Tag Archives: mt. kisco

Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Pour

I only recently learned how well wine and chocolate can pair together.  Oenophiles may disagree, but then I’m no oenophile. I do think that paired correctly, wines and chocolates complement one another, heightening particular notes and flavors.

Anthony Colasacco of Pour Cafe & Wine Bar arranged for a fantastic wine and chocolate tasting tonight.  We were each given a tasting sheet, five glasses and five packaged chocolates.

Only these were no ordinary chocolates; they were Vosges gourmet chocolates, and they were unlike any I’ve ever had, infused with spices and exotic flavors that you’d never think would work in chocolate.  But somehow they do.

Since I have only a novice’s understanding of wine and chocolate, I worried less about what I should be tasting and why, and more on basic, gut reaction: Do these taste good together?

I must have a very non-discerning palate, because except for one pairing, they all tasted good.  Here’s what we had (wines are in bold):

1) Temprannilo & Barcelona (hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + deep milk chocolate)

Observation: Loved the salt in the chocolate — the wine really enhanced the saltiness and the flavor of the almonds.

2) Negroamoro & Black Pearl (ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate)

Observation: Didn’t care for this one.  Separately each tasted fine, but together the wine became tannic and unpleasant.

3) Moscato d’Asti & Naga (sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate)

Observation: One of my favorites of the night.  Who knew that curry-flavored chocolate could be so delicious?   I felt like I needed a side of naan.

4) Gewurztraminer & Red Fire (Mexican ancho and chipotle chilies + Ceylon cinammon + dark chocolate)

Observation: Mixed reaction on this one.  A few people strongly objected to the Gewurztraminer’s aroma, with one person saying it smelled like a “perm.”  I liked the combo of the spritzy sweet wine and the subtly spicy chocolate.

5) Rogue Chocolate Stout & New Orleans (Chicory coffee + cocoa nibs + Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate)

Observation: Another big winner.  Anthony mixed things up on us, pairing a beer with the chocolate.   First time drinking this beer and I loved it: full-bodied and rich but not heavy. And a very unique chocolate.

We finished the night with a sampling of Pour’s excellent food, like bruschetta of tomato, ricotta and aged balsamic, and these flatbreads with caramelized onions, manchego cheese and chorizo.  Can you ever go wrong with chorizo?  Not a chance.

This was a real treat of a night and I think everyone agreed: Wine, good. Chocolate, good.  Wine + chocolate, very good. Give it a try sometime.

Eat, Drive and Be Merry at Grand Prix New York

Yes, it’s true, I’ve decided to give up blogging and join the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour…

Okay, I made that up. Actually, that’s a few of us at Grand Prix New York last Friday night.  I was lucky enough to be invited to GPNY for a “drive and eat” — a few heart-pounding races on the go-kart track, followed by a tasting of the late night menu from its in-house restaurant, Eau Rouge.

First let me say how startled I was by the size of this place — 120,000 square feet that includes two indoor tracks, game room, restaurant, bar and pool tables.   

There’s something for everyone here.   If you want to tap into your inner Mario Andretti and race go-karts, you can do that.

If you want to sit at the bar and watch the action, you can do that (no drinking and driving though).

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If you’re simply about good food and want to dine at the sharp Eau Rouge, you can do that.

I recommend doing all three.  And I know what some of you are thinking: I’m an adult, I don’t want to race go-karts!  To which I say, try it, you might be surprised by how much fun you’ll have… at any age.  If you don’t believe me, watch this clip I shot on my camera.

 

Men, women, children — we all got caught up in the fun of flying around the track at 30 mph, and it didn’t take long before our competitive juices were flowing.

 

I finished a respectable fifth in the first race.  In the second race I was passed by a bunch of pro-looking drivers (who owned their own race helmets), then suffered the indignity of being nudged and spun out in a corner, killing any chances of a decent finish.  The good news — I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t even care. 

Afterwards, we changed out of our race suits and headed over to a private room in the back where we sampled Eau Rouge’s tasty late night cuisine, like these chicken and steak quesadillas.

The Kobe beef sliders were a hit.

Aren’t these some great looking spring rolls?  That’s seared tuna inside.  I love the contrasts in color — looks like a watermelon.

I’ve come a long way on the mac and cheese front.  I’d been completely turned off by it ever since a neighbor made it for my sister and me when we were kids.  I think it was an instant one out of a box.  The radioactive bright orange and all around goopiness just about made me gag, and I hadn’t come near the stuff until three years ago when I ate a homemade version and realized how delicious a properly prepared mac and cheese could be.  Anyway, I’m telling you all this to point out that the mac and cheese at Eau Rouge is properly prepared.  In fact, I had three helpings.

Food and fast driving?  That’s about as good as it gets for me. While my eating skills are finely honed, my go-kart skills need improvement.  I was okay with being spun out though — it was going to take more than a spin-out to wipe the goofy grin off my face.

Grand Prix New York
333 North Bedford Rd.
Mt. Kisco, NY
914-241-3131

Q&A with Anthony Colasacco of Pour Cafe and Wine Bar

The weather’s getting cold and you’re looking for a relaxed, intimate spot to gather with friends or take a date.  Where should you go?  The answer: Pour Cafe and Wine Bar in Mt. Kisco.  I recommend Pour to everyone because there’s nothing else like it in Westchester, and because it’s just so darn cozy. Remember how George Costanza wanted to be ensconsed in velvet? You’ll want to be ensconsed in Pour.

I caught up with Anthony Colasacco, the owner of Pour, and we chatted about the place, the wine and the food — don’t forget about the food!

HT: How did the whole idea for Pour come about?
Anthony: I frequent a lot of wine bars. I just love the cool little vibe of getting to sit and hang out. When this place came, I always loved the space, and it’s just perfect. And honestly I think it was the Italy-Spain trip my son and I took that really kicked me in to the manifesting of this place. Where just everything was revolved around sitting at the bar, small plates, food, wine…

Speaking of food, I don’t think a lot of people realize how good the food is here.
They don’t get it. It’s all the small plate stuff. You can come here for your meal. Grab a bean dip or one of those cheese plates, you’re full. And I am first and foremost a foodie. Above and beyond wine, booze, everything, I’m a fanatic for food. And some of the stuff we have is really interesting, like the flatbread with the guanciale on it. That’s awesome! I go out of my way to find interesting food, and do things that are a little different. The flatbread with the speck and the gruyere and the caramelized onions. There’s a lot of food here! That’s the one thing I think needs to be recognized.

Everyone I know who’s been here absolutely loves this place. What makes it so unique?
The vibe, for sure. The atmosphere. It’s chill, there’s no tv, the music’s low enough you can actually talk. It’s a house. People are relaxed. You get people that come and they kick their shoes off, I mean they put their feet up, it’s really like hanging in a house. You are in a house.

Is your clientele mostly hardcore wine aficionados?
No, definitely not. We get a couple, but on a whole I’d say 5 % wine snob, wine geek, 95% regular people. They just want to come and try out wine. They kind of want to be told what to drink almost. Not told, but guided.

And you have wine tastings here?
Oh yeah, we’ve got the Pinot Noir one coming up.  December 2nd.   We did that one 8 months ago, that was the biggest of all the wine tastings.  People love the Pinot.  We’ve done chocolate tastings, beer and cheese, scotch, bourbon, we’re doing the absinthe, all kinds of things.  We’re definitely going to work out some interesting ones.

You’ve mentioned to me that your customer base is mostly women.
During the week, a lot of ladies night out. Birthdays, book clubs, mom’s clubs, whatever reason just groups of girls. That’s usually what it is during the week, and it’s date place on the weekends. I wouldn’t say it’s a singles scene by any means. You know what’s cool though you can come single and have a great time. I honestly have a lot of women customers who come in by themselves. They come in, grab a glass of wine and hang out all night alone because they’re always going to meet somebody to hang out, chat with someone where it’s not a meat market.

So the guys should really be taking advantage of this male/female ratio.
You would think. But they’re just not getting it. I think when the guys come here they’re usually with a woman. We get the guys, they love to come and have the scotches and the bourbons, but no, it’s usually dates.

With everyone trying to save money these days, are people cutting back on wine?
I think people are still willing to spend a little extra for a good quality glass of wine. We’re paying attention to the fact that times are tough. But you can come here for a lot less than it’s going to be in a restaurant. You’re gonna come, you’re gonna have a cool time.

Pour Cafe and Wine Bar
241 Main St.
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
914-864-0606

She’s as Sweet as Tupelo Honey

What a dreary day. Tuesdays are inherently dreary — the weekend feels so far away — and this weather certainly didn’t help.  I walked outside this morning and my umbrella instantly inverted from the wind.  People on Metro North seemed extra crabby.  I knew it was going to be a long day.

So now I’m unwinding on the couch with the latest issue of Westchester Magazine.  Beside me is a cup of ginger tea with honey; only this isn’t just any honey, it’s Savannah Bee Company Tupelo honey, hands down the best honey I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

I was given this beautiful flute of honey as a gift, and ever since, I’ve savored it more than Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 Weeks. It’s gone into tea and sauces, on toast, yogurt, cereal, and occasionally onto a spoon and directly into my mouth.   The consistency is so smooth and velvety, and the flavor so intense and pure, that it makes regular honey taste downright flat.  Also, unlike regular honey, Tupelo honey never crystallizes; it just sits there in the flute, ready to be poured at all times, beckoning with that gorgeous amber color.  

I hadn’t seen this honey sold anywhere in Westchester, until a few weeks ago when I was walking through Connie’s Bakery in Mt. Kisco, and lo and behold, there it was, a flute of Savannah Bee Tupelo honey!  Now I’m even more thankful that I received it as a gift; this is expensive stuff.  If I buy it for myself, I’m going to make sure it lasts a while.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, calm down, it’s just honey.”  And you’re right, it is just honey; it won’t change your life or anything.  But in its own way, the magical elixir of ginger tea and Tupelo honey made a bad day just a little bit better. And that’s good enough for me.

 

Westchester Food Notes for Thursday

1) Some friends and I were planning on having dinner at Cafe of Love in Mt. Kisco this weekend, but I wasn’t able to get a reservation.  Any suggestions for restaurants in Mt. Kisco/ Katonah that might take a last minute reservation?

2) Are you heading to the Greater New York Beer & Food Festival this weekend in Tarrytown?  If so, tell me all about it.

3) After what’s seemed like months and months of inactivity, China Garden in Rye has finally opened its doors.

Not major news for anyone outside of Rye, but exciting as hell to me.  Like any self-respecting Chinese person, I must be in close proximity to Chinese food at all times; a take-out joint is my equivalent of Linus’s security blanket.

China Garden’s still working out the kinks (the employees aren’t all that familiar with their menu yet), but I did get a decent hot and sour soup.

I’ll give them a few more weeks to get in the groove, and then I’m trying the ma po tofu, my litmus test for any Chinese restaurant.

4) Stew Leonard’s Wines in Yonkers is hosting Frank Pellegrino, owner of Rao’s Restaurant, for a wine tasting and cookbook signing on Saturday, Nov. 1st, from 2 – 4 pm.  Here are the details.

5) Pour Cafe and Wine Bar has some weekly events you should check out, including “Tasting Tuesdays” (buy one flight, get the second half off), and “Wine Down Wednesdays” (1/2 price bottles of wine with the purchase of a 5 item or more cheese/charcuterie plate).  Anthony, the owner, also mentioned that Pour’s customer base is 80% women.  Guys, what are you waiting for — get over there!

Have a great weekend everyone!

China Garden
20 Purdy Ave.
Rye, NY 10580
914-921-1054