Delicatus: cool plates and wine in hipster Seattle deli

August 22, 2013
Delicatus:  great food and wine in hipster Seattle deli

Seattle was perfect the summer week I was there. The kind of summer weather you dream of, friendly people and very good food and wine. For food and wine, it was maybe a little less exciting than I thought it would be, some exciting ventures seem to have a hard time taking root. But there are some happy exceptions…one of them is Delicatus. Delicatus calls itself a deli, but it feels like a hip wine bar where you can also buy gourmet products. The website has some lovely words about the concept, products and special events. They even make their own wine! More on that after the break.

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Spanish Wine Review Video: Garnacha Salvaje 2010

August 14, 2013
Garnacha Salvaje 2010:  unique old-vine Spanish wine from the Ribera del Queiles area

From the same people behind Matsu, some of my favorite Spanish wines from Toro, we have the Proyecto Garnachas de España. A very original and personal selection of Garnachas from several regions, all very good value and beautifully labelled. These people understand marketing because the website is beautiful, filled with neat videos about the old-vine Grenache vineyards of Spain. But it’s not just a nice story and pretty packaging…the wines are quite nice, unique and very good value. The wine I taste in my video today is the Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo 2010. Check out this link for a long, but very cool video about the abandoned vines this wine came from and check out my review below.

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Spanish Wine Review: Raventós i Blanc de Nit Cava

August 12, 2013
Raventós i Blanc de Nit rosado cava:  Great Spanish sparkling wine

Spanish Cava is a bit on the outs here in the US and it’s a great shame. The recent cava appellation controversy has led to mixed messages and there has been a perception of reduced quality. Prosecco is everywhere, yet I would definitely question the quality of most of it. There is a lot of mediocre cava out there and it sucks that it is ruining the reputation of the rest. It’s a shame because it is such a great Spanish wine and there are so many good producers. Rosado, or rosé cava has been a trickier category…growing but very inconsistent. The best and the best value for years has been the Raventós i Blanc de Nit….so drinkable, yet super food friendly, great in every season. Not only my favorite rosado cava, one of my favorite everyday sparkling wines in general!

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Spanish Wine Review: Amizade Godello 2011

August 11, 2013
Amizade 2011 Godello:  Spanish wine from the Monterrei region

I always love to recommend another Spanish wine made with Godello …one of my favorite grape varieties! I had the Amizade 2011 with Asian fusion flavors at one of my favorite Madrid fast food spots, StreetXO, and it was a perfect match. This 2011 has very floral and citrus notes and it really handled the complex Asian combinations well. It’s a fairly simple wine but really crisp and attractive and just what you are looking for in this case. The price is really budget friendly at about

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Madrid’s Best Restaurants: Street XO

August 8, 2013
StreetXO:  one of Madrid's best restaurants

You have to eat standing up and you are on the top floor of a department store, but despite that StreetXO is one of the most exciting places to eat in Madrid at the moment. This is the casual street food outpost of the most sought after reservations in Madrid, Diverxo. Chef David Muñoz is now presenting his Asian fusion cuisine at this open kitchen joint where the music is loud, the atmosphere slightly chaotic, and young dynamic chefs prepare each dish fresh to order. Really unique flavor combinations and beautiful presentations made for exciting, adventurous eating. I loved all the dishes I tried and wished I could fit more! The location is actually great…in the awesome Gourmet Experience Gran Via on the top floor of the El Corte Ingles Callao. Stay for a drink afterwards and watch the sun set over the rooftops of Madrid!

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Best Tapas with a View in Madrid

August 6, 2013
StreetXO:  one of Madrid's best restaurants

El Corte Ingles, the famous Spanish department store, launched the Gourmet Experience several years ago and it’s a great concept. It’s a luxury food court concept, with eat-in and take-away gourmet food and drink stands, eating areas, bars, and gourmet market….all rolled into one. Each new inauguration has stepped up the concept and the latest one is by far the best: the Gran Via Gourmet Experience on the top floor of the Corte Ingles Callao. Located right at the heart of Madrid and convenient for both tourist and locals alike, the space offers spectacular views of the Madrid skyline. It’s also initiated extended hours and is open until midnight seven days a week! There is a wonderful terrace, great tapas bars and restaurants…it’s the perfect place for a full meal, or just drinks and dessert. Lots more detail after the break…

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Spanish Wine Review: Las Retamas del Regajal 2009

July 30, 2013
Las Retamas del Regajal 2009:  Spanish wine from the Madrid region

We were in Bar Amor in the Malasaña district of Madrid for my birthday dinner. It had been a full day of great food and wine…honestly it was a bit of a blur. Bar Amor has a short, but good wine list, with a nice selection of Spanish wines and local Madrid bottles. The Retamas 2009 caught my eye right away as it was on my hit list. It’s the little sister to the well known Madrid wine El Regajal, one of the wines that changed Madrid’s reputation in the wine world. The Retamas del Regajal, a Tempranillo blend, is a big, fruity and attractive wine at an amazing price. It was the perfect match with our delicious presa ibérica dish, an intensely flavored cut of ibérico pork. The dish and the wine both stood out from the enjoyable birthday haze.

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Madrid’s Best Bars: The Dry

July 25, 2013
Best bar in Madrid:  The Dry

Besides friends, wine, and food, one of my greatest pleasures of going back to Madrid is the gin culture. Spain remains obsessed with gin and despite persistent rumors, the gin and tonic wave is still going strong. The Spanish really know how to do justice to a gin tonic, with a huge selection of premium gins and tonics, carefully selected garnishes and proper preparation. Though we have great gin cocktails in many parts here in the US in what I am happy to see is a growing trend, I’ve been generally disappointed with the gin tonics. There are many places to get a great gin tonic in Madrid, some pretentious and overpriced, others cozy neighborhood bars, but the place to go for great cocktails, perfect service, and to feel really special is the Dry Bar in the Hotel Melia Fenix.

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Best steaks in Madrid: Vaca Nostra

July 21, 2013
Vaca Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steaks

Great meat is easy to find in Spain, we are spoiled with fantastic chuletón steaks and amazing ibérico pork. The best quality cuts are prepared most simply, grilled, rarely a sauce in sight, allowing the meats to shine. I have such great memories of simple Basque steakhouses or asadores, where the only thing on the menu is a great steak served with peppers, green salad and Rioja wine. Restaurante Vaca Nostra in Madrid, takes the cult of meat in Spain to an even higher level. An almost all-meat menu, with rare cuts of dry-aged beef and special artisanal lamb, a meat consultant to aid you in your selection, and a great supporting cast of starters, side dishes and wines to support your meat experience. It can come at a price, depending on how far you let yourself go, but you will have an outstanding, truly carnivorous experience.

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Spanish Wine Review: Oloroso Bodegas Tradición 30yrs

July 19, 2013
Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso Sherry:  Great Spanish wine

My second Spanish wine while back in Madrid (and here I’ll stop counting) had to be a sherry…and a spectacular one it was! Bodegas Tradición never disappoints with its small line of complex, aged sherries and the 30yr Oloroso was no exception. Though dry, the multi-layer, complex nutty, roasted and cocoa notes in this amazing wine made it a perfect ending with my coffee after a very rich meal. I love that this oxidized wine stays fresh for months after opening and can be enjoyed in small pours. Though not inexpensive at around 40€ or 75$, it is really great value…what other 30 year old wine can be enjoyed for this price?

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