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Eat + Drink

God Bless America

Long ago, I got a chance to cook at the James Beard House. (Owned now by the James Beard Foundation, the renovated brownstone that Beard actually lived in serves as the facility for many a big-name-chef dinner and much more.) I certainly wasn’t famous, but it was my class’s graduation from Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now called the Institute of Culinary Education), and we were lucky enough to be aligned with the Beard House.

Announcing the latest addictive dish, coming soon to a restaurant near you


Roman-style fried artichokes, will you marry me?

Pauline’s, Wine and Art

Last Friday, my friend Arnold and I practically used up all of our minutes on the phone trying to decide where to eat dinner. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, or get dressed up, and we wanted something yummy and relatively healthy, so we agreed on Pauline’s Pizza—their salads and pizza toppings are the freshest around, the dough for the thin-crust pizza is handmade daily and their wines are a steal.


These obviously aren't from Pauline's—I forgot my camera

This Is Not a Rosé



It’s actually an old Pinot Noir, a bottle of 1982 Hitching Post from Santa Barbara County. Frank Ostini, the winemaker, gave it to me after a large tasting—he had brought the bottle to open for the tasting but never got to it, so he just handed it off to me. It was his first vintage. I’m not even sure if the wine was released commercially.


Belgium Meets California



I had an interesting opportunity to taste a new beer that’s made by the highly respected Belgian brewery Brasserie d’Achouffe. It’s called Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel. I don't know what all those words mean, but I do know that you don’t often see the term IPA (India Pale Ale) on Belgian beers. Sure enough, this is an interesting hybrid--a Belgian company making a beer for the American market. It’s in the style of a tripel, which the name for a golden-hued, complex mellow style of Belgian beer. Throw in some extra, hyper aggressive hops, and you can start calling it an IPA in hopes of appealing to American fans of beers like the IPA from Racer 5.

Big-Ass Glass



I must say that this glass— a Sommelier series Pinot Noir glass from Riedel—is insanely big. It’s about 10 inches tall and can hold a whole bottle of wine.

And you know me—I like drinking wine from tumblers as much as from fine stemware—but I gotta say, Pinot smells and tastes incredible from this glass. I tried the same wine, Chalone Pinot Noir 2005, from several glasses, and the Riedel sommelier glass was the winner by a long shot. Too bad it costs something like $40 a stem….

Let the Games Begin

Here’s a little tidbit of information about me: I love to win. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true—it’s more that I hate to lose. My family will vouch for me on this one, citing a childhood spent flipping Monopoly boards and getting in fights over games of Uno. Believe me, it’s not something I’m proud of, and as an adult I try to avoid head-to-head competition, lest the evil competitive demon rear her ugly head.

Red Bubbly



If you haven’t had sparkling Shiraz yet, you’re missing out. I just had my first taste in July at a Rye mix-off competition, second yesterday with Mr. Hardy himself and might just swing by the Jug Shop tonight to pick up a bottle.

Hardy Family Shiraz

A few weeks ago, I attended the Family Winemakers of California tasting event at Fort Mason, where hundreds of small, family-owned wineries were pouring their wines. I kept asking one question: How is the family involved? Growing up watching Falcon Crest, I’m guilty of romanticizing the lifestyles of families who own vineyards—you mean they all don’t have chauffeurs and lounge by the pool all day? 

Jonesing for Comfort

When I got word there was a new comfort-food restaurant in the Marina called Jones, I paused, because back in Philly, where I used to review restaurants, there was a comfort-food spot by über-successful restauranteur Stephen Starr called Jones. Turns out this Jones is not related to that Jones (it’s a common enough name, after all); it’s actually a re-do of the Marina Sports Bar & Grill owned by One Industry Group, the guys behind Mas Sake, Impala and Suite One8One.
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