Archive | June, 2015

The Smashed Grape: A Wine Seminar

11 Jun

On Wednesday night, Dan and I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event which was held at the The Spicy Green Bean and hosted by the liquor store next door, The Smashed Grape. Both places are owned by the same family and they also own Shad Row in Rocky Hill. The event was their first ever wine seminar featuring Bon Vivant Imports, which features a selection of organic wines from Italy and Spain. The representative from Bon Vivant was Brad and he provided an excellent presentation which was very educational. He made sure to emphasize the fact that organic wine is really the best wine to drink. Also there was Marissa from Missing Link Wine Company which was the Connecticut distributor that helped to arrange for Brad to come. She also believes that organic wine is important and as she stated, “If you care so much about what you’re eating, why not also care about the wine that you’re drinking?”

The Spicy Green Bean always does such a nice job with their presentation :)

The Spicy Green Bean always does such a nice job with their presentation 🙂

There were also appetizers provided which was a nice touch since I fit in a quick workout after work and didn’t get a chance to eat dinner. The event was also free, which was amazing since there was both wine and food involved. The wines provided were quite diverse and I want to tell you guys a little bit about each one that I tried.

The water in the adorable carafe was also a nice touch!

The water in the adorable carafe was also a nice touch!

  • Ill Colle Prosecco, Vento

This first wine which we tasted was excellent, although not what I usually expect when I think of Prosecco. It was made at a small family estate in Italy, north of Venice. It was very dry (a Brut) but also light and crisp at the same time. I would definitely purchase this wine any time that I’m craving something sparkling and refreshing.

All the bubbles!

All the bubbles!

  • Redentore Pinot Grigio, Veneto 

We progressed from the very dry Prosecco to something with a little bit more sweetness. This Pinot Grigio was made in northern Italy as well at a small family estate. I should have mentioned that Bon Vivant Imports only deals with small family estates. According to Brad, “wine should be a reflection of the grape and the land“. This wine was very smooth and didn’t give off a strong alcohol taste, which is great and dangerous at the same time.

  • Quinta Do Romeu Rose, Duoro

This wine was probably my favorite overall. When I think of Rose, I think of a sweet summertime wine but apparently a typical European Rose is meant to be dry and not sweet. This Rose is great because according to Brad, it pairs well with any food. It was very refreshing and I loved that it was a blend of at least three different grapes since blends are my favorite!

Pink wine is always so pretty

Pink wine is always so pretty

  • Fatalone Gioa Del Colle Primitivo, Puglia 

This was our first red wine of the evening and to be honest, it was my least favorite. It had an odd aftertaste, although, Brad explained that since most of us had just taken a bite of our dessert (coconut cake), it was pretty much decided that the wine would taste bad. He told us that this wine would be good with savory food but anything sweet would be absolutely “fatal” to the taste of the wine. I would definitely be interested in trying this again, possibly with a steak.

This wine would have gone very well with the appetizers, not the dessert

This wine would have gone very well with the appetizers, not the dessert

  • Volvoreta Flores De Cerezo, Toro

This red wine was excellent and it reminded me of a Pinot Noir which is one of the easiest drinking red wines in my opinion. It was a single varietal wine and there is only a very small production made of it. I found it to be very light and Brad informed us that there were less tannins in this wine which also made it easy to drink.

  • Asenjo y Manso, Ribera Del Duero

Another red wine but this one completely impressed me! This was my favorite red wine and it was definitely the boldest of the bunch. This particular vineyard has vines that are over 100 years old which help to contribute to the excellent flavor of the wine. It uses a tempranillo grape and you can drink it right away but it also ages very well. I would love to pair this wine with a nice steak!

I can honestly say that I enjoyed each of the wines that we tried for different reasons. Another major plus is that they are all sold at The Smashed Grape which is located across the street from our apartment, and they also all fall under $20 a bottle. It’s good to know that there are five completely different wines that I know I enjoy whenever I’m looking for a good bottle. According to the lovely Aida from The Smashed Grape, they should be having these events once a month and I definitely recommend attending to anyone who is local!

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Five Things Friday: The Little Things

5 Jun

Happy Friday guys! Two posts in one week feels like quite an accomplishment right now with all of the craziness that is my life right now. It’s definitely the little things that get me these days (hence the title of this post). I wanted to share a few random things with you guys to kind of update you on what I’ve been up to lately.

  • I love naan pizza. It is something that I have seen on a few other blogs and since we love pizza (I mean, who doesn’t?) According to Wikipedia, naan is a leavened flatbread that is mainly found in Asia. It can be used in many different ways but the way that most Americans use it is for pizza. Last night we used the garlic version made by Stonefire and topped it with some jarred pizza sauce, fresh tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, and some minced garlic. It was incredible and so easy! We just popped it in the oven at 350 for about 10 mins and it was all done! I highly recommend it for those who are looking for a quick and delicious meal.
I love that my pizza was kind of shaped like a heart

I love that my pizza was kind of shaped like a heart

  • I’m also really loving Old Navy lately. I would love to be able to shop at cute little local boutiques but that is just not in the budget these days. I have found so many cute and affordable items there lately. I mean a TON of stuff. I plan on going back this weekend as I may or may not have several amazing coupons burning a hole in my wallet 🙂
That jean jacket and the dress you can't really see underneath are both from old navy and I love them!

That jean jacket and the dress you can’t really see underneath are both from old navy and I love them!

  • This Saturday we are looking forward to some pre-wedding festivities for our good friends Kaitlin and Quentin. Kaitlin’s bridal shower is on Saturday and Quentin’s stag party is Saturday evening so we are both heading out to the Litchfield area to celebrate. Their wedding is just about one month before ours! I could not be happier for these two as they are absolutely adorable together.
Aren't they just the cutest ever?! (pic stolen from kait's facebook) :)

Aren’t they just the cutest ever?! (pic stolen from kait’s facebook) 🙂

  • I would really love to fit in a couple of good workouts this weekend, including hopefully a hike. We went on a hike a couple of weekends ago with our friend Natasha and her sister’s adorable puppy Flynn. It was so nice to be able to get some fresh air and just relax. I could definitely use a little bit of that relaxation right about now.
Clearly the puppy is the cutest in this bunch

Clearly the puppy is the cutest in this bunch

  • We are hopefully making our first trip of this year to the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market! It sounds like this may be the last year for this particular market so I really want to try and go as much as possible. I already saw the list of what most of the vendors will be bringing since the market sends out a weekly newsletter and I am so looking forward to getting some goodies. I’m hoping to pick up some of my favorite Pure Love granola, strawberries, duck eggs, and some pork to stock in our freezer. Wish me luck!

That’s all I have for you today guys! I hope you have a safe and fun weekend!

WIAW: Bears Smokehouse BBQ

3 Jun

Hi guys! I’m sorry about the long break between posts but as usual, life is crazy busy and I’m just going to promise to post when I can and when I have the time. I had been looking back at previous posts and could not believe that I hadn’t devoted an entire post to one of my very favorite local restaurants. I know that I have mentioned them before but today’s post is going to be all about Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ. Now leading up to my first time trying Bear’s, I was honestly never a big fan of barbecue, mainly because of its heaviness and I never found a BBQ sauce that I truly loved. Fast forward to about a year ago when we first discovered Bears and it was game over. I found a BBQ place that I adore and I am excited to tell you about my most recent visit.

We went this past Friday evening for dinner with our friends Cheyne and Miko for Miko’s birthday dinner. They have recently become obsessed with the place and this was her obvious pick for her birthday dinner. We were greeted with the delicious aromas of smoked meat and lucky for us, the line was not long at all! Depending on the night, the place can get so packed and sometimes they also run out of certain menu items.

All day long I had been craving a chopped sandwich with a side of mac and cheese and that is exactly what I ordered. The chopped sandwich is a combination of pulled pork and brisket which just happen to be my two favorite meats aka. the best of everything. I topped the sandwich with my favorite Texas Pepper sauce which has just the right amount of kick to it. The mac and cheese is the best I have ever had and the amount they provide in a side is perfect for satisfying that carb craving. I cleared my plate and I felt great and I didn’t feel like I ate too much.

This was SO good

This was SO good

I could honestly eat a bucket of this stuff

I could honestly eat a bucket of this stuff

Dan chose his favorite menu item, baby back ribs. He said they were just as amazing as usual. He also had a side of mac and cheese as well as apple crisp. I didn’t try any apple crisp since it isn’t my favorite dessert (however, I LOVE their peach cobbler) and I didn’t want to stuff myself.

Ribs are not my favorite but if I were going to eat them, they would definitely be these ones

Ribs are not my favorite but if I were going to eat them, they would definitely be these ones

We also split an order of moink balls between the four of us. Moink balls are smoked bacon wrapped meatballs. These bad boys were out of this world and I can’t believe it took me this long to try them.

A little bit of pig and a little bit of cow.. beautiful combination

A little bit of pig and a little bit of cow.. beautiful combination

It was a wonderful meal and I am already thinking about when we can go back for more. Not only does Bears have excellent food, but their owner Jamie is constantly giving back to the community and he is also very active on social media. They also have a military, police, and firefighter discount which is always good to see. I highly recommend Bear’s to anyone in this area as it is truly the best BBQ around.