So I got all caught up in recommending holiday party faves as well as wines to gift that I completely forgot about the November edition of Eat.Drink.See. And how could I possibly forget that given the all the fun we had last month? So without additional delay, here are the eats, drinks, and sights from November.
Signature Berry Bliss Pancakes from Wildberry Café, Chicago, IL
While on a trip to Chicago with the kiddos last month, we had breakfast at Wildberry Café. This local establishment has been wooing diners with carbs for years, and we definitely wanted to get in on the action. We visited the location near Millennium Park and were able to put our names on the waitlist (no reservations!) and then wander over to see the Bean (aka Cloudgate) and then run back over when we got a text that our table was ready. But back to those pancakes. Berry mascarpone filling, fresh berries, vanilla cream anglaise, and blackberry coulis were the components of this decadent breakfast treat. And while we all ordered something different (I sadly got a gluten-free waffle – which was also pretty good), Mr. Corkscrew definitely was the winner here. Gluten be damned! We all “helped” him with this one!
Chicago Deep Dish/Stuffed Crust Pizza from Giordano’s, Chicago, IL
Technically Giordano’s makes a “stuffed crust” pizza as opposed to a “deep dish,” but whatever you want to call it, we had some! When I first mentioned to Thing 1 that we were taking a trip to Chicago, the first thing she uttered was “Chicago deep dish pizza!” And then she said Chicago dog, followed by steak. I guess I’m raising them right?! At a minimum, they like to dine out. I made trips to Chicago rather frequently in college (more on that later) and had visited a few of the notable pizza places in town. But I still remember when a friend introduced me to Giordano’s and I never forgot the experience. So it was an awesome treat to introduce the kids to it. Ooey, gooey goodness for sure. And that crust was like a light, flaky pie dough. So damn good!
Lemon Butter Chicken from BCK, Houston, TX
This was one of those things that surprised me. One – I rarely order chicken when I go out because heck, I can make chicken 18 different ways myself. Two – I didn’t expect to like it so much. But that lemon butter sauce was yum! And the chicken was so moist and flavorful. Who knew??!
Chowder Fries from La Lucha, Houston, TX
With its slogan of “Gulf gems and chicken dinners,” La Lucha gets much love from me. I’m a big fan of Gulf seafood (yes, my seafood is better than yours!) and who doesn’t love a fried chicken dinner? And while I have yet to include the chicken in one of these Eat.Drink.See posts, it’s time I included something from there. One of my family’s favorite appetizers there is the chowder fries which features a rich, decadent blue crab chowder and crispy fries accompanied by the must-add Crystal hot sauce. With a glass a bubbly, this is the perfect starter. Just do it! You won’t be sorry!
2014 Buccella “Katrina Cuvee” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($265-350 retail)
So when I saw someone post this wine on Instagram and saw the name of it, I knew I had to get my hands on some. How often do you find a wine bearing your name?! I actually went to Buccella’s website to purchase some, but they only sell the wine in 3 packs. And while I figured anything bearing the name ‘Katrina’ had to be badass (duh!) I wasn’t ready to drop $800 on wines I’d never tasted and didn’t know much about. So when I found myself in Morton’s in Chicago and saw it on the wine list, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to finally try it. The Cuvée Katrina Eileen is named after the owners’ first born daughter and means purity in German. Fittingly, at 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it provides a pure expression of Napa’s signature varietal. According to the owners, the wine also reflects their daughter’s personality “with flavors that are complex, unreserved and expressive.” I like her already! And yeah, that was some good, decadent shit! Fabulous with all of the Morton’s steak. I may have to break down and get the 3-pack!
2015 Scarpa Tettineive Barbaresco, Piedmont ($100)
I had the good fortune to attend a Scarpa wine event co-presented by Scarpa winery director Riikka Sukula and Houston’s own resident Italian wine expert, Jeremy Parzen of dobianchi.com. We were treated to a fantastic selection of Scarpa cru Barbera d’Asti, Barolo, and Barbaresco. Oh my! I loved so many of the wines from the Scarpa portfolio, but the one that really made me swoon was the 2015 Barbaresco Tettineive. So much so that I had to order multiple bottles for the old wine cellar. So smooth with dried cherries, herbs, and leather and great acidity. I can’t wait to pair this itch a meal! Lamb chops would be perfect! Houston peeps, it’s worth a run over to Vinology to see if they have any left!
Black Bourbon Society’s Private Select Maker’s Mark Bourbon ($70)
My drink of choice when I’m not drinking vino is bourbon. And I can thank Mr. Corkscrew for introducing me to it. Now, I’m a serious bourbon hunter and am always on the lookout for great bottles. I’ve been known to stockpile bottles and then randomly pull one out for Father’s Day, Mr. Corkscrew’s birthday, or whatever other occasion I need to provide a gift for. So I was thrilled when I received an invite to meet up with the founders of the Black Bourbon Society and taste their Maker’s Mark Private Select™ Bourbon, which won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Not only did I learn the history behind this amazing group who work so diligently on representation in the bourbon industry, but I also learned so much about the history of bourbon itself. I feel a bourbon post coming soon!
As I mentioned, we took a family trip to Chicago last month. We were going to the Notre Dame – Virginia Tech football game at Notre Dame and based ourselves in Chicago. Thing 1 has long wanted to be an architect, so it was great fun (and cold!) to do the boat architecture cruise. She totally got into it. Even Thing 2 paid close attention to all of the history.
I absolutely loved taking the kids to visit my alma mater. They got to see so much of the campus including mom’s dorm, the lakes, the grotto, the golden dome, and of course, the football stadium. It also helped that Notre Dame won the game in last-minute, dramatic fashion! We all had such a great time that we plan to try to make it an annual tradition. And the best part was that Thing 1 told me she could see herself in college there! Yay! But can y’all give her a scholarship?! $$$$$$$$!!!
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo 2020 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition
For the last couple of years, I’ve served as a wine judge for the annual Rodeo Uncorked! Wine competition which benefits the educational initiatives of the state’s youth. Since inception, the Houston Rodeo has raised over $500 million in education support. So totally #winning that I get to drink wine for the kids! It’s always great seeing my fellow wine judges (some of which I only see once a year) and slogging though thousands of wines. This year we had over 3,500 entries! For a closer behind the scenes look, you can check my recap here.
So that’s it for November 2019. Be sure to come back soon as I try to condense all of this year’s bottles into my 10 most memorable!