Summertime Menu

Posted in Cooking & Recipes

This is the recipes from our cooking class on July 21st, 2014. Enjoy!   Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad 3 peeled oranges 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced 1 cup arugula 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved 3 shallots, diced 2 cups orange juice 2 teaspoons orange zest 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons honey 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the orange juice and...

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Top Ten BYOB Restaurants in Philadelphia

Posted in Featured, Philly

BYO culture in Philly is unique amount American cities. It came about due to the influence of the  Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and high rent in Center City’s restaurant district.  Rent for restaurants in center city can be as high as 34K a month, while the average rent in outlining neighborhoods can be as low as $2k a month. Add to that the high cost of liquor licenses, which can cost upwards of a quarter million dollars, and the fact that restaurants cannot buy...

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Poggio Scalette 2012 Chianti Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

The Greve Valley is lined with terraced vineyards. Looking across the valley from this winery, those stone walls can look like a giant scallete (ladder, in Italian).  At least it did for the wineries original owner.  We will never know where he thought that ladder would take him. He disappeared a long time ago and his winery fell to ruin. Only much later, in 1991,  was Poggio Scalette  raised again, by none other than Vittorio Fiore, one of the greatest living winemakers...

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Rosenblum Cellars 2010 “Harris Kratka” Zinfandel

Posted in American Wine Reviews

No matter it’s pedigree, Zinfandel is big, dumb and fun.  I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. There should  always be a place for fun. This is the wine for unsophicated meals. I couldn’t imagine a better wine for the smokiness of Texas pulled pork or the tang of Carolina-style brisket. Conversely, it’s the perfect wine for sophisticated parties.  It’s the wine for smart people having a good time: the type of party where Sartre quotes and...

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Evening Land 2011 Pouilly Fuisse

Posted in French Wine Reviews

Way back when I was in my early twenties,  Pouilly-Fuissé was all the rage. The restaurant I was working at had  three on their wine list.  One of the greatest points of being a chef at such a young age was that I got to experience a lot of great wines early on.   Drinking good wine didn’t mean I knew anything about wine, but  I did know that Pouilly-Fuissé was the finest Chardonnay I had ever experienced by that point.   And like all guys in their 20′s, I...

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Contino 2007 Gran Reserva Rioja

Posted in Spanish Wine Reviews

A number of years ago,  I was  fortunate enough to have a one-on-one tasting with Maria Larrea, the CVNE winemaker. A wonderfully gracious woman, she took me through her entire portfolio of extraordinary wines.  My favorite CVNE wine has been the Contino every since the 1996 vintage, the very first Gran Reserva. I even featured it on my long-gone Philly.com show Philly Uncorked.  I gushed and slobbered over the wine like a half-crazed bassethound. It wasn’t until...

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Saintsbury 2009 “Brown Ranch” Pinot Noir

Posted in American Wine Reviews

Most descriptions of Saintsbury Winery will include the word “pioneer” somewhere within the first paragraph. Go one and google it: you will get over 3.5 million pages describing how the winery is a pioneer in California. Saintsbury does have a place in our wine history books (if such a book existed)  for planting Pinot Noir in Carneros.  They helped launch the Carneros as a sub-region in Napa Valley when  Richard Ward and David Graves launched the winery in...

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Montecillo 2008 Rioja Reserva

Posted in Spanish Wine Reviews

If I could figure out a way to turn the Wine School into a religious institution (think of it: best communion ever!), Rioja would be one of our holy lands. It’s a place where the modern and classical worlds of wine collide and fold into each other like some sort of temporal abnormality. In other words, heaven on earth. Longtime readers will know that I seek out Rioja for them to enjoy. Montecillo is a rather large winery, and their wines are typically in the middle of...

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