Month: August 2009

Raspberry Mojito

We peruse the magazines every once in a while and this time came across a stellar cocktail recipe. If you’ve outgrown the regular mojito that made it’s comeback a few years ago, I implore you to try this raspberry version.  Still refreshing and satisfying on a hot summer day, this creation has a bit more flavor and interest than it’s original counterpart.


  • 2 1/2 oz. Cruzan single barrel rum
  • 1/2 fresh lime (quartered)
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup *we also like plain old simple syrup
  • 4-5 fresh raspberries
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 2-3 splashes chilled brut champagne
  • Just a dash of Chambord

Combine lime wedges, agave syrup, raspberries and mint leaves in a 12 ounce double rocks glass. Muddle contents and add ice. Add Cruzan, Chambord and splash in champagne. Garnish with lime wedge and speared fresh raspberries. Now find that elusive shady spot outside, kick back, and relax!

(Recipe adapted from Wine Enthusiast August 2009, Specialty of Janos Wilder, J Bar, Tucson AZ)

To purchase items mentioned above:,,

El Burro Kick’s Ass!

el burro

Wine snobs- beware! Please, go no further if your delicate sensibilities and palates can’t take the ass kicken’ title and flavor of this affordable yet deliciously drinkable 100% Grenacha wine. I personally sampled this wine a few weeks back, and remembering how much I enjoyed it, decided to blurb on the blog. The brainstorm went a bit like this:

Me (office guru with a tad of wine experience): “Mmm this is a tasty wine! I’ll be the first to admit I can be a bit biased since I pretty much grew up on hearty nappy Cab’s and Merlot  but this wine had all of that bold yet slightly fruity flavor I was looking for.”

Chris (cellar & wine room guy):  “It’s kick ass good” (he doesn’t say much…)

Shawn (owner and buyer): “Smooth, rich and well balanced for a soft and elegant wine. A big wine for a little price!”

Tasting Notes: Vivid purple color with bright red rim; raspberry, cherry fruit on the nose with earthy notes of spice, leather, vanilla, and mocha; full bodied with fine soft tannins and well balanced acidity; raspberry and wild berry fruits give way to a long, smooth, spicy finish. 100% Garnacha.

For $11.99 I dare you to find anything better!

Apéritif & Summer Snacks

It’s no secret. We love food, wine, and everything delicious. Over the years–and because of this obsession–we have become friends with local chefs, restaurant sommeliers, and customers who have shared their tips on what they like, how they  pair it, and how to cook brilliantly. Lately we’ve been obsessed with the apéritif, that magical pre-dinner appetite-stimulating cocktail usually accompanied by light snacks.  If you come to our house Shawn will usually serve a  Pimm’s over ice or  Campari and soda with a blood orange twist along with the following snacks. Substantially more chic and tasty than beer and nachos or vegetable & dips (at least the majority of the time).
As the month of August flashes before our eyes and we make plans to spend the last days of summer with our favorite people, we thought you could also use some of our latest  food ideas regarding the fine art of the apéritif.    PIMMS


Burrata is made from fresh mozzerella and cream and has a rich buttery flavor. It’s best served room temperature. Scoop out burrata and put in the center of a large serving dish. Lightly drizzle a good EVOO and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel. Let your guests spread burrata on crusty bread, which you can make quickly by slicing up a baguette brushing it with EVOO, toasting in the oven, and adding a sprinkling of FdS. We also like to put out a ramekin of olive tapenade for those who want extra flavor.



 Remove pits from (Medjool) dates and replace with a toasted almond. Sauté in a little EVOO for a couple of minutes to carmelize dates. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and serve warm.



Fresh  figs, halve, arrange length-wise on a platter and set aside. In a bowl, combine goat cheese, a drizzle of blueberry jam,  and Fleur de Sel (to taste). Add water, cream, OR milk to thin out consistency. Spoon or use a pastry tip to adorn figs and serve.

fig_drizzle goat cheese

Couture Water Bottles

evian_clWho says water can’t be fashionable?  Celebrated clothing designer Christian Lacroix has officially made his foray into consumer goods with the chic limited edition Christian Lacroix  Evian Water Bottle. 

 These stunning 750 ml glass bottles mark the first time that Evian has brought in a famous designer to helm the project of their yearly limited edition bottle.   They come painted in a beautiful couture white coppice pattern with an adorning ‘Christian Lacroix’ on the bottle itself .

There is absolutely nothing plastic about this bottle, and the quality is as good as it gets!  It even opens with a traditional bottle opener, thoughtful of its true lavish nature.

Now a few words by  Mr. CL himself:  : “It seems that Evian natural spring water has been there all my life. I remember the curly label of my childhood (were they arabesques, elaborate columns?) in the hotels of the lake where our family used to spend holidays. They came the streamlined graphics, like a futuristic and timeless dress of the Sixties, and the small bottles you could find all over the world, the design bottles, collected every winter of that millennium. Life a foretelling. It is therefor an amused and rather proud old friend that I designed these bottles. Draping one with the flowers of success, those that adorn the ‘paseo’ parade capes, like snowy crystal garlands or frost-frozen alpine flowers. Giving the other the silhouette of a princess, a goddess or a mythical creature, a sort of snow fairy in couture garb, crowned with flowers, bejewelled with crystals, “wearing” the familiar range of jagged peaks and ridges, like the flounces of a crinoline.”

What a perfect water for events, conferences, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, engagements, or any other special or commemorative event. 

To purchase:


And then, of course, if you want to get absolutely crazy, you can always get Haute Couture. There are just 99 bottles, of which will be distributed worldwide and auctioned off for charity. The starting bid for these limited edition haute couture bottle is US $1,000.

moet & chandon tasting

Recently we hosted a Moet & Chandon tasting with special guest Benoit Gouez the Chef de Cav of the Champagne house.  This is THE guy who oversees all production and ensures each batch upholds the same standards and flavor profiles for such iconic bottles as White Star and Nectar Imperial.   Besides the usual merriment and fun of our tastings, two wonderful things came from the event: 1. A delicious new cocktail recipe thanks to the Consumer Development Manager who was pouring, and 2. a fabulous new cheese that our cheese monger recommended to have with the champagne.


We sampled four Moet & Chandon Champagnes: White Star Imperial, Rose Imperial, Grand Vintage 2000, and Nectar Imperial. While I’ll admit my personal favorite was the Nectar Imperial with the lesser expensive White Star at a close second, I was even more impressed by the simple addition of a squeezed lime wedge. For those champagne purists, I really do encourage you to try it, that little burst of flavor and acidity took the champagne to a whole new level – and brought out the inherent sweetness of the champagne.


The triple cream ‘fromage’ we sampled with the tasting was out of this world. It was vivid at first and then creamy and altogether heavenly in texture, with a brightness of flavor that I have never had in a cheese before. So what was this miracle cheese? It’s called Brillat Savarin De Seine Et Marne. It’s from Normandy, made from cow’s milk, and a  little on the expensive side at $29.99 a pound,  but truly worth it.

A night of indulgence, and one to remember. Jealous you weren’t there? Better make it to one of our next tastings!