Ruth Lewandowski (amazing) Wine

Image

I recently came across a blog post about an organic, unfiltered, specialty wine pressed, fermented and bottled right here in Salt Lake City. “…fermented naturally, i.e. no yeast, no nutrient, no sulfur, no acid, no water, no nada. Aged in old, neutral oak…” and Evan’s story immediately got my fingers typing a message to this wine wizard – I was dying to try his wines.

Evan responded immediately, and invited me to visit his winery for some vin tasting!

The Ruth Lewandowski winery was located right off the freeway in a small but quaint row of brick warehouses. When we walked in, we were greeted by a beautiful counter/bar made of reclaimed wood, a wall painted in a brilliant blue, and a warm welcome by Evan.

After a bit of chitchat, he walked us into the warehouse area where cases of wine were stacked in white boxes with the Ruth Lewandowski label. He explained that he was about to ship his first crate to a specialty wine importer in NYC!

Image

Then he introduced us to his father, who was visiting from Seattle to help him with the operation. His dad had a great sense of humor – apparently he was providing tons of free labor, and never in his life imagined that his son would end up going down the path of wine-making. 

Image

Then he pointed us to his wine press, which was squeaky clean and beautiful!! 

Image

We went back to the front office and Evan pulled out a few wine glasses and bottles from his wine cooler. The first one he had us try was Mahlon. I have the worst memory when it comes to the technical details of wine construction, so I’ll leave you to read the blog I posted earlier or the Ruth Lewandowski website for the details on the vineyard, grape variety and fermentation process.

All I can remember is the crisp yet buttery, aromatic, delightful flavor and texture of the wine. The color reminded me of my mom’s yellow diamond under a magnifying glass. It’s a white wine but not at all sweet like a chardonnay or gewurztraminer and not really like a pinot gris. It wasn’t so acidic nor was it tannin. The wine was so balanced in its flavor, I thought it was a testament to Evan’s efforts in highlighting the essence of grapes. 

Image

I told him I loved his labels, and apparently, he drew them by hand and had his sister-in-law put them together to fit a label. A-MAY-ZING. !!!!!!!!!!!!.

The second wine he had us taste was Chillion. 

Image

I LOVED that Chillion was served to us in a scientific triangular flask!!! When he poured the wine, I was delighted by the vibrant orange color. Have you ever had orange-colored wine?? This was my first time. In my head I couldn’t even imagine what it would taste like. My brain was about to explode with excitement!!

Evan explained a bit about what happens during fermentation. He said there’s two different kinds of fermentation. I once again can’t recall the details but mostly that yeast eats sugar and produces some type of chemical process (sorry Even, you may have to explain this to me again lol), and how amounts and types of bacteria make a huge difference in how the batches turn out, but mostly how he lets fermentation take place as naturally, and intended as nature would have it happen, as possible. 

Anyway, the wine was closer to white in color and flavor but tannin like a red in texture. WHOA. I once again wish I could have written down all my thoughts at the time but I knew, this was instantly my favorite wine of all time. Hermes should include a bottle of this wine with ever Birkin, silk scarf or bracelet sold. 

Image

The whole experience was just so unbelievably exciting. Just chatting with Evan and his dad. I mean HOW CRAZY COOL is it that he’s traveled the world, apprenticed with wine producers in France (and tons of other places) and that he is clearly talented enough to produce wine of this caliber in a warehouse in Utah??

His dad told us about visiting Evan in Northern France and staying with the family who owned barrels of wine that were hundreds of years old and told him stories of hiding the good stuff from the Nazis in the 1940’s and tasting wine that they spit in the ground saying was no good but tasted amazing to him lol. 

I think my favorite part (ok, there’s been like 5 favorite parts so far but) was Evan’s love for the quirky and rare varieties of wine, and his enthusiasm for enhancing the properties of the grape, whether it were it’s sugar content, acidity, tannin or color. However the grape came out of the ground, that’s what he wanted to translate, as purely as possible, to a medium called wine. 

Being Japanese, and this, being the philosophy of food in my culture – to merely assist in enhancing and illuminating the flavors of the raw and natural ingredient – I absolutely and immediately understood the beauty of his work. He’s not trying to create a mass-produced, every-bottle-tastes-exactly-the-same, cookie-cutter wine. Every batch is about appreciating what the earth produced. Organic fruits and veggies grow differently, with imperfections. Creating something original based on the available resources is, art. 

I ended up purchasing half a dozen bottles. 

Image

I nearly lost sleep worrying about preserving the properties of Evan’s art, so I ended up buying a small wine cooler. I also converted my rarely used desk into a bar in my living room (haha), which turned out to be a great idea since I was able to fit all my band gear neatly under the desk and was also able to free up space in my bedroom, yay!

Image

 

Image

 

Image

I am SO incredibly excited for Evan and his future. This is clearly an endeavor headed for success!!!!

Contact him here for an appointment at his winery!!!

Ruth Lewandowski Wines
http://www.ruthlewandowskiwines.com/

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World’s Ugliest Apple Pie

Image

I love Monday nights because my fridge is typically stocked with groceries done the previous night and I rarely have any obligations to attend to – which means I get to stay home, cook a nice dinner and watch whatever I feel like on TV.

Lately I’ve been on a budgeting kick, limiting my week’s groceries to $50. You’d be amazed at what $50 can accomplish. I am able to buy mostly organic, local or non-GMO produce, dairy and frozen foods enough to prepare at least 9 meals for two people. At the beginning of the week, I plan out every meal in a spreadsheet. I think about what I have at home (I usually have pasta or noodles well-stocked) and also what I’d like to eat, then create a grocery list based on that. I try to limit frozen items to 3 (a pizza and two lunches) and the rest are fresh produce. I don’t cook red meat so I splurge on things like butter, cheese, hummus and seafood (occasionally).

Image

I found this awesome blog, hipsterfood, that features cheap yet gourmet recipes, so I decided to try the Balsamic Chickpea recipe tonight. Let me tell you, this recipe is a heaven-sent. It’s SO darn good!

I really didn’t have to buy much to make this. I grow green onions in a jar (all you have to do is change the water and get rid of the dead stems every day) and typically have a lot of garlic, as well as a basket of organic cherry tomatoes, washed in a bowl to eat for snack or to cook with. I altered the recipe a little to sauté with butter, add lemon juice for more moisture, and also added cubes of avocado left over from lunch. I then toasted some Ezekiel bread and ate this salad on the toast. YUMMMMM!!!!!

I also decided to bake an apple pie since I had an extra organic whole wheat pie crust left over from making a quiche last week. The pie crust I bought only came with the bottom crust so I had to make the top crust. This was certainly not the first time I ever made apple pie, but since I always insisted on making pie crust from scratch, and I eye-balled the ingredients for a recipe cut in half, the dough came out super sticky – and my attempts to fix it by adding more flour turned into an absolute disaster.

Hence, the world’s ugliest apple pie was made tonight.

Image

The good news is, it turned out SUPER DUPER yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact, I may have succeeded in making the best apple pie crust I ever made, ever! I am eating it with my new favorite ice cream, the three twins fair trade vanilla bean speck. Mmmmm.

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Brunch on my Porch

ImageI have been obsessed, for quite a number of years now, with weekend brunches at awesome local eateries such as Pago, Copper Onion, Tulie Bakery, Les Madeleines, Finn’s and Toasters etc.

Lately though, I’ve been enjoying the very simple brunches on my porch. It’s so much cheaper/faster – and I can drink all the mimosas in the world since I’m not driving anywhere!

Some of my favorite home-made brunches include:
– Scrambled eggs or eggs over-easy with Ezekiel bread toast (butter or jam for spreads)
– Ezekiel bread toast with avocado and salt/cracked pepper to flavor and fruits
– Crepes with banana and honey or other fruits
– Cereal!!
– Mimosa made with Tangerine juice from Trader Joe’s (yum!) or Tea

I also happen to have a fantastic view of the nearby high school tennis courts and get to watch people play “bad tennis” so it’s really double the fun. It’s my new favorite summertime weekend ritual!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bon Ami!!!!

Image

So I was shopping for groceries at Whole Foods and noticed that a bunch of cleaning supplies were on sale. In addition to certified fair trade natural rubber gloves, Bon Ami‘s awesome vintage-inspired packaging caught my eye. “America’s Original Natural Home Cleaner…,” only 5 ingredients in the bottle and less than $2??? What, why on earth would I not try this?

I went home and noticed that the Scrubbing Bubbles toilet drop-in tablets that I had recently decided to experiment with had caused atrocious hardwater rings around my toilet bowl that I had never witnessed to date. Grrr!!! What a bunch of lies on their label!!! The rings were so bad that after using a regular toilet cleaner, I stopped the water, drained the toilet, then sprayed some CLR to see if it would get rid of the hard water stains. CLR did some work, but in the end  I was ready to fill the toilet with bleach.

Then I looked at the awesome packaging of the Bon Ami powder cleaner and thought, why the hell not, let’s give this thing a try – it says any hard surface (not just your bathtub). I sprinkled a bunch around my toilet, then started scrubbing with my toilet scrubber. WHOA. WHOA, WHOAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The ring disappeared!!!!!!!!!! Is this a dream? AMAZING.

I’m a new believer in an old-school product. Screw all those chemicals products at Target, you really ought to try this thing. I mean the packaging is SO stinking cute and it does the job better than any other cleaning product I’ve used in the bathroom!!!!! I can’t wait to scrub my tub with it!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Instagram Hashtags explained!

Image

 

Ok, so there are many people who use Facebook that super hate the hashtags I post via Insagram –> Facebook. In defense of my hashtags, here’s what traditional Facebookers don’t get — the hashtags actually have a useful purpose to those of us who spend a lot of time on Instagram, as opposed to being there just to annoy everyone on Facebook that a) find very little use for them and b) haven’t gotten used to the markup because they don’t use Instagram.

For those of us who have somewhat moved on from Facebook and pledged our lives to Instagram, there are three distinct uses I find for hashtags.

1) Quicker typing: Instagram caches all hashtags previously used so when I want to describe my photo with previously used words (and there are often words that I like to repeat because they are relevant, i.e. the name of my band, a restaurant or bar I frequent, the name of the city that photo was taken in, etc), all I need to do is type ‘#’ and a few letters that follow the pound sign and the word pops up. I have found that this method drastically improves the time it takes to place a caption on my photo.

2) Connecting with other photos/users on Instagram: When I use relevant hashtags to describe my photo, it allows me to look up photos of other users who have also used that same hashtag. Any time I hashtag #ladymurasakiband or #ladymurasaki, it pulls up photos for my band. When I hashtag #vintageschwinn, it pulls up photos of other people who own a vintage schwinn bicycle, which is very interesting to me. When I eat out at a nice restaurant, I hashtag #gourmetdining because I’m curious to see what other beautiful culinary experiences others are having in the world. #SLC is important to me because I love Salt Lake City and want to help promote an image of a vibrant, art/music culture that I regularly have an opportunity to experience in this small but up-and-coming city. When I went to the #flaminglips concert at the #TwilightConcert series, I found hundreds of photos posted that day by fellow #SLC-ites and not only enjoyed perspectives from multiple angles but also realized that so many of my friends were also there.

3) Humor: #whenyoumakeupwordsitsfunny. I have a lot of friends on Instagram who just make up hashtags that no one is ever going to look up, but the act of pretending to make up a word by stringing a bunch of words together is funny. We’re basically laughing at ourselves for our hashtag culture.

I think the hashtag ‘hatred’ mainly comes from a cultural discrepancy. The hashtag is a very important feature in the Insagram culture, whereas until recently, there were no uses for the hashtags for those who only used Facebook (and still makes no sense to many). If you used twitter, it made sense but once again, not much to be said for Facebook-only users. Since Instagram has become available to both the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Facebook’s purchase of Instagram thus further integration between the two apps, the Instagram culture has become increasingly prevalent in the world of Facebook, and the Facebook-only-ers hate it!

To play devil’s advocate, I have friends who suggest I post the hashtags in the comment line of my instagram so that when I post the Instagram to Facebook, the hashtags do not transfer over. Ok, that seems like a reasonable suggestion; however, going back to my bullet 1), the point is to spend as little time on placing a caption and getting the photo out to the world. This is how it’s done in the Instagram culture, so need I double my captioning effort in order to accomodate the Facebook peeps? 

At the end of the day, this is my conclusion – I post the photos to Facebook because I want to share the photo with my friends/family who are only on Facebook as well, but I do not feel it necessary to adjust my captioning methods, which are highly useful and effective to me and are perfectly acceptable and relevant in the Instagram culture, to accomodate those who have not fully assimilated into the Instagram culture. It’s like if I were to share my home-made miso soup with you and gave you chopsticks to eat with it (because that’s how miso soup is consumed in Japan) and you’re getting mad at me for eating with chopsticks. I still want to share my miso soup with you, but I’m not going to change the way it’s eaten just because you don’t know how to use chopsticks and get frustrated with it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FLAMING LIPS, THE TERROR

FLAMING LIPS, THE TERROR

Holy crap-o-la, this album is SHEER BRILLIANCE. It’s so beautiful, it’s immediately come into my top 3 favorite albums of the year in conjunction with Causers of This by Toro y Moi (http://open.spotify.com/album/49Y4TvYCT4ArQw7yKOvubl) and Fear Fun by Father John Misty (http://open.spotify.com/artist/2kGBy2WHvF0VdZyqiVCkDT).

This is what I said on a Huffington Post review (to which I completely disagree with):
“I think the Flaming Lips landed spot-on with the current chill-wave movement while maintaining a dark theme that is incredibly attractive. This album is completely relevant to the new generation of listeners who are interested in soft, produced vocal harmonies and never-ending drum beats (that’s why they’re flocking in masses to electronica raves right?) that can appear as a weakness to those who prefer analog sounds. I’m going to throw ou artists like Junip http://open.spotify.com/track/2WtF0P5ImASOAaiCkwRtBG and lesser known but incredibly relevant indie bands such as Beachmen http://beachmen.bandcamp.com/track/trees-for-days as a comparison. The Terror, in my opinion, is exactly what young kids want to listen to and how many bands that have been around for this long can say they’re capable of keeping their sounds this up-to-date and fresh? Not too many that I can think of.”

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yum yum tuna salad!

Yum yum tuna salad!

This looks delish does it not?
(click on the photo for the article/recipe)

I recently signed up for this calorie counting tool http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/, just to get an idea of how much I eat everyday – it’s actually quite shocking. I thought I had an approximately 2000 calorie diet but most days I can easily go over that if I am not paying attention or exercising, and this is good stuff to know!!

Let’s all eat better and live better🙂

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment