Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer Items to Taste and Wear

It feels like summer has been here forever already, but it’s only the start. This heat makes me think of comfortable clothing, cool drinks, and barbecue.

Comfortable Pants for a Good Cause…
I will be wearing these One Tribe Elephant Harem Pants a lot this summer. They are cool and comfortable. At first, I was looking at them to just wear over my bathing suit, but I got so many compliments on them I’ll be wearing them out.

As if the comfort isn’t enough, there are other reasons to purchase from One Tribe. Products are made in Thailand by local workers paid a fair wage. Also, for every pair of elephant pants sold, the company makes a donation to the Elephant National Park in Chang Mai, where they rescue endangered animals.

The Best Burgers in the Country…
In the 2017 Harris Poll, Five Guys dethroned In-N-Out as America’s Favorite Burger Chain. It’s the burger that’s the star here and that comes from Schweid & Sons, a family run ground beef company now in its fourth generation.

Schweid & Sons sent me a selection of their burgers (Brisket Blend, One Percenter, and Sliders) to try out for myself and I can definitely see how they won the top spot. The Brisket Blend, moist and flavorful, even well-done, was my favorite, but they were all delicious.

If you’d like to cook these burgers yourself instead of going to Five Guys, you can buy them at these stores

A Red Wine to Pick Up…
If you are looking for something to drink with those burgers, my summer red is Chilcas Single Vineyard Cinsault 2014. This Chilean wine is tasty, fruity, with a bit of dry oak. It’s also under $20 a bottle.

Low Calorie, Gluten-Free Vodka…
You won’t find a shortage of vodka in the liquor aisles, but not many are gluten-free. Devotion Vodka are gluten-free, as well as under 100 calories.

They sent me the Devotion Blood Orange and the Tiki to try. I brought them out to a pool gathering. The Blood Orange was an instant hit, straight, with Coca-Cola, and sprite. The ideas for cocktails were flowing from all my friends.

The Tiki (Black Tea) was not what we expected since most tea vodkas tend to be sweet. This one is much stronger and more tart than sweet. It worked with a sweetened iced tea (if you want to do a little spiking), or a citrus soda. Lemonade is another option, if you don’t like sweet drinks, but this isn’t a vodka I’d enjoy straight.

My Favorite Wine this Summer…
I’ll occasionally drink a glass of moscato, most likely as dessert. When Oliver Winery sent me their Cherry Moscato, I thought it would be even sweeter than the ones I already consider dessert. I was wrong.

Oliver Cherry Moscato, which you need to serve well-chilled, is my perfect summer wine. The 2016 Indy International Wine Competition winner is filled with fresh cherry flavor, which actually brings down the sweetness of the moscato. At $12 a bottle, this is the wine you should bring to every picnic and barbecue. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wine, Pierogis and Buffalo Chicken

My friends are used to me putting together some unique tasting parties, but I certainly got strange looks when I invited them to a selection of seven different wines, pierogis, and Buffalo chicken wings.

It always starts with the wine…
The 2014 Montes Alpha Carrmenere may have a deep, dark color, but that doesn’t mean it’s powerful. The green pepper, cassis, and vanilla notes makes it an easy to drink red.

If you are looking for what you would expect to be a more typical red for your meal, an excellent representative of Sonoma is the 2014 Ferrari-Carano Siena. You’ll get more of the black pepper, dark fruit, and even a bit of tobacco in this one.

A favorite with two red drinking friends is the 2010 Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No 10. This Australian blend goes for around $100, but if you’re splurging on the steak, you might as well go for the wine.

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I spent some wonderful quality time with the De Bortoli family when I was in Australian and I have followed (and loved) their wines ever since. The 2015 De Bortoli Wines Estate Grown Yarra Valley Pinot Noir is no exception. It’s got everything you want I your pinot, oak, vanilla, cherry, and a bit of raspberry.

The 2015 Rob Dolan True Colors Field Bend, is also from Australia, but it’s a white easy drinking mix with lots of citrus. It’s more tart than sweet, but a good summer sipper.

I claimed the 2016 Henschke Julius Riesling. It’s a bit drier than you might expect in a typical riesling, but soft and flavorful with a hint of kiwi and lemongrass.

If you are looking for a rose that is dry, but filled with fruit, the 2016 Ferrari-Carano Dry Sangiovese Rosé is the one. It has a nice strawberry flavor and will go well with anything.  

Pierogis with a twist…
Last year in was Popkoff’s Russian Pierogis and this year it’s a more typical Polish style with Peter & Pat’s Pierogis, but these are much more tasty than the ones I’m used to buying in the supermarket.

Peter & Pat have been in the catering business on the east coast for the last 20 years. Now they are bringing their pierogis to the market at Costco. These are filled with potato and four different cheeses, cheddar, farmers, swiss, and parmesan. I just boiled them and served them with butter and they were a big hit.

A versatile Buffalo sauce…
Moore’s Marinade Original Buffalo Wing Sauce is a great option for quick, easy, and tasty summer barbecue. Although it could be used on any chicken (or even meat), I poured it over wings in a crockpot and cooked for two hours. I put them on the grill for a few minutes for a little crisping, but they are still tender without.

The sauce has a bit of a zing, but definitely not super strong. Everyone loved it. You can purchase the sauce on Amazon