Another Grape Day…

July 10, 2008

BEST OF BALTIMORE 2008! – Who Rules? Be there and find out!

TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE!
Don’t miss this – We’ll be there – you should be too!

A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Family Tree, whose mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Ticket Packages

Friend: $75 in advance; $90 at the door (1 ticket)

• Includes food, open bar and entertainment

• Buy 10 Friend tickets and get $75 off your ticket price! Discount will be applied at checkout.

VIP Package: $125 in advance; limited availability (1 ticket)

• Includes exclusive access to VIP Pre-party from 5:30-6pm

• Access to VIP Lounge with private DJ, bar and restroom

• Front-of-the-line entrance to party

• Food, open bar and entertainment

• VIP gift bag

• Buy 10 VIP tickets and get $50 off your ticket price! Discount will be applied at checkout.Attire

Cocktail attire please.

Ticket Purchase Options

Get tickets ONLINE: Visit baltimoremagazine.tix.com

Get tickets BY PHONE: call 800-595-4849

Brought to you by:

Baltimore Magazine, Comcast, Cover Girl, The BSO, Heineken, Mumm Napa, Partida Tequila, Maryland Lottery, The Family Tree, Sterling Vintner’s Collection, Tommy Bahama Premium Rum, White Rose Printing

Parking

Party guests will receive complimentary parking in M&T Bank Stadium Lots B & C. Lots B & C can be accessed using the Hamburg St. entrance on the North side of the stadium.

Transportation

Light Rail

The light rail stops at Hamburg St. and the MARC train stops at Camden Yards.

Baltimore Taxi Service

Checker & Yellow Cab 410-955-6359

Yellow Cab 410-752-1096

Raven Cab 410-945-2212

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July 3, 2008

Fabulous Wine dinners you just gotta think about going to!

Ruffino Wine Dinner Tuesday July 8, 2008 — 6:30 p.m.$100 per person all inclusive – I’ll be making this one myself. I mean, not only with the people from RUFFINO be there – but look at this menu (early bday present to myself :)!

this is in conjuction with the Baltimore Chef’s and Wine Experience – brought to you by the Downtown Partnership and Reliable Churchill. For more info on this and other events related to this fabulous food happening visit: http://www.chefsandwine.org/

First Course

Bluepoint Oysters, Fig Crostini, Orange Marscapone, Arugula Ruffino Lumina, 2007

Second Course

Tuna Tartare, Cucumber, Pears, Ruffino La Solatia, 2006

Third Course

Wild Mushrooms Risotto, Morels, Royal Trumpets, Ruffino Vino Nobile Di Monsepulciano

“Lodola Nuova,” DOCG, 2005

Fourth Course

Pan-Seared West Coast Halibut, Swiss Chard, Olives, Ruffino “Modus,” IGT, 2005

Fifth Course

Pine-Nut Crusted Lamb Loin, Honey, Mushrooms, Leeks, Peas, Lamb Jus, Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva, Ducale, DOCG, 2004

Sixth Course

Fresh Peaches, Spiced Red Wine,Vanilla Bean Gelato, Moscaro d’Oro, Robere Mondavi, Napa, 2006

RSVP: Della Notte Ristorante 410.837.5500

801 Eastern Avenue Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Other Dinners Include…

Oceanaire – Tuesday, July 8, 6:30 p.m. 443.872.0000

The Bicycle – Wednesday, July 9, 6:30 p.m. 410.234.1900

Tabrizi’s Restaurant – Thursday, July 10, 6:30 p.m. 410.727.3663

And of course – dont’ forget the big grand pooh-ba event (where yours truly will be speaking on July 13th) – Sunday July 13th – The Tremont GRAND. For more info – click here!

June 26, 2008

June 25th, Women’s Wine and Dine event at Christopher Daniel

It was another grape night! About 46 women posted for an evening of Summer Sippers & Sparklers. Guest Expert Trish Caruana enlightened us about how to remain upbeat despite the news, the economy and any other challenge that might get us down.

Debra from Mercy Medical Center’s innovative S.A.F.E. Forensic Nursing program shared some harsh truths and sound advice about the realities that 1 in 4 women will be the victim of a sexual crime in her lifetime. She also shared invaluable advice about what to do if you are a victim. See the end of this entry for that info.

Don’t forget we’ve put out an APB for Spirited Woman nominations – Don’t know what that is – click here!

The wines we tasted showed well – and as usual – Chris, our favorite guy in the kitchen made a GREAT meal for us.

We started with a mixed field green salad with warm pear, goat cheese and a raspberry dressing. This was followed by a choice of grilled Mahi Mahi with Lump Crab and fabulous mashed potatoes or Prime Rib (that’s right – you heard me – Prime Rib – and it wasn’t no shabby portion either 😉 also with mashed potatoes and both with a medley of fresh summer green beans. Dessert was a decadent chocolate cake garnished with raspberries – and all of this was preceded by of course – a fabulous assortment of Cabot Creamery cheeses :)!

About the wines – here are my unedited notes…Don’t try to make perfect sense of them – I said unedited – but there’s some good advice here… and if only for the recommendations… it’s worth taking a look.

The hits of the evening were the Bove Sparkling from the Loire region in France, the Vinho Verde from Portugal and the Rioja – but everything else showed very well. Try a bottle of each and comment back!

Before the wines – yes – I’ve decided to venture onto video – you don’t get much but a glimpse of the fun we have here – but it is worth a look! Click here.

Ok – now to the wines…

Tonight’s Notes:

Thank you to our sponsors

Baltimore4Her.com • Brick Bodies •Cabot Creamery • Fiji Water•

Hunt Valley Laser & Skin Care• KAWG&F Lynn Brick’s Women’s Health & Fitness •

Merry Maids • Tydings & Rosenberg LLP

Summer Sparklers – Why? – Why not!

Sparkling wines are great for summer, here’s why:

They are refreshing, versatile, affordable, and festive and also – go with a variety of foods.

What we started with…

Bove – Sparkling Chenin Blanc – from the Loire region in France. Chenin Blanc along with Riesling is one of the two most versatile grape varietals because it can make: Sparkling Sweet or Dry (Brut), Regular Table Wine, Dessert Wine – Late harvest .

The Loire Region for those who don’t know – is the land of Cinderella castles – located slightly southwest of Paris.

Back to Sparkling Wine – Sparkling wines take the guesswork out of what to serve because few people don’t enjoy them. They also minimize stains and eliminate the need for different types of stemware.

Try making Sangria with Sparkling wine – using half regular wine – making the recipe and adding sparkling wine just prior to service. It’s an unexpected and fun twist.

Pierre Larousse is another type of French Sparkler – this one hails from Alsace – in Alsace they also make Cremant D’Alsace but that’s another post and/or event.

Tip #1 – Serve water due to the reality people metabolize alcohol sooner with the heat than they do in the winter – you never want your guests quenching their thirst with wine – it’s best they do that with WATER.

Broadbent Sunflower Portugal (Vinho Verde) $11

Vinho Verde – means “Green Wine” – which is young wine. Vinho Verde is kind of like Beaujolais nouveau but made with the traditional white – Alvarihno is the most popular and common – but there are about 20 white varietals and also 16 red used commonly to make this traditional spring/summer wine.

Almost half of Vinho Verde is RED but little of it is exported. The reds are deep red and tannic – usually made from the Azal Tinto varietal.

Tip #2 Understand your limits

This has several meanings – the first is – obvious –don’t drink so much you’ll regret it in more ways than one – the second is more esoteric which means, when it comes to summertime, entertaining – go easy on yourself, don’t look to make the perfect wine choices as often – guests won’t pay as much attention. When you entertain in the summer you’re usually outside, there’s often a lot more going on… the focus may not be so honed in on the wine… give yourself a break “understand your limits” – Budget wise, time wise, venue wise, etc… and keep that in mind when choosing what to drink.

Excelsior Robertson Chardonnay South Africa (Western Cape) $10+

I love this Chardonnay because it’s not overly oaked – I also like South African wines because they provide great value. The Robertson valley in South Africa is the Western Cape.

On 8th January 1918, growers in the Western Cape founded the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt (KWV). KWV came to dominate the industry until the end of the apartheid. In the 1930s they set up the South African Wine Farmers Association (SAWFA) as a 50:50 joint venture with their British agents, Vine Products, taking full control after the Second World War.

There are about 60 appellations in the Wine of Origine (WO) in South African – equivalent to the French DOC. WO must be made from 100% grapes grown in a given area.

Chardonnay is a natural with any seafood – provided it’s not overly oaked – remember if you have a ton of Old Bay though – you’ll likely lose any taste nuance and it might be better to go for beer.

Tip # 3 Make sure that you have enough wine on hand Make sure that you have enough wine on hand when entertaining – 1/3 bottle per person (lunch/cocktails) ½ bottle per person for a dinner or evening party. Always allow for corked bottles by buying one extra.

Graham Beck PINNO South Africa (Franschhoek)$11+ – Love this – pinotage grape, screw cap – refreshing, fun, unexpected. A great value and fun addition to any evening/event.

Tip # 4 Make food and wine pairings effortless by incorporating some of the wine you’re serving in the dishes you’re making (substitute wine for vinegar in salad dressings, use as a marinade, or macerate fruit before grilling).

Ferraton Red France (Cotes Du Rhone) $12 – Why CDR? I like blends for summer entertaining – they are just easier. You tend to find that everyone likes a blend more than a given varietal.

CDR is located slightly south west of Lyon which is technically the end of the Burgundy region.

Tip #5 Experiment with new wines you don’t know, and try different pairings. Summer calls for different foods – try different wines!

Azabache Tempranillo Spain (Rioja) $14

Rioja’s still provide tremendous value for the money and also – tend to go great with anything grilled as a lot of Spanish food dishes require things to be done “A La Plancha” – making Rioja’s (red or white) perfect summertime wines.

Tempranillo is to Rioja what Merlot and Cabernet are to Bordeaux.

Tip # 6 Revisit box wines and screw caps – boxes are great for the boat, camping and large groups and screw caps are perfect for entertaining.

Thanks as usual to Carol Fling of Vintner’s Selections for being cooperative and providing us with outstanding wines for the evening!.

Now – to the important safety tips for women – courtesy of Mercy Medical Center’s S.A.F.E. spokesperson:

If you suspect you’ve been sexually assuaulted – get yourself to Mercy Medical Center as soon as possible.

Do not wash, do not if possible relieve yourself in the bathroom (if you must – save it – not in any container that might have contained acide prior and bring it with you).

If you can’t bear to keep your clothes on – change but keep the clothes in a paper bag and bring them with you.

Do not leave your drink unattended in ANY setting.

Remember RAPE is a crime of violence not of SEX. Anyone is at risk – young, old, fat, thin, hot, homely, married, single…

Share this information with other women you care about – it might make the difference between a conviction and resolution versus – another perpetrator walking.

For more information on women’s safety click here.

June 23, 2008

Ok – I know it’s supposed to be more often

Filed under: Food — grapelady @ 9:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s the thing, I haven’t had much to write about – not anything food or wine specific anyway – although i did make a mean BBQ chicken the other day 😉

Seriously, today – that changed. I will write more details later, but I’ve found myself almost speechless today at an impromptu lunch with my buddy – Dara Bunjon (aka Dining dish- Dining Examiner – yeah, she knows food) at Sotto Sopra.

First, things first – an impossibly cute Chef by the name of Bill – the minute I sat down – gave me a shooter of a wild Basil Lemonade. I enjoyed it thoroughly, he’s been there for 9 mos…hmmm…haven’t eaten at Sotto Sopra in a while, my bad – I think I’ve been missing something.

He has Charleston group pedigree (as many decent Chefs in this town do) and he also worked extensively at Elkridge country club…He has a sunny disposition, he likes to play with his food – all bodes well for a good meal.

Anyway – seeing I enjoyed the lemonade sample, he decided to try out his Basil & Lemon martini on me – this gave a whole new meaning to a Martinin lunch let me tell you. We were having so much fun – we decided to eat at the bar (where any self respecting serious food person should eat anyway in my opinion at most places.) He asked what we wanted – and suggested he just cook for us – we felt in good hands so we let him show us what he could do.

We started with an arugula (and I think it was dandelion but could be wrong) watermelon and goat cheese salad – divine in today’s heat and humidity.

This was followed by what I’d like to call Lilly Pullitzer pasta because it was hot pink, green and a little bit of white. Actually, this colorful dish was summer on a plate – get this beet gnocci, as light as air (good gnocci is light – the heavy stuff fuggedaboudit) with fresh peas, some shallots and a bit of oilive oil…it was delicious and perfectly accompanied by three large shrimp – a little random on the plate but very delightful…and no worries – yours truly inhaled them as they were perfectly cooked and (gratefully) devoid of Old Bay, just a little lemon and olive oil – as the people say “brava”!

Dessert was a Key Lime panna cotta – which was some of the best Panna Cotta I’ve had outside of Italy. Bill explained – in Italy they use powedered gelatin, here it’s sheets – the powder and consistency of the milk as well – affect the outcome – which finally solves the mystery about why Panna Cotta outside of Italy to me always tastes like vanilla cream jello – instead of light, airy, creamy heaven.

This was awesome…he says he adds a little marscapone – to make it lighter and fluffy. Well done!

Sotto Sopra has a great mid-week deal at the bar – Pasta for $10 and it’s also got Peroni (Italian beer for the uninitiated) and a wealth of other groovy sips at a great happy hour price. Check it out – summertime is a great time to rediscover Charles Street and Sotto Sopra.

409 N. Charles Street.

The web site is: http://www.sottosoprainc.com/

Enjoy!

May 1, 2008

What a wonderful thing – 4 Years and counting!

Ah, we had a GREAT time last night at the Sip & Spa Salon at Hunt Valley Laser & Skin care. There was over 50 of you who showed up to taste some great pink wines (and one wine with a pink fish on the label 😉 Thanks to Spirits of Mt Vernon for helping us pick out some fantastic libations.

People enjoyed a variety of services including:

Mini Facials

Makeovers

Hand Vibraderm Treatments

Skin Analysis

Botox & more….

Laser treatments to address those pesky veins… and other unpleasantries.

We gathered well over two dozen pillows for the Domestic Violence center – whoo hoo!

Thank you to our amazing sponsors!

Baltimore4Her.com

Baltimore’s Best Party Entertainment

Brick Bodies

Baltimore magazine

Cabot Creamery/Cabot Cheddar

Feiji water

KAWG&F

Tydings & Rosenberg LLP

Silpada Designs

It was a great time.

Next event is in Bel Air – at the fabulous, prestigious and oh so wonderful – Maryland Golf and Country club.

Check out the site for details – postings of what wines were served last night is coming soon too!

Toodles!

April 22, 2008

A day in the life of…getting ready for summer

Ok – so here’s the deal, I have very pale skin – so pale that small veins, look 10 times worse on me – than they do on someone else. If you’re over 30 – you know the veins I mean. Left untreated…they can turn into spider veins, and worse varicose veins.

You can be a tight size 8 (as I am – thank you very much 😉 or a size 80 – it doesn’t matter. It’s one of those things the longer you wait – the worse it will be. Initially I thought I might go in to get some info about other “cosmetic” procedures – but truth be told, after a long consultation with the pro’s – Terry and Anita at Hunt Valley Laser & Skin Care (check ’em out here) it was determined that the most practical and immediately beneficial would be laser vein therapy.

I did go in with some trepidation, I mean – was it going to hurt? Would it work? I had done some injected vein zapping last year – and had hated that. I mean – had to wear these goofy tight compression hose, was bruised, not to mention it wasn’t exactly pleasant to be pricked several times with a needle (no matter how small).

Well, I was amazed – the veins dissapeared before my eyes, there was only minimal (even on alabaster me) redness and the pain was not intense. Tolerable, very.

I am so happy with my result – and even happier that the down time is minimal and I’ll be able to get into my shorts A LOT sooner and with renewed confidence.

Anyway – great experience, and if you are considering ANY kind of cosmetic procedure – make sure the place you’re going to – has a Dr on staff who knows what they are doing… Hunt Valley Laser & Skin care was born out of Dr. Hartig’s thriving and wholistic family practice – and you can tell. Everything is handled with integrity, you get lots of information upfront and if something isn’t right for you – it’s OK.

April 19, 2008

one two THREE

So,

Last night, went to try THREE near Patterson park, the Chef/Owner is formerly of the Pazo pursuasion and you could tell, as per the “small plates” format favored. The highlight of our meal – was by far, our waiter. A jovial, charming, well intentioned and pleasant wait person – who walked the fine line between informative, funny, pleasant and respectful (an art many have yet to master in this darn town).

We tried…

The grilled octopus – LOVED it! ****

The Eggplant puttanesca – Loved it *** though tad too salty…however, they’d benefit from frying the Rabbit as delicately, believe me.

The venison (at our waiters suggestion) – Loved it! ****

The Jerk Pork (not very “jerky” more caramelized) and still not sure about the “banana bread” as a side, would have preferred something creative with plantains as combined with mango salsa of sorts, just TOO sweet for me. Would have liked more balance.

Spinach (ridiculously expensive at $6 for the portion size – come on people – I get the whole “quantity over quality” but we are talking spinach… not fennel, and not foie gras…none the less, tasty and pleasant once you get past the bare half a cup portion and no, they aren’t cooked down – if they had been, try two tablespoons of spinach at best.

The Greek Lamb – served with Feta, kind of was confit, rather than cooked. Very tasty – just everything around it too salty, I would have soaked the feta to balance it more, as the olives were also – very salty… I was beginning to wonder if I wasn’t at Salt – as things were, a tad too salty overall…except for the pork.

The disapointment was a dish that sounded GREAT – the Cajun “fried” rabbit. First of all – Cajun implies to me anyway – somewhat spicy. This was tepid in terms of spice and a bit greasy (see above and treat it like you do the eggplant, gently – the poor thing doesn’t need to be killed twice)…not for very good eating in my books. lighten up the frying (use a different oil maybe?) and actually season this – and you might hit the mark (my humble two cents). Thankfully the beans (who’d have thought one would wax about beans..) were creamy, flavorful (detected some tasso ham in there…mmmmm…smoky good) and sort of made up for it – but if it were up to me, I’d skip the rabbit (or make it differently) and order extra beans.

Good wine list, good service… too much salt – but hey, at times there isn’t any – so made up for all the bland dishes of many meals past. Good place, very pretty small terrace out front. Nice. Good eating but definitely AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Let me know your thoughts!

No dessert – I had my heart set on Cinghiale’s soft chocolate cake with molten salty caramel center. Of course, upon getting there and waiting an eternity for valet to get car… we found out – Chef decided to change the menu and had some chocolate, rosemary thing that frankly… didn’t float my boat, despite TF’s romantic description of it – almost gave Andreas at Center Club competition but came off sounding too flowery and complicated to be satisfying…sorry. This being said – by all means – try it and let me know. Please.

Next time – when my heart isn’t set on a given thing, I might try it – their other desserts are good, this should be too. But it kind of reminded me of when you crave chocolate ice cream and all you can find is lemon sorbet…aint’ going to do it for you, ya know?

Sounded overly complicated and more of the mind of intellectual stimulation and trying to impress than good eating. Why mess with something when it isn’t broken? Don’t get that – that other cake was a WINNER with a capital W. So it is.

We skipped over to Lebanese Taverna, where a French martini more than adequately quelled my sweet tooth – as did the GREAT O’s game! Extra points to the Cinghiale people as they were kind enough to accomodate us and hold the car, even though we were going there. Classy – given I was bereft at not having my dessert dream realized, that time anyway.
Ok – off to a Rugby game, for some street food, cold beer and ambiance!

March 27, 2008

Last night’s Women’s Wine & Dine – What you missed…

Well, last night’s event was AWESOME – we had over 50 ladies there, it was a blast. We paired Domestic VS. Imported wines, Content our board member (and partner with Tydings & Rosenberg LLP) spoke about why you should care about alcohol legislation, in Maryland especially. Our amazing guest speaker was none other than the fabulous Jane Brewer, who is co-chair of the Tax department at KAWG&F (yes, tax at this time of year is an exciting subject and with the addition of good wine, it was positively scintillating). Our featured charity was Art With a Heart, which offers art therapy to disadvantaged children and adults throughout the Baltimore area.

One of the biggest thrills was the food – we had an amazing menu. As usual the folks at Chris Daniels outdid themselves. I had the flat ironed steak over gorgonzola potato foam (this is NOT your normal rubber chicken dinner networking meal ladies by a long shot 😉 but those that had the almond covered rainbow trout with shoestring potatoes & fennel, were just as pleased as punch.

The crowd at March 26th Women’s Wine & Dine

As promised – here are the wines – prices indicated are approximate:
Domaine St Vincent Gruet New Mexico $10.99 –

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Domaine Saint Vincent Brut is a Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine produced by the Gruet family in New Mexico. Gruet makes more than a million bottles of French Champagne every year, and their Gruet Brut from New Mexico has long been our top-selling domestic sparkler. As the second label of Gruet, Domaine Saint Vincent Brut is surely one of the best values in domestic sparkling wines on the market.

Domaine Saint Vincent Brut is a soft yellow-gold in color, crisp and lively, with a nose of apples, citrus and vanilla. Light/medium in body, it is dry with flavors of apples, lemons, flinty earth and bread dough. Well balanced and food-friendly, this sparkling wine offers a clean and refreshing finish.

Domaine Saint Vincent Brut goes well with all kinds of food, and its friendly price makes it the perfect sparkler for summer parties. This one always blows away the wine snobs and know it alls… for that alone, I LOVE it.

Great value for your money!
Don Conde Cava SPAIN $9.99

Great – hey, this is drinking like the “good stuff” but it’s cheaper! wine

Sparkling wine from a specific part of Spain, Made by the champagne method, Cava wines use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarello grapes. Many of these wines should be drunk young to enjoy the most fruit flavor.

This is my – I want bubbles, but I don’t want to bust the budget bottle of choice. Great for Graduation parties !

Windy Ridge Heron Chard $12

Nestled high atop the hills in Temecula California lies the newest Winery in the Temecula Valley. With the daily afternoon winds it is appropriately named Windy Ridge Cellars.

The Proprietors, Steve & Valerie Andrews plan to operate a small boutique winery with the finest details personally attended to.
The 10 acres are terraced and planted with Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals. Tasting open by appointment only at this time.

THIS WAS ONE OF THE EVENING’S FAVORITES – LOTS OF LADIES LOVED IT, AND i HAVE TO AGREE! Most tasty!

Jim Jim Unwooded Chardonnay AUSTRALIA $11

Milbrandt Pinot Gris $14
Cornaro Pinot Grigio $8 ITALY

Heron Merlot $14
Altosur Merlot CHILE $10

Front Porch Cab $11
Man Vintners Cab SOUTH AFRICA $10

March 26, 2008

Good eats…really

Ok – so I’ve not been on a lot – hey, I’ve been eating…ok? First, gorged on Mary Sue chocolate like any bad Catholic would this past Easter… but if you’re talking “real” food…where have I been eating? Many places.

The most memorable of late include…One Eyed Mikes with my friends D & T – really neat place in Fells, is it new – no? But frankly, nothing new inspires me… They have great food (don’t go without a reservation though unless you’re willing to wait or eat in the bar), they are the world’s first ever – Grand Marnier club (really), the bartenders are smart, sassy, cute and fun…and it’s about the most interesting place I’ve been in a while…that was until last week and Henninger’s Tavern.

Ok – I can hear you snobs and know it alls saying “Ha, she claims she knows food in Bmore and she’s NEVER been there?” Well, yes, get over it. The truth is a while back a good friend (and fellow lover of good food) suggested it  – and when I heard the word Tavern, it wasn’t fitting the mood and dress that day…however, another friend – A – suggested it this week, and well – glad he did. I felt (as people probably always do – so forgive the clichay….) like I was somewhere other than Baltimore (Ironic as it’s a Baltimore landmark). The mix of classy, fun, funky, great food, good wine list (with even better prices), pinup girl memorabillia, and just plain fun – made me love the place. Yup – destined to become an “M” spot! 9 on 10 and please (you know who you are) don’t make this your new hip “take a date”  spot – I don’t feel like running into you and your harem,  when all I want is a good dinner, and great drink NOT TO MENTION peace. Gracias!

Now, for the other places I visited – I finally – after the hoopla, you know i hate hitting a restaurant when it’s “Just Opened”… I went to Meli – liked it – didn’t LOVE it. On a scale of 1-10 – I’d say 7. Service wasn’t tops – but they were understaffed, and you gotta give them a break as they were extremely gracious about it. Interesting menu – lot’s of influences of honey – hence the name Meli. In the spirit of objectivity – I should go back – and I will, promise to give you an update.

Went back to Tsunami (actually did Tsunami for sushi first – then Lemongrass for Entrees) – and really, have to say – LOVE it. The food, the atmosphere – the service…all good. On the scale 8.

Compared to RA which looks great, but is anything but ZEN. Can someone leave the loud music for a little later please? I lost my appetite…Didn’t love RA – left me, well – raw. Not great for the digestion.

Speaking of Asian – The Sun recently reviewed Pho Dat Than – a place I reviewed almost two years ago for the Baltimore Examiner (come on people – wake up – will ya?). Again, if you MUST venture to Howard County, here’s a civilized place to get some really good – authentic – Asian food, Vietnamese if you please. Great – fabulous and cheap… Save the money and hit Arundel Mills up the road 😉

Ok – enough for now. Off to prepare tonights Women’s Wine & Dine!

March 6, 2008

How to Start your own Wine Cellar at Home

THE BASICS OF STARTING AND ORGANIZING A HOME WINE CELLAR

 

#1 – The Amount of bottles doesn’t matter – the System does. Find your system. But pick a system you can STICK to. I like the simple – 3 tier – Everyday, Special Occasion – Do not Touch under penalty of death.

 

#2 – Pick a place to store it. Pick a place away from the light, and ideally in a climate controlled area – actual temperature is not what’s most important – stability of temperature is. Spare closet, bedroom or basement (provided not too damp or too dry or hot) are all ok. You don’t need fancy racking you can do very well with sturdy wine boxes piled on one another.

 

#3 – Get yourself a little black book/composition book and if you have the energy – write down what you have – and organize ON PAPER what goes with what.  If that is TOO time consuming – just keep your receipts when you buy wine and put a little number next to each item (section #1, #2, #3) and you’ll know where to put them when you bring them home. It’s also good to keep receipts for insurance purposes and to keep track of what you’re buying.

 

#4 – Get the little sticky dots from Staples or Office Depot and use a color coding system on the top of the bottle so you can “at a glance” when they are lying down on their side – pick which ones are “ready to drink – green” , “save for a special occasion or not yet – ready- yellow” and “do not touch or ageing – red”.

 

# 5 – Have fun with the cellar – don’t be a slave to it. Do research before you buy lots at auction or spend a lot of money as you can make mistakes.

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