Eating & Drinking
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My plan here is to list suggestions about restaurants along with some comments about the food, quality & knowledge of the staff, something about the setting, etc.. I figure I will also add a more complete list of wines and recipes I like.

When the weather turns bad, I will finish this site... maybe

For now, I will just list my favorites.

Wine List, etc.

- - - ITALIAN - - -

Barbera D'Alba

G.D. Vajra
Estate Bottled, 2001
Imported by The Country Vintner Inc., Richmond, VA
* a great example of a solid Barbera, nice round middle


Prunotto, 1997
Imported by Winebow Inc., NY, NY
* This wine started my exploration of all things Barolo for a while. If you can find this 97 grab it. I tried a 1998 a couple of years later and it was not near the same quality.


Manzone le Gramolere, 1989
* A monster

Allegrone Recioto

Pellas Valpolicella Classico, 2000


Zardini 2002
Imported by Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd, NY NY
* I think of the Ripassos as the poor man's Amarone. This one for $15.00 is one of the better ones I have had. Unlike others it does not fall apart if you decant it for 12 hours. So, drink it all at once and then open a monster. I would buy more of these.

Italian Blends

Salice Salentino, 2003
imported by A.V. Imports. Columbia MD
*I am not sure what this is. A blend is what I was thinking, but then I saw the DOC on the lable. Bottled by Leone de Castris, if you find one of these pick up and decant it for about an hour, maybe two. This is one is a very pleasant surprise.

Salice Salentino, 2003
imported by A.V. Imports. Columbia MD
* after tasting the Maiana, I decided to pay $2 more for the Riserva (about 16.00). Really a step up with darker fruits and lots of complexity.


Sergo Alighieri Vaio Armoron 1997
Imported by Remy Amerique Inc., NY, NY
* This was the wine that started my never ending love affair with Amarones. The smooth velvet you would expect, lots of base notes - this is truly one of my most favorites and the standard by which I judge all other Amorones, including others from Masi

La Giaretta
"i Quadretti" Classico Superiore, 2000
Imported by The Country Vitner Inc, Oilville, VA
* just great - better executed than most

Della Valpolicella 1998
(bottled by Vigneti Villabella)
Imported by USA Wine Imports, Inc. NY NY
* let this one out for about 3 hours and it drinks with a velvet tone (it is an amarone) but has got lots of valpolicella characteristics


Rosso Di Montalcino 2002
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, NY NY
* This is a very nice 100% sangiovese "estate", not too expensive, nicely constructed and full bodied. I'm looking for a case of this stuff to drink as one of my grab-and-go-never-disappointing choices.


Tenimenti Luigi D'Alessandro 2002
Imported by William Grant & Sons, NY NY
* A 100% Syrah from Cortona. Man, this is yummy if you are looking for a red that is a little lighter with some character... maybe as your first bottle of the afternoon? Not too expensive, so my hunt is on for more of these.

- - - Sardinia - - -

Terre Brune 1997 (1998)
Carignano Del Sulcis
Imported by Empson Inc, Alexandria, VA.

* This is a big complicated wine that drinks almost like an Amorone. I tried it at Obelisk and then bought a case; drink it all and bought a second case. I just tried to get more, but the cost has shot up to about 45.00 dollars a bottle – so I need to think about it. Worth paying 90.00 in a restaurant if you are with people who know the difference or you want to treat yourself.
**recently tried the 1999 vintage, still wonderful, old vine richness

Monica Di Sardegna 2003
Imported by Empson Inc, Alexandria, VA.
* A wonderful everyday wine (~$12.00) that is well crafted and has a lot going on. Similar story to the Terre Brune; I bought a case and started plowing through it and bought another one. I am down to my last two bottles and that made me very nervous.

- - - Sicily - - -

Harmonium, Nero D'Avola 2000
Imported by Vinifera Imports Ltd, Ronkonkoma, NY
* Wow, a very big old vine taste, massive spice and earth. Whenever I find one of these, I grab it. I have been able to score about four bottles. I am now saving one for a special occasion… maybe like today.

- - - SPAIN- - -

Llicorella 2001
Imported by The Country Vintner, Oilville VA
*Spicy and peppery the bottle says licorice and coconut - this is a lot of fun - a ruby color and not very expensive. If you are not familiar with the Priorats this is a nice one to start with. Really lovely

Genium celler 2003
Imported by Grapes of Spain Inc., Lorton VA
*Spice and herbs you would expect from a Priorat well made but more on the calm side. Not a disappointment by any means – but more of a late afternoon drink I think.

Prior Crianca 2001
Scala Dei
Imported by: Vinum International, Napa, CA
* Another great spicey Priorat, very rich and complete. A great example of how nice these wines can be when they are made with such care.

Embruix de Vall Llach 2002
Imported by Henry Wine Group
* Similar to the Genium it is one of those wines that is lovely to drink, but not a mind blower. Worth the $30. you pay in a store but not the $75. you pay in a restaurant.



Mas Donis Barrica 2002
Imported by European Cellars Direct, NY, NY
*I am still learning how to read Spanish labels - this 13.00 a bottle wine is rich, chocolate, berry, spicy and complicated - really drinks like a wine at four times the cost. There is a lot going on in this little bottle. Never a disappointment a good one to grab if you can’t make up your mind. As usual, I fell in love and got a case. Sadly they are almost gone. I just scored a half-case of the 2003s which I will begin to drink this summer.

Ayles 2003
Imported by Grapes of Spain, Inc., Lorton, VA
*Another rich spice and berry multi-layer'd wine - this one is about 12.00. Not as amazing as the Mas Donis, but if you can't get that one - get one of these.

Quinta Do Vale, Donna Maria
Pouro Tinto, 2000
* Another multi-layered, big wine. I should have gotten the importer's name - if you find one of these... PLEASE get 2 and email me right away, I am loving Donna Maria


San Roman, 2001
Imported by Grapes of Spain, Inc., Lorton, VA
**This is without question one of the best Spanish wines I have tasted. A very old vine, low tannin, extremely rich and silky. Apparently the very best vintage is the 2001.If you find this, drink it! I did just find some 2003s.

Prima 2003
Imported by Grapes of Spain, Inc., Lorton, VA
* An inexpensive everyday sort of wine. Well crafted and about $10.00. Not in the same league as the San Roman, but a good one to grab. Hey, 10 bucks!

Fill del Temps 2000
Imported by Hand Picked Selections, Warrenton VA
* Another decent, inexpensive, well made but average bottle of wine. Drinkable and not disappointing for what it is - a red for the late afternoon.

Terra Alta

Nuestra Senora del Portal
Tinto 2003
Imported by OLE, Manhasset, NY
*Okay, this is another yummy Spaniard for under 16.00 bucks. In my range of likes, dark berry type of richness and lots of bottom notes – well made and cheap.


Muga Reserva 2001
imported by The Henry Wine Group, Benicia, CA.
* Really a very nice Rioja. I hate to say, "bright" considering the complexity and old-worldly taste but there is a brilliance in it that is very nice.

--- - California -- ---

Paso Robles
Crossfire 2003 by JanKris
*This is an "estate" and the first Californian wine I have listed here. It is a Merlot but might be a Syrah mix (if memory serves me). Drinks a well as a starter - had it in a restaurant so my information is not too complete. I am seeking out more of these, hopefully a case to keep around and pick at it.

- - - Deserts - - -

Bortolo Nardini
Imported by Winebow Inc, NY, NY.
*I’m not sure WHAT this is – and all of the experts I have turned on to it are just as confused as I am. A digestif with a citrus hint, maybe vanilla but with a kick like grappa (it is from Bassano) really yummy - but very strange. Try this at least once!!

Aszu 5 Puttonyos
* the classic by which you can judge other Tokajis - like drinking a caramel apple

Places to Eat

Washington DC Area

Cafe Atlantico
405 Eighth St., NW
Washington, DC

Cafe Berlin
322 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC

1110 21st St., NW
Washington, DC

Le Refuge Restaurant
127 N Washington St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-4661

Mar de Plata
1410 14th St., NW
Washington, DC

824 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 298-8085

2029 P St., NW
Washington, DC

3529 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Ristorante Tosca
1112 F St., NW
Washington, DC

Sushi Taro
1503 17th St., NW
Washington, DC

other food linkage (tools, reviews, classes) might go here - I'm still thinking about it.

recipe stash

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