New Orleans

Few Places to Discover:

  • Swirl Wine Bar & Market – 3143 Ponce de Leon Street, New Orleans
    If I was going to open a wine bar/store it would have all the trimmings of Swirl. I step inside and for once I don’t get carded. I tell Erin that I’m into biodynamic and fresh wines–turns out the people who run Swirl are too. The type of wine strore that satisfies the wine-geek looking  for rare grape varieties or regions. Croatina as a monovarietal! Rosé from Vallée d’Aosta, 100% nebbiolo! The space allows to drink a glass while you shop. You have also a great selection of artisanal cheeses from Spain, Italy and France. It was the only wine shop I went to and it felt like home.
  • Community Book Center – 2523 Bayou Rd, New Orleans
    « More Than a Book Store : Learn about Black History 365 days a year » the credo says it all. I was looking for books about black incarceration and the U.S. penal state, I left with a feeling of community because of Vera and Mama Jen. On the left side were bleachers for community gatherings, behind on the walls t-shirts proclaiming “Kaepernick is the truth” and “Black Lives Matter”. No comprehension of American history is possible without appreciating the central role of African-Americans. There was no shortage of books to quench my thirst but more importantly, Jen and Vera, sensing I wanted to dig deeper, told me about the numerous community initiatives and goings on. I won’t forget this place or its educative and mobilizing role, a positive constructive force to be reckoned with.
  • Kitchen Witch Cook Book Store – 1452 North Broad St., New Orleans
  • Commander’s Palace – 1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans
    The website spoke of a dress code. I’m wearing jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers and trying to look as dignified as possible. So if you order the turtle soup, do accept the waiter’s offer of drizzling some brandy on top! The suckling pig, bang on! The fish, crispy skin and moist flesh. The wine list, probably the best I have ever seen…but would require a few hours to go through it. Commander’s Palace is every bit the Southern gem of nobility it is made out to be, with the friendly attentive service that leads to another visit whenever you are in town again.
  • Cochon – 930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans
    The style of having small plates to share and sample is all the rage in Montreal. When it is well executed and the wine list is exciting you have a winning combination. The classic collared greens with jus de porc is the type of rustic dish that I fall for every time. Although Cochon does meat well, vegetables are far from being an afterthought. Great selection of Washington and Oregon wines,.
  • The Half Shelf On The Bayou – 2517 Bayou Rd, New Orleans
    We were told to go go for the happy hour oyster and margherita special : A dozen oysters gets you a half dozen free and the cocktails are two for one! Here is where the locals come after work to eat po boys, sip a beer and watch the game. The charcoal oysters are a must.
  • The Spotted Cat Music Club – 623 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans
    From show to show, word of mouth is everything in a city with such a vibrant music scene. I went here four nights in a row. One band plays three sets starting at 2pm until 6pm. People walk in, have a drink, clap their hands, do a little dance and run out again. The stuffy intimate atmosphere is what makes The Spotted Cat a real treasure. Places like this tend to attract some really great human beings. Chances are you are sitting to one at the bar and before you know you are deep in conversation over a few bottles of Nola.

Harvest

Harvest has always played an important role in human civilzation. For pagans, even the modern variety like Celts, the autumnal equinox is embodied by the great feast of Samhaïn, which marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter.

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Riesling

Riesling seems to be the grape that establishes the dividing line between “connaissers” and casual wine-drinkers.

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Reevaluating Bojo nouveau

Our patterns of wine consumption are tainted by a certain selective streak. Any open-minded wine drinker must navigate between what we enjoy drinking and that hint of prejudice that can potentially box us in. When we are taught to decipher wine labels, we are taught to imagine what they taste like, in theory, based on geographic location and of course appellation. We end up writting off lots of wine. While this approach certainly helps save time, the element of impartiality goes by the wayside.

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Pet-Nat or musing on Natural Wine

In my introductory article for this blog, I let the cat out of the bag by stating my preference for natural wine. I believe I’ve even pledged allegiance, though neither binding nor blind, to the natural wine movement. It would be in keeping with my farm-to-table beliefs, so at least I’m consistant.

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BBQ in Style

Synonymous with summer is charred meat off the grill, preferably your own grill. I am a fan of the old punk adage D.I.Y. or DO-IT-YOURSELF and hosting a BBQ is about your marinades, your cuts of meat and your expertise in working the grill.

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Rosé!

Habits and social norms are always there to guide us when we’re trying to make sense of the world. They also have a role to play in the way knowledge is institutionalized. With rosé, the norm we take for granted is that this style of wine is not meant to be taken as seriously as red or white wine. This nonchalance towards rosé is the result of both the way it is consumed and the way winemakers commercialise it.

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What is Umami?

I seem to vaguely recall during my first or second sommelier courses that the prof mentioned the tongue’s ability to detect acidity, sweetness, bitterness, saltiness and… umami.

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The Costs of Pursuing a Passion

The Costs of Pursuing a Passion | TonSommelier.com

So you have a certain volition for wine? As you become accustomed to giving some wine a swirl, you notice that there are unmistakable differences between different wines: color, aromas, length on the palate etc. Maybe you’ve seen the movie Somm or were recommended a bottle that fulfilled or even exceeded your expectations the last time you were at a restaurant. Wine has shown you its power to please; it’s become your beverage of choice when going out.
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The First Wine, Oh Charming Wine

The Love of Wine: The Pleasure To Discover | TonSommelier.com

It all begins somewhere. We may remember our first kiss but it’s the first good kiss is seared into our memory, that hints at a realm of possibilities. I had flirted with drinking wine before the first good one but infatuation isn’t love and the latter is undeniably more powerful than the former.
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