Heaven is in Oregon

Image Courtesy of Angel Vine. Note, this is a more expensive bottle and probably also delicious.

2009 Angel Vine Columbia Valley Zinfandel. Holy Moses, literally this time. Apparently angels on the vine translate to pure heaven in a glass. For those of you who drink red wine in the summertime (you know who you are) I commend you for your commitment to health and antioxidants and recommend that you try this bottle immediately. Or a glass, or a bottle, which ever you want. It’s summertime, get on a roof and get drinking! If it’s as sweltering where you are as it is where I am, you may want to keep the bottle under the air conditioning though…yikes.

  While I was mosey-ing around the internet for information on the winery, I found this picture of Zinfandel grapes (on the left) and Pinot Noir grapes (on the right). Car keys on top. I’m not really sure what any of this means, but I thought it was an interesting picture.

Zinfandels are infamous for their less-expensive, White-Zinfandel manifestations. These grapes are fruity and sweet, and therefore can be bottled in some pretty awful tasting ways. A good Zinfandel, like this one here, is fruity and dry, a little sweet but not in a tastes-like-the-wine-from-church kind of way.

These wines are very much American, this was the most commonly planted grape in California before it was overtaken by the Cabernet Sauvignon. And I am telling you, this is a must-try bottle, I mean it. Be Patriotic. Drink Wine.

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Visual Stimulation to Get You Through the Wednesday

Just think, its almost the end of the week which means its almost the weekend. Hopefully your weather has been as enjoyable–if windy–as it has been here in Boston these last few days. I for one, cannot get enough of the sunshine.

Outtake from Yesterday's Post.

Oh yeah, that all happened. Except dinner with Miranda Kerr, but it seemed so topical.

Just a Pinch of Guilt, and a Taste of Silly

So please forgive my general absence this week. Yesterday’s post was me feeling guilty about not writing more, and then I started feeling guilty about only writing about shoes and colorful things, and then more feeling guilty about feeling guilty about things that I love even though they are things because I love them and who can be mad at me for that. Guilty.

 Are you picking up what I’m throwin’ down?

I have generally been in a bit of a sour mood lately, the fact that I was able to pair chambray with floral shorts and sandals for only a brief moment before being shoved back into boots and sweaters doesn’t help. I could go on and on, but it basically boils down to the fact that the world doesn’t get me and that makes me want to wear more eyeliner and get a pocket chain, and cover one eyelinered-eye with my hair, blah blah blah…

Only darkened one eye. Only half-emotional

But then it hit me. The whole reason I began being-a-blogger-and-what-not was to share my love of food and wine and shoes. And the whole reason I started cooking was to have something amazing to do at the end of a day. Sure, my feet are nowhere near my hair or my food, but I am pretty sure this finally counts as going full circle. Like in life.  

So I’m not much one for recipes, I like to kind of make things up as I go. This makes cooking more enjoyable to me because I feel like I am truly creating something. It also makes me a terrible baker and provides a sound reason my biscuits turn out like rocks.

  

To avoid making the same thing over and over, I need a few kitchen-references, which is why I love to watch Iron Chef and read Food & Wine. But despite the fact that I don’t have the Iron Chef resources in my apartment, this little spice and herb book gives me way more freedom to make what I want with what I have and have it turn out somewhat delicious.

By highlighting flavor and spice combinations, it teaches you about flavors on a big scale—what works and what doesn’t. It’s allowed me to build some complexity into my cooking, so that I have moved beyond “spicy” or “sweet.” Also, when I compile-a-pile of unregulated no-recipe spices, I feel more confident in throwing them in the pot, and less reliant on the ol’ fingers-crossed method of cooking without direction.

 

Doing the Opposite of Drinking Wine

I’m talking juicing.

I suppose the actual opposite of drinking wine is throwing up…whatever the opposite of wine is–Mountain Dew? Well, I just mean drinking juice.

As of late, I have been trying to repair my weekend body to fun-weekday Laura by bringing juice to work for lunch. My combination has included kale, spinach, apple, mango, strawberries, beets, ginger, mint, orange, tangerine, whey protein, celery and cucumber. Usually not all at once, but I don’t really have a set recipe either. I just throw a bunch of things in and see what comes out.

No crazy detox, just an overload of fruit and veggies and antioxidants.

My jeans fit a little better, my skin feels a little more moist, and honestly I am sleeping better. And it seems to be going over well with the general public.

How you doin.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Part II)

I thought about what I wanted to write about today, and then realized that I was limited to writing about food and eating, because I have done a lot of that lately. Similarly, my outfit choices as of late have been less than stellar, and I have no intention of lying to my dedicated readers mom about how fashionable I am.

Yesterday, my outfit said “Hello, I haven’t showered in a few days.” Which was true and probably apparent for other reasons than just my outfit. Today, my outfit says “Hello, I go to an all boys Catholic school, and also I am proud to be an American.” (Blue corduroys, red and white striped shirt, penny loafers. Seriously). My lack-of-outfit choices occasionally inspire concern in my boyfriend regarding his sense of declining social status. “What happened to me, that I am dating the stinky kid now?” You won the lottery, that’s what happened to you.

So the food. One day, of no particular relevance, I stumbled upon Matt Murphy’s Pub in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is a small storefront, and even though we sat at an adorable table in the front window, nothing about the surroundings prepared me for what was about to happen to my mouth.

The best Pastrami Sandwich ever created. To be fair, I ordered the fish & chips, which are served inside that bundle of newspaper in the photo above, and the bf ordered the pastrami sandwich. But after tasting both, I made a decision that we should trade. 

I’m not usually one to condone pastrami sandwiches, to me they are usually heavy, greasy, salty and a poor substitute for a cheeseburger. This sandwich is served on an onion roll with a creamy dressing, pickled onions, cheese and a perfect amount of moisture and meat to balance everything. It is a perfect sandwich. The fries don’t hurt, and the fact that Matt Murphy’s served homemade ketchup (that is somehow bubbly and almost carbonated) ensures that literally every bite is delicious.

The fish and chips are nothing to sneeze at (not that you should sneeze at any food). They are lightly battered, and not overly fried. There is a lot of fish, and they serve it with a homemade tartar sauce that is quite remarkable. No matter how much food they put in front of you, and its a lot, you will eat it all–it is that good.

Did I do it?

I did it!

But the sandwich. Oh man, the sandwich. Have I enticed you? Because now you need to do something for me. Matt Murphy’s has replaced the pastrami sandwich with a few others. A Corned Beef dish that is so-so-so-so good, but not the best ever. And a ham (?) sandwich that is delicious and wonderful but not my pastrami sandwich. Lobby for Pastrami. Go in for lunch, you will enjoy yourself I promise. Together, we can get it back. And then I’ll stop watching the news so I quit talking like a politician.

Battle of The Brunches

Unfortunately for my Monday, I spent all of Sunday cooking and eating and drinking Bloody Mary’s. The impetus for my brunching was twofold: 1) It is potentially my last spring break of my whole life ever and; 2) I just purchased the Clinton St. Bakery Cookbook.

I waited for almost an hour outside of Clinton Street Bakery in New York City a few weeks ago with my best friend. You can see below that even with all that spare time, we had a hard time narrowing down what we were going to order, so we ordered everything.

And yes we ate it all.

I will say that it was one of the most delicious breakfasts I have had in a long time. The hour long wait often heightens my expectations to a point where nothing can fully satiate me, but Clinton St. Bakery did not disappoint. Everything was cooked perfectly. I mean perfectly.

The biscuits were some of the best I have ever had, and coupled with their homemade raspberry jam, I was pretty much in heaven. But the pancakes. Oh my Lord, the pancakes. Now that I have made them myself (and quite successfully might I add) I understand that a 3/4 cup of melted butter goes a long way for flavor. I have not tasted plain pancakes with so much to offer on their own, maybe ever (see below). And then they top it off with maple butter…

Before I had experienced this delicious gem, the only other restaurant I would wait an hour for was Snooze in Denver. Go for breakfast, wait and then eat brunch.

I think the first time I went, I had apple pancakes with blue cheese and bacon, and a honey-maple syrupSeriously. Some other must-trys are the pineapple-upside down pancakes, and the creme-bruleed oatmeal. Breakfast burritos, Eggs Benedict, a French-Toast Egg Sandwich with bacon and eggs dripping in maple syrup. Southwest Airlines flies direct.

As long as I am not about to eat Sushi or a Cheeseburger, I will tell you that breakfast is the best meal. Because it is. And before my weekend in New York, I had my brunch cravings all settled and figured out. Now, I am conflicted and drawn in different directions.

Do I go to the Big Apple for the best take on the classics? Do I fly home to Denver for the more creative interpretation of some breakfast basics? Do I write a letter to Massachusetts politicians to complain about the lack of adequate breakfast restaurants? 

Whimsy Chef at Chef’s Whim

Dinner night out on Sunday? Well, yes, if you want a whimsical meal with whimsy wonders…on a whim.

At Craigie on Main in Boston, Chef Tony Maws offers a well-priced four or six course menu entirely of his own creation, every Sunday after 9:00. The menu is called “The Surprise,” which thankfully is manifested in the super-delicious-definitely-not-school-cafeteria-lunchmeat connotation. And, if you order the six-course menu, as we did, you practically get the restaurant to yourself by the time you finish!

Our meal consisted of a scallop ceviche with a rose-harissa dressing, roasted bone marrow and texas toast, and a skirt steak with carrots braised in duck fat. For dessert, we were provided with a sour cream panna cotta (which I loved even though I generally despise panna cotta), and a bourbon-ice cream cake with a bacon-fat graham cracker crust. Holy moses…let me tell you.

Ok, instead I am about to lie to you. But at least I warned you (you unknown reader…). I had big plans for my outfit out, I’m a student and it doesn’t happen all the time. But Boston decided to be a disagreeable -4 degrees that evening, and so my choices were severely limited. I had a pair of glittery Proenza Schouler lace-up oxfords all laced up for the occasion, but I thought it prudent to save my toes (I only have ten afterall…) and so switched into last minute dress-and-black-tights combo. Unfortunately, this blog hadn’t been born then, so I wasn’t able to document, but I won’t make that mistake again.

Instead, I give you my pick for the death trap perfect date night shoe, my satin Nicholas Kirkwood satin peep toes. Similar ones here. I think they are as whimsy as whimsy dinners can be. I’ll be sure to include a more inclusive outfit as I move forward as I am afraid that readers my mom will think I am advocating a birthday suit outfit with fabulous heels. Well, I guess when you put it that way….

The Meal that Matches the Shoes

My life pretty much revolves around food, I think about what to eat next while I am halfway through my meal. The only thing that distracts me from my meal is what I am wearing on my feet. Usually its six inch heelspenny loafers as I am still a student, but hey, they have a lot of arch support.

Ok, I know what you thinking. Feet and food?!? Gross. And you know what, you are right. But I tell you, I am only theoretically combining, keep your feet off your plate/table/kitchen counter. Unless, of course they are covered in one of these…

Untitled #115

One of the best parts of fashion is wearing it out in the world, and one of the best ways to do that is to go out and eat and drink. I think its time that food and fashion end their frenemyship…frivalry…