Rebounds and Getting Played – Real Wine Talk

I cannot disconnect myself with what is happening in my mind and what is happening personally in my life from this blog. This morning I woke up, checked out social media, witnessed a special someone creeping around town like an animal, felt like a brick hit me in the face (or the dead heart that was being slightly revived), and knew I had to write this.

Just like stupid romantic relationships that you find yourself in, wine can be a rebound and a “getting played” moment.  What do these two have in common; they make you feel special for a moment, lost, empty, and really really stupid.  I’m not any of the later, and I’m here to tell you that you are not as well.  Let’s distinguish how we got ourselves here, and what we can do to prevent this:

Getting Played:


My friend Jackie buys a wine because the label is pretty.  This makes her feel special, intelligent, full of hope, confident that she is doing the right thing.  Sound familiar?  The marketing may tell you that you NEED this wine in your life, that this wine will bring you places you never have been before, your life will change if you just involve yourself a little bit…ok, that may not be the wine talking, but you understand where I am coming from.  I insert a picture of 19 Crimes here; a wine I sell, I love, I love selling.  This wine has everything I just spoke about, and does taste good.  You get a bang for your buck, a funky label that your friends will love to talk about, and a good time.  What does that sound like?  Beware, but be a risk taker.  Enjoy the positives that getting played may give your body and  palate.  It’s all just fun, isn’t it?

The Rebound:

IMG_1935I don’t consider a rebound always a bad thing.  It has the best intentions.  If I am feeling lonely, can’t make a decision, want a consistent warm hug, Stags’ Leap Winery Petite Sirah does it for me. (the innuendos in this blog are killing me by the way).  However, rebound wines will take you over the hump, but may not take you all the way.  It’s easy to get stuck with the one thing you know will make you feel good when you don’t want to take that next step into the unknown.  Petite Sirah may be the unknown for you as a varietal – here is the seduction.  The best rebounds are in the lure of what will be, aren’t they?  This one happens to deliver, and deliver.  That’s why it may be my date for New Years Eve…

Where does that leave us?

33908720_UnknownGreat question.  Maybe it’s not drinking wine at all.  Maybe it’s about making healthier choices for my body and my mind.  I chose this picture above because it is filled with food and wine choices that make me feel positive and good.   I just realized the wine is a little blurred out; is that a sign?  It’s great to take some risks.  When that risk fails though, should I stay in bed with a pint of ice cream, or go lift weights.  You know the right thing to do, but the “right” thing just seems so hard…

The opening photo is a picture of a wine barrel being “toasted” and treated for wine aging.  I remember taking this photo and being overwhelmed; it was a burning hot, a type of anxiety, a thrilling and tactile experience.  This photo is where I want my heart, mind, and soul to stay.  If I continue to get played, or be the “rebound girl”, so be it – it still makes me feel like the fire.  If I make poor choices in love and wine, so be it.  I rarely notice social media posts about mistakes we may make.  They happen to me at every turn.  Thank goodness they do – I’m learning, maybe closing myself off a bit, but still curious.


Culinary Adventures With MaryEllen

I love the stories of your mother in the kitchen, cooking great meals, you and your siblings sharing in the chores of dinner, stories passed between all of you, aromas in the air seducing you and pulling you in……

MaryEllen Pajak tried; she tried.

There were a few good meals created by my mother in my youth.  I’ll give her that.  However, my mother is not an adventurous eater.  If it is not familiar and agreeable to her palate, it will not be made.  There have been some changes over the years, this is true.  The biggest change has been her new love for wine, and her acknowledgment that there are just O-K wines, and REALLY GOOD WINES out there.  She won’t stray from her chicken parm, but will snub a crappy version of Cabernet Sauvignon.

During my recent trip to Florida, I decided to cook for my mother, each evening, in her beautiful kitchen.  Every day the two of us would discuss the menu, shop for the ingredients, and pair the wine.  Yes, pair the wine.  I involved MaryEllen in all decisions from the focus of the meal, to the styling of the table.  She excelled at styling the table and I believed enjoyed this part the most.  Who wouldn’t with her array of dishes, placemats, cutlery, wine decanters – the list goes on and on….(she can be a bit of a shopper..)

You know how this turned out.  When first viewed as a chore, meal time became what we both looked forward to each day.  The two of us had a common goal and charged ahead together as a unit.  It brightened us.  Meal time became our conversation, and our converstation with everyone we met.

When I spoke to her today, she told me she was missing me.  I know she is, but it is different this time around.  She is missing the companion that oohed and ahhed over sauces.  She is missing laughing in the pool over taking Instagram photos of TBones.  She is missing eating late, (“which a lady should not do” – by the way, dinner was served at 7pm) and planning the meals moving forward.  Food can change us, but food experiences can alter us.

If I have just become the family cook, then so be it.  To see the face of a woman that thinks spaghetti and meatballs is a culinary masterpiece get turned on to stuffed pork chops is worth the effort.  Bravo MaryEllen, and keep on collecting pretty glassware.  We will need it for our next culinary adventure together!

This is a wine blog, right?  Here is your wine review:

Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay – Please don’t think you can’t have chardonnay and meat together.  We paired this wine with stuffed pork chops over yellow rice.  This wine is just gorgeous; the point of this chardonnay is to retain it’s freshness while delivering a purity of fruit and a nice complexity, brought on by the oak.  There is intensity and focus, but balanced with the core of nice citrus flavors.  It is getting hotter, and you are going to want to stray from this varietal; don’t do it – grab a bottle and chill, but not generously.  To much chill will mask this beauty of this wine.

And I can’t forget steak night…

MaryEllen dinner #2

An Affair at Restaurant Nicholas

I’m getting tired of eating at restaurants.

Yes, I said it.

I feel like my connection to food is getting lost. I am uninspired. Bored. I’m seeing the same thing reinvented with a new costume. What happened to originality? What happened to blowing my foodie mind with an experience I can write home about? (or at least in this blog)

I am also the worst diner you want at your table. I’m the girl that pulls the meal and wine choices apart.

“Should we have ordered this?”

“Taste this wine again and see if any spice notes come out.” (sigh)

It’s miserable to be with me. I pull out a camera and video your reactions. I ask way to many questions. Wine notes jotted down in your IPad should not be taken on date night.

However, lunch yesterday was off the hook.

I’ve never been to Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank (Middletown?) before. Like many New Jersey dining freaks, I’ve heard the buzz. I’m not about buzz. If everyone is going there, I am going in the opposite direction. I also have had some “difficulties” in the past selling this restaurant, well, anything at all. This is not because of Nicholas (whom is a very sweet man), this is because of the sheer fact that I was concentrating on the wrong message in my sale. Does this restaurant want the brands you have never heard of before? – yes. Do they want the best pricing on the things you have heard of before? – yes. To be honest, I didn’t have a plan in the past. I thought I could wake up, get inspired, grab a sample bottle and go. That was my plan, and I never understood why it didn’t work. I now see that Nicholas has a focus, a direction, and registers with the guest in a complete way. There is a beginning, middle, and ending. The bar, drapes, table cloths, service, and food leaving that kitchen has all connected with each other, and therefore, connected with me.

Thanks for the lesson sir.

Check out my video below to see what happened during this four hour (Ok, it was a trade thing-Get off my back) luncheon.