Archive for category Food
I made my first Delmonico cocktail last night. I followed Robert Hess’s instructions for the Gin based drink and found it to be quite good. You can watch Robert build one up in the video below.
I just added the Freakonomics Radio feed to my sidebar (bottom right). This is the best podcast anywhere for people with inquiring minds!
All of us get the email from our airline frequent flyer programs offering miles for buying a product from a partner company. Well I received one with an offer to join one of the wine clubs offered by Vinesse. They offer 6 different clubs, each with a different focus. When I read the offer and saw all those frequent flyer miles I began to think of how hard Stacy and I have worked all these years and boy could we use a treat. We are adults now and instead of ice cream as a treat we want wine! I did not step lightly into the wine club world, I dove headfirst and joined Vinesse’s most exclusive club, the Elevant Society. As the website describes it, this club offers:
The club featuring the most exclusive, highest quality wines, and you receive your choice of two or four bottles of pure bliss delivered to your door.Â The Elevant Society is a connoisseurâ€™s service that provides super-premium wines from around the world, but with a slight leaning toward America’s best, and toward the reds rather than the whites. These wines may be cellared, but they are mature upon arrival, ready for immediate enjoyment. Such quality wines, of course, carry a higher price, and membership in the Elevant Society is not for everyone.
Stacy and I love big bold reds, and this is exactly what Elevant offered. We did exercise some restraint and only ordered the two bottle per month package. This package cost us $84.93 per month including shipping and we were glad to do it to get some “exclusive” red wines.
I waited expectantly for the first shipment to arrive. I couldn’t wait to see what the wine experts at Vinesse had selected for us. Finally, the bottles arrive and I open the box expectantly. I take a look at the two bottles and for some unknown reason think the wines don’t have an “exclusive” look about them. The two bottles were; 2003 X Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Luna Benegas Mendoza, Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon. After a little googling I realize that I can buy these wines from online merchants for $15 and $10 respectively. Today, one year after this experience, the wines are still availableÂ for $22 and $10 respectively.
This discovery angered me right away. I had paid $84.93 for $25 worth of wine. This is a horrible deal in anyone’s book. I know I need to pay shipping in the club but $60 of shipping and handling is outrageous. I called and emailed Vinesse immediately and expressed my disappointment. I will say that Vinesse was very polite, responsive, and cooperative in our discussions. They did not have a satisfactory reason for why they send “average” quality wines for an “exclusive” quality wine club. They would not refund my money but offered to send replacement wines. I asked them to only send one bottle and that would be the end of our short lived relationship. They sent a bottle of 2002 Amicitia Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon which sells for $28 today.
After this experience, I realized I would be better off randomly buying two bottles a month for $85 at a local wine retailer. I would recommend you be skeptical of wine clubs in general but Vinesse wine club in particular.
Thanks to Ambien we had a great night sleep. Woke up early no problem and started day 1 in Dubai. The Hyatt Regency is very nice here and we had a wonderful breakfast buffet. I had lychee fruit for the first time and absolutely loved it. It tasted like lemonade and grapefruit to me. The cheeses and baba gnoush, foul medemas were terrific. Thanks to my uncle Aref I started early, eating and loving middle eastern cuisine.
We walked to the gold souk which is interesting. Several hundred stores filled with gold based jewelry and plenty of salespeople from every possible nation on earth to show the goods. I rather liked an $8,000 necklace for Stacy but decided to save my money for a car or a year of college for the kids. Of course this necklace was no where near as expensive as much of the wares.
After some serious gold over exposure we found our way, with many stops to ask directions, to the spice souk. Again, many shops, many people enticing you to enter their shop. The area is full of wonderful aromas, interesting sites, and friendly people. I finally found a ready supply of zatar. In Denver I always have difficulty finding it. Here it is available in every shop with a 10 pound bag of the stuff.
Finally got to see what frankincense is after hearing about it all these years in christmas songs and stories. The saffron is of the Iranian variety and much cheaper than what we can get in the US. We have learned their are a lot of Iranians here and they use saffron in almost everything. The Iranian cuisine is significantly different than the Arabic food I am used to.
We continued our exploration of Dubai with a quick, nondescript lunch at a middle eastern chain. We hired a “guy off the street” to drive us to the fabric souk on the other side of the creek. Until now we had stayed on the south side of the creek in the Deira section of the city. The fabric is in the Bur Dubai area, north of the creek.
At first Stacy was dissappointed because we learned that the stores don’t sell by the yard they sell by the roll! A roll is usually 25 yards, so unless Stacy is going to make the whole family matching head-to-toe outfits she won’t need anywhere near that much fabric. Luckily, after some diligent shopping, we found some hand made Indian fabrics that are too elaborate to sell in such bulk and are packaged in 2 meter lengths; just right for a Stacy project! We went on to find other options for Stacy to feed her fabric habit. This nice gentleman in the photo was patient with us as we scoured his store and even gave us a cold can of peach juice. A very nice gesture indeed considering the heat outside.Â
I can’t wait to see what day two will bring!