Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Wine Holiday?? Open That Bottle Night is *Tonight* ;)

Around this time last year, I emailed Kelly at work (instead of actually doing work) this article that was featured in the Wall Street Journal about Open That Bottle Night, a holiday started in 2000 by Dorthy J. Gaiter and John Brecher (who both write the wine column for the WSJ).

As much we like to think we know about wine, we were pleasantly surprised to learn about this "holiday" :)

The basic premise behind Open That Bottle Night is simple: save a bottle of wine that means something to you, anything that has a sentiment behind it that you would like to reminisce about while drinking the bottle. Un-cork and enjoy that bottle with a certain special someone on Open That Bottle Night.
As for the bottle of wine we chose, it was a gift given (along with lovely wine pairing chocolates, wine/beer label savers, and a "Rate That Wine" pad) to Kelly for her Bridal Shower from our close friend, Elizabeth. Ordinarily, the only way we can keep a bottle of wine from being drunken is if we are out of town or something -- so, the fact that we have kept this bottle of wine since November is quite the accomplishment!

The wine we are drinking as we type is a 2005 Domaine Monperluis Cuvée Counoise (pictured above) and is very much worth the wait -- slightly smokey, well-balanced, with a clean finish, having notes of currant and spice. We were told us that the varietals to create this wine are only possible in France. We must say that if you see this bottle, grab it, because it is quite lovely -- thank you, Elizabeth, for the very thoughtful gift*

If you also happened to celebrate Open That Bottle Night, please let us know what you enjoyed!

Good Food, Wine, & Friends

It has been brought to our attention by some that we have not blogged as much since we became man and wife -- based on our limited # of posts so far this year it is hard to argue that point. We actually would like to post a lot more and have nothing to blame but a combination of being both busy and *slightly* lazy. However, these pictures hopefully capture the essence of what we have been up to throughout the past week.
Last Saturday, we hit up Le Petit Triangle Cafe for the first time and had some yummy crepes (each ordering savory crepes for dinner and sharing a peanut butter, honey, and banana crepe for desert) with our friends, Ben and Colleen. We also shared a couple bottles of wine -- and, as the picture above (compliments of suggests, Le Petit Triangle has a superb and very reasonable wine list.

On Wednesday, we headed to Jason's for a local blogger meet-up -- pictured below is Jason, Narm, Kelly and Jose (Matt had not arrived yet while Alexa took this picture :))
Everyone brought a bottle of wine and created a dish that they had never made before. We ended up devouring all of the delicious food and drank every last drop of wine -- we enjoyed ourselves, so much infact, that Thursday morning we were still feeling the effects of the wonderful evening! (Note: Alexa and Narm also touched on the evening here and here) We contributed by making Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms (from Giada's Kitchen) and Curried Rice Krispie Treats (a recipe Kelly found in Elle, which has also been featured in Food & Wine, from The Violet Hour, a very swank bar in Chicago) and a bottle of Terra Boa Tinto (you would never know it's only $5.79 at Heinen's). We know what you are thinking: the wine and stuffed mushrooms sound great, but curried rice krispie treats??? Seriously, they are sooo tasty and very easy to make.
On Thursday, Kelly headed to Crop Bistro for her first time to enjoy dinner with some ladies and take advantage of Downtown Restaurant Week 2009. Her favorite part of the dinner was the Mini Miso Faux Soup (constituting of glass noodles, miso broth, vegetable, cilantro --pictured above) and the Some Like It Hot dessert (warm, flourless chocolate cake, macadamia crunch ice cream, mango-lime coulis, citrus tuile -- pictured below)
The restaurant had a warm bustling energy while maintaining the perfect balance of class and comfort. Kelly loved everything about her Crop dining experience and is already plotting her next visit ;) Pictured below: Erin (Kelly's sister), Erika, Rebecca, and Kelly
After going out the last couple evenings, we made the executive decision to stay in last night (this is becoming a trend) and gave the pizza with egg recipe another go. You may recall we first made it last Friday. We learned (the hard way) that you have to be very careful placing the eggs on the pizza b/c they can easily slide right off. We also learned that you should spin the pizza pan 180 degrees half way through baking so the eggs get cooked evenly -- we prefer them slightly runny while others might enjoy their eggs completely or barely cooked.
This time we made the egg pizza with pecorino romano cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, roasted red pepper, spinach, scallions, mushrooms and of course egg -- and we must say, it turned out absolutely wonderful. Jose enjoyed his slice with a Founders Dirty Bastard while Kelly sipped on a glass of Starborough Sauv Blanc.
ps - Special thanks to Jason for not only hosting a great gathering but playing this surprisingly good cover the other night. We both have never been fans of Bobby Bare Jr., but this cover of "Where is My Mind" might just have changed that.

Listen for yourself:

(mp3) Bobby Bare Jr. - Where is my mind (Pixies cover)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Top 5 Songs of The Week (Egg, Prosciutto and Spinach Pizza Edition because it is not just for dinner)

This past week has been a hard one for so many people -- between more people losing their jobs and those who have jobs dealing with more stress, especially the industries that we work in (banking and manufacturing). Let's not even begin to talk about the losses that continue to sustain in the stock market where people's 401K's are being destroyed as stocks once at over $50 a share are down to less than $3 & $4 dollars now. And then there is the weather over the last few days.... :(

With all that uplifting news, we decided to stay in last night and cook some pizza to cheer us up. Kelly perused the Food Networks's website and stumbled upon this healthy simple and delicious recipe from one our favorite's, Ellie Krieger. Lately we had been seeing a lot of recipes where you put an egg on top of a burger or a piece of pizza, etc. So we decided to give it a shot. Above is what it looked before the oven and below is the pièce de résistance (before we demolished it!). It was mighty tasty although next time we will add more garlic -- we always double if not triple the amount any recipe calls for and this pizza still did not have nearly enough garlic for us. . .we love to sweat it from our pores.
In other dining news, this evening we headed to our first meal at Le Petite Triangle for an early dinner before heading over to the Cleveland Public Threatre (aka CPT) to see the play "Unethical" by Margi Herwald Zitelli. This will also be our first trip to CPT. Then following the play we are stopping over to The Beachland to check out The Little Ones/Brett Dennen show.

For now, we hope you have a great Saturday and enjoy the following Top Songs of the Week:

5. (mp3) Tortured Soul - Did You Miss Me This song induces Jose to start dancing, clapping his hands, and bobbing his head in a way few songs can, especially without alcohol. The perfect combination of Jazz, NeoSoul, R&B, House music that is tailor made for commercial air-play. We expect to hear this particular song in the background of [insert popular teen drama here].

4. (mp3) Bell X1 - Blow Ins (Daytrotter Session) Bell X1 have a new record, Blue Lights On The Runway, coming out March 3rd, which this song appears on. We are fortunate enough to already have a copy and have been enjoying it for weeks now, a solid and varied album, so much to the point where on each track you might think you're listening to a different band (ie - David Byrne, Great Lake Swimmers, Andrew Bird, among others). Quite the departure from their previous material that always seemed to sound like another Snow Patrol meets Radiohead clone.

3. (mp3) Pomegranates - Corriander This foursome and woxy favorite is coming straight out of the 'Nati and is on tour next month to your town and to this year SXSW (but not to C-town, beh). They make sweet sounding art pop with some jagged guitar riffs that you won't chip your tooth on and that's just as lip smacking good as the fruit they are named after. Although Kelly might not completely agree with me, the vocals and instrumentation of Gemma Hayes comes to mind.

2. (mp3) The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition With guitar strumming and rhythms reminiscent of early U2 and vocals sweet as honey. These Aussies will be making many appearances at this year's SXSW as well as being heard on the trailer for (500) Days of Summer, the directorial debut of well known music video director, Marc Webb (who has directed music videos for Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, Brand New, et al). This film stars two current stars of the indie film world, Joseph Gordan Levitt and Zooey Deschanel and looks very promising and up our alley :) However, the narration on the trailer is pretty terrible.

1. (mp3) Cotton Jones - Gotta Cheer Up This group comprises of Michael Nau, who was the lead singer of Page France, and his partner in crime Whitney McGraw. On this new project they are churning out some beautifully soulful and haunting tunes that will have you humming in no time. They will be playing @ this year's SXSW but first will be headed to Cleveland on March 11th to play a show in the Tavern at The Beachland with locals Good Morning Valentine/The Modern Electric opening.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Costest: Win a Signed Little Ones Vinyl Record and T-Shirt

Throughout the past few weeks, we have really been digging the latest offering from The Little Ones, Morning Tide. And, as luck would have it, they are coming to Cleveland this Saturday at The Beachland Ballroom with Brett Dennen.

While listening to this eclectic band's music, one question that has been swimming around in our minds is: What/Who do you think exactly are influences behind The Little Ones sound?

Just contact us via the comment section or email ( and you have the opportunity to win a signed vinyl record and t-shirt -- we will choose the winner by Friday*

Listen for yourself:

[Mp3] The Little Ones - Morning Tide
[Mp3] The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover

Update: Here is a picture of the t-shirt (in case you were curious)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our First Rendezvous to L'Albatros

Despite the current economic conditions in our country, especially in Cleveland, we felt the need to do our part and help stimulate the economy, support the local dining scene by treating ourselves to a Valentine's Dinner at L'Albatros.
Entrée vous L'Albatros

José can't decide what to eat -- it all sounds so good...

This cheese guy was so very helpful, recommending some exquisite fromage for us to try. We really wanted to sample them all.

This was the fromage (with a lovely fig spread) we ended up devouring. Too bad we don't recall the names of any of them. Although, we're confident you cannot go wrong -- be sure to get a selection of cheeses if you come here!

The soup du jour (a mushroom bisque) was so tasty as was the Roasted Artichoke with Lemon Aioli

Our main course:
Kelly ordered superb and spicy mussels with pomme frites while José had some fantastic duck confit

Although we cannot remember the exact name of this dessert (it was a special for the evening), we thoroughly enjoyed it's light and complimentary flavors of white/dark chocolate and raspberry

Since it is Valentine's Day, at the end of the meal they gave Kelly a fancy rose made out of a napkin*

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (Valentine's Day Edition)

Last night we decided to come out of winter hibernation and make a night of it instead of staying in, as it's so tempting to do on such frigid Fridays. Since we had already made plans earlier in the week to hit up Asterisk's latest gallery opening with Justin, we thought we'd try and hit up one of the restaurants that we had not yet tried in Tremont. This however proved to be a little more difficult than we thought because of our last minute nature -- most places were booked solid. So we figured we would try our luck at La Tortilla Feliz, having heard lots of good things. Unfortunately, this idea wasn't a success -- apparently La Tortilla Feliz is closed again. Of course we didn't discover this news until we were actually passing the vacant restaurant. . .

We were left disappointed and hungry but quickly decided to head to The Tremont Tap House. It is great when life presents you with a challenge yet cooperates with you, leaving you with an outcome even better than originally anticipated. This was our 3rd time at the tap house (actually Kelly's 4th, she went there for a Sunday Brunch without me once) and they continue to make us want to return again and again. Between their delicious burgers (I had an awesome blue burger that I am going to dream about until I have one again), those great pretzels and of course their top notch beer selection.
After stuffing ourselves, we headed to over to asterisk which is by far our favorite gallery in Tremont. They always have the most unique shows -- last night's being the opening for the new show Thrice is Nice. We were fortunate enough to run into several friends while having the opportunity to meet Dana Depew, the owner himself (who he is a really nice guy) as well as the artist Michelle Murphy (who is really sweet and very talented). Her Nobody Says I Love You pubic art project. is definitely worth checking out.
While speaking to Michelle, we learned that The Vine and The Bean Cafe (aka Lucky's eastside edition) is having a special Valentine's Day Dinner -- we did not even know that they were having one but are super excited that they're now open. As far as our Valentine's Day plans, we are looking forward to heading over to L'Albatros Brasserie and hope that it hits the spot as the hype would suggest.

For now, we hope you're enjoying this "holiday" whether it's with with friends, family, or a significant other :)

5. (mp3) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Come Saturday Distortion pop à la Jesus and Mary Chain, but even more so their sound seems like it could be on the Labrador label, home to such indie twee fuzz pop bands as Club 8, LoveNinjas, Radio Dept., Sambassadeur, etc. etc. (there seriously are so many great bands on that label). Unlike those Swedish bands, this one is from New York.

4. (mp3) A Time & A Place - Love Triangle This Scottish foursome are the latest band to join the ranks of the awesome Team Love roster, not to be confused with this very cool local Team Love. They make acoustic pop music that has an edge, be careful not to prick your fingers on this one because it is not as smooth as it appears. We think it reminds us of Frightened Rabbit meets The Delgados.

3. (mp3) Alice Russell - Got The Hunger Kelly remarked as we were listening to this song "What is with the all these British girls and their soul?" That is a great question: where do they get it from? In case you don't see where we're going, Alice Russell is British and a soulstress -- this girl has even perfomed with The Roots and De La Soul. She is coming to the states this March, no date in C-town but she is slotted to play in Pittsburgh's The Club Cafe on March 11th.

2. (mp3) Weinland - I'm Sure It Helps First not to be confused with Weiland, this band is a five piece hailing from Portland, Oregon. Kelly and I both believe this music just sounds like something that would come from that state. It's rustic, simple and yet so beautiful. The sounds of Neil Young, Amandine and M. Ward come to mind.

1. (mp3) Chester French - She Loves Everybody The other night after we had just finished watching a dvr'd episode of Gossip Girl we were flipping threw the channels and headed over mtv 2. Every once in awhile we like to give mtv 2 a chance on the offhand chance we might see a cool video like we used to in our youth or at least see some band we knew about awhile back start to get big. Lucky for us when we flipped over we caught the video for this song. We had downloaded this track about 6 months ago but had not listened to it since. Check out this video to see what happens when two guys who are bored at Harvard decide to start making music and then Kanye happens to like what you are doing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Retro Wednesday Song: Rooms on Fire

Last night, in between cooking dinner and taking turns playing dj, we stumbled upon a rendition of Vampire Weekend performing Fleetwood Mac's Everywhere. I was particularly excited about this discovery, wondering why Jose didn't quite join in on my enthusiasm, but quickly remembered that he doesn't share the love I have for Fleetwood Mac and, more specifically, Stevie Nicks.

I have always attributed the origin of my affinity toward my most beloved *fundamental* female musicians (ie - Tori Amos, Liz Phair, Heather Nova, Fiona Apple, etc.) to the amount of time the 8-year old version of myself spent singing and dancing around to Stevie Nicks' The Other Side of the Mirror. My favorite song on that little cassette tape HANDS DOWN was "Rooms on Fire" and I used to hope to catch a piece of the music video on MTV -- although, I remember thinking it was weird that she was holding a baby in such a dangerous setting. I also remember my mom not necessarily approving of the whole "witch thing" that Stevie Nicks has always been associated with. . .I, of course, simply thought it made her much more interesting.

[Mp3] Vampire Weekend - Everywhere

Monday, February 09, 2009

Top 5 Songs of The week (we never posted last week)

Yesterday we, unlike a majority of Northeast Ohio, were neither at or watching the Cavs/Lakers game. You might wonder what could possibly keep us (at least me, for sure) away from that game (which was the biggest home game to date for the Cavs)???
First off, it was not a playoff game so you know what a difference that makes, but secondly we had the chance to go drink wine for free (very special thanks to our wine consultant buddy, Krista) and that it is really nice any day of the week, but on a Sunday it makes for a great way to pass the time till the work week begins a new.
Note: Let us tell you, it definitely pays to make friends with your local wine lady/man at *insert establishment* here.

We were fortunate enough to attend a private Cleveland wine event at Playhouse Square's State Theatre showcasing primarily boutique wines sold/distributed to Heinen's, local restaurants, country clubs, and other fine establishments in our fair city. We had the tough job (ha) of going around to all the tables trying to help pick some wines that Heinen's should stock at our local store. There were a ton of wineries at this event -- including Benton-Lane , Henry's Drive (you may recognize their super tasty Pillar Box Red), Flora Springs (perhaps you remember their wines Soliloquy and Trilogy) and Dalla Terrra (mmm their Badia a Coltibuono is quite nice).

All in all, we got to drink a lot of great wines and eat some tasty cheese (this baked brie with grille marks was soo good) - Kelly had such a good time that she passed out in the car on the way home!
Some random jams for us as of late:

5. (mp3) Midnight Masses - Heaven Originally from ATL, now holding it down in BRKLYN -- we can't seem to pin this sound down, but it is entrancing and kind of has a 70's vibe about it. Either way, definitely leaves me wanting more.

4. (mp3) Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Old Panda Days (featuring Nick Krgovich from No Kids) Some nice lo-fi indie-tronic bedroom pop music. Is that even a genre? His new one comes out on March 10th. We've never seen him live but I know he was in town at The Beachland back in Novemeber.

3. (mp3) The BPA - He's Frank (The Twelves Remix) A side project from Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim, on this remix we hear Iggy Pop but others included are Dizzee Rascal, David Byrne, Lateef and Martha Wainwright, et al. It's been proven time and again that The Twelves can do no wrong when it comes to remixes.

2. (mp3) Soy Un Caballo - Robin These guys are from Wales, despite their Spanish name, and make Sufjan Stevens-esque harmonies with bossa nova guitars. Despite what Justin says, Soy Un Caballo translates to "I am a horse" not "I am a stripper."

1. (mp3) Billie the Vision and the Dancers - Lilly from the Middleway Street Yes, there is yet another awesome group from Sweden making super catchy pop/twee/chamber music that makes you want to smile and dance :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

It's Business Time: Flight of The Conchords are coming to town!

We are super excited to announce (that is, if you have not heard already) that those crazy kiwis known as Bret and Jemaine of Flight of The Conchords are coming to Kent State @ The Mac Center on April 19th. Kristen Schaal (aka Mel) from the show will be opening for them. We almost went to go see them last summer in Columbus but did not know about the show until the night before and had to make a hasty decision not to go. We have currently being enjoying Season # 2 -- how do you feel about the new episodes thus far?

Below is one of our favorite songs from this current season:

They have so many great songs it is hard for us to choose our favorite, but we absolutely love this one:

(mp3) Flight Of The Conchords - Sellotape (Pencils In The Wind)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Recipe for the Super Bowl

While flipping through Food & Wine Magazine prior to last year's Super Bowl, we stumbled upon this fantastic Lump Crab Salsa Recipe by Michael Symon. Just scanning the ingredients (cilantro, jalapeno, red bell pepper, almonds, and crab meat of course) makes it impossible not to salivate. We quickly got ourselves to Heinen's and started putting together what we ended up bringing to a Super Bowl Party (pictured above with Little Soy Blues and Pecan Nut Thins). We've brought lots of delicious appetizers to various gatherings, but nothing has been more of a hit than the Lump Crab Salsa*

Note: Although a fairly simple recipe to create, be prepared to spend a little extra $$ on the crab. If only crab meat cost less, then we'd be bringing this appetizer to a lot more parties*

[Mp3] Bon Iver - Your Love (The Outfield cover) Just because this song is too unique and beautiful to keep to ourselves. . .