dipping sauce with smoked paprika, capers, and creme fraiche.
4. Have Dietz serve me the Pierogies.
5. Make a huge fucking mess.
6. Drunkenly call Jess at 4:07 a.m. to suggest we make lunch plans.
7. Become insistent on going to "On the Border" because you want the chips.
8. Settle for something else.
9. Fall Asleep.
10. Forget you made lunch plans and wake up wondering what it was you were supposed to do today.
11. My prediction? Do It all again tonight!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eating in Argentina Described in One Sentence: You Don't Make Friends With Salad

I never thought i'd see the day...

After two days of being punished with nothing but meat in Argentina, all I wanted was a salad. Don't get me wrong, this is world class beef. The best steak i've ever had happened the first night I was there at a restaurant called "La Brigada" in San Telmo. The famous "Bife de Chorizo," similar to a NY Strip, perfectly cooked with fat that tasted like butter. Wonderful. Perfect. I also had another first - I ordered a dessert, ate it, and ordered another of the same thing. Yes, I am now completely obsessed with Dulce de Leche, served on a crepe at La Brigada...

However, Medium Rare steaks are considered very American, as most Argentineans like their meat well done. The meat still tastes great, but gives your jaw quite a workout. My friends who are winemakers in Mendoza hosted us for a traditional Asado, Argentinean Barbeque, right on the vineyard. This was amazing, no utensils, just bread. And Meat. A fuckload of meat.

Traditional Asado consists of Beef Ribs, Chorizo, Steaks, and Blood Sausage (Morcilla). I am obsessed with blood sausage, and these were the best I've ever had. Sweetbreads (Mojellas) are also readily available, but are considered to be more of a luxury item. This didn't stop me from eating them every chance I got. Except once, someone was offering sweetbread pizza, which actually sounds gross to me.

Two things to never do in Argentina: 1. Eat empanadas with utensils 2. If you're a guy, never order a salad. This is the single easiest way to emasculate yourself in public. Men don't eat salads.

Men probably also don't order ice cream the way I accidentally did (my spanish sucks). Somehow I ended up with a massive waffle cone with three rainbow colored scoops covered in chocolate sauce with a cookie stuck in the middle of it served with a spoon. I quickly ducked into an alley to shove it into my face before more people saw me with it.

Also, people in Argentina don't seem to have any knowledge of the existence of soup. All I wanted was a fucking bowl of soup by the end of it. That's it. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Unless by soup you mean, Steak Frites.

The one piece of advice? Everybody should go to Buenos Aires. Now. The dollar is very strong and you can eat and drink like an emperor for very little. No matter how much money you have, however, you still can't get a bowl of soup. Even if you have food poisoning and that's all you want... You would murder a loved one for a bowl of soup, ANYTHING for a bowl of soup... Still Nothing..

Spa Food in Argentina

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ten Things to Eat in Portland 2009

Sometimes you just have no time or patience for being disappointed...
These are my go-to meals:

1. Mountaineer's Plate - Tu Casa
2. Pho Ga - Huong's
3. Fried Chicken w/ Fried Yuca - Bodega Latina
4. Beef Pho # 7 - Thanh Thanh 2
5. Double Double Cheeseburger - Hot Suppa
6. Chicken Tikka w/ Ceylonese Korma Sauce - Haggarty's
7. Enchilada Salvadorenas w/ Tongue - Tu Casa
8. Dessert - Bresca
9. Sweet N' Salty Sweetbreads - Hugo's
10. Beef on Wick - One Fifty Ate

Monday, March 23, 2009

What You've Got Here...

This is a blog dedicated to people who love to eat and drink. Especially those of us who like it so much that we don't stop until we're feeling sick and blacked out.

I haven't started drinking yet tonight, which explains why I'm actually getting this post done. I've just started to feel better after returning from Buenos Aires with some fucked-up food poisoning. This explains my insatiable lust for wine right now. My friend Nolan is on his way over to join us for dinner - He also loves to drink.

Here's how the night goes....

Wine to loosen up:
2007 Terre Rouge Vin Gris D'Amador Rose - California

What we're making:
Soto Ayam (Spiced Chicken Soup)
4 Tbl peanut oil
6 Cups Chicken Stock (I like to add ginger, scallions, and szechuan peppercorns to make a specialized stock for asian soups)
1 whole chicken
1 tsp salt
3 oz. Tang Hoon (mung bean vermicelli) soaked in luke warm water for 10 minutes
Cilantro and Scallions, chopped for garnish


8 cashews (traditionally you would use candlenuts but good fucking luck there..)
1 tsp. black peppercorns
8 shallots
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric (fresh if you can find it but once again....)
1 Tbl ginger
2 stalks lemongrass


6 Thai chilis, pounded to a coarse paste
4 Tbl Chinese black soy
4 Tbl lime juice
2 tsp sugar

Serves 3 Hungry Motherfuckers

1. To prepare the spices, grind cashews and black peppercorns together into a coarse powder. Chop remaining spices (except lemongrass, which you can cut into 3 inch pieces and smash, as you will remove it later) very fine. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry all spices together for about 4 minutes, until fragrant. Add stock, chicken, and salt and simmer, partially covered, for 35 minutes.
2. Remove wok from heat and let the chicken sit in the hot stock for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Discard skin. pull meat from bones and shred. Return the bones to stock and simmer 10 more minutes.
3. Divide vermicelli and chicken meat into the bowls. Strain the stock and ladle into the bowls. Combine all of the condiment ingredients and serve on the side. Garnish with Scallions & Cilantro.

What we're drinking with this:
2004 C.H. Berres Riesling Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruer

What we're going to hammer down after:
2005 Three Saints Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Ynez Valley
2002 Passanau Finca La Planeta, Priorat

The night will be finished with Old Mr. Show episodes and copious amounts of Nolan's homemade beer. Even though food poisoning makes you feel skinny, I'm glad it's over..