choose your destiny

martedì 22 luglio 2014

A pass by the 2014 Pig and Punch

The 4th annual Pig and Punch in New Orleans hosted by Bon Vivant and Imbibe.  

On my way out of the city after a long and tiring weekend of debauchery through the jazz filled streets of New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, I happened to stumble upon one last party.  I was killing my last hour in the French Quarter awaiting my flight and there I walked into the perfect sunday picnic.  Multiple pig roasts with southern style sides alongside multiple garbage bins full of pre-made boozy punches.

The selection...
                                      
One epic sized ice cube



The first taste of tender pork washed down with ginny punch had me feeling much better from my earlier exhausted hungover self. As soon as I finished my above plate the dry, humid 90 degree sunny day turned in a flash to an epic downpour and thunder and lightening storm.  

This was the perfect combination for me to miss my flight and drench absolutely everything I owned in that moment.  Luckily everything turned out okay and eventually I made it back to New York. 



           When in New Orleans remember… Would you like that cocktail for here or to go?

lunedì 5 maggio 2014

Francesco Rinaldi, the meaning of ''Cannubbio''


During a reunion of friends and past Maialino wine team colleagues, we sampled from a beautiful roman menu and were fortunate to get served some memorable Nebbiolo from wine director, Jeff Kellogg.

After quenching our Champagne thirst we dove into two Nebbiolo's, a 1989 Francesco Rinaldi Barolo ''Cannubbio'', followed by a 1974 Oddero Barolo.

The '74 Oddero was drinking right around its peak, perhaps a touch past.  A bit thinner than the Rinaldi with an edgier acidity, tasting like a cigarette was put out in a shot of half cherry liquer half swamp water with a garnish of taleggio rind… you know in a delicious way though.

The Cannubbio from Rinaldi was one of the top five Nebbiolo's I have ever consumed no doubt.
Swampy cherries, with a gigantic liquorish bouquet, morphing into dark chocolate and tar, with a background of wilting roses.  Medium and long in body with still a large, youthful mid palate and gorgeous acidity that will allow this bad guy to age for at least 20 more years.  Drinking this wine was like riding an everlasting Nebbiolo wave.

What and where is Cannubbio?

After some research and a read through the Slowfood book,  ''a wine atlas of the Langhe'', I was surprised to find no easy answers regarding the intentions of ''Cannubbio'' on Rinaldi's Barolo labels.
I found three websites all providing different information about Cannubbio, Cannubi and Cannubi Boschis.

I Emailed over to the Francesco Rinaldi winery in Barolo to find out the deal, Paola responded as follows…

''Cannubbio was the old name used for this area (we found it in old documents and books). The modern name is Cannubi (on the maps starting with vintage 2010). Our old vintages are Barolo Cannubbio and our Barolo 2010 is Cannubi. We own nearly 2 hectars in Cannubi boschis  (the first part of the hill) and a small part in Cannubi (in the middle of the hill)



In the article Battling bureaucracy in BaroloJancis Robinson writes about the controversial change Giuseppe Rinaldi was forced into.  As of 2010 they can no longer label a Barolo ''Brunate-Le Coste'' because of two vineyards appearing on the label (It seems the 2010 will be labeled Brunate but will contain a blend of 15% Le-Coste grapes.) But as far as Cannubi goes, it seems to be okay to label a Barolo ''Cannubi'' even if its coming from the Cannubi Boschis (aka Monghisolfo) or other surrounding Cannubi sub zone vineyards. 

My friend Alfonso Cevola wrote on the current state of Cannubi itself a couple of years ago in an article To Cannubi or not to Cannubi? where he was coming up with at least 25 hectares of wine being labeled Cannubi even though it is an area of 15 hectares.

I guess this is all a classic example of how strange, unorganized and controversial Italian wine is.  I originally only wanted to share a few amazing wines I recently drank and the cannubbio gods took me on a never-ending tangent.  And I guess after three days of searching my original idea of ''sure, cannubbio is synonymous with cannubi right? hasn't really changed that much.

Happy Nebbiolo drinking


lunedì 10 marzo 2014

Timeless method yesterday at the Us Open

Taylor Gold sending a timeless method on the first hit yesterday
and taking home the Gold medal at the US Open in Vail, Colorado.

There was a good feeling in the air after watching the US Open of Snowboarding yesterday.  After a terrible Halfpipe competition in Sochi for the olympics, Vail put on an amazing contest and some amazing tricks went down.

Besides Terje poaching with some classic frontside Indy to Method double grabs, Taylor Gold mixed up some classic styles with some new school tricks like Haakon 1080 Chicken Salads, and Frontside crippler Roast Beefs.  It was enough to take home a well deserved gold medal which left a sense of hope for the future and style of competitive snowboarding.

Link to Snowboardermag Video

Terje, Danny and Lago sending it together.

venerdì 7 marzo 2014

Tokyo. Remembering the two best culinary experiences of my life, in one day.

The flawless fatty tuna at Sushi Dai in the Tsukiji Fish Market.

The two single best culinary/dining experiences of my life at 29 years old happened in one day in Tokyo, Japan.  The first was a sushi breakfast at 8 am in a tiny little place and the second happened 12 hours later in a fine dining restaurant.

The following is a journal entry from 100 Rolls by Blake Noyes during that magically tasteful day in Tokyo.



After a 3am wake-up call and a sip or two of some Japanese whiskey we set off for the Tsukiji fish market. Somehow we wandered in the right direction and found ourselves in a huge, dark complex of warehouses with every sea creature under the sun in what seemed to be millions of boxes and crates. Total sensory overload. Gasoline, cigarettes and raw fish. Squeaking styrofoam and screaming fishermen. Dismissive hand gestures and dangerous hand carts. 

The sights, sounds and smells were unlike anything we’d ever seen.







And the flavors? Well after being politely “excused” from the grounds by various security officers we wound up in a line about 20 people deep for Sushi Dai - an 11-seat sushi bar renowned for their omakase menu featuring the chefs favorites from that night/morning’s catch.

Still only 5am mind you. 1 hour goes by. Then 2. Then 3. Luckily we had run into some friends from NYC (shout out to chefs Ben and Sara) to help pass the time. By 8:30 we were crammed into this hole-in-the-wall joint tucked away in an alley and had the best sushi meal of our collective lives. We all agreed. Quite the breakfast.

Here are some shots of the sushi served up by the very talented, comedian sushi chefs











After a pitstop at the hotel it was off to the Ryogoku Kokugikan Grand Tournament to see some classic sumo wrestling matches. Again, quite the sight to see.




Then it was the red light district by Shinjuku Station...

We finished the night off at Kyubey, another small sushi bar, this time in the Ginza neighborhood. Here the service and location were much more polished but once more, another stellar meal. It may be a bitter-sweet thing that happened, but it made for the second best sushi meal of our lives. And they happened on the same day, not even 13 hours apart from one another. Many thanks to Chef Takeshima and his crew.






We were ambitious with our plans for the club scene, but it was probably for the best that we called it a night after that 21 hour marathon.


Here we are… Nico, Blake, and James with Chef and server at Kyubey.

Cheers from the 333, #AsianTouringClub2013

martedì 26 novembre 2013

Missing the Piedmontese life in New York City.

During my Journey back to America from my South East Asia Adventures I received some photos from friends enjoying a Piedmontese life at Maialino in New York City.  Damn, these are two things that I will never feel bad about when returning to the city.

White Alba truffles and baseball, Maialino New York City.

Some 1971 Oddero Barolo is poured at Maialino to compliment the seasons white truffles.

venerdì 11 ottobre 2013

How to find Balut in The Philippines


Lets face it, The Philippines can be quite consistently a disapointing culinary experience .  But there is however the infamous Balut!  Upon arriving in the Philippines I had to get my hands on this strange street food. Balut, an 18 day old hard boiled duck embryo.  

When you go around browsing the shops, restaurants, and street food vendors you most likely wont find any signs for balut.  In my case my trip found me in Puerto Princesa and El Nido and after walking around the streets asking the locals, "Whats the deal with the balut scene', here is what I found.

Very simply all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time.  There will either be an old lady with a cart yelling ''balut! balut! balut!'', or in my case in El Nido I saw there were usually three kids carrying a bucket of freshly boiled balut eggs hollering balut in a similar manor. Sometimes you will be able to catch a cart set up in a food market in some towns. 

After you take off the shell there will be 
some nice spicy vinegar you will want to have with the egg.  I also reccomend washing it down with a San Miguel Pilsen to help manage the crazy unique textures and cartalidge crunching sounds that one experiences.

Happy Balut searching!

Cheers

giovedì 19 settembre 2013

Incredible Ramen in Roppongi

Best Ramen I have had.  While in the Roppongi quarter of Tokyo we found this spot and ordered our meal from a vending machine at the entrance.  After ordering you take a seat and don't worry about a thing!  An unexpected playlist of blues and jazz filled the room that really put the icing on the cake.  God I love the way the Japanese think.

First tastes of Tokyo



Arrived in Tokyo yesterday and while waiting for my travel mates Blake and James, I stumbled upon my first restaurant in Tokyo, “Sanda”, which turned out to be amazing! Located in the Roppongi quarter and with a tasting menu only at about 58,000¥ ($60). Here you will be served Sanda Wagyu Offals from the prized beef in many different tastes shapes and forms. 

Above, Japanese Barbecue from left, diaphragm, “yann” the tissue between the 3rd and 4th stomach, pancreas, and finally beef cheeks.


martedì 20 agosto 2013

1984 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera Tasting Notes:


Above, The 1984 Barolo Zonchera from Ceretto (my first tasting of my own birth vintage) ended up being surprisingly drinkable and enjoyable.  In the glass the colour was very cloudy light, light red but not your typical orange rimmed old Nebbiolo.  There was an immediate aroma of dark soils and heated chocolate.  Developing into a rusty nose with a smokiness, resembling an opened bag of BBQ potato chips.  Once swallowed there was pretty much zero complexity or finish.  Pretty much all of the fruit has disappeared from this wine, but the acidity was surprisingly healthy and balanced.  There was a hell of a lot going on in the nose, but quite thin on the palate and finish.  A battered and weathered Barolo, refusing to die, holding on for dear life.

 For me the thinness was expressive of the cold and rainy month and a half during the crucial period for the grapes ripening levels before harvest.  But the fact that this wine is still alive 29 years later given all of the hazardous elements mother nature threw its way is pretty cool.


1984 Piedmont Vintage Report - Decanter.com

''The first three months of the year were cool with some snow. April was fair, but May was cold, cloudy and wet causing problems for bud-break. A problematic June meant flowering delayed by two to three weeks. The ripening process was hampered at key moments in the summer by rain and humidity, and a cool autumn was partly ameliorated by a warm final ripening period for Barolo.''

domenica 18 agosto 2013

The dreadful 1984 vintage

You only live once...

 Had to splurge on some hopefully not hopeless 1984 vintages, a 1984 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barbera d'Alba, and a 1984 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera. Thrown in as well is a 1983 Chateau Romer du Hayot Sauternes.

The 1984 vintage in most of Europe was quite wretched; Plagued with cold weather and rain from mid september to early October.  I have never tasted my birth year but I am heading to the LBI, dirty jersey and figured you only live once, Roll The Dice...
A 30 year old Barbera produced in one of the worst vintages? Hmmm...
Any who thanks to Chambers St Wines in New York City for having such bad ass wines.

Cheers.


venerdì 19 luglio 2013

Krug and Jazz at Coppolas place in New Orleans

Cruising around the music filled, boozy streets of New Orleans has found me in the Coppolas residence for Krug and Jazz... Life is hot and humid , but definitely beautiful living. 


Fried boudin with pickled peppers at Cochon, New Orleans.


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