Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tasting Something New | Lillet Reserve Jean de Lillet

Lillet Reserve in the glass, Lillet Rose in the background.

Lillet has just launched their limited edition Reserve Jean de Lillet 2009. At the Lamb's Club last night they offered a tasting paired with a menu created by chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Eric Haugen.

I love Lillet as an aperitif with ice and a slice. It's one of those drinks that instantly transports you to a sunny spot overlooking the ocean. The Reserve seems to transport you to a more contemplative place -- it's a more serious drink than the regular blanc, rose (launched last year) and rouge.

The Reserve bottling is made from single vintage Sauternes (Lillet is from Bordeaux) which means Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. The Sauternes is blended with orange liqueur, a secret blend of fruit liqueurs and Peruvian quinine.

The Reserve is very concentrated, refined and elegant. Its character shines through and you really get a sense of the Sauternes and orange liqueur components. I'd drink this as an aperitif (chilled, not loaded with ice) or even on its own at the end of a meal in place of dessert - rather than pairing it with dessert.

Look out for it in limited quantities in NYC and as you'd expect, it's pricier than the other bottlings - $44 rather than under $20.

Monday, April 15, 2013

San Francisco | Trams

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the trams. Nope, not the cable cars, but the old, restored streetcars that run along the F line. Maybe it's because I spent a couple of years as a kid in Brussels where the trams still run strong.

There is something nostalgic and very cool about seeing the various styles, hearing the traditional noises, and actually sitting on real wood.

In San Francisco, there are up to 20 that run along Market Street and the Embarcadero.

They may not be the most efficient or comfortable method of transportation, but they certainly bring back a bit of history.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recipe | Spring Tarts

I found this really simple recipe for Spring Tarts on Made By Girl. The combination of the flavors and its ideal seasonality really jumped out. How can you beat peas, asparagus and puffed pastry with ricotta, lemon juice and zest, topped with mint. Spring perfection.

I made it this past weekend at a dinner party for 8 people and with a little advance prep, the tarts were pretty easy to make. They can be put in the oven just as your guests arrive and 20 minutes later, they are ready to go.

I basically followed the recipe with a couple of changes. I used one sheet of thawed puffed pastry from a box and made 8 rectangular pieces instead of squares - not by design, but by pure necessity. I also prefer ribbons of chopped mint versus whole leaves, but that's just me. Finally, I didn't add the cheese on top - which would have been both a visual and taste delightful finishing touch.

They were a hit - so there'll definitely be a next time to experiment again.