8.49am, Wednesday 8th February, Hells Kitchen, Midtown, Manhattan, NYC, USA
Morning, folks, and winter might be having a comeback starting today, as we’re only expecting a high of 2 degrees C with the clouds rolling in and snow flurries on the way this evening. I’ll be working around Manhattan today in the aftermath of the massive Giants parade yesterday, after a top day out in Brooklyn yesterday with Mario Babsek, the brand manager for Yalumba with our new distributor for New York state – Winebow. I’d been to Brooklyn a couple of times before – to visit Coney Island, to see a Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball game, and to call on a restaurant called The Grocery. But this was my first real look at the streets and neighborhoods of the whole borough of Brooklyn. It’s got the old immigrant dock area of Red Hook – made famous in the Arthur Miller play ‘View From A Bridge’, the buzzing ‘stroller streets’ of Park Slope, brownstone central Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, the downtown city hall area of Borough Hall, riverside docks and terraces of Williamsburg, DUMBO – the reclaimed area ‘Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass’, and a few other neighborhoods that we didn’t get to … this trip.
What a day! The weather helped with a crisp but sunny day, and we had a nice lineup in our bottle bag:
- 2011 Y Vermentino
- 2008 Eden Valley Viognier
- 2007 Bushvine Grenache
- 2010 Strapper (Grenache Shiraz & Mataro)
- 2009 Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz
- 2007 Patchwork Shiraz.
We had a shopping list of folks to see across Brooklyn, and we started with Mark Simmons’ Park Slope restaurant Kiwiana – yep, that would be featuring dishes inspired by Mark’s home country, New Zealand. I’ll come back to this next Saturday, because we’re going out for dinner at Kiwiana on Friday night with some of our dessert wines to pair up with Mark’s lamingtons and pavlova meringue.
Then it was around the corner to one of the most entertaining and interesting wine shops you would ever fall into – Shawn. It’s owned by a tall streak of Irish stock rugby flanker Kevin Fitzgerald, and they have a crew of staffers that really know their stuff. A wine bench has just been installed, so expect to see regular in-store tastings – and with any luck I’ll be doing several of them down the track!
Then out to Williamsburg to see Victoria at Bottle Shoppe – two stores, folks, run by two lovely blokes, Jesus and Steve. It’s great to have a day out where folks are really interested in what’s happening in Australia wine wise – actually in the regions, the varieties, the history of the industry – I think we may just be back on the radar for wine trade folk and consumers, which is really good to see.
Back into Carroll Gardens to see Mickey at Fat Cat Wines – now there’s a good stop for you if you want to talk wine and food pairing! What a treat to spend the day talking to people who really like what they are doing!
And I nearly forgot – for lunch we did a really Brooklyn thing and got Vietnamese pork rolls from Hancos Bubble Tea House. Picture this – fresh crusty torpedo rolls filled with chopped marinated pork, shredded white cabbage, shredded carrot, cilantro (coriander), a splash of hoi sin sauce, and lime juice! We ate them from the brown paper bags, and yes … they tasted as good as it sounds!
And to finish off the day, I caught the F train back to 42nd Street, then went uptown to 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam (am I sounding like a local yet?) to show what was left in the bottles to the folks at the relatively new Australian bistro, The Sunburnt Calf.
This is a cool hole in the wall bar with all Australian wines by the milk bottle measure and a lot of small plate dishes inspired by the produce and lifestyle “back home”. For example – have a look at this: ‘Stix’ – Balinese spiced chicken, rice wine marinated beef, or chilli shrimp tempura. These would be inspired by satay skewers – where the pieces of meat or seafood are marinated and threaded onto bamboo skewers then grilled over open coals. Yum. Or ‘Fish & Chips’ – barramundi (solid but creamy fish) in a light batter with potato wedges. Or ‘ The burger with the lot’ where you have the meat, onion and salad PLUS egg, pineapple and beets. That’s the authentic Australian burger article, folks! Nice place, nice people. Good to know it’s there for when I get homesick.
Any rate – better get myself packed and on to the downtown bus for our day out in Manhattan.
See you for now.