Tacos, Tequila and Foolish Choices

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Blue Nectar

I did something foolish on my trip to Mexico City. Well, actually, I did several foolish things, it being a major birthday celebration/avoidance trip, but I'm only going to tell you about one of them. And for the record, I was not thrown out of that bar; I was ready to leave anyway.

Mexico City is full of street vendors selling all manner of foods. Many of them set up ramshackle tents and tables with crude seats for people to sit at. It all just looks like such a wonderful experience, and the food looked and smelled so tempting each time I passed one.

But those not assimilated to bacteria found in Mexico may eat at one of these street vendors only at their own peril. Even in established restaurants where it's safe to eat it's best to avoid foods not fully cooked — salads, for example — and even drinks with ice cubes. Montezuma, it turns out, was a very vengeful dude.

But there's another type of eatery that seems to fall between established restaurant and pop-up street vendor. They're technically brick and mortar businesses — they're under a roof, but they're typically wide open to the street. Their sanitation practices are a bit hinky.

The Psychology of the Wine Glass Hold

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wine glass holdThe way you hold your wine glass has a lot to say about you. At least that's what this photo collage from the Savory suggests. I'm not sure I buy into it, but I'll confess that I've used different methods shown here at different times. I guess I'll have to start keeping a diary about how I feel and how I'm holding the glass, along with the notes on the winetasting, and trying to hold a conversation with the other wine drinkers. Maybe I'll just put a straw in the bottle.

One thing the article doesn't mention is that one really shouldn't hold a wine glass by grasping the bowl, as the young man in the photo here is doing. Why? Because the heat from one's hand will warm the wine. Sometimes, however, a wine is overchilled and needs to come up to the proper temperature. In which case such a grasp is called for.

Placing it under your armpit is never acceptable.


Which type are you?

Helpful Hints for Ordering Wine

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This article from Business Insider is titled “A Top Sommelier Reveals 6 Things Not To Do  When Ordering Wine,” although I think a more positive title might be more effective. Maybe something like “Some Tips To Help You Enjoy Wine with Your Meal More Often.”

Still, there are some good points from John Ragan, wine director for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, for people who may still feel intimidated by wine lists and the attendant ritual of ordering a bottle. I think the best advice here is telling the sommelier how much you want to spend. I must say, however, that I’m surprised there are still people who think they’re supposed to sniff the cork. I thought we’d evolved beyond that.

What do you think? Are there elements of the wine ordering ritual that intimidate you? And you wine stewards: What other advice could you add to Ragan’s list?

Can't Finish That Bottle of Wine at the Restaurant? Take It Home with You

Written by Scott Joseph on .

This week on WMFE-FM, Scott chats with 90.7's Nicole Creston about a little known law that allows restaurant patrons to take unfinished bottles of wine home with them. You can hear the segment at 5:45 p.m. Friday; it's repeated Saturday mornings at 9:35. Or, click to listen to the podcast anytime.

Wine Doggy BagsIt’s been seven years since the Florida legislature enacted a law that allows patrons to take an unfinished bottle of wine home with them if they are unable to finish it at the restaurant. The law went into effect on July 1, 2005, and when I first wrote about it for the Orlando Sentinel, in September of that year, few people knew about it.

Few people know about it today.

But it’s a terrific little way to free yourself from the confines of the list of wines by the glass.

Here’s some of what I wrote back then that explained the law:

Vertical Tasting of Freemark Abbey Cabernets with Winemaker Ted Edwards

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Freemark Abbey winemaker Ted Edwards

Update: Attendees are not required to pay a parking fee to attend the tasting. Simply tell the attendant at the entrance gate that you are attending a wine tasting at California Grill. This is also true any time you have a lunch or other business at one of the resorts inside the parking gate entrance.

 Here’s an extraordinary opportunity: a vertical wine tasting spanning three decades of Freemark Abbey cabernet sauvignons, hosted by winemaker Ted Edwards and local master sommelier John Blazon of Jackson Family Wines. Part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the tasting will be held at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort Saturday, Nov. 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is $225 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included, and because it will be outside Epcot’s gates, no admission fee is required, although parking rates apply because it is necessary to pass the Magic Kingdom parking attendants.


But those who know fine wine, and the reputation of Freemark Abbey’s cabernet, will appreciate this as a bargain.

Here are the featured vintages:

1987 Cabernet Bosché
1987 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1991 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
1991 Cabernet Bosché
1991 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1995 Cabernet Bosché
1995 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Cabernet Bosché
1999 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Cabernet Bosché
2003 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Freemark Abbey, one of the first 16 wineries in Napa Valley, was founded in 1886. Ted Edwards has been the winemaker since 1985. Edwards and Blazon will also be in downtown Orlando on Sunday as judges for the Battle of the Parks.

For more information about the Freemark Abbey vertical tasting or to purchase tickets, call 407-939-3378.