Its Leap Year Day.  I always wondered how awful or amazing it would be to be born on a leap year day. 

For starters- you could really choose the day you wanted to have your birthday on - the 28th or the 1st....I think I would go back and forth and decide on that day....or maybe you should celebrate BOTH days.

Ive read that its lucky and rare to be born on this day also so you could walk around most of the year thinking you have a gold horseshoe stuck up your ass. 

EIther way I did try some Frogs LEAP ZInfandel today just for the occasion.

Happy Leap Year Day
 
 
Im Sick AGAIN! 
I have been ill more in the last year than I have been in the last 6 years!  What is wrong?  Im starting to think maybe Im getting older and my body doesnt want to handle the many days in a row of 14-18 hours days.....people will say......oh Amber but you drink wine and eat food and talk to people all day! How hard is that? 
I will say when you say it like that you have a point 
I start to feel like I should be not thinking it was a long day. 
BUT.....
Waking up at 530am to start my day and getting in at 1130pm is a long day if your sucking on a lollipop, reading a book, jackhammering, teaching or like me -  running around in heels all day, multitasking, juggling two phones that continue to ring, problem upon problem stacking up, fires to be put out, egos to be stroked, follow up and then when the sun goes down....try to reapply some lipliner before getting up in front of a group of people that could be as small as 20 or up to 200 and smile and make their night enjoyable....then drive home, usually make instant oatmeal because I didnt eat all day while checking my email and praying that a tall dark and handsome man will appear ONLY to take off my shoes and rub my feet.....and to take my oatmeal out of the microwave and put some honey and walnuts in it....I am NOT complaining....I love it 95% of the time......But as I cough up half of my lung while I wonder how my body can produce this much snot, I wonder to myself - Am I through with this? How long can I continue it?  I put it upon myself...I make my own schedule......And loved ones around me say - HELLO!!! Take a break - learn to say "no".  Maybe its the fighter in me, or the fact that I am so crazy competitive that I will do nearly anything to myself to be #1 or the best or the one that never fails.....YIKES!
Well - Because of my bodies inability to fight off disease - I have also lost 2 Sundays with my grandparents for fear of getting them sick....so.....

As of today things are changing (Ive promised myself)  Not just with work but with life....I try to fit it ALL in....work, family and friends. I am taking a step back....I am also afraid to read back to see if Ive already said this because I feel as if I may have....BUT TODAY IS FOR REAL!

But I am still going to wish for the tall dark and handsome man to appear at night to take off my shoes - be it 6pm or 11pm..... 
 
 
Someone said drink the water
but i will drink the wine
someone said take a pour of that
rich folks dont have a dime
dont fool yourselfs if you will
I just havent got the time
you can drink the water
and I will drink the wine

 
 
First taste of love
oh Bittersweet
and green on the vine
like strawberry wine
 
 
I travel a lot so that means I get to eat all over the place....And I love food... but what about WI?  We have some great restauarants here in this state-I love experiencing new ones and I have no problem jumping in the car and driving over an hour to eat a meal and drive back home......all on a Tuesday night.

Ive been in Milwaukee quite a bit in the last couple months and have gone to some pretty great restaurants.
Some of my favorites include--- and Read all the way down to my favorite!!!

Roots - www.rootsmilwaukee.com
They have a great happy hour with inexpensive wine by the glass and $5 apps.  I fell in love with their pulled pork nachos a couple of years ago and I still crave them on a consistent basis.  I have only eaten in the "cellar" which is their downstairs and it overlooks the city.  Upstairs is a little less casual as downstairs.  Also have a great seafood cioppino.

Trocadero - www.ztrocadero.com
They have a great brunch which Ive been to a couple of times.  Known for their bloody marys, great donuts, and good coffee.  I think their breakfast tacos were tasty!

Balzac - www.balzacwinebar.com
Neat place with a great patio out back.  Sundays is half off bottles of wine!  They have small plates which I love to order a bunch and share.  Tuna tartar, scallops with pernod, duck nachos, and great cheese plates

Carnevor - www.carnevor.com
I liked the space itself at Carnevor.  They steaks were good but I was more impressed with scallops on the half shell.  They were super fresh and had nueske bacon in them!

Swig - www.swigmilwaukee.com
Small plates as well and they had this dish I actually still crave and think about - Chicken curry wontons with walnut yogurt dill dipping sauce - sounds interesting but I will tell you - not something I would usually order but the waitress insisted.  Totally worth it.  Delicious.  Creamy, acidic, light but filling and flavorful.  Also tuna with mango chutney (good quality tuna), grilled vegetable, Tenderloin skewers, and baked brie with fruit.

Coquette Cafe - www.coquettecafe.com
Great coffee, cute place, good service.  I had special omelet which was ok BUT it came with a boston bibb salad with the lightest mustard vineagrette on it - it was so delicate and delicious.  I could have ate 12 of those salads.  salads in general are always over-dressed and this was perfection.

Capital Grille - www.thecapitalgrille.com
I am not usually a chain restaurant person but I have been going here for a very long time.  Kind of an old tradition before I fly out or when I land.  I like to sit at the bar.  I love their wine list selections by the glass (they are always old favorites) and they have great quality food.  I love their lamb chops, their tuna, their fliet and also their salads.  And I am a carb fan and the trip is worth the bread. 

Crazy Water - www.crazywatermilwaukee.com
I liked the hustle and bustle, the lights, the bar, the way peoples laughter filled the tiny room and the heat from the open kitchen behind the bar made you feel warm and fuzzy.  Had bacon wrapped dates first with spicy red pepper sauce - really flavorful.  The wines were well picked by the owner and i liked her selections.  Scallops were just ok but the flank steak was delicious, tender and flavorful.  I would go back again because I think it was an off night.  She also just won a James Beard Award I believe....

And for the finale and my favorite meal in Milwaukee is easily Braise - www.braiselocalfood.com
The vibe, the openness, the communal tables in the middle of the restaurant, the regular tables, the bar in front of the kitchen (which in my book was the BEST seat in the place) and the regular bar with seating.  Its a pretty big small place.  I struck up a conversation with the expeditier (the person who finishes off the plates of food before the server serves them) who happened to be the owner and chef. he was super nice and told me he was going to grade my meal choices.  Wine list was really reasonable - REALLY reasonable.  I had a crisp yet full Albarino from Edna Valley (weird huh?) and then au bon climate pinot noir (which i wish I wouldnt of had as an Italian with more acid would have been better with the food) and my friend had a prosecco and a glass of aglianico from italy that was DELICIOUS! FOod - Started with a crispy pig belly with creamy polenta and marscapone with sorghum syrup - OMG...sweet, smoky, creamy, and the textures!  WOW. 
Then on to pancetta risotto with pickled green beans....creamy and acidic and delicious.  Then a "just ok" tart and on to dinner>>>> roasted vegetables and horseradish cream- sauteed LOCAL trout with fingerling potatoes and winter spinach.  A pork loin (from golden bear farms - kiehl) with mustard spaetzle (WOW) and apple chutney.  THen for dessert this gorgeous apple tart (the crust was like my grandmas pie crust) and a capuccino frothy and strong. 
He tries to keep all of the food local and seasonal ingredients.  I would go there every day to eat if I could.  It was specatcular and the best meal I have ever had in Milwaukee.  I cant wait to go back.  
    The Chef came up to us at the end of the meal and said he was impressed with our choices - and he couldnt believe we ate all of that food!  Hey - Chef - If there is one thing I am good at- believe me - its eating and drinking...

SO milwaukee is hitting homeruns all over in the city.  Good stuff
 
 
1997 Mt Veeder Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 25th anniversary special bottling.

I remember getting this bottle.
I remember the day, sunny and hot. I smelled hot dirt, seen the greenest vines everywhere on top of Mt veeder, almost ripe grapes, backpack attached and hiking up the mountain to see the differnet soils and ripening styles.  It was dry and the perfect day.  Once at the top the view was spectacular with Napa Valley spanning before me, and the picnic lunch in my attached backpack was delcious....and the 3 bottles of wine were a great treat for lunch too!  A quiet day...you could hear nothing, you couldnt see any movement which was very differnet from down on the valley floor with traffic, horns, hoards of tourists, trucks with grapes being hauled, and the smell of diesel in the air... 
It was like time itself had stopped on top of Mt Veeder.  It was one of the most amazing moments Ive ever had in wine country.  I spent 3 hours up there, lazily eating food and sipping on different vintages of Mt Veeder and Mt Veeder Reserve.  The conversation was easy and the sun was warming. 
I will never forget the day that time stood still on top of Mt veeder, while drinking Mt Veeder....

So as I opened up this wine I wasnt expecting it to be amazing.  I knew it would probably be a little tired and it was.  It is 15 years old.  This classic vintage that everyone wanted and needed and now have not drank because it was too special - Im feeling bad for these people.  I opened this, it smelled ok, color was rusty....it did have a little fruit in the front but it was all acid at the end.  Food drowned it.  I didnt dump it out, it was still drinkable or maybe if just broke my heart to think I could possibly want to dump it out.  It was pretty neat to see how it changed through out the years. And the bottle itself brought back some really lovely memories..
2008 Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

I got this bottle of wine at a fun wine bar with my girlfriend.  We opened it and it wasnt ready to drink yet.  I like tannic, black fruit wines.  My friend likes the toasty vanilla cabs so I should have known better then to pick this one with her.  
 It was super tight....It made your  mouth make a face like you had just put a sour apple sucker into your mouth.....Tight ass tannins!!   It had black black fruit flavors and the pigments stained my teeth black before the first glass was gone.  As it opened up through out the next two hours it softened.  And it did give a little back. 

In a couple years this wine will be great.  Gripping and it will give it a chance to mellow out a bit.  I LOVED the 2007 right away so I guess I was a bit disappointed with this one but knowing it will soften in a couple years gives me some hope!

Cheers to Mt. Veeder!  www.mtveeder.com
 
 
Memories
pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories 
Sweetened through the ages just like wine
 
 
Things I am loving on Valentines Day 2012

I am loving red, pink and white wine.  Sparkling and Still wine.  And just wine. In general.

I am loving that its hard for me to sit, stand, walk or move without hurting.....I started p90x and that pain means I am healthier and on the road to looking better in a swimsuit!

I am loving myfitnesspal app on my ipad.  It lets me put my food and exercise in and calculates how long it will take me on a daily basis to get to my goal weight.  It also lets me see how many calories are in certain things....and I have now stopped eating handful after handful of nuts - I love nuts but now only eat a couple - i would sometimes eat 650 calories in nuts as a snack!  thats only around 2 cups but when your not paying attention it is so easy to do!

I am LOVING banagrams!  I try to bribe people over with dinner or wine just to have someone to play with! ha ha....I miss my friend Mart, who showed me this addictive game - and I wish we could play somehow over the phone or internet!  

I am loving Cliff kidz chocolate chip organic snack bars! I eat them almost everyday for breakfast...

I am loving my "One line a day" little blue book that my best friend gifted to me at Christmas!  I love having to sum up your day in one or two lines - I seem to be writing only the positive things in it because I dont want to remember any negatives! 

I am loving that I am doing the above sentence!

I am loving Madonna! Her halftime show just kickstarted my excitement to go see her in a few different states this year on her tour.  She is the ultimate performer.  SHE IS AMAZING

I am loving that I took a step back in life and am letting myself breathe.  I am trying to not try to do everything, all the time.  I am trying to be less critical of myself and live in grey area sometimes.....even though I love grey in fashion - less loving it in real life.  But I am trying.

I love the anticipation of the new movie SOMM  www.jbwpro.com - I may even go out to see it in LA...why not!

I am loving California - not only because of wine, but because of the food, gardening, weather, kila and lifestyle...this is nothing new. But its a growing love.

I am loving my new attitude, how things are moving and shaking, and life.



 

waiting

02/13/2012

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for a phone call
a message
the "go ahead"
to make your next move
for the brownies to be done
for the dryer to shut off
for a red light
for your best friend whos late - always
in line to wash your car
for the gas tank to be filled
for your life to change
for someone elses life to change
for someones elses life to change so yours does
for the rain to stop
for the water to get hot in the shower
for someone to give you a break
in line at the grocery store
for your child to put on her coat
for the onions to carmelize
for the sugar to brown
for the sun to come out
for the next vintage to come out
for the bud to open
for the commercials to be done
for the movie to come out
for bad news to turn to good

Some people like to wait all the time.......for life to come to them.  In some cases we have to wait but for the times that we don't - its time to stop waiting and start doing! 
(hello my beautiful sister - this is for you)

 
 
Come share the wine
No one is a stranger here, theyre your friends and mine
Everyones your brother, were a long way from home
And we need each other, have no fear, youre welcome here.

Come share the wine
Its so nice and warm in here, were happy and kind
We can understand that youre a long way from home
But we have each other, have no fear, youll like it here.