28 October 2011

28Oct- hm. i wonder.
i think people have been very patient with me and my wine list so far and i wonder how far i can push it. i've taken away a number of standard varietals and replaced them with what i think are fun alternatives. we have no cabernet sauvignon by the glass (i think so many of them are more tannin-fueled than our cuisine can handle) and instead i have a surprisingly food friendly merlot/malbec blend from new zealand that achieves weight, fruit, and spice without sacrificing acid or balance. i'm beginning the process of weaning everybody off of pinot noir (though oregon pinots have been so important to me i feel as though i'm still supporting the region with my eyrie pinot gris by the glass and my st christopher sauvignon blanc, both beautiful examples of the grapes and the sense of oregon) and edging towards replacing the grape with a gamay, currently a serious and minerally morgon from beaujolais.
i'd replace chardonnay entirely if it weren't for being super charmed by jim kopp's visit to the restaurant and his crisp and clean unoaked chardonnay that goes quite well with our food. i've frankly been expecting more of an uproar with my not offering an oaked chardonnay by the glass so i'm gratified, albeit perplexed, by the smoothness of the transition.
so i'm almost wondering what i could get away with now.
i'm currently at home enjoying green curry over udon noodles (not something we offer at baan sawan but something i wish we would) and it's pairing extraordinarily well with a grenache gris/carignan blanc catalan white wine from david shiverick called "cuthbert". could we push such a pairing on to every customer? absolutely not; what about free will? but can there be free will when the menu is structured to guide forcefully the hand of the customer? should i also offer a big cab or an over-oaked chardonnay, a veritable sin, so that the choices made are more meaningful?
that went in a weird direction.
at the end of the day my desire isn't to manipulate the choices being made for no reason or for hubristic jollies but to maintain the integrity, as much as possible, of the spirit of both food and wine.
so if you come to the restaurant and see that there's no pinot grigio it's because our fuller bodied, spicier-finished pinot gris is an expression of the same grape that's more consistent with our food's anima.
if there's no shiraz it's because they tend to plod over our delicate balances and the more structured but at times equally powerful lirac, a blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault, mourvedre, and carignan , simply plays nicer while achieving a similar effect.
and when there's no pinot noir by the glass we invite you to try the gamay.
we think you'll be pleased.
28Oct- some for you; some for me. maybe some for us.

21 October 2011

21Oct - fun stuff for this weekend

20 October 2011

14 October 2011

14oct - new things for this week

i love gamay. it is my belief that you, too, should love gamay.
to that end i have taken away the pinot noir from the by the glass menu and replaced it with a touraine gamay and a morgon from beaujolais.
this is a temporary change and we'll resume our normal pinot noir activity next week but i want to see how it goes over this week. perhaps i am a fool. or perhaps i'm a visionary; a beacon of hope to the gamay producers of the world who fight the stigma that duboeuf has wrought upon them. perhaps i'm both. perhaps i'm neither. perhaps i should stop thinking about it.

anyway. all the stuff in the above picture is currently available for your lusty consumption.

also, i would submit that the quinta de la rosa lote no. 601 ruby port is the most extraordinary port i've tasted. more like a fine red wine in its complexity, aromas, easy drinking quality and food-friendly acid but with an almost dangerous 20% alcohol. it is definitely port but one that cradles and caresses you rather than covers your head with a sack soaked in brandy and grapejuice.

10 October 2011

10oct- silly little aside
since i am poor but my palate doesn't realize this and therefore demands delicious wine and food, i have started playing with the mturk thing. mturk give you assignments for which it pays you a pittance but they tend not to be terribly complicated and if you've got twenty minutes to spare while waiting for a meeting or delivery, you can slam out a survey or article. I like to write so i generally go for articles.
this little beauty earned me $2.00. the assignment was "write a 1000 word article on camping in comfort." there actually is some good advice buried in there.

Camping in comfort is as attractive an idea as it is difficult to achieve. I might first suggest redefining either your idea of comfort or your idea of camping. If you persist in wanting both try camping in your backyard. Depending on the size of your backyard you should have a fairly easy hike into and out of your camping area with the benefit all your posessions (and bathrooms) nearby. This is going to be as comfortable as it’s going to get, short of making a fort out of couch cushions which is only arguably camping and makes campfire cooking considerably unwise. For those of you unaccustomed to camping I would stress that this is the most simple and effective way to whet your appetite. If you are an experienced camper and are taking your new significant other out for their first camping experience then the closer to home you are the better. You will want to avoid a fight over food quality, sleeping conditions, labor division, or the more raw sights, sounds, and smells a person makes while camping and if you cannot avoid the fight you must have a nearby lodging alternative into which to retreat and nurse your wounds, either physical or emotional.
If you decide that you need to leave the safety of your property to camp and insist on striving for comfort I would then suggest camping out of your car. Driving up to your campsite and building a tent next to your automobile gives you the benefit of having more resources at your disposal, especially heavier items that may be too weighty to carry yourself or to ask your significant other to carry. In a pinch the car can become your sleeping bag, your sanctuary from your camping companions, or protection from bears, rabid raccoons, or neighboring campers. Should rain suddenly spoil your fire you can always cook your aluminum foil-wrapped food over your engine block as you huddle in the car either feeling sorry for yourself, raging at whomever brought you, or being raged at by whomever you asked to accompany you or all three. In addition to this you have some degree of electrical power should you decide to plug in cell phones, computers, small refrigerators, et al. This method is not always recommended as it will either drain your car battery or blanket your campsite with exhaust fumes. Though fumes may make campfire stories more entertaining some doctors say that prolonged exposure may be a health hazard.
But perhaps you aren’t satisfied with the rusticity of car camping and won’t be happy until you’re hiking with a bag on your back. Perhaps you’ve just read a book about Lewis and Clark or are on the run from the law. Regardless, you must now dedicate more time to establishing your priorities. The planning stages are just as important as the execution and you should, after filling your pack and pockets with your essentials and precious few luxuries, take the time to check and re-check your supplies so that you are not caught short and smacking your forehead when encountering a coyote while remembering the pepperspray is by the refrigerator. Your key points of comfort will be ease of hiking and a safe and comfortable sleeping area. You should be dressing in layers so that you can shed or add to your clothing as the weather demands. An undershirt, a lightweight shirt and a lightweight jacket should get you through most spring and autumn camping. For those of you who want to camp in the winter or summer I would suggest camping in the more clement climes of spring and autumn. Besides, I’m sure you’ll just ignore any advice I might have for you anyway.
Having plenty of absorbent socks will soak sweat and impact as you stubbornly march about the forest. As you hike you must hydrate. Dehydration in the wild is a dangerous and all too easy situation in which to find yourself. It is therefore not advisable to drink alcohol as you hike to your campsite. If you have brought along a high-alcohol liquor you would be wise to save it for when you’ve settled down and have sufficient shade and ample opportunity for rest. Though, if it is particular hot and sunny, spritzing yourself with your high-alcohol liquor can offer some relief as alcohol evaporates faster than water. It will, however, make you smell like a drunkard.
The importance of a walking stick can’t be emphasized enough. This one tool can bring you comfort in its preventative properties. Knowing that you are in posession of a solid and reliable walking stick can ease the mind of any hiker. With this stick you can climb steep hills faster as you dig into the earth with it and push against it in your ascent. You can investigate suspicious plots of land by gingerly poking to ensure solidity and safety. You can wave it about in front of you like a wizard when walking through narrow tunnels created by trees. Tunnels of trees are prime areas for spiders to set up shop and a stick waved about in front of you will collect spider webs and prevent you from the panic of walking through one, especially when you think of all the huge spiders sitting in webs you’ve no doubt seen as you walked. A stick be can used to prod a campfire to your satisfaction and a stick can sometimes even help you scratch your back.
Shelter of some kind is a must, whether it be a waterproof tarp to suspend over a rope in as simple a tent you may find or a four-person, two-room tent that takes an afternoon and a degree in engineering to assemble. But more important to your comfort is your sleeping pad and sleeping bag. These two items will help to define your comfort level. One may spend all day fighting the dehydration and the coyotes and blisters on your heels and the stress of not being sure that a spider isn’t hidden in the folds of your clothes and still have an acceptable experience if one gets a good night’s sleep. It does not do to toss and turn fitfully and angrily so do not skimp on the sleeping pad and sleeping bag. Buy the best that you can afford and they will reward you for years to come.
Or they will reward the person to whom you sell them after you realize that you don’t care for camping.

05 October 2011

05Oct- Ah, quail...

...so like us.