Pheasant’s Tears – Kakheti, 2015

  • Basic info: Pheasant’s Tears, Kakheti Rkatsiteli, Tibaani, Georgia – 2015
  • Type: Rose
  • Price estimate: $18 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Cranberry color with a hint of orange
  • Smell: Not much smell. Smelled liked wine.
  • Taste: Interesting taste – not much there. No real discernible flavors. Slightly woody on the back end, but not tree-bark like.
  • Conclusions: Eh. I thought it was fine.
  • Other notes: We had this wine on vacation with friends because we were really curious about it and it ended up with two very different opinions. Bob, John, and Erin hated it on the first sip – so much so that they would not go back for a second sip. Ed and I both thought it was fine. It wasn’t offensive and it didn’t have anything distinctive in the taste. I can’t say it was enjoyable, but I didn’t find it bad at all. I’m glad we tried it, especially after hearing about it on a podcast and on an Anthony Bourdain show. It was interesting but not something I need to try again.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, “the wine shows an electric raspberry robe in the glass. Aromas of dried apricot angle with walnuts and wildflower honey. A crunchy acidity gives lip-smacking texture to flavors of red cherries, almond skin and ripe strawberries. Fine, grippy tannins make this rose perfect for a cool summer evening.” 11.5% alcohol by volume.


Really, Mom?

We knew the end of August would be busy and hectic. We knew that Bob had to be away for business and I had some long days with the start of the school year. Despite this, after taking my exam for my Florida license (no idea how I did, results won’t be in for a while, but the test was nothing like the practice test the state puts out, or any of the review/study materials they publish. Given that … who knows) I decided to go look at kittens again. I figured Bob and I had been looking for a while and we didn’t come home with anyone, so we probably would not find a cat and that would be that. Well … we were wrong.


Meet Ella (on the right) and Alinea (on the left). These about three-month old kittens stole our hearts almost immediately. Ella was super outgoing and very energetic. Alinea was shy and very skittish. They played well together (they are not from the same litter). We were a little concerned about each individually, and their impact on the boys, so when Bob suggested we adopt both (yes, two was his idea) I wasn’t going to object. And I have to say, he was absolutely right.

The girls both had a rough start. Alinea was thrown from a car and had a degloved jaw and road rash on her paws and tail. Ella was found as a tiny kitten in a barn all alone – no momma cat, no siblings. These two were incredibly lucky to be rescued by a great girl who runs her own rescue organization (and she is 23!!!) and rehabilitates cats so they can be adopted. She did an incredible job with these two and we just adore them.

The boys are still adjusting. Arthas is more interested in their litter box and food than he is in them. Tigger isn’t sure about them, but he isn’t objecting to their presence. I’m hoping once everyone settles in and gets comfortable with each other, they will all get along. We know it will be a while, but it will be worth it.

Personalities are still developing but already Alinea is more outgoing than we expected. Ella is curious, but shy with the boys and she likes her alone time. It will be very interesting to see how they change as they grow up.

(Ella got her name because of the dark freckle like marks on her face, and the darker smudge on the other side of her nose. Every time I saw it I thought of soot, so she made me think of Cinderella, hence the name Ella.  Alinea is both the name of an amazing restaurant in Chicago, but it is also the editing symbol that indicates a new paragraph. Since she had such a rough start, we want her to have a new beginning. She also LOVES food and eats constantly and voraciously, so the name definitely fits her.)

Summer Salad

I love summer food. Tomatoes, peaches, corn, zucchini etc. are some of my favorite foods and they are fresh during the summer. Admittedly Florida is a little challenging vegetable wise in the dog days of summer, but there are still plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to be found.


When I saw the dark cherry tomatoes at the farmer’s market, I knew I had to make a sale out of them. The ripe peach cried out to be paired with them, so I made an herbed vinaigrette using the chives, oregano and parsley from my garden. I roasted a little corn, chopped up some manchego and tossed it all together. It was lovely.


PFAFFL – Gruner Veltliner, 2016

  • Basic info: PFAFFL, Gruner Veltliner “Vom Haus”, Niederösterreich, Austria – 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $18 (? Weekly Tasting pack, so I’m not certain)
  • Look: Pale straw in color with minimal legs, even when warm.
  • Smell: Apple and vanilla. Not much smell to this one and I *think*  I got those two smells, but in retrospect I might have wanted to smell those.
  • Taste: Under ripe peach, salt, lime and white grape. (Yes, seriously, white grape)
  • Conclusions: This was a pretty amazing wine. It was light and clean tasting, but there was a lot going on in it. This was a wine you could drink and ignore as you sat and chatted (which is what we did the first night we opened it with a friend) or ponder as you sip it as I did the next time we had it.
  • Other notes: I think this wine goes on the list of favorites – right there with the Soter Pino Noir and Decoy or Haywood Zinfandels. It is that good.
  • From the bottle: “This classic, crisp and fine fruity Gruner Veltliner has a good pinch of black pepper. A great house wine that is incredibly versatile.” 12% alcohol by volume.


Mock Chipotle Sofritas Salad

About once a quarter a group of us at work have a Friday in lunch together. We order something, pick it up and try to have a rallying lunch. One of our go-to places was Chipotle and I was pretty excited when then added a vegetarian protein. It ticked all the boxes for me – spicy, touch sweet and really filling. The lunch in tradition changed a bit this past year and we did more eat what we brought as we had lunch together, which is great for a variety of reasons, but I did somewhat miss the salad. Yes, I know Bob and I could go and get lunch or dinner one night, but I scoured the internet for for a way to make it at home and found a recipe that looked possible. I also found a copycat recipe for the chipotle-honey vinaigrette that I love on the salad. So … I decided to try it since I had a little time one weekend.

I didn’t use as much tofu as the original recipe called for, although I did make all of the sauce to cook it in. I didn’t want to have a lot left over if this didn’t work, so I just used about 7 oz. of tofu and that was enough for Bob, myself and one leftover portion. When I make this again, I will probably use one whole package of tofu so we have more leftovers.

For the meal, I recreated most of the salad the way I order it. I used red leaf lettuce, rice, diced tomato, cheese, the sofritas and dressing. I was going to fry up some onion and orange pepper, but decided against it, and the corn salsa I made wasn’t good – I think the corn had a bad case of freezer burn. But the overall effect was good. Very good. Better than Bob expected good.

I will say this – going out for this is way easier than making it. It isn’t hard, but there are so many pieces to it – blistering the pepper, making the dressing, making the sofritas, making all the parts that go on to the salad … and I cheated and used pre-shredded cheese! I’ll make it again, but it will not be in the quick weeknight dinner rotation.


Chateau Saint Martin De La Garrigue – Rose, 2016

  • Basic info: Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue, Bronzinelle Languedoc Rose, Provence, France, 2016
  • Type: Rose
  • Price estimate: $18 (? – from Weekly Tasting pack, so I’m not certain)
  • Look: Salmon pink in color with descent legs
  • Smell: strawberry, cherry and some mineral
  • Taste: light berry, hint of mineral and salt, very light. Weird taste in the middle and back of this wine and very alcoholic tasting.
  • Conclusions: I love rose so I wanted to love this wine. It started out really great, but that weird taste kept intruding on my enjoyment of the wine. I ended up not finishing my glass and am not sure we will have any more from the bottle. I don’t think it was a bad bottle, just not one that we liked.
  • Other notes: The smell and first sip of this wine was really lovely, but I just could not drink it. There is an odd taste in the wine, and I think it may be gooseberry (based on the descriptor of the wine) that I just didn’t like. The grapes in this wine are Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah.
  • From the bottle: From the Weekly Tasting notes, “Strawberry, red cherries, red currants and orange zest with a marked flintiness on the nose. The wine is rich in body for a rose and has an incredible silky texture. ” 14% alcohol by volume.


Laurent Barth – Gewurtztraminer, 2012

  • Basic info: Laurent Barth, “Le Clos des Trios Chemins”, Gewurtztraminer, Alsace France, 2012.
  • Type: white
  • Price estimate: $17 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Deep yellow color. Lots of legs, even when cold.
  • Smell: lemon flower, honey, and orange blossom. Bob got peach and some fruit he could not identify.
  • Taste: Sweet. Round and full bodied with a crisp end when cold. Orange blossom, Chartreuse and vanilla flavors. Bob swore there was another flavor he could not identify and later said lychee. Nice finish – longer than expected.
  • Conclusions: Very cold, this wine is fantastic. It is sweet – no mistaking it for a dry, off-dry or semi sweet wine. It is complex and interesting and reminds me a bit of an oaked chardonnay in the texture of the wine. As the wine warms, the sweetness intensifies and it was a little hard for me to finish a glass.
  • Other notes: I am not a fan of rich, buttery wines or of sweet wines, so I was surprised that I liked this one so much. It had a lot going on in the glass and ice box cold, I really liked it. As the wine warmed (we were eating dinner) I found it harder to drink and the sweetness really started to coat my mouth. I’m not sure if this is a typical example of the varietal, but it is definitely interesting and I really want to try a dry version, and maybe one with just a little less richness in texture.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, “This one has the perfect level of sweetness. It’s not cloying or sticky, but is instead balanced and fresh with white flowers and other classic Gewurz aromatics, a rich and textured apart, and great underlying acidity which lends well to the dreamy and majestic finish.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.