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Strong Coffee to Red Wine Posts

Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

I have always heard that if you love what you do, it will never seem like work. No surprise… and a loud duh, I love drinking wine. More than that, I love trying new wines. One of the benefits of blogging about wine is that it forces me out of my comfort zone. I can not become complacent and drink the same style and variety of wine, bottle after bottle. It is essential that I branch out. That said, it has been ages since I purposefully drank a California Cab. My experience with these Cabs. have been challenging at best, finding them to be a…

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Blind Tasting : A Mutiny and a Game

This is the second of three posts from the Dinner Party for Ten. In this post, I will share with you the blind tasting game that started the evening. Oh, in case you are wondering? Throwing a dinner party during March Madness from some is a crime. What do I know about “the sports.” So yes, the semi-finals of the basketball tournament had to be on for the Loyola game.  My female guests all politely requested that they be able to check in on the game. And it had nothing to do with the nun. Meanwhile, all the guys were…

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Lasagna Melange: Party of Ten

Last Saturday, it was my turn to host a group of friends who gather to drink wine and have dinner at each other’s home. I bumped up attendance by adding my two sisters and Bryan & Craig, so instead of the usual six, we had ten. With wine school that morning I knew that my time was going to be restricted, so I needed to make a one-pan dinner and lasagna is always a great dish to serve. My sisters also volunteered to assist. One did appetizers, and the other did dessert. Whew, that saved me a tremendous amount of time.…

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Bistro À Vin and Pannakakor

Oy, what a delightful but packed full weekend. It started on Thursday with the soft opening of the newest wine bar in Charleston, Bistro À Vin located at 40 Archdale Street in the heart of the shopping district just a block or so off King Street behind Charleston Place Hotel. On Friday, I had to begin preparation for my Dinner for ten on Saturday evening. Then I had my Saturday morning wine class which was awesome learning about several regions in France and blind tasting two wines. I am getting better at this but still not great. Saturday’s dinner party…

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Annual Survey Time & A Couple Wines

You know, the longer I am blogging, the more I love it.  I sure hope you love it as much as I am.  It has been a while since I sought out more information from my readers. What are you enjoying the most? What needs improvement? Have your wine buying habits changed? What about my recipes?  So it is time for my annual survey.  Please take a few minutes to answer these 13 questions. Your answers are anonymous. Your participation will help me provide you with the posts you most want to read. And it should only take about five minutes. Below…

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Charleston Wine and Food Festival – Part 2

I know it has been a couple of weeks since the Charleston Wine and Food Festival ended but I still wanted to share my experience in the Culinary Village because it is such an essential aspect of the festival. So here is my take on the Village. Let me say from the outset that I had a blast on Sunday and I will definitely be back next year. There are a few aspects of the Culinary Village where I offer what I hope is seen as constructive criticism. That by no means is a bad thing just my humble opinion…

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Happy Hour Appetizers…

…When There is No Time Last Friday, Gary and I had our neighbor and dear friend Natalie over for Happy Hour. It had been months since we had some quality time with just her. But On Friday, the planets aligned and we had nothing on our schedule, and she was kid and boyfriend free. Now don’t get any ideas her kids are amazing, and we love them like our own, and we like her boyfriend too, but we were craving some “Nat time.”  So the three of us got comfy in our three season room (aka Church of the Screened in Porch)…

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Charleston Wine and Food Festival – Part 1

The Charleston Wine and Food Festival (CWFF) has been a mainstay event in town for the past 13 years, but I had yet to attend.  The event tickets are pricey and can add up quickly if you want to dig into the festivities. I decided this year I would stick my toe in the water and go to a couple of events and I am sure glad I did.  Much of my experience this year was through connections with passes, but that will change next year because this was an absolute blast. This year’s festival started on Feb. 28th and ran through to March…

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Confessions of a Wine Geek

I am not exactly sure when this happened, but it has been confirmed by family and friends that I have become a wine geek, aka wine nerd.  This transformation was not intentional, but like most things I do, I went “all in” so I should not be surprised.  For the record, this confession does not also translate into me being a wine snob.  The term “wine snob” implies a condescension of others about their wine drinking habits. Should I ever become a wine snob, I hope someone will take me behind the barn and give me the proper whooping I deserve. I…

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Chicken That Rocks: Dinner for Six Part Two

Last week I shared with you the French Onion Panade which was the first course in my Dinner for Six. Below are the other two dishes that I prepared. This chicken recipe is super easy and because it needs to marinate you can get started on it the day before. And those wedges, OMG, they also could not be easier. Both dishes are perfect with the yogurt sauce. Yes, there is a salad on the plate as well. It was just mixed greens and sliced pears. My vinaigrette was olive oil, lemon and white balsamic vinegar with a smidge of salt.…

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Bottle Shock: Let it Rest

It’s Alive Yep, wine is as “alive” as any other agricultural product and can be affected by temperature fluctuations, movement, oxygen and many other factors. Think about it, wine changes as it ages so why not because it got jostled around on a ship as it crossed the pond from France or even after a week in a UPS truck from California to Charleston. There have been several times when we have purchased a new vintage of a wine that we have traditionally really liked. We pop the cork on that first bottle and think, “WHOA! what happened to this vintage?”…

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Joey Tomatoes Rocks The Italian Deli

As someone “from Off,” (aka not being from Charleston) I used to laugh when Charlestonians would say they never go to Mount Pleasant. It is just too far.  It’s 10 miles to Whole Foods and 15 miles to the nicest shopping mall in the area if you still do that sort of thing. So really it is “not far.” But now after 14 years, I have found myself saying the same thing. That is until I found Joey Tomatoes. They say “the best Italian deli south of Jersey.” And since the owners are from New Jersey, they may be biased, but they…

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Dinner for Six Part One: First Course

This past weekend Gary and I had two couples over for dinner. I had several recipes I wanted to try and needed a few guinea pigs. Enter Bryan & Craig and Shawn & Michael. For me, this was an all-day affair as I just decided what yo make on Friday morning and I needed to get to the store asap. But my Friday was a hot mess with a wine delivery by UPS that I had to sign for so I could not leave the house until it arrived. And that was at 4:30p and I had to pick Gary up at…

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Sanity Restored: Robocallers & Telemarketers

Yes, I have a landline. There are several important reasons why but the details are not important to this post. If you have a landline and you work from home, you know that your phone rings all the time with robocallers, scammers, and telemarketers even though we are on the Do Not Call List. Then there is my cell phone that also rings all day with scammers and telemarketers. As a small business, my cell phone is my business line, and so it is published on my website and Google for business reasons. Therefore anyone can call, and they do. It…

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