We were on the way home tonight and did what many couples do when they realize they don’t have dinner prepared yet and are growing hungrier: take-out. There are at least 3 Thai restaurants within 3 blocks of us and this time, we ordered ahead from Erawan (123 S 23rd St, Phila, PA). I’ve recently been on a Tom Kha (Coconut Soup) kick and thoroughly enjoyed this offering which I had in the veggie variety. I find that the coconut milk provides a silky and creaminess without being heavy (or dairy for that matter). The wife enjoyed the drunken noodles with chicken which at a medium-spice level had more heat than many restaurants’ hot-spice level (note to self on that). I had the thai-basil chicken which had a good flavor, but I could have used more basil and less red pepper/tomato. The ever present jasmine rice was a great sponge for the basil-garlic sauce leftover from my dinner.
Dessert was sourced from Napa and Philadelphia: Naked Chocolate (31 S 18th St) in Philly and Milat Wine Company from our last visit to the Napa Valley. It’s a wonder that I left Naked Chocolate with just a box-o-chocolates as their selection is wonderful. I ended up with a box of 16 filled chocolates (8 dark w/ dark, 4 dark w/ walnut chocolate, 4 dark w/ vanilla chocolate) for $14 and the intention of having it with the port. The port was from one of the cutest and easiest to miss vineyards in Napa. Milat is a small family owned vineyard where you get the chance to talk to the farmers who own the land and cultivate the grapes. We met the husband and wife team that own the winery and learned so much about the history of both the land and also the valley. We bought their Zivio port (more on that in a few) and their 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon which is resting gently in our wine frig. They are next to Corison Cellars on rt. 29 and finding places like this makes each trip to Napa worthwhile.
The Zivio is a very easy drinking port. Most port has a syrupy consistency due both to the fortification (brandy) and the fact that it sits so long that much of the water evaporates. In this case, the Zivio has a lighter viscosity and therefore a lighter mouth feel. Be careful though, it’s still 20% alcohol. This is a Zinfandel based port as the name might suggest and has the upfront jamminess from the Zin and sweet cherry too. The chocolate proved its worth and complimented the Port nicely. If you think you might (not) like port and want to try it on, this is a great way to start; it’s also a great excuse to visit Napa!
This is the 2nd time I’m writing this as the first post didn’t make it…
We had dinner at what looked like a quintessential hampton bays seafood-er (44 Newtown Road, Hampton Bays, NY): The canal cafe. We tried all 3 soups and I was the winner with the new england clam chowder. The shrimp bisque and potato leek were not quite right. My lobster roll (I was feeling like shellfish) was good, but had a bit too much mayo and not enough lobster for the $22 price tag. My cousin had the thai red curry mussels which were great. I could add some noodles to the broth and have soup for dinner from that – and be perfectly happy.
This spot would be great in the summer on their deck in warm weather if they kicked the food up to the standard of the mussels and clam chowder. The remainder was good, not great, and definitely expensive for what you get, not to mention the paper plates.
They did serve local wines, but for some idiotic reason, I had an unremarkable Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which doesn’t warrant a review.
Next post is #5 on dessert and the best one yet!
We’re up in the Hamptons with my cousins and having some charcuterie and an interesting italian white. This Terre di Tufi. This is from their store – Cork & Jug liquors in Hampton Bay, NY. It has a rich, even strong flavor that catches you off guard. There’s not a lot of up front flavor, with more on the mid-palate with some floral, nectar like finish. It smells like a spiced rum port up front and yet it’s still a white wine!
If you’re interested in a great store in the Hamptons, it’s located at 262 West Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays, NY. It’s right next to the Wild By Nature market. Ask for Chaz or Cricket if you want an expert recommendation.
So it’s a good thing that I was in the gym on the elliptical at 6am, because at 7pm, I was enjoying a great Sazerac at the bar at Village Whiskey (118 South 20th Street, Philadelphia) and dinner too. The wife had the Commodore (Bourbon, lime, Sugar, Orange bitters, Mezc al Rinse) to start and I, the Sazerac as mentioned (rye whiskey, sugar, peychaud bitters, absinthe rinse). Both first drinks were outstanding, but it was noisy and the bartender had some challenges hearing our orders. Nonetheless, we had dinner too, the village burger (maine farm raised angus) and the pulled pork…and yes, the duck fat fries too (they’re as good as you think). We washed our dinner down with an old fashioned [me] (bottle in bond bourbon, house-made bitters, sugar, Lemon) and the wife had the duck rabbit milk stout. The old fashioned was a bit on the strong side and they used Old Grand Dad instead of the bottle in bond, but still enjoyable.
As I write this, I’m thinking about the fact that I’m still full and that the bourbon is helping me digest.
This is one of my wife’s favorite wines for less than $15. She used to enjoy this at the Liberty Tavern in Clarendon, VA and this just brings her back. I like it too and it goes well with pretty much anything as it’s not a big Shiraz, but not too whimpy either.
They Said: “Bright youthful purples and dark red. Exciting and full of exotic chocolate, minty, black cherry characters, with some white pepper overlaid with subtle oak character. Very sweet fruit with fine grained tannins persistent, which is a hallmark of this vineyard; excellent fleshy middle palate and a long supple and satisfying finish.”
I think: It’s a great buy for $12 and definitely has the black cherry or even berry mentioned above and it’s a medium body wine which doesn’t have the peppery notes mentioned above (or I don’t think so anyway). I think the oak is demonstrated in the smooth finish.
The 12oz bag shipped direct from our favorite roaster (thanks Murky in Clarendon who introduced us to Counter Culture) lasted about 2 weeks. I’m introducing a new concept: “They Said” and “I Think”. Here goes…
They (Counter Culture) Said: “This beautifully bright and intensely flavorful lot resonates with notes of blackcurrant, tropical fruit, and dark chocolate.”
I Think: It’s coffee. Maybe it has some fruit like tastes, but overall, it’s a really smooth and enjoyable. Potentially some cocoa like taste or notes, but let’s just say it’s a really good way to start the day.
If you’re like me and love sourdough bread, but don’t buy it because it’s not a whole grain, this is what you’ve been looking for. In the bakery section at Whole Foods, they bake a whole wheat sourdough that really rocks. Today, with their house roasted turkey, Jarelsberg lite cheese, a little honey dijon, and two slices of this bread, I had one of the best brown bag lunches. This week, I will feel like I’m eating like a king and will be healthy all the while.
Go for the Yellowfin Tuna Wrap – some of the best tuna salad w/o too much mayo (and if you’re lucky the person who it’s for will share some with you)
Ok, laugh a little, but these frozen veggie burgers are darn good! We have a box that we got at Costco which is enough to serve a family of 20, but is a good go-to-healthy option when you’re in between shopping trips. On toast with a little mustard and they’re a winner.