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While I love a good glass of red, some people take the passion to a new level. Across the world, festivals are held where the guest of honor isn't an accomplished professional or world leader, but instead, a sinfully delicious drink.
In early November the small beach town of Seaside, Florida hosts the 24th annual Seeing Red Wine Festival. The four-day extravaganza includes wine tastings, a bounty of seafood, gourmet meals, and entertainment. Music for this year's upcoming event will even be provided by the jazz group Grapevine.
The real wine spectacle takes place in Italy during Carnival. Poker player Kara Scott is constantly traveling and follows poker tours across the globe. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to enjoy some very unique experiences, including the Carnival of Venice, which she wrote about her blog.
Carnevale di Venezia takes place each spring near San Marco Square and, like Carnival everywhere, it ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). Carnival features participants adorned in elaborate costumes and masks, designed in 18th-century Venetian style. Red lights illuminate the streets in a soft glow and street performers entertain guest as they make their way through the square.
Red wine was the drink of choice throughout the festival, but it wasn't served from a boring bottle. To add to the event's extravagance, the piazza fountain flowed with red wine instead of water. Why? Because as Hitchens once intoned.....
Today is Dad's birthday. Though he was born just a few months before Black Tuesday in 1929 he wears his age well. He's thin, healthy, lucid, and still splits his own firewood. It just takes him a while to get it done.
TWC and Dad at Big Bear Lake, camping in a surplus Army tent circa 1953
Like most of us who've been around the block a few times, he's seen some stunning changes. He grew up in St Paul where milk was still delivered door to door by horse drawn dairy wagons. Buck Rogers was a childhood fantasy, but Dad would live to see the reality of the moon landing. Ultimately the world left mechanical behind for digital, radio for cable and internet, and natural fabrics for synthetics and back to natural again. It was number please, rotary dial mechanical phones, private lines, extensions in other rooms, push button technology, and then cellular phones. And, of all the technological innovation of the last eighty years, he is most amazed by cell phones.
If someone would have told me fifty years ago that people would walk around the grocery store talking on a phone I would have told them they were out of their mind.
Spent a pleasant Sunday evening with my son watching Odd Thomas. The movie is pretty well done and there is no question that Oddie fans will enjoy it~~available from Amazon Instant Video.
Granted, It's not going to be on the short list of Academy Award nominees, but it is a solid movie, a particularly welcome change after the tragic and total butchering of Dean Koontz' incredibly awesome novel, Watchers, and pretty much every other film adaptation of his books.
Slight quibble: No Dead Elvis. It worked in the book, but might be hard to pull off Dead Elvis in a film without it going to corn pone right quick. [shrugs]
In Greek mythology, Yaso is one of the lesser healing goddesses, the goddess of recuperation. I can't say if that's an intentionally well chosen name for the wine or not, but as Proverbs 31:6 instructs.....
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it a bit more succinctly.....
Give me wine to wash me clean from the weather stains of care
Parker likes this wine 93 points and it is a wonderful, medium bodied Tempranillo (Tinta de Toro) from the Toro region of Spain. The hot summers and cold winters in southeastern Zamora suit the forty year old vines well.
In the glass, the wine is cherry red with garnet hues. It is rich and dry with some black cherry and spice that doesn't overwhelm the wine. It's nice on the palate and the finish lingers.
Best of all, it's under ten bucks at Costco. Considerably more elsewhere.
The Margarita is pretty much synonymous with Cinco de Mayo, at least here in the Great Southwest. However, the ubiquitous Margarita only dates to the early 1940's and was probably invented by Don Carlos Orozco at Hussongs Cantina in Ensenada.
Although decried by purists. frozen Margaritas were served from the beginning, initially using crushed ice, and later poured from a blender. In 1971, Mariano Martinez adapted a soft serve ice cream maker and invented the first frozen Margarita machine, which eventually led to the widespread Slurpee-ization of the drink. Slurpee-ization is when a Slurpee-like Margarita, made in a vat using low-end ingredients, is served from a machine where the bartender has contributed no more to its preparation than a man with a slot handle in his hand. This unfortunate turn of events is now the norm in most chain Mexican restaurants across the country.
Though TWC prefers a rocks Margarita, there is nothing inherently wrong with a frozen Margarita, provided it is made with proper ingredients.
Mrs TWC enjoying TWC's Mango Margarita, a tropical twist on a Cinco de Mayo favorite.
TWC's Mango Margarita
1.5 Oz Gold Tequila
1.5 Oz Triple Sec (Cointreau or other orange liqueur)
1 ripe Mango (or equivalent canned)
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar (or sugar, Splenda or honey)
1/2 Oz Grenadine (optional)
Combine in blender with an equal amount of crushed ice
We'd spent the morning in Silver Reef, Utah, a ghost town northeast of St George. Silver Reef was unique in that it was about the only place in Utah where Catholics and silver were to be found. Although our intent was to mosey over to Grafton, another relic of the old west, reality sidestepped that plan.
Oh Look! Wonder where that road goes? And, just like that, we ended up on Kolob Reservoir Road, a narrow, back road skirting a canyon that separates Zion from open ranch land. We were treated to a spectacular lightning show and pummeled by heavy rain, which was a welcome relief from the heat of the day. Later the downpour blew sideways, washing off a couple of weeks of road dirt. Gotta say, the truck looked better than when Lenny Dykstra's crew pretended to wash it.
TWC has plenty of space for a vineyard. The rocky, well-drained soil would support such an endeavor. But, even though there might be some tax advantage to be had, he has neither the fervor nor the energy required to convert wild scrub land into thriving grapes. That's a labor of love and takes a bit more than pocket change to get on with.
Here at Casa de las Rocas Grandes, I've got a few fruit trees; Meyer Lemon, Mexican Lime, a couple of Navel Oranges, a Haas Avocado that produces amazing fruit, and a two peach trees that I'm about to cut off the water to. There are also figs and pomegranate and, just for the sake of having it, there is a single Cabernet Sauvignon vine. This is what baby Cabernet Sauvignon grapes look like.
Surprisingly, at least to moi, Cabernet grapes are kind of tasty. They are smallish, dark red, and full of seeds, so eating them is a challenge of sorts. There certainly isn't enough fruit to make wine, and I'm not up for that task, neither.