The epitome of a “big” Napa red wine is one that bursts with deep, fruity flavors yet glides across the palate and leaves a lingering soft finish. These are wines that embrace what California soils and California techniques can do to the traditional Bordeaux varietals. Certainly a traditional Bordeaux, with its tannins and balance, presents great satisfaction, but the best of the Napa Cabernets strikes me as softer, bigger and much more enjoyable. Count The Cornerstone as one of these outstanding Napa red wines.
The flagship wine from Cornerstone Cellars, a highly regarded Yountville winery, hits the palate gently, opens up with ripe dark berries, and finishes with a seductive softness. The 2010 is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 7$ Cabernet Franc, all from grapes grown in the U.C. Davis Oakville Station vineyard. It retails for around $125. Although it certainly will do well in the cellar for a couple of years, the sample that I tasted already was beautiful.
Check out Cornerstone’s Craig Camp’s description of the wine in this video:
Getting here wasn’t exactly a direct flight from New York, but my first visit to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia (Canada) has very quickly rewarded me with spectacular scenery – and some good wines.
I’ll have more about the wines after I get time to sort through all my notes, but I had to at least share a glimpse of the views.
2009 Mission Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA (4/21/2013)
The complexity of this wine was a pleasant surprise. Its structure was much more Old World than expected, and I enjoyed it the most on Day 3 of my four-day experience with it. Earthy and concentrated, reflecting the dry soils from where the grapes came, the tight finish had a slight chalky element. The dryness of this wine would be a perfect foil for a rich veal or beef dish with heavy French sauce. (88 points)
Here’s an interesting thought: Ties and long-sleeve lab coats may be a factor in the spread of infections from one patient to another in health care settings. Author Suzanne Gordon and Toronto doctor Michael Gardam wrote in a recent Boston Globe article that neckties and wedding rings have been shown to harbor infectious agents, which is why they are not worn during patient care activities in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and other places.
“Ties can dangle into wounds as a doctor is examining a patient; it isn’t therefore surprising that ties have been shown to be colonized with hospital superbugs. Rings can shelter untold dangerous organisms underneath the band, inside an intricate setting, or even in the tiny spaces etched out by a loving inscription.”
Reducing hospital-acquired infections is one of the most urgent priorities in healthcare today, yet how many healthcare institutions are even considering a reform of the legacy dress code?
Poached eggs are one of those things that should be ridiculously simple, yet many cooks are afraid of them. Even some restaurants cringe when a customer wants poached eggs instead of over-easy or scrambled. (Have you noticed that many diners don’t even list “poached” as an option for “eggs your way”?) Enter sous vide, the high-tech way to make foolproof poached eggs. Sous vide is a technique to cook vacuum-sealed foods in a temperature-controlled water bath. It is a spectacular way to make the perfect rare steak or tender osso bucco. But cooking eggs sous vide is even easier, since Nature packaged the part we like to eat in its own shell. No need for a vacuum sealer – just heat up the water bath to the desired temperature, plop the whole eggs (carefully) in, and watch the time carefully.
(Sous vide is considered by some to be a passing fad. San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer aptly notes that the technique was being overused, yet yields magnificent results when applied correctly.)
If you have a sous vide device, such as the Sous Vide Supreme, controlling the temperature is simply selecting the desired heat on the control panel. Ad hoc sous vide can be done using a good thermometer and an insulated tub, or even a slow-cooker with the controls modified. (For a great way to do sous vide without a sous vide device, check out this article at TinyUrbanKitchen.com.)
This morning’s breakfast was planned about as fast as my coffee came out of my Keurig. I had just received a delivery of fresh eggs and greens. Huzzah! A variation of Eggs Florentine was in order. I plugged in my Sous Vide Supreme, added water, set the temperature for 167 degrees (F) and waited for it to heat. Then I cleaned and chopped one bunch of Swiss chard and a clove of garlic. Once the water reached cooking temperature, I placed my whole eggs into the water bath and set the timer for 15 minutes. Meantime, I sauteed the chopped garlic in a large skillet with olive oil and a teaspoon of butter, then added the chard to cook until it was soft. Into the oven went two muffin halves to warm up while the eggs were nearly ready.
The result was a healthy, delicious and simple breakfast.
The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch, known as the ‘Night Watch’, by Rembrandt. It goes back on display in the Rembrandt House museum in Amsterdam this month (April 2013.)
Flash mobs may be getting old, but they are brilliant promotional tools – or just plain fun, when executed well. Check out this video from a shopping mall in Breda, a city in the Netherlands, where actors recreated the scene that Rembrandt memorialized in The Night Watch painting. The stunt publicizes the re-opening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, reopening after 10 years of renovation. According to The Guardian, the Night Watch is one of the master’s great works returning to the museum this month.
Bringing an historic painting to life like this makes me very interested in visiting this museum. Check it out at http://www.rembrandthuis.nl/.
As much as I prefer going to a store to pick out my own items, I have come to appreciate FreshDirect, a grocery delivery company in the New York and Philadelphia areas. Their prices are competitive, their selection is good, and their quality is generally high. Since their business depends on volume, I totally understand that occasional mistakes will happen. Errors on my orders have mostly been with unexpected items added, which is certainly better than missing items. On the other hand, the bonus items usually do not work for me (such as, the pricey can of crab meat in one order was lovely, except that I’m seriously allergic to crab.)
This morning’s delivery included things like bagels, smoked salmon, and chives, all of which I ordered. But I also found what looked to me as a “mystery” item – I could tell from the package that it was some kind of spread, but it took several minutes before I found the tiny print that said “cream cheese.” The main text on the package reads “Regular” in type that is about 1/4-inch high. The tiny condensed font used for the words “cream cheese” at the lower right of the box is half that size.
This clearly was not an item I would ever buy for myself. It certainly was neither organic nor particularly wholesome. Its actual ingredients really are not too bad, and I don’t know the minutia of USDA labeling rules to know why the product name “cream cheese” is so diminutive. That, and why it was in my box, will remain puzzles to me.
My best guess is that someone figured I must have forgotten the cream cheese to go with my bagels and lox.
I suppose it should be no surprise that Mississippi wants to protect its post as the USA’s obesity capital. What strikes me most in the statements by politicians and lobbyists about the issue is that they are using exactly the same language and positions as opponents of such things as indoor air regulations, workplace safety and workers rights measures, and a long list of consumer protections. They are using a script perfected by the tobacco industry, which worked behind the scenes state by state to pass “pre-emption” laws like this that block individual communities from enacting reasonable measures through the democratic process. Once again, business interests and campaign donors defeat the public welfare. http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE92I15O20130319?irpc=932
Who says New York City Community Board meetings are dull? My neighbor Arlene Schulman captured a riveting presentation by officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at a recent meeting of the local Community Board. FEMA was checking-in to make sure that everyone knew how to file claims or get other help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, our neighborhood is literally the highest land in New York City and damage was limited mostly to a damaged trees in Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill parks and some broken glass. But the sign language interpreter from FEMA was worth watching even if you didn’t suffer Sandy damage. Thanks, Arlene, for capturing these moments of government in action.
A recent transition that brought Carrot Top pastries (5025 Broadway, New York, NY 10034) under the jurisdiction of the New York City Health Department has also brought the shutters down: The bakery’s first inspection on March 14 triggered a closure order, based on 100 violation points, including six that are considered “critical” and immediate threats to public health.
While I am confident and optimistic that Carrot Top’s owner is going to address the violations promptly, these violations make me a little queasy about all the carrot cake from Carrot Top I’ve enjoyed (as recently as last weekend!) Among the violations: no facilities to properly wash or sanitize utensils or equipment and no soap for employees to wash their hands after using the toilet. Seriously not OK.
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