Stillness

by whitney on February 4, 2014

I survived. I made it half way around the world and back. Plane travel still blows my mind! So does Thailand. What a marvelous place, so full of energy. So much energy bursting at the seams, it’s hard not to smile. Apparently, it’s also hard to take any photos because there’s so much fun stuff to do. I took my nice Canon 7D all the way to Thailand and I only took the two pictures you see below. And that’s OK. I had my iPhone and Instagram, after all.

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I was compelled to take these pictures, because I wanted to capture something else I found in Thailand- stillness. My favorite town from the trip was Pai, in the North. There is a peacefulness there that effortlessly settles into the air. The light, the sounds of chanting in the hills, everything just slows down. I didn’t buy many souvenirs, but that stillness and pace is something that I am trying to bring back with me to my everyday in Los Angeles. It’s so very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle.

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Thank you, Thailand.

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Be Right Back

by whitney on January 17, 2014

Lawd knows I had some fun adventures in 2013. I went on quick trips to New Orleans, Charleston, Chicago, New York, Big Sur, and even Kuaui! But, do you see the theme here? Domestic. 2013 was the first year I haven’t left the country since 2007. I know, I know. Humble brag. Seriously though, I am someone that loves to explore and being out in the world sustains me in a way nothing else does. I launched a company last year, which just about nearly killed me, in a good a way. So I didn’t really have the time to add stamps to my passport. 2014 though? This is a new year and I’m starting it off with a bang. In Thailand.

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I leave tomorrow and will be meeting up with one of my besties, none other than Christina Pickard herself. It will be a rare non-wine focused trip for us and I welcome it with open arms. Bring on the beer (and the elephants, and the beaches, and everything else.) You can follow along on my Thai extravaganza over on Instagram at @ubriaca. See you on the flip side!

Photo source

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Two Thousand Fourteen

by whitney on December 30, 2013

All right folks, the time is near. And that time is the time to party. Hope you all have a a spectacular 2013-into-2014 celebration wherever you are. Let’s make it count.

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And if you’re looking for some light reading, check out my latest PUNCH piece on drinking resolutions, wherein you’ll learn that I will certainly NOT be doing shots this New Years Eve.

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Cake & Bubbly

by whitney on December 10, 2013

At the parentals’ anniversary celebration a few weeks ago, I got to indulge in one of my favorite (decadent) combos. That would be cake and champagne. It’s one of those things that make you realize how lucky you are to just, like, be alive and have senses; akin to a jacuzzi on a cold winter night or an epic 90 minute massage. While we’re talking about massage, if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas…yeah, a spa massage. Thank you. It’s my crack.

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So, mom requested the chef at our lodge make this cake for our dinner- The Pioneer Woman’s Italian Cream Cake. Diva! No, but seriously. Holy hell. This cake was legit in every way. I ate two generous slices! Just couldn’t get enough. I also drank a lot of glasses of this.

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We were served a satisfactory Cremant de Bourgogne. But, if I had my druthers I would have put this (splurge) or this (steal) in my glass. There’s just something about sweet, moist cake and creamy, toasty bubbles. Makes me want to hug somebody.

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Bottoms Up

by whitney on November 26, 2013

Just got back from an awesome (and very quick) trip to North Carolina where I celebrated my parents’ wedding anniversary with our family and friends. As you can tell from the photo below, where my mother is polishing off a bottle of Cremant, we had a good time.

Hope you all have an equally boozy festive time on Turkey Day this week. I sure will. And then let’s keep this holiday party train right on-a-goin’!

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What’s for Sipper, BRK Dining?

by whitney on November 12, 2013

We’ve got the boys of BRK Dining in the hot seat today. Say hello to chef Max Shapiro and sommelier Max Coane. These two create some pretty magical and wine-soaked private dinners. If you’re in LA, you need to get on their mailing list and into one of the seats around their dining table stat! And yes, they have the same name and practically gave the same answers for most of the questions I asked. It’s cute, they’re besties.

Hometown: Max Shapiro- Los Angeles, CA. Max Coane- New York, NY and Santa Monica, CA.

Favorite Fall beverage: Shapiro- Vino all day erry day. Coane- Calvados. Delicious year round, but there is something about apples and fall.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Shapiro- Rye old fashioned. Coane- Rye Old Fashioned. Classic. If I’m trying to turn it up though it has to be VEP Chartreuse…

Favorite place to grab a drink: Shapiro- Eveleigh (Doctor Kupchinsky knows how to stir a cocktail.) Coane- Eveleigh. Dave is the man, he has an EPIC beard, and they have VEP Chartreuse…do you see a pattern developing here??? Also the private rooftop club at Petit Ermitage. My boy Brian Stewart is the “Spirits Master” there and he makes some killer drinks. He has a barrel aged cocktail “The Lovely Lauren” that is so tasty but its 130% booze so you can’t have more than one…or three.

Favorite toast: Shapiro- Brioche.  Coane- Sourdough. Though Rye may be my favorite bread….Actually my favorite toast would have to be Brioche. If we aren’t talking about breakfast the classic “Cheers” is great so long as there is good eye contact. However amongst friends I have been known to say: “Here’s to you and here’s to me. Best friends we shall always be; and if we should ever disagree…Then fuck you, and here’s to me!”

Favorite post-dinner drink: Shapiro- Fernet or Chartreuse. Coane- VEP Chartreuse. Vegetal as all hell but its one of my all time favorite beverages. I will preach the gospel of Chartreuse to anyone who will listen.

Favorite food and beverage pairing: Shapiro- Weissburgunder and aged raw lamb. Coane- Mark Bright at Saison in SF threw down one of the craziest/best wine and food pairings I’ve ever had. The dish was 60 day dry aged lamb, shaved raw over slow grilled nightshades. Essentially grilled eggplant with the gnarliest (in the best way) gamey raw lamb. He paired it with a Weingut Rebholz Weissburgunder ‘Im Sonnershein’ Grosses Gewächs, 2006 from Pfalz in Germany. Smoky, peachy, mineral. Amazing stuff. It didn’t hurt that Rudi Wiest was standing by the Chef’s counter and telling us all these amazing stories of his years in the wine business, none of which I’m able to reproduce here of course.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink, where would you go? Shapiro- I really want to see what’s going on in Denmark. Coane- Right now I’m really excited about Germany and Austria. While I’m genetically and historically programmed to be afraid of that part of the world, those Prussian’s know how to make laser focused wines.

What’s for sipper? Shapiro- red Burgundy is on the menu tonight . Coane- Well I just got back from two days of CMS exams in Santa Barbara and I’m still sweating out all the wine Eric Railsback poured into my mouth. Seriously there is video of me doing a “layback” over the bar while Railsback is pouring Knoll Riesling straight into my mouth. So I’d like to say I’m not drinking for a minute, but that would be a boldfaced lie. Since we are still tasting all the Spanish wines for SOS I’ll probably bust into some Godello. Bodegas Rafael Palacios makes a killer wine, “As Sortes,” that has this awesome almost Chassagne-Montrachet-ish nose on it. Its nice for someone like me who has a big Burgundian fetish but doesn’t have the bank account required to drink a lot of Burgundy.

Photos by Melissa Ryan

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PUNCH

by whitney on November 7, 2013

I am so excited to finally spread the word about PUNCH, an online wine and drinks magazine from Ten Speed Press. Yours truly will be writing a snappy little column called That Certain Something, where I’ll share my musings on drinking, entertaining, and even dating…yeah, I’m gonna keep it real.

My first piece, “How To Taste Wine and Win Friends”, is up now! Check it out. And do yourself a favor by reading ALL of the excellent stories on PUNCH, as well as frequently referencing or just perusing the extensive and amazing index of cocktail recipes.

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Broc Cabernet Franc

by whitney on November 3, 2013

I ordered Chinese take-out, I had SNL on the TV, life was good. It was even BETTER because I had Broc Cabernet Franc in my glass. I loved the 2011 vintage and am even more in love with 2012. This is the kind of Cabernet I’m into- not too green and peppery, but fresh and fruity (and whole cluster.) Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fruit loops and smiley faces. It has some depth and earth. It’s a great little wine and I basically drank an entire bottle by myself. What else do I need to say, people? Seek it out and hoard it.

There are some other things in this photo I’m loving. I picked up a few of these white porcelain bottle coasters. Super cheap, chic, and functional. And those glasses? My new favorite weeknight drinking vessel. They remind me wine doesn’t always have to be so precious. I’m eating cashew chicken and watching Stefon talk about Halloween, after all.

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Dutch Pancakes & Sabertown USA

by whitney on October 28, 2013

I had such a FANTASTIC time in New York a few weeks ago. If you follow me on Instagram, you know. I was truly living it up and tried to fill each of my days with as much as possible. But, lawd, two and a half days is NOT enough! I try to go back to NYC once a year, and every year there are like 20 new places I need to check out. I’ve come to realize I’ll never be able to visit every single place or visit with every single person I want to, so I need to get over it and do what I can. And what I CAN do is eat and drink very well with awesome people.

One of my favorite meals was a lunch at Reynard with Talia and Leslie. I had fabulous company (obvi), we were drinking wine at noon on a weekday, and eating things like dutch pancakes with gruyere and ham. I also lurved my dinners at Glasserie and Charlie Bird. Oh, and let us not forget my visit to #sabertownUSA, aka Pearl & Ash, after hours for some Champagne out of magnum. My hangover the next day did indeed not let me forget. Until next time New York!

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The Holidaze at Bottle Stock

by whitney on October 27, 2013

I’ve been a busy bee preparing new products for the holidays over at Bottle Stock! Super excited about some of the new wine wrap designs and letterpressed cards. We shot all of the new goods yesterday and I can’t wait to share them with you! Here’s a sneak peek at our Pinot Polka Dot trio.

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