This year my wine tastes have mainly veered off in the direction of Argentina and France. Up to today I had not realized that I had forgotten my very first wine love; Chile. So for this edition of Wine Down Wednesday I decided to revisit this first love and get a taste of what the Los Vascos 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon had to offer.
I was introduced to wine many years ago with a bottle of Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon. In hindsight, Cabernet was probably not the wisest choice to start off with since it tends to be a bit on the dry side. Surprisingly I remember that this wine was very approachable and well rounded. I was curious to see how it had evolved over the years.
Chilean wines have always offered a tremendous return on investment. There are many great bottles to be found for under $10. There is also great variety since you can also find good Carmeneres, Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and even Malbecs from this awesome South American nation.
Los Vascos comes from the Cañeten valley in Colchagua. The winery traces its origins to the Basque pioneers who settled in Chile centuries ago. Colchagua offers rich volcanic soil, long sun exposure and the wines benefit from the proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
I recommend that you let this wine breathe for about 20 minutes. This allows the wine to open up and allow its plum, dark cherry and tobacco flavors to shine. It features a nice balance of tannins, acidity and just the right amount of oak. This wine has some resemblance to reds from Bordeaux.
I really enjoyed my first taste of this vintage! Though I liked it, I really regret not having paired it with a meal. I can really see this cab shining when paired with a nice big steak! While not the most complex wine out there, this cab does offer a ton for what you pay!
Have a wine recommendation? A wine that you would like us to review? Leave us a comment below!
In the last few months life has gotten really exciting with the new ventures I’ve taken on. I love jumping into new projects, but with that comes A LOT of new learning and exploring the unknown. Here are some books that I’m currently reading to guide me along the way.
Capture Your Style by Aimee Song. Entering the blog world is new territory for me so I’m still learning the ins and outs of how to gain a following so that I can do what I set out to do- inspire people to live their best life! One of the most interesting and challenging aspects of blogging is learning how to use social media to brand and promote yourself in order to reach new readers every day. I read that if you want to be successful you have to follow and study the lives of those who have been successful in your field. For this I turned to the woman who wrote the book on how to build the ultimate platform on instagram, Aimee Song, from SongofStyle.com. This is a great book for learning the basics of Instagram, how to take the best pictures right from your phone, and finding and growing your audience. With over 4 million followers, I think she’s the one to study right now! Not only is her book stunning to look at, but it’s packed with how-to’s on taking the best photos and bringing your platform to the next level. This stuff is so much fun! Thanks Aimee for the tutorial on how to build the best social media platform!
The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope. I also decided that I wanted to become a yoga teacher this year and this Sunday is my first day of class! I’m both excited and terrified which is probably a great feeling to have. I hear that the Ashley that graduates the program will not be the same as the one who started it. I’ll keep you all updated on how it goes in the next 3 months! This book is all about finding your dharma, in other words, your vocation, calling or path. The students who’ve completed the teacher training have told me this was the most influential book they read throughout their journey. It highlights the life stories of people like Jane Goodall, Henry David Thoreau (an amazing soul), and Walt Whitman. I’ve only just started it, but I can tell I’m going to learn a lot about myself as I read it. There are about 10 more books I just ordered that will be guiding me through my 200 hour yoga teacher training.
Stoppers, Photographs from My Life at Vogue by Phyllis Posnick. I received this as a Valentine’s gift from my amazingly thoughtful boyfriend. He is so supportive of me and the blog and he thought I could use some photography inspiration. Though this might appear as a mere coffee table book or great home decor swag, this book is serious. It’s about 5 lbs so I get a little arm workout whenever I bring it from the couch into the bedroom! Anna Wintour, who has worked with Posnick for over 25 years, wrote the forward. The photos in this book are just exquisite.There is such an art to taking the right photo and I look forward to learning a lot about this too!
What are you reading these days? Are you reading for work, for pleasure, or maybe learning something new? Send us a comment or visit our Instagram!
There’s absolutely nothing better than winding down during the evening and relaxing with a glass of wine in hand. And this week we uncork a Pouilly Fuissé that proves that not all wines require a food pairing.
Maison Nicolas Potel is well known around the wine world for producing wines from the Burgundy region where this 2013 Pouilly Fuissé originates.
This chardonnay features a citrusy nose with vague hints of oak. Apple, pear, grapefruit zest and limestone flavors star in this well rounded vino that is balanced with just enough minerality. All this is followed by a crisp dry finish.
Sure this wine is terrific all on its own, yet it also has the potential to shine with a variety of dishes. The mineral notes mean that it will pair well with seafood and perhaps even sushi. White meats such as veal and chicken will also shine with this wine. It may even hold up well against spicy fare such as Indian or Thai.
I highly recommend this delicious wine and suggest you pick up a bottle. The Nicolas Potel Pouilly Fuissé retails for around $15.
Have you tried this wine? Have a recommendation? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Beautiful San Diego, a city on the Pacific coast of California known for its beaches, parks, sunny warm climate and great food. From La Jolla, to Coronado to the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego has a lot of experiences to offer year round for just about everybody.
Stay: The Horton Grand Hotel. A reasonably priced boutique hotel set in a 19th century building. The hotel features quaint rooms with working fireplaces and available balconies that either face the street or an open air courtyard. There is a bar/restaurant on the premises that offers good food and drinks. The hotel is centrally located and the convention center, Petco Park and many restaurants and bars are all within walking distance. Note that some of the rooms at this hotel are said to be haunted!
Eat: So many options! For seafood lovers a must try is Mariscos el Pulpo located on Market Street between 4th and 5th avenue. This is a place for awesome Mexican seafood fare complete with outdoor seating. Order the octopus ceviche which features nice chunks of octopus blended with red onion, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and jicama. The dish is topped with fresh slices of avocado and crunchy tortilla chips.
Drink: San Diego features a ton of up and coming breweries that are pumping out some wonderful brews. A visit to the city would not be complete without a visit to Ballast Point Brewery though! There are five locations spread throughout the city featuring all of Ballast Point’s offerings on tap. The Little Italy tasting room, located at 2215 India Street also offers some tasty food options to pair with your beer. The great thing is that you don’t have to settle on one beer. If you’re feeling adventurous you can order a beer flight which is a sample of small beer glasses each holding a different beer. These small samples allow you to try multiple styles of beer in one sitting and in moderate quantities
Do: Beaches, parks, museums, hiking, running trails, kayaking, diving, whale watching; San Diego offers it all.
Balboa Park, situated just east of the Little Italy district. This little gem offers a wide variety of museums, outdoor events as well as the San Diego Zoo. For aviation nuts there is the San Diego Air and Space Museum which features the city’s rich aviation history. A highlight is the airplanes flying right above the museum on their approach to the airport.
La Jolla Cove features a beautiful beach, hiking trails set alongside tall cliffs as well as sea kayaking tours which bring you right up to colonies of resident seals.
Coronado is situated across the bay from downtown San Diego. Here you will find a beautiful wide sand beach located right next to a naval base. The town features charming streets and plenty of great food options.
Such a great city with so much to do! San Diego offers great year round weather and plenty to experience for everybody.
Been to San Diego? Have some recommendations that you would like to add? We would love to hear from you so leave your comments below!
Valentine’s Day is this week and if you’re in a relationship maybe you’re staying in on Tuesday to make dinner and play scrabble. Maybe you’re going out to a nice dinner and a movie?That’s cool, but I’ve really been missing my ladies lately. As 30 somethings with lots of responsibilities and living all spread out in NY, I don’t get to spend as much time with my gals as I would like. So this year I’m celebrating GALentine’s day with some of my favorite ladies for a night of music, dancing, and of course drinks.
If you don’t have a special someone this February 14th or would just rather celebrate GALentine’s day instead this year, then I have a few suggestions for an inexpensive Gal’s night out in New York City!
So if you’re not on eventbrite yet, you should sign up now! There are tons of fun, free events going on every day in the city. I’m an email subscriber, so every now and again I will peep what they send me. Glad I did because I found a great activity for Gal’s night out. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a HUGE Amy Winehouse fan. I cried when she died and the documentary AMY just killed me. Whenever I need a little soul in my life I listen to Amy. She makes everything right again. So I was stoked when I found an Amy Winehouse tribute show playing at a cool little venue right in the heart of the West Village, Groove, this Thursday evening. Even better, the tickets were only $7. Can’t beat that! Of course expect to spend more loot on drinks and such. If you want to keep your spending to a minimum and happen to be in the mood for some really yummy Vietnamese food, Saigon Shack is a hop, skip and a jump from Groove and you can get a delicious bowl of Pho or a yummy Chicken Vermicelli for under $10. Score! This will make for a fun gal’s night out without breaking the bank.
Next is a great find in TriBeCa. There’s a little wine tasting room/wine store called New York Vintners. They offer wine classes where you learn about all the nuances of wine tasting paired with a delicious meal. I’ve been here 3 times and every time it’s a really nice evening with unique wines and food options. Classes are usually $75 a pop, but right now Living Social is running a special for $39. Go grab it! Where in NYC can you taste 4-6 different wines and get a 2 course meal for 40 bucks? If you find one, please let me know. But in the meantime go check out the living social deal here and grab one or two extra vouchers for your girls! They have different themed classes every night. On Valentine’s Day, the special class is called “50 shades of Red, White, and Rosé”. This one serves 10 different wines and dinner. What a deal! They also have classes like “Perfect Pizza Pairings”(my personal favorite), “Kick Ass Reds”, “Sexy Cheese Pairings” and even a A Blind Tasting Challenge. There are several rooms in this location. The classes usually take place in the main room upstairs and dinner is prepared right before your eyes as you listen to the sommelier teach you how to sip, what to pair your wine with and all different kinds of fun techniques that will make you look like a wine snob whenever you taste wine thereafter. If you ask your Som to show you around, they’ll take you downstairs to see the private party room which is really spectacular as well as artist Jason Oliva’s studio which has some great New York centric art. New York Vintners is one of NY’s best kept secrets and a great deal if you ask me!
So if you’re still unsure about your V-Day plan, make it a G-Day and have yourself a lovely one! If you have any other recs for a fun GALentine’s night out please share in the comments or on our Instagram here. And remember you don’t have to limit your GALentine’s day to this one day on the calendar. Make it a point to spend more time with your girlfriend’s regularly. Take a peek of me and some of my favorite gals!
I tried to get my boyfriend to take off of work today so we could get our snow day pizza-making on, but apparently the stock market doesn’t close for blizzards boooo. So I took this day as a great opportunity to eat clean and nourish my body without any guilt! Truth be told though, I rarely feel guilty eating pizza. But what do you eat when you’re snowed in solo and can’t indulge because you have a sensitive tummy? Here are some healthy alternatives to the usual snow day junk food fest.
I read that sugar is one of the 4 digestive destroyers so I’m seriously trying to limit it to avoid any more tummy aches. I’ve cut sugar out of my morning coffee and tea and so far I don’t really miss it. I started the day with Trader Joe’s Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea. This satisfies my sweet tooth without the added sugar. If you happen to like your tea sweet, you can add honey as a natural alternative.
For brunch, I went with my go-to avocado toast. My version this morning was more like a guacamole toast because I added cilantro and tomatoes- Yum! I start with one avocado, a wedge of lemon, salt, and my bread of choice. I put the bread in the toaster oven while I prepare the avocado mash. Cut your avocado in half and scoop out into a molcajete. (Mine was a gift from Brazil, but I found an inexpensive version on Amazon for $13. Check it out here.) Add the rest of the ingredients in any order and smash it up! If you feel so inclined to add some protein to this light breakfast, add a fried egg. I added it, but after two bites I took it off because the avocado tasted so fresh that the egg just ruined it for me. Needless to say, I ate the egg afterwards.
Next up for dinner I made a big pot of chicken vegetable soup with chicken, carrots, celery, onions, kale, mushrooms and quinoa. This makes the whole house smell yummy! It’s very light, yet filling and will make for a few meals so that whatever I don’t eat within a few days, I freeze and have some stored away for when I need it! Chicken soup is always my favorite on really cold days or when I’m sick so it’s always nice to have some stocked up. To make, fill a big pot with cold water and add the chicken, some salt, and a bouillon cube. Let that boil for 30-50 minutes while you cut up the other veggies. After 30 minutes, take the chicken out and add the quinoa and veggies. Keep that on a low simmer while you peel the chicken. Add the peeled chicken back into the pot and cook on low for another 20 minutes or so. Sprinkle some cheese on top for added flavor.
It might sound as if I ate like a bird today, but I hydrated with lots of water, snacked on some fruit and was satisfied all day. A sensitive stomach will always haunt my life so sometimes I just have to reset. It’s not always easy or fun to eat healthy, but if you incorporate more of the good stuff on a daily basis, you don’t have to sacrifice all of the not-so-good stuff. You will feel better and your body will thank you for it. I’m sure there’ll be many more snow days of pizza and ice cream in my future, but for the time being I’m more cognizant of what I put in my body and I feel much better already.
What are some of your go-to snow day or healthy indulgences? Share with us in the comments section or tag us on Instagram @the_dailycroissant.
Anyone who knows me well, knows about my obsession with seafood. This obsession extends itself to when I make pasta at home. I think that there’s nothing better than spaghetti with clams in a garlic and wine sauce. So simple, yet so tasty.
So for this edition of Wine Down Wednesday I was facing a dilemma. I did not want to feature yet another frozen or prepared meal, and I was running out of ideas. I thought about featuring my own spaghetti with clams, but truth be told, I wanted to do something different. So I picked Ashley’s brain for ideas and she suggested I prepare a pasta dish, specifically a pasta arrabbiata. Challenge accepted!
Pasta arrabbiata can be a simple dish if you wish. Conversely it can be made complicated if you decide to add more ingredients. In its basic essence, this dish is just penne pasta and a spicy tomato sauce that is loaded with garlic. Simple, right? Ashley provided me with a recipe which I used as a base guideline. Other than that, I was on my own. The recipe called for penne pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, parsley, dry red pepper and either a red or white wine for the sauce. I had the majority of the ingredients at home except for the parsley and dry red pepper so off I went to my local market. I also picked up a package of chorizo earlier in the day from my local Fleishers which I thought would add for more flavor.
When I got home I ran into a big problem. My can opener had decided to give up the ghost and I had no idea how to open the can of tomatoes. So out came the beer bottle opener and a pair of pliers!
I began by cooking the pasta in a small pot of water. The sauce took on life by cooking a ton of finely diced garlic and onions in olive oil. I then added the red pepper followed by the tomatoes which I let simmer for a while. In a small frying pan I cooked the chorizo which I decided to cut into small slices. Once the sauce was happily simmering for about 10 minutes I added a little bit of dry white wine followed by some of the parsley.
Once I was happy with the flavor of the sauce, I added the pasta to the pan and let it all blend together. I have to say that this dish was a success for a first try! I just love spicy food and this dish was rounded off by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the freshness of the parsley. I topped off my plate with a little bit of shredded Parmesan.
Wine Down Wednesday would not be complete without the wine of course. For this occasion I decided to pop open a bottle of 2015 Saint Cosme Côtes Du Rhône. This little red wine might just be my favorite from all of last year. From the first time I tasted it I knew that there was something special about it. The wine is a blend of Syrah from Vinsobres and Syrah from Villafranchian featuring elements of blackberry, dark cherry, boysenberry and tobacco. It’s oh so rich on the palate and on the nose. I just love it.
I had noticed how special this wine was early on in the summer of 2016 and it was confirmed when Wine Spectator placed it at #43 on their top 100 list late last fall. Unfortunately this means that the secret is out and now the wine is a bit difficult to find. For those of you who are able to locate a bottle or two I recommend that you pick them up. Great wines at a price point of around $15 don’t come around often. This one can be consumed now or cellared for several years!
Dinner was awesome tonight and I will surely be adding this dish to my repertoire. But I may not dig in to my stash of Saint Cosme CDR to pair it with next time. I’m saving my remaining bottles for some special occasions!
Have a favorite pasta dish? A favorite red wine? Want to see them featured on a future Wine Down Wednesday? I’d love to hear from you so please leave your comments below!
Looking for a weekend escape from the city? How does a quaint New England getaway about a 4-hour drive from Manhattan sound? Look no further than Woodstock, Vermont. This small town has everything you need to just wind down, relax, and get some time to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. I visited back in the fall, but I’m sure there are a lot of fun winter adventures here as well. Here’s a little guide to exploring Woodstock, Vermont with your loved ones this winter.
Stay: The Woodstock Inn, Woodstock Vermont. This is a bit of a splurge, but if only for a weekend, you’re worth it. As you enter the Inn you’re greeted by a warm and cozy fireplace surrounded by comfy chairs and couches. This is the perfect spot for sipping wine or some cocoa after your drive up. Grab the local newspaper to see what’s going on in town for the weekend or your favorite book to enjoy while you relax.
There are three restaurants on the grounds. Richardson’s Tavern is very cozy, offering lots of local microbrews and a delicious farm to table menu. The ambiance is dimly lit by candles and very laid back. Jeans and sneakers are okay for this spot. The menu changes seasonally and offers a lot of local delicacies. The Red Rooster is a fancier restaurant, but a great place to grab a cocktail and appetizer at the bar should you want a quick snack like oysters or a hummus plate to share.
My favorite part of The Woodstock Inn is the game room. This spacious room has a pool table, a lazy susan scrabble board, shuffleboard, checkers, chess and darts. It’s a fun hangout for kids and adults to enjoy!
Eat: Food is the best part of any trip, right? Simon Pearce is a unique restaurant, bar and gift shop that is also a glass blowing factory fueled by the Ottauquechee river that runs next to it. Drive about 10 minutes outside of Woodstock to Quechee, Vermont for this extra special treat. After dining on a delicious brunch of homemade apple cider cocktails, crispy buttermilk beignets, and local prosciutto, blue cheese and fig plates, take a tour of the glass blowing happening downstairs. You can see the artisans creating their masterpieces and you can even buy some of the most beautiful glassware in their gift shop. This was not just about the food, it was an experience to remember!
Do: Explore nature of course! There are some great walking trails and hikes to do. You can walk down to the river and just sit on a rock to appreciate the trees and the foliage. You can even visit a farm. Billings Farm was filled with fun activities and fall happenings. They were pressing homemade apple cider, and serving local pumpkin and maple walnut ice cream. But if that doesn’t interest you, you can go on a hayride tour of the farm. There is a great museum and different menu of activities happening every day such as “Up Close With a Jersey Cow”, “Churning Butter” and “Introduction to Milking”. Something for everyone! This is just about a half a mile walk from The Woodstock Inn. Walk through some of the very historical covered bridges on your way.
Don’t forget to stop by the local market on your way home to bring back some more yummy treats and snacks for your ride home. We especially loved their local natural Root Beer. My only regret is not getting more! There are also some really great bookstores and a no frills diner in town called Mountain Creamery. This was good for a quick, filling breakfast before you head out for the day.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Woodstock, Vermont. I plan on going back this winter to enjoy another relaxing weekend. Where have you been in Vermont? Any suggestions of another town to hit up on my next visit?
Let’s face it, sushi and beer make an awesome pairing. My go to beer at Japanese restaurants has always been Asahi Super Dry because despite being mass produced, it always seems to pair well with sushi. My other go-to Japanese beer is Hitachino Nest Beer white ale, a tasty Belgian style wit. Unfortunately it is rarely seen in sushi joints.
But last night I opted out of the beer category and put on my fancy pants! I decided to take home a bottle of white wine to pair with my roll. What?! Yep, I had read in several publications that it works and I was willing to give it a try. One of the most recommended wines to pair with sushi is grüner veltliner, an Austrian white that is known for its spicy, dry, citrus notes. Hmm, sounds similar to South African chenin blancs I thought to myself. I felt that an African wine sounded more exotic than one from Austria so I took home a bottle of 2016 M•A•N Vineyards Chenin Blanc from the coastal region.
I stopped by Fjord Fish Market in Greenwich where I picked up what’s called a UFO Roll. The components of this oddly named roll are shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo. I just love the combination of spicy tuna and avocado! Being a full on fresh seafood mart, Fjords also has a dedicated space where one can watch a sushi chef create some great delicacies. Therefore the quality and freshness of the product is never in doubt. I highly recommend Fjord for all your seafood needs.
This evening there was no waiting around for tarts to heat up! I was in business as soon as I got home. First sip of the wine? Crisp, clean and easy drinking. It showcased the expected citrus flavor of grapefruit that was backed by the right amount of acidity and minerality. I knew that I had chosen the right wine to pair with my UFO roll!
The tuna roll showcased spicy notes that were balanced by the avocado and cucumber. Everything was fresh, tasty and delicately put together. Not bad for takeout. The only thing that I felt was out of place was the shrimp tempura. There were only two pieces and they almost felt like an afterthought. I would have felt just fine without them.
The wine/sushi pairing was wonderful with the citrus notes of the wine offsetting the spiciness of the tuna and ginger. I feel confident that in the future I can set the beer aside and order a glass of wine to go with my roll. Speaking of the wine, I love it. It has exactly what I look for in my whites and I feel like it is an extremely tasty everyday wine that can also be enjoyed all by itself.
What do you pair with your sushi? Willing to give wine a chance? Any sushi places in the Tri-State area that you recommend? We would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!
On the dawn of National Croissant Day, I thought it only right to do a quick round-up of some of my favorite places to get croissants. It’s no secret that croissants are one of my favorite indulgences in life. I mean the buttery, flaky, chewy goodness is just a taste of heaven on earth. (And after all it is the namesake of this blog!) I’ve had my share of bad croissants, which I won’t speak of in this post, but I will tell you about some of my most coveted.
- Maison Kayser in NYC. I actually didn’t know about this place until after I had gone to the original Eric Kayser in Paris. Boy, was I missing out! The croissants here are just decadent. There are 4 varieties. You have your standard, a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant), an almond, and if that didn’t entice you enough… A chocolate-almond combo croissant. I personally love the traditional and the almond from Maison Kayser, but I put Mario on to the chocolate-almond and from what I understand he really loved it! Maison Kayser is a chain of French bistros/bakeries with several locations in NYC. I’ve been to 2 of them. One is on the Upper West Side and the other is in Columbus Circle. Both locations have a bakery in the front of the store and dining tables in the back. The breakfast and lunch menus will transport you to Paris. This is also a good stop if you want to bring a special treat to a friend or a soirée!
- Eric Kayser in the Odeon section of the 6th arrondissement on Rue de l’Ancienne Comedie. This is probably one of the most memorable croissant experiences in my adult life. I went for the almond croissant once again. The edge here is that the croissant was served warm fresh out of the oven. I think I totally blocked out the world for a good minute while I blissfully chewed on this treat. There is nothing else like it. I paired it with a cappuccino and off I went to walk it off at The Galeries Lafayette! An unforgettable day it was.
- Chantilly Patisserie in Bronxville, NY. Chantilly is the quintessential French bakery with some of the best macarons, pastries, and yes croissants, that Westchester County has to offer. It’s a small bakery with big taste. I found out about this bakery from my good friend Terri who gifted me with their macarons for my birthday 2 years ago. I’ve been coming here ever since. If you’re looking for real deal French flair, Chantilly does not disappoint. Their pain au chocolat is on point as well as the traditional. What sets this place apart from the rest is the Dulce de Leche croissants which are made to order. They take the traditional croissant, slice it as you would a baguette to make a sandwich, and add the caramel in the middle. It’s rich, but somedays you just need that. Equally yummy are the nutella croissants.
- Last but not least, Trader Joe’s frozen croissants in the freezer section of your local TJ’s. They come in Almond and Chocolate varieties. I recently hosted a little birthday brunch and my friend Brenda at becomebetty.com suggested that I try these. I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan, but I didn’t expect their croissants to be as good as they were. If I didn’t know they were frozen, I would think they were freshly baked. They come 4 in a pack and they were a huge hit at brunch! I recommend giving them a try the next time you’re shopping at TJ’s. Hint: You have to leave them out overnight to rise. For a better review of these go check out this review.
So that’s all I got for now. Look out for another croissant round-up soon enough! Hope you treat yourself to a decadent croissant this week as it’s still the week of National Croissant Day. Go ahead, you’re awesome, you’ve earned it. Xoxo Ashley
Where do you go for your favorite croissants? Leave a comment and let us know!