The Chop Shop

I feel pretty confident that everyone reading this will agree in the following statement: one of the best parts of traveling is trying new places to eat. Even if you are traveling to a place you have been a hundred times before, there are always new and exciting places (assuming you are going to a city and not to the middle of BFE). This past weekend I ventured to Chicago to visit some friends who live there. I have been to Chicago so many times before I can’t even give you an estimate on number. This just goes to show that my earlier statement is true, every time I go I try a new place. This time it just so happened to be the tail end of Chicago’s restaurant week, needless to say, the great new restaurants were the place to be this past weekend. The first stop of the weekend was The Chop Shop (which I will be focusing on in this post, the others are to come later), known for having the best cuts of meats, as if the name itself doesn’t give that away. Continue reading


Bottle of The Week-Paoletti Bella Novello Merlot

Sometimes you get wine as a present and that is perfectly fine, even if the wine isn’t that great, because you didn’t have to pay for it yourself. Sometimes, however, you get a bottle of wine as a present and it represents everything a good bottle of wine should be. Let’s be honest though, any time someone gives you a bottle of wine it’s pretty great. This week’s bottle, the Paoletti Bella Novello Merlot, 2004, was given to me at a secret santa gift exchange at work, and even though most of my coworkers don’t know how to differentiate between a decent bottle of wine from a bottle of Barefoot, this bottle was a very nice surprise! Sometimes Merlot can get a bad rap from the hundreds of cheap commercialized bottles that crowd the shelves of chain grocery stores. It’s important to remember, however, that even though you may have had a few bottles of bad Merlot this is still a first class grape variety.   Continue reading

Bottle of the Week- Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne

I have been drinking a lot of Italian wines lately (hello, Amarone), and it’s no coincidence, because in two short months I will be in Italy! You should all be very excited because I will be writing all sorts of great posts about the vineyards and wineries we visit while there. In preparation for my upcoming adventures I have been exploring the fine world of Italian wines, as well as brushing up on my Italian language skills. What better place to visit as a wine lover? Home of the Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Corvina grapes, and last but definitely not least, Barbera.    Continue reading

Bottle of The Week- Palazzo Torre Veronese Corvina Blend

Ever since we did the dueling wines with Amarone I have been on an Amarone kick, which is not a kick that my wallet has appreciated. I decided to explore some less expensive options that would still satisfy my craving for Amarone, while taking it easy on my bank account. If you read the last dueling wines post you’ll know that one of the wines we tried was a true Amarone della Valpolicella, and the other was an Amarone style blend from Argentina. Given that the Argentinian red blend was a good wine and similar to the actual Amarone, I decided that would be the place to start. Continue reading

The Pacifics of Pairing Wine With Salmon

A common question everyone seems to have is “what wine should I drink with this food?”. While I usually feel like you should drink whatever wine you feel like drinking, there is something to be said for pairing an appropriate wine with the food you are eating. A full-bodied rich red wine can easily overshadow a very nicely done tilapia filet, inhibiting you from fully appreciating the flavor of the fish. The opposite can also be true when you are eating a juicy marinated and grilled flank steak with a light Sauvignon Blanc. So, I asked myself, what is the best way to get a good balance between pairing an appropriate wine with a dish, yet still drinking a wine that appeals to you? My good friend had the idea to have a food and wine pairing dinner, and this was the perfect time to test out what makes the perfect balance. Continue reading

Dueling Wines, Amarone Style

Great ideas always happen while drinking wine, and this great idea is no different. It is such a great idea, infact, that it involves drinking even more wine! It all started when my friend wanted to have a wine night because she had received a bottle of Amarone for Christmas. I decided that it would be fun to pick up a bottle of Amarone myself, then we could compare the two. I made my way over to Plum Market after work to pick out a bottle and decided to make things a little more interesting than just trying two different bottles of Amarone della Valpolicella, so I bought a bottle of an Amarone style blend from Argentina. Same style of blending and wine making, just from a different place. It was during this taste test dinner that I decided to start a new series for the blog, called Dueling Wines (I get all the best ideas for names from my friends). Here you have it, ringing in a new year with a new blog series! Continue reading