Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Local Vine makes Top 10 List

The Local Vine, one of Seattle's top wine bars , ranks No. 5 in this month's Bon Appetit Magazine as one of "The Hot 10." The atmosphere is quite a bit like a neighborhood coffee lounge. There's a fireplace, people lap tops using free wireless access, etc., but instead of ordering a latte or cappucino, you can order from a selection of than 100 wine-by-the-glass with a pairing menu as well. While nothing is pretenious about The Local Vine, dont' think they aren't serious about wine. Prices range from $5 a glass to $485 a glass.
Here's a look at the complete list:
Terroir, New YorkPaul Grieco and chef Marco Canora own this funky East Village spot near their popular Hearth restaurant. If you like your wines esoteric (Casamaro Blanco from Spain, Zweigelt from Austria) and your bar snacks edgy (sage leaves stuffed with lamb sausage, turkey wings tossed in agrodolce sauce), this is the place.413 E. 12th St.; 646-602-1300
Bar Bambino, San FranciscoThis slick new Ital-inspired spot, complete with a heated patio, is one of the best in a city of great wine bars. There are more than 40 wines by the glass, as well as a menu with highlights that include excellent salumi and cheese plates, pastas (try the bucatini), and polpette (meatballs in a rich tomato, onion, and green chard sauce).2931 16th St.; 415-701-8466
Top Flr, AtlantaAt this two-story gem in Midtown Atlanta, the small but smartly chosen list changes weekly and always includes interesting varietals from small-production wineries. The full-flavored, rustic food—duck confit and applewood-smoked-bacon pizza, grilled hanger steak—completes the experience.674 Myrtle St.; 404-685-3110
Tria Cafe, PhiladelphiaFermentation involves the conversion of carbohydrates into alcohols or acids. Put another way, it's how you make three of the world's great epicurean pleasures: wine, cheese, and beer. That trifecta is the inspiration behind the two locations of this popular tasting bar (there's also a separate "fermentation school," which features classes on all).1137 Spruce St.; 215-629-9200; 123 S. 18th St.; 215-972-8742
The Local Vine, SeattleOpened by friends and Harvard Business School grads Sarah Munson and Allison Nelson, The Local Vine is a wine bar masquerading as a coffee shop, complete with comfy chairs and free WiFi. The duo was also smart enough to hire Jason Wilson, of nearby Crush, to consult on the locally sourced menu.2520 Second Ave.; 206-441-6000
Cork Wine Bar, Washington, D.C.Every neighborhood needs a bar like Cork—a place where you can order a flight of sparkling wines paired with dishes like double-fried french fries tossed in parsley, garlic, and lemon, or chicken liver bruschetta. Thanks to husband-and-wife owners Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross, the Dupont Circle area has just the place.1720 14th St., NW; 202-265-2675
Brasserie du Vin, HonoluluLocated in Chinatown, this transporting spot offers a taste (and sip) of the French countryside. Choose from classic dishes like frisée aux lardons, escargots baked in herb-garlic butter, and moules frites. As for the wine, pick from 25 choices by the glass, or for 30 percent of the bottle price, they'll pour you anything from the list.1115 Bethel St.; 808-545-1115
Tasca, Los AngelesThis rustic charmer is the kind of wine bar you'd expect to find down a side street in the El Born district of Barcelona. If you're into old-world wines and small plates—white anchovy crostini, boudin noir, chicken liver mousse—this is for you.8108 W. Third St.; 323-951-9890
Max's Wine Dive, HoustonJudging by the jukebox, concrete floors, and big, old-fashioned booths at this "dive," a beer would seem like the most obvious order. But then you'd miss out on the 160 selections of wine by the glass and inventive comfort food like the Kobe burger with Brie or fried oyster nachos.4720 Washington Ave.; 713-880-8737
Lavomatic Café, CincinnatiOccupying the site of a former Laundromat—lavomatic in French—this Gateway Quarter spot is the latest from Cincy celebrity chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. There are 30 wines by the glass available at the long bar made of—what else?—cork, or for a full-on restaurant experience, head to the rooftop dining area for rustic French fare.1211 Vine St.; 513-621-1999

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So what are you waiting for?

A few weeks ago my husband and I were looking over our wine collection and began imaging when and where we were going to enjoy some of our more precious bottles. - Call us wine geeks, but we do actually get giddy discussing the possibilities and whether the bottle should be decanted, who we'd share it with and the what not. -
We initially started listing life's normal celebrations; anniversaries and birthdays, moving on to milestones like our daughter's graduation. But then we started discussing life's everyday celebrations; a family dinner together, good friends who share the same political humor, a glorious sunset over the water in West Seattle; I think you get the idea. When people say celebrate life, are we? Do we? Or, are we caught up in the hub-bub of it all and that's why we wait for those occasions to pull out the special bottle? We asked that question of ourselves.
So, in celebration of it all, we decided to take out two glasses from the cupboard and open a bottle of 1995 Dalla Valle. It was an amazing impromptu celebration! And aren't those the best kind? The wine was rich and full of body with flavors of dark cherry, currants and hints of cocoa. We noticed a little bit of sediment in the bottom of the bottle which is normal. I can't wait to do it again...soon! So what are you waiting for? Isn't it time to celebrate?