Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Treasa had a stressful day at work. In our household, this means that I’m required to cook comfort food. The comfort food coin flip wound up spaghetti and meat sauce, and with that I left the office to make a stop at the grocery store on the way home.

A fresh head of garlic, an onion, some fresh basil and, well, what else could I do to help the Wife cope with a rough way and an eighty minute commute? Guinness, which necessitated a trip to the liquor store.

And in an conclusion more predictable than James Bond saves the world and gets the girl, my spaghetti and meat sauce was spectacular. The Guinness was a warm hug in a cold pint glass.

However, a trip to the liquor store was an excuse to self-indulge, and one without the risk of the Wife giving me a hard time about it because of the last paragraph.

So, how does a guy like me indulge? $4.99 for a sixer of Famosa. I’ve never had it before, it was five bucks, it’s from Guatemala and, if I didn’t try it in order for the lager to extend its famousness to me, I felt I was opening up the brewery to a false advertising lawsuit. I would feel guilty about that.

As I was paying, I asked the store owner if Famosa is actually good or not. He said that it’s actually a fairly expensive beer, but he had marked it down because he’s trying to clear inventory as a result of cutting ties with the distributor who supplies it. Well, I don’t believe him.

First, the beer placement wasn’t with the pricy imports, or even with the Corona’s and Modelo’s of the world. It was with the types of low cost domestics that change their can design this time of year to blaze orange, camouflage, or a combination of both.
Secondly, the taste. It definitely starts better than domestic non-light lagers. It had a fuller, more rounded taste. The flavor profile then evolves to that tin-y taste that reminds me of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and then finishes with a sweetness that, dare I say, hints of vanilla. This is not at all to say that the beer was bad. In fact I liked it and will probably buy it again. But, it was not what a beer snob will bring you at the rare beer get-together. And why would they? It’s not rare, it’s Famosa.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black and Tan Friday

As you can see, it’s been over a year since I’ve updated here. I can make excuses for all the reasons I’ve been lazy. New job. The Wife works late and I have a lot of stuff to do around the house. Whatever. They’re all true. And they’re all excuses.

But regardless, I’ve always meant to write something about what I’m eating/drinking/doing. So even though the title of this blog might seem a bit narrow given the my passion for wine, food and beer—order not indicative of preference—I’m going to try to make this little corner of the interweb a place where I blab about all of them.

Today is Black Friday. Now, given that I’ve been to business school, I know that the term comes from the fact that today, the start of holiday shopping hysteria, typically turns a retailer’s year from the red to the black, or profitable. But for those that weren’t aware of the origination of the term, please go on calling it African American Friday as not to offend anyone.

My holiday shopping is done from home, from the comfort of my computer, comforted by a tasty adult beverage. The only time I’ll venture out to the mall this time of year is when I’m sure that my destination gift wraps. Without that service, I’ll keep my competitive shopping avoidance skills up my sleeve.

But alas, we’re not shopping today. Treasa and I are taste testing within the bounds of the holiday spirit though. We’re comparing Yuenling Black and Tan and Saranac Black and Tan.

I really like each of these beers and will buy each of them again. The Yuenling is the more mild of the pair. The Yuenling Lager seems to come through. It’s thicker than a ‘typical’ beer, but has a thinner feel than the Saranac. Treasa liked it best. This was fine with me as I preferred the Saranac. It was more robust. It had more of a malted prominence, reminiscent of the Irish stout it’s made with. To me, I thought it was more of a porter-ish flavor, but I’ll trust the brew master on this one. Because of its complexity, it would make a wonderful leisurely afternoon beer, which it did.

The afternoon went on, and we kept trading off sips on each other’s beers. It was a good system until Treasa accused me of stealing the last sip of her beer. She responded by drinking the last swig of mine, to which I responded, ‘Aha! Now that’s the pot calling the kettle African American!’

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc

Nights when Treasa gets home from work later than usual give me time to try things in the kitchen. This, while not crazily adventurous, was fun to make. I had marinated a few chicken breasts in Italian dressing for two days, and sliced them in order to open up a pocket in each cutlet. I stuffed them with seasoned Japanese panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, onion, garlic and various spices. The fresh parsley is key. It gives it a sharp parsley-ey flavor that works really well.

As a side, I made one of my favorites and corn. One box of orzo cooked in chicken broth with chopped spinach. I used the frozen spinach. You can find Green Giant plain spinach on sale for little more than a dollar and it’s easy. I nuke it to thaw, then sauté lightly with garlic and onion (and various spices) to perk it up a little.

As you can see in the mightily bad cell phone picture, we had the fire ablaze. We were being stubborn and had not yet turned the heat on. The house was chilly. A hot meal on the living room table, fire and wine were sure to fix that.

Oh, the wine. The Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc was pretty good. Maybe al the flavor from the meal over powered it slightly, but it was refreshing. We only had a few sips with the meal as we were both so hungry we ate without chewing, let alone enjoying wine.
The fire got the living room up to a nice toasty temperature. So much that we cracked the screen door to the balcony, which, in our post wine state, we forgot to shut before retiring for the evening. When we awoke to a house that was 56 degrees the following morning, combined with the season’s first frost, there was little I could do but acquiesce to the wife and turn the heat on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon, Five Rivers Pinot Noir, Domaine Ste Michelle

This whole life thing keeps getting in the way of my ability to blog about our wine adventures. My boss got a new boss, which means that my job changed, which means that all the work that I’ve been working on is irrelevant, which means that I have a whole new laundry list to focus on, which means that I work later than normal, which means that, today for example, I estimate that I wrote about 4,000 lines of code. This will drive one to drink. It has.
Accordingly, Treasa’s new job, while going very well, takes up more than a few minutes of her day. Add in the hour each way commute, and I’m (still) left (sometimes) doing most of the household chores. Please note the half made bed in the background of the picture.

It was all I could to do prevent Treasa from throwing away these bottles before I could take a picture of them. Now, while my meatballs are marinating (Yes, I marinate my meatballs), I have the ability to finally blog. Ta, da!

Fat Bastard cabernet sauvignon: If I remember correctly, we had this with a good pair of steaks. Treasa and I fought over the last half glass. This obviously isn’t the best glass of wine ever, but for ~$10, it’s one that, like a Bob Seger album, should be experienced more than it is.

Five Rivers Winery California pinor noir: I liked this more than Treasa did. It was above average without food. We paired it with a hearty pasta dish which over matched it a bit.

Domaine Ste Michelle champagne: By this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent us a holiday card. I had left over bratwurst, which was all sorts of amazing. Treasa thought to pair it with champagne. Somewhat weird. But that’s the story.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

North Mountain Vineyard Tom’s Brook Red

Treasa and I went to Miranda and Larz’s house for dinner Friday night. They made the lasagna, I brought the garlic bread and, knowing me, a bottle of wine. The night was impromptu. The lasagna was Stouffers and the garlic bread was whatever was on sale in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. Factory processed marginally ok to eat consistency, but never a bad, inedible meal.

So for the wine, it wasn’t the focus of the night, so why open something I expected to be good? For the last few months, I’ve had this bottle of red hanging out in the wine rack. I knew nothing about it, other than it said ‘table red.’ It was part of a wine centric gift package from Treasa’s aunt for her bridal shower. Without stirring up much family dirt, I didn’t have high hopes for it (which is why it’s been sitting around for the last few months), so it found it’s way over into a lasagna pairing.

Actual text message to Miranda during the evening’s planning process:
Treasa’s aunt gave us a shitty bottle of red. I’ll share it with you guys. :-)

Well, the wine, which after finally reading the label ended up being a North Mountain Vineyard Tom’s Brook Red didn’t resemble fecal matter after all. In fact, it was pretty good. Here’s the website’s description:
A lightly sweet Cabernet Franc. Enjoy the fruitiness and full structure, along with a lightly sweet finish. Try with barbecued venison, or a honey glazed ham.

Good thing we opened it 30 minutes before the lasagna came out of the oven. It gave us a chance to enjoy it before we paired it with food, which, from the blurb above, just didn’t work well.

Moral of the story: You can’t judge a wine by it’s label, or more pertinent, you can’t judge a wine by the sanity of the person who gave it to you as a gift. Treasa and I are more of dry red type of folk, but if a good, slightly sweet finishing red is up your alley, I’d recommend buying Tom’s Brook Red.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Message In A Bottle

My literary absence should not be taken as a sign that we’ve given up drinking wine. That, honestly, would be preposterous. The reality is that, well, I’ve been busy. Not to busy to drink wine, but too busy to devote time to chronicling the events surrounding the experience in an I’m-probably-the-only-one-that-thinks-my-writing-is-funny sort of way.

Treasa got a big fancy promotion that requires a ninety mile round trip commute. My four minute trip, in heavy traffic, relegates many time consuming domestic duties to yours truly. While they’re a big, giant, ghastly PITA, it has provided me with additional appreciation for all the work she does. So in keeping marital bliss at the forefront, this wasn’t all bad.

The previous paragraph was apparently written by a serial optimist, who, in reality, really hates folding laundry, putting things away and general house chores. However, he does think the Dyson is pretty freakin’ cool, once he gets nagged enough to stop watching baseball and get the thing from upstairs. Peaches.

Here are the wines I can remember drinking since I last posted. Remembrance not for their quality or anything, but more so just because I’m bad at remembering wine labels. That’s half the reason I started writing this blog as a hobby; hopefully my previous exploits will help me build up a decent wine knowledge and potentially prevent me from uncorking a dud twice. Anyways, the list of what I remember:
Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon
Cellar No 8 Pinot Noir
Cellar No 8 Cabernet Sauvignon
Domaine Ste Michelle Champagne

The one’s I don’t:
A pretty blah bottle of sauvignon blanc
A bottle of sauvignon blanc that was heavier than most I’ve had
A bottle of syrah with a cocoa encrusted antelope tenderloin
A sip of the sauvignon blanc Treasa had at that dinner
I think another pinot noir.

I sampled the Dynamite Cab before my antelope entrée. It was pretty good. Considering what the restaurant was charging per glass, I was surprised to see it for under $10 a bottle. I bought it. The Cellar No 8 Pinot Noir was recommended by a friend. It was very tasty, however I over matched it by with a bacon wrapped filet mignon pairing. I’d definitely buy it again. For that reason, I tried the Cellar No 8 Cabernet Sauvignon. Treasa and I drank it last night over bowls of spaghetti and meatballs. It was really good, and even gooder that it cost under $10. We shared the bottle of DSM with a friend who Treasa helped with her pre-wedding hair and makeup trial. We had a fun night, though I never did get around to asking her why she did the trials when here wedding isn’t until next summer.

The wine fridge is stocked and the rack is over flowing. It’s quite a good situation to contend with. And hopefully I’ll be around here more often to write about how I handle making more room.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

7 Deadly Zins

Treasa started her new job yesterday, so we celebrated with some filet mignons topped with whole roasted garlic and my fantastic roasted potatoes. Perusing through our wine stock, I found various bottles of pinot noir and not much else. Yearning for something heartier to match the steak, I picked up a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins that we’ve had for probably, almost, must be, just about two years now.

For the first time out of the last several tries, I finished the meat at medium rare, and the garlic spread was as good as you can imagine. The new addition of diced jalapenos to the potatoes was great. The wine was very pleasant while the meal was cooking and was equally as good, if not more so, as an accompaniment. I’d definitely buy it again. Right after I knock off a few pinot noirs.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gnarled Vine Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This Friday The 13th installment of Old Wine Tales is brought to you by that freaky looking stuffed bear in the picture below. Treasa had a sales/corporate propaganda meeting at a bowling alley two days ago, where upon she thought it a good idea to drop a few quarters into that machine you never see anyone use with the grappling hook claw thingy to clutch, though normally initially pick up, then drop, toys worth less than the quarters it took to operate the machine in the first place. She was lucky, so to speak, to have been able to get a satanic bear with either backwards feet or a backwards head. Depending on what makes you sleep better at night.

Dinner consisted of chicken tenderloins marinated for thirty minutes in a concatenation of spices from the cupboard, Jim Beam Lemon and Herb marinade and the last sip of my Pilsner Urquell, sautéed onion and a quarter jalapeno in EVOO, Green Giant frozen veggies in a low fat butter sauce on top of whole wheat angel hair pasta.

Treasa picked the 2009 Gnarled Vine Sauvignon Blanc from the wine fridge downstairs, and neither the food nor the wine lasted long. The wine was a little softer and rounder than many of the Sauv Blancs we’ve had previously, but it was good. It finished clean with a nice lemony flavor. It complimented the pasta dish nicely.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Running With Scissors Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

So Treasa had a pretty terrible day at work on eight-nine-ten day. Her boss has made a mistake, for each of the previous six quarters, that might cost her, and all of her coworkers, their employment. So what can I do? Steaks and wine, obviously.

I went to the grocery store and got two top loins and a zucchini. I’ve never grilled zucchini before, but after a soak in EVOO, Six Point Spice Blend and a little garlic powder, it came out ok. According to me. Not Treasa. I also over cooked the steaks to med-well. But, the cuts were decent enough to compensate for the temperature oops. That wasn’t the point though. After a bottle of 2007 Running With Scissors Cabernet Sauvignon, the job worries melted away to the periphery, and a mixed drink and a recorded episode of True Blood took the focal point of the evening. Which is why I’m upstairs writing this entry and she’s downstairs relaxing. So, I’d say I’ve earned an A++ on husbandry duties this evening.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Barone Fini Valdadige Pinot Grigio

Considering I gained, what feels and weighs like, ten pounds on the honey moon, I’m on a diet this week. I bought chicken and bagged salad and I’m ready to lose the spare tire. Specifically, I bought whole romaine. I’ve had chicken tenderloins from Costco marinating in fat free Italian dressing since Saturday. And I found two ears of white corn for $.80 from the grocery store on the way home from work. And for a $2 risk, I bought frozen shrimp shish-ka-bobs.

I marinated the shrimp skewers in warm salt-Old Bay water with apple cider vinegar to thaw. Soaked the corn on the cob in a warm sugar water bath for half an hour. Drizzled the halved romaine lettuce with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and reduced fat parmesan cheese. I gave the corn a hearty head start on the grill, then added the chicken, romaine halves, chicken and shrimp skewers. I plated everything upon a nice bed of mixed greens and ate.

It should be noted that from the beginning of the second paragraph, I’d been drinking a Barone Fini Valdadige Pinot Grigio. Treasa wasn’t feeling well, so the bottle was probably 85% mine. It’s an easy drinking bottle of wine, with some green apple flavors being most prominent among its round taste. When the last half glass was paired with the salad and light Caesar vinaigrette, the wine perked up a bit and was pretty good. The meal, cheap frozen shrimp and all, came together nicely.