Best of the West 2019

 

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Best of the West was one of two events held as part of the 12th annual Taste of the Upper West Side. The events were a fundraiser benefitting the upper west side community. Summer in the City was held on Friday evening and Best of the West on Saturday evening. Both events were held under the tents on Columbus Avenue between 76-77th streets in the upper west side of Manhattan, just across the street from the Museum of Natural History.

Both events had 80+ chefs from local restaurants serving unlimited food along with some drinkable wines, cocktails made with the ever present Tito’s vodka and Rums from Puerto Rico, beer and hard cider.

It was a big foodies event, a night of good eating, so much so I couldn’t get to all the food stations but had tried my best. Just wish I had brought a doggie bag.

 

Some of what I sampled:

The Milling Room: Mini Lobster Roll, featuring Maine lobster on Amy’s challah bun.

8th Hill Restaurant: Stuffed beet leaves with meat.

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park: Yuzi cured Hamachi, cucumbers and watermelon salad with ginger dressing.

Leyla: Fava bean bruschetta, fava bean spread, arugula, pickled carrots, dill over sourdough bread.

Lincoln Center Kitchen: Chilled spring pea soup, jumbo lump crab salad, smoked bacon.

Da Capo: Veal meatballs, pan seared San Marzano tomatoes, Sunday Sauce, basil.

Elea: Grilled octopus, fava puree with pepper & onion “Stifado”.

Shake Shack: Cheeseburger topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, double smoked bacon and fiery shack sauce.

Café 21: Mixed seafood Ceviche with miso ginger Asian slaw.

Red Farm: Chicken with truffle Shu Mai.

Tavern on the Green: Confit of Berkshire pork shoulder, pickled julienne vegetables, Sambai aioli.

Dizzy’s Club: Smoked baby back ribs with Carolina BBQ sauce, with jalapeno, peach slaw.

Salumeria Rosi: Pork meatballs, fresh tomato sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano.

Café Frida: Mole negro cooked for 8 hours, chicken breast, fried sweet plantains, white onions and sesame seeds.

The Leopard: Parmigiana of zucchini with smoked mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce and basil.

Café Luxembourg: Tuna tartare, avocado mousse, rice cakes.

Tessa: Chilled octopus salad, celery, pickled red onions, preserved lemon, smoked paprika oil, micro arugula.

The Smith: Toasted ricotta gnocchi with truffle cream.

The Mermaid Inn: Chilled ruby red shrimp ceviche, charred tomato, avocado, cilantro and old bay popcorn.

Crave Fishbar: Salmon sashimi tostada, avocado puree, Calabrian chili oil, grapefruit, crisp shallot, micro cilantro.

Calle Ocho: Ceviche Demorro, black grouper, pickled vegatables, calle ocho pique.

Alice’s Teacup: Mini pumpkin scones.

Treat House: Sea salt caramels, chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream.

 

 

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks 2018

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Dan’s Papers is a weekly lifestyle magazine of all things Hampton’s. Every Summer they host/sponsor several parties out in the East End including Rosé Soirée, Chefs of the North Fork, Grill Hampton and Montaco.

On Saturday July 21st they held their 8th annual Taste of Two Forks event. A food and spirits party that showcased the “bounty of both the North and South Fork of Long Island”.

The event was held under the big tents overlooking Mecox Bay at Mecox Farms located at 19 horsemill lane in Bridgehampton, Long Island.

In addition to bites provided by local restaurants, there were local wines and wine from Italy, California and Chile, beer from Corona and Blue Moon, and several cocktail stations including the Jack Daniel line of whiskeys, the ever-present Tito’s vodka, Aperol, Campari and Espolõn tequila to name a few.

The celebrity host this year was David Burtka, the music provided by DJ Phresh and a portion of the ticket price went to benefit the all for the East End charity.

The weather was a concern since a big storm was forecast but the rains held off for most of the evening.

 

Some of the food I sampled:

The Basil House & Hotel: Basil soaked mozzarella,  heirloom tomato chutney, zucchini.

Simons Center Café: Long Island Fluke, citrus, watermelon, green peppercorn.

Buoy One Seafood: Local corn, fresh blue claw crab and black bean salad.

Shucker’s Lobster & Clam Bar: Blackened shrimp, guacamole, cucumber and jalapeno relish.

Topping Rose House: Local catch ceviche, coconut milk, calamansi gelee, crisp chicharron, shiso and spicy corn cake.

Claudio’s: Pan seared day boat scallops with cioppino broth and summer vegetables.

Events by Peter Ambrose: Carolina low country Paella.

Southampton Social Club: Sushi roll, scallion, avocado, cucumber, toro, sashimi, wasabi tobiko.

Little Red: Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with ricotta salata, basil oil and balsamic reduction.

The Frisky Oyster: Peconic gold oysters Friskafella with garlic chipotle spinach and parmigiana aioli.

North Fork Roasting Co.: Sunkissed melon salad, Mexican mint, dehydrated lemon crystals, edible flowers.

Insatiable Eats Catering: Sicilian meatballs two ways.

North Sea Tavern: Shrimp ceviche.

Smoking Wolf BBQ: Slow smoked BBQ pulled pork sliders with pickles and onions.

SAAZ: Chicken tiki masala, mix vegetables, naan bread and basmati rice.

 

 

Wine On Wheels Fundraiser 2018

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On April 28th I attended the 7th annual Wheeling Forward Wine on Wheels grand tasting and auction. Wheeling Forward is an organization that helps people with disabilities live life to the fullest through advocacy, mentorship and support services. One of the founding members, Yannick Benjamin is a Sommelier so it’s not surprising that they have many wine themed fundraising events throughout the year.

This event was held at City Winery, a music venue and urban winery located at 155 Varick Street in lower Manhattan. Many distributors/importers donated well over 100 wines from most of the major wine regions in the world. Pouring at the event were dozens of Sommeliers who volunteered their time and it really was “great wines for a great cause”.

It was an eclectic list of old and new world wines with everything from great Champagne to Pet-Nats. Before the general public were let in they had a premium wine room that poured some interesting older vintages some of which I sampled:

 

2014 Cucamon Granache A Tribute to Grace “Hofer Vineyard” (Cucamonga Valley). Light red, leather notes on the nose with cherry red leather fruit.

1985 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium amber with an amber rim, closed nose of roasted meat, dusty black cherry fruit, firm silky tannins. Still drinking nicely.

1991 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherryblock” (Sonoma Valley). Amber in color, ripe plums, bell pepper and mint on the nose, chewy black leather fruit and dried leaf notes on the finish.

2010 Cerretto Barolo (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and leather on the nose with moderate tannins on the firm finish.

Others that I sampled:

2015 Joseph Drouhin Chassange Montrachet

2013 Domaine Faiveley 1er Cru Clos de l’Ecu Monopole 1.5L

2013 Domaine de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes

2014 Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf du Pape 1.5L

2000 Chateau La Louviere

2005 Calon-Segur

2005 Chateau d’Issan

1999 Chateau Lagrange

2011 Brane-Cantenac

2011 Chateau Phelan Segur

2013 Bruno Giacosa Barolo “Le Rocche del Falletto”

2013 Mount Eden Chardonnay “Estate”

2015 DeLoach Vineyards Pinot Noir RRV

2009 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Raymond Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve”

2014 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo”

2015 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel

 

 

 

Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Fest 2018

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The 9th annual Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival was held on January 11-13. The event raised money for the arts in Albany and was three days of seminars, dinners, grand tastings and culinary and bartender competitions which included a cooking challenge and a Bloody Mary contest.

This year the event partnered with the Indonesian Diaspora Network which inspired the artwork on the poster and provided the food theme for the dinners.

The event was held at the Empire State Plaza, a 1970s era complex of monolithic state government buildings which cost around $2 billion to build at the time. I attended the grand tasting on Saturday afternoon which featured food from local restaurants, wine, spirits and craft beer as well as the chefs and bartenders competition. There was also a one seminar which I attended.  Like many consumer tastings, there was a lot of mid level wines but there was a table with some high end juice and I tasted some interesting whiskey.

Albany is the capitol of the state of New York but it’s a small town and the downtown area was pretty much a ghost town on the Saturday afternoon I was there.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Whiskey

Jack Daniels’s: single barrel rye, single barrel select, Sinatra select

Hudson: Manhattan rye, four grain bourbon

Eagle Rare bourbon 10yr

Ironweed rye

 

Wine

2015 Steele Chardonnay Cuvee

2015 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir

2013 Twonmey Cellars Merlot

2013 Gaja “Sori Tilden”

2012 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino

2014 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape

2016 19 Crimes Red Blend

 

Seminar: Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Horizontal

The tasting room is just south of the city of Salem, Oregon and is one of the larger producing wineries in the state. I did stop by the huge tasting room when I visited Willamette Valley last Spring.

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate”. A blend of grapes from several vineyards, clear, dark red with a delicate perfume of dark cherry, some earth and petroleum, dusty fruit ending with tart black cherry.

2014 Pinot Noir “Tualatin”. Clear, medium dark red, red licorice on the nose, tight, bright delicate fruit with smoky notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Elton”. Clear, dark purple, cherry and leather on the nose, tight fruit, firm acids with charred notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Bernau Block”. Clear, dark red with mint, green herbs and strawberry jam on the nose, delicate and earthy notes and black licorice on the finish.

 

 

Toast Of France

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On October 8th I attended the Toast of France wine event. The tasting was a fundraiser in which 100% of proceeds benefit Wheeling Forward and Hurricane Relief.

The event was held at Le Dû’s wine shop at 600 Washington Street in lower Manhattan where I’ve been to many a wine tasting in the past. It was hosted by Somms, Yannick Benjamin, one of the co-founders of Wheeling Forward and by Jean-Luc Le Dû.

All of the French wine regions were represented with a table of wines served by volunteer Sommeliers. There was a live and silent auction, oysters in the Champagne room, cheese and paté in the main room, and some French guy strolling around playing the accordion. It was an enjoyable afternoon of sampling wines from all of France.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Champagne

NV Krug “Grand Cuvee” En Jeroboam

NV Larmandier-Bernier “Longitude” En Magnum

NV Marc Hebert Brut Rosé

Bourgogne

2014 Domaine Christine Moreau Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos”

2014 Pierre Morey Meursault

2014 Domaine Antonin Guyon Pugliny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Pucelles”

2013 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Cazetiers”

Beaujolais

2015 Domaine des Billards Saint Amour

2015 Domaine de Haute Combe Julienas

2013 Chateau des Jacques Moulin a Vent “La Roche”

Bordeaux

2009 Le Petit Caillou de Ducru

2009 Chateau Bourgneuf

2014 Chateau Cartier

2012 Sirene de Giscours

2012 Chateau de Sales

Loire

2016 Domaine Pabiot Puilly Fume

2012 Domaine de la Chevalerie Bourgueil “Galichets”

Savoie/Jura

2008 Chateau d’Arlay Vin Jaune

2012 Domaine Berthet-Bondet “Tradition”

Alsace

2010 Domaine Trimbach Pinot Gris

2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris “Clos Windsbuhl”

Rhone

2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc

2013 Pierre Gaillard Cote Rotie

2014 Domaine J. Despesse Cornas

2012 Domaine de Beaurenard  Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge

Provence/Languedoc

2009 Domaine Hauvette Baux de Provence “Cornaline”

2012 Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol

2014 Mas Daumas Gassace Rouge

Roussellon

2014 Domaine du Clos des Fees Les Sorcieres

2014 Chateau Haute Serre

 

 

Wine On Wheels Fundraiser 2017

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On Saturday afternoon, April 29th I attended the 6th annual Wine On Wheels Grand Tasting fundraiser. The event raised money for the Wheeling Forward organization whose mission is to “help people with disabilities experience life to the fullest and enable them to see possibility where others see insurmountable obstacles”.

The fundraise was held at City Winery at 155 Varick Street in Manhattan. The event featured over 200 wines served by over 60 local Sommelier and cocktails created by local Mixologists.

The afternoon was warm and the air-conditioning lacking so I spent a lot of time in the “Champagne Room” where the wine storage tanks are located which was cooler than the rest of the building. There was much juice to drink and people having fun for a good cause. Some of what I sampled:

 

NV Ruinart Rosé

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

2004 Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

NV La Caravalle Rosé

NV La Caravalle Blanc de Blanc

NV La Caravalle “Cuvée Nina”

NV Marion-Bosser

NV Géraud Loriot

NV Jose Dhondt

NV Tattinger Rosé

NV Laurnet-Perrier Rosé

2014 Hirsh Vineyards Pinot Noir San Andreas Fault

2014 Hirsh Vineyards Pinot Noir East Ridge

2014 Hirsh Vineyards Block 8

2015 Costa Graia Rosato del Frusinate

2013 Costa Graia Piglio

2014 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Clos des Mygland

2012 Domaine Michel Viré-Clessé

2005 Nicolas Potel Beaune Les Greves

2015 Marisa Cuomo Bianco Fuore

2015 Singulier Trousseau

2014 Chateau de Vaux Les Gryphees

2014 Domaine Durant Saint-Joseph

 

 

 

Wine On Wheels Fundraiser

 

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On Saturday May 2nd I attended the Wine on Wheels fundraiser run by the Wheeling Forward organization. The event was held at City Winery on 155 Varick Street in Manhattan.

Wheeling Forward is an organization that “helps people with disabilities experience life to the fullest and enable them to see possibility where others see insurmountable obstacles”. They work with individuals to provide advocacy, mentorship and support services to reach their goal.

The event consisted of a Grand Tasting with over 175 wines poured by 50 local Somms, Fast-Track seminars and a Silent Auction.

Some of what I sampled:

2004 Dom Perignon Blanc de Blanc. Always start with something sparking.

NV Krug Brut Grand Cuvée

2006 Perrier-Jouet “Belle Époque” Brut

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cidre de Fouesranz “. A trio of ciders from Brittany, lots of character, very wine-like, tasty.

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cornouaille”

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cuvée Blanche”

2010 Domaine Francois Buffet Volnay “Clos des Chenas”. Medium red, black fruit, dried herbs.

2010 Domaine Marchand Grillot Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Perrier”. Medium red, tart.

2013 Francesco Cirelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Black in color, slate on the nose, chunky wet stone on the firm but balanced finish.

2011 Podere Ciona “Montegrossoli” Four wines from this producer poured by the winemaker, all very nice. This one was clear medium red with smoky black cherry on the nose with concentrated bitter cherry on the finish, good  balance.

2011 Podere Ciona “Semifonte”. A Merlot based wine, dark red to black with slate and roasted meat on the nose, silky dark cherry fruit, great balance with roasted meat notes on the finish.

2010 Podere Ciona Chianti Classico “Riserva”. Medium red with a pretty nose of sweet tar and pencil shavings, silky with sweet tannin at the end.

2007 Podere Ciona “Le Diacce”. The flagship wine of the estate and Merlot based, dark red to black with ripe berries and cooked meat on the nose, deeply concentrated with ripe fruit, graphite and silky tannin.

2006 Chateau Giscours. Medium red, toasted oak on the nose and oak on the fruit, firm tannin.

2003 Clos De L’Oraroire Grand Cru Classé. Dark red with an amber robe with a big perfume of smoke, sweet fruit and ripe berries, silky and balanced on the moderate to long finish. Tasty.

2000 Chateau Les Orme de Pez. Medium to dark red with a pretty perfume of sweet red fruit, tight and tannic.

2009 Echo de Lynch-Bages. Dark red with a closed nose of brambly dark fruit, concentrated and finishes tart.

2011 Flowers “Sea View Ridge” Pinot Noir. Light red and slightly cloudy with floral, ripe flowers on the nose, smoky fruit with some crisp acidity at the end.