Bon Vivant: (n) a person having cultivated, refined, and sociable tastes especially with respect to food and drink.

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A Sensory Delight

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Cocktails, DC events, Drink Well, Events, Foodie

It started with the invitation.  I’m a sucker for snail mail, but almost missed the chic and creative envelope hiding among bank statements and bills.  It was unlike any other industry event I’d attended and I was immediately intrigued.  The concept is simple, but novel in this age of social media.

enjoying the cocktai hour

Enjoying the cocktail hour

“You come. You see.  You eat.  You Facebook, Instagram, and tweet. You sip and nosh and connect, then post it to pay your check.”

Longview Gallery‘s industrial chic vibe met Mid-Summer Night’s Dream with fanciful and thoughtful details everywhere I looked. Live jazz played as guest mingled and got snap happy.

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Clever details everywhere: popup popcorn for a popup restaurant

 

I’m pretty happy with any party that starts with a tray of French 75′s being proffered at the door. After mingling and taking in the scene we were seated to a 4 course meal.

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Welcome cocktail: French 75

In a world where every one of life’s mundane details is snapped and documented,  Taylor and Hov Events decided to bring together an event worthy of being documented by foodies, artists and fashionistas from DC’s online community.  The result was extraordinary- everything from the welcome cocktails, design elements, to the food were snap worthy.

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Just one of the fanciful art installations

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It’s hard to make good food for a party this size- it’s even harder to make GREAT food.  Spilled Milk Catering pulled it off with a four course meal that had everyone raving.

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I’m excited to see what concepts this team pulls off in the future!

cheers

 

 

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A Year in Champagne

Posted in: Behind the Scenes, Bon Vivant, Bubbly, Champagne, DC events, Wine Films, Winemakers, Wineries and Vineyards

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of A YEAR IN CHAMPAGNE last weekend and enjoyed the film immensely! Both film and wine buffs will appreciate the behind the scenes peek at the storied wine region.

Viewers are granted both a bird’s eye view of the vines, as well as a look inside the 600 mile labyrinth of Champagne caves undulating underground the tiny but mighty wine region.

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The film follows 6 Champagne Houses, each illustrating a different aspect of the business and history of Champagne.  I was particularly smitten with the smaller, grower Champagne houses. The Diebolt-Vallois clan stole my heart with their wit, whimsy, dedication and hard work, while the 80 year old patriarch of Saint-Chamant showed each bottle being hand-turned.

Bollinger and Gosset, who have helped shaped much of the branding and identity of Champagne, also make appearances, lending balance and juxtaposition to the grower lifestyle.

The film is full of passion, charm, history, and is sure to leave you thirsty for your favorite bubbly!

There are two screenings for A Year in Champagne in the DC area starting tomorrow, each accompanied by Champagne tastings.

3/4/15, 7:00 PM, Fairfax, VA  Angelika Film Center & Cafe Buy tickets here

3/4/15, 7:00 PM, Washington, DC  Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market Buy tickets here

 

A Year in Champagne will be available for download on iTunes starting March 6.

Watch the trailer for the film here.

cheers
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Bon Vivant on the Road: Texas Wine

Posted in: Bon Vivant, On the Road, Wine Recommendations, Wine Tasting, Wineries and Vineyards

Although Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I expect many will be gorging themselves on wine and chocolate (for pairing tips, check out this post from last year!), I thought I’d return from my writing sabbatical with a bit about where I’ve been and what I’ve been tasting lately!

wine tasting

I recently visited one of my oldest and dearest friends in Dallas, Texas to meet her new baby.  And because I haven’t had much Texas juice before I knew we had to visit a winery while I was there!  At the suggestion of Dallas Wine Chick and Texas Wineaux we headed to nearby Grapevine, TX to check out Messina Hof‘s urban winery- one of the oldest and most award winning wineries in Texas.

urban tasting roomOne thing I was shocked by in Texas was how much of the juice wasn’t actually from Texas.  It was disappointing to see so many grapes being sourced from Lodi, California. Not so with Messina Hof.  They grow their own grapes on their property in Texas Hill Country a few hours away, and so I was able to get an authentic taste of what Texas wine is all about.

Besides the cozy, western feel of the urban winery, they offer wine on tap, which is fermented on site in the small production facility!  Customers can even fill up growlers of their favorite wines!

wine on tap

We were given a tour of the property by Manager, Nathan DeWitt, and Sommelier, Mark Rettig, before going through a tasting of their wines.

I was particular impressed with the Blanc de Bois- a new to me wine that was cultivated in the 1970s at the University of Florida. It had incredible aromatics with a bit of petrol and slate on the nose, mouthwatering acid, and notes of key lime and grapefruit on the palate. In some ways it reminded me of a dry riesling and was extremely food friendly.  Several of us left the winery with a bottle to enjoy later!

The GSM was another stand out.  This Rhone blend (50% Syrah, 41% Mourvedre and 9% Grenache) was easy drinking with plenty of nuance. The medium bodied wine boasted notes of cigar box, blackberry and spicy floral notes- I was reminded of the nasturtiums growing in my childhood home’s garden.

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Tasting Barrel samples in the production room

After visiting another (disappointing) winery down the street, we decided to head back to Messina Hof to finish the day on a high note relaxing in their lounge with a glass of wine. This southerner appreciated the sense of warmth and hospitality, along with the distinct focus on wine education during the tasting.

If you find yourself near Dallas, I highly recommend a stop by Messina Hof in Grapevine.  Tastings are $10 for 5 wine tokens (a few of the reserve wines take 2 tokens.)

The huge variety available will give you a great idea of what’s possible in Texas wine with something sure to please most any palate.  If you’re not sure what to taste just ask the friendly staff for their favorites!

Have you tried Texas wine?

cheers

 

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Decanting wines

Posted in: Bang for Your Buck, Bon Vivant, Drink Well, Wine 101, Wine Facts

I get asked a lot about various wine gadgets, but truth be told, I like to keep things pretty simple.  Great stemware is nice and I’m more than partial to my favorite corkscrew, but one thing that I notice wine drinkers not doing enough of: decanting their wines.

red wine decantingIn addition to aerating wines that need a bit more time to open up, decanters are also ideal for older and unfiltered wines that may have accumulated a bit of sediment.  Plus, they take a regular wine experience from everyday to festive in a flash!

As we move into the colder months, people tend to drink bigger, bolder reds.  Often, these are the most prime candidates for decanting. And while decanters CAN be pricey, they needn’t be! Check out some of my favorite elegant decanters that won’t break the bank- all are under $40!

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Do you decant your wines?

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5 tips to cure a New Years Hangover

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Helpful Hints, Holidays, Tried and Trues

An ounce of prevention goes a long way to alleviating hangovers.  Remember to stay hydrated with water and never drink on an empty stomach!

But, if you happen to be in a bad way, here are 5 tips that can help get you back on your feet:

Re-hydration

My favorites are Blue Gatorade (yes, it has to be blue for me) and Vitamin Water- the kind with Vitamin B. Both are great options for getting fluid and electrolytes back into your system.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B affect how your liver metabolizes toxins and also has a major impact on your energy levels. Check out why Vitamin B can help here!

Advil or Aspirin

Never take Tylenol with alcohol! It is horrible for your liver and can do long term damage.  Stick to Advil, Ibuprofin or Aspirin to relieve that headache.

Eggs

Certain studies have shown that the protein and other compounds in eggs can help alleviate a hangover.  I like to pair mine with an everything bagel.  Not scientific, just a preference;) Check out these other food “remedies” from around the globe! Pickle juice, anyone?

Blowfish for Hangovers*

This little gem can be purchased CVS, Amazon, or your local pharmacy.  It’s an Alka-Seltzer like fizzy tablet that dissolves in water containing aspirin and caffeine.  Advil can be rough on your stomach, but the bubbles help settle your stomach, while the aspirin takes care of your headache and the caffeine attacks the general malaise.  It’s the only “hangover cure” I’ve ever tried that even remotely works. I can also see it being a good solution when you wake up not so feeling great in general. Check them out here.

*Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this product, but the views expressed are entirely my own.

Do you have any preferred hangover “cures”?

cheers

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