While dining at Semilla, Williamsburg’s recent 18 seat restaurant, we were served 10 stunning plates of vegetable based dishes that might have evolved from one seating to the next. Chef José Ramírez-Ruiz and his partner Pam Yung describe the format as ‘freestyle’, which allows them to work with what’s been made available to their kitchen by the farmers and producers with whom they work. “We base the menu on availability rather than impose a demand on the farmer. That demand is very capitalist,” said José. “The idea that this is my menu and I’m now going to search for the products and try to get the best price on all of those products, it’s a very industrialized mentality. The approach that I have toward my menu, is seeing what’s available, and if the dish changes organically, then it’s a good thing. It’s not that we change it because we want to change it. We change it because the product changes, the season changes, or because the guys we’re buying products from, might have it today and not tomorrow. We’re small enough that we’re able to make those changes.” Read more
“We didn’t think we’d have great wine so soon,” said David Gollnick, of Mindego Ridge Vineyard. “We thought it’d be 7-8 years before we got something so expressive. “ Yet, at this year’s In Pursuit of Balance, winemakers kept referring tasters to their table. “We’d asked Ehren [Jordan, the winemaker] if we should send the wines to critics and he let us know that 200 wines were submitted to fill four slots at the IPOB tasting, where Jon Bonné was one of the blind tasters. ‘What more do you need?’ Ehren asked,” added David and laughed. Read more
Big thanks to all who came out to taste. This week’s Rosé Tasting was our best yet, with over 150 in attendance! After a long winter’s crawl, we couldn’t have asked for more – sunny blue skies, an extra hour of daylight, and 40 rosé wines from some of our top producers, from all over the globe. Finally…it’s safe to say, spring is near.
“I wanted to open my own wine bar,” said Francesco Grosso, the soft-spoken Beverage Director at Marea. “I fell in love with wine and there was a place on the Lower East Side called ‘inoteca. I went a few times and said I’d love to open a place like this. It was my then plan to go to school and open a place like that, but instead I said, why don’t I keep my money in savings and work for the people that know how to do it. I got a job there after completing my degree at the Culinary Institute of Education and took it from there.” Read more
Like an artist that masters figurative drawing before approaching the abstract, Tiffany Short of The Library at the Public, learned the classics while tending bar at The Inn at Little Washington, before she resurrected the Shrub, a colonial cocktail, at the Library. Hired as a bar manager at PS7, Tiffany assembled a cocktail there that started to garner attention. “That’s when I started putting effort into it,” she said. “I read a couple of books for inspiration…I [came to] think of drinks like a dish. You have the main at the center, the meat, and then the accents.” Inspired by food at the time, she’d mimic certain plates in a cocktail, like the enchilada, using ingredients such as tequila, cilantro and chili. Nowadays, she said, “I lean towards classic ways of doing things with little twists. I take something like a Gin Fizz and give it a tweak. No one is reinventing, it’s just variations of the theme. It’s where the creativity lies.” Read more
“People would look on their phones for Parker points,” said Natalie Tapken of her early days at Lure. Nowadays, thankfully, the “Parker Universe” has imploded and guests no longer scan their phones while considering what to order. “I think the younger generation of drinkers are willing to go anywhere on the list. I think you can see that trend in wine anywhere, including California. Matthew [Rorick] is a great example of working with varietals in California, like Ribolla. His Verdelho is insane. I think Steve [Matthiasson] does a great job of mentoring the [younger] producers. It’s exciting that you have these varietals in California. Ten years ago it would have been a hand-sell on the list. Now it’s, How many can I have?” Read more
“This place is an homage to the old school dive bar,” said Lily Peachin, the proprietor at Dandelion Wine in Greenpoint. “People make plans to meet their neighbors here. Romances have started here. People bring their parents here. We have dog treats, so dogs bring their owners here whether they want wine or not.” Read more
The city’s infrastructure (and TEW) might have closed down in the face of Juno, but our spirit was alive and kicking! And while we were spared the eye of the storm that seemed to hit our brethren in Boston, enough snow fell in Central Park and beyond to coat the slopes and trees in winter wonder. Cheers!
“Anytime you push an extreme flavor profile, it gets one-dimensional. If you push alcohol in wine, it becomes the dominant flavor profile,” said Greg Doroski, the head brewer at Threes Brewing in Gowanus. “If you push hops, it becomes about hops. I think there’s a place for extreme everything. It helps set the terms for flavor profiles. Beer is going through a maturation process that’s been pushing the extreme. We’re trying to explore that place in the middle.” Read more