Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 148: Stone Cold Goods

November 25, 2014

In this episode, Jeff reviews two samples from Cornerstone Oregon before the Thanksgiving holiday…

Wines Reviewed:



Cornerstone Oregon 2012 Chardonnay and 2011 Pinot Noir


Stay Rad,


What wine will you be pairing with your Thanksgiving feast?  Leave a comment, and let us know.


Lovin’ That Sake

August 31, 2013

Yesterday was a great day.

Yesterday was pay day.

Yesterday, Kara and I got our Sushi on at CreAsian in Morgan Hill.

Normally, when we go out to sushi, I just get myself some beer or some hot sake.  You’ve seen me bring my own wine out to sushi here and here.


Yesterday I was feeling luxurious!

At least… a little more luxurious than normal.

Peep this cold sake I ordered up…


Yaegaki Filtered Sake

Like most sakes that you order up in the U.S., this rice wine was made in America.  Now, while some of us may be bummed to find that our sake isn’t Japanese, you should be happy to know that this particular sake was made by Kushibiki Reiko… The first female sake master in these United States.  This split of sake cost me eight bucks.

Color: Not much color at all.  Pretty clear.

Nose: The nose on this sake is more floral than anything else.  There’s tons of lavender here, but it is quite fruity.  Think dried apricot and a bit of plums.

Taste: This wine is very viscous and oily on the palate.  Again… it’s very fruity.  More of those plums, along with a bit of juicy fruit gum.  At its core, the sake is earthy and hearty, with just a touch of white flowers.

This is some good, crisp, lively, and exciting sake.

Now, let’s get to the food…


Sashimi Salad

I’ve always been a fan of sashimi.  Just give me some raw slices of fish, and I’m good to go.


Sometimes, I want to eat a little bit more than what is offered up on a traditional sashimi plate.

This is where the sashimi salad comes in!

This thing has just as much, if not more, tuna than the normal sashimi plate, plus a ton of lettuce, seaweed, and rice.  Add the fact that they give you a huge squeeze bottle of sriracha to go with it, and you’ve got a fantastic bowl of Japanese comfort food.


I was lovin’ that sashimi salad…

Almost as much as I was lovin’ that sake.

Stay Rad,


When was the last time you had some sake?  Leave us a comment, and tell us about it.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 110: Pinot Noir and Zinfandel with Dave TheVegetarian

July 7, 2013

In this episode, Jeff and Dave TheVegetarian taste a few wines before dinner…

Wine Tasted:


XYZin 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel


Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Food Tasted:


Homemade Bread with a Trio of Compound Butter


Linguine of Asparagus and Garlic

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite 15 dollar Zin? What’s your favorite wine region for Pinot Noir? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Tomato Stack on a Hot Day

June 30, 2013

I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot out, I don’t want to do much of anything.
In my neck of the woods, we’ve been in the triple digits for the last few days, and are looking at more of the same through most of next week.
It’s unbearable.
The only thing I’m liking about this weather is that the tomatoes that I’ve been growing in the back yard have finally ripened up.


Two Tomatoes. Two Pounds. Too Good.

On a hot day like this, tomatoes are the perfect food.



Substantial… But not too filling.

So, here’s what I made for lunch…


Tomato Mozzarella Stack with Basil and a Balsamic Glaze Drizzle


Just add some Full Sail Lager, and hot ass days like these get hella cool.


Stay Rad,


What do you eat and drink on hot days like these?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

So Excited! I’m Howelling!

January 21, 2013

By now, you’ve got to know that I am a HUGE fan of the San Francisco 49ers…

So when my buddy Dave TheVegetarian invited us over on Sunday to watch the Niners play in NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons, I was all like, “Heck yeah, Foo!”

I had another sample from Cornerstone Cellars, so I decided to bring it over for some good football mojo…


Cornerstone Cellars 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Howell Mountain is one of the more prestigious regions of the Napa Valley when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon.  This effort from Cornerstone has 5% Merlot blended in.

Color: Super dark ruby-red to purple.

Nose: Brambly blackberry and plum fruit with herbs of mint and tobacco and a crack of black pepper.

Taste: Big tobacco and leather notes up front.  Very spicy, but rounded out with good fruits of cranberry and orange zest.  There’s a really good integration of oak, mint, and herbs.  In spite of its big time structure, this wine is mad silky and smooth.

Score: If you’re looking to splurge on a Napa Cab, this is the wine for you.  Big enough to be the star of the night, and stand on its own, this Howell Mountain Cabernet has the balance and acidity to pair with a variety of foods.  I’d love to try this next to a Flank Steak with Chimichurri.  This bad boy deserves all of the 93 points I am giving it.

Speaking of food…


We ate a lot…


A lot of food!

And speaking of scores…

The Forty-Niners won the game, and are going to the Super Bowl!

I wonder what I should bring to the next game?

Stay Rad,


BurGR and Beaujolais: Two Meals. Two Cities. Too Cool.

December 30, 2012

While in Las Vegas for a wedding a few days back, we noticed that Gordon Ramsay had just opened up a new restaurant in the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. Since we were staying there, we were all like, “What the heck? Let’s check it out!”


Gordon Ramsay BurGR


Our view from the table…

To start the meal off right, we ordered up some beer…


And BOY did they have a lot of it!


I got me a Stone Pale Ale

Here’s what we ate…


This Salt and Vinegar Hummus was out of this world…


The Truffle Parmesan Fries were legit…


But this Artisanal Burger with Shaved Prosciutto, Dried Salami, and Reclette Cheese is one of the best burgers I have ever tasted.

Everything about BurGR is fantastic.

The food.

The service.

Even the menu…


I mean… Come on… How cool is this?

Yesterday, we flew from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada to visit my folks.

After picking us up from the airport, we headed out to dinner at Beaujolais Bistro.


This French restaurant does serve Beaujolais, but I was in the mood for something different…


The Saint Cosme 2011 Coetes-du-Rhone is full of bright red fruit, but has a great herbacious, spicy, earthy sensibility. Highly recommended.

Here’s what we ate…


Olives. I love olives.


Mixed Lettuces with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and a Creamy Lemon Dressing


The Muscovy Drake Duck Breast in Blood Orange Sauce was ridiculously juicy and flavorful. The richness of the duck was evened out by the tangy blood orange. The wine made this dish sing.

Oh man…

It’s not that often that one can tout having had two of the best meals of their life in the same week…

I can.

Stay Rad,



Great Food. Good Wine. Not So Good Pairing.

September 4, 2012

Ever since Kara and I spent a weekend in Bodega Bay, I’ve been thinking a lot about Malbecs from Argentina.

Most all of them are made at Bodegas.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while…


Bodega Norton 2010 Mendoza Malbec


The other day, I decided to make some carnitas in my crock pot.

While walking through the wine section at Trader Joe’s, I was thinking of a nice Riesling to pair with the spicy white meat of the pork, but nothing struck my fancy.

Then I was all, “I do have that Malbec at home.  I don’t think it’s gonna go that well with the carnitas, but what the hey.  I’ll give it a shot.  What’s the worst that could happen?”

So I went home and put the carnitas together…


Pork Carnitas on a Corn Tortilla with Greek Yogurt, Hot Sauce, and Cilantro

I’m usually not one to toot my own horn, but…

Toot toot!

This was the bomb!

Tender, juicy, and spicy pork.  Delicious earthiness.

Just great!

The wine wasn’t bad either…

Color: Dark red to black.  Inky.

Nose: Oak, tar, raspberry, and blackberry.

Taste: There’s a good bike tire type of note that I always like.  I like the play between all the red and dark fruits.  Cranberry, blackberry, pomegranate, and black cherry for days.  My only concern is the astringency of the tannins.

Score: This is a solid $10 Malbec.  88 points.

As good as the carnitas and the wine were, the pairing was awful.

The wine lacked the acidity to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  The spice of the dish paired with the astringency of the wine tasted reminded me of a ripe armpit… Not that I’ve ever tasted one of those.

I’ve always heard that two wrongs don’t make a right…


Sometimes, two rights make a wrong.

Stay Rad,


Valley Girl

June 12, 2012

Does this conversation sound familiar to you?

“What do you want to do for dinner?”

“I don’t know.  What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

That was Kara and me the other night.  For a good ten minutes, it seemed, we lazily volleyed back and forth.  Each of us hungry, and yet very content to just lay there on the couch, zoning out with the TV on in the background…

And then it hit me…

“That’s it!” I proclaimed as I jumped out of my seat, “We need to make something happen!”

I dragged Kara to the kitchen, where I pulled out two glasses and a bottle of wine.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“We need inspiration.  Let’s just hang out in the kitchen and drink this wine.  I guarantee that eventually we’ll make something to eat.”

And so we did.

Here’s the wine…

Kara and I picked this up at the Rodney Strong winery in Healdsburg last summer, while celebrating our one year wedding anniversary.  It was 25 bucks.

Color: Dark reddish purple.

Nose: Raspberry, blackberry, and plum fruits are all present on the nose.  There are subtle hints of tobacco leaf as well.

Taste: Nothing subtle on the palate.  This wine is ALL TOBACCO!  I mean… Big time!  There a good plum fruit to this, and some nice lavender notes, but what you will remember is the big leathery tobacco structure.  The website says to enjoy this over the next 3 – 6 years, but I think the Rodney will still be going Strong (See what I did there?) for the next 10.  The tannins were a tad bit astringent on the finish, but one would expect that to fade over time.

Score: A fantastic 92 point effort from Rodney Strong.  I highly recommend the Alexander Valley, girl.

I got so mesmerized by the wine, that I didn’t even notice that Kara was fixing up something proper in the kitchen.  The next thing I knew, she slid this over to me…


Rosemary, spinach, and walnut pesto pasta with crusty bread. Mmmmmmmm…

There was a very pleasant piney mintiness to the pesto.  When combined with the tobacco flavors of the wine, there were some really neat chocolate notes that came out of the Cabernet.

What a great dinner.

Sure, Kara made the meal, but I like to think that my drinking wine had something to do with it.

Stay Rad,


Taco Tuesday

April 11, 2012

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that make me smile.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at Champs Family Bar & Grill, they serve up these dope ass tacos for a dollar a pop.

Since Kara and I are on vacation this week, we decided to hit up Champs this Tuesday…


For starters, I ordered a Chavela (Beer w/ lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, tapatio, and chili salt).


And here's the tacos (Clockwise from top left: Carne Asada, Pork, Chicken, and Talapia)!


And, of course, you've gotta get some calamari.


Good thing Taco Thursday is just a day away.

Stay Rad,


The House of Thevegetarian: A Bordeaux Vertical w/ Enough Food to Make a Man Grow Horizontally.

July 10, 2011

Remember when I asked you to pick which wine I should drink?

Fine then!  Go here to refresh your memory.

One of the wines I featured was this guy…

Chateau Ballan-Larquette 2006 Bordeaux

At the end of the post, this guy (the winemaker for Chateau Ballan-Larquette) asked me to let him know what I thought about it.


The other day at BevMo, I was checking out the wines for the 5 Cent Sale (again… a total scam), and I found that they had the 2007 and 2009 vintages of the exact same wine I already had.  I decided right then that I had to purchase those other vintages and do a vertical tasting.

The problem is, 3 bottles of wine is just too much for one man to drink alone (1 bottle is too much).  So I needed to make an event out of it.

That’s where the Thevegetarians come in.

Dave Thevegetarian has been my best friend ever since we were in third grade.  Third grade, man!  If you want to figure out how long we’ve been friends, take the age that you are supposed to be when you’re in third grade (I’m too lazy to ask my Kara.  She teaches third grade.) and subtract that from 33.  That’s about how many years we’ve known each other, or something.

Dave and his wife, Kara Thevegetarian, both happen to be vegetarians, coincidentally.  They love throwing dinner parties.  I would invite the Thevegetarians over for dinner at my house more often, but I doubt they would eat my Blue Cheese Burgers.  They had us over for dinner last Friday.

“You bring the wine,” Dave told me, “and I’ll make some dope food for you, home boy.”  In spite of Dave Thevegetarian’s odd choice of words, I pulled my three bottles from the old wine fridge along with a little bubbly, grabbed Kara by the hand, and headed over to the House of Thevegetarian.

“It’s on!” I shouted.

“Oh brother!” Kara responded.

We arrived at 6:30 pm to a table loaded with vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and a cork screw.  I opened up the three bottles of Chateau Ballan-Larquette and arranged them thusly…

Chateau Ballan-Larquette 2006, 2007, 2009, and vegetarian goodness.

While waiting for the wine to breathe a little, Kara Thevegetarian poured us each a glass of this…

Clos La Chance 2009 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc. Why it was kept in the vegetable crisper is beyond me.

I’ve always been a fan of Clos La Chance.  So much so, that KaraIsRad and I were married there.

See! I told you!

The Clos La Chance 2009 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc is a grassy lemon/lime machine.  The perfect aperitif on a hot summer day.  I’m not giving you a score for this one, ’cause I didn’t take any notes on it.  Let me just say that I recommend it.

On to the vertical tasting…

The Cateau Ballan-Larquette is a “value” Bordeaux.  The list price for this one is $19.99.  At BevMo, you will pay that much for it during the 5 Cent Sale, but when it’s not on “sale” you should be able to get it for about 15 bucks.  This wine is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc.  It spends 12 to 18 months in steel and cement tanks.

Up first…


Color:  Ruby red with a little rust.

Nose:  Chalk (I love chalk), Cola, Green Bell Pepper.

Taste:  This wine is GREEN!  Bell peppers for days!  There is also a spicy black pepper component.  Good acidity.  There is a little bit of bacon fat in this one which really brings the whole thing together.

Score:  A solid 88.  Solid!

How about some food?

Roasted Asparagus Soup by Dave Thevegetarian.

Up next…


Color: Same ruby color as the first.  Maybe a little darker.

Nose:  Bright Cherry.  A little wood shop action too (Strange, since to my knowledge this wine is not oaked).

Taste:  Very green with some SHARP tannins.  Sour Cherry.  Acid.  A little rubbery bike tire thing.

Score:  I originally gave this one an 87, but after the tasting was completed I gave it a retaste.  It just doesn’t hold up to the other two wines.  I now give it an 86-.

Note:  I bought this wine two weeks ago at the 5 Cent Sale.  All of the vintages at Bev Mo were 2009, but I found this one tucked in the bin.  At Bev Mo, they display their wines upright at room temperature.  There is a strong possibility that this bottle was sitting around the store for two years before I bought it.  Not being stored properly, this bottle may not represent the 2007 vintage properly.  Two questions:  A) Have any of you tried the 2007 Ch. Ballan-Larquette and have notes to share?  B) Would any of you ever buy an odd-vintaged wine that was not stored properly?

What?  You want more food?  Okay…

Stuffed Zucchini Crumble. It tasted WAY better than it looks.

Alright.  More wine…


Color:  Same as the rest.

Nose:  Blueberry.  Cocoa.  Chalk (I love chalk).  I’m looking at my notes from Friday.  It says “DOPE!”

Taste:  Bell Pepper.  There is this sweet lacquered wood taste to it.  See that table in the picture above.  Imagine taking a bite out of that, but in a good way.  There is also a cranberry and white pepper component.

Score:  The 09 was my favorite.  It edged out the 06 because it was a little more complex.  Give it an 89+.

For fun, I also had the other folks rank the wines before I revealed my scores.  Here’s what they said…

KaraIsRad: She liked the 07 the best.  It was followed closely by the 09 which barely edged out the 06.

Kara Thevegetarian: She also thought the 07 was the best, but she liked the 06 better than the 09.

Dave Thevegetarian:  He was very much in my camp, scoring the 09 as the top wine (followed by the 06 and 07).

The takeaway for me was that this is a wine that can be consumed young.  If you are going to hold it for a while (I had mine for 3 years), make sure that you store it properly.  Put it in a cool place if you do not have a wine fridge, and keep them on their sides.  Decanting for 15 minutes to a half and hour is a good idea.  The 07 did start tasting off after a few hours, but again… I think it was doomed from the start.  I am looking forward to tasting more wines from Ch. Ballan-Larquette.

What?  MORE FOOD?!?!?

Baked ziti of smoked mozzarella. Like a circus, this dish was "in tents"!

After the business of the night was done with, we had a really fun time hanging out.  We even had a dance off.

Here is what my camera saw…

Sparkling white wine paired with sparkling bon fire.

Emile's California Champagne by Guglielmo.

Croatian Fig Brandy. Yikes!

Good times, but now I’m hungry…

Dave called my bluff and brought me some fruit. What a sweetheart.

Stay Rad,


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