My dinner with the Weinsteins

BrunelloWire: light rain today and so no picking.

Strappo reports from Montepulciano: “Still a way from harvest in Montepulciano. But they are about 600 m above sea level here.”

Above: no, that’s not the Weinsteins… that’s Melanie and Noah. Noah and I go way back: we even went to Hebrew School together! Today, he’s a leading German scholar and she a writer of non-fiction, critic, and poet.

No, I didn’t really have dinner with the Weinsteins. But that was the joke the other night when my good friends Melanie Rehak and Noah Isenberg (above) took me to Weinstein, a wonderful traditional German wine bar just off the Helmholtzplatz in their neighborhood, the Prenzlauer Berg, in Berlin (note the über-hip extension “.eu” in the Weintstein URL).

Riesling is a lacuna in my enological formation and so I was in pig heaven, so to speak, between a great flight of Rieslings poured by excellent sommelier Marc Metzdorf and my Wiener Teller (“Viennese platter,” including delicious cured suckling pig among other delicatessen) and Königsberger Klöße (pork and veal — if I’m not mistaken — dumplings).

The star of the evening was the 1995 Dr. Loosen Urziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese, which Marc pours by the glass. Being the neophyte Riesling-lover that I am, I put myself in Marc’s hands and I was really impressed by the care and devotion he and his colleague, Claudia, showed for these wines. Weinstein’s list is impressive and stretches back to the 1970s, with roughly 250 lots. Good stuff…

On the plane back to LAX from Berlin the next day, I read Noah’s new tome on the film noir classic Detour. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.

*****

Earlier in the day, Melanie and I paid a visit to the “legendary” food department at KaDeWe, where German cuisine is featured alongside cuisine from all over the world. Melanie’s finishing edits on a book about her experience working in farm-to-table restaurant in Brooklyn. I can’t reveal the name but I’m looking forward to its release sometime next year. Here are some pics from KaDeWe…

I love anything marzipan. The more kitsch, the better.

Cured heaven…

Please don’t feed the eels…

The “American” section was really a joke… an irony in the context of the fantastic traditional German, French, Italian, and Japanese counters. But Melanie and I had fun perusing the candy canes, Pop Tarts and Swiss Miss.

Germany, get ready for Nous Non Plus

Above: Nous Non Plus’ new release “Ménagerie” will be available on Aeronaut Records sometime in November. Stay tuned…

I haven’t even finished posting about my April trip to Europe and here I am about to depart for Germany, where I’ll be performing with NNP (that’s short for Nous Non Plus) at Viadrina University (near Berlin) on Saturday night. We’re doing a show as part of the Green Party’s “Green European Summer 2008 Bridging the Gaps” festival (scroll down to Saturday August 30 for show info). If you happen to be in or around Berlin on Saturday, please come on down (the show is free and you can always email me to let me know you’re coming since I’ll have my blackberry with me).

On Monday, September 1, I head down to Montalcino where I’ll be tasting and talking to winemakers, trying to find out what’s happening “on the ground,” so to speak.

So please stay tuned!