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Category Archive for 'drink'

I have never known an aroma quite like it before: an intense, aromatic perfume. We could smell it from miles away – even before we had passed the last of the strip centers and construction sites. On one side, the low khaki scrub of the sandmine, on the other the hot, itchy pine forests, then […]

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“We may have lost paradise because of the apple, but we’ll get it back with cider.” – Asturian saying “Reach out your arms, as far apart as possible – one high, one low – then just bend your wrist, but do not look!”, instructed the waitress. “Oh, and beginners like you must stand over the […]

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In the tiny Cheshire hamlet of Lower Peover (pronounced “peever”) is the delightfully rustic country pub “The Bells”, so-called because one has to literally walk around it to get to the parish church. In fact, so aligned are church and boozer that the two are separated by only fifty feet of graveyard, a low gate […]

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Every stereotype, no matter how absurd the caricature, has, at its core, a grain of truth. Though I doubt anyone has ever seen him, the beret and black and white hooped sweater-sporting Frenchman with a cigarette hanging off his lower lip and a baguette under his arm, remains an abiding image of France; and in […]

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Picture this, if you will: A warm, humid day in Argentina’s early autumn; the last rays of sun slanting sharply through the browning leaves of mature plane trees; myriad dog-walkers rustling quietly by in the litter of those already fallen. In the lee of a giant ficus planted for sidewalk shade, two travelers recline in […]

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My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; – William Wordsworth, 1802 The term formative experience refers […]

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Even though mulled wine should remind me of being in the church choir as a cherub-faced youngster and singing Christmas carols with frosty breath overlooking a seasonally-decorated nave and a sea of pink-cheeked parishoners, it doesn’t. In spite of this being the way I was introduced to this most famous Yuletide beverage, my abiding memories […]

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These days, it seems something is always the new something else. You know, Thursday’s the new Friday, brown’s the new black, Palin’s the new devil, Obama’s the new Messiah, etc. But to me, for example, comparing the pain and anguish at dragging myself from bed on a Friday morning after a few drinks the night before, […]

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When you think of Brazil what do you think of? Is it the lazy sway of coconut palms, golden beaches, beautiful, bronzed people, a back-drop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and soundtrack of relaxing bossa nova? Is it a throbbing samba rhythm, huge, garish paper-mache heads, and crowds of people dancing at carnival? Is it the magnificent […]

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For this month’s drink, I considered writing about several summer classics, and was nearly persuaded that a paean to my proletarian love — cold beer — might suffice in both the “pure sunshine in a glass” sense, and because it’s typically my leading beverage in terms of volume consumed between June and September. The problem […]

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Regular readers must find us horrible bores as we bang on about our wedding and honeymoon in Italy last year almost constantly. On our penultimate day of our three week trip, we raided an enormous supermarket in the suburbs of Montevarchi for the Tuscan products we cannot find or cannot afford here in NYC, and […]

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To us, and we’re sure to many who enjoy eating, the pairing of a meal with a complementary beverage is a beautiful thing, but one which often seems intimidating. After all, haute cuisine restaurants can either prosper or fail on the recommendations of their sommeliers. Just imagine you ordered a $500 bottle of vintage Burgundy […]

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Last year, Amy and I spent a very enjoyable long weekend with her cousin and cousin’s husband visiting the Napa and Russian River Valley winelands. Throughout the course of the weekend we must have tasted fifty different wines at twelve or so different wineries, and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I did not […]

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You may have heard that France, like much of the rest of western Europe and the United States, has recently banned indoor smoking in public places – restaurants and the like. Clearly, for the bon sante of the French this is a good thing, but for us, the occasional tourists, seeking the most exquisite and […]

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It’s freezing here in New York. Freezing! Yesterday, it didn’t get above 26F/-3C. Just the kind of weather when you need something to warm (as they say in London’s East End) the cockles of your heart. Years ago, on a freezing January day I took a walk with a friend around Alexandra Palace in north […]

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As regular readers will know, we recently visited Madrid and gorged ourselves at its myriad restaurants, tascas, bars and any other hostelry we could find. Because of this excessive consumption, we’re currently going through what can only be described as a traumatic process of catharsis, in which we’re avoiding all meat and all booze for […]

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Although we are still recovering from our 14-hour cooking fest that was Christmas Eve, we had an absolute blast and were proud of ourselves for successfully producing 6 courses for 11 people. It was EXHAUSTING, make no friggin’ mistake. We cooked from about noon till 7PM on Sunday and from 10AM till 5 on Christmas […]

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Many a New Yorker has been heard to complain that the cost of living in the city is spiralling out of control, but there are very few residents who have complained that something is too cheap or that they get too good value for money. Well, this blog post is not a complaint, but it […]

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So, as the beautifully illustrated post by my wife (see below) attests, we were recently in the UK, and spent a good portion of that trip inside pubs enjoying traditional pub food and cask-conditioned, hand-pulled ales. I describe the beers in this way for a reason. You see, the old joke that Americans never seem […]

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