Embarrassment of Riches: Christmas Style

December is surely a month of gluttony, gathering, and good times, but maybe just a little extra for those working in food and or wine industries. Between getting together with friends, supplier fueled lunches, and a seemingly never ending cascade of cookies (thank you Brittany, Beth, Anthony, Kristen and Dana!), December has truly been an embarrassment of epicurean riches.

It all began with a five borough food tour: #5BFT

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After 8 years of practice, the 9th annual was seamlessly delicious. We began in Staten Island for egg sandwiches, a cannoli cream filled donut and Champagne.IMG_5598

Same crew the entire way through – a first! All 5 boroughs, public transport only, and no repeat cuisines. We chased Staten Island, my second time ever and also second in a month, with Xian Famous Foods in Manhattan, incredible Jamaican in the Bronx, delicious Greek in Queens….IMG_5649

and crepes suzettes in Brooklyn. The entire day clocked in under $100 and I was home in bed by 10 pm. #winning

2 days later and I went up to Columbia to give a presentation and tasting of why and how to build a wine cellar. What I had forgotten from last year was how old this makes me feel. Everyone in the room was in their early 20s, and me 34, was the expert with years of expertise. It’s a slightly proud / slightly sad realization I’m not the kid in the room anymore….

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Dana passed his Master Sommelier exam – AGAIN – so… Egly Rose!

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Then super fun Hanukkah parties with Nina and Kenny, goodbye parties with Kati and Sean…

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….Monday night Bordeaux studies with cow tongue (delicious!)….

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…and that endless cascade of delicious cookies. Pictured are Brittany’s homemade assortment. So good. IMG_5740

December 15th marked the 3rd annual Champagne Fest a la Tribeca Wine Merchants. In addition to the usual suspects (Egly, Gosset, Paul-Etienne), we also poured the spectacular Dom Perignon 2008 – truly one of the greatest vintages, certainly of young Dom – I have had the privilege to taste.

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It wouldn’t be a Saturday at Tribeca without a few surprises from Rob, Larry or Brandon. 1986 Paul Bara Special Club – a bit soy saucy, but kind of hanging in – a 2006 Hermitage that was still just a pup and so remarkably fresh – and some super extended lees aged (84 months) Egly, which has got to be my favorite (affordable) Champagne house. So toasty delicious.

My HK friend – and soon to be Argentinian host – Andy came to New York, so we hit Marc Forgione for an incredible dinner of chicken, lobster, oysters, and of course their legendary cookies. It’s always so so good, especially when paired with magnums of Bernard Moreau Chassagne Montrachet Maltroie and Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin Mas Cinq Terroirs.

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Saturday we hit Pascuale Jones for a feast of magnums and pizza with Grand Cru, one of my suppliers. Taittinger Comte du Champagne 1996, various Roulot, this spectacular Hermitage Blanc (above) that no one but me seemed to love, d’Angerville Taillepeids, Le Pergole Torte 2006…and more I can’t recall. Andy commented this is probably, and will probably always be, the most ridiculous line up of wines he’s ever had, which served as a nice reminder that this is not in fact, normal, and that we are pretty fortunate be able to eat and drink the way we do.

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But obviously that wasn’t enough, so we went over to La Compagnie for a blind tasting challenge. We didn’t get the mystery glass right, but we asked Skye to pick a classic bottle that showed good typicity. I nailed it straight down to the vintage and appellation. Thank you.

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As we left La Compagnie at 6 pm in the rain, we called in an order for delivery of Katz. 3+ hours later after 6 pm, the food finally arrived. Ugh.

Luckily the next night we had a much more food fortuitous evening. We decided to go to Perry Street which is a Jean Georges restaurant that I thought was in the center of the Village. It’s not, it’s on the western most periphery, dangerously close to the Hudson.  I was a little skeptical after walking 15 mins in the wind, but was immediately relieved after sitting at the bar waiting for Andy to show up. For directly to my right was Martha Stewart dining with a friend. A few moments later Hugh Jackman and his wife come over to say hello. What is this magical celebrity filled place? Andy arrived, we sat down, had a delicious 2015 white Burg to go with caviar and eggs (classic and one of the best dishes in NYC), lobster, and sole.

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The next day Beth and I met for a holiday lunch. I’d never been to Le Coucou before, but its reputation surely proceeded itself. And man is it warranted. We decided to go big and rich because wtf, tis the season, and ordered fried veal head (think all the fat in the baby cow’s head, balled up and fried – yum!) and boudin noir, which was spectacular! We mentioned we worked in wine and the waiter very generously sent over a really interesting and remarkably light (considering) foie gras terrine, all of which went beautifully with our unctuous Marsanne Roussanne blend blanc from Provence. Incredible and one of the best meals of the year….or at least week. IMG_5787

Next day I met Abe (above), Tegan (winemaker at Sandlands and Turley) and Darren (Failla) for some Chenin at Racines, followed by Ganevat Gamay and grilled cheese at La Compagnie. I always forget they do food, but shouldn’t, as it’s quite incredible.

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Friday back at Abe’s for Darren’s EOTW (end of the world) birthday / winter solstice bash. Another ridiculously indulgent parade of iconic wines (Bereche 2002 en mag, Peter Michael Chardonnay 2007, Barolo and Barbaresco from 1971, 1974, 1997 etc), sakes from Monica, and my first ever taste of Pappy Van Winkle – delicious.

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And some of the wine industry’s leading ladies – Gabriella, Sarah, me and Ali. IMG_5809

Finally, Saturday after work Sarah, Ben and I hit Tetsu to visit MW companion and Sommelier, Jonathan. I had heard mixed things – namely that it was extortionately expensive – but after visiting, the wine list is interesting and fair, and the food was flat out delicious. A piece of miso salmon may well be the best bit of salmon I have ever had the privilege to put in my mouth. The rolls were incredible and fried rice intensely flavorful. Jonathan generously served us some Piper Heidsieck while we decided which bottle to buy. We had a tasty 2008 Trocken Spatlese and then the remnants of an unfinished Ramonet. Yes, please.

I realize this post is probably not interesting at all to anyone but me, but sorry not sorry. This post commemorates a truly extraordinary month which caps off a rather wretched year (more on this later), all of which I suspect will be washed away (or at least diluted by) the fountains of Malbec in my very near future. 3 days til Argentina!

 

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