wine and cheese


Kay Zink of A to Zinfandel & Harold Partain of Epicopia Culinary Journeys decided it was about time they took to the streets of Dallas to see just what the city had to offer.  We can name our favorite restaurants, villages, truffle hunters, etc. in Europe, but what is here in Dallas, one wonders.
We decided to discuss our itinerary over lunch at Urbano Cafe on Fitzhugh near Bryan.  There we caught up with owner and Harold’s long time friend Mitch Kauffman.  Urbano is a wonderful neighborhood cafe who offers up plenty on the menu, including authentic Italian paninis.  They are also BYOB, but at 11am, we refrained, although thought about it!  I had a delicious pulled pork panini with cilantro pepper slaw and hoison mayo; Harold had the portobello panini which was fresh and had a well balanced flavor… a great sourdough style bread.
Jimmy’s Food Market is just next door and was our second stop.  Looking for some NY Deli style products with an Italian twist? Check them out! Great Parmigiano Reggiano for $9.99 a pound! Price hasn’t changed in the past 10 years Harold has been shopping here. The BEST Italian sausage in the city, for sure.  Saturday is a hopping day, but they still had time (and room) to offer peppered bacon with wine samples.  “They have the very best Italian wine selection in the city” – Harold.

In the name of research, our third stop was at Bottle Shop on Greenville Avenue, who just so happenned to be having a beer tasting.  We had the honor of meeting Wim Bens, brewer and founder, of Lakewood Brewing company.  Along with him was Willis, a volunteer and friend of Wim’s, and Chris Hanks, Director of Consumption (A+ for the title, don’t you think)?  The two beers we sampled were delicious and unique in style. One named Prince Albert… was reminiscent of a dark Belgium but not as bitter… very smooth. Apples… I believe I tasted some apple in there! Loved the lighter, spicier one… no lingering bite with it either. Look forward to LBC finding a new home and being open to the public.

Follow link below to video:
Lakewood Brewing Company

Fourth stop was the very colorful Mextopia restaurant on Greenville Avenue.  Lots of street construction out front but plenty of parking in the back. Terrific margaritas and great Mexican style food brought to us by Ricardo Avila.

Fifth stop on the culinary tour of Dallas was Dude, Sweet Chocolates! If you have not tried these beautiful chocolates concocted right in Oak Cliff on West 8th… get over there now! Katherine is changing the perspective of chocolate. Some unbelievable combinations and with names that will make you laugh… and bring back a memory or two or three!

Well by now, my iPhone had died which I had been using as my camera, so there are no pictures to see.  Scardello Artisan Cheese was next and pretty busy on Saturday afternoon as well. Located on Oaklawn just down from Lucas’ B&B this is without a doubt the very best artisan cheese shop in Dallas. Rich Rogers and staff have created a delightful place to spend a few hours with friends tasting cheeses and wines and some great sandwiches. If you want good cheese for your next party, check out Scardello Artisan Cheese, you will be glad you came.

Follow link below to video:
Scardello Artisan Cheese

Chocolate Secrets was on the agenda, located on Oak Lawn.  This is a local, family owned, gourmet chocolate and fine wine boutique.  We choose so many different chocolates, that I can’t remember the “notes” on all of them, but 2 of them were rather unique and quite different from one another.  The first was a perfect pairing of dark chocolate and a full-bodied cabernet; the second was organic black forest bacon cooked, then candied and encased in dark chocolate ganache.  We even picked up a bottle of Australian Shiraz from the Barasso Valley. The things we do for love!  Artisan Cheese, you will be glad you came.

Follow link below to video:
Chocolate Secrets

Well, it was time to get home and feed the doggies, so Harold and I departed, proud of the accomplishments of the day, but anxious for more.

If you should care to join us on our adventures, please let Kay or Harold know.  We had a blast!

Harold was sweet enough to add this comment:  Kay was a delightful and adventurous companion for the day. We did it all in the name of research! Dallas has a lot to offer and we just scratched the surface. From food to drink we see some day trips in the making in Dallas! Stay turned! Let’s Meet Up for food, drink, and travel.

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Sunday, October 3rd, 2010, was my first class at the International Sommelier Guild.  The class will meet for 16 weeks, every Sunday, from 12-6pm.  We learned so much that I am behind already!  We raced through all the material, I was writing so fast and still missed information.  We are starting off with grape varietals.  During class 1, we studied the Chardonnay grape and the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  We did two blind wine tastings – 6 at one time during the first half of class and 6 others during the second half of class. 

The instructor, Karla Barber (President of the Dallas Chapter of Women for WineSense) , was kind enough to bring in a plethora of “picnic food”  –  3 types of cheese, sausage, olives, almonds, warm baguette bread.  Awesome.  It looks like there will be about 10 people in the class – some are somewhat advanced and some don’t know much at all.  I think I’m right in the middle (maybe I’m boasting)…

Since our text book is not in yet, I went to the Allen and Plano libraries looking for wine books.  I also browsed through the collection of books at Borders and Barnes & Noble.  So many of them are full of beautiful pictures.

If you haven’t visited  my FaceBook page yet, please visit and “like”…http://www.facebook.com/AtoZinfandel.

Challenge 3 of the wine blog challenge – Ceci the Sipper’s blog who created the challenge…

Awhile back, I had a wine and cheese pairing party, and it was a great hit.  It was surprisingly easy to do.  There are so many cheeses, and several specialty markets here in Dallas, TX (Market Street, Whole Foods Market, and Central Market, plus I’m sure many more.)  They carry all types of cheeses including artisanal cheeses.

Here were my pairings going from light bodied wines to heavy bodied wines:

Swiss/Gewuztraminer, Monterry Jack/Riesling, Chevre/Colby with Champagne (actually I pair Champagne with ANY cheese, even blue cheese which should be paired with a Port), Brie/Beaujolais (how can you NOT have Brie at a cheese party), Havarti/Rioja, and Strong Cheddar/Cabernet.  See, nothing too hard to find!  And I did it with 3 whites and 3 reds, so everyone could enjoy, regardless their taste preferences.  You preferably want to pair a lighter tasting cheese with a lighter bodied wine.

Well, that’s it for now – enjoy!