Category Archives: Drink

good article on california pinot noir

in the New York Times.

Really, the difference being described here is very tangible. I’ve tried a few of these, and I’ve been making an effort to find California pinot noirs with that classic sort of elegance–really, there’s nothing better that I’ve tasted than wine with those qualities–and I’ve found a few, at varying but generally high levels of cost.

One that I thought was really beautiful was the Nicholson Ranch pinot noir. You can get that for about $40. It was the 2006, I think.

Even more beautiful, and more complex (and twice as expensive, but worth it worth it worth it), was the Littorai pinot noir, also 2006, from their Summa vineyard. It’s not their most prestigious vineyard, and I haven’t tasted those, but this one was so good I got tongue-tied trying to describe it. It had everything. It’s on the list at work for $145, and I hear it’s on the Internets for somewhere around $80-90. Definitely not cheap, considering you can get some badass Burgundies for that money–Gevrey-Chambertin, Aloxe-Corton, Nuits St. George, and all of it premier cru–but if you decide to go for it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Take the time to savor every drop, because it’s damn hard to fine better wine.



notes on dining, part III: wine

The Bottle of Wine.

First, there is the selection. Even if you don’t know anything at all about wine, except that sometimes it’s red and sometimes it’s white, you’re already expressing a preference. From there, it’s easy to develop your preference to the point where a selection can be made. It’s important to keep in mind that this selection is not supposed to be a stressful experience; remember that, no matter what you end up getting, you’ll be drinking wine, which is always a good thing. Even more importantly, the wine you get is very likely to be palatable and interesting. It will help if you try to think of it less as a question of good wine vs. bad wine, and more as an exploration of different wines.

It seems like many people don’t find wine a subject worth studying. That’s fine, but remember that refinement of taste brings about greater pleasure. That’s where the idea of a connoisseur comes from. Contrary to what you might believe, it doesn’t take much to dramatically increase the pleasure wine can give. I’ve tried to synthesize here a few pieces of information that have been useful to me over the last few months, as I’ve gone from being a person who would only drink it if there wasn’t any whiskey around, to a person who can’t pass by a wine store without going in to browse. (Seriously, wandering in a decent wine store, armed with even a little information, is the same as wandering in a decent bookstore.)

Obviously, one of the key issues here is Continue reading

notes on dining, part II

Today we will discuss how to get the most from your dining experience. It’s a difficult subject to explore, because everybody has different ideas and standards for what creates a positive experience. While there are certain factors—quality of the food, for instance—that are out of your control as a patron, you can maximize what a restaurant has to offer using a few basic principles. While this may sometimes—not always—result in spending more money, it will also, more often than not, dramatically increase your feeling of satisfaction.  Continue reading

The Art of the Bash: 5 Great Movie Parties

There are plenty of things to love about New York in the summertime: beaches less than 50 minutes away, free outdoor concerts and movies, picnics in parks and piers, Italian ice carts, the refreshing chill of an air-conditioned subway car after ten minutes of suffocating in the station. Then there are the parties — on patios, gardens, rooftops, stoops, blocks, and anywhere else a grill and a cooler could conceivably be squeezed. Something about summer parties always make me nostalgic for warm-weather shindigs of the past, from the Michigan lakeside bonfires where we kept our beers cool by nestling them into the sand at low tide to last summer’s dance party in North Carolina, where guests invented mosquito-inspired moves that allowed us to slap bitten limbs to a nice rhythmic beat. This summer I’ve found myself feeling nostalgic for a summer party even as it’s happening, which is a feeling there should be a word for, if there isn’t already. (German language, I’m looking at you.)

Anyway, all this seasonal reminiscing got me thinking about my favorite parties on film. While there are plenty of movies with epic party scenes, I wouldn’t actually want to be at a lot of them. People are always fighting or throwing up or crying, which is accurate but not that appealing. Some movies, however, bypass the drama to focus on what great parties are all about. Here are five far-from-definitive scenes of parties I’d give my left arm (or at least my left sleeve) to attend. What are your picks? Continue reading

death-scrambled eggs

As part of the routine death-scramble to keep my head above water in New York City, I have taken a series of restaurant jobs. The latest is in an iconic French bistro in SoHo, where a bottle of budweiser costs $8. I find it so strange to find myself in an environment like this–one which I habitually avoid as a necessary evil of living in this city–that I have decided to write about the experience, to try to understand it as much as possible.

My journal entry from yesterday: 

“Working in a busy restaurant usually feels like being attacked from all sides. Continue reading

The Michelada

Oh hey! It’s so good to see you. You look fantastic, did you get taller? I dig those shoes. So anyway, have you met the michelada? I think you two might really hit it off. Michelada’s kicky, but chill, too. And full of surprises!

In a cocktail party situation, I might introduce the delicious Mexican drink michelada thusly. Then I’d try to excuse myself subtly while you two chatted it up, and go hide my cell phone from myself in order to avoid drunk texting mistakes later, because I’d have had several beers by that point, and then I’d probably fall asleep somewhere because I’m a narcoleptic. But that’s another story! The point of this post is, micheladas are such a refreshing warm-weather beverage. And to enjoy them, all you need is cold beer, coarse salt, some limes, and–most importantly–Valentina Salsa Picante. (Wikipedia notes that there are as many different types of micheladas under the sun as there are Saved by the Bell spin-offs, the most popular of which also has tomato juice. This post just deals with the type I had last night, which makes for a lighter and less cocktail-y michelada alternative–more like beer getting bored and dying its hair than a Bloody Mary relative–but I’m sure they’re all worthy drinks.) Continue reading

what happened to me last night

There was a man on the balcony. I watched him standing there. Feet shifting on the cement, flickering light from the tiki torches. Two feet, black shoes. The bedspread was damp from humidity. It was a hot night.


–You fly a lot, right? Cheky, you fly a lot?


I wiped my forehead with a crumpled paper towel I’d just blown my nose with. It smeared a little of the blood.

Continue reading