So this is something new that I’m trying. We eat much good food, drink many great bottles, and see some pretty cool things from time to time. I’m always trying to find a home for the random experiences that define the wine lifestyle, but some things just don’t lend themselves to a full blog post or don’t quite work for social media. Hence, my monthly “EDS” which is Eat, Drink, & See. And since this is my first iteration, I reached back into a couple of June files as well. Let’s see how it goes.
Roka Akor Seared Japanese Wagyu Maki
Mr. Corkscrew and I ate a fair amount of sushi when we were dating and during the pre-Thing 1 period (love you Honey Bun!). And while we still enjoy it, we just don’t get to eat it that often. I may grab some at the grocery store but its not the same as having it from a great restaurant. As it so happened, Thing 1 and Thing 2 were gone for almost 3 weeks in July so that allowed Mr. Corkscrew and I to try a lot (i.e. too many) restaurants where lots of good eats were had. Case in point, Roka Akor. And while the meal was epic (really!) from beginning to end, the most memorable bite had to be the Seared Wagyu Maki. Wagyu.Melts.In.Your.Mouth.
Backstreet Café Duck Confit
As much as I love duck, it’s a wonder that I’ve only cooked it a couple of times. But when I encounter duck confit on a restaurant menu, it generally calls to me. And so it was that I had Backstreet’s pan roasted duck confit which was served with acorn squash puree, wilted greens, and orange-fig Maker’s Mark sauce. Yeah, OK, now I know why I don’t make it at home. Cause it won’t taste like this! And duck paired with Pinot Noir really puts me in a happy place.
Field & Tides Crispy Fried Oysters and Brussels
Yeah, I know brussels sprouts are quite the trendy thing. Same thing happened with shrimp & grits, pork belly, etc. You find these things on so many menus and then you’re just over it. The only reason I even ordered these brussels sprouts is because I’d read other people talking about how good they were. So why not? These are seriously crack-like brussels sprouts. They are shaved thin and fried and served with a chili honey glaze and sambal aioli. Dare I say that these are some of the best brussels sprouts ever?! And I’m still counting it as a vegetable!
2015 Sea Smoke “Ten” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills ($140 local wine shop)
So I finally got to try the elusive Sea Smoke. It’s been a unicorn as it is damn near impossible to find. But lucky me that I attended a wine tasting at the Nice Winery (you really should visit if you’re in Houston) where they have a small retail business inside the winery. When I saw the bottle of the shelf, I knew it was going home with me. I mean, finally the unicorn had presented itself! And then I ended up with two of them! The 2015 Sea Smoke “Ten” Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills definitely lived up to the hype. Man, that sh*t was good! Should I edit myself in my own blog? Anywho, Mr. Corkscrew and I took it to a BYOB restaurant (I really need to do more of these!) and happily plopped it down on the table. The “Ten” reference in the wine comes from the fact that it contains ten different Pinot Noir clones. They may have put fairy juice in there for all I know. Smooth like silk with ripe black plum preserves along with floral notes and a bit of herbs, it was all I wanted it to be and more. Let’s see how ling the other bottle lasts…
2012 Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Cuvée Brut, Touraine, Loire Valley, France ($26 Grocery Store)
I popped this baby on National Fried Chicken Day.1 Yeah, it was a good day. Bubbly from one of my favorite wine regions (lots of Loire love from where I stand) with fried chicken? Heck yeah! I can’t remember the last time I’d made fried chicken. Too much work and too messy.2 But I had been stockpiling pickle juice ever since I saw some random article go on and on about the earth-shattering deliciousness of pickle-brined fried chicken. I almost assaulted Mr. Corkscrew when he once (helpfully) tried to throw out the jar. So after months of saving, it was time to give it a whirl. I did a combo of buttermilk and pickle juice for the brine and let it sit overnight. OMG! So juicy and flavorful and maybe worth the effort once a year. About that bubbly…I adore Chenin Blanc in any form, but bring me some sparkling Chenin and it’s on. A bit fleshy with easy-going fizz that Pet Nat delivers, I loved honey and tropical fruit flavors. Even if you think bubbly isn’t your thing (I still don’t get you people!) give this one a whirl.
NV Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne ($62 Retail)
I find Veuve Clicquot to be one of those polarizing wines. People drink it like it’s the best thing ever or swear it’s the equivalent of dog piss. Yeah, its somewhere in the middle. I have a fiend, David, who thinks the sun rises and sets with Madame Clicquot’s juice. And while I like to give him a hard time, admittedly its good wine. Is it the best champagne ever? No. But it’s consistently good quality and I always know what I’m getting. What’s more, the basic yellow label wine that people love can often be found for around $40 if you keep your eyes peeled. This was only me second time having the Rosé and I decided to pop it open when hanging out at the pool. I loved the dark pink and it definitely exudes some rich, ripe fruit and maybe a tinge of sugar that made it a no-brainer for a hot pool day. This is one that will appeal to a wide variety of drinkers.
2016 Edi Kante Vitovska, Carso, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy ($47 Restaurant; $26 Retail)
Thrilled that I’d gotten Mr. Corkscrew into a real seafood restaurant, I was determined that I was going to make it count and that meant choosing a kickass wine to go with said seafood. Thanks to friend, fellow wine blogger, and Italian wine expert Jeremy Parzen of DoBianchi fame, I pay close attention to Italian wines. And this one certainly deserves attention. Vitovska is a grape found in Italy’s Carso region. Beautiful minerality, a touch of salinity, herbs, along with citrus and green apples, it gives wine geeks moment after moment of pleasure and all the complexity that we love to wax poetic about. But seriously, if you’re into those mineral-laden, high acid wines (think Sancerre), this will certainly fit the bill.
2013 Hundred Acre “Ark Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California ($625 Restaurant; ~$520 Retail)
Another wine from the bucket list. There’s that list of big Napa Cabs that people love to collect because they can be elusive and well, pricey. Hundred Acre definitely fits the bill. Made by esteemed winemaker Jayson Woodbridge, who is known for his meticulous winemaking (he sorts fruit grape by grape – not by the bunch!), this was rich, opulent, and dense with mocha, blackberry, and spice. It’s a very American Cabernet Sauvignon and unapologetically so. You will not mistake this for a First Growth Bordeaux, nor would we want to. Mr. Corkscrew couldn’t find the words to describe it, so he just kept saying “damn this is good.” And sometimes that’s all you need.
Lakeway Resort & Spa
Right on Lake Travis on the outskirts of Austin, Texas sits Lakeway Resort & Spa. After spending a long weekend there which saw me up close and personal with lots of deer, watching beautiful sunsets from a rocking chair, and sailing under sunny blue skies, it’s a sure bet that this is a place that we will return to time and time again.