Tag Archives: wine

the savior

The Savior Cup is a great way to redeem a lousy bottle of wine!

The Savior Cup is a great way to redeem a lousy bottle of wine!

You know when you take a chance on a reasonably priced white wine you’ve never heard of before only to be woefully disappointed by your spontaneous decision making? Well I have this happen quite often. It got me to wondering, how can I save this bottle of wine. The obvious is to use it for cooking, but adding shitty wine to a nice dinner is not the wisest thing to do when you’ve put all that time and effort into a meal. Finally, the other day I came up with a way to revitalize your shitty wine. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you – The Savior.

The Savior is not a cocktail but rather a “cup” because it is based on wine. “Cup. A beverage made with wine, usually iced, and with flavoring herbs.” – Francis Andrew March 1906

The Savior Cup
1 ounce ginger liqueur
3 ounces sauvignon blanc
1.5 ounces soda water
garnish with cucumber, ginger and lemon or orange wheel.

Add the cucumber and ginger to the cup first. Next add the ice followed by the citrus wheel. Then poor the remaining ingredients over the citrus wheel. Its really that simple. Enjoy!

hall wines cabernet cookoff


I recently had a great opportunity to attend the Hall Wines Cabernet Cookoff this past May! So, we packed our bags and headed up to Napa to drink Hall cabernet and sauv blanc while sampling food from Napa as well as surrounding Bay Area chefs. The competition is held annually at Hall Wines’ gorgeous art laden location and raises money for a variety of local charities chosen by the restaurants and caterers who compete. Next time you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out Halls growing art collection. Very cool stuff!

Burkshire pork belly from Meadowood of Napa Valley,  roasted eggplant "schwarma" Culinary Mercianry, and smoked pork cheek by Earth's Bounty Kitchen & Winebar.

Burkshire Pork Belly from Meadowood of Napa Valley, Roasted Eggplant “Schwarma” Culinary Mercianry, and Smoked Pork Cheek by Earth’s Bounty Kitchen & Winebar.

One of my favorite entries was by Chef Nenad Stefanovic from Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. Although it should have been served with a knife, I loved the idea of combining herbs and brûlée with spring lamb!

One of my favorite entries was by Chef Nenad Stefanovic from Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. Although it should have been served with a knife, I loved the idea of combining herbs and brûlée with spring lamb! I’m stealing this!

The crowd favorite - Executive Chef Daniel Capra of Paula LeDuc's crispy oxtail tacos. Hot day + cold wine + oxtail tacos = perfect day!

The crowd favorite – Executive Chef Daniel Capra of Paula LeDuc’s Crispy Oxtail Tacos. Hot day + cold wine + oxtail tacos = perfect day!

One Market Restaurant's killer Potato Gnocchi, The Farmers Market Pantry's Brisket with Slaw Slider, Ca' Momi's Porchetta e Rucola Pizza and Oenotri's Wild Boar Scottadito.

One Market Restaurant’s killer Potato Gnocchi, The Farmers Market Pantry’s Brisket with Slaw Slider, Ca’ Momi’s Porchetta e Rucola Pizza and Oenotri’s Wild Boar Scottadito.

Chef Daniel Capra said it best, "When you are doing an event such as this for charity, everyone's a winner!"

Chef Daniel Capra said it best, “When you are doing an event such as this for charity, everyone’s a winner!”

For more information about the Hall Wines Cabernet Cookoff click here.

Hall Wines
401 St Helena Hwy
St Helena, CA 94574

aubergine amuse


Lately, I’ve been seeing a variety of eggplants and figs at our local farmer’s markets. They are in season at the same time during late summer/early fall, so naturally, I began to wonder how to combine them. Ultimately, I decided to roast the mini eggplants and use them as sort of an edible spoon filled with other complimentary ingredients and crowned with fresh beautiful fig slices. Turns out, not only are they pretty, they are simple to make and taste amazing. The one ingredient which may prove difficult to find is the Meyer lemon marmalade. Britt and I brought a jar home from an organic Meyer lemon farm in Malibu that we stayed at for our last anniversary. Thanks Bibi! Anyhow, the dish needed some acid and seeing the jar sitting there, I thought – let’s give it a shot. Turns out, it was better then balsamic glaze or fresh lemon juice! I bet quince paste would be amazing as well and easier to find. However, if you can’t find either, balsamic will suffice.


3 fresh figs
12 mini eggplants
bacon (cooked and crumbled)
goat cheese
tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Pine nuts
2 leeks (cleaned)
Meyer lemon marmelade (or quince paste)
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place 4 strips of bacon on a baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven for 17 minutes. Next, halve the mini eggplants and score flesh with a tic-tac-toe pattern. Place flesh side up on a baking sheet and brush with  olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Roast for 30 minutes or until eggplants are tender and golden in flesh area. While eggplants are roasting caramelize sliced leeks over medium heat until just barely golden. Adding a pinch of salt will help this process along and bring out the flavor of the leeks. Finally, remove the eggplants from the oven and spread a very thin layer of the meyer lemon marmalade on the flesh side. Now add a teaspoon of the caramelized leeks, sprinkle with bacon, goat cheese, pine nuts and fresh thyme. Finally, top with a slice of the fresh fig and serve. These end up being bite sized and great for a party appetizer.




What I drank…
I tried these aubergines with a 2012 Failla unoaked Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast (which I happened to have open), as well as, a 2012 Jules Taylor Pinot Gris from the Marlborough, which, my friend Sam of The Wine Country recommended. Because of the creamy nature of the eggplant flesh and goat cheese, the crisp Chardonnay paired fairly well, much to my surprise. However, the star of the show was definitely the New Zealand Pinot Gris with its bright fruit and crisp acidity. It not only held up to the creamy rich flavors but it commingled with the meyer lemon spread as well while exhibiting a super pleasant and long finnish. I agree with Sam that this is going to be a successful new varietal for that region. Personally, I’d be happy to see the overproduced vines of Sauvignon Blanc in that region become a thing of the past. By the way, if you haven’t checked out Sam’s blog and you are into wine, you should! She’s a great writer with a passionate palate for old world wines.

sausage fest with the dudes


Last weekend, Britt and I attended the Wurst Oktoberfest at Barsha in Manhattan Beach. Barsha continually hosts events pairing wine, beer and food and they have a nice selection of wine, beer and spirits to take with you. This event featured five dogs by Adam Gertler of Gertler’s Wurst (maybe you’ve seen him on the Food Network), four locally brewed craft beers from The Dudes’ Brewing Company and three types of uber-delicious chocolates from Food By Emily (not a dude.) We tried three of Adam’s sausages: spicy Thai red curry, pastrami and double barrel brat. All three were rad but the pastrami dog was truly special. The sausage itself is filled with pastrami and has the perfect snap when bitten into. It rests on a homemade rye bun and is topped with sauerkraut. Yum! I want one right now! Of the four beers presented by The Dudes, I loved “Grandma’s Pecan” brown ale; a very smooth brown ale with nutty caramel flavor. All of Emily’s chocolates were incredible. The Dark Chocolate Bark with Himalayan Sea Salt, Chili Flakes and Caramel paired amazingly well with The Dudes’ “Grinning Face” porter. Keep an eye out for future events coming to Barsha. The owners, husband and wife, Adnen & Lenora Marouani are food and wine savvy and strive to creatively build a unique wine bar experience. Thanks Barsha!

Barsha, Manhattan Beach

Barsha, Manhattan Beach

L to R - Adam Gertler, The Dudes, the dogs, Barsha owner Adnen Marouani

L to R – Adam Gertler, The Dudes, the dogs, Barsha owner Adnen Marouani

Food By Emily

Food By Emily

Look for Gertler’s Wurst at a Costco near you, The Dudes’ brews in and around Los Angeles, and Emily’s chocolates at Barsha or online. Barsha is located at 917 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.


cantaloupe gazpacho with pancetta


This has become one of my favorite recipes of the summer. It’s ridiculously quick and simple and it can be modified to cater to your guests or menu. If you’ve got a vegan in the group, simply leave off the pancetta and creme fraiche.  This chilled soup is healthy, delicious, refreshing and holds up on its own! However, I believe it is elevated with the addition of the pancetta and creme fraiche. It’s sort of a riff on melon with prosciutto. Additionally, it can be made spicy by adding cayenne or slightly smokey by adding smoked paprika. Experiment with it and tell me what you like.

Cantaloupe Gazpacho
1 cantaloupe (flesh only)
1 small cucumber (peeled)
1/3 cup of water
1/4 small red onion diced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
sprinkle of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Optional Ingredients
creme fraiche
1/4 cup diced and fried pancetta

Using a blender liquify the first 5 ingredients until you have a smooth consistency. Then slowly add the olive oil while the blender is still running. Adjust with salt and white pepper. You can blend in a couple of dashes of cayenne if you want a spicier version of this soup. Chill soup in blender until ready to serve. Simply blend it again for a few seconds when you are ready. Ladle soup into bowls and top with pancetta, creme fraiche and cayenne or smoked paprika. Should serve about 6 people.


What I drank…
I enjoyed my soup with a glass of 2012 Woodenhead French Colombard that we picked up on our recent trip up north. I love crisp dry whites with a dish like this!