Screaming Betty, Vermentino

  • Producer: Delinquente Wine Company
  • Location: South Australia
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $20
  • Tasting notes: Very pale in color, almost clear. Very little aromas when cold. Some hints of apple, lime and pear, but not much. Very light taste. Citrus is the main flavor with some notes of peach and nectarine (Bob said the part near the pit, specifically). Short finish.
  • Conclusions: This wine was fine. It was very easy to drink, but didn’t offer much character, especially when cold. A little warmer and some of the flavors started to come through, but not as much as I would like. Easy to drink on a warm summer day and definitely a pool party wine.
  • Notes: I wanted to like this wine more than I did since it was part of our cheese and wine box from our wonderful local cheese shop. It went well with the cheese it was paired with, a California goat I believe and it did bring out some good flavors when a little warmer. So not bad, but not one I’ll seek out again.

Cremant D’Alsace

  • Producer: Kuentz Bas
  • Location: Alsace, France
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Bubbly, white
  • Price estimate: Mid twenties (Bob picked it up and could not remember the exact price)
  • Tasting notes: Medium yellow color in the glass. Slightly darker and more intense color than I’m use to for sparkling wine. Aromas of bread, apple and apricot – very pleasant smelling. Lots of yeast/bread notes on the palate with an unexpected soft texture. Apple, apricot, pear notes are balanced by mineral notes that run through the wine. Long, lingering finish.
  • Conclusions: Wow! This was one of the best sparking wines I’ve had in a long time. Beautifully balanced, soft texture in a bright wine. I need more of this in my life.
  • Notes: Bob picked up our cheese box this month and he grabbed the last bottle of this Cremant while he was at the cheese shop. I’m so sad they don’t have any more and am now on a quest to find it. The difference between this wine and the one we picked up at Trader Joe’s for under ten dollars is pretty noticeable. They both have their place, but this one is well worth the extra money and seriously I think the best sparkling wine I’ve ever had.


Lorenzo’s Heritage Red Wine

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Blend – Petit Sirah, Zinfandel, and Carignan
  • Price estimate: $39 (direct from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Inky and dark purple in the glass. Notes of raspberry and blueberry on the nose. First sip is like silk – smooth with a great mouthfeel. Dark red fruits, a little cherry, but not much and a lot more raspberry than anticipated. Really beautiful finish with notes of chocolate and more raspberry. A little hint of wood, but not unpleasant.
  • Conclusions: Amazingly good. I would be happy with a bottle of this any day of the week, and especially if I was celebrating something.
  • Notes: Bob and I decided to open one of our better bottles the other week just because. We had some really nice cheese from the cheese shop and thought a nice bottle of wine would be appropriate. Bedrock did it again with this wine – really well-balanced – good acidity, but not overpowering, excellent texture to the wine and a lot of flavor. This is a wine that you can sip and enjoy or drink while having some good food and conversation. 14.6% alcohol by volume.



Spicy Peanut Noodles

My work computer decided to take over an hour to update the other day, which meant that I could not get any work that could not be done on my phone, done. It was frustrating, especially since I did everything I could and answered every email I could in ab out 30 minutes. Everything else, I needed my computer. So … I began searching for some recipes for dinner for this week and came up with a few good options.

I found an interesting recipe at Give Me Some Oven and thought it would make a nice lunch/dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunches for a few days. It actually worked out rather well.

I changed up the recipe a bit – chili garlic sauce for the garlic powder and red pepper flakes, less lime juice and a bit more soy, but overall the sauce was pretty much the same. I didn’t have cabbage, so I went with yellow pepper, carrots, scallion, and cucumber. I really liked this dish, but both Bob and I agreed that it would have been just a bit better hot. With this in mind the next time I make it, I’m replacing the cucumber with zucchini, making the whole dish hot, and adding a fried egg like I would in Pad Thai or fried rice. I’ll try to remember to post that once I make it, but for now, this is a really good, filling dish with lots of leftovers (no microwave required).


Et Fille Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Et Fille Winery
  • Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Year: 2014
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $28
  • Tasting notes: Ruby red in appearance with some pink at the edges. Very light on the nose with a hint of berry. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry and sour cherry dominate. Tart medium finish.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine a lot – as did Bob – but it wasn’t something I would make a point of looking for. If I saw it on a store shelf around here, or on a wine list at a restaurant, I would probably get it. It is a great example of a Willamette Valley Pinot and very easy to drink.
  • Notes: We opened this bottle with our monthly cheese box dinner and it paired really well with both the soft brie and the firmer cheeses on the plate. It didn’t overpower anything, but it didn’t disappear either. 13.0% ABV




The other day Bob and I did one of our favorite things – wine on the back patio. We had a nice glass with dinner, then finished them outside enjoying the warm weather. The pets joined us and I love the shot of Alinea on the table. You can’t see her very well, but I still love how it came out.

In the glass is a Gruner Veltliner that I love. We’ve also tried a Nebbiolo recently and while I generally really like Nebbiolo, I didn’t like this one. I tried to have it with food, but I just could not get past the Robitussin taste.

Pet pictures (’cause they are cute):


Star Wars Costume Exhibit

I am not a huge Star Wars fan. I like the movies, but I don’t think about the universe or small inconsistencies in the films or how this or that wouldn’t happen. I appreciate them for what they are, but Star Wars did not play a major role in my childhood – it didn’t define something in me as it did for other members of my generation. I didn’t love, but also didn’t hate the prequels (please, no hate mail) and I’ve enjoyed the new films as much for the story as the nostalgia. So when Bob said he wanted to see an exhibit on the making of the Star Wars costumes in St. Pete, I happily agreed.

I hate to admit it, but I needed more time at the exhibit. We ended up going later in the day and had about 45 minutes to get through the whole thing. This should have been enough as it was not a huge exhibit, but it wasn’t. I only took a few pictures since I wanted to make sure I saw everything but the few I took, I had a reason for.

IMG_20180102_162129.jpgThis sketch was of an early concept for Princess Leia. The ultimate costume was pretty different, but I love this dress – it reminded me of Erin’s wedding dress and there is something simple, yet incredibly beautiful about the drawing (and her dress). To me, that is hard to pull off and I would have loved to see that dress as a final costume. (If I missed it and it actually is in the movie somewhere, I goofed, but I thought the plaque said it was just an early idea for Leia.

IMG_20180102_163022.jpgThe costumes in the prequels are pretty much why I don’t hate the movies. I love the dressed and the design and the effect the costumes give the character and the worlds. One dress in particular made me drool so I was excited to see the dress in the exhibit. Natalie Portman had a number of amazing costumes in those movies, but this one, the regal dress is the one that really did it for me. I love how elaborate, yet how simple, it is and how the dress itself commands a level of respect. It’s hard to pull off, but this dress does.

And, of course, Yoda. The wise master who could easily have gone too far and been a silly character is just wonderful. The simple costume speaks volumes, but I really think it’s just Yoda that I love.

If I get back and see it again before the exhibit leaves in a few months, I may post an update, but for now, these will have to do.

Charisse – Picpoul, 2016

  • Basic info: Charisse, Picpoul de Pinet, France – Picpoul, 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $17 (Weekly Tasting)
  • Look: Pale yellow with medium legs.
  • Smell: honeysuckle, citrus and lemon
  • Taste: Crisp and clean with some lemon. This one was hard to describe other than clean. Medium finish and tart.
  • Conclusions: Great drinking wine. Could not identify a lot of what the wine tasted like, but it was really enjoyable.
  • Other notes: I was curious about this wine and I really did enjoy it. It was light and crips and very clean tasting, but there was some complexity there.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Weekly Tasting, “Straw color with green apple, pear and an herb butter note, this is a wine with personality!” 12.5% alcohol by volume.


French-Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

Every now and then I want real comfort food. Food that is hearty and goo-y and a bit salty. I was in that mood the other day and came decided to make grilled cheese. But me being me, decided to make it french-onion soup grilled cheese.

A while back I made a batch of French-onion soup (vegetarian, of course) and removed some of the soup before adding all of the liquid. I froze it thinking I could defrost it, add more water or broth and have soup another day. Instead, I heated it up, boiled off more of the liquid and made grilled cheese.

This really was pretty perfect for me. Slices of Gruyere cheese topped half a hoagie roll. Very condensed onion soup on top of that and a little more Gruyere cheese and a  touch of pecorino completed the sandwich. I broiled these for a few minutes to make sure everything was melty and goo-y.

Yes, those are two different sandwiches. The first one (on the foil) came apart when I pulled it up because the cheese melted onto the bread and foil so it was a total mess. I just took a picture of the sandwich I made the next day (same ingredients) before moving it to the plate.

Caesar-ish Salad

I love Caesar salad. Love it, but can’t eat it about 99% of the time. Most Caesar salads have anchovy in the dressing, and some have it in the salad itself. Even when I’ve asked if there is anchovy or anchovy paste in the dressing at a restaurant, and they say no, it generally does and I figure that out about five to twenty minutes after the first bite. Given this, I haven’t ordered a Caesar salad, or even had a Caesar salad in years.

But … oh thank you internet … I found a vegan caesar salad dressing  on (my computer is giving me problems, so I can’t link to the actual page – just search vegan caesar salad in the website and it will come up) that was pretty perfect. I’m not vegan, so I used regular parmesan cheese (or pecorino if I have that on hand), cashews instead of almonds and mixed pepper, but otherwise, kept it pretty true to the original. I think mine might also have been a little thicker than the recipe as I didn’t measure the cashews and just tossed in a handful of nuts, but Bob said it was the best Caesar salad he has had, with the possible exception of one restaurant. He also asked me to make a batch of it, and he happily ate mashed chickpea sandwiches with the dressing on them, so I’m calling this one a definite win. (Next time I make mashed chickpea sandwiches, I will definitely post it.) Mom even tried the recipe and both she and dad liked it, so again, a win.

Even my salad isn’t traditional Caesar. Maybe I should call this an Augustus Salad. But anyway, this is my new addiction and will feature heavily in my school lunches next year.

  • Caesar-ish Salad:
  • 1 head red lead lettuce
  • <1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (for salad)
  • olive oil for croutons
  • old bread for croutons
  • salt
  • 1 handful cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (for dressing) 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • pinch of pepper

Into a food processor or blender put nuts, water, lemon juice, garlic, cheese, soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Take day or multi-day old bread and toss with about a tablespoon olive oil and salt. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 4-7 minutes and the bread starts to turn golden. Set aside to cool or use immediately.

Tear lettuce into bite sized pieces and split between two plates. Add grated parmesan cheese and croutons. Pour dressing over salad – about 3 tablespoons per person (although both Bob and I may have added a bit more).