Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mark and Lynn check out the opening at the Silas Marder gallery in Bridgehampton...

We went to an opening at the Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY last night.  The show was titled : Friend or Foe and featured prominently the work of Kiki Smith as well as work from Jessica Benjamin, Tucker and Mica Marder and some interesting Mixed Media stuff from Canadian artist Jon Pylypchuk (who had the best titled work of the night with face off you mother fucker-2 cats giving bird).  As always, a great space and pleasant patrons and staff.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lange Winery is the cure for the Long Island summer doldrums...

We don't know much about the Oregon winery Lange Estate Wine and Vineyards, but we do know we liked the Chardonnay we just tasted from this estate at a friend's party.  Flavorful and memorable enough for me to remember a week later.  Great stuff for the somewhat unseasonably hot Long Island early summer this year...

M & L

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mark and Lynn experience the magic of Midsummer Night Celebration at Old Westbury Gardens (Daytime)

Mark and Lynn were lucky enough to get a chance to attend the Old Westbury Gardens Midsummer Night Celebration on Saturday June 12.  Fittingly, the night was near perfect with some really interesting performances by Old School performing artists like jugglers and a great Dance troup called Dance Visions who re-created performances by Dance pioneers like Isadora Duncan.  A complete smashing, sensual success. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jamie at Porter's in Bellport helps us work our way through the St. Germain playbook

Jamie at Porter's on the Lane in Bellport is one of our favorite bartenders since she is always game for any ridiculous/obscure cocktail we throw at her.  While transitioning into summer we found a cocktail book from St. Germain liqueurs which had a lot of great cocktails for summer and Jamie was game enough to help us try out some of the possibilities like the Elderfashion which consists of Gin, St. Germain and Orange Bitters.  So far our favorite is the Left Bank Martini which is Gin, St Germain and Sauvignon Blanc which is a great summer drink that manages to refresh and clear your head on a hot summer afternoon.  There are about 20 cocktails in the slim volume so we naturally look forward to trying the rest like the Paris Manhattan (Bourbon, St. Germain, Dry Vermouth and Bitters) and the Montparnasse (Calvados, St. Germain, Sauvignon Blanc).  Lucky for us Jamie is up for the challenge...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mark and Lynn have a few questions for Corked Author Kathryn Borel

Corked: A Memoir by Kathryn Borel Jr. is one of the most moving, funny, twisted memoirs of this or any other year.  Ostensibly a story of a father and daughter wine tasting tour through France, the tale is much darker underneath this glamorous premise dealing with death, family dysfunction,  dissapointment, and daddy issues.   Ms. Borel's work here is not always easy to take, but it is constantly riveting and she is a likeable enough prescence in the book to maintain reader interest and good will even when the narrative gets tough.

Lucky for Mark and Lynn Ms. Borel is an equally likeable prescence in her everyday life as she was quite nice enough to agree to an email interview...

M & L: Why do you think your dad loves wine so much and is there anything else he is infatuated with on the same level?

KB: "My father has always been one of those people who creates meaning through narrative. I think he's a natural story-teller... but my hunch is that his impulse for making stories comes was born out of being raised during WWII, having to move every few months, watching his home be destroyed by a bomb during an American raid in southern France, eventually coming to Canada with his mother, father and sister and having to start over. He's not a person who has any tokens from his childhood, so he became really adept at creating his own out of his recollections. "

"When it comes to his love of wine, it's not the technical aspects that he's drawn to, it's the romance that he loves. He loves that with each bottle, he meets a new character, a different personality that has its own story, that's been born from a specific time, in a specific climate and from a specific soil, influence by a myriad variables, and coached into another kind of maturity by a winemaker who has his or her own story to add to the mix. For him, there's a narrative to every bottle in his cellar. They're 750 ml evocations. I think that's what he's obsessed with. "

"As for other infatuations -- nothing as much as wine, except for maybe WWII history and the psychology of cats. The former's attraction is obvious; I can't figure out the cat thing.".

M & L: Was the issue of wine between you and your dad more about your wine knowledge or about your enjoyment of wine?

KB: "At the beginning of our trip, I thought the issue was my own lack of understanding about terroir, fermentation, vine orientation, etc. With every winemaker we met I would ask this battery of poorly-articulated questions, only to have these completely opaque answers come back at me. In the first few days, I realized I hadn't cracked any part of the code. Then I realized I was asking the wrong questions -- and that I wasn't listening to the right person. Eventually, once I started asking myself, "Hey, stupid, what do YOU, Kathryn Borel, think of the wine?" I started getting it. It was just a matter of relaxing, breathing, and listening to what the wine was telling my mouth and brain. And that's when I started enjoying myself."

M & L: At what point did your dad know you intended to make a book out of your experience with him? What were his feelings about it?

KB: "The intention was always to write SOMETHING. I am inordinately terrified of my father's eventual death, and while I didn't tell him that this was my primary motivation for suggesting the trip, he knew that I wanted to try and commit something to paper once it was all over and done with. And he was fine with that. But when we came back to Canada after the three weeks on the road, I didn't think I had enough for an actual book. So I drawered my notes for two years. Then, in early 2007, I started writing. A few months later I had a book deal, and two years after that I had a completed final draft. My father read it and became very emotional -- he was proud of what I'd done, but also a little piqued, I think, about seeing all my thoughts about his mannerisms and behaviours laid out like that. But then he read it again, and then a third time, and a fourth and fifth, and understood that the book was a love letter, and that my honesty about my own uglinesses and his too had come from a place of respect and love."

M & L:  Did you show your dad (or anyone else) the manuscript before it went to press?

KB: "Yes -- I showed the manuscript to my father, mother and a few friends. Two of my greatest counsels were my amazing novelist friend Sheila Heti and film producer friend Julia Rosenberg. I also worked with a Canadian editor, Leah Fairbank, and an American editor, Emily Griffin -- who are both brilliant and understood what I was trying to get out of myself even when I was crying on my kitchen floor, confused and eating dry spaghetti from the package."

M & L: Has this book changed your relationship with your dad and/or family?

KB: "It has. It has made the way we communicate so much cleaner "

M & L: If this is turned into a film who could you see playing your father? (you?)

"It's funny -- I actually have a film rights agent who's currently shopping around the book. So it's something I think about. I love the French actor Daniel Auteuil -- I think he would do a terrific job. As for me... I guess I'd have to be played by Chloris Leachman. Obviously. "

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mark and Lynn catch up with Redwood Creek winemaker Sean Hails...

Redwood Creek has just released a new Malbec entry in its superior but affordable line of wines.  We caught up with RC winemaker Sean Hails about the company's newest offering...

M & L:  What are the challenges in making a good Malbec? Did it differ from challenges creating any other of your signature reds?

SH: "The same challenges, actually. Making sure you start with fantastic fruit and then guide the winemaking process to deliver a great bottle every time."

M & L: Do you think there is a "type" of wine lover who particularly enjoys Malbec?

SH: "Anyone who enjoys a fantastic, fruit forward red will enjoy this Malbec. There is great depth of ripe red and blue fruits with a backdrop of oak."

M & L: Are there any situations or meals that would go particularly well with your Malbec?

SH: "Anytime someone has family or friends around for a meal is the perfect time for this Malbec."

"My favorite Malbec pairing has to be with a BBQ tri tip roast. Marinate the roast with garlic, black pepper and salt, then cook it on the BBQ rotisserie. Serve it with fresh grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes."

M & L:  Malbec has become a popular wine. As a result, do you think Malbec is a grape that is in danger of overexposure?

SH: "No, not really. I feel that Malbec is just starting to pick up momentum."

M & L: What does producing this varietal mean to Redwood Creek? Does it change or affect your image in any way?

SH: "I don’t think it changes our image, I think it fits actually. We bring great wines to our consumers; this is just another example."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shots from Cockpit USA's 10th anniversary party at the American AIrpower Museum

Mark and Lynn just had the chance to attend the American Airpower Musuem's 10th anniversary party in Farmingdale, NY.  It was a great summer night with a very fine big band, vintage airplanes that thrilled and a couple of pinup girls from the "Warbird Pinups" calendar.  Cockpit USA sponsored the night and put on a great show.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Are you the ultimate grillmaster? If so, read on...


Press Release stuff from Redwood Creek

MODESTO, Calif. (May 13, 2010) – Think you’ve got what it takes to call yourself the ultimate grillmaster? This summer, Redwood Creek Wines is calling on consumers to share their favorite sizzling recipes in the first-ever Blaze a Better Barbecue Recipe Contest.

Redwood Creek is urging grilling and outdoor enthusiasts across America to enter for a chance to win the ultimate grilling vacation – an all-expenses-paid trip to Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue University® in 2011 featuring Redwood Creek wine. Eight finalists will each receive $500 in cash and the chance at the grand prize trip to Barbecue University.

To enter, head to between May 15 and July 31, 2010 and submit an original grilling recipe. All entries must include one of Redwood Creek’s nine, food-friendly wines as an ingredient. To spark your imagination, barbecue authority Steven Raichlen, host of Primal Grill® on Public Television, has shared some of his signature dishes on the website, including Grilled Clams with Sauvignon Blanc, Brats in a Chardonnay “Hot Tub” and Beef Ribs with Pinot Noir Barbecue Sauce.

A panel of wine, culinary and outdoor enthusiasts will narrow the pool of applicants to the top eight finalists. The panel will then select a grand prize winner that will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue University® in 2011. As a proud supporter of the great outdoors, Redwood Creek will make a $2,500 donation in the grand prizewinner’s name to the outdoor nonprofit of their choice.

“The Sierra Nevada mountain snowmelt irrigates our vines and helps nourish Redwood Creek’s flavorful wines from grape to glass.” said Sean Hails, Redwood Creek winemaker. “These flavors naturally fit with outdoor grilling and will complement your barbecue recipe perfectly.”

For more information on Blaze a Better Barbecue, including details on how to submit your recipe, please visit

About Redwood Creek:

Redwood Creek wines embody the adventurous spirit of the great outdoors. Redwood Creek Winemakers Cal Dennison and Sean Hails crafted a portfolio of nine food-friendly wines that consistently deliver outstanding quality at an attractive price. Redwood Creek wines are available at retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price ranging from $6.99 to $12.99.

About Steven Raichlen:

Multi-award-winning author, journalist, cooking teacher, and TV host, Steven Raichlen is the man who reinvented barbecue. His best-selling Barbecue Bible cookbook series (4 million copies in print) and the Primal Grill® and Barbecue University™ TV showson public television have helped people all over the world master the art of live fire cooking.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mark and Lynn expand the Kentucky Bourbon experience with The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book

With it's great, smooth taste, typically reasonable price tag and roots in the US south, Kentucky Bourbon is one of the most appealing spirits one could imagine.  But, this kind of appeal carries with it the possibility of underappreciation.  With  The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book  (University Press of Kentucky) co-authors Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler make the case that Bourbon is a more versatile and subtle spirit than might have been previously thought.  Mark and Lynn caught up co-author Susan Reigler about her work and her impressions of this historic and popular spirit.

M & L:  Do you think that the image or habits of bourbon drinkers are changing?
SR: " I think whiskey drinkers in general have discovered the snifter-worthy bourbons and the high-end bourbons have become the choice of sophisticated sippers in the way single malt Scotch can be. With the current cocktail boom, I have observed the comeback of the Manhattan, too. So the perception is changing, but I think the stereotype of bourbon-as-good-old-boy beverage lingers."

M & L:  James Bond is a kind of poster boy for vodka.  Is there an individual whose image connects or is synonomous with Bourbon?
SR: " I thought it was interesting that several years ago, in the first Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, "GoldenEye" that M, played by Judi Dench, offered Bond a bourbon (Mark's note; Nice call Susan! check this out at about 6:08 of the YouTube clip here). But no 'poster boy' seems to have emerged for bourbon. That seems like a marketing hook the industry should examine."

M & L:  In some circles (Mark and Lynn's for instance) bourbon is often thought to be a fall or winter drink.  You make the case that it can be fully enjoyed all year round.

SR: " Bourbon is absolutely delicious year-round! Look in Joy's and my book for a more than a dozen pages of summer cocktails. I think the Bourbon Shake Up on page 61 is especially refreshing. Adding citrus fruits, especially orange and lemon, compliment bourbon's flavors. A classic cocktails, the Old-Fashioned (Joy's recipe is on page 28), is a refreshing sip absolutely anytime."

M & L:  Are there any hip brands on the market now?
SR: "I think with its distinctive red wax bottle neck, that Maker's Mark is rather hip. Being a wheated bourbon (uses wheat rather than rye in the mash bill) it is a bit lighter on the palate and therefore popular with beginning, as well as more experienced, bourbon drinkers. I think Buffalo Trace may have a pretty hip image, too."

M & L:  Are there any brands that you believe are particularly good values?

SR: "There are several brands in the $25 and under price range (though depending on local taxes, these prices vary widely) that are very fine. Well-known names such as Wild Turkey 101, Buffalo Trace, and Evan Williams come to mind. Bourbon bargains that are harder to find outside of Kentucky include Ancient Ancient Age 10 year old, Old Forester Signature (100 proof), Jim Beam Black Label (not to be confused with the white label), Old Grand Dad 114 proof and, for just a few dollars more, Four Roses Single Barrel. But the fun of trying new bourbons is finding one that suits both your palate and your budget. There are scores of choice out there, with more being made all the time."

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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