Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bacon vs Jerky [Infographic]

Nothing to do with wine, but man cannot live on donuts alone. Thus, the ultimate battle looms: bacon versus jerky. Enjoy:

Bacon vs Jerky [Infographic]

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wine of the Week: Pi'nouf 2009 Languedoc Red

Pi'nouf 2009 Languedoc Red

Heading home from ski patrol Saturday, my wife asked me to stop off and pick up something to drink with dinner. This was the first wine I saw and, being a fan of G-S-M blends, was intrigued by this similar option. I'm also a big fan of twist-off closures, another reason I picked this up. Syrah 65%, Grenache 25%, 10% old vine Carignan, this is like tasting the south of France in a glass: cassis, earth, and dark fruit aromas are followed by raspberry, earth, vanilla, and wood flavors on the palate. Relatively voluptuous mouthfeel ends in a tannic finish. At $10, this is a well-priced wine to enjoy with heavier and/or more spiced meals - we had it with sausage pizza and veggies, a great combination.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection 2013

I'm a big fan of Concha y Toro. Not content to sit on past successes, they keep coming up with new ways to keep themselves (and us) occupied. The most recent innovation is a new line for Casillero del Diablo, the Devil's Collection. This is aimed at younger, hipper crowd, with higher quality grapes and winemaking at a reasonable price point. I received 2 of the 3 wines to taste, with just the sparkler to try in the future.

Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection 2013

Tasting Notes:
Devil's Collection Red: 60% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Carménère from Chile's Rapel Valley; 60% aged in French and American oak, 40% in stainless steel; consistency between nose and palate with plenty of dark fruit, earth, spice, and cocoa; integrated tannins give backbone and some peppery bite; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $15.
Devil's Collection White: 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, and 5% Gewürztraminer from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, hand and mechanically harvested; aged sur lie 8+ months in stainless steel; tropical, floral, stone fruit, and citrus aromas, with more of the same on the palate; 13.5% ABV; twist off closure; SRP $15.
Another quality line from Concha y Toro via the Casillero del Diablo label - great food wines that step up the complexity just a little bit but don't step up the prices too much.

Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Home Run Inn Pizzeria, Darien

When I think of Home Run Pizza, I think of frozen pies, not great but decent (pretty tough to find a great frozen pizza), so I've never really thought about going to one of their pizzerias (there are nine Home Run Inn pizza restaurants in the Chicagoland area). We were invited to meet up with family there, however, so off we went.

Home Run Inn Pizzeria, Darien

The interior is inviting and not at the same time, with an open area of the restaurant and a wall blocking off the bar area to the right, which is a bit disconcerting as you enter. Overall a decent looking and comfortable room. Though it looked like there was plenty of staff, for some odd reason all the diners that night were seated together rather than spread out from each other. No biggie, just a bit strange.

While pizza is the obvious choice, Home Run inn does have some decidedly non-pizzeria items like Southside Sliders (pulled Guinness braised beef, Dubliner cheese, Jameson slaw, and fresh scallions) and Guinness Nachos (crisp cottage fried potatoes smothered with pulled Guinness braised beef, Dubliner cheese, Jameson horseradish sauce, and fresh scallions). For appetizers we tried the Sliders and an order of Cheesy Garlic Bread. Verdict? Not terrible, but the Sliders just didn't have an identity, too many flavors, not enough texture. The Cheesy Garlic Bread, however, was awesome. The pizzas were really good as well, with no skimping on toppings. Definitely not typical frozen pizza flavors.

A minimal wine and beer list was somewhat disappointing, though the beer flight was a good option, with 4 beers I haven't had before, some local and others imported.

Desert was incredibly tasty, but also somewhat disjointed. They didn't have the Ghirardelli Chocolate Bomb Cupcake (a table wish), but came through with a decent bag of donuts and the Signature Cookie Monster (warm chocolate cookie crust topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce).

This is a restaurant that was better than expected and, if you stick with the more typical pizzeria options, has food that is tasty and done well.

Home Run Inn Pizza on Urbanspoon

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