Touriga Nacional

Does anyone else love wine but stick to the same few varieties because of familiarity? Well, welcome to my life! I love a chill glass of wine after a long day or to pair with dinner, but I rarely know what kind to choose outside of my usual Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. So of course, I was super excited to join Cava Wine Importers for an intimate wine tasting and dinner at Ammos, with wines from Wine Art Estate.
The night started with a tasting of Wine Art Estate’s Plano Malagousia, a floral/fruity white wine that was light and clean on the palette. I’m a huge fan of white wines that are easy on the palette and carry a fruit like taste. This was my favorite wine of the night, due to its light and refreshing taste, making it a wine that I could have with a meal or just as a glass for pleasure. This wine was paired with the “Risi Thalasinon”, a mushroom risotto dish topped with shrimp, calamari, and fresh fish fillet. I usually don’t go for risotto’s when I am out, but this one was packed with flavor, and the seafood gave it an added touch.

Scottish Salmon
The next white wine was the Idisma Drios Assyrtiko. This one was less fruity than the Plano, but I did taste some buts of citrus and maybe peach. I found this wine to be a bit more acidic and oak like, and I could see myself having this with a meal, but not necessarily on its own. This was paired with a small piece of Scottish salmon on top of chopped beets in a yogurt dressing. There was also some red tobiko caviar. The salmon was made perfectly, seared on top with the right amount of crunch. I felt like the salmon was a great pair with this wine.

Pink Bang
Did somebody say Rosé All Day? The 3rd wine was a Rosé by the name of Pink Bang, and this was very fitting. This was a very dry Rosé compared to the ones I am used to, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It still carried the fruity taste of other rosés, with a longer after taste. This was paired with a filet of lavraki fish, which was served wrapped in parchment paper with zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes. The fish was cooked well and I felt this meal did the best job of bringing out the flavors of the wine it was paired with.

Touriga Nacional
Then it was time for the red wines, and we started with the Touriga Nacional. This was a dark red wine that was surprisingly light in flavor and aroma. This red had a lasting after taste, but was also a red wine that I could drink casually when in the mood to channel my inner Olivia Pope. This red was paired with a dish called Saganaki, which was a fried piece of graviera cheese served in a skillet, which they poured brandy over and set on fire right in front of you. I’m not a huge fan of brandy so that flavor on the cheese through me off, however the actual fried cheese was love.
The last wine of the night was Nebbio, made from Nebbiolo grapes. This red was also a light and airy red wine, which is my favorite kind of red. This was a full-bodied wine, and I tasted bits of plum while I drank. It was paired with slow roasted whole piglet, on top of oregano fries. The oregano fried was delicious and crispy, and the perfect food to end the night on. The piglet was super flavorful but the oil from the piglet made some of the fries underneath a bit soggy, so I would’ve preferred the roasted pork to be on the side of the fries, as opposed to on top.

 

Nevertheless, this was a great selection of wine, paired wonderfully with some amazing Greek fare. My favorite wine of the night would have to be the Plano, although the Rosé and Nebbio were both close seconds. Check out CavaOinos.com for more information on these great wines.

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Picky's Speed Pie

Hailing from Brooklyn, Picky Eater’s NYC restaurant is quickly becoming a staple of the neighborhood. Most popularly visited for their Trini style barbecue lamb, Picky’s is a crowd favorite. If you don’t believe us, just ask Flatbush. Food Before Love was invited to the Picky’s Eater’s pizza party pop up at Sugarcane in Prospect Heights. Every now again, Picky’s will host a themed pop up event highlighting different foods with Caribbean flavors.

Picky's Pop up Restaurant

Sugarcane, another Caribbean restaurant, is extremely popular amongst the locals. No matter the day of the week. you’ll always find a line outside of Black professionals waiting for a table. However on this particular day, Picky’s pizza made the wait a bit more worthwhile. It became obvious to any bystander, that Picky’s Pop was going overwhelmingly well. We took it to the kitchen to find out what the chef was cooking up and how much pizza we could really bite into. 

Picky's Pop up

Picky’s Pizza Party menu was Island Flavored with choices like Sunday Lunch – callaloo base, topped with shredded saltfish, ricotta cheese and cherry tomatoes. There were options for Vegetarians like the vital Ital Veggie which consisted of pineapple, sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes. Being the jerk chicken lover that I am, Picky put together a speed pie for me. This personal pizza came with shredded jerk chicken, pineapples, and a drizzle of their signature sauce. Talk about hot!

Picky's Speed Pie

It’s not jerk chicken if there’s no heat. The key is to not let that heat overpower the flavor of the chicken. Picky’s made the perfect pizza when he combined these ingredients and he wasn’t stingy. Plenty of chicken adorned my plate and the sweetness of the pineapple helped combat the hotness. However, it was truly the jerk sauce that took the dish through the roof, making it juicy as it soaked into all parts of the pizza. For information more information on Picky’s next pop up, follow them on instagram @PickyEatersNYC and don’t hesitate to RSVP!

Picky's Speed Pie

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Cafe Cortadito Exterior

Our last #MiniMimosaholic took us to alphabet city where we indulged in the amazing Cuban food at Café Cortadito. I have been to Café Cortadito at least 5 times, with groups of friends, with just 2 people, for birthdays and for my birthday. I’ve even attended with Casandra, of Food Before Love, on yet another brunch date of ours. Each time, the food and service is impeccable, and I do not ever remember seeing anyone leave hungry or dissatisfied. The restaurant is small compared to other popular brunch spots so book in advance, and, prepare to wait outside because there isn’t any waiting area inside.

My favorite part of brunch at Café Cortadito is the wide array of bottomless drink options that they offer. They have everything from margaritas to mojitos, sangria, and even beer. The mimosaholic in me always goes for the tropical mimosas which are a fruity twist on the traditional mimosas. This time around, we got a pitcher of the champagne mojitos and although I am usually a fan of mojitos, these were my favorite honestly. The added champagne made it a lot stronger than expected and I found myself babysitting my drink. Next, we tried the champagne margaritas, but these were even stronger than the mojitos and almost difficult to finish. So, trust me and stick to the tropical mimosas or white sangria.

Cafe Cortadito Exterior
Photo by www.cafecortaditolacuisinedecubanyc.com

Now to the delicious Cuban food. I’ve tried everything from the french toast to the lobster Benedict, but opted to try something new since everything I’d had thus far had been amazing. This time around I went for the ropa vieja which is a traditional Cuban dish consisting of shredded/stewed beef and vegetables. This one was not only filling but also super juicy and you could taste so many Cuban flavors going to work as you chew. YUM! A few other favorite dishes included the calentado which was a steak with a fried egg on top, served with rice, and a sweet plantain omelet.

Overall, Café Cortadito is still a spot I highly recommend for brunch, and was a great spot for our second monthly brunch meetup. This brunch ended with some guests talking about the Little Italy in the Bronx, and hosting a #MiniMimosaholic there. So, Bronx followers, be on the lookout, you’re up soon!

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