ex·haus·tion: Noun: A state of extreme physical or mental fatigue. The action or state of using something up or of being used up completely: "exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves".
To say I am exhausted in an understatement. I was exhausted when I got off the plane. The state I am in now can probably only be described as hyperfatigue-induced zombism. The fact that I am sitting here now, trying to crank out homework assignments is proof that I have completely lost my mind. The only thing really keeping me going right now is my fourth cup of coffee and the fact that the rest of the household is asleep. Sleep…
I knew what my sister would look like in recovery, after her operation. I knew that she would be out of it, I knew she would be uncomfortable, I knew she would be confused.
I didn’t know that she would have trouble breathing, I didn’t know that the drains coming from her body would be so big, and that there wouldn’t be anything I could really do to make her feel better.
Standing in post op next to her “bed on wheels”, I took her hand and stroked her forehead as I tried not to cry. Key word: tried. I tried to help her breathe. “Take short, slow breaths” I said to her as we inhaled and exhaled together. I thought, if she can’t take a deep breath, maybe short breaths would help her get some oxygen. There’s nothing more panick inducing than not being able to breathe. An instinct nature instilled in us, and for good reason. Seeing her there, so pitiful and in pain, I felt a strong sense of my world crumbling around me.
I began to feel dizzy, nauseous. And then I got hot. Really hot. Suddenly the walls of the room were caving in on me. I knew I was going down if I didn’t do something. I saw a chair and headed straight for it. The nurse asked me if I was OK. I said yes. My mother asked me if I was ok. I said yes. The head nurse said “it costs money to pick you up off the floor”. I put my head in-between my legs and just let the tears fall.
How could I have lost it like that, with my beloved sister the way she was? Why did I have to fall apart? I guess the feeling is similar to the way new fathers are when their wives are in labor. You just can’t take seeing someone you love going through something so awful, and you can’t do anything to stop it.
I wanted to trade places with her. I wanted to be the one in that hospital bed, the one with a changing body, the one with the broken heart. I would have given anything to have to hear my own the bad news, instead of being the one that had to say it. But I wasn’t.
It’s not over yet. This is just the beginning. More surgeries, more pain, more drugs, more hospitals. But there’s one thing we’ve got that the enemy doesn’t. Each other. And so help me god, I will be there through EVERY step of the way. Even if it means I have to literally pick myself up off the floor to keep on going.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." - Bilbo Baggins
I love to hike. Exploring new places with my dogs is one of the highlights of living and the time in my life where I am the most happy. Each smell, sound, sight that provides new excitement and they experience pure joy exploring everything.
Today, I am with my family, preparing for my sister’s double mastectomy on Monday. It’s strange being back here so quickly after the holidays. Normally, I visit only once a year. This year is different.
Through her shirt, you can see the growing tumor. Her body is lopsided and we are all hiding the fear about events to come. That’s what courage is- being able to keep going, even though you are afraid.
So we hike. Mother has a place she frequents by the river and we pack up her Boarder Collie mix and press on. There is wildlife everywhere, from birds to turtles to the occasional small animal wrestling in the bushes. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of LA. It is quiet here. The kind of quiet that takes time to get used to, but that somehow puts you at ease. In the quiet is suspense, the unknown.
Barnabas, my mother’s dog, is named for the son of encouragement in a biblical story. I think its a fitting name for any dog. “Barney” bounds through the thicket exploring everything new and checking out everything familiar to him. He consistently stops to look over his shoulder, the look in his eye saying “come on guys! There’s more stuff to explore”. He is an encouragement. We press on.
I guess that is what life is about. I used to walk through everyday holding my breath and wondering “when is the next shoe going to drop”, always afraid when the phone rings, always expecting bad news. But it isn’t just my life, forever getting bad news. It’s everyone’s life. And if we can have the courage to explore life the way Barnabas does, encouraged, the new experiences can transform from fear to excitement.
I know we were supposed to post something on tumblr about our field assignment, but I just wanted to post my actual assignment because it’s something I’m actually proud of. Apologizes if that sounds arrogant of me, but I think I put some good work into it and I hope it highlights the skills I have attempted to develop as a writer.
I had received a speeding ticket in November on the way to my 8am class last quarter and I was thinking that so many students commute that it might be helpful for them to know what protocol to follow when they get a ticket, as well as an unbiased view of what their options are for handling the ticket. I hope I didn’t put my own agenda in the article, and please advice if you see anything that isn’t “fair and balanced”. But what reporter is really fair and balanced anyways? Don’t they all at some point push their ideals onto other people too?
Anyway, I hope to get some feedback on my field assignment. If anyone has any notes, I welcome constructive criticism!
For many Cal Poly Pomona faculty and students, commuting to campus is a daily ritual and a way of life. Most Broncos have anywhere from a 30 minute commute to upwards of an hour to two hours each way. Gas prices and tuition add up, but the cost of a speeding ticket can outweigh a quarter’s worth of gas, and even tuition.
“Commuting has huge effects on my mental well being” said Cal Poly student Andrea Smith.
“Sitting in traffic is more stressful and exhausting than any of my classes. And by the time I get to school, going through a full day is difficult” said Smith.
So how can commuters handle the freeways and side streets, especially when running late for a quiz, midterm, or as a professor, a class that is counting down each minute before deeming that you just aren’t having class that day?
The first thing you can do, recommends DMV.org (not affiliated with DMV.gov), is drive safely and follow the speed limit. It is estimated that approximately 34,000 people die in the United States in car accidents each year (FontanaHeroldNews).
Every mile per hour that a person drives multiplies the energy released in a potential crash. For instance, a car driving 60 MPH has twice as much momentum and energy than a car driving 40 MPH.
Most people who get pulled over on the freeway are usually “going 7-10 miles over” said Garden Grove Police Department Master Officer I, Adam Coughran. Coughran, who has been an officer for over seven years, says that the 7-10 MPH buffer “accounts for the vehicle’s speedometer maybe being off, the calibration of the laser/radar gun, and environmental factors”.
But speed in a school zone anything over 30 MPH and you are guaranteed to get a ticket, he said.
Citizens who do get pulled over should know that routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous aspects of an officer’s job. The two aspects of pulling someone over that carry the most potential for danger are the fact that an officer must drive faster than the speeder to catch up with them and pull them over, sometimes averaging over 100 MPH.
The other factor is “the reason they are speeding to begin with. It may simply be someone running late for work or who didn’t realize they were speeding, or it may be a dangerous subject who is speeding trying to get away from a scene of a crime. You just never know who you are stopping” said Coughran.
The first thing you should do if you are being pulled over is to slow down and find a safe location for an officer to approach your passenger side door. The safer the officer is, the easier your stop will go.
If you are being pulled over at night, turn on your interior light and leave your hands on the wheel. Officers don’t know if you are reaching into your glove box for your registration or a weapon (which could be probable cause for a search/seizure).
Nolo.com further explains the process of being stopped: roll your passenger window down all the way for the officer and wait for instructions. Know that if you attempt to throw something out the window it could be deemed probable cause and your vehicle may be searched.
The officer may ask you if you know why you were pulled over. The best answer to this is “I’m not sure”. This way you are avoiding admitting any guilt. Anything you say will likely be written on the officer’s notes and can be held against you in court.
You should also make notes after the officer has issued you your ticket, stating what the weather conditions are, traffic conditions, what the officer said, and what you said. This will help you when/if you decide to go to court.
You may receive a warning from the officer.
“If I am working a problem area that has had lots of citizen complaints or accidents, I may not give any warnings. If I am just on patrol and I see a violation, stop the vehicle, and the violator has a good attitude and I think a warning would serve them better than a ticket, I may give a warning” said Coughran.
Once the officer has pulled you over and issued you a ticket, you will be asked to sign the ticket which states that you agree you were pulled over. It does not mean that you are admitting to being guilty. The officer will give you a court date and time by which you are to have paid the ticket, made a declaration by mail, or you can go to the court and request a court date from the clerk.
Some people mistakenly believe that police officers get to “pick” what day they go to court, and that most officers choose their day off so that they can earn overtime. This is a common misconception. For Coughran, court dates are predetermined by the agency and are about 90 days away from the date of the ticket. Whether he is working on that day or not, the day an agency assigns is the day the officer must assign you.
According to the citizen run website TicketAssasin.com, after you have received your ticket, you have several options to render it complete. You may declare by mail, and if the officer has not responded to your declaration within one week, your ticket is dismissed (this happens approximately 30 percent of the time).
You may admit guilt and pay your ticket and suffer whatever points you accrue on your driving record, or you may attempt to fight the ticket in front of a judge. Usually people only win in court if the officer fails to appear and the case is dismissed.
You can also pay the ticket and attend traffic school if you haven’t received a moving violation within 18 months of the ticket date to avoid penalties on your record and insurance.
The most important thing for commuters to know is that saving a few minutes on the freeway isn’t worth the risk of personal injury or the expense and hassle of a ticket.
Cal Poly Pomona commuter James Vo has been pulled over multiple times and has received 3 tickets from California Highway Patrol, once on his motorcycle and twice in his car. He drives 24,000 miles a year on his bike and in his car commuting to and from Cal Poly. “It (tickets) is the risk a commuter takes, either down the street or from a different city” said Vo.
“I really wish I didn’t speed. But the thing is that people average 70-75 MPH on the highway. And sometimes its just an unlucky draw” said Vo.
"I'm not an alcoholic. Alcoholics go to meetings. I'm a drunk, and we go to parties"
Instead of writing about what I am drinking, tonight I am writing about why I’m NOT drinking.
My most recent overindulgence last week led me to a two day hangover which restricted my academic activities. I have worked incredibly hard over the last 6 years to be this close to graduating with my bachelors. The last 3 years, I have managed to earn all A and several Bs in my courses. To have my hard work become threatened by an all night booze fest is a SERIOUS problem. It’s one thing if I want to go out on a Friday or Saturday and drink to excess with some friends and recover responsibly. It’s a whole other ball game when my alarm goes off at 6am for class and I’m still fighting bed spins. Tonight, it’s drinks off.
I have to be honest, pasta without wine is an odd experience. I’m having capellini with broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms and a chard or Pinot noir would be a delightful compliment to this dish. My self imposed rehab (SIR) is making me a little insane. I decided that getting together with a friend (read drinking buddy) is just too tempting. I’m taking myself out to dinner and that’s that. I have a dessert date with a gentleman I met on Santa Monica Blvd. dessert is a great choice, because there’s no booze involved. I don’t think I’ve had a first date where I didn’t drink. This should be interesting:)
I’m hoping my sir won’t last too long, but I still feel that awful hangover feeling whenever I think about a drink. So maybe it will be awhile.
Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading!
Cheers, Salude, Prost, Jambo, Young sing, A Votre sante!!
Did you know that next to water and tea, beer is one of the oldest beverage in human history? The ancient Egyptians built models of themselves brewing beer, which they believe would be with them in the afterlife. I think the Egyptians were really on to something with that idea, because in my version of the afterlife, both heaven and hell… there’s beer! Archeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in developing civilizations. Beer has been bringing people together since we started harvesting crops 30,000 years ago. Explorers in the 1400s went searching for spices for their food and booze. That’s power!
Each culture has different customs with their alcohol- Russians developed Vodka, Hispanics developed Tequila, and the Irish developed Whisky. Each different culture has different social norms surrounded around drinking. The Russians believe that when you open a bottle of Vodka, you finish it in a sitting. Tequilas can have insects in their bottles to enhance flavors. Here are some interesting cultural statistics, borrowed from www.sirc.org:
All societies, without exception, make use of intoxicating substances, alcohol being by far the most common.
The persistence of alcohol use, on a near-universal scale, throughout human evolution, suggests that drinking must have had some significant adaptive benefits, although this does not imply that the practice is invariably beneficial.
From the earliest recorded use of alcohol, drinking has been a social activity, and both consumption and behavior have been subject to self-imposed social controls.
There is enormous cross-cultural variation in the way people behave when they drink. In some societies (such as the UK, Scandinavia, US and Australia), alcohol is associated with violent and anti-social behavior, while in others (such as Mediterranean and some South American cultures) drinking behavior is largely peaceful and harmonious.
This variation cannot be attributed to different levels of consumption or genetic differences, but is clearly related to different cultural beliefs about alcohol, expectancies regarding the effects of alcohol and social norms regarding drunken comportment.
The findings of both cross-cultural research and controlled experiments indicate that the effects of alcohol on behavior are primarily determined by social and cultural factors, rather than the chemical actions of ethanol.
In all cultures, drinking is a rule-governed activity, hedged about with self-imposed norms and regulations concerning who may drink how much of what, when, how, in what contexts, with what effects, etc. - rules which are often the focus of strong emotions.
Although variations in these rules and norms reflect the characteristic values, attitudes and beliefs of different cultures, there are significant cross-cultural similarities or ‘constants’ in the unwritten rules governing alcohol use.
Analysis of cross-cultural research reveals four near-universal ‘constants’:
1. Proscription of solitary drinking
2.Prescription of sociability
3. Social control of consumption and behavior
4. Restrictions on female and ‘underage’ drinking.
These historical and geographical stats were fascinating to me. I never stopped to think about how the global community drinks, what they drink, and that when we adopt their beverages in some ways we also adopt their behaviors. Even every country has a different drinking age! It’s really quite amazing how consuming alcoholic beverages, from wine, beer, whisky, rum, tequila, gin, vodka, and even sake, has an effect on us.
When contemplating what to write about tonight, I took a look in my fridge and realized that I had one beer left. With some disappointment and trepidation, I looked in the wine rack to see what my options were. The only thing there was a merlot that I had opened before leaving for the Christmas holiday. That’s the problem with wine- it really doesn’t keep. With limited options to drink while writing, this blog may be more like a history lesson than a taste test.
I often find myself buying a merlot (my grandmother, a true southern belle calls it “mer-lot”, bless her heart). I don’t know why but I tend to really enjoy the wine. It’s black color, medium body (body is the sense of the alcohol in the mouth and the feeling in the mouth) and fruity flavors tend to be exactly what I’m looking for. The softness is delightful. The name merlot comes from the french word merle for blackbird, and according to wikipedia, the blackness of the wine, or the fact that blackbirds enjoy the grape helped name the wine.
The merlot grape is the second most frequently planted grape followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon. The merlot’s fleshiness and early ripening make it an great blending grape. The Cabernet also has lots of tannin (the flavor of unripened fruit), which the merlot grape helps to calm.
When paring merlot with food, Fiona Beckett recommends on her website matchingfoodandwine.com to pair the soft, fleshy merlot with Italian food, pizza, and charcuterie, and foods with chicken, mushroom and parmesan. A medium bodied wine would pair well with steak or casseroles. An strong and acidic merlot would pair well with spicy foods, ethnic dishes, and short ribs.
My favorite soft bodied merlot is the Stags’ Leap. Its a delightful wine that I love to celebrate with.
This quarter is coming to an end and I have to say that I have really enjoyed maintaining this blog. I have learned quite a bit about wine and beer through this assignment and it has been practical and useful.
For example, I was invited to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with friends and I couldn’t decide what kind of wine to bring. Red? White? I stood in the aisle for almost twenty minutes as I stared at the wines and tried to think of something that would go with white meat (which I don’t eat), as well as with the sides (which I DO eat!). Between debating a Chardonnay to a Merlot, I realized that in one of my blogs I had written that a Pinot Noir goes with just about everything. I found a nice MacMurray Pinot Noir that is grown on the central coast of California. Remembering that the Pinot is a difficult grape to grow, I knew it would be slightly more expensive than the other wines. Luckily I found a bottle discounted about 30 percent, which was fantastic because it was in my price range but also a nice bottle.
I’ve also enjoyed learning about the different beers. Its so cool to sit at a bar and talk about beers, the yeasts, and how they are brewed. Knowing a Pilsner is bottom fermented, comes from the Czech Republic and is brewed at cooler temperatures earns me major cool points with those in the know. I’ve learned so much about what I like and why I like it. It’s been a fantastic assignment and I’ve absolutely enjoyed all of the research and I have done for this blog. I think I’m going to “keep blogging”!
Thanks for reading and I hope you learned something!
Wow, I have REALLY been behind on my blogging! Whoopsy! For this week, I’m going to write about what makes a beer a certain type of beer. Like, why is a blonde a blonde? And what’s the difference between an Ale and a Lager. Get ready! But before we start, I’m having a “Pale Moon” by the Blue Moon Brewing Company. What are YOU having?! Throughout my research (ok, according to About.com), all beer can be categorized into either an Ale or a Lager, based on the type of yeast used. Ales have a higher brew temperature, and lagers have lower temperatures by about 15-30 degrees. Most beers are only fermented for a few weeks. A Pilsner is a LAGER that originate in Czech and is a pale lager. It is a bottom fermented beer (whereas most beer is fermented on the top), which improved clarity and self life of the beer. It is light and clear and yellow in color. It has a distinctive hop aroma and flavor. Its different than other lagers because of the hops and color. The INDIA PALE ALE is an ale that originated during the colonization of India (as told to me by Marcus, the “dirty jokes” bartender). The beer that was first sent to Englanders in India went bad on the boat ride to India, so the brewmasters added three times as much hops and shipped it off. The beer was supposed to be diluted… But WHO in their right mind would dilute beer? A STOUT is a descendent of PORTER and the main difference is gravity (of the ratio of fermentable vs unfermentable substances in the brew). A stout or porter is black in color and has a rich, creamy head (the bubbly stuff on top). The color and flavor of a stout can be attributed to unmalted barley. It originated in England and Ireland. A Hefe-Weizen is any beer that is brewed as a wheat beer (usually 30-70%). This beer is pale and cloudy and is served unfiltered. Wheat beer is an ale.
Last night I had the pleasure of meeting friends (old and new) at a bar in Hollywood called District 13. It’s right next to Big Wangs and fortunately, has a better atmosphere. There’s nothing against Big Wangs, but just I don’t generally tend to go for the loud sports bar type of place. With the many microbrews on tap and “build your own sausage” menu, I knew I was in the right place. Bartender Russell was quite helpful in helping me find a beer and offered quite a few samples, which I always find to be a positive thing. Nothing sucks more than ordering a beer and having it not be what you were expecting yet being stuck with a full 12 to 16 ounces.
I initially started with an IPA sample, but it just wasn’t something I wanted to drink for another 45 min. Russell asked “you want something with more or less flavor”, to which I replied “LESS!”, which lead into a game of “Guess This Beer”. I love “Guess This Beer”. It’s probably one of my favorite games of all time, and it was conceived at the Santa Barbara Brewing Company. If you’ve never played, go somewhere that offers flights or that will give you samples. Then taste all the beers with your eyes open and really appreciate each of the different flavors. I tend to rename the beers with terms like “Chocolate”, “Christmas Tree”, “Special K” or any kind of item that hits me as I first taste the beer. It makes the flavors more personal… Anyway, then you close your eyes and have your partner hand you a beer. You then have to guess which beer you drank. It’s like a mixture of beer, memory and matching.
So, Russell gave me the choice between “number 1 or number 2”. I went with number one, and it turned out to be Lagunitas “Little Sumpin’ Wild”. Lagunitas is a brewery located in Petaluma, CA and is known (by those in the know) for it’s Hairy Eyeball Stout and Recession Ale. And I’ll pass on a little tip from the friendly bartender: “California beers on tap are always better, because they are fresh”. Thanks for sharing, Russell! Lagunitas describes the Little Sumpin Wild as “Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness.” For a virtual taste, check out the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5C8tyLQpeM&feature=youtu.be
Monday evening I embarked on something we can all either love or hate- a first date. The gentleman was a lovely North Londoner with sexy accent, great taste in wine and a strong love of beer; three pluses in my book. He picked me up at home, opened every door and took me to one of my favorite local restaurants - The Village Idiot. It was a lovely first date. He left picking the wine to me, but mentioned he enjoyed Pinot Noir. I am trying to keep US money in the US economy so I’ve only been buying California wines. And there was a California Pinot Noir:) I chose the Deception from the Spoiled Dog Winery. It paired well with our grilled Brussels Sprouts and Fish and Chips (which were EXCELLENT, by the way!)
About Pinot Noir: According to About.com writer Stacy Slinkard, Pinot Noir (Pee-noh-n’wahr) is a difficult grape to grow. The climate a pinot noir grape requires is consistently hot days with cool evenings, which California provides:) Because it is difficult to grow, the price point for a pinot noir tends to be higher than other wines. Pinots tend to pair well with just about any food, which is good to know if you don’t know what you are eating when you order or purchase wine (mental note) at the market for the following week. The taste notes of a pinot are hints of “sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor, depending on specific growing conditions” (http://wine.about.com/od/redwines/g/PinotNoir.htm).
About Spoiled Dog Wineries and Deception: I instantly love the name of this winery, as I have two very lovely and very spoiled dogs:) However, The Spoiled Dog Winery needs some help with its website. There isn’t much information published about their wines and it is difficult to navigate. So sorry folks, but you are going to have to rely on my fuzzy memory of the wine in lieu of a professional’s tasting notes. I found this wine to be light, woody and fruity. It was very pleasant to drink and I found the bottom the the bottle a little too soon. It was priced around $38, and I believe it isn’t a readily available wine (as in, you can’t pick it up at Ralphs). I recommend giving it a try if you see a bottle.
It’s October, friends, and that means… OKTOBERFEST! I love trying the different seasonal beers that the breweries come up with, and Hoptober by the New Belgium Brewing Company is no exception. I picked up a sixer (about $7.50) on Sunday and have enjoyed this brew over the past week. The New Belgium Brewing Company, which is most famous for its Fat Tire amber ale, describes this beer as “a medium-bodied ale with a creamy mouthfeel. Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Willamette, and Glacier hops form a bonfire of citrus notes, fruity cheers and a bold finale.” (http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=6780bca7-5177-4fb5-8665-1a2721d12236). The “bold finale” is stretching it a little, but it does have a nice, strong finish. The fruity and citrus flavors are good without being too strong or overpowering. Its a nice, light beer that works in both warm and cold weather, as we have had temperatures in the 60s and 100s this week.
The history of Oktoberfest according to wikipedia, and I am paraphrasing, goes a little something like this: Oktoberfest is a German festival (or Volksfest) that started in 1810 in Munich, Bavaria. The festival is between 16 and 18 days, staring in late September, and ends on the first Sunday of October. Beer which is brewed in the Munich city limits is the only beer served, and it has about 2 percent higher alcohol content. In WWII, Oktoberfest was replaced with Autumn Fest, and only regular beer was allowed (Nazis!).
As of right now, I am three glasses in, and life is good. I’ve had two different Chardonnays, both tasting very different, and now I am on a Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s the Indelible Wines Vintage Ink, and it is GOOD. It is full bodied with black currant and cherry aromas, dry, (the taste on the back of your tongue) and Emmy Award Winning Ryan Slater says quote “It’s REALLY GOOD”. This wine goes very well with a moist, upper crust Chino Bakery champagne cupcake. The whole package is amazing and perfect for a Friday evening. You really can’t ask for anything better than good friends, conversation, wine and sweets.
“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” - Benjamin Franklin
I think Ben Franklin hit the nail on the head when he said the quote above. Last Sunday , I spent several hours at Mercantile, a lovely wine bar on Sunset, sitting outside in 75 degree sunshine, sipping a crisp chardonnay with good friends and it was wonderful. So this week’s blog is dedicated to several things I love- chardonnay and beautiful weather.
I wish I could afford to drink Stag’s Leap or Cakebread any day of the week. These are my favorite wines of all time, thus far. Unfortunately, I am a college student and my budget only allows me the occasional splurge. If I am going to purchase a nice bottle that’s out of my usual $10-$20 bottle, a Stag’s Leap or Cakebread is the way I am going to go. Fortunately for me, however, a Stag’s Leap’s winemaker decided to produce his own vino, thus creating the Hess Collection.
A little about Chardonnay:
Any type of wine is based on the type grape that it is made from. White wines come from the white grapes, red wines come from red grapes, and pink wines come from a mixture of both types of grapes. The chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the United States, and it was reported in 2010 that 95,271 acres of chardonnay grapes were planted in the US alone. A chardonnay is supposed to taste like “green apple, fig and citrus flavors, a complex aroma, and high acidity for a crisp wine. The wine is often aged in oak to produce toasty, vanilla and buttery overtones” (see references).
The Hess Chardonnay:
The Hess family owns multiple wineries in Napa Valley, California. The 2009 Hess Collection chardonnay, to which I refer in this blog, is grown in southern Napa Valley, and according to the HessCollection.com description of the wine (see references below) “shows aromas of honeysuckle, and follows with apple, pear and nectarine on the palate”. This wine is fermented for nine months in french oak, which is supposed to add the toasty, buttery overtones. Aparently, the marine layer from being so close to San Francisco Bay and the afternoon breezes create ideal growing conditions for Chardonnay. The absence of heat strikes in the spring and summer of 2009 allowed the sugar of the grapes to stay in balance (ref below).
Ok- back to reality, where none of us are wine experts, and we drink because we can. When I sip this wine, can I distinctively taste the apple, pear and nectarine? Not so much, but only because I’m not an expert. But it is a good wine. I could drink it alone, with dinner, with a cheese plate, with a friend or keep it in my fridge for the week. Today is a little cool for SoCal (about 70), but this wine still hits the spot. I drank this with baked tilapia and mashed potatoes on Monday evening, and then I drank it Wednesday with a bre and machanga cheese plate, and now, as I sit down to blog about this wine, I pour myself a glass. My beloved dogs (can you think of better company?) are sleeping on the floor, and we have the front door open and we are all happy. The sun sets in the living room, making shadows longer and the wine sparkly, and its amazing what a good wine can do; how it can lift your spirits and help you appreciate the finer things in life. If you ever have a chance, give any of the Hess Collections a try. You won’t be disappointed. And, as always, I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts!
Saturday afternoon I headed to one of my favorite LA bars, Rosewood Tavern (http://rosewoodtavern.com/). If you’ve never been to Rosewood, the bar itself is gorgeous. Wood paneling, exposed beams and huge french doors that open onto Fairfax make this bar truly beautiful and unique. Commanding the center of the room is a long wooden table stretching almost the length of the room with benches on either side, adding to the cozy, community feel of the bar. Here, the opportunity to converse with those around you is quite easy, and the folks that frequent Rosewood are people that you would actually like to be friends with (a rarity in this town). It’s around 4pm, and the bar is quiet, nearly empty. Aside from the few regulars (which I only know from overhearing the gossiping bartenders), I snag a barstool at the end of the bar and prepare to tuck into the menu. It’s one that I know well, and yet always have something new to try. For food, I order a baked potato (a greasy, cheesy compliment to the beers I’m about to enjoy) with everything on the side.
Now for the beer… I ask the bartender to “surprise me” and a few minutes later I have 16 ounces divided into a Hefe, Blonde, White and Ale. As I mentioned in my first post, I’m not an expert. But I really enjoyed these beers! The ale was the Bootlegger’s Palomino, an APA (or American Pale Ale) that is brewed locally, if Fullerton is considered local (http://www.bootleggersbrewery.com/index.php/Our-Beers/ ). I liked the light, citrus flavors with a hint of barley. It was easy to drink, refreshing and simple. The Hefe is one of my standby favorite types of beers. I really enjoy light beers in general, and the Hefeweizen is a wheat beer that tends to be rather citrusy, and less hoppy. I don’t remember which Hefe I had (apologies), but I do remember that it was a nice compliment to the flight, added slight variety and allowed me to taste the subtle differences the different light beers. The white was the Mort Subite Lambic White, which in french means “sudden death” (wikipedia). This beer is a lambic, which means that it is unblended, or pure (http://homepage.mac.com/david.goody/Beer/Guide/Lambic.html ). It was sweet with a little sour afternote, had nice “bubbles”, and had notes of fruit. The yeast in the lambic white is wild, from the Senne valley in brussles and uses spontaneous fermentation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mort_Subite) .
I’m not quite sure what all that means, but it sounds good;) It’s been interesting learning about what makes the beers different, and how/why they are classified they way they are. I hope you learned something, and if you ever have the chance, definitely try the Bootlegger’s Palomino and the Mort Subite Lambic White. They are not your average beers.
There are a few things that make life truly enjoyable, and among them are wine, beer and cheese. The purpose of this blog is to document the exploration of wine and beer, with occasional pairings of cheese thrown in for good measure.
Please note that I do not pretend to be an expert in any field mentioned above. I consider myself a novice, and hope this will be an education on the different types, creation methods, flavors and distinctions of different wines and beers. Its going to be a journey of learning what I enjoy and why. You may have your own suggestions, recommendations, and criticisms, and they are all welcome.
Thanks for joining me on this wonderful ride! Fasten your seat belts:)