SMORGASBURG – A unique expanding outdoor diverse Food Festival

May 6th, 2019

Food trucks are everywhere in many large cities today. The variety of food choices available together with their casual fast take away service is becoming increasingly popular. The concept has now been launched at an even a higher level with Smorgasburg. This past weekend in New York experienced both the new Friday afternoon one outside the World Trade Centre and the original 9th anniversary Saturday food market of over 100 food outlet pop-ups together in East River State Park on the Williamsburg waterfront overlooking Manhattan. Also have a Sunday one on Breeze Hill in nearby Prospect Park. Both were jammed with lots of locals and tourists enjoying the wide food choices ranging so diversely from Sudanese snacks, Jamaican dishes, to Canada’s Flying V poutine. Sampled several dishes with the wood burning Pizzas pretty darn authentic and tasty indeed for $13! Six visiting ones from Osaka Japan was a feature this weekend with choices that included a Piedmont fusion idea of Truffle Tajarin with Clam Dashi broth for $15. Line-ups everywhere with lobster rolls from Lobsterdamus, Big Mozz mozzarella sticks, and watching fascinating Chinese JingBing crepe sandwiches freshly made. Home Frite hand cut potatoes brined roasted and fried with gourmet sauces including home made ketchup were addictive to your scribe. A really fun family outing being enjoyed by so many. It is a worthwhile “foodie” knowledge lesson even if you don’t eat but you will be tempted to try something. Expansion mode is on with Los Angeles, Japan, and Brazil debuting. Perhaps your city will be next. Recommend exploring a Smorgasburg.


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Ask Sid: Recommend region for undiscovered white wine value to pair with food?

May 1st, 2019
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Question: What wine region do you think has the best undiscovered white wine value for pairing with food?

Answer: Tough call as many wine regions around the world are doing an excellent job producing well balanced white wines that match well with food. However with global warming many wineries are picking earlier and trying to preserve natural acidity. Classic Chablis has suffered from recurring frost and hail issues with smaller crops and higher prices. I believe Muscadet (from the western end of the Loire Valley in France) using the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety remains a super value with a fresh crisp style of palate refreshing acidity that is particularly well suited for all preparations of seafood. Some aged complex yeasty examples “sur lie” are still available in the local caves for importing. More are now showing up in wine shops and on restaurant wine lists that are good buys. What region would you suggest?


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EVOO – Quality Food Staple Like Wine – Check Out Domenica Fiore

April 29th, 2019

Your scribe really adores the best of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – almost as much as wine. It is definitely a top 5 food necessity! Lots in common with wine too from terroir to when to use – though EVOO is best the freshest you can obtain it while some wines like Madeira go on forever. Quality varies a lot. My regular go to is the fantastic EVOO from Argiano the winery in Montalcino Italy. However this week enjoying a Herade Do Esporao from the Alentejo wine region in Portugal & a Nekeas Arbequina from the Navarra Coop in Spain. Fun studying the differences in style. Last week had an opportunity from the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada- West to attend an educational seminar on EVOO by proprietario Frank Giustra (who says:”within the oil lies the memory of the land”) of his boutique Domenica Fiore (DF) presented by talented Chef Pino Posteraro. We are so lucky in Vancouver to have Pino who is one of the world’s greatest Italian chefs with his top restaurant Cioppino’s showing us the way. He has such knowledge and passion for top quality food and wine. DF EVOO is 100% traceable to their Estate in Umbria hand selected early harvest starting in October then modern small batch cold extracted within 4 hours and into nitrogen sealed 18/10 stainless steel bottles. Olives used are Frantoio, Leccino, Canino, and Moraiolo grown on trees in fossil rich soils with no pesticides or chemical fertilizers used. DF deserves respect and more recognition for the high quality EVOO they are producing. Superb product.

My fav was the organic Novello Di Notte from the 2018 harvest in 500 ml. format as super premium with fresh outstanding balance & depth from their night harvest. Pino cleverly showed all the selections to advantage with appropriate food matchings from specially morning baked crusty bread to tomatoes to burrata. The Monaco was delicate with dried fruit notes compared with the Reserva that showed more robust & peppery styling. Novello states on the label for consumer assistance as “Fresh and Grassy” while Electus shows “Rich and Spicy”. Veritas served last had a lovely fruity crispness. Also discovered a unique Organic Citrus Balsamic Vinegar made in Italy from lemon juice and grape must aged in Oak barrels by Ritrovo Selections in Seattle. Recommend you check out Domenica Fiore for quality EVOO.


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Ask Sid: Birth year wine to celebrate friend’s 65th?

April 24th, 2019
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Question: A good wine friend is celebrating her 65th birthday this year. Looking for a vintage dated birth year wine gift. Any ideas?

Answer: Often you can turn to a vintage port or Bordeaux. However often difficult to find the less successful years like the 1954 vintage. Suggest you look for a vintage Rivesaltes. I have experienced lots of different vintages of this naturally sweet fortified wine (vin doux naturel) from near Perpignan in France – some beautiful old rancio styled ones. Recently tasted the 1934 vintage birth year tribute to a friend of mine. They seem to produce nearly every year so ask your wine shop to seek one out for you.


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Making Wine Accessible, Fun & Drinkable Is Becoming More The New Focus

April 22nd, 2019

Last week on April 18 in Vancouver was the annual Spring Release Tasting “Bloom” by BC VQA at the Convention Centre. A rare opportunity to learn from just under 100 BC wineries each serving 4 wines- many with new whites from the 2018 vintage. 2018 was cooler than the 5 year average (including extensive smoke cover from wildfires in August blocking sunlight) resulting in some fresh lovely elegant crisp fruity whites with lower alcohol levels. Impressed by the overall presentation with the fun buzz in the room and so many being accessible and easy drinking new wines. In the old days we always were looking most for structure and balance in the wines with age ability but now accessible drinkability has become a most important factor for the younger demographics. Almost anything goes from new grape varieties, unique blends, eye catching labels, fruit bombs and wines with more residual sugar. This was driven home to me by comparing two excellent 2018 pinot gris wines with similar stats of about 13 alcohol, 3.2-3.3 pH, and just over 7 total acidity from the Quill label of Blue Grouse in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and Spearhead from South East Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley. There were of course differences in regional style from the fresh lively no malo Quill one to the richer textured lees & minerals of the Spearhead. However the main obvious difference for this scribe was the residual sugar levels with Quill at 1.7 g/l (perfect with seafood) while Spearhead was higher at 6 (what a delicious drinkable glass of white wine!). Talented winemakers Bailey Williamson of Blue Grouse & Grant Stanley of Spearhead were not looking for specific residual sugar levels but conscientiously seeking to get the very best out the grapes that nature dealt them in 2018. Both are well done indeed. However it spurred in me the reaction of noting the changing emphasis of diverse wines preferred by the present consumer. Planned to write this Blog about it but read this past weekend a wonderful feature in a similar vein well written by Jon Bonne in the Washington Post that I highly recommend to you instead. It states “changes pushed wine toward the lighter and fresher” and “to make wine fun, and accessible”. Check it all out here.


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