pizza lovin': Franny's

What's better than pizza and wine? That's right, nothing; well except really good pizza and really good wine. Once a month I'll be seeking out a New York restaurant to enjoy a pie and a glass. Occasionally I'll even attempt to make my own pizza. To kick-start this wonderful journey of pizza gastronomy, I chose Franny's, located in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

First, you should know my background with pizza. Growing up, my mother made her own pizza, completely from scratch. Freshly made dough, the sauce was a puree of roasted tomatoes from the garden, and although she still has yet to make her own mozzarella, I'm sure she is up for the challenge. Basically, I love pizza. The simpler (just tomato sauce, cheese, and basil) and more rustic, the better.

Back to Franny's; dinner started off with a glass of white and appetizers, then slowly transitioned to a full body, bold red to enjoy with the pizza. I can't say that I loved the appetizers;  1. a plate of swordfish, thinly slices radishes and parsley lightly dressed in olive oil and 2. fried green tomatoes. Good, but nothing to write home about. The glass of white, a 2010 Alois Lageder Muller-Thurgau Dolomiti from Trentino Alto Adige, Italy was recommended by the waitress, and it was fabulous. Well balanced, and reminiscent of a Riesling with flowers and honeysuckle, balanced by the wine's acidity.

After an unimpressive first course, I was skeptical about the pizza. All skepticism left after my first bite though. The crust was thin in the middle, light and fluffy around the edges, and the sauce was perfect. Fresh, zesty, perfect for a summer pizza. The mozzarella was not overdone as it often is, but more basil would have been welcome. Overall, this was a fantastic pizza! And the wine!! Ooooooo the wine! Again with the waitress' advice, we settled on  the 2008 Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano, and like the white wine, from Trentino Alto Adige, a North Eastern region of Italy. A dry bold red wine that I cannot wait to drink again.

Next time, I'm skipping the appetizers and going straight to a pizza and a bottle.

Side note; It's get even better! Franny's is an environmentally conscious company, sourcing organic/local/real food. Read about it here.


wine of the night: 2009 Muller-Catoir Riesling

Inspired by Terroir's Summer of Riesling (a great wine bar in the city that likes to celebrate riesling during the summer), I decided to drink a trocken (trocken = dry) riesling tonight. Riesling is so perfect for summer, and there are so many types of rieslings with varying dryness, complexities, and flavors ranging from apricot to burnt caramel to stones. Unfortunately, I picked a dud with a cool label. This riesling is dry with nice mineral notes, but the finish is so short that you will forget what you are drinking after one sip. Seriously, I expect more from a $25 bottle.

However, the salad I made was absolutely DE-LISH!! Shaved brussel sprouts, parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts, and a touch of lime juice and grape seed oil. Combine and enjoy!


wine of the night: 2010 Chilean Syrah

It's been a busy week but Sunday is here; a day of rejuvenation and preparation for the week ahead. So tonight I'm settling down with a glass of Vina Quintay's 2010 Clava Coastal Reserve Syrah from Casablanca Valley, Chile. It's a very young wine and slightly hot (read: a touch alcoholic on the finish), but not unbalanced. Blackberries, chocolate, and very slight pepper flavors appear. A Syrah that is very drinkable and enjoyable; a great wine to bring with you when visiting friends for the night, or just for relaxing on a Sunday evening.


Vina Quintay 2010 Syrah, $13


wine pairing: sauvignon blanc with roasted peppers

Today I whipped up a bit of wasabi arugula pesto to serve with a couple roasted Italian peppers topped with gruyere and cheddar. It was a light and flavorful lunch that I paired with two Sauvignon Blancs. Both 2010 vintage from California. The Teira Woods Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is from the Dry Creek Valley and the Longboard Vineyards wine is from the Russian River Valley.

Starting with the food; this dish was incredibly easy to prepare. I made the pesto in the morning to allow time for the flavors to blend, but you could also prepare it right before serving. I simply blended wasabi arugula, pine nuts, walnuts (for the omega-3's and because I was low on pine nuts), garlic cloves, shredded parmesean cheese and salt. I then added enough olive oil in order for the mixture to blend nicely. The Italian peppers were first browned lightly using direct heat from the stove burners, then sliced lengthwise and gently filled with grated cheese. I mixed a raw gruyere and raw cheddar, but you could be more creative. I then roasted the peppers in the oven at 375 until the cheese melted, broiling afterward until the cheese browned just a touch. Once the peppers are done, let them sit for a minute or two and top with the pesto. Easy Peasy, right!!

2010 Longboard Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, $19.99 and 2010 Teira Woods Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, $14.99

Now for the wine tasting! Both bottles are from California Wine Merchants. The Longboard Sauvignon Blanc is fresh, light, and more acidic that the Teira, which is softer but still a bright wine. Although I liked both wines, I recommend the Teira for a dish like this one. The peppers and pesto have a ton of flavors, but many of these flavors are delicate and some subtle. The Teira really compliments the dish, while the zesty Longboard seemed to wash those flavors away, and even clash with the spicy wasabi arugula. I throughly enjoyed the Teira with the wasabi flavor! And this wine has enough acid to cut through the oils of the cheese and pesto without overpowering the dish.

Cheers All!


wine pairing: rhubarb chutney

This past July 4th weekend just happened to turn into a super-great super-girly mini staycation. I embraced floral pants, drank sparkling rose and Prosecco, and brought out my crafty, DIY side and made a chandelier. I also decided to cook with a food that I have yet to use; Rhubarb. Intrigued by the vegetable which looks like celery but commonly associated with pie, I decided to give it a go. I wanted to do something creative, but was not in to mood for pie. I found a recipe on Martha's website (of course, I love Martha!) for a rhubarb chutney to pair with a sharp cheese.

This recipe was easy to make and tasted wonderful with the strong, sharp cheese. I selected a raw cow cheese from Stinky Bklyn. Although the appetizer probably would have been delightful with a baguette, my flour phobia kicked in and I decided to bake squares of my good ol' sprouted bread with a drizzle of olive oil. 

I paired three wines with this recipe. 1. A dry sparkling rose, 2. Prosecco, and 3. the same Sauvignon Blanc which I used to make the chutney. My bias lied toward the rose, hence I dressed up the champagne glass with a cute bow, but it was actually my least favorite with the chutney and cheese. The sweetness of the chutney brought out the subtle sweet flavors of the rose, which I was not looking for. The Prosecco was nice, cut through the chutney and complimented the sharp cheese. This elegant wine was crisp with slight apple flavors, complimenting the rhubarb and the dash of cinnamon I threw into the mixture. Even though the Sauvignon Blanc also paired nicely, as I suspected since I used this wine the make the chutney, the Procescco just seemed to be meant for this dish. And who doesn't love some bubbly with their fireworks!

From left to right: Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose, $16.99; Carpene Malvolti Prosecco, $11.99; 2010 Pierre Duret Quincy Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99.

And just in case you're interested, here is my DIY chandelier!


wine of the night: 2009 Picpoul de Pinet

Today I officially jumped on board the trendy kale chip train. You have probably heard of kale chips by now, most likely from your friends who shop at farmer's markets and are members of CSA's. I like to believe the kale chi craze started like this:

"So we got a bunch of kale with our CSA box today. WTF am I supposed to do with this?" Then sampling a bit of the kale, "Eww." And after a quick google search; "I know, I'll just coat the kale in some oil and bake it into 'chips,' I'm awesome!"

They may be trendy; you may feel like a total hippie when you make them, and yes, you will see small boxes of kale chips for $10 at your grocery store (obviously marketed to the dimwitted, a bundle of kale cost $2), but they are delicious and are fabulous with the right wine white.

2009 Domaine Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet, $10.99

This afternoon I baked up some kale chips with a touch of coconut oil and sea salt and enjoyed a light, acidic, and mineral white wine of the Picpoul de Pinet varietal. This Domaine Guillemarine Picpoul was so pleasant with a salty snack on a warm, relaxing summer day. I love the mineral, earthy flavors, and there is sharpnessto the wine (although not harsh in the least)  that clears your palate, readying you for the next bite (or chip).

I recommend drinking this wine with food, something salty in natural, perhaps as you are preparing for July 4th feasts!