What a wonderful whirlwind life has been lately! This won’t be any surprise to any parents out there but it was sure a shock to me… my life has really changed! I’ve traded in my wine glasses for baby bottles as of late but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things will calm down a bit once we’re out of this newborn phase (all the parents out there are saying “Yeah right!”). Ok a girl can dream… Anyway, my husband and I had our first night out in December (umm we’re now coming up on April if that gives you any indication about how behind I am with this) and it was fabulous! Still, though, while I’m out I’m constantly thinking of the little one and wondering what she’s doing. That didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the delicious wine and food we had that night, though!

We went to dinner at Azuma as I was craving sushi non-stop the entire time I was pregnant! I’m sure our waiter thought I was crazy because I ordered enough sushi for about three people and just plowed through it! It had been a long time coming and I wasn’t feigning a dainty appetite. It was delightful! I enjoyed a clean, crisp glass of champagne (Chandon Classic Brut if memory serves… always a favorite) with my sushi but was saving my real wine delights for Cova next door. We walked over after dinner and it was packed as always. I always enjoy the atmosphere in there. I ordered the Sexy, Silky and Sensual wine flight which was completely enjoyable. The first glass was an old favorite of mine that I had sort of forgotten about, Laetitia Pinot Noir ’07. I was so happy to become reacquainted with this lovely wine and it was even better because we also ordered the Sarah’s favorite brownie with caramel topping for dessert and it was a sublime pairing. I was in Heaven and this was just the first glass. The dessert really brought out the creaminess in the wine and the warm, smooth caramel undertones. My mouth is literally watering as I’m reliving this in my mind. It had a little bit of lavender on the nose which always reminds me of the lavender fields at Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg. One of my favorite places. The second offering in the flight was new to me, Cru Pinot Noir ’07 from Vigna Monte Nero, CA. It was totally different from the first glass and I never was able to really get my head around it. It had a tangy, meaty smell which reminded me of jerky. It had a clean finish and very little aftertaste. I’m sure if I would have ordered this on it’s own it would have been fine, but it just did not flow with everything else I was tasting that night. Definitely the odd man out. The last glass was Ancien Pinot Noir ’07 from Carneros, CA. I’m a sucker for Carneros Pinots so this was definitely more my speed. It reminded me of the Laeticia a little bit because of the floral hints on the nose. It had a warm, buttery flavor and a smooth texture. There was a slight hint of raspberry on the nose and palate. This would be a great holiday party wine. It was very good and I would definitely order this and the Laeticia again.

All in all it was a great night out with the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I no longer take for granted nice meals and nice wine. It’s become such a treat but still nowhere near as sweet as the little treat I have at home! Cheers to all the parents out there! I get it now!

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Max’s Brunch Started Me Off On The Right Foot!

Max's Wine DiveOne of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is BRUNCH so what better way to kick off 2009 than with a tasty mid-morning meal (and mimosas…obviously) from Max’s Wine Dive? They even offered the standard black-eyed peas and sauteed petit greens as a starter for good luck and money in the new year. I want to make sure I get all the help I can get as I am determined to have a fabulous year! Black-eyed peas and greens don’t typically get me too excited but these were extra yummy.  The mimosas were just right (only a hint of OJ for color) and my omelet was fantastic! For a mere $3 per mimi you get a lot for a little which is just how I like it. I had the truffle and cheese omelet which is sadly no longer on the menu but they made it for me anyway. Fluffy eggs filled with creamy goat cheese, Gruyere, provolone and black truffle cream. I add prosciutto to mine to take it up to an even higher level of deliciousness. I wasn’t so crazy about the potatoes or grits on the side but the main event was so heavenly I hardly cared. The Texas toast had to be an inch and a half thick and it tasted homemade. Next time you’re looking for some Sunday mid-morning magic head over to Max’s Wine Dive. You’re sure to leave with a smile! (Next time I’m trying the fried egg sandwich… it looked amazing!!)

Let’s All Raise Our Glasses

Well the election is over. Red or blue we all now need to come together in support of our new leader… to help kick off the new reign, SoVino Bistro and Wine Bar is offering a FREE glass of house wine tonight! Stop by between 5:30-7:30pm for a complimentary toast to the new Prez.

Information soon to follow on their upcoming Quantum of Solace Bond Party next week! Stay tuned…

Win or Lose… Everyone Will Need A Drink On Election Night

The Presidential election is less than one week away! What a journey this one has been, right? I know that no matter the outcome I’ll hopefully have a glass of wine in hand to celebrate (or not). Well, if you’re in Houston, all of The Tasting Room locations as well as MAX’s Wine Dive are offering up some pretty sweet deals to help you make it through the night. They are inviting YOU to come hang out and watch the election returns with them in style. If you purchase a bottle of bubbly, you get half off of a pizza or cheese plate (try the portobello/truffle pizza… my mouth is watering just typing those words). Also for election day ONLY you can get 15% off all six-packs (you can mix and match) of wine to take home! That’s a pretty great deal! Enjoy!

Serving Up Something Spooky…

Here are a few ideas for this Hallow’s Eve that are so fabulous it’s just scary! Booo!

SoVino
One of my very favorite Houston haunts is featuring a specialty cocktail for one night only and it sounds especially sinister, Satan’s Whiskers. While it’s not wine, you know they have plenty for you to choose from once you’ve had your fill of this special gin cocktail.

13 Celcius
I’ve never been to this particular wine bar but it’s on my list of places to try. This Halloween they are having an authentic Day of the Dead celebration starting at 7:30pm, featuring music by DJ Pooks. If you bring a photo for the altar you get $5 off of the $31 admission. The cover includes drinks and snacks.

TTR Is STILL Partying For The Cause In Uptown!

In an effort to raise even MORE money for the Houston Red Cross, The Tasting Room in Uptown Park is throwing ANOTHER Party For The Cause this Saturday, September 27 and every Saturday after that until they reach their fundraising goal of $25,000! They raised over $10,000 this past Saturday. The rules are the same… $1 gets donated for every glass or bottle of wine or any pizza ordered. Let’s go raise some money for Houston! See you Saturday! XOXO, Mandee

Come Help Out This Saturday!

By help out I mean come over to the Tasting Room in Uptown Park for some wine and yummy food this Saturday! This all day event (Noon until Curfew) will feature live music, great food and wine, and festivities on the patio. What a great way to blow off some steam after all the trouble Ike has caused! It’s all about Houstonians helping Houstonians! TTR will donate $1 for every glass of wine, bottle of wine and every pizza sold between now and Saturday night to the Houston Red Cross. So come out Saturday and help us make sure it’s a sizeable donation! They are also accepting donations of non-perishable food and clothing for Ike victims. See you Saturday, September 20, at the Uptown Park Tasting Room!