Friday, September 09, 2016

Quirky Wines: Graf Morillon from Weingut Muster

I like different wines. There's clearly nothing wrong with well made wines of almost any varietal (still waiting on you Pinotage). However, for me, it's fun when you come across something that doesn't work easily into oenophiles go to ways of describing wines. I came across one of these wines recently at Cosme the "nuevo" Mexican restaurant of Chef Enrique Olvera (he is the Thomas Keller + Grant Achatz of Mexico) in New York. Here it is (along with the  details of this outstanding eatery):

Graf Morillon (Chardonnay) Steiermark, Austria, 2011

It has some of the oxidized characteristics of a Chardonnay from Jura or Arbois, but is MUCH more restrained and drinkable (i.e.. you don't taste it an immediate ask yourself "is this how it's supposed to taste or is it corked?"). Would be a great wine to go with a hearty seafood dish (think fish + bacon/prosciutto).

I had it at:
Cosme ( 35 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

Dispatch from somewhere North of Vancouver, British Columbia

As someone who grew up in the woods of Michigan, I love nothing more than getting out of the city. So when I had the opportunity to go up into the islands Northwest of Vancouver (about as far "out of the city" as you can go) I jumped at it. Even if it meant getting there in one of these:
For an unbelievable exercise in unplugging this area is amazing! And if you want to do it without roughing it in the slightest I highly recommend Sonora Resort on Sonora Island ( One of the best destination vacation experiences of my life.

If you like surfing or hiking rainforests (but not the Amazon variety) make sure you spin over to Tofino on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island. If you do, please visit Wolf in the Fog restaurant ( and hopefully you can get some of the locally foraged Gooseneck Barnacles:

If this restaurant weren't 3500miles away I would go all the time!

Restaurant Dispatch from Austin, Texas (the day after SXSW)

Since my days living in Ann Arbor, Michigan I have been partial to large college towns.  The transient energy combined with a recession proof creative "can do" freedom makes them some of the best stops to explore what is happening on the culinary fringe. The possibility that an ambitious recent grad decides culinary arts are more interesting than say.. film study (like yours truly) can allow for some really great experimenting and risk taking (along with some well intentioned disasters). That is why I'm always excited when my travels take me to "UCity" meccas like Ann Arbor, Madison, Durham/Chapel Hill and, very recently, Austin. Here are my restaurant recommendations for that booming creative oasis in central texas:

Olamaie (  My second favorite restaurant in Austin. Retrofitted small house doing exceptional "New Southern Cooking". Great environment and really creative cooking without falling into the trappings of "NSC" (ie. cooking everything in rendered fatback).

Uchiko ( This place was my favorite. It had everything I look for in a contemporary restaurant: well sourced ingredients, clean/distinct flavors and an unpretentious vibe.

Launderette ( Had a great lunch at this neighborhood  "small plates" spot. Their take on a girl scout cookie was enlightening.