Chefs & Champagne 2015


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On Saturday, July 25th I attended the James Beard Foundation’s 25th annual Chefs & Champagne foodie event which this year honored Chef and cookbook author Carla Hall.

The event was held at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, on the South Fork of Long Island.

It was a gorgeous day with Chefs from over 40 restaurants cooking their specialty dishes served with free-flowing champagne from Tattinger, wines from Wöllffer Estate, beer from Belgium and vodka from Tito’s. And with an appearance from Miss USA, it was enjoyable day out in the Hampton’s.

I spent the day with a flute or two of Tattinger Brut La Francaise NV in my hand and sampling dishes prepared by these Chefs:

Noah Schwartz: Oysters with Soy mignonette and micro wasabi.

Titti Qvarnström: Allerum präst quiche with elderberry pickled green strawberries, kavring crumble and east end pea sprouts.

Jamie Leeds: Grilled oysters.

Marc Anthony Bynum: Octopus with yellow eye beans, picholine olives, tomatoes, lemon balsamic and paprika oil.

Georges Mendes: Portuguese fossil farms pork cutlet sandwich with piri-piri.

Jason Weiner: Smoked duck breast with silver queen corn and white miso.

Todd Mitgang: Local scallop tartare with black garlic, white soy and marinated broccoli.

Patti Jackson: House smoked bluefish pate with radish salad.

A.J. Schaller: Crab cakes with tomato jam and castelvetrano olives.

Christopher Lavey: Tomato sweet pepper gazpacho with grilled chanterelle and purple basil.

Shannon Shafer: Smoked pork belly with braised cabbage and mustard cream.

Leah Cohen: Chilled thai coconut lemongrass soup with shrimp.

Nick Wallace: Mississippi candy striped beets with preserved goat cheese and Mississippi honeycomb.

Harold Moore: Beer can fossil farms chicken.

Michael Vignola: Barrel smoked aged new york strip with sunchoke salad and sunflower sprouts.

Anthony Bucco: Barnegat lighthouse fluke with smoked yogurt, compressed peaches and pickled blueberries.  

Amanda Cohen: Tomato tarts with smoked feta.

Michael Ferraro: Fennel pollen dusted gulf shrimp with charred corn salad, tomato confit and smoked chili oil.

Harvest Restaurant: Vermont pork with watermelon, peaches, labneh and basil.

South African Sunday


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Sunday July 19th was a brutally hot day. During the afternoon the temperature shot up to 93° (about 34° for the metric folk out there) so it was as good as time as any to spend the time in a cool spot indoors, drinking some wine.

Wines provided by Babylonstoren, a winery/hotel and one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the country located in the Drakentein Valley in the heart of wine land about 60km from Cape Town, South Africa.

The event was held at the Silverstone loft at 58 Gansevoort Street. It was the type of event space that when the people walked in, they all thought out loud ‘gee, I wish this was my apartment”, brick walls, skylight in the kitchen and a killer sound system right smack in the middle of one of the hottest neighborhoods in Manhattan and the wines were tasty as well.

2015 Chenin Blanc. Green herbs on the nose, lime notes on the fruit, good balance and easy drinking.

2013 Viognier. Medium yellow, floral and earth notes on the nose with fresh green herbs on the fruit.

2015 Mouvèdre Rosé. Pale bright pink with notes of fresh herbs and cotton candy on the fruit.

2012 Chardonnay. The bottles are individually numbered, the first one I sampled, number 7232 was off with oxidized, sherry-like flavors. Another bottle was opened and that was a different animal altogether , floral and green herbs (which was a reoccurring flavor profile) on the nose, tight with good mouth feel with saffron notes on the finish.

2013 “Babel Red”. A Bordeaux blend, dark red to black in color with a muted nose of crushed red berries, silky tannin and astringent at the end.

2012 Shiraz. Black in color, fresh rosemary on the nose, chunky and chewy, nice tannin with some metallic notes on the finish.

2012 “Nebukadnesar”. Their flagship wine, another Bordeaux blend, dark, thick red in color, with crushed red berries on the nose, dried herbs, camphor and crushed black berries on the fruit.

Dan’s Taste Of Two Forks



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This past Saturday I attended the Dan’s Taste of Two Forks food festival. Dan’s Paper is a magazine that covers all thing Hampton’s. They co-sponsor several foodie events during the Summer and this was one of them.

The Taste of Two Forks was held under the big tents at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island and was co-hosted by Michael Symon of ABC’s The Chew and Katie Lee of Food Network’s The Kitchen.

With food from over 40 North and South Fork restaurants, wines from the North and South Fork wineries, cocktails from Tito’s vodka, Hendrick’s gin and Casamigos tequila and a tiki bar with brewskis from Blue Moon and Corona, it was a fun evening in the Hampton’s.

I stuck with white wines, rosé and the occasional margarita, the wines I sipped on :

2014 Jamesport Vineyards Rosé

2014 Macari Vineyards Rosé (3 Liter bottle)

2014 Bedell Cellars Rosé

2014 Pelligrino Vineyards Gewürztraminer

2014 One Women Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Lenz Winery Tete a Tete White Blend

Some of the nibbles I sampled:

Buoy One Seafood: Fresh Blue Crab Claw with roasted corn and black bean salad.

Nammos: Grilled octopus with tomato and olive salad.

Shuckers Lobster & Clam Bar: Dirty Lobster.

Smoking Wolf BBQ; BBQ pulled pork sliders.

South Hampton Social Club: Tuna Tacos

Bistro 72: Duck confit with soft herb cheese.

Moby’s:  Montauk Calimari with tomato, olives and Calabrian chili.

75 Main: Jerk spiced Long Island duck tacos.

Highway Restaurant & Bar: Lobster roll with lemon and tarragon.

Noah’s On the Road: BLT

Grana Tratoria Anitica: Fregola Sarda Pasta with Sardinian botarga.

668 The Gigshack: Ritz cracker crusted crab cake.

Fresh Hampton’s: Tuscan style seafood salad.

Ram’s Head Inn: Applewood smoked Crescent Farms duck breast.

Canal Café: Local Fluke ceviche.

Bastille Day Block Party


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This past Sunday the French Institute Alliance Française, (FIAF), held their 15th annual Bastille Day block party “celebrating the best of France”. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorker’s innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the diversity and richness of French cultures.

The block party was held on East 60th Street from Fifth to Lexington Avenues from Noon to 5pm. With plenty of food stalls plus music from Martinique’s Arpège Choir a French-American electro swing group, singer songwriter Benjamin Swax, DJ Stark, the Hungry March Band and can-can dancers. In addition there were free screenings of award-winning French children’s films. Of course there were food and wine tastings. The tastings were held at the FIAF building at 22 East 60th Street in Manhattan.

Champagne & Chocolate Tasting

Always nice to start the day of tastings with excellent sparklers. The event was held in the Le Skyroom with a view of E60th Street. Six Champagne, desserts and mini pastries by Le Cirque and fine chocolates by Neuhaus, Valrhona and Chocolat Moderne


NV La Caravelle Brut Cuvèe Niña

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

NV Pommery Brut Royal

NV Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label

NV Moët Imperial

NV Piper-Heidsieck Brut

Wine, Cheese, Cocktails and Beer Tasting

This event took place in the Tinker Auditorium. Summer cocktails made with the anise-flavored Ricard, cheeses from President specialty, whites, reds and rosés from Bordeaux as well as beer from Kronenboug.

Some of what I sampled included:

2014 Rosé de Chevalier (Pessac-Leognan)

2013 Chateau Fage (Graves de Vayres)

2012 Chateau Au Grand Paris (Bordeaux)

2009 Chateau Duc De Broglie (Cotes de Bourg)

2009 Chateau Coudreau (Lalande de Pomerol)

1995 Chateau Rouget (Pomerol)

Southold Farm + Cellars Long Island


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This Sunday afternoon I took a road trip to the North Fork wine country on Long Island. I had read an article about the North Fork wine country in Wine Enthusiast magazine country and they mentioned a winery, Southold Farm + Cellars that was “pushing the envelope”, from it’s “cutting edge labels” to the release of a carbonic wine. The winery is located on the southern edge of the North Fork at 860 Old North Road in Southold.

This was intriguing since I’m always on the lookout for something new in wine country and this winery had been off the radar until I read about in the magazine. I also remember reading an article that said the winery bottled a Chardonnay Pét-Nats, short for Pettilant Natural which is the old style of making sparkling wine where the wine is bottled before finishing primary fermentation and allowed to continue fermenting in the bottle resulting in a slight fizz. I have never drank one of those wines that was produced in Long Island.

Southold Farm + Cellars is a family owned farm and winery that has 9 acres of vines planted with unusual for Long Island, Italian varietals such as Toroldego and Lagrein. The tasting room was on the East end of the North Fork, off the beaten path which is how owner and winemaker, Regan Meador wants it to be. Unfortunately, they were out of the Pettilant wine but these four wines are what are being served in the tasting room at this time. Production is tiny with less than 200 cases produced of each of the wines.

2014 “Artful Dodger” Sauvignon Blanc. Creamy with some grassiness and a nice balance.

2013 “The Devil’s Advocate” Old Vine Chardonnay. Deep gold and slightly cloudy with a nose of honey and dried mushrooms, thick and chewy with nice balance.

2014 “Flying & Falling” Cabernet Franc. Whole cluster Carbonic Maceration with organic fruit, dark purple with a big nose of cooked berries, juicy with earth and slate minerals on the fruit. Low acid. I thought it would be nice with a slight chill on it.

2014 “Counting Stars” Sparkling Petit Verdot. Inky, dark purple and lightly sparkling with slate and wet stone on the nose, rustic, dry and refreshing, reminded me of a nice dry Lambrusco. I bought a couple of bottles to sip on during this Summer.

Rosé Cruise


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The La Nuit En Rosé wine event which was billed as “the world’s first rosé festival”, returned to New York City on June 25th to Saturday, June 27th. I attended the Saturday evening event where more than 150 rosé wines from 120 wineries in 9 different countries were poured on three floors of the Hornblower Infinity Yacht on the Hudson River. The event also featured food stations and a DJ with music to dance to. The weather was miserable but we spent a couple of hours at the dock and then set sail for a couple of hours cruising the Hudson River. It was an open bar and there was more than enough rosé to go around. It was a fun evening.

Some of what I sampled:


NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut (Champagne)

NV Michel Gonet (Champagne)

NV Veuve du Vernay (France)

NV Ferrari Brut (Trentino)

2008 Ferrari Vintage (Trentino)


2014 Domaine de la Mordoree (Rhone)

2014 Domaine le Vieux Moulin (Rhone)

2014 Chevelier d’Antelme (Rhone)

2014 Domaine Amido “Les Gourmandines” (Rhone)

2014 Gerard Bertrand Gris Blanc (Languedoc)

2013 Bernard Magrez Bleu de Mer (Languedoc)

2014 Chateau Grand Boise (Provence)

2014 ViveVité (Provence)

2014 ViveVité “Extraordinaire” (Provence) 3Liter Bottle

2014 Saint Aix (Provence)

2014 Barton & Guestier Passport (Anjou)

2014 Remy Pannier (Anjou)

2014 Le Roi des Pierres Sancerre (Loire)

2014 Chateau de Lardiley (Bordeaux)

2014 Mulderbosch Limited Edition Magnum (Stellenbosch)

2014 Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (Chile)

2014 Torres De Casta (Spain)

2014 Azyul y Garanza (Navarra)

2014 Bodegas Otazu (Navarra)

Lions, Tigers & Brews



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This past Friday and Saturday evening the Lions, Tigers & Brews craft beer festival was held at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan. Over 60 craft breweries poured their products in an open air tasting in the park.

I attended the event on Saturday. It seemed like it would be a rainy day but the rain held off for the evening. The event got a good crowd of mostly young folk enjoying the brews in a unique venue with a live band and a DJ providing the entertainment. it was a party.

Note to event organizer; with four hours of an open beer-bar, you need more port-a-potties.


I sampled some ciders and some nice IPA’s.

Souvereign Cider: Apple & Honey, Dry & Crisp

Woodchuck Cider Co.: Gumption Cider

California Cider Co.: Ace Pear Cider

Magner’s: Pear Cider

Knee Deep Brewing Co.: Simtra Triple IPA

Mermaid Brewing Co.: IPA & Pilsner

Saranac Brewery: Legacy IPA

Long Trail Brewing Co.: Limbo IPA

Braven Brewing Co.: White IPA

Kuka Beer Co.: Belgium Plum Witte

Spoetzl Brewery: Shiner Prickly Pear

Illusive Traveller: Grapefruit Ale

Smuttynose Brewing Co.: Shoal’s Pale Ale

Empire Brewing Co.: Amber Ale



Westchester Food & Wine Grand Tasting


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This past weekend Westchester Magazine held their annual Food & Wine Festival. A weekend of events that included a Burger Bash, and evening with Westchester’s taste makers, a seminar with Piero Incisa the winemaker at Sassicaia, and a Grand Tasting.

I attended the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon. Last year, the event was held indoors at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in White Plains, this year it was held outdoors at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, New York which is a leisurely 40 minute train ride from Grand Central Terminal. The Grand Tasting “Village” was well laid out and spacious with the crowd of people spread throughout the venue without any food and wine booth becoming overly crowded. Mother Nature cooperated with beautiful, if a bit windy weather. There were over 35 local restaurants serving food throughout the village. Many consumer tastings serve a lot of mediocre wines but at this event the wine shop Zachey’s, a well-known Westchester wine and spirit purveyor provided the wines. It was a well-chosen list and there was plenty of good juice to keep me and the rest of the people interested all afternoon. It was a fun day.

Some of the wines I sampled:

NV Veuve Clicquot Rose

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

NV Tattinger Brut La Francaise

NV Pol Roger Brut Reserve

2013 Landhaus Mayer Gruner Veltliner

2013 Masi Rosa dei Masi Rosé

2014 Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé

2014 La Spinetta Il Rosé di Casanova

2013 Flowers Chardonnay

2012 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Calera Chardonnay

2012 Acacia Chardonnay

2013 Rodney Strong Chardonnay

2012 Rochioli Russan River Valley Chardonnay

2013 JP Benoit Droin Chablis Vaillons

2013 Pio Cesare Arnais

2013 Antinori Guado Al Tasso Vermintino

2013 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir

2013 The Calling Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir

2011 Frescobaldi Chianti Nepozzano

2010 Campo Giovanni Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Castiglion dei Bosco Brunello di Montalcino

2010 San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

2010 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Stag’s Leap Cellars Artemis

2013 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva

2012 Tenuta San Guido Guidaberto

2011 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia

2011 Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Gaja Ca’ Marcanda Promis

2010 Casa Lapstolle Clos Apalta Red



Best Of The West



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This past week was the 8th annual New Taste of The Upper West Side.  It was three days of food, wine, beer and cocktail events on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. On Saturday evening I attended the Best of the West event held under the tent at 76th Street and Columbus Avenue. Hosted by chefs Marc Murphy and Anne Burrell and featuring music by Joe Battaglia and his 16 piece New York Big Band. Over 30 local restaurants served tasty bites of their specialties. It was a fun evening of tasty bites, spirits and people on stilts.

My favorite dish of the night was a burger from Shake Shack upper west side. Don’t have an opportunity to try these very often since I won’t wait on line for an hour to buy a burger, these babies were tasty. Other dishes I sample:

Good Enough To Eat: Turkey Parfait

Caffe Storico: Pork Belly, Treviso & Charred Scallion vinaigrette

Porter House NYC: Bourbon Braised Short Rib Mini Bun

Cesca Enoteca & Trattoria: House-Made Straciattella

The Ribbon: Chopped Liver On Rye Toast

Calle Ocho: Ceviche Mixto

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto: Prosciutto

Carmine’s: Eggplant Parmigiano

Jean-Georges: Strawberry Tiramisu

It was a warm night and as far as beverages were concerned, I drank a couple of Prosseco from Bottega, a couple of more Italian whites from Teruzzi & Puthod and cocktails made with Tito’s vodka.



Aquarium Tasting


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This past Memorial Day weekend on Sunday evening, I attended the Taste The East End Food and Wine event which paired local food vendors and restaurants with locally produced beer and wine. It was a consumer event and was held at the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center at 431 East Main Street Riverhead. This is the beginning of the North Fork wine country about 80 miles east of Manhattan. It was the first time I went to a wine event in an aquarium which made for an interesting evening of wine, food and live fish swimming around. The wines served were all from Long Island.


Some of what I sampled:

2012 Lenz Gewürztraminer

2014 Raphael Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Martha Clara “Solstice” White

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Fume Blanc

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Osprey’s Dominion Reserve Pinot Gris

2013 OR Vineyards Chardonnay

2013 Roanoke Vineyards “Reserve” Chardonnay

2013 Suru Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Suru Winery Pinot Grigio

2014 Water’s Crest Rosé

2014 Roanoke Vineyards Rosé

2010 Suru Winery “Red Bland”

2011 Raphael “Estate” Merlot

NV Raphael Cabernet



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