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Yesterday marked eight years of blogging in this little space, which has been a vehicle for meeting some of the best people I know. Blogging has opened up travel opportunities for me, and the networking and contact-building I have done through blogging also helped me to create my Social Media/PR/Marketing business, which has been my full time gig for two years this week!

One of the most fun parts of blogging is looking back on life in blog posts. Here are eight of my favorite life moments, in no particular order, to celebrate eight years. Thank you for reading!

Learning to bake with whole grains at King Arthur Flour

This group getaway was so much fun! We stayed in a country bed and breakfast with the whole house to ourselves, and had our own baking class at King Arthur. It was definitely a bonding experience where I made some life-long friends.

King Arthur Flour

 

Winter on Martha’s Vineyard – A true getaway at Nobnocket Boutique Inn

The winter of 2017 included some heartbreakingly stressful moments for America, and when we needed to get away from it all before we lost our minds, Martha’s Vineyard was the perfect choice. Nobnocket was cozy and luxurious and steps from Vineyard Haven’s cute little downtown. I can’t wait to go back.

 

Nobnocket Boutique Inn

 

Safari Serengeti

Our two week safari in Tanzania was a trip of a lifetime, and I would do it over and over again if I could. Africa works its way into your heart and just stays there forever.

giraffe in the Serengeti 

 

This incredible Labor Day weekend in Sonoma County

Over the last eight years we have visited Sonoma and Napa many times. (Read all the posts on my travel blog post page!). This trip stands out because of the gorgeous little cottage we rented near Healdsburg, the glorious summer heat, canoeing on the Russian River, and the fact that I didn’t work for four whole days!

Russian River Valley sunset

 

Wine tasting in Italy

While visiting family in Marche, we had a private wine tasting at Castello di Semivicoli, which was one of the best afternoons ever.

Masciarelli wine tasting 

 

Getting to go to Sonoma County for work

When I left my full time, in-house job, it was to work on an account in Sonoma County, and I got to experience some pretty spectacular tastings and events.

 

wine tasting

MacMurray Estate Vineyards

 

Spending the perfect summer day on the North Fork of Long Island

My North Fork memories are bittersweet, as the wonderful PR person, Florence, who introduced me to the region and brought me there on Cross Sound Ferry last June, passed away unexpectedly a few months later. Still, I remember this day as summer perfection, from shucking oysters, to wine on the bluff at Kontokosta, to lots of laughs in the van along the way.

lavender fields in Long Island

 

Every trip to Ireland

I tend to go on and on about Ireland, and I can’t help it. It’s definitely one of my most favorite places (along with Sonoma and coastal New England and Puerto Rico), and I feel incredibly blessed every time I get to visit.

Errisbeg

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Tags: blog, blogging, Boston, California, food blog, food blogging, Ireland, Martha's Vineyard, Sonoma, travel blog, travel blogging, wine, wine blogging

Boston’s restaurant scene is growing at a pace I can barely keep up with, and while trying out new spots is a favorite pastime, there’s nothing I love more than a classic steak house, especially when it sits right on the water.

Last week, on a gorgeous spring evening, I attended the most incredible blogger dinner at Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf, where we indulged in course-after-course, paired with cocktails, their new international wine flights and great conversation.

Aviation Cocktail

The violet hue of this Aviation cocktail, a blend of Sipsmith Gin, Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, and lemon juice went perfectly with the spring weather, and I loved the acidity and slight peppery notes of the drink. Smith & Wollensky always pleases when it comes to cocktail cravings, which is just another thing I love about them. They are incredibly consistent with their quality.

 

wine dinner

Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf has a fantastic waterfront location, and while the inside gives you that gorgeous old steak house vibe, with modern twists like a giant photo of a young Paul McCartney (swoon), the patio is breezy and elegant with lovely views of Boston. While it draws crowds, it doesn’t feel crowded like other patios can.

Our table was set with all of the wine glasses, and as we settled in we started to learn about and taste the white wine flight. 

 white wine flight 

  • Bodega Colomé Torrontes – a light, refreshing wine with Muscat notes redolent of jasmine and orange blossoms.
  • Schloss Johannisberg Gelblack Qualitatswein Feinherb Riesling – a single-vineyard German Riesling wine that is firm and fresh on the palate, well-balanced and crisp acidity. The nose is young with white flowers, grinded lemon peel and pears.
  • Louis Latour Montagny 1er cru “la Grande Roche” Chardonnay- this wine reveals delicious floral aromas of honeysuckle.  Full in the mouth with notes of almond, apricot and pepper, the finish is fresh with a hint of mint.

Wine flights are perfect for discovering new favorites, and for a chance to taste grape varieties with a fresh approach. For example, some people think sweet when they hear the word Riesling or super oaky when they think of Chardonnay, two preconceptions thrown out the window with the above wines.

They were all balanced, refreshing, and most importantly delicious and food-friendly, especially with all of the seafood we devoured. Each also offered something very unique in its flavor profile, making tasting, then going back to taste again really fun.

wine tasting

I didn’t think it could get better after the flight of white wines, but this rosé flight was simply heaven. Long a fan of “Whispering Angel” I savored every sip before being introduced to Domaine De Cala rosés, which were simply gorgeous.

  • Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” – a Provence rosé with a lovely bright pink color and crystal clarity to the berry flavors.  Powerful yet elegant with plenty of minerality and balanced spice notes. The long finish lingers with white pepper and wisps of red peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Classic – blending Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache red varietals with Rolle white grapes, the French wine greets the nose with aromas of white flower followed by those of exotic fruits- lemony, with notes of peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Prestige – a more exclusive, elevated take on its original rosé. The shiny, clear, salmon-pink color with brilliant reflections entices the palate, and the wine exudes initial aromas of grapefruit and citrus and secondary notes of cherry and strawberry.

Flights are $25 and are available at Smith & Wollensky locations in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Houston and Miami Beach through June.

seaood tower

Smith & Wollensky is as known for its seafood as much as it is its beef, and we were treated to the freshest raw bar platter with yummy sauces, along with signature dishes, the Angry Shrimp with spicy lobster butter sauce and their tuna tartare, which is my favorite tuna dish anywhere.

 

angry shrimp 

Give me this tuna and one of the spring wine flights, and you basically have my dream lunch.

In fact, I am taking summer Fridays this year, and I will most likely make this happen.

 tuna tartare ribeye carpaccio

Even before our main courses, we were also treated to Smith & Wollensky’s famed beef in different forms, including a delicate Ribeye Carpaccio and the Spring Steak Feature, Snake River Farms American Wagyu New York Strip, presented on a Himalayan Salt Block.

This meat was like butter, and it picked up the salt and mineral flavors of the salt block. This was the ultimate indulgence.

 

wagyu beef 

And there was still more food to come! My coffee and cocoa rubbed filet could have been cut with a spoon, and the flavors of the rub added a little sweetness and earthiness to the meat’s natural flavor. I could only eat a few bites before wrapping this up and bringing it home. . . it made the most delicious dinner the next night!

 

coffee and cocoa rubbed filet mignon

Entrees were enjoyed with a wine that is made specially for Smith & Wollensky. I couldn’t stop breathing this wine in; it reminded me of a place I love so much. Spice, earth, bursts of berry flavor; this is a big, bold, yet elegant Napa Valley red, a perfect pairing with Smith & Wollensky’s food and personality.

Napa Valley Red Wine

Our final course before we said our goodbyes was a colossal dessert plate that, despite being full, I could not say no to. The Chocolate Layer Cake at Smith & Wollensky is worth visiting for alone, and it could easily feed a group. I didn’t make it to the Coconut Cake, so I will have to bring my appetite and a few friends to enjoy that on another occasion.

 

chocolate layer cake  

Smith & Wollensky generously rolled out the red carpet for us and treated us to the food and hospitality they are known for. It definitely was not my first time here, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Whether you are looking for a flight of wine or a perfectly crafted cocktail after work or a place to celebrate an occasion, this is a very special place to do it.

 

Dinner was kindly provided by Smith & Wollensky; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: Boston, steak house, wine, wine dinner, wine event, wine flights, wine tasting

I am afraid by saying it out loud that I am going to jinx it, but patio season feels like it may have arrived in Boston. . . fingers crossed that it stays! I have been longing for warm evenings outside on our patio and on the boat, and I recently tried a couple of wine samples that are the perfect additions to the season.

Patio wines should be easy to drink all by themselves, paired with sundresses and flip flops, but also delicious with summery foods.

Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015

Patio season obviously means copious quantities of rosé, and  Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015 from Languedoc-Roussillon is simply delicious. This blend of Syrah and Grenache is bursting with fresh berry notes and offers a beautiful ballet slipper hue. It really brings the acid that both refreshes and adds to a meal, especially one that is prepared on the grill. This wine would be perfect with grilled shrimp but also has enough personality to pair with grilled chicken, veggies, and even steak, because it’s summer, and everything is just better.

grilling

Food on the grill and summer wines basically equal heaven for me.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014, If you’re looking for the perfect seafood white wine, look no further than Alsace.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014

Now, I am not one to judge a wine by its label, but come on. . . this is the perfect addition to your summer clambake! This blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc is light and mineral-forward, with hints of apricot and a bit of acidity. The label may make it part of the decor, but what’s inside makes it a perfect pairing with shellfish (Add a splash from your glass to your steamed clams!) and other seafood, including a hot buttered lobster roll, of course.

 

steamers

 

Both of these wines were provided as review samples; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: rose, Rosé season, seafood, wine, wine pairings, Wine Wednesday

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