Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blue Bottle Giant Steps

First thought, Paul Bunyan. This brew is BIG. Giant Steps is definitely named appropriately. This coffee will wake you up, BIG. A great choice for those who like to put Milk and Sugar in their coffee, seeing as how it is seriously strong. I take mine black and it's a little too strong for me and a bit bitter. If I went back tomorrow and the Mint Plaza location was serving this again, I wouldn't get it, I would go for a savory latte. No Giants for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2006 Tin Roof Chardonnay

"Nothing but Money, is sweeter than Honey" ~Ben Franklin

And Nothing is Honey like this tin roof chardonnay. At first sniff I knew I was going to really dig this wine. My sniffer did not let me down, this wine has a great effervescence paired with a smooth drinkabilty all wrapped up with a long honeysuckle finish. It made me think of playing out in my Grandmother's yard. I drank this wine over two nights with my wife and a friend, and it stayed great the second time we opened the wine. This wine is a great value, coming in at a whopping $9 from BevMo. I'll be buying plenty more of this wine. I can't think of a better weeknight wine than this tin roof for $9. BUY THIS WINE!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2006 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley

I got a call last Friday night from my wife saying she was at the Press Club, a new Wine Tasting spot in Downtown SF. I have to say my excitement level was high, having heard great things about the mysterious cave-like venue. My palate was fresh and ready for some tasty wines. I was in luck. I picked their top-of-the-line Chardonnay, coming in at $8 a taste it was a little pricey. The flavor was spectacular, not to oakey but not to clean either it was a perfect mix, not to mention one the best finishes I've had on a Chardonnay. The finish on this wine was long and tasty. Seriously though the Almond Butter finish really did last at least two minutes. I loved this wine and I loved the Press Club. I'll see you all there soon! Retails for around $70.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blue Bottle Mexican Nayarita

Unexpected long line at Mint Plaza Locale on a Friday morning at 8:45...

This was one of the best cups of coffee I've had in a really long time. The coffee had a tons of flavor, no bitterness, and overall the coffee was a complex cup of joe. The beans were locally roasted in Oakland on the 16th of this month. For my first time trying the Nayarita, I gotta say that I'll be requesting this the next time I stop by my local Blue Bottle. Now, I'm a purist when it comes to coffee so even though I had to run to work, I didn't want to put on the plastic lid, because to me it really does taste like plastic. So with my burning hand (forgot to get a sleeve) and tasty coffee, I sloshed through the tourists and street peeps' to my job. By this time I still had a masterpiece in a cup, but it was cold.... So what did I do? I made some Iced coffee adding some Ice (Duh) and a little milk and sugar. Walah! A new creation to help me get through the morning. Do try the Mexican Nayarita, even if the name sounds like a virus you'd get on a fishing trip to the Gulf, It'll be worth it I promise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

REVISITED. After I told everyone to go buy this wine immediately, I did it myself. I could only find a 2008, and to my disappointment it wasn't the same. The flavors weren't developed and it gave me an extremely bad headache after only two small glasses. I have to admit at first I had the wine too cold, since it wasn't refrigerated in Safeway, I popped it in the freezer and forgot about it for a while. Even after letting it warm down to optimal temperature, the flavors just weren't there. The Gummy Bears were non-existent and the party was over.

2007 Beyerskloof Pinotage

Inky and earthy, this wine was very intriguing, begging for me to drink more. A friend from South Africa brought this South African beauty to work. A blend between the Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes, this wine was overall very interesting and drinkable to the MAX. If you can find this wine locally, pick up a bottle and enjoy with friends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Four Barrel Coffee

I forgot my flannel shirt today when I went into this mission spot. I guess they reward you with a job if you have yours on.... The flannel was fitting though, The coffee was dark and tasty and I pictured loggers stopping in to fill there Stanley Coffee Thermos. It was like an Unfiltered Hefeweizen. I think I might have gotten the end of the press, because it reminded me of the last cup of a French Press. The Flanneled guys here do in fact French Press the freshly grounded coffee, but then they put the coffee in a canister and dispense from there. The space is really nice and if go before 9 you pretty much have your pick of seats.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2005 Ravenswood Syrah Sonoma County

I think this will be the first negative posting about a wine. Having recently taken the Simi tour I finally put an end to the Shiraz-Syrah debate. It's genetically the same grape. I was interested to try one since it was fresh on my mind. This bottle was a dud. I would not recommend buying this wine. There are hundreds of other wines in this price range that would be far superior. My reasoning is that this wine was pretty plain and weak. Not much flavor paired with a watery feel made for an ehhhh.... response. I'll post a good Syrah in the days to come. For now drink some Kim Crawford or a Ravenswood Zin. Retails for $14.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is simple but really fun to drink. It has plenty of gummy bear flavors that keep you guessing the fruit that it tastes like. Nor that I really pay attention to wine ratings, but this wine got 91 pts (out of 100).Retailing for around $14 (at BevMo), I'd say DRINK THIS WINE! In fact I'm going to go get some for myself today.

cora's coffee shop

This is a cool little shop on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, Ca. When I first walked in the silvery Illy cans drew disappointment. Now I don't know what it is about Illy that turns me off, somewhere along the line I've gotten the perception that they suck. Maybe it's because a lot of small time cafes tout that they proudly serve Illy, and there coffee is always burnt and horrible. So this was my expectation while walking in to cora's. At first sip, It's in a category I'll call a Cracker Barrel coffee. Light and easy to throw back a few cups (which definitely has it's occasion). But as I got my food, the coffee really paired nicely with toast and butter, bringing out some good flavors. The good news is it was a brew that didn't get bitter when it gets cooler. For me that's what sets a good coffee apart from a coffee that's pretending to be good. What does the coffee taste like when it's not blazing hot, or a little less than warm for that matter. So I have to give the Illy coffee by cora's coffee shop props, it proved to be a good cup when it was all said and done. As far as food goes, this place is top-notch. Burrata caprese omelette is money.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Simi Winery Part One (non-chardonnay whites)

This is one of my favorite places to visit. Hands Down. The people are always friendly and the tours are great. If you go in the summer time they have an amazing back patio with a wood burning pizza oven that will pair perfectly with a yummy chardonnay. I'll list them in the order of tasting. All of the wines below are Simi wines.

1. 2007 Viogner - Alexander Valley
I'm not big on sweet wines but this one was light enough to sip in the summer or even with dessert. Very refreshing and Light. (Only available at winery) $30

2. 2007 Pinot Gris - Russian River
There must be pieces of Heaven in the Russian river soil, you can hardly go wrong with a white from Russian River. This white was also Light and Refreshing with a honey after taste. This wine would be perfect with some goat cheese and honey on a lightly toasted baguette. MMMMM!!!! (Only available at winery) $20

3. 2007 Sauvignon Blanc - Sonoma County
This wine was in steel instead of oak so it has a more refreshing, less buttery, oakey taste. This wine had some flowery flavors that were a little to fru-fru for me. ( You can get this wine at BevMo, It's in the $15 range.... if you want to taste and smell flowers)

4. 2006 Sauvignon Blanc - Alexander Valley
I never thought that a wine described as "licking the barrell" would be appealing, but this wine was really nice. It was kept in steel for the first half of it's life and then was put in oak. The description said it had gummy bear notes. I would agree. BUY THIS WINE. (Only available at winery) $23

in part two I'll get to the Chardonnays, my favorite.

Good Wine in '09

So it's been too long since I've been able to post about wine. Don't worry I haven't quit drinking it, I've just been too busy to write about it. So let's pick up where I left off in the next posting, Simi Winery tour and tasting.

Urth Cafe

Today I had the OLD GRANDPA roast and it was the perfect roast for a late cup of coffee. It's the kind of roast that you want to savor and sit a while and think about life. I'm usually not one to enjoy a sweetish (not Swedish) cup of coffee but the OLD GRANDPA roast had the perfect combo of strength and flavors one could ask for. I couldn't get the exact date the beans were roasted, but the lady that took my money assured me that there were roasted freshly within a week. I bought her story.