Eat + Drink
The first chill of fall finally touched us the other day: the air tightens, and the breeze hits your cheek, letting you know, this is as warm as it's going to get today.
When it comes to wine, people will say that, now that there's a chill in the air, the season of blowsy summer whites and rosés is over. I say, in a gutteral Vin-Diesel-esque growl, "It ain't over until I say it's over." And, with that, I put on a sweater and crack yet another bottle of pink wine and pour it into another tumbler.
In the game of pig one-upmansship, Heath Putnam—the owner of Wooly Pigs—just pushed in all his chips. Not your obvious hog guy, the former software and financial analyst has become the first breeder of the burly (and yes, hairy) Austro-Hungarian Mangalitsa pig in the Western Hemisphere, a hog classified as an "extreme lard-type" versus the usual "meat-type." Two years since bringing the pigs over to the US, his work is paying off. Of course, King Keller got first Mangalitsa dibs a year back. But this Saturday, you can experience the rich, fatty pork at (no, not Incanto) … Frascati! Michael Mina is up next.
Every fall, from October through December Bariani Olive Oil harvests Manzanilla and Mission olives grown on their farm outside of Sacramento. The olives are hand-picked and pressed each day during the harvest season. This week at Bariani’s Saturday stand in addition to their wonderful unfiltered oils, you can also get your hands on raw Manzanilla olives. Never cured your own olives before? It’s easy and takes more patience than skill. Pick up some Manzanillas at Bariani this week and start experimenting.
Tomorrow, October 8, Petaluma-based photographer (and co-owner of Laloo’s goat milk ice cream) Douglas Gayeton, author and photographer of the gorgeous new book, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town, will be holding a signing at 18 Reasons. Join him for wine, cheese, ice cream and a sneak peek of his sepia-toned images of Italy. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and the cost is $10.
Who knows exactly why things suddenly become popular. You could blame it on the media (although, as of now, there's a one less media outlet to blame), or you could blame it on the power of suggestion—a chef sees something on a menu someplace, it lodges in his or her consciousness, and before you know it they've put it on the menu at their restaurant without even realizing. Think of it like seeds scattered in the wind, trends moving from coast to coast.
Yesterday I blind tasted a wine at RN74 with a couple of top sommeliers. It was light colored, obviously Pinot, probably Burgundy. Bright with perfume and fresh berry fruit flavors, the wine had punchy acidity, a lean body, and a bit of tannin. I guessed 1988 Chambolle--a lean, high acid year that also made lovely perfumed wines. The sommeliers guessed younger--2001 and 1996. We were all wrong, it turned out, but I was the closest. It was indeed Chambolle. Yet my vintage was off by 26 YEARS! The wine was a 1962.
According to Food52—started by Mrs. Latte herself, Amanda Hesser, along with Merrill Stubbs—the website/community was "created to celebrate the best cooks in the world: home cooks." It's the kind of site you submit your best stew with olives or your best fig recipe. Relatively down home.
Eric Asimov has a blog post today on The Ten Bells, his favorite Manhattan wine bar. His advocacy of this place really hit a mark, as it has been tweeted and re-tweeted all afternoon. What makes Ten Bells so cool? Well, the headline says it's a "place for wine without the lecture." Asimov adds that "the Ten Bells is just a great place to hang out" and that "perhaps most telling, you can always find a few people at the Ten Bells with no interest at all in wine."
I share Eric's appreciation for the unpretentious. What he wishes for, as do I, is a world without "wine bars," per se. Instead: a world with great bars that also have great wine lists.
Last night at the CUESA Sunday Supper I learned the following: that Gialina owner Sharon Ardiana is opening a new restaurant (though she doesn't have a space yet), that Mark Dommen's next whole beast meal will be devoted to suckling pig, that Bar Tartine will serve housemade English muffins when they open for breakfast in three weeks (and that chef Chris Kronner isn't sleeping much).