Archive for the ‘wine’ Category

Mangiamo 2007: Enoteca Corsi

February 21, 2008

For not really having any premeditative restaurant agenda, Matt and I did really well in Rome. The city’s such a maze, that it’s best not to have your heart set on any one restaurant- you’d just get frustrated going around in circles looking for it. We were walking around towards the Pantheon in the afternoon and stumbled upon Enoteca Corsi randomly. This place was so neat!

You walk in, and it’s just a big bustling room filled with local regulars and when you go in the back, it’s this huge garage-like room with shelves full of wine (hence “enoteca”, or wine store).

Copies of the menu were handwritten with the daily offerings. It was Friday I think, so there were lots of seafood options (some Catholic thing about not eating meat on Fridays- what is that called? Fasting? Kidding).

To start off, Matt got the chick pea soup

I got the linguine with tuna (of course, you know I can’t say no to tuna)

As our secondi, Matt got the roasted veal with potatoes
I got this soupy concoction of squid with beans and escarole. It’s not quite what I had in mind, but it was heartwarming nonetheless
For dessert, we got some tart, and the proprietor came out next to us alongside the counter and just handed us this bottle of Vin Santo and two glasses. Love it! Romans really remind me of NYers- gritty, fierce, but really just good people who want to show you a good time.
Red and white wine on tap!

This meal only cost us like $25 each. It was definitely one of the more memorable meals we had.

Enoteca Corsi
Via del Gesu, 87-88
00186 Roma
Near Il Gesu church, right off Via V. Emmanuele

Mysterious Chinese Wine

January 9, 2008

Chinese wine? The thought is kind of odd, don’t you think? I never knew it existed. One day after walking around the new Chinese contemporary art district called 798, I went to a convenience store near my hotel, and found booze section. Refrigerator was not refrigerated, and all the cold stuff was not cold. So I decided to buy wine. I saw some of the bottles I’ve seen here, but I had to try Chinese wine. When you think of Asia, including Japan, wine is usually made out of plum, rice, and other weird stuff, but not actually grapes. Even Japanese wines are pretty bad, I think.

I was suspicious, but I bought Fengshou red. It was 48 yuan, I believe, which is about $6.50 or so. Cheap enough. Brought it back to my hotel room, and tried it. Believe or not, it was actually more than decent. It tasted like WINE!

Then I kept hearing about how bad air quality of China is since I returned. I mean everyday was like the below picture. It’s not haze, just bad air quality. I could actually see the sun without shades, that’s how thick the smog was.

Did I drink poisonous wine that contains huge amounts of shit that kills you in 10 years, and by the time you realize it, it’s too late? I will let you know if my health gets worse.
This is one of the sculptures at 798 district. It’s Chinese version of Mr.

Choosing a Cheaper Wine

June 12, 2007

The W(h)ine-o is back with a few more tips — this time on choosing a cheaper wine:

• Choose wine with labels that are less specific in origin. If the label says “Napa Valley,” it will cost more than one that says “California.”

• If you want a white wine, choose one that does not sit in (expensive) oak barrels, such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.

• Choose an unfamiliar or lesser-known grape. If less people know about it, they won’t ask for it, and the price will go down. (Of course it might be harder to find too). Ever heard of Torrontés, the Argentinean white grape? Me neither, so you won’t spend much for it.

• Choose wines from areas where labor costs are lower, such as Argentina or Chile. If it costs less to make, it will cost less to buy.

Speaking of cheap wines, I had the pleasure of trying the Red Bicyclette Syrah 2004 a while back.

Loved it. The palate is complex, yet well balanced, with lots of berry flavors and just the right amount of spice. It has a peppery aroma and medium weight, and the finish was especially long and pleasant. Plus, it has a very cute label.

$8.99 at Park East Wine & Spirits, 1657 York Ave at 87th St, 212-534-2093.

Enrique Foster Mendoza Malbec Ique 2006

May 11, 2007

First of all, I meant to get a 2004. . . Actually I asked for a 2004, and did not notice that I was given a 2006. This is not to say the employees at Sherry-Lehmann are negligent. In fact they are quite helpful and knowledgeable. Nevertheless, the fact is: I got the wrong wine.

AND the photo is a 2003 bottle, but just disregard that because the rest of the label remains the same in 2004 and 2006.

Anyway, Enrique Foster Mendoza Malbec Ique 2006 is nothing exciting, but it is an smooth well-balanced (and priced) wine with a beautiful ruby-red color that I recommend. The aroma is fresh and light and the body is medium-to-full. The palate has pleasant hints of licorice, pepper, and berries that develop into a lingering, satisfying finish. I enjoyed it with my soba noodles (the only thing in my fridge at the moment), so it should go very well with pasta, and probably a variety of cheeses.

$8.95 at Sherry-Lehmann, 679 Madison Ave at 61st Street, 212-838-7500,

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2003

April 18, 2007

What a find!

This elegant wine has a deep, dark red colour with a spicy aroma, well-balanced tannins and fruit, and a smooth texture.

The palate is wonderfully complex: it is initially fresh and fruity followed by an unexpected, slight acidity and a long and pleasant finish.

I think this would compliment most foods very well, as it not overwhelming. It went very well with my pasta, and I would pair it with meat, fish, or cheese too.

Definitely give this one a try!

$12.99 at Beacon Wine & Spirits (2120 Broadway at 74th Street, 212-877-0028)

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 13 & 14

April 6, 2007

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3, 4 & 5
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 6 & 7
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Midway Meditation
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 8, 9 & 10
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 11 & 12

Here it is, the final push– my final two days. Will I make it? Read on, my friend, read on.

Wednesday 4/4
Total Spent: $8

LUNCH–> $0
Fumiko and Kayoko Lunch Club. I have leftover Thai string beans and Nasi Goreng from the day before. Fumi brought this delicious stewed squid that Jorge made, Provencal style with just onions, tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh chile peppers. Squid is SO good! It’s a seafood that is so often overlooked, but you can do such great things with it. And what’s more, is it’s cheap!

I had a horrible day at work, but Fumiko lured me to her place for dinner by telling me she’s making mine and Jorge’s favorite dish: Pitan Tofu Salad. More on that in a sec.

I don’t want to come over empty handed, so i bought a bottle of this Cabernet from Spain on the way to their place. At $8, it wasn’t very good–even though it had a big deep dent on the bottom of the bottle, and it was 13.5% alcohol, which is how W(h)ine-o has suggested we choose our wine–but at that price, I’ll take what I can get.

Ok, so this salad. It is just delightful. She got the recipe from Harumi Kurihara, who is basically the Martha Stewart of Japan. A true housewife guru who Fumiko and I model ourselves after. BAH!

Here is what you need for the Pitan Tofu Salad (apologies if I botch the spelling of the Chinese words, this is just how I know to say it in Japanese):
– 1 Pitan, which in Chinese is a “1000 year old egg”. It is essentially a preserved duck egg, which turns black over time (is my guess). They are delicious, really, and can be bought by the half dozen in Chinatown. Gotta love Chinatown.

– Soft fresh tofu

– Green onions, chopped

Zasai, or preserved Chinese pickled cabbage, also can get in Chinatown

– Shaved ginger and sesame seeds to your liking

Literally, all you need to do is chop all of the above into bite size pieces, and drizzle some soy sauce on top. That’s it. It’s easy peasy and a real crowd pleaser. At least this crowd. Thanks Fumi and Jorge for yet another wonderful dinner. xx.


Thursday 4/5

Total Spent: $3

So I’m totally sick, and thought that I should get a vitamin packed veggie/ fruit drink on my way into work to cure me. I work in Midtown Manhattan, and dude, this juice bar place charged me $3 for this tiny tiny cup of carrot/ apple/ orange juice. CRAZY!!! Look at this cup! It was all over after 3 sips! New York makes me so mad…

LUNCH–> $0
My biggest supporter, Dawn, at work wanted to celebrate her birthday and the last day of my $100/ 2 weeks with a special lunch with the rest of our department. Isn’t she the best??

There are about 7 of us total in the Film and Performing Arts department at my work, and we try to all get together for a potluck lunch once in a while, where we all contribute something. For this, Dawn brought salad and quiche, Yoko brought curry, Mari brought this delish mushroom concoction that we topped on pieces of baguette, and I brought rice. These lunches are a lot of fun when we actually get our act together and do it. Troy Division told me that he does this with his department at BAM too. Eating really does bring people together!

Mari’s husband’s heavenly mushroom medley:
– 3 kinds of mushrooms, sliced (I need to double check with her what exactly they were, but I’m gonna guess they were portobello, shiitake and something else)

– anchovies

– garlic

– fresh thyme

– lots of olive oil

Add salt, mix it all together and let it sit for one night. This stuff was SO GOOD, and it sounded very easy to make. The olive oil was infused with the taste of mushrooms and thyme and garlic– the oil soaked bread was the best part. YUMMY. I will check with Mari about the exact recipe, and get back to you about it.

Dawn bought a bacon quiche and asparagus quiche at Whole Foods that was VERY GOOD. Really rich and decadent, the pastry was flakey and buttery. Just as a quiche should be. The bacon was perfectly salty and the asparagus quiche really tasted asparagus-y. Excellent.

I could not have dreamed of a more fitting way to celebrate the end of my $100/ 2 Weeks– food that emphasizes fresh ingredients and highlights various tastes and cultures, with the people who I see most often in my daily life, sitting in our romantic work kitchen. Thank you everyone!!!

I was still feeling sick, so I just hurried home so I could rest up. I just boiled some soba noodles and had hot soup. It’s really my ultimate comfort food, and I am happy to report that it was my final supper for my $100/2 weeks/ NYC!

Drumroll please…

$8 + $3 + $84.25 (Day 1-12 total) = $95.25

$100 – $95.25= $4.75

WOO-HOO!!!! I made it with almost $5 leftover!!!! WOW! I’m speechless… it’s been one hell of a ride…



March 15, 2007

Before I begin my highfalutin wine reviews for Kayoko, I just want to mention that my credentials are: I love wine and I skimmed through a wine glossary to memorize some terms that seemed useful. So just bear with me if I am using them incorrectly. However, I think you’ll get the gist of my opinions. (I guess I should actually start going to wine tastings. . . Anyone interested in joining me?)

That said, I’d like to share some random wine-choosing/serving/drinking/storing tips:
If you want a strong, bold wine, choose something from the USA or Australia. If you want something subtle that compliments food and stays in the background, go for a European wine.

  • Look for a punt in the bottom of bottles, not a flat bottom. The deeper the punt, the more expensive the glass, and the higher the quality. If the price is low for a deeply punted bottle , it probably wasn’t intended to be, and thus you have found a real bargain
  • Wines with over 13% alcohol tend to be strong/bold.
  • Syrah/Shiraz: same grape, different names.
  • Red wines are served best after 20 minutes in the refrigerator. White wines generally need about an hour and a half.
  • When opening a bottle, cut an X into the top with the blade of a corkscrew, and remove ALL of the foil because sometime vintage wine foils contain lead.
  • Try not to screw all the way through the cork. This will leave bits of it in the wine.
  • Make sure the end of the cork that was inside the bottle is moist. This means it was stored well. If it’s dry, the wine has probably spoiled.
  • Fill glasses halfway to let the vapors fill the rest. This helps you smell the wine better as you drink it, giving it a better flavor.
  • You should always hold the glass by the stem, no matter what the shape or size of the glass or the type of wine.
  • When re-corking an unfinished bottle, make sure the same end of the cork goes back in the bottle (the other end has been exposed to mold and odors). If it won’t go in easily, use the blade of a corkscrew to shave a notch near the bottom on either side, or buy a reusable rubber stopper at a wine shop (for about $1).
  • To make your wine last a week, remove as much air as you can with a device like the Rabbit vacuum pump, moistening the stopper first for the tightest seal. Then refrigerate the bottle; all wines, including reds, last longer if chilled.
  • Store bottles on their sides, so the cork stays in constant contact with the wine. To maintain an airtight seal, a natural cork needs to stay moist and expanded.
  • Never store wine on top of the refrigerator. Overhead lighting and refrigerator exhaust give off a lot of heat and vibration that can ruin the taste.

And now a review:

Rio Claro 2003 Syrah Reserva, D.O. San Rafael, Chile.

Being somewhat of a novice when it comes to South American wines, I decided to go Chilean. This one was erroneously shelved in the Australian section of the shop I visited, so it caught my eye. Plus, it has a decent label. Anyway, I tend to go straight for Syrahs/Shirazes (and Gruner Veltliners, being a sucker for peppery wines), and while I intend to branch out more for the sake of these reviews, I am glad I did not stray this time. Rio Claro is a very approachable medium-bodied wine with a smooth, delicate texture. True to its label, it has an oaky aroma and a juicy plum flavor, leading to a finish that was shorter than I prefer, but still pleasant. I think this wine would go well with game, but I would just serve it alone at a small gathering of friends (or maybe a book club meeting?). It’s a well-balanced (and well-priced) wine that would leave the stimulation to the conversation.

$9.99 at 86th Street Wines & Liquors, 306 East 86 Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), 212-396-3535.

Barrel Tasting Weekend 2007

March 7, 2007

In California this weekend, my family joined my friend Megan’s family in their annual tour of Sonoma County’s wine country. It was Barrel Tasting weekend, and the Dry Creek Valley was glowing, golden and glorious! Blossoms everywhere, 70 degree weather….I think everyone should go next year. It happens annually, the 1st weekend of March. You just buy a wrist band and a wine glass for $10, and you can wine taste at ALL the wineries all day! Many of the wineries serve food tastings and have live music as well. This year I think we hit 8 wineries…next year my goal is 12!

Click here to watch a 10-minute movie about our adventure!

Happy sipping!

NY Wine Week 3/19-23!!

March 5, 2007

In a few weeks various restaurants are having wine week. It’s for lunch and you get 10 different tastings for $10 and they are really good wines. It’s still the full price lunch menu (and most of the places are expensive), but it’s worth it and looks amazing! A few of the restaurants are Smith and Wollensky, Cite, Park Avenue Cafe, Quality Meats etc.