Cocktails, Weekend Update

Weekend Update: Coltivare and Salentein Malbec

Thursday morning was rainy, but it cleared up enough that night for a bike ride around Woodland Heights after happy hour at Karbach Brewery with my new coworkers.  Woodland Heights is such a dream land.  I’ve love to own a home there to raise a family one day!  I’m always a sucker for a tree canopy.

Woodland Heights

Friday was beautiful in Houston.  Unfortunately, I was so tired after such a busy week that I had only enough energy to have a glass of wine before hitting the hay early.

Downtown

I picked up a bottle of this 2015 Salentein Malbec.  I had this wine awhile back on a date and liked it so much I snapped a photo of the label.  Since I’m on a Malbec kick, I was checking out the selection and was happy to see this wine stocked!  It was as good as I remember.

Salentein Malbec

In tasting, I noticed cherry and spice.  I’m not sure if I prefer this wine or the Trivento Malbec I tried last week, but I think I’m leaning toward the Trivento; it seemed a bit less acidic, and I like fruitier wines. Both are very good!

Saturday night I went to Coltivare, one of my (now) favorite restaurants, for a second date.  It was very busy, so we hung out in the garden area for cocktails while we waited for a table.  I had the Cash Only which was good but mainly ice.  Think adult snow cone.  Once we were seated I had an excellent red wine.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of what it was! For the meal, we tried the Focaccia with Olive Oil, Texas Corn on the Cob, Wood Grilled Chicken with Grapes, Ricotta Gnocchi and famous Black Pepper Spaghetti.  Everything was incredible.  The corn had a sauce that was incredible and the Wood Grilled Chicken had a distinct flavor that I haven’t been able to put out of my mind.  The Black Pepper Spaghetti lived up to the hype and was perfect in its simplicity.  I think this was the best meal I’ve had at Coltivare, and I can’t wait to go back again!

I’m planning on getting back on track with posting this week.  I made an incredible cheesecake today for Tuesday’s post, and I whipped up some Habanero Simple Syrup for Thursday’s cocktail post.

 

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Weekend Update

Dolce Neve Gelato and Trivento Amado Sur Malbec

I don’t have much to report from this weekend.  It was a really low-key weekend with a busy week ahead in mind – a couple dates and some mixology for an upcoming post!  That said, I did manage to have a few highlights!

Friday night I rested.  It was my first week in the new job, and though the hours are not long, there is a lot to learn.  I was exhausted Friday night and stayed in to rest.

Saturday morning I ran around completing my usual errands and did some yoga (Saturday yoga for the win!). I decided to treat myself to gelato at Dolce Neve Gelato on Saturday afternoon.  I tried to Fromage Blanc & Apricot and Crema Dolce Neve (lemon) flavors.  I loved the Fromage Blanc & Apricot, but I was disappointed the Mascarpone & Fig and a couple other flavors I wanted to try were not available.  Next time!

Dolce Neve Gelato

Saturday night I tried out a new Malbec, Trivento Amado Sur.  Typically, I grab a bottle of Alamos when I’m craving Malbec, but I decided to change it up.  I really like the Trivento!  I would recommend.  It’s not pricey; I think it was around $12-13.  I’m having a bit as I type, in fact.

Trivento Amado Sur Malbec

Sunday morning I went for a run and then to church.  It was a fantastic sermon!  Then, I went for a manicure (clearly much-needed from the above gelato photo!) and spent the rest of the day relaxing.  I spent some time reading James Joyce’s Ulysses on my patio.  It was a very zen afternoon!  I’m hoping to go for a bike ride here in a little bit and then walk my baby dog, Laci.  The Crepe Myrtles are in full bloom around The Heights and just beautiful!

Crepe Myrtles

Hope you have a fantastic week!

Cocktails

My Favorite Wines

Wine on the Balcony

I promise Thursday isn’t going to become a day devoted to wine reviews.  I have two fun cocktail posts (one will be a mixology and the other will be a throwdown – any guesses?) in the works — I just need to do a little more research (okay, taste testing).  I’ve been a little preoccupied because today I started a new job!  It was a great first day and very exciting!  That said, these cocktails posts I have in the works will be worth the wait.

Aside from volunteering in the HLSR Champion Wine Garden during rodeo season, I drink a lot of wine.  I think this makes me an expert.  Maybe you don’t, but um humor me and just go with it.

Chardonnay:

  • Rombauer  – Buttery.  Very buttery.  A taste all its own, and I love it.  I tried this wine for the first time in the HLSR Wine Garden last season with my mom, and we both immediately fell in love.  She surprised me with a bottle for us to share after I took her to brunch on Mother’s Day.  It was so sweet!
  • Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve  – Similar to Rombauer but lighter on the butter.

Pinot Gris:  King Estate – Wonderful for hot days.  I purchased this bottle many times last summer.  An easy, satisfying pick.

Rosé :  Whispering Angel – As I’ve mentioned before, this is my favorite.  From the color to the aroma to the taste, it can’t be beat.  Rosé all day, indeed.

Pinot Noir:

  • Meiomi –  If you go to a house party, odd’s are good someone will bring a bottle of this.  I’ve done this myself!  A great standard Pinot Noir.  Incredible website, by the way.
  • Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut –  Fruity and delightful.

Malbec:  Alamos Malbec – Very inexpensive.  Great quality for the price.

Zinfandel:  The Prisoner – A wine with a cult following.  It took me ages to try this one because it sold out the evening of a day’s morning delivery!  It was worth the wait.  I’ve given this as a Christmas gift.  I’m really wishing someone would give this to me as a gift right about now!

Cabernet Sauvignon:

  • Caymus – Pricey, but a treat.  A man once picked up a bottle of this for me, without knowing how much I love it.  Needless to say, I was impressed!
  • B.R. Cohn –  I’ve purchased a bottle of this more times that I can count.  A good, inexpensive standard.
  • Francis Coppola Claret –  Twice recently (wine-and-a-chat at my friend’s house and Leadership Academy End-of-Year Happy Hour last weekend) this bottle has been offered at events.  I liked it so much after the first run-in, I picked up a bottle to add to my stash.

Bubbly:  Veuve Clicquot – Do I even need to write anything here?  Perfect for celebrations.  I buy a bottle every New Year’s Eve to share with my closest friends at whatever NYE party I end up at.  Like buttah.

I also recommend checking out Sancerre.  I think this varietal is often lost in the shuffle, but I greatly enjoyed trying different bottles last summer.  Flora Springs’s Trilogy is a wonderful red blend I picked up at The Estate in Napa last summer as a birthday gift to myself.  I shared it with a friend to complement a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner, and it was perfect!

I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are!

Weekend Update

Brunch at The Del and Coffee at Flo Paris

Once again, the weekend doesn’t stick around long enough!  After a long work day on Friday, I stopped by the Year-End Party for Houston Young Lawyers Association’s Leadership Academy.  About half of the class showed up for wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres, including bacon-wrapped asparagus, various cheeses, crackers, jam, bruschetta and brownies!  I noticed right away the hostess opened a bottle of Francis Coppola Claret.  This wine must be growing in popularity –and with good reason!   First introduced to this wine last weekend at a friend’s home, I have a bottle of this in my wine cooler at the moment.  Small wine world! (Except it’s not at all.  Thank goodness!)

Saturday turned into a day of errands, yoga and working on some side hustles.  I attempted a bike ride but was caught in a torrential downpour.  Fortunately, I was about a block from a tarp over a metal frame.  I pedal-pedal-pedaled and made it underneath in the nick of time.  I waited out the rain until it started thundering and then high-tailed it the last two blocks home.  Not today, lightning, not today.

When I stepped out on my balcony Sunday morning at 6 am, I was immediately clothed in humidity.  Yes, humidity, not humility.  If you haven’t visited Houston, you just don’t know.  It weighs you down.  I had a six mile run on the agenda, so I wasn’t thrilled.  Somehow I made myself finish the run, and I’m so glad I did!  “Why would I battle against the oppressive humidity?” you ask.  Read on!

Mom and I went to The Del for brunch.  It was a little more casual than I expected and not in a cute area of town, but I really enjoyed the food.  We ordered the French Toast and the Crab & Asparagus Omelet to share.  It was a good combination of sweet carbs and savory protein.  As for cocktails, Mom ordered a Mimosa while I wavered between a Rosé and a Prosecco, finally settling on the Rosé.  Big mistake!  It was the worst Rosé I’ve ever had!  I found the color alone distasteful, and the flavor was not its saving grace.  I sent it back and ordered Prosecco, which was much better, as a replacement.

The Del French Toast and Crab Asparagus Omelet

The Del Mimosa and Rose

After we finished, we wanted a coffee at a more charming location, so we set out for Rice Village, a cute shopping area in the southwest part of Houston.  We stopped into Flo Paris and made a beeline for the pastries.

Flo Paris Display Case

Flo Paris Chantilly

Who could resist?  We tried the Chantilly, and it was perfect!  I even remarked, “We should just come here next time!”

Hope your Monday is off to a great start!

Cocktails

Thirsty Thursday:  Wine Review – AIX Rosé

Wine is one of my passions.  In fact, my ultimate dream is to own a winery one day.  Last year, I went to St. Helena, CA for my birthday and was blown away by all the wineries we visited.  For now, I do plenty of “research” and spent the past two HLSR seasons volunteering in the Champion Wine Garden as a Wine Garden Committeeman.  I learned a ton about wine and am now a pro with a wine key (new party trick!).

Last weekend, I stopped into Spec’s Warehouse downtown (truly a wonderland and possibly the greatest place on Earth) to pick up a bottle of my favorite Rosé.  Though a Whispering Angel loyalist, I couldn’t help but look around and research some bottles on the Vivino app.  I noticed AIX Rosé was on sale for $15.47, so I decided to give it a shot. The weather was nice that evening, so I decided to sit out on my balcony to enjoy a glass paired with some veggies and hummus.

AIX Rose 2

AIX Rose 4

AIX Rose Cork

AIX Rosé is a Provence Rosé (my favorite).  The wine  is a pinkish-orange color with a citrus smell.  I was not all that in love with the color (I prefer a light pink hue with much less orange), but it could be much worse.  The website notes AIX Rosé has a “crisp acidity,” and this is the first thing I noticed.  It was a bit too acidic for my taste.  Next, I tasted tart, citrus notes and a bit of melon.  Reviews I read noted strawberry notes, but I never discovered them.

All in all, this was a decent Rosé and good value.  But I still prefer the Whispering Angel!

If you have any Rosé suggestions, I would love to hear about them!

Side note:  My parents visited Mackinac Island, MI the past few days.  The tulips are GORGEOUS this time of year!

Mackinac Tulips