Posted in Local Finds, Nerd Adventures, Recipes

The Vineyard Project

From a young age I came to understand that three of the key components to my happiness involve great food, great wine and great music.  That holy trinity was born within my family’s kitchen, on many an evening spent with my father cooking dinner, sipping on whatever wine he chose and listening to the music he taught me to love. I came to fall in love with the world of food and wine on many separate occasions thereafter, but the seed was planted there.

            Our connection to wine was rooted more deeply than just an admiration. My Great Uncle Ben had had a vineyard in the Hudson Valley of New York since 1976. We grew up regularly visiting the vineyard, frolicking in the vines, learning about each year’s new creations and helping with the occasional harvest.  Here in the tasting room of Clinton Vineyards (named after its location in Clinton Corners, NY) I learned about how wine was made, about the méthode champenoise that my uncle used on our Sparkling Seyval and consequently why it couldn’t be called Champagne and about the wonderful experiment that turned into our famous award winning Cassis.  My father still likes to brag that our Cassis “beat the pants off of France” and naturally we mock him for telling everyone that.  Joking aside, it is truly delicious.

Posted in Nerd Adventures

Discovering New Terrior

Terroir:  This tiny East Village wine bar is a fun local spot.  The food might not blow you away, but it is worth dropping by one evening.  Sit at the end of the bar by the “kitchen” (it’s a tiny corner) and ask the chef what you should eat (this is generally how one should order.  You don’t know what is best.  Have you been prepping, cooking and assembling the dishes on the menu for over 10 hours a day everyday?  I don’t think so.  If you have any sense of adventure and have a desire to grow as a gastronome, which I hope you do since you are reading this, take my advice.  When you are lucky enough to be in such a position, take advantage of it! You generally won’t be disappointed.) I recommend the Grilled Calamari Salad with Smoked Chick Peas, Olives and Celery. It’s light and smokey and rather delightful.  As for the wine, yes with a name like Terroir you should have some expectations, they have an option of getting a decent selection of wine by the glass or…by the half glass.  This is beautiful and rare.  Here the half glass is half the price of the full glass and the bartender or sommelier tends to make it a generous pour.  He’s pretty knowledgable and he’ll also let you try pretty much anything.  It’s a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone and try some new wines.  I even had a sherry for dessert that paired beautifully with our Chocolate Budino with Candied Hazelnuts- it’s like a pudding for classy people.  The whole experience was cozy and personal, not your average New York night, and so definitely worth a trip back.