Posts Tagged wine

Weekly Roundup: Creativity, Star Trek Chic, and Cheap Booze

Living Room

This is what happens when I make time to be creative - utter domestic chaos! But it was so much fun . . .

Happy Friday Modern Domestic readers, and welcome to the new Friday weekly roundup!

  • I’ve really been digging the weekly creativity series on Decor8. It’s inspired me to take on projects like Peeptown Cupcake, and to make more time for my creative endeavors. The series was only supposed to be 10 weeks long, but Holly’s thinking about extending it, and I think she should!
  • I’m not watching The Chopping Block because I’m afraid that I’ll get sucked into yet another reality show, and then feel the need to recap it. And believe me, The Real Housewives of New York City and Millionaire Matchmaker are already fulfilling my quota of stupid TV. However, the first two contestants to leave the show were DCites: Vidalia events coordinator Khoa Nguyen and his cousin Denise Nguyen. But they weren’t kicked off – they left because they realized that the cruel insanity of reality TV just wasn’t worth it. Best Bites has an interview with the pair.
  • It’s a new frontier in geeky decorating!  I couldn’t resist this New York Times article about original series Star Trek fans who spent months creating the perfect replica of Captain Kirk’s chair for their living rooms. It’s so geeky, and yet kind of endearing – I guess I have a soft spot in my hear for The Trek since Wonk the Plank is a big Next Generation fan. Although if I were going to replicate a chair (don’t get any ideas, Wonk!), I’d much rather do Captain Picard’s – it looks much more comfortable!
  • Are you looking to take an art class in DC this summer. Apartment Therapy DC has a roundup of local area art classes.
  • I am forever in need of cheap booze. Thank goodness for the latest recommendation from DC Foodies: Castillo de Monjardin Tintico that’s less than $10 a bottle!

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Weekly Roundup: Top Chef Controversy Continues

WSJ Wines

February 28th was "Open That Bottle Night." Did you pop a cork on anything special?

Good morning Modern Domestic readers! Can you believe it’s Monday yet again?

  • But wait, there’s more Top Chef drama! The Best Bites piece linked to this SideDish article, where Casey Thompson (Carla’s sous-chef and past Top Chef Contestant) has harsh words about Carla’s cooking. Like, really harsh words. Wow, is someone still bitter about her horrific loss in Season Three?
  • Do you have a bottle of wine that you’re saving for a special occasion, except that no occasion ever seems special enough? That’s why Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, the Wall Street Journal’s wine critics, invented Open That Bottle Night.” Each February 28th, the famous duo opens one of those “special” wines with their friends and family –  because, after all, wine is meant to be enjoyed, not to gather dust on a shelf. Terry Gross interviews John and Dottie about the 10th anniversary of Open That Bottle Night on NPR’s Fresh Air.
  • If you’re interested in branding and marketing, you’ve probably noticed that Tropicana rebranded it’s orange juice — except the new “brand” is so boring it looks like it belongs to a generic. The Kitchn alerted me to this New York Times article: Tropicana is rolling back all the new branding. Wow, maybe because it sucks? Boy am I glad that I don’t work at the marketing firm that put that little project together.

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Champagne (or, um, “sparkling wine”) Roundup

Strawberry and Champagne - Day 246

What's Christmas without bubbles?

Photo Courtesy of Velo Steve via flickr, under the Creative Commons license.

After work today, I’ll be heading out to pick up some sparking wine for Christmas. I was about to write that I was going to pick up some “Champagne,” but, as any Wayne’s World fan knows, Champagnes only come from the Champagne region of France. Since real Champagne is definitely out of my price range, I plan to buy sparkling white wine, probably from California.

Of course, I won’t be in the market for a really nice bottle, because I intend to use half of it for mimosas on Christmas morning, and the other half for leisurely sipping on Christmas Day. But I thought that some of you were probably in the same boat, so I put together a little roundup of the Web Guide to Champagne Buying.

The New York Times did a tasting of sparking wines all priced at $20 a bottle or under, which I found extremely helpful. Granted, most of their picks hover at the $20 range, which is a bit steep for mimosas, but their best value, Crémant de Limoux blanc de blancs from Domaine J. Laurens, is only $13. Even I can afford that.

For those of you who want to shell out for the real stuff, the Wall Street Journal put together a guide to buying “Prestige” champagnes—i.e., Champagnes that are way, way out my price range. While I don’t think I know anyone who reads this blog who’s in the market for a $150 bottle of wine (not even my parents!), the article has some nice tidbits about the history of Champagne, insight into Champagne prices, and commentary on what one should look for in a good bottle of Champagne.

This Apartment Therapy post from last year has a guide to Champagne buying with recommendations from Craving’s Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng. Among other things, the article suggests to buy Champagne from established wine shops that have the facilities to properly store it. While Cynthia’s picks for 2008 are way out of my price range, her reasons for her picks are interesting and her tasting notes are an interesting read.

The Washington Post
also has a guide to finding good Champagne values.
The piece suggests, among other things, to look for small growers, local importers, and, of course, to ask your local wine store for their recommendations. The Post also did a tasting of different Champagnes, although their cheapest bottle is $38. Well, it’s still fun to read about, right?

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Thanksgiving Reading For Your Peace of Mind

2006 Thanksgiving - 5.jpg
Thanksgiving Meal, courtesy of
xybermatthew on flickr.

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, which means that food sites and publications have been churning out recipes, full-fledged feature pieces, and all-inclusive guides to this great American meal. These articles are supposed to be helpful, but they make cooking Thanksgiving dinner out to be a Herculean task on the scale of nuclear disarmament.

I’ve only made the Thanksgiving feast once during my first winter in Washington, and I can say from experience that you don’t have to have gone to culinary school to whip up some stuffing. I didn’t have any vacation time that year, and I couldn’t make it home for the big day. Instead, friends came down from New York, Nonnka came over from Georgetown, and we celebrated Thanksgiving orphan-style. It turned out to be one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. And even I, an untested Thanksgiving novice, was able to make the meal—turkey, stuffing, and all.

Was it a lot of work? My God, yes. But was any of it really beyond the skill level of basic cook? Hell no. The hardest part was getting the timing right, and I think that’s something you have to learn from doing it over and over again.

So stop looking at those scary Gourmet Menu Guides that call for you to make a billion starters from scratch, and put down the Bon Appetite Complete Guide to Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools (the only tools you need are a good sharp knife and some pots and pans).

Instead, I’ve dug through the deluge of Thanksgiving articles to find something to really be thankful for: peace of mind. These articles will calm your soul, they will soothe your worried Thanksgiving consciousness, and they will let you know that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a nice meal.

Simplifying the Turkey, Well-Priced Menus, and Holiday Wines on the Cheap

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