Category Archives: NYC Wine Bars and Restaurants

My favorite stops in NYC!

Holiday wine and cheese events in NYC

cheese wreath

Holiday entertaining can be fun, but also stressful for a host/hostess that wants to create the perfect atmosphere for guests. Choosing wines that can not only please a number of people, don’t break the bank and are a complement to a range of flavors can be challenging. How much do you buy, are there certain regions, styles or grapes that are safe bets? Can you find delicious wines under $25 that will wow your guests? Is there a certain style of cheese that will go with not only the wines you serve but other courses or appetizers on the menu? Is there an easy way to arrange your cheeses that will be festive and impress your foodie friends? Why not join me aboard the motor yacht Manhattan for a fun and festive holiday wine and cheese event to learn the secrets behind perfect pairings?

The Manhattan will be decorated for the season, the beautiful glass enclosed salon is warm and cozy, and you can escape the holiday rush for a few hours as we cruise around Manhattan island sipping and sampling in style! Sassysipsnyc readers can save 10% by entering the code WINETEN online at www.zerve.com

Dates-

Saturday November 22nd & December 13th, 1:45-4:30  BUY TICKETS

Wine tasting in NYC

Wine tasting in NYC

Holiday Wine and Cheese Pairing. Have you ever wondered what wines are the most food friendly? Are there crowd pleasers in the world of wine and cheese? How to I add interest, contrasting and complementary elements to my cheese board? Can I craft a stunning cheese display without spending hours in the kitchen? How do I store my cheeses and wines and what temp should they be served at? All these questions and more will be covered in this fun and interactive pairing! Recipes Included!

Saturday December 20th, 1:45-4:30 BUY TICKETS

New Years Eve 2014, Sparkling, Cheese, Chocolate also included, 5:30-7:30 BUY TICKETS

bubbles and silk!

bubbles and silk!

Sparkling Wines and Silky, Savory Cheese for a Decadent NYE Celebrations! Learn what makes sparkling wines so fabulous and food friendly. Bubbly from around the world will be poured and served with some of the worlds most luxurious cheeses! Learn what makes each pairing special and unique, and how to recreate your experience at home!

NYE tasting will also include several specialty chocolates!

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Cafe Rumaro cold brew cocktail; A delicious pick me up before or after dinner

A cold brew cocktail perfect for before or after dinner

A cold brew cocktail perfect for before or after dinner

Cold brew coffee is one of my summer favorites, and surprisingly easy to make. Add your choice of whiskey, rum or vodka, cream and simple syrup and it transforms into as a delicious pick me up at cocktail hour.

But what if you’re looking for coffee inspiration after dinner to enjoy with a  creamy cheese, tiramasu or butter cookies? Forget the boring Irish coffee and try mixing up this cocktail inspired by a recent evening filled with overindulgence. It hits all marks as both a digestif and an after dinner treat. The silky smooth cold brew melds perfectly with aged rum, bitter-sweet Amaro and just a touch of cherry cordial. Not too sweet, just a hint of spice and roasted, caramelized flavor. Something to satisfy those wanting something a bit out of the ordinary.

Each spirit compliments the dark, rich cold brewed coffee.

Each spirit compliments the dark, rich cold brewed coffee.

Cafe Rumaro

1.5 oz Cold Brew, you may use your favorite such as Stumptown or use this easy recipe

1.5 oz Diplomatico Reserva Rum

1.5 oz Ramazzotti Amaro

1 oz Wisniak cherry cordial

1 oz selter

Garnish with one of my Boozy cherries

Add cold brew, Amaro, Rum, cherry cordial to tall cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir with long bar spoon and top with seltzer. Garnish with cherry. Enjoy!!!!

 

Spirit Tasting Notes-

Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Venezuela– Rich and full, with golden syrup, Demerara and a hint of treacle. This 8 years old rum, product of the Batch distillation process, has reassuringly weighty oak in the background – polished mahogany notes. Hints of cinnamon, over-ripe oranges or orange liqueur and bitter dark chocolate. Amazingly smooth, gentle texture – like being stroked with a silk glove. Chocolate velvetiness on the palate, with creamy oak spice and citrus notes counteracting the syrupy sweetness. A sweet cocoa caress, with shimmering spices.- producer

Ramazzotti Amaro, Piedmont, Italy– Ausano Ramazzotti created the formula for Ramazzotti in his small Milan laboratory in 1815. His proved an immediate success. The recipe contains neither colouring nor artificial additives and is still secret today. Its most distinctive flavours are the Sicilian sweet oranges, bitter oranges from Curaçao, star anise and cardamom.- producer

 Wisniak  Cherry Cordial, Poland–  A fine representation of the elegant old Polish cherry liqueurs. The advantageous climate and soil conditions in Poland yield succulent black cherry varieties. Their sweet, ruby-colored juice with aromatic flavor of an incomparable bouquet produce… WISNIAK! Its low alcohol content and unique taste are sure to please the most discriminating connoisseurs.” -producer

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Eating Raoul’s, NYC’s sexiest burger

raouls

Admittedly I’m a French bistro junkie. Over the years I’ve been to more bistro’s in NYC than I can count and I’ve a list of tried and true favorites I return to again and again. I remember visiting Raoul’s for the stellar steak frites and planned to return, however somehow it had dropped off my radar until I read a piece in Esquire recently claiming it served the best burger in America. Now you can find Raoul’s on many a top bistro list, but you’d be hard pressed to find it on any of NYC’s favorite burger lists. From writer Josh Ozersky’s description a revisit to this Soho classic was definitely in order.

Sparkling rose and house made chips to start things off

Sparkling rose and house made chips to start things off

For many years I hardly touched red meat but when I treated myself to a burger I had a 1 mile rule before and after dinner to walk off the guilt. Since it was a beautiful summer night, and considering the decadent review, I took a leisurely stroll to Soho after work wondering if I’d get to Raoul’s in time to snag one of the 12 daily orders of the famed burger available only at the bar, which doesn’t contain more than 8 or 10 seats. Being a Saturday night in NYC I was able to find a seat when I arrived at 6:15, way before the weekend dinner rush. After being greeted by Doug (one of the nicest bartenders I’ve had the pleasure to meet), I ordered a refreshing sparkling rose from Languedoc and sampled some of the slightly spicy house made chips given gratis at the bar. Truly a great pairing to start my night!

Doug explained that during the week they regularly sell out of the burgers at 6 pm (a mere 30 minutes after they open at 5:30) but on weekends the average is 7:30. Looking around every other bar patron there was quietly entranced over a plate of burger and fries so I decided to order and see what all the fuss was about.

Sexy burger heaven

Sexy burger heaven………

The fuss? Definitely. Worth. It. Some may think it bougie to dress a burger like this but it lives up to all it’s fancy trappings. This dish is true food porn, a divine guilty pleasure, like a lover you know is bad for you it tempts you to surrender your sanity and save your regrets for the morning after. The luscious brisket-heavy LaFrieda blend patty is topped with a dollop of triple-cream St. Andre cheese, wilted watercress, paper-thin slices of cornichon, slathered with just the correct amount of piquant pepper mayo and served a top a glistening brioche bun, along with a dish of cognac cream dipping sauce dotted with green peppercorns and crispy shoestring fries cooked in duck fat. Another glass of sparkling rose cut the richness of the meat and the cream sauce as well as being a good match with the fries.

Others may wax poetic about American cheese topped patties with gourmet bacon and house made ketchup but I’ve found my burger love. Now, if  I can just sneak back downtown at the correct time when I get a craving……

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NYC Hot Sauce Expo; Experiencing the pain, savoring the flavor

Experiencing the fire at NYC Hot Sauce Expo

Experiencing the fire at NYC Hot Sauce Expo

It may have been a cold and rainy weekend in NY, but, thousands of NYers experienced a brutal heat wave inside the second annual Hot Sauce Expo, held at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. Over 40 vendors assembled to show off their sauces, condiments, snacks and even ice cream, all spiked with varying degrees of heat. To quench the fire (or fan the flames) a section of craft distillers and beer vendors were busy pouring samples of liquid courage for those feeling the burn at this unique event.

VIP

VIP

VIP tickets included unlimited samples of beer, cocktails and all the samples you wished to try in the main room, filled with enough scoville units to implode the insides of a seasoned sideshow fire-eater. Personally I’m glad I hit up the alcohol portion first or I might not have been able to handle what I was going to experience later on in the hot sauce hall. Bloody Mary’s made from a base of infused Stoli Vodka, Murph’s bloody mary mix, beef broth and bacon were a crowd favorite, along with Clyde May’s Alabama Whiskey and Tirado Gold, a corn whiskey made by a former doctor at the first farm distillery in the Bronx. Sailor Jerry was offering up a pop up barbershop and pin-up make overs along with their Rum based cocktails, one of the most unusual things I’ve ever seen at a tasting.

Armed with a few shots under my belt I headed over to meet culinary pyro Sam, of Zack and Zane’s, a beekeeper with a line of insanely hot sauces, mustard and a line of cream cheese spiked with Habanero peppers. Who would think a pretty little jar with a gold top could make your eyes water? Holy Jesus on a cracker! This stuff packed a punch, one I wasn’t expecting as the creamy texture soon exploded into pure heat. It would be sure to add flavor to any cream sauce or dip, and many recipes are offered up on the web including the devil’s eggs, a dish that would blow the lid off of your next picnic to say the least. Creative use of balance made this a winning booth for me, with products in a range to please every palate. terry

Terry of Baron's Kitchen

Terry of Baron’s Kitchen

My favorite of the show was a Portuguese Repolho Relish crafted in West Hurley, NY by Terry Baron of Baron’s International Kitchen. Using family recipes from the Caribbean, the West Indies and Portugal, Terry, a former marketing executive, is heating up the kitchen with marinades, sauces and condiments that I loved. I can’t wait to try her relish with a cheese plate.

Hundreds of samples were available, everything from the mildest of salsa (named girly, girl!), to gasp inducing products with names to match. I wasn’t as brave as some, one young woman who resembled a whirling dervish convinced me to avoid something called Volcano Dust. Clearly not something to try if you’re not up to busting a move or two.

Everyone had great fun at this event, I look forward to next year, I think it will only get better, and now I’ve got a bit of experience navigating my way around the pain to savor the pleasures offered at this event filled with flavor.

 

 

Till next year.......

Till next year…….

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New dates added! Prohibition Era Cocktail Cruise

1920s inspired motor yacht Manhattan

1920s inspired motor yacht Manhattan

I’ve always dreamed of transporting myself back to the Golden Age, the wacky, wonderful era filled with

The Bees Knees!

The Bees Knees!

flappers, fabulous fashion and scandalous tales of infamous NYC women like Tex Guinan. I’d dance the black bottom, canoodle with Rum runners and live the high life while sipping illicit liquors in dimly lit clubs filled with jazz musicians, slick gangster types and party girls! Well, this season I’ve planned a series of  Prohibition Era Cocktail Cruise events to combine my love of the 1920s, NYC speakeasy tales and vintage cocktails!

Rose petal Martini

Rose petal Martini

Inspired by classic cocktail recipes I’ll be crafting modern variations with a twist from the freshest juices, artisan spirits and a selection of flavored simple syrups made in my kitchen! Held aboard Classic Harbor Line’s 1920s inspired motor yacht Manhattan this is sure to be a great event! A special savings is available for readers using code Gatsby online at www.zerve.com/SailNYC/Gatsby

Here’s more info and dates! Hope to see you aboard!

Channel your inner bootlegger at this new event inspired by 1920s Prohibition Era cocktails. Learn how to mix some of the most infamous legends and a few classics with a twist! Soak in a bit of history on each cocktail, with tales of Prohibition era life in NYC starting each cruisevesper

As we cruise down the Hudson, music of the Golden Age will accompany our journey into cocktail culture. Watch each drink being mixed and hear details of each local distiller as we sip our way into the 1920s aboard the vintage style Yacht Manhattan. Recipes for each cocktail and a tasting booklet will be given to each participant.

Enjoy a champagne cocktail made with gin and rose syrup at boarding followed by 4 wildly different cocktails including some of the following:

  • Classic Dry Manhattan with a modern spin
  • A Rum based cocktail with local honey and fresh herbs
  • Whiskey-based Swizzle made with an infused artisan syrup inspired by Bostonian politics
  • Vesper, composed of Vodka, Gin & Lillet
  • Speakeasy Classic – a mixed drink inspired by the creations of infamous bartenders of the underground whiskey culture
  • Other variations and exciting recipes will also be explored!

June 20th, 28th- Featuring G’Vine Gin, June liquor!

July 3rd, 17th, 23, 30th       All  Tickets http://www.zerve.com/SailNYC/Gatsby

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