Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Day After Thanksgiving.

That plan where I was going to post this the day before Thanksgiving was never going to happen. The last person left half an hour after close.  Here are the numbers:

The number of people who came in the day before Thanksgiving this year: 11, exceeding all previous years.  This doesn't include the two or three friends-per-person that joined them, nor the dog.  At one point there were a Cave-Whopping nine people and one dog.  BUT WAIT.  The number of people who came in this past week: 43.  FORTY THREE.  Shipping Season meets Thanksgiving, what a fun week!  It's like old home week, you get to see people your rarely otherwise see.  It's lively and fun and noisy, a huge difference from my favorite August sport: harvesting lichen in monkish silence.

Today, crickets.  Everyone is paralyzed from overeating, or they're slogging their abused bodies through malls.

The best What-are-you-doing-for-Thanksgiving answer:  The story goes, loosely, that the extended family is huge and every year the Aunt does it.  This year, one of the cousins wants to do it, but so does the Aunt, so they're BOTH doing it and making the entire extended family choose which house to go.  And what is the story teller choosing?  "We're going to Aruba for the weekend."  Awesome.

Two beautiful wines came my way this week.  Facing a similar Sophie's Choice for their demise, a more equitable solution was had.

On the left, from Antica Terra in Oregon, a pinot noir rose called "erratica."  Nice art work, lovely wine,  I opened this last weekend while it was still hot in LA and I was eating curried chicken tacos with radish greens and feta.

Wednesday night, much cooler weather, I opened the 2014 Kermit Lynch Beaujolais.  It was bright and lively and delicious, and went well with the autumnal soup that was on the menu: collard greens, butternut squash, white beans in a curried lemon broth with persimmon-radish chutney and yogurt.

I am a fortunate and grateful troglodyte. Thank you, everyone.  Happy Day After Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy Holidays from Rudy Kurniawan, courtesy the U.S Marshals Service.

Yesterday the U.S Marshals Service announced that on November 24 almost 5,000 bottles of Rudy Kurniawan's wine will go to auction. The wines were "deemed authentic," hopefully not by a certain Koch brother.

Just in time for the holidays, you can score a deemed authentic lot of Romanee-Conti, two 1963 and one 1969, with an opening bid around $12,750.

If you don't like your Aunt Sally that extensively, you can always go for lot 7372, two 1987 Georges Faively Hospices de Nuit, etc., and one 1983 Chateau Haut Plantey St. Emillion, opening at only $50.

Here is the full list, a sure-to-be fascinating perusal - if not oddly voyeuristic - the vestiges of appetite, ego, temptation and hope - everything that makes The Bible fun.  Still, before we go too hard on Rudy, and in regards to a certain Koch brother-et-al, just consider: in this particular passion play, who played Frankenstein and who played Frankenstein's Monster?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bond. Cave Bond.

Sometimes The Cave and I need to spend a little quality time together, just the two of us, to keep the spark alive. Yesterday was that day.

The Cave AC is quarterly serviced, and the guy who is really taking care of us all by doing this usually likes to get started around six or seven a.m.  Troglodytes usually like to get started around noon. Suffering dawn builds character (not really) so for the love of all things The Cave, six a.m. it is. When Jay said NINE AM Thursday I was very happy.  I woke up at five-thirty a.m. and then around seven was afraid if I ever really did fall back asleep, I'd suffer nine, so I stayed up.  Then there was an AC emergency elsewhere and Jay had to cancel.

Friday, yesterday, we tried it again.  And again, I woke up around five-thirty a.m. Around seven I decided I'd suffer nine if I ever really did fall back asleep, so I stayed up and Jay didn't cancel.

There was a small necessity, we needed to let something dry and Jay ran out of things to do, so I suggested we go get beer and come back.  I'll not see Jay again until next year, and it seems a shame that a holiday will pass minus his having received a little love from The Cave. So I took Jay Christmas shopping at Mission on Glendale and Maple.

I can't quite divulge what happened there, but it was entirely awesome.  I asked The Amazing Garo for his help, Jay and The Amazing Garo were discussing preferences, YaddaYaddaYadda, and Jay got a super secret, hot off the press, not even OUT yet six-pack.  It was a total classy Amazing Garo moment.

We came back, everything was dry and good to go, and we finished.  I ran upstairs, had brekkie and a shower, and came down to work.

It's a lot like autumn. This means it's shipping season, and after a long and sleepy summer things are beginning to percolate around here.  Early in, two guys crossed paths who had both just come back from Italy, it turns out, and I got to do one of my favorite things: listen to two guys who know what they are talking about talk about wine.  And, in this case, the food, the towns, even the restaurants both had been to.  This was a very cool conversation to be privy to, and a real pleasure of the job.

If you've been following along at all, and I find that hard to believe, or otherwise pity you, you know I try to keep the bar for cleanliness reasonably set so as not to set false expectations.  The cellars were in need of a good sweep, but I wanted to wait until after Jay's visit because he adds to the need. Because of deliveries and other realities, this event did not happen during business hours. After work, I got one room done, but Amazing Race is on at eight so....

After the Amazing Race I came back down to do the other room. OK, this is how that went down. Vodka, iPod, hoodie sweatshirt. (FYI, me in a hoodie looks a lot like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein.) Onward!

The Bordeaux Room  is eternally mysterious and with many labyrinths which night time only amplifies.  It's the best way to bond with The Cave, it's the best way to enter into this story that is The Cave, and seven years here it still gets me.  For the next hour I swept through it listening to Madonna, Donovan, Sex Pistols, Florence and the Machine, Peter Gabriel, The Mommas and The Pappas.  It was, really, just awesome.

At ten-thirty I was done and happy and sated and happy some more and finally slept very well after one of the better Cave days ever.

What's not to love about this place? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Beer-O-Rama weekend.

Not quite an O-Rama, there were only two beers, I'm working on my clickbait technique.

October closed with a 90-plus-degree Halloween, and then the month was declared the hottest October on record.  It was also the hottest summer on record for EARTHThe Blob Meets Godzilla El Nino, my new favorite horror movie, is having a swell time of it.  Stay tuned for the next installment, "When Natural Disasters Collide."  Floods, mud slides.  It's going to be riveting.

Until then, I opted the weekend wine take the form of beer, because David wanders in with random beer and a blazing mid-autumn weekend seemed like a good time to try them.

 Friday I tried this, Saison Dupont Vielle Provision Belgian Farmhouse Ale.  Good rating!  It was clove-y.

Saturday, I opened this, Everett Robust American Porter. Wow, great rating!  It was sweet.

Then it occurred to me I may have the least complicated palate ever, and it's a good thing I'm not Robert Parker because with this palate he'd be working in a cave right now.  Also, it occurs to me The Great Cave Generosity is wasted on me and maybe there are worthier troglodytes for this sort of thing, but of course they then most likely wouldn't be troglodytes.

Of course, I do have one advantage: as the weather shift becomes the new normal,  storing your product underground becomes increasingly more reasonable. Cheers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This week's farmers market science experiment.

This week at the Atwater Village Farmers Market, the woman on the front left had, still in their shell, raw peanuts. Elsewhere fuyu persimmons are starting to show up and I thought, you know, if you shelled those peanuts and fried them in brown butter with sage and the persimmons, it'd be really good

What I did was, I shelled the peanuts and fried them in brown butter, with a little canola oil, and salt, red pepper flakes, a little curry, and because I don't have sage I threw in some thyme and rosemary.  And the persimmons. What it was was, really good.  (But I still want to try it with sage, which they sell at the farmers market.  Don't ask.) Also, next time, do the peanuts for a while before adding the persimmon.  And add another persimmon. But really good. 

You could probably roast it in the oven, but this would require you to turn on the oven.

 Savory fruity things is a nice way to go. All summer I've been putting grapefruit in my salad.  With a lemon/mustard dressing, with red onions and feta, it's a really nice balance of flavors.  Persimmons are good the same way. 

Lastly, shelling raw peanuts is not nearly as easy as shelling roasted peanuts.  Some time and patience required. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Winos past.

Mr. M came in yesterday, a lovely gentleman who hasn't stored wine here since 2012.  Last year he came in around this time of year to ask me to order for him a very special product, unavailable in California, and that I once shared with him.  Which I was more than happy to do.  So what if he's not a customer anymore; he's even better, someone who will always be part of The Cave. How many decent human beings, anyway, are there?  I can count about a quick dozen, and most of them are in The Cave. (Not right now, it's just me and the crickets today, who are also lovely.  They cricket here, not just anywhere. Special Cave Crickets.)

If you are drinking GOOD wine, chances are you are drinking good other things.  Whiskey is popular amongst the Cave dwellers.  Scotch seems next.  Beer, of course, and then the rest trickles along.  So that there are many conversations here about the many pleasures of food, coffee, and alcohol with all sorts of contributions about what is worth trying. 

Mr. M did not want me to order anything for him, he only came in to say hi, and he brought something for me to try.  The one that wasn't in liquid form was a new experience: Basturma by Eureka Sausage. On their website they say, "You owe it to yourself to taste this at least once in your life."

I did and they're right!  I've never tasted anything like it.

"dried, cured, and coated... the entire process from start to finish lasts 45-50 days....The fenugreek in the coating gives basturma its distinct aroma and taste."  Distinct indeed, and it pairs crazy-perfectly with that other thing he brought.

I wonder sometimes what happens to people after they leave here.  It's for any number of reasons: a once vigorous habit wanes, priorities change.  Mostly people move away or finally build that home cellar.  I'm always sorry to see them go, especially the guys who've been here so long, that are a real part of this story.  When someone like Jacques leaves earth, and you realize he's been here since 1992, that's not just a customer, that's our story.

Yes, it was very nice to see Mr. M yesterday.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wine Sunday

I wrote about Jacques only once, in 2011:

"Wednesday, Jacques came in to move his wine. He didn't like his locker. Half an hour later he decided he liked his locker after all and didn't move his wine. Then he handed this to me. I was like, 'Jacques, all I did was stand here and watch you not move your locker, it's not like I did anything.'"

Jacques gave me a bottle of wine every visit.  Easy on the swank, his habit was to pick up a case of something from Costco, $10 - $20 range Californians.  Still, it made me crazy.  I don't want people giving me wine, or I don't want people thinking they HAVE TO give me wine.  No one has to give me anything, I'll still take really good care of your wine.  

Or he'd come to stock up for the latest camping trip.  Once he came in after having come from Super King.  He had with him a bag of almonds in their shells.  He kept making me take almonds. We sat and shelled and chatted and ate almonds for about half an hour. We talked about where he goes camping, and other places he vacations. He traveled well.

It's a perfect wine weekend.  I was lying in bed 3:30 this morning listening to the rain, and later had breakfast with a beautiful gray sky.  Friday, for the weekend, I opened this, a 2006 BV Cab.  It is from Jacques locker.  His sister and a friend insisted I take it, over a misery of protests.

Thank you, Jacques.  The pleasure remains mine. Cheers.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Wine Saturday

Last weekend Vic walked in and then Vic made me open this port.  Trust me, if you want to try anything that is big and sweet and decadent, you want to try it with Vic.  He's like a two-yr-old trying his first Port.

Because this stuff is: decadent.  Sweet and boozy and scrumptious.  It said to me, I need some pears and cheese, please.  I don't know what it said to Vic.  It didn't matter, he was just happy to try it.

After close, this was going on, the Super moon-slash-eclipse.  This is a photo of it on the other side of the eclipse, actual size, no zoom, it was THAT BIG!

Nice night.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wine Friday.

If Southern California insists on being 100 degrees every day forever, we're just going to have to learn to drink wine when it's too hot to do so.  I think my personal adjustment is coming along fine.

Recently, by way of the gods, saints, and  patrons of wine and generosity, this came my way.  It's a 2012 Le Piane Boca Maggiorina. It's Italian. Max said it was a "field blend."  

Dr. Vinny explains the field blend as "more than one grape variety planted together in the same vineyard. Field blends happen all over the world, though they're now rare. In the past, before folks fretted about varietals or clones, they just planted different grapes in their vineyard as an inexpensive (yet limiting) way to blend wines. All the grapes are harvested at the same time and fermented together—a true field blend doesn't separate by varietals at harvest; the 'blend' is whatever Nature gives that vintage."

Sooo my style.  No intervention, let nature take its course. The wine is all you really want out of a wine, easy and good.  Also it was the first wine I've ever tasted that was vegetal.  Like you could taste the green stems or something, but not at the expense of anything else, it was just there as another very agreeable component.  Green label, unrestrained fields, 12.5% ABV - a very lovely, summer friendly wine.     

 Look: CHUNKS!  Dessert!

Also sampled was this 2010 Abyss.   Though I've had this before, T. was curious how this 2010 was drinking now.  I was like, well, YOU could open it and find out.  But noooooo.  So I opened it one recent weekend and it was drinking deliciously.  It poured still alive, it was beautifully resolved, there was nothing that could be said against it.

Also, the label doesn't really have bats on it, I added those, it seemed like it needed them.  And the first three notes of Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor.

 There is this thing that may happen Sunday, and that's   r   a   i   n, with a 20 degree temperature difference between tomorrow and Sunday.  If it's real, it will only last two days, and then it's back into eternal sunshine and warm temps.  With glee I am thinking about what wine to open tonight.  What a pleasurable action, to open a locker, to see what's there, what you forgot you had, the events the food the weather of the weekend in your head meeting in that moment with just the right bottle to pair with it.  Happy Friday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sipping summer.

It was only a hundred degrees today, dig out the hats and gloves.

I had a brilliant epiphany thanks to Justin.  Justin-the-person, not Justin-the-wine. Justin stores here and in a heat-induced, sure-to-be near coma, he came in this week not to retrieve product, only to bear gifts.  A word, in the form of a small aside:  gifts are neither required nor necessary.  While I want to acknowledge there is in the species great generosity, it's not to, by any means, to suggest this be a necessary act.  It is only an acknowledged act. 

One of the things Justin handed to me was this coffee. He got it from the Saturday farmer's market in La Canada.  This one is from Nicaragua.  The tasting notes denote lemon, marshmallow and caramel with a  baker’s chocolate finish.  This coffee, when Justin handed it to me, smelled heavenly.  

It was whole bean, and I've not a grinder.  After a few phone calls to some big shot coffee places, it was Urartu on Maryland that was happy to grind it for me.  That night I cold brewed it.  

Which gave me 12 hours to ponder the nature of coffee. This coffee was not as dark a roast as my usual fare. And while I usually douse it with a good bit of cream, I thought this lighter roast, plus it being Central American - which produces coffees with lighter bodies - might be overwhelmed by that habit.  Which got me to thinking about my coffee habit.  Isn't coffee like wine ... or beer, or food?  White and rose in the summer, IPA's and salads, why am I not adjusting my coffee habit to season, and better still, why hasn't some genius, like a troglodyte or something, wandered through every coffee on earth and offered a comprehensive brand/seasonal/food pairing guide to coffee? 

So that just like, say, Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, 2014, works well with a delicate white fish, what brand coffee and what blend or varietal of theirs would best accompany what?  

I've been looking at coffee like a wine guy who, after tasting the world's greatest wine, spends the rest of his life sourcing only wine within a 1% margin of error of that.  And I get this - of course, why not?  Who wants to spend a nanosecond of precious life attempting to swallow some seasonal merit of Charles Shaw after you've experienced an '82 Bordeaux?  NOOOOOO, there IS bad wine, there IS bad coffee.  This is not about that.  It's about how legitimate, good coffee can be as seasonal and diverse as the rest of it.  

And this coffee is a lovely bit of that.  Black, it is light, delicate and citrusy, an easy summer quaff.   

Oh, right, the French Alain guy.  After getting the red out of my system last weekend, and with hope that offering a final gasp of white to the weather gods would put me in good favor, this wine was the weekend fare, a most generous contribution to the cause.  I opened it Friday and admit I am warming up to the idea of the screw cap, especially around day four.  Of M. Graillot, one customer exclaimed, "He's the man!"  

Indeed.  This wine was really just GOOD.  It was astute, tight, and bright, no flabbiness in sight.  L'homme indeed!

I inhabit a cave of great generosity.  How fortunate I am to inhabit this cave.  Cheers.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Suffer the endless summer.

Why, just last weekend,  I posted about taking advantage of a lull in the otherwise dry hot furnace that is Southern California by opening a young but lovely Kermit Lynch red blend.  RED: living dangerously! After a nice weekend I opened up Wednesday afternoon, (AKA,Monday morning), to an unusually lively bit of bustle!  It was Wednesday, it was afternoon, it was 105 degrees outside, and one of the first things declared was, "I can't take it anymore, I need red wine!"  Awesome.

Right, because while wine is seasonal, California is not. Everything but the thermometer is pointing towards Autumn:  circadian calendars, the actual calendar, the butternut squash at the farmer's market...and The New York Times.

Still, Wednesday was a good bit of fun.  I learned about Winston Churchill's dedicated love of alcohol.  He supposedly drank 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger champagne in his life time. "Churchill also drank six or seven whiskey and sodas a day, as well as three daily brandies."

I counter-offered with Andre the Giant's feat of 119 beers in six hours.

We also covered Jade Helm 15, birth wines, hoarding, 1966 Chateau Figeac, and Dollar Tree.  All this in hour one. 

And died.  For the rest of the week.  Like every one managed to rally a minimally necessary energy to hoard their way to the first snow...or something less than 95 degrees...and then burrowed deep under ground to wait.  Because it's much cooler deep under ground, every one knows it. 

Better still:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wine and wine gadget weekend @ The Cave.

I confess, I've never understood the lure of alcohol while lolling under the sun.  This is my prevailing thought while, say, strolling down Venice Walk on a relentless summer's day and observing all the many people at cafes doing just that in the middle of the afternoon.  With my DNA, adding alcohol to the hot burning sun would only exacerbate the misery.  I am jealous of other people's DNA's for many reasons.

Which is the long way of declaring I've not opened a bottle of wine for a good while.  But Los Angeles this week was granted a fortunate reprieve, temperatures less than 90 degrees, and my first goal of celebration was to open a bottle of wine.

I meandered down to Topline (home the the world's worst website) and though Michael suggested a different option, when he wasn't looking I grabbed this. Because you had me at Kermit Lynch.

Yep, I read his book and dig his philosophy on wine, but I've never had anything he's imported.  So when I saw this, at only $999, I couldn't not.

When I got home there was a package in my mailbox from David.  David and I dated in high school, and after many years of regretting not marrying him, I hunted him down and now he and I are FB friends.  Also, he's married.  That might have been the wise choice on his part, now that I think of it.

Inside the envelope was this gadget. It was via an investment firm, so I assumed it both a giveaway and nothing too salacious, but WHAT?

There is a small opening on the bottom that pulls a suction of air through the device when pumped.  A de-zitter? 

 So I emailed David and said, I give up.  He responded that he associated me with wine.  Good association.

Ohhhhhhh, it's a wine stopper/de-airer.  C L E V E R.

 What fun at The Cave today.  Some nice intersections, a lovely bit of conversation and other naughty things. Afterwards, T. was still here and we talked about the idea of removing air to extend the shelf life of the open bottle. I understand this is what civilized people do; I on the other hand, no matter the wine, stick the cork back in and leave it at cellar temperature over three or four days. What I like about this is I get to follow the story of the wine minus intervention.  It's like buying an album versus downloading a song.

T. added that he'd read this past week about how suctioning the air can also possibly remove some of the essence in the wine. That's a curious one.

This wine might be the best young wine I've had.  It's primarily Grenache, with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre.  For its age and its value, it's got some nice earthiness to it, and also a surprising show of what you usually get in older wine, some subtle leathery/tobacco notes.  Nicely played, Kermit.

Happy Labor Day, you have all tomorrow to enjoy the fruit of your labor.  (Do so at breakfast, it's going to heat up again this week.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What's new at The Cave's R&D Department.

Caves are cold.  Caves are dark and windowless and solitary.  Thanksgiving is pretty happening around here, but it's August. Which means The Cave is a lot like the Soviet Union in the winter.  Which is why vodka is the official enjoyed beverage of The Cave.

That's right, there's wine things here, but wine is for people who live with windows, and see the sky, and rue our perpetual sunshine.  Wine is for people who hang out with other people, eat good food, celebrate occasions, converse, share, and watch a moment become a memory.

Vodka is troglodytes and caves all the way, but that doesn't mean the two can't occasionally overlap.

I was in Trader Joe's last week purchasing vodka, the one on the right there is actually pretty good for the price.  But what is that other one?  That's new.  Fortunately I understood my professional duty to acquire this product and deliver it to The Cave's Research and Development Department for further investigation. 

You might notice, after careful study, the bottle on the left is empty.  Here's what we know.

Here is Trader Joe's description of the vodka from their Fearless Flyer.  Additionally the label reads, in part, "This vodka makes its presence known in a prescribed manner: careful distillation creates the sine qua non for the spirit...."  Intentional or not, it can't hurt to reference one of the better cult wines in California.   I already have a guy here storing Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Wines because he's identified the California wineries from which they hail.

Though vodka can be made from anything at all, it is traditionally from potatoes, and then wheat and grain. But there are many vodkas from (gluten free) grapes, most notably Ciroc from ... yep, France, home of the grape.

The people in Paso Robles who make Re:find Handcrafted Vodka talk about wanting to find a new way to utilize the often discarded saignée.  "Often, winemakers bleed a percentage of the free-run juice from red grapes before fermentation to concentrate and enhance the quality of their red wines, and this bleed, the saignée, is often discarded."

Rick Moersch of DiVine Vodka  says here, "We believe and many of our customers tell us the grapes make it a pleasant and smooth vodka. It has a better taste and is especially appealing for people who don't like the burn."

Talking about traditional vodka, this article states,  "It looks like water, but goes down like fire. Not anymore. According to local bartender Dan Rogan, vodkas made from grapes retain something of their berry essence. 'Just as in wine, the character depends on the fruit,' he says, describing them as elegant, with a refined smoothness and distinct but subtle nuances and complexities."  

Of course, it's the fire that one wants in an otherwise cold cave. Trader Joes Vodka Distilled From Grapes is about $10.  It's inoffensive, but it's a tad heavy and syrupy for this troglodyte who prefers a lighter fare that bites back, which is an issue of style-not-product.  

I will tell you this, though:  I ONCE tried this stuff, Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods. It is HORRIBLE.  It tastes like old gym socks steeped in grey wash water.  With alcohol. Which is why The Cave Research and Development Department is of such value.  Cheers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"American Greed," featuring Rudy Kurniawan

The Deanster was kind enough to send me the link to the episode of "American Greed" that features Rudy Kurniawan.  Yesterday I had a chance to watch it.  First and foremost, it's a TV show; a bit sensational, production value; but it serves its purpose well in presenting the niche wine to a broad audience.

Earlier today, still thinking about it, I confess to wondering: in the rush of egos who was the Frankenstein and who was the monster?  That aside, here are some links and things.

[I've twice linked this episode, and it's twice been removed from general viewing.  I hope you got to see it.]
 FBI pics of the house.

The formulas.

Tips for spotting counterfeit wine.   (Something I hope a certain Mr. Koch has since read.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Manzanilla fino sherry

 I've never had sherry.  Sherry in my head is the stuff of polite society circa 1950's, or the afternoon tea of old ladies sipped from tiny glasses.  In fact,  in his article, "Sherry: Not Just for Little Old Ladies," Ray Isle opens with a quiz.

 But after a bit of a sherry dissertation generously followed up with this gift of sherry, I took the sherry plunge this past weekend.  PLUNGE because of all the sherry varieties, this one had to be drunk in one felled swoop.  No leftovers.  AND NO DAWDLING.  (Wiki: "Once opened it will immediately begin to deteriorate and should be drunk in one sitting for the best results.")

Also, if you research things, you drink sherry with olives. Everyone said olives.  Funny.  So I bought olives.  Guess what: PERFECT.  Like peas and carrots, those olives and sherry.

You know what sherry tastes like?  Old white wine.  Slightly boozy, slight caramel things.  Interesting.  Different. 

This is the more artsy picture I took after glass two.  That "one-sitting" caveat is a trip.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Notes, sort of, part two.

There are reusable shopping bags and reusable wine totes and I had one of those lying around.  So I used it.  It was given to me by the good people of Mission Wine and Spirits.  Other than the day they gave it to me, I never used it, but I do lend it to customers when they've forgotten their own bag. 

I used it earlier this week and at the bottom of it was this great receipt.  God bless Trader Joe's, home of the "Get Your Cheap Wine On."  Was this at the bottom of the bag, unnoticed, when I got it from Mission? OR: Is this one of my customers receipts?  Is this what is in their locker?  OR. Were they having a party (replete with ice-cream, pasta and clementines) and they didn't want to blow the good stuff?  It wouldn't be the first time.  No one is going to open something precious for an audience that thinks wine made from Kool Aid might be a worthwhile endeavor. Which I might try.

Also, minus the Charles Shaw, who'd know the difference?  "You'll love this wine!" is all you have to say, and of course everyone will believe you.  They'll think, Well, he has a wine locker, he must know what he's talking about. 

Even within this Trader Joe's mix, there is a pretty good variety.  It's not all Charles Shaw, so there is some thought and process here, balance and consideration.

Where else can you get 12 bottles of wine for less than $50? 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wait for Dessert.

About three minutes after I saw this, (click on to enlarge) Cliff called and asked if he'd left his list behind. 

He did.  I read it off to him, then scanned it, and then emailed it to him in so he wouldn't accidentally blanch the green beans before sauteing the shallots.  DISASTER! 

Grocery has about 3,700 found grocery lists posted.  Some led to the book Milk Eggs Vodka, AKA, all you really need in life if you really get down to it, assuming you already have tea, that's what the milk is for.

There are also many googlable sites for found notes.  Buzzfeed once posted 15 Curious Things found in Library Books, which, if you're a library person, you know happens.  The book I got out this week only had someone's credit union receipt in it. Found Magazine also posts ... found notes.

Cliff's Note is  probably what a lot of people do who entertain.  They have to host, chat, pour, and still remember to get everything done in the right order.  Chill the wine before chopping the garlic and it's too cold for skirt steak, right?  I only hope he remembered to wait for dessert.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Worst wine review ever.

Happy Fourth, The Cave is open normal hours all weekend.

Yesterday, Thursday, was a madhouse.  A MADHOUSE!  Today, crickets.  S. came in, a man of priorities whose first question was, "Where's the wine?"

Because sometimes on weekends, I'm not sure why it is but I've got emails out to all the necessary agencies to find out, a corks falls out of a bottle.   And then it's like, well, it's open now, so in the interest of economy we might as well have some.

I mean, Americans throw out 160 billion pounds of food per year.  Troglodytes, on the other hand, quite mindful of this sort of thing, throw out 0 pounds of food annually.  Wine is a lot like food.  Ergo.

So in the interest of all things mindful, when S. discovered, alas, there were no current cork-fails, having not been here a while he found one in his locker.  KISMETY!

R. was also here, and the three of us sat for a bit enjoying the cork-fail, having a chat, like that.  It was lovely, and what made it even lovelier was the Sauternes at hand.  I feared a cloyingly sweet affair, but no, not even close. It was layered, bright, balanced, nuanced, and delicious.

R. really dug it in a "I want to buy some of this" kind of way, so I let her take it with her.  I neglected to take a picture of it, or note what it was in any helpful way at all. Not a clue. Good luck finding some of that.

I was asking S. what purpose Sauternes served, could it be a main meal wine?   For dinner last night I had the bi-annaul hot dogs with corn tortillas, jalapeno-onion-garlic, hot sauce and mustard, and cheese.  The wine would have gone superbly with this. 
Oh: Sauternes is not plural for Sauterne.  It's just Sauternes.  Sorry for that email, S. Cheers.

PS. dogs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy Los Angeles Beer Week.

It's Los Angeles Beer Week!   Mmmm, beer.

To celebrate, my second attempt at cold brewing coffee with a pint of Guinness.  My previous and first effort, I dumped enough coffee in the french press to keep a small village alert for a week.  Ultimately I rationed the sludge for about that long.  This time, I ratio'd one Guinness to one dose of coffee.  (2 TBSPS.) I could drink it over the course of one afternoon, but I do declare I preferred the insanely stronger coffee flavor, so I'm not sure what the next move is on this one.

I think Glendale is pretty close to Los Angeles.  Here are some way more exciting options for getting your beer on.

The Moose Den. Across the street from The Americana on Brand, down the stairs from The Famous, Moose den is an old school beer hall replete with dart boards.  They have weekly events like a "locals only" night - $1 off any local beer, bingo night, and a darts league.

Tonight for LA Beer week, they are hosting a tap takeover by Three Weavers Brewery, plus bingo PLUS fried chicken and waffles.  WOW!

The Glendale Tap, on San Fernando @ Magnolia, occasional host of a Glendale's Finest DUI trap, is fervently celebrating LA Beer Week.  Here's a capture of their FB page.  I'm posting it because I have no comprehension of it.  It's Barbecued Beer? You drink it with a BBQ?  All those blue words under the me.  So good luck, kids.

As always, please Beer Week responsibly.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Deanster Cometh.

The Cave, er, The World Famous Cave Wine Storage, can comfortably boast not only a national, but international clientele.  The guy from the Netherlands recently relocated to Florida, but we can still claim Hong Kong, Shanghai, somewhere in Germany, London and more. None of these to be mistaken for Dean from Indiana. 

The Deanster, when in town - and he is that - becomes The Cave mascot for that time, or as it's been previously noted, furniture.  So a Dean tradition has evolved, some combination of presence, Chipotle and wine.

Chipotle makes a lot of profit off the likes of myself who prefer simpler fare.  A burrito with every last scrap of food on it is probably the way to go, but I get three hard-shell tacos with cheese, hot sauce, and lime.  NO MAS!  Which I think is the same price as the burrito and about one/16th the amount of food.
Dean was good enough to open this, 2013 Alban Vineyards Viognier.  I had no idea what a Viognier was.  It's a grape!  On its very minimal website, Alban Vineyards claims itself, "The first American Winery and Vineyard established exclusively for Rhone varieties."  Which the Viognier grape is: tres Rhone.

WAY back in 2004, Lettie Teague writes about the Viognier boom, which sounds like these wines can be as diverse, varied, as California Pinot Noirs, which I've discovered to be diverse and varied.

This one opened sharp and citrusy, but by taco number three, there were some heavy butterscotch notes on the back end.  It played heavier with the tacos.

 When I told Dean I thought this was a "lovely" wine, which it was, he said, That's what everyone says, that it's 'lovely!'

Your resident Troglodyte is a cliche.  Also, deeply grateful for all the generous and kindly people I've had the good fortune to know all these years.

                                                                    Cheers, Dean!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Hotel Glendale in Valleyvalley, California.

 (as always, click on images to enlarge.)

1. So nice they named it twice.
Every once in a while someone on social realizes, and then tweets, about how a Glen and a Dale are the same thing - both are defined as valleys - so that really Glendale translates into Valleyvalley.  "Valleyvalley, California" has not an unpleasant ring to it, and when you see an old photo of Valleyvalley, you can understand the enthusiasm for redundancy.
This one is from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.  The accompanying summary describes it. "Panoramic view of Glendale looking northeast toward the Verdugo Hills circa 1900.  A few houses are seen."

I had some time this week to peruse the City of Glendale's History Collections Online page, a portal to many resources for local meandering, which becomes quickly addictive.  I clicked my way through them and found more than a few really cool things, but I'll only torture you with a few.

2. The Glendale Hotel v. The Hotel Glendale v. The Other Hotel Glendale. 

This is the Glendale Hotel.  It was built in 1887 on Broadway between Isabel and Jackson (currently Glendale PD). It was three stories and had 75 rooms.  It never opened.  It would be a girl's school an Episcopal church, and at one point Leslie Brand owned it. In 1905 it would become the Glendale Sanitarium.  Business was so good a newer, larger Hospital/Sanitarium would be built adjacent to this building, on Wilson.  The original Glendale Hotel closed and was razed in 1924.

This is The Other Hotel Glendale.  This photo was found on the Cal State Northridge digital collections site. Opened 1906, this was on the northwest corner of Wilson and Brand, where the B of A is today.  It was the first bank in Glendale, and there is a plaque on the B of A stating this.  The description of this photo states the streets as being originally "Crow Ave. and 3rd St.," which, let's be honest, is WAY cooler than Wilson and Brand.  I'm not sure this hotel's life span.

From the Los Angeles Public Library we get this shot of The Hotel Glendale...

 ...this from USC Digital Library... (which I've previously posted)...

...and from the Glendale Public Library this was pinned to History Pin.

But this week's lovely discovery are two sets of photos that show The Hotel Glendale's lobby, mezzanine, and rooms when The Hotel first opened. These are also from USC's Digital Library.  They were taken by "Dick" Whittington Studios, "the largest and finest photography studio in the Los Angeles area from 1924 to 1987... clients including Max Factor, the Broadway, Bullock's, and May Co. department stores, the California Fruit Growers Association, Signal Oil, Shell Oil, Union Oil, Van de Kamp's bakeries, Forest Lawn, Sparkletts Water, CBS, Don Lee Television, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, real estate developers, construction companies, automobile, aircraft, and railroad companies, and drive-in theaters."

Here is Set 1.

The lobby, (now the Cafe Broadway).

The mezzanine, which I could swear I once saw referred to as "The Ladies Lounge."

Clearly a kitchen, based on the door I'm thinking for the one-bedrooms on floors two, three, and four. Cool kitchen.

The second batch:

This is the living room of the one-bedroom on floors two, three, and four. 

This is the living room on floors five and six.

You know, "I Love Lucy;"  Ricky was like this big-time band leader for a huge club, and they lived in what is, by today's standards, that very modest one bedroom apartment.  LOOK!  there's nowhere for Lucy to sit!

Forget Lucy, she was living large, what about the Kramdens?

A few posts ago I wrote about the famous depth of failure that is this Hotel's legacy, but when you see these photos it's not as convincing.   The rooms are bright and there was plenty of room for Lucy.

I bet if Alice ever did go to the moon, she'd have loved to spend a few nights first at the luxurious Hotel Glendale in Valleyvalley, California.