Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Respect for the Evite

I’ve been annoyed with Evite lately. Well, not annoyed with Evite as much as I’m annoyed with people’s constant use of Evite’s yet still not treating it like a real invitation. I will be the first to say I use Evite for all sorts of gatherings, however, I count is as a real invitation. When I say I'm having a party, there will be a party. If I say I’ll be there, I show up. If something were to come up less than 2 days before, I would call AS WELL AS update my Evite response. This might be crazy, but I consider an Evite to mean a real party is going to happen and that “will you attend” to be a valid form of RSVP’ing to said party.

However, am I alone???

Recently, I sent out an Evite for a wine club function, and 2 people no-call/no-showed after RSVPing yes, and another 2 changed their response the day before. This isn’t horrible, but I still was annoyed. Until, the people who did show up told me of their recent horrifying Evite experience. They threw a surprise party for someone, and 25 people RSPV’d that they would come. Only 4 showed. That’s right. FOUR people. And….those 4 people were so late they had to delay the surprise party recipient.

Perhaps it’s a general RSVP problem. Have people just lost respect for those throwing parties? Have they been wronged so many times they are paying it forward? Do they overbook and forget? Or is it just Evite and with paper invitations people show up as their RSVP indicates? I have no other point of reference than our wedding, which the vast majority of responses did show up. Maybe 10 out of 130 didn’t show up, but that’s also a reception.

During a discussion about this, Mr. Luce (of the Luce family) suggested that Evite get some sort of feedback system. Something like eBay meets the airline on-time percentage, so you can judge the likelihood of them showing up to your party, based on how many parties they showed up as responded. I think it’s a great idea, but in the meantime, if you get an evite, please keep your RSVP. The people throwing the party assume you mean your response, just as you expect that when you arrive to the event, that they will be home.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nose worthy wine glasses

As president and founder of a wine club, I often get link exchange requests from wine-related companies. While I typically turn them down because I don’t want our club website cluttered with ads, I still look at the products. I recently received a link request for http://www.greatestwineglass.com/. Well, that just seems like an interesting site name, don’t you think? I go on the website and was surprised to see this:

At this point, I just don’t know what to think of it. In theory, it seems like a good idea to allow your nose to be immersed in the wine glass, with the rest of the glass sort of trapping in the aromas. However in practice….hmm, I just don’t know and I probably won’t know because they are having a introductory sale for $54 per glass. That’s a lot. We don’t own Riedel glasses or anything close. I think the most expensive glasses we own were a wedding gift and were probably maybe $10 each. So to jump to $54 per glass….well, I just don’t see it happening.

If I could afford to pay $54 per glass, I’m not sure I would. One thing I like to do with my wine is swish around my glass to allow it to get some more air. With a chunk of the glass gone on one side, that pretty much eliminates my swishing and swirling, unless I want to only drink an ounce at a time, or want to be covered in wine.

I will note that for some wines, the aroma is the best part and is even better than the taste, so for those wines, this glass could be perfect. As for the design, I’m sure its well rounded and not jagged, they appear to be hand made, which would justify the price, for those willing to pay it. For now it will have to be one of things I talk about, but will never purchase. I won’t covet it, but will sort of wish I could buy it, just for the novelty of it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

October's Blind Ambition Tour

I am making a bold commitment.

For the entire month of October, whenever possible, I’m tasting blind.

What does "tasting blind" mean? Tasting a glass of wine and having no idea what the varietal, price, region, or all of the above. Its a skill one needs to pass the Court of Masters Sommilier Exam, and in fact, part of the test is to taste things blind- see the actual tasting grid. I don't plan on taking that exam, but its certainly a skill worth developing or at least trying trying to develop. Plus, who doesn't love wine related quests?

My inspiration comes from two sources:

1) A few weeks ago Mr. Lush and I attended a blind tasting with Mr. & Mrs. Luce. I did horrible. Absolutely horrible. Not that I thought I would get all of them correct, but I was hoping for a better record than what I got. This must, simply must be rectified.

2) In October my wine club has a blind tasting, so in the spirit of the month, why not taste everything I can blindly?

Now, to clarify the burning question of “how on earth are you going to do this?” here’s my plan:
  • When I’m out, I’ll give the server an instruction of white or red and a price range of $6-10 and tell me not to tell me what it is. Since my server or bartender doesn’t know my taste, I wouldn’t want to order a bottle and hate it, so I’ll only order by the glass.
  • I'll visit stores on tasting days and try to not see what I'm having.
  • However, if I’m with someone, I’ll let them order and I will be none the wiser.
  • If I’m at a friend’s house, I’ll request that they keep what it is from me for a glass until I have a guess.
  • If I’m at home, I’ll ask Mr. Lush to keep it a secret for a bit as well.
  • I’ll also attend every tasting I can blindly. (Luckily, there’s one scheduled in October as well at Gambino’s in O’Fallon MO.)

How successful do I expect to be? Not so much, to be honest and I expect I’ll feel very stupid at times. But, I would hope by the end of the month, I’ll be better off giving my palate such exercise.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Potential wine disaster avoided

Recently, the Lou was hit with a storm, aftermath of Ike. We live in an older neighborhood, which means big old trees and above ground power lines. I’m sure you get where this is going….we’re often without power. In fact, if you live in St. Louis and know someone is without power due to a storm, there’s a really good chance the Lush’s are powerless.

As you know, we’ve also purchased a 100 bottle wine fridge in the past year. It is glorious- dual digital temps, very nice. Well, last Sunday morning, the Lush’s went powerless with a full wine fridge. About 2 hours later, I called my good friend Lucy to ask if she could look up our outage status. The very first thing she said is “do you need to bring the wine over?”. Aww. What a good friend, right? I said no, I hope it comes back on soon and its not that warm outside, so I should be fine. (at the time the temp was about 55 and the expected high was around 70, I think. ) I stuck a regular non-digital fridge thermometer in the wine fridges to monitor the temperature, opened all the windows, and we left to go grab something to eat and watch some football. When we returned, still powerless, the temperature in the fridge was just under 65, about the temperature of the house.

Although the Lush Red Wine Storage Temperature is 57-58 degrees, in general, I feel anything under 65 degrees, even below 70, is fine. Since, as noted in earlier posts, wine stores and restaurants store and serve things at room temperature, which is usually 72-77, but I prefer to keep it under 65.

Well, the power returned a bit before 6. Luckily the temperature was on our side, so the wine held at 63/64 degrees. Potential disaster avoided. Whew. But for next time, I'm glad I have friends with extra room in their cellar. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Lucid Trip to Randalls

Last weekend the Luce’s called me and asked if I wanted to go to Randalls in IL and I jumped at the chance. I had heard the selection in IL varies from that of MO and had discussed going in the past, but with gas prices, it was a difficult justification. Evidently, Mr. Luce had reason to celebrate and sought out a certain bourbon that’s fantastic deal for the price but not distributed here, (see Lucy's blog) so off we went.

It was a good size store. Not as large as Lukas Liquors, which is practically a warehouse of wine, however, there were a few things that really impressed me…..

First and foremost, the room where the wine was displayed/sold was actually a different temperature than the rest of the place; about 10 degrees cooler. Very nice and how rare!!

The selection was a bit different, about 30% stuff we can’t find here, and the prices were mostly competitive, if not better, although they didn't carry a large amount of expensive wines-most things were $40 and under.

The tasting area….was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. The wines available for taste, eh, just 4 and they were ok. However, the selection of liquor available to taste was amazing. Since the Luces and myself are equal opportunity drinkers, we were in heaven. At minimum, I would say there were 80 bottles available to taste, one of which was on my list: Absinthe. Recently re-legalized in the US and 124 proof, I had wanted to try it, primarily for novelty purposes, but was not excited about the $65+ price tag. However, there on the shelf, was Lucid Absinthe, calling to me. If you are a black licorice fan, this is your drink-the website even includes a traditional french way to drink it, which I did not try-I just sipped at room temperature. Honestly, I am not a fan, but it certainly worth trying and thanks to Randalls for having it open. We tried other liquors from respado tequila to bourbon, and it was fantastic.

I certainly recommend a visit. For those who read this in time, there is a tasting tomorrow from 12-4 .

Thanks to the Luce’s, for making the trek and taking me along!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The traffic version of the Tortoise and the Hare

Do you ever have those little moments while driving that make you smile? Like when the Traffic Karma comes back to get someone?? It happened to me this week.

I’m fairly lucky, I suppose, in that while I drive 27 miles each way to/from work, that I don’t hit a lot of rush hour traffic, particularly in the morning and that I can go pretty much the speed limit or more the majority of the way. Well, the other morning, I was in the fast lane and glanced in my rearview mirror and saw someone rather close, riding my arse. I looked down at my speedometer and noted I was going 80. (luckily the person behind me wasn’t a cop ;) Anyway, this person darted 3 lanes over and cut 2 people off to come back and get in front of me. Ok, ok, sorry I didn’t see you earlier and move, but really, I’m going 80 in a 65-I think that’s fast-lane worthy, don’t you?

Well, this person weaved in and out in and out but never really got that far ahead of me. Well, at one point, I was ahead of them again. I laughed outloud while I passed them.

The tortoise and the hare analogy isn't quite accurate, because of the speeding involved, but I stayed my course and ended up ahead, but it made me smile nontheless. It’s the little things, I tell ya.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cheap, dishwasher safe time mugs

I admit, I’m a free travel mug hoarder. We have mugs from random colleges and companies that I picked up at job fairs, conferences, and general promo meetings. However, with the down economy, good give-a-ways have lessoned and they are becoming harder and harder to get. So, alas, the Lush’s must actually BUY a mug. They are very expensive, so I’ve been looking for cheap ones. With some serious looking, I found a great deal that I want to share with you.

As noted in an earlier post, I drink coffee from Boca Java. While taking advantage of a $10 off any purchase promotion, I looked through their mugs and found these:

Supercute, right? The best part is they are 100% dishwasher safe. A lot of those time mugs you have to hand wash. Not these. They are from Time Mug, which usually sells them for $29.95 and you can get a variety of colors, as well as different time pieces, if the rhinestone look isn’t your thing. However, at Boca Java, they were $10.95. They only had 3 colors, all have the logo, and all had rhinestones, but still what a deal! I only bought two, a red one and a pink one, because I’m pretty sure Mr. Lush wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a mug with rhonestones on it. I have washed them in the dishwasher already and indeed, they are dishwasher safe. If you prefer more choices, go for the Time Mug ones, but if you'd rather have a deal and don't mind a logo, Boca Java's the way to go!
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

BBQ, rose, and malbec

Yesterday, in true Lush holiday style, we got up at 6:30, fired up the smoker, and cooked some ribs and brisket. We rarely BBQ without inviting the Luce’s, so they were of course in attendance. Being the thoughtful and planner food pairer Lucy is, she brought a bottle of Imagery Malbec. In the spirit of taking advantage of the abilty to have multiple bottles open, since we had multiple guests, I chose a bottle of rose, specifically the Pianetta Rosato. So we tried both.

Of course, there is something I must tell you about the Lush BBQ style-it’s a bit spicy. I wouldn’t call it “hot”, just spicy. While Mr. Lush is the grilling master of the house, I am the rub master and as any BBQer knows, you must have both to have really good BBQ. My rub is a mix of brown sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. (Note the two spicy spices.) I put the rub on Sunday and let the meat soak in the rub overnight. The Lush sauce of choice is Super Smokers Championship Sauce, which also has a bit of spice.

Back to the food and wine, the Malbec was fantasic, but really picked up the spices. The Rosato was also good, but more complimentary to the spices. While Malbec is supposed to go wonderfully with BBQ, and we both loved the Malbec, Lucy and I decided we both preferred the Rosato as the better pairing. Which, being a $23 rose, it certainly should be able to hold up to some food, don't you think?

After some reflection, I have noticed this trend with much of the red wines we have tried with the Lush BBQ. I think in general, a less tannic, medium bodied wine goes best with spicy BBQ fare, but all in all I’d recommend both as a solid pairing choice.

Of course you can’t go wrong with good food, good wine, and good friends to share it with.