New York stories

N.B. this post will be thoroughly more enjoyable, if you click the YouTube below for the post’s soundtrack.

Next week, I’ll post on the Apulian tasting that Charles Scicolone and I presented at the New York Wine Media Guild luncheon on Wednesday. In the meantime, here are some images from my quick trip to the Big Apple (well worth it if only to party in Harlem the night of the election!).

Bar Milano is my new favorite NYC hang. My buddy and colleague Jim Hutchinson and I hit it up Wednesday night. We had the 2006 Nosiola by Cesconi, which showed well and was reasonably priced, and the sardine in saor (sardines in a sweet and sour sauce), a classic Venetian dish, were the best I’ve had outside the Veneto. Owners Jason and Joe Denton just know how to do it right and they have got to be the coolest dudes — in every sense — on the NYC restaurant scene.

On Tuesday, Greg Wawro and I celebrated his milestone birthday at our favorite steakhouse Keens, always a winner in my book. I treated Greg to the 1998 Corison (yes, a Californian wine!). Keens has a slightly picked-over vertical of Corison but there are still some good ones left. I’ve always found the wine judiciously made. The 10-year-old Cabernet paired beautifully with the porterhouse (which we ordered black and blue, of course).

Before dinner on Wednesday, I visited Alice and snapped this pic of what has got to be New York City’s most talked about toilet. Alice often writes about her toilet in her blog. (Click on the link and read her NY Times Modern Love piece. I was there the night of the 1977 Monsanto but I cannot reveal the name of her admirer.)

Forget NYC: Tracie B is coming to LJ tomorrow! What music will Benoit play at the JG? Stay tuned…

Going to Carolina in My Mind

From left, Susannah Smith of A Southern Season (Chapel Hill, NC), Sophie Barrett (a Chapel Hill native) of Astor (NYC), and John McCarthy of The Country Vintner (Chapel Hill). One of the cool thing about blogging is getting to meet people you wouldn’t connect with otherwise. Also in attendance were Scott Luetgenau and Jay Murrie.

Yesterday I took the afternoon off to connect with my friend and wine professional Scott Luetgenau from Chapel Hill, NC, whom I met after he started commenting on my blog some time back. One of the coolest things about blogging is that you meet people from all over the world through the “virtual conversation” of the blogosphere. Scott wrote me last week saying he’d be in NYC for a trade tasting and would I like to join him and his friends for lunch at ‘inoteca.

Charcuterie and bruschette at ‘inoteca on the Lower East Side, owned by my friend and fellow native-Californian, Joe Denton — one of the coolest dudes I’ve met in the NYC restaurant scene.

I was really impressed with their wine knowledge and their interest in natural wine. John, who works for a major wine distributor based in Chapel Hill, told me: “I feel like it’s my responsibility to get out there and turn people on to natural wine. If I don’t, who will?” I dug every bottle he ordered from owner Joe Denton’s excellent list. Sophie has just moved up to NYC where she landed a job at Astor Wine and Spirits. Susannah and Jay work at A Southern Season, a food and wine shop in Chapel Hill that specializes in natural wines. They’ve got a pretty good thing going down there in North Carolina.

I really liked the 2006 Pavese Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle that John ordered. It was fresh and light in the mouth, with bright acidity and nice fruit.

It was raining yesterday in NYC and it’s still overcast today. So many good things have been happening for me and I have lots to be thankful for these days. But I’ve also been going through some pretty dark stuff lately. It sure doesn’t feel like the first day of spring up here in the big city. You must forgive me if I’m up and goin’ to Carolina in my mind.

*****

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

Karen she’s a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shinin’
Watch her watch the mornin’ come
A silver tear appearing now I’m cryin’
Ain’t I goin’ to Carolina in my mind

There ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind
That love’s the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey babe the sky’s on fire, I’m dyin’
Ain’t I goin’ to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent late last night
I think I might have heard the highway calling
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Signs that might be omens say I’m going, going
I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

With a holy host of others standing ’round me
Still I’m on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I’m up and goin’ to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

Goin’ to Carolina in my mind
And I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind
Goin’ to Carolina in my mind

— James Taylor