Posts Tagged ‘Panini’

Wine and Tomatoes

August 6, 2013

It’s summertime in California!

With all the delicious, seasonal foods available this time of year, Kara and I have made a habit of hitting up the farmers market as much as possible.  Recently, I’ve been really happy with the quality of tomatoes that we’ve been picking up.

Check out what Kara put together for us last night…

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Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil and Balsamic Drizzle

To go along with it, I made a far less impressive sandwich…

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Mozzarella and Tomato Panini on Whole Wheat

For such a simple, rustic, and inexpensive summertime meal, I had to pour the perfect wine to go with it…

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Tedeschi 2011 Lucchine Valpolicella Classico

I have been a fan of the wines of Valpolicella for a couple of years now (thanks in large part to Jonny Brandy for telling me to check this region out a while back).  While this area is probably more well-known for its higher-end Amarones and Ripassos, the entry-level Valpolicellas offer a great quality of wine for the price.  I picked up the 2011 Tedeschi at Vintage Wine Merchants in San Jose for only fourteen bucks!

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: While the nose was quite tight when I originally opened the bottle, there were some pretty, woodsy and dark berry notes with subtle hints of bright cranberry.

Taste: This wine is straight earthy!  Tons of soil, forest floor, and crimini mushroom flavors took center stage.  There were nice notes of cranberry fruit on the mid-palate, which gave way to a long, lemony, acidic finish.  As the wine opened up over time, some serious, dark, dried fruits began to take over.

Score: While the wine was a good representation of Valpolicella, it came off as a bit too thin on the mid-palate.  This is a solid 88-pointer that is worth checking out.

Food Pairing: The tomato salad was very fresh and vibrant.  When paired with the wine, I noted a nice expression of cranberry and black pepper flavors.  The buttery and starchy bread from the panini did a good job of highlighting the earthy flavors from the wine.

Do yourself a favor…

Pair yourself a wine with a tomato dish.

You know it’s gotta work…

Tomatoes and wine both come from vines.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite fresh tomato-based dish? What wine would you pair with it? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Wine on Tap

September 15, 2012

Look…

I love San Jose.

I love it.

It’s where I went to college.

It’s where I work.

It’s where I lived for my entire 20’s.

In late 2009, Kara and I moved to the neighboring city of Morgan Hill.

As much as I love MH, it’s a world away from SJ.

Unlike other bordering cities like Los Gatos, Campbell, and Santa Clara, Morgan Hill has a good stretch of country between it and San Jose.

Consequently, outside of going to work, I don’t spend as much time in San Ho as I used to.

Luckily, there are plenty of places that keep calling me back to my favorite city.

About a year ago, my buddy Dave introduced us to The San Pedro Square Market.  It’s a collection of shops and eateries in downtown San Jose where you can meet up with friends to get a bite to eat, some dope drinks, and just hang out.

Last night, Kara and I decided to hit up a wine bar inside the Market called Vino Vino.

The slogan of this place is “Wine Without Attitude”.  The idea is that they focus on serving good wine and food in a laid back “neighborhood bar”-type of environment.

While they do offer wines by the bottle, most folks tent to gravitate towards the local wines that they offer on tap for eight dollars a glass.

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Wines on Tap

Before I get to the wine, I wanted to show you the dope Panini I had for dinner…

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Italian Meat and Cheese Panini and Seasonal Mixed Greens in Lemon Vinaigrette

A textural and flavorful sensation…

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But that wine looks good too…

I was very familiar with the majority of the local wines that they had on tap, so I was stoked to see that they carried a few wines from Nottingham Cellars of Livermore… A winery that I’d never heard of.

My first glass was the Nottingham Cellars 2010 Awakening GSM.  This Rhone style blend is made of 57% Syrah, 28% Mourvedre, and 15% Grenache.  I was very happy with its balance of juicy red fruit and racing acidity.  It’s a perfect wine to pair with (you guessed it) an Italian Meat & Cheese Panini.

Next up, I tried the Nottingham Cellars 2009 Aguirre Vineyard Malbec.  This one showed much more restraint in its red fruit… While present, the juice gave way to a nice, earthy herbaciousness.  This is not an Argentinian fruit bomb.  It’s much better.

I recommend trying either of these wines on tap.  For eight bucks a glass, you really can’t go wrong.

In fact…

I kind of wish I had one right now.

Yet another reason to take a quick trip to San Jose.

Good thing I know the way.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Still Facing My Fear… and ready to #CrushIt!

July 23, 2011

A while back, you read about my life-long hatred of eggs.

What’s that?

You didn’t?

How dare you!

Click here to catch up.

Now as gung-ho as I was about attacking all of the recipes in Jodi Liano’s “Egg” book

"Eggs" by Jodi Liano. You know what time it is! Yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh Boooooooooyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

writing the post about it, and reliving the Hulkster’s Powerful Protein Shake experience was really tough for me. The more I wrote, the sicker I felt.  After I published the entry, I avoided eggs for about a week.

Now look…

I’m not one to give up so easily.  All I needed was a little BREAK from the EGGS (You like that one?).

A few days ago, I decided to jump back on the egg wagon.  Here’s what I made…

Jeff and Kara in a Hole.

I really liked this one.  The letters that I cut out of the bread were a little too small.  As the egg was frying in the hole, a lot of it piled on top of the bread.  This increased the cooking time, and made for a messy presentation… But… It was delicious.

Kara would have liked it to be a little more runny, but I’m beginning to like mine over hard.

This morning, I made this…

Egg, Bacon, and Smoked Mozzarella Panini

Now, in the book, Jodi uses brie, but I had some smoked mozzarella that I wanted to finish off… so I did.  I got the ciabatta and bacon from Trader Joe’s.  One problem was that the ciabatta loaf was too fat, so the panini could not get as flat as I would have liked.  Another issue was the bacon.  Trader Joe’s is a nice store.  I love it.  Their bacon selection, however, is HORRIBLE.  I got this crappy turkey bacon that did not get anywhere as crisp as I would have liked.  Next time, I’m going to Safeway to get me some real crispy pork action.

By the way, the sandwich was f-ing AWESOME!  I can only imagine how good it would have been with better ingredients.

Okay…

So…

Here’s the deal…

Since we returned from Healdsburg, I haven’t tasted any new wines… but I have been reading a lot recently.  I wanted to share some of these books with you.

I know.  I know.  This is a wine blog, so let’s see if we can tie in some wine…

When I was in high school, I was in a punk rock band called The Willies.

I'm the skinny kid, practicing my punk rock jumps with a mic in my hand.

A few weeks back, my old friend and drummer, Nick Thedrummer, suggested that I read “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

“I know Gary!” I wrote back to Nick.  “I’m a huge fan of his video blogs Wine Library TV and Daily Grape.  He even follows me on Twitter.  I just don’t know if I want to read a book about business.”

“Just read it, dude.”

A few days later, I was kicking it with my buddy Dave Thevegetarian when I meantioned Gary’s book.  Dave was all, “I’ve got Crush It right here.  You want to borrow it?”

"Crush It!" by Gary Vaynerchuk... and you should too.

I was all like, “Sure.”

The book is a quick 142 page read (including two appendices).  It’s all about tapping into things that you are passionate about, creating blogs, and using social media to build your personal brand.  This book is very entertaining, and… dare I say it… inspiring.  I was just a few weeks into this blog when I read Crush It, and have since been inspired to take on the world.  If you like blogs…  If you have a Facebook or Twitter account…  If you are passionate about anything… You must read this book!

One of the things that Gary preaches in his book is to become an expert on your passion, by reading as much as you can on the topic.  So last week, I picked up this…

"Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" next to some spheres inside some cubes.

This well-written 338 page textbook is the number one selling book about wine in the world.  Kevin takes the reader through a step-by-step guide on getting to know all the wines on the planet.

Right now, I’m in the middle of Class One: The White Wines of France.  I am stoked on the way he presents information in this book.  Zraly makes wine a whole lot easier to understand.  If you like wine, and want to know more about it… Grab this book!

As interesting as Windows on the World is, I’m realizing how much more I have to learn about the subject of French wine (and wine in general).  The good news, according to Zraly, is that the best way to understand wine is to TASTE it.

Looks like someone’s gonna have to make a run to the wine shop and make a raid on the Alsace section.  Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris better watch out… None of them are getting out alive!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Bundled up in Gilrory. Music by Naked in Vegas.

June 18, 2011

Sarah's Vineyard is in Gilroy... but not really.

On Friday, Kara and I decided to head over to Sarah’s Vineyard in Gilroy.  Sarah’s is a small winery, tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The breezy climate makes it perfect for Burgundian and Rhone varietals.  I am a big fan of their light style of wine making.

The reason for the trip was to attend their Summer Music Series.  They have a neat patio and lawn area where different local bands will come to play.  The tasting room stays open late to sell their wines by the bottle to enjoy with the music.  You can bring your own picnic, or buy something to eat from whichever catering company is there (it changes from week to week).

Kara and I brought homemade Brie Paninis with Mango Chutney, Turkey (for me), and Spinach.  We also bought a bottle of the Sarah’s Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir for $15.

Sarah's Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir and Kara's foot 2011.

Color:  This Pinot had a cloudy dull red color.  You could recreate that color by mashing a bunch of over-ripe roma tomatoes into a paste and adding water and a pinch of dirt.  I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but I must say it looked fantastic.  See…

Tomatoes and Dirt and Awesome!

Nose:  There was a nice whiff of smoke, butter, and pepper.  As I took a bit more in, I noticed a rubbery cola aroma.  Nice!

Taste:  This Pinot Noir had a very meaty and buttery taste on the palate, rounded out with a touch of cherry cola.  On the finish, a touch of cranberry and walnuts became present.

I really liked this wine.  I also appreciate that Sarah’s did not jack up their prices for the event.  I give it a solid 87.

As the sun began to set, the wind really started to pick up. It got hella cold, hella quick.  The cover band, Naked in Vegas, was alright.  They were not, however, good enough to keep our cold asses at the vineyard after we had finished our bottle of Pinot Noir.

Naked in Vegas? More like bundled up in Gilroy!

Don’t worry, Sarah’s Vineyard, we will be back.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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