Archive for the 'food and wine' Category

Peanut butter & pickle: impossible food-wine pairing?

pbp Dwight Garner, the astute book reviewer for the NYT (be sure to check out his hilarious review of The 4-hour Body from last year), ventures into the food section this week with what he calls a “thrifty and unacknowledged American classic”: the peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Or PB&P, if you will. He delights in the “vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts, like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter.”

I can’t say that I’m swayed by this description and remain skeptical of the appeals. Nonetheless, given that the NYT spotlight is now focusing on this, the question everybody’s going to be asking–sort of the Rule 34 for bizarre foods–is which wine goes with PB&P, or is it impossible?!?

Hit the comments with your thoughts! Thanks, @trouty for the suggestion!

Searching for the best lobster roll on Cape Cod

lobster sesuit harbor
Lobster roll plate at Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis, MA.

What’s the best lobster roll on Cape Cod? It’s hard to say and many local spots have their partisans. I’ve had the good fortune to perform a broad sampling–all in the name of science!–and offer you my top picks. For those of you who have not sampled its ineluctable charms, the lobster roll is one of those high-low pairings of lobster chunks dressed with a a mayonnaise sauce, loaded in a hot dog bun adorned with lettuce; often fries (double fried!) and/or coleslaw accompany the roll (which is sometimes seared).

Since this is a wine blog and not a lobstah blog, it’s worth noting Read more…

Champagne: better with oysters or fries?

champagne oysters

Last night, we dodged rain clouds and feasted on Wellfeet oysters, lobster rolls, and grilled striped bass. Cape Cod’s finest. And washed it all down with a bottle of Camille Savès, Carte Blanche NV. This made me ponder one of the wine world’s most urgent questions: is champagne better with oysters or fries?!? (Fries, often double-fired, frequently come with lobster rolls, for those who haven’t had the pleasure.) Have your say in the comments! While oysters may be a classic pairing, the high-low pairing of fries works so well, if you haven’t tried it, thanks to the fat and crispiness of the fries and the acidity and bubbles in the champagne. Mmmm….

The douche burger – impossible food-wine pairing?!?

douche burger
Behold the douche burger, a “a f—ing burger filled and topped with rich people s–-t.”

The $666 burger has gotten a lot of media attention but for the description, we’ll cut right to the owner of 666 Burger, a food truck (yes, this burger comes from a truck, presumably relocated to the Hamptons for the season):

“Kobe beef patty (wrapped in gold leaf), foie gras, caviar, lobster, truffles, imported aged gruyere cheese (melted with champagne steam) kopi luwak bbq sauce and Himalayan rock salt. It may not taste good, but it will make you feel rich as f–k. Douche.”

Hey-oh! That’s some spicy talk to go with the champagne-melted gruyere! Even though the 666 burger man only sold one burger and more or less admits it’s a hoax, which wine would you pair with this burger? Something to go with the lobster, the caviar, the kopi luwak sauce? Or match the minerality of the gold leaf? Goldschlaeger? Ace of Spades, the “gold bottle”? Or just a magnum douchy wine? Or is it…impossible?!?

Veggie burgers – impossible food-wine pairing?!?

veggie burgers Okay, we just did an “impossible” challenge but it reeked of pipi and April foolery. So here’s something more useful: five veggie burger recipes via the Times, where the article was as high as number two on the most emailed article list over the weekend.

Seeing it on the way to the Trade Joe’s, we decided we would try it out here at the Dr. Vino World Headquarters. We made the “curried lentil, rice and carrot burgers” and they were pretty good (though the cumin smell will linger in the kitchen for days). It was so impossible for me to pair with wine that I went with a Bengali Tiger, the supremely balanced and utterly delicious IPA from Sixpoint brewery in Brooklyn.

There are other challenges on the list: Beet, Rice and Goat Cheese Burgers; Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers With Asian Flavors; Mushroom and Grain Cheeseburgers. Each has a particular aspect making it difficult, but at least a couple can offer some fun red wine pairings for vegetarians. Unless you think they are…impossible?!?

‘Virgin boy eggs’ from China: impossible food-wine pairing?

urine eggs china Ah, spring is in the air. And people around the world are thinking about eggs. Here, we have bunnies who lay colored and chocolate eggs. In China, it turns out, the springtime air in Dongyang fills with the smell of hot urine and the gastronome’s mind in that city then turns to…eggs. Let’s hear the recipe for this “delicacy” from Reuters: “Basins and buckets of boys’ urine are collected from primary school toilets. Eggs are then soaked and cooked in the urine.” A vendor touted the health properties, saying “If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke.” A shopper who was buying 20 eggs pushed the health angle further: “we will not have any pain in our waists, legs and joints. Also, you will have more energy when you work.”

Given China’s growing interest in wine, perhaps they need a little help with the wine pairing? If you were a sommelier in Dongyang, what would you serve with urine-boiled eggs–or is it impossible?!! A sauvignon blanc with notes of pipi de chat?

Veau chaud – veal hot dog – impossible food-wine pairing?!?

yannick alleno Chef Yannick Alléno, recipient of three Michelin stars, adores New York hot dogs. According to a piece in the NYT Dining section, he loves the hot dog so much that he wanted to make a French version, out of calf heads. Instead of calling it literally a “chien chaud,” he opted for truth in labeling, going with “veau chaud” (hot calf). Site reader Caleb Ganzer writes in to see if we might try to pair it up. And to that we reply “fo sho with the veau chaud”

So here’s a bit more on the dish that can be eaten without a plate. The nine-inch sausage is made from “edible bits of a cooked calf head, or tête de veau” (brains and eyes excluded). Served on a mulitgrain (!) baguette, the dog, or calf, is topped with gribiche sauce, which is a vinaigrette with capers, cornichons, and hard boiled egg, herbs and mustard.

“I have adapted the ‘dog’ to the true ambience of Paris,” Alléno told the Times. “There is nothing more Parisian than tête de veau.”

And there’s nothing more French than wine! So which wine would you pair with it? Or is it…impossible?!?

Iceberg wedge: impossible-food wine pairing?!?

iceberg wedge
Over the weekend I was out to dinner at a nice restaurant and encountered something I hadn’t seen for a while: the iceberg wedge slathered in blue cheese and bits of bacon. I told my cousin sitting next to me that I was surprised to see this retro dish on the menu, remarking that the last place I had read about it was when Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft with a net worth of $14 billion, was “dipping bits of iceberg lettuce into a ramekin of blue cheese dressing” at his canteen, a private dining room at a Seattle steakhouse. My cousin assured me that is coming back thought not as comfort food as I had suspected, but as an ironic appetizer. Yes, ironic!

Well, no matter why it’s coming back, the dish is appearing on tables again. And if that’s the case, then let’s help the Steve Ballmer and others. Which wine would you pair with an iceberg wedge and blue cheese dressing (bacon optional)? Or does that blue cheese dressing make it…impossible?

Recipe and photo credit at


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