posso avere un cappuccino por favore!

I saw this link on another blog i frequently visit, jimseven, I had to post on here as well. If there is anyone reading that doesn't know me directly, I along with many friends studied architecture in Italy a couple years ago. For me, among many other things, it marks my discovery of coffee. I had been drinking coffee to stay awake in studio for a little while by then, but it wasn't until my daily cappucini that I truly developed a love for espresso. So, if you would like read why "Marco Lion, the head of Italy's parliamentary agriculture commission, is worried that the "true identity of Italian coffee" could be lost because, he says, many cafes in Europe do not have the faintest idea how to make a good cup." click here to read more.


top 5

Time for some interaction from the readers. I have yet to receive a comment on my new blog; so, either no one is reading the blog or I just have not been interesting enough to elicit any kind of response from the reading body. In an effort to get some people involved, I want to hear what everyone's top 5 favorite things in the kitchen are. First, I will share my top 5 favorite things in my kitchen.

Everyone has a favorite knife. One that no matter what needs chopping, dicing, or mincing always ends up in your hand. This J.A. Henckel knife is awesome. I love the way it feels in my hand whether I am chopping some basil or carving up a chicken breast.

2_the mixer.

Alright alright I will admit that one of the reasons this is in my top 5 of the kitchen is because it is cool as hell looking. I love the way this looks on my counter. I have only used it a couple time in the year that we have owned this fabulous piece of machinery. But, it does look pretty damn cool and don't act like that pink isn't the bomb.

3_the coffee cups
I love these cups. My wify got me these for Christmas last year. they are a bit big for an espresso and a bit small for a black coffee. But, they are perfect for a macchiato (my favorite espresso based drink). I have been trying for the past year to master a macchiato, I have been struggling a bit with the espresso extraction, but that is a different post for a different time.

4_the Emeril pans

This is a beautiful pan set. Whether or not you are an aspiring chef on a budget or a seasoned vet, you can't go wrong with this set of hardware. And, they look pretty on your stove top.

5_the wine opener

All the way from Chianti.


The Chocolate Block

Last night some friends, my wife, and I all decided to venture north a couple blocks and enjoy the 2007 art fair at the Country Club Plaza. Before we left we met at my house and partook in some hors d'oeuvres and wine. We started the night with a bottle brought back from Sonoma, Artessa's Element (blend of Cabernet sauvignon (51 %), merlot (29 %), syrah (15 %), others (5 %)) it was delicious. We intended on just drinking one bottle; however, the wine (as it usually does) just made us want more wine. So, to get to the original point of this entry, the second bottle we opened was a bottle simply called The Chocolate Block. This wine was very unique. I can't say that I have ever had any wine quite like this one. It seemingly is a combination of every wine under the sun, blended delightfully to create flavors of liquorice, mint, and kitchy enough...chocolate. The nose was big and bold soaked in sulfur. As far as texture, this 2003 is prime and ready to dink right now. I am very glad we decided to open that second bottle. I had two of these Chocolate Blocks just sitting in the wine fridge waiting for that random day when I decide to dip into the library wine. If we had not opened this bottle last night I would not have known that I probably shouldn't put off drinking the second one for much longer than another year. So, to wrap this up. I bought this wine 2 years ago and Tchopitoulas ( a since closed, fabulous little wine/coffee shop in the crossroads of KC) I was waiting to dink it with the misconception that it was one of those wines that can sit in a cellar for 15 years before it peaks, when in fact it is perfection right now. If you are lucky enough to have this bottle in your collection or happen to come across this bottle in a store...buy it and drink it now. You will enjoy this smooth, sensual wine with an almost complete absence of tannins (hints the wines lack of ability to age much further). If I were to do it all over again, I would drink it with some bitter sweet chocolate or some other food that offers a hint of sweetness.


the VINO

Alright, I know it has been entirely too long since my last entry, and being that this blog is only a few weeks old...that is Busch league. I apologize.

So, about the wine. While the California buzz is beginning to wear off I still feel it necessary to at least briefly speak of the wine we tasted and enjoyed. It would take me a week to simply name all the wine we tasted, that is assuming I can remember them all, so I will just mention a few of the front runners.

2003 Opus One:$165.00
While this particular wine is fantastically delicious, I would definitely have a hard time spending 165 dollars a bottle. I am not gong to sit here and tell you that I don't see what's so special about it, because I do. It is damn good. The wine has a velvety softness that is balanced perfectly with an ample, not overbearing, amount of tannins in the finish. Even though the wine served in the Opus One Partner's room (fancy name for tasting room) was a bit young, the winemaker suggests letting the wine rest for five to seven years, it tasted extremely well balanced had a barrage of flavors attacking the tongue. I would recommend that if you ever have the opportunity to taste this wine, take it. However, I cannot endorse the price tag.

2000 Seven Lions Winery Zinfandel: $31.00
This wine definitely gets the Noshery's vote for best taste of the visit. I have a special place in my heart for a good Zin. I love the big, bold, wrap your tongue up flavors that a great California Zin gives you. Notes of cherry, tobacco, and leather smoothly move through your mouth and then the tannins hit, big and bold, perfectly balanced with the fruit. I loved this wine. Unfortunately, the winemaker has recently passed away and apparently the winemaker and the family whom ownes the winery were very close. So close that they decided to, instead of seeking out a new winemaker to continue the operation, close up shop. This fantastic boutique winery is done producing this old world style wine. I read a review that put it this way. If you are lucky enough to find this bottle, buy three. One to drink now and two to save.

2000 Camelia Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon: $35.00
This is the last wine I am going to write about tonight. I decided to include this wine because it was the best cab sav I had while in wine country. Every single place we visited was pouring a cab sav and every single place said it was the specialty of the winery. Only one stood up to what I would expect a 'specialty of the winery' wine to taste like. This wine was everything you want in a cabernet sauvignon. It was a beautiful dark purple, with deep flavors of black cherry and plumb with very present but soft tannins, a lingering finish that leaves you desperate for another taste. I tasted this wine with a semi-sweet 70% cocoa chocolate and I must say, it was awesome. I definitely recommend this wine if you can find it. I am under the impression that this wine is not sold in liquor or wine stores, but is available online. Having said that, go online and buy two bottle when you get a chance.

A wine lover once told me that when you find a wine you like, buy two bottles. One for tonight and one for the library.



The nosh in San Fran

This past week I spent time in San Francisco as indicated in the previous post. I was extremely looking forward to a new experience with dungenous crab. I am pleased to say that my anticipation was met with joyous flavors. When we arrived in San Fran we rented a car and headed straight for Fisherman’s Wharf. Let me paint a bit of a picture for you.

I expected a place called fisherman’s wharf to be extremely commercialized and touristy when in fact it seemed exactly the way I would imagine a fishing pier to be on the coast of main. The crab shacks were rough and a bit dirty. Not a dirty in a way that makes you want to steer clear, but dirty in the way that a hole in the wall bbq joint in Kansas City serves ribs on newspaper. A sort of authentic dirty. A sort of attractive dirty. A much different scene from the nearby Pier 39, which in my mind is the Disney world of piers.
My first dungenous crab meal was a crab cocktail consisting of the crab meat from different parts of the crab. I believe meat from the claw, knuckles, and body of the crab was all included in the cocktail. I simply dropped a tiny bit of cocktail sauce on top and enjoyed the hell out of it. It was delicious.

My second experience with this beautiful crab was in the form of a sandwich. After a long morning of site seeing in the bay area we decided one last crab meal on the water was in order. We went back to the same stretch of crab vendors on Fisherman’s Wharf and dined on the delicious fish before boarding the plane and heading back to KC. This time however, I decided on a large hoagie style bun stuffed with a crab salad of sorts. It seemed to me that the salad consisted of about 99% crab and a splash of mayo (just to hold it all together). The crab was fresh enough and delicious enough to stand strong and sweet almost entirely on its own. Simple and divine. Needles to say, my experience with dungenous crab was a fantastic one.

Deep Sea fishing

An absolute world of experiences occurred between my two wharf dining experiences. The first being deep sea fishing off the coast of Sausalito. We left our hotel in Sausalito at 430 in the AM. Heading out to sea we floated right under the golden gate bridge and then watched the sun rise behind us over the magnificent piece of engineering. After a two hour boat ride away from land we threw our lines in. We originally began fishing for king salmon by dropping our bated hooks and trolling for a bite. After about two hours of this with no bites to speak of, our captain came out and said that it was too nice of a day to spend it hoping to catch a fish. He asked us if we wanted to head out to sea an extra two hours and fish for rock cod. A much smaller fish than the salmon weighing in at an average of 3 lbs. versus the 45 lb monster of a salmon. However, he said it was almost guaranteed catch. So, we decided to bring up the lines and head out. After a short two hour, beer filled boat ride we arrived at 3 rock islands that these fish call home. All of a sudden the cap through the engines in reverse until we came to a quick stop, stuck his head out his window and yelled throw them in. We did just and that and I am not lying when I say that our lines were not in the water for more than 5 minutes before we started pulling fish on the boat. After about 2 hours we had all caught our limit…10 each. There were nine of us on the boat equaling 90-three pound rock cod. Our deck hand, Alex cleaned all the fish and turned our 90 whole fish into 180 filets.

We had fully planned on eating these fish that night at our hotel in Sonoma until we hit a bit of a snag in the plan. The hotel had no grill for us to use and even if we had one, they would not let us grill on the premises. So what we did next was the best decision we could have made. We had heard the Mexican restaurant across the street was fantastic. So, we went over and simply asked…if we provide the fish, will you cook it and make us fish tacos at no charge if we run up a hell of a bar tab. They took us up on the offer. So, that night we ate the best, freshest, fish tacos I have ever had. The fish was topped with fresh house made pico de gallo on corn tortillas and served with white beans and rice. We were in heaven. Oh, and we did in fact run up one hell of a bar tab that night. We ran the bar entirely out of Pacifico and Corona.

The next morning was the beginning of a three day wine tasting. However, I will continue later with my thoughts on the vineyards we visited in Napa Valley and Sonoma County (from Opus One to Beringer) and a breakdown of the wine we tasted. And, the Noshery’s favorite wine from California (and it's not the wine pictured below).