Tag Archives: Wine Bar

Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar

Chef-owner Roberto Passon {of Bocca di Bacco} opened his own venture Aria in the past few months, featuring small plates {cicchetti} and small glasses {ombre} of Italian food and fruits of the vine. Like most wine bars, it’s small, dimly lit, with exposed brick and a chalkboard menu — and lacks a full kitchen. But just because they’ve constructed a quaint atmosphere, doesn’t mean they haven’t figured out how to send out lip smacking food that you’re reluctant to share.

Aria Grilled Lamb Chops

We started with the burrata {just say the word and I’ll order it}, but followed that with the best plate of the evening — two grilled lamp chops in a balsamic vinegar sauce. They were just the right amount of salty with each sweet, juicy, herby bite. I found myself wanting more than the one I was alloted {my half of the plate} but our over-excited bartender-waiter insisted we order the gorgonzola stuffed dates. This is the type of thing that you know is probably not good for the waistline, but you enjoy every bite — dates, stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto before being cooked to a crisp outer layer. It’s a rich morsel of chewy goodness. Four was too many though, so these we did happily share with our new bar stool friends perched to our left.

Aria Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

The Skim: You don’t have to go for the food to enjoy Aria though. With a generous amount of bar space given the size of the bar {seats wrap around to the bar tending side}, it’s easy to order a few ombres of wine or house cocktails, quickly make friends with the bartender {who is all too eager to pour you a shot of Italian liquor} and have a harmonic evening. It makes for a great date destination, place to grab some vino with friends or perhaps make some new ones.

Map: 117 Perry {Btw Greenwich & Hudson}
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.242.4233

Fill Me Up:
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-Up @ Vintry

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Eat Here!, {Drink Me}

NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

NY Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of New York City and its craft beer community. The week’s events range from neighborhood beer walks and bar promotions to tasting festivals, food pairings and beer dinners. So when I was invited to the NYC Brewer’s Choice event at City Winery this week, I grabbed my drinking stein and shoes and headed downtown for what was sure to be a hop-ping good time. City Winery rolled out the wine barrels and rolled in the kegs to throw the best beer bash I have ever been to {even if you count college}. The space was packed with beer aficionados and regular eager amber samplers like myself, who had about 20 breweries to sip suds from and several artisan food purveyors generously pairing our brew with some tasty bites.

Patience and a penchant for tipping back a glass swiftly is what it took to power through the crowds and extensive selection in order to cover the spread thoroughly. There were definitely some highlights and unique brews worth making note of and keeping on your short list for the next time you visit the local pub.

Crafting Crowd

Empire Brewing Company: Roasted Pumpkin Ale (Syracuse, NY)
Made with over 100 lbs of fresh roasted pumpkins from Critz’s Farm in Cazenovia, NY. The pumpkins are added to the mash and then the beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clove. Deep amber in color, this autumn ale is the perfect cross between a cream soda and a pumpkin pie. It is a DE-LIC-OUS draft!

Ballast Point: Navigator Dopplebock (San Diego, CA)
Brandy barrel-aged, this brew was deep brown with a thick foamy head and strong chocolate and coffee flavors. It was easy to drink and the brandy added a complexity that paired very nicely with the 70% Mast Brothers dark chocolate they were serving.

Ommegang: Cup o Kyndness (Cooperstown, NY)
Appropriately named after a line from Scottish poet, Robert Burns’, poem Auld Lang Syne, this Belgian-Scotch style ale was a wee bit smokey and reminiscent of, well, a glass of scotch. One of the more unique pours of the evening, I would highly suggest this on a cold, rainy evening or when you’re looking for something a little different to warm the soul.

Stillwater Cellar Door (Baltimore, MD)
A light golden color, Cellar Door, exhibited hints of tangerine and sage, two delightfully refreshing flavors that made this brew a selection I could sip on a stellar summer day or as a perfect pairing with some salty cheeses or seafood.

Turns out I’m actually bad about taking pictures of drinks, so you’ll have to settle for snapshots of some of the highlights from the food pairings.

Betty Brooklyn, a brooklyn based private chef and caterer, whipped up some amazing deviled eggs with pancetta topping off the delicacy. The yolk was incorporated with some of the rendered pancetta fat homemade mayonnaise and dijon to create a salty, creamy, smoky pillow of flavor in one bite.

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

Mama O’s Premium Kimchi was cookin’ up some crazy good kimchi chili and kimchi salsa. That makes so much sense — hot peppery, gingery, pickled Korean flavor goodness meets American classics — why hasn’t anyone done that before!

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

Orwasher’s Bakery crafted some creative crusty breads using Six Point Ale, combining old world technique with new world flavors to create a super soft center surrounded by a crust that echos when you tap it…just how good artisan bread should be!

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

Clearly a evening to remember — if I can after all that beer. So next time you visit your local Cheer’s, ask if they carry any of these craft drafts and give these suds a sip or two to suit your mood.

2 Comments

Filed under Do This!, {Drink Me}

Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week

Don’t let the rain keep you inside, there is so much to DO! this week. In addition to being EAT, DRINK LOCAL Week, it’s The First Ever Puglia Wine Week! You don’t have to live in NY to get excited either — the Puglia Wine restaurant roadshow is taking place in NY, L.A., San Francisco, Houston and Chicago! Find your favorite participating Italian restaurant, make a reservation and start swirling and twirling! My brother and his wife just returned from their honeymoon in Puglia and after seeing video of homemade burrata and pasta from the trip, I got very excited when I learned about a week of opportunity to explore more about this lesser known, but amazingly delicious region in Italy.

All food and wine lovers that will dine in these restaurants will have the chance to start their meals with delicious regional specialties, try wines from one of the best wineries of the region, and personally meet the producer in a casual, relaxed environment. Each sommelier of the participating restaurant will guide and educate the customers about the winery and each chef will create special recipes inspired by Apulian cuisine to exalt the wines and celebrate the occasion. During the course of the three days, restaurants will continue to propose diners pair their recipes with glass of wine from the host winery.

Find a participating restaurant HERE and get involved! Reservations can be made directly with the restaurant of choice.

Can’t make dinner? Try some tastings at participating wine stores HERE.

Discover More of Italy!:
Bistro Don Giovanni: Napa-Sourced & Italian-Inspired
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

2 Comments

Filed under Do This!, NYC Best, SF Best, {Drink Me}

Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #2 | Who Cut the Cheese | @6.12.10.7:30pm

Round two of 8.ate@eight supper club is scheduled for 3 short weeks from now and we have something really exciting in store for the June 8.ate@eight table. Jessica Wurwarg, fellow 8.ate@eight-er and Artisanal cheese expert is going to be kicking off the evening sharing her knowledge of a selection of delicious farm fresh artisan cheeses, jams and a specially paired wine tasting. Come ready to taste, drink and ask questions! A 3-course dinner, featuring a lighter fishus delicious entrée {that’s a technical term!} will follow. After we all cut the cheese {and other hand prepared dishes} Rear Window will be projected under the stars and a memorable, intimate social gathering amongst new friends will ensue. We’re starting this one earlier @7:30 for more cheese and wine time — who would pass that up?!

See here for a recap of the last 8.ate@eight dinner.

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 8 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese
Saturday, June 12
th, 2010, 7:30pm {early for more cheese time}
cheese & wine tasting, followed by a 3-course dinner menu
post-dinner movie: Rear Window
Suggested Donation: $70 per person

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com {note: number attending in your email}

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Let's Cut the Cheese!

Leave a comment

Filed under 8.ate@eight, Do This!

Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-up @ Vintry

Vintry Wine & Whiskey Bar

Ok, so I just got back from a weekend in Palm Springs, followed by a weekend in Miami. I tell you this, not to make you jealous, but to lay the foundation that my body temp has long-adjusted to 80+ degree days from our unseasonably warm NY April and said destinations. So imagine the shock when I saw the mercury dropping to a mere 40 degrees yesterday and a fine mist start to fall. Brrrrrr. What better way to warm up than by paying a visit to a Wall Street watering hole. Well, maybe there is a chill in there too these days, but if you find yourself in the shadows of lower Manhattan’s concrete towers looking for a place to take the edge off, try Vintry Wine & Whiskey. With over 90 wines by the glass and 150+ whiskey/scotch selections to choose from, as well as a list of whisky/bourbon based handcrafted cocktails, you most definitely will not have a problem finding something to imbibe. And for warmer weather, Vintry is located amongst a long line of Old New York bars and pubs on the quaint cobblestone Stone Street, each with communal picnic tables out front — looks like the makings of an awfully fun post-market close happy hour destination {although that may depend on where the Dow closed}.

The Skim: If you’re looking to catch yourself a pinstriped suit that still carries a business card emblazoned with a Wall Street address or just want a swirl of a good scotch on a cobblestone street with an Old NY kind of feel, check out Vintry Wine & Whiskey. {57 Stone Street, btw Wall & Broad St.}

Leave a comment

Filed under {Drink Me}

Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I can’t seem to keep the “o” and “a” straight, but when I get it right, I have to say Bocca di Bacco has a nice ring to it — particularly when coming from the attractive, thickly accented Italian bartender serving my drink. I found myself in uncharted waters again last night — second visit to midtown in two weeks, second time I was pleasantly surprised.

Two large front windows welcome skeptical Ninth Ave. passersby to explore the midtown gem. Brightly lit and perfect for street viewing on a spring day, the bar is a great afternoon or early evening stop to grab a drink, sit back and watch. What’s on tap? The options here are only limited if you are a beer drinker: Peroni vs. 40 wines. 40 wines on tap, you say? Yes, the future of wines by the glass cleverly borrows from the old keg of beer contraption to remove oxygen, protect the open bottle and seamlessly pour your grape of choice without the risk of 40 open bottles going bad before midtowners can fully imbibe each selection. Brilliant.

With such an enticing bar setup, it seemed only right to give the Bocca di Bacco menu a shot. A quick accented chat with my bartender and I was armed with his top suggestions — one he said I could not miss was the Grilled Octopus. The Octopus was grilled perfectly and served over a bed of celery and potato. With such a successful seafood starter, I decided to stick with the theme for my entree and got the generously portioned grilled branzino with broccoli rabe and herbed potatoes. This may have been one of the few times I went to an Italian restaurant and didn’t even think of getting the pasta, but there were plenty of enticing options on that part of the menu too.

The Skim: You’re going to midtown to see a show or just got swept up in the sea of tourists and are looking for a reprieve to grab a glass of vino or a delicious bite to eat? Look no further, Bocca di Bacco is both a worthy wine bar and delicious restaurant, that is actually reasonably priced given the neighborhood. Bon Appetito! {828 9th Ave btw. 54th & 55th St}

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat Here!, {Drink Me}