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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 Food and Wine Expo

From time to time it’s nice to get out and hobnob with all the other hospitality people of Charleston . There are a million Food and Wine events every year and you might as well take full advantage every chance you get. For an average cost of $25 it’s all the food and all the wine one can consume. This past weekend however was one of the cheaper tickets of the Food and Wine season ($5) since it was put on my the local Technical College’s Hospitality program. What this breaks down to is all the good wines without having to put on a tux. Needless to say everyone was there.

I had a great time with some friends both old and new taking in all the flavors and all the food. I am not a wine snob by any stretch, but I do know what I like and know the difference between good and bad wines. For example, I have found myself drinking a lot more of the Malbec wines. What is Malbec? “Once known as a varietal of Bordeaux , Malbec has found a new home in South America . This grape has thin skin and needs lots of sun. The Malbec of Argentina (sometimes called Malbeck) and Chile is rich and supple. These words are often used to describe Malbec. It can be called Merlot's softer, lusher brother. While the wines are made from different grapes, they can be very similar in style. Malbec has often been used to blend with other wines.” (according to this website that I totally just ripped that from)

I do like my red wines a lot though. The Pinot Noirs are some of my favorites but you can’t in my opinion beat a big body Cabernet. There is not a better feeling (at a wine tasting anyway) than sticking your nose down in that glass of Cab. Mmmm…

Moving on… I did find a really tasty wine from the table of Spanish Vines. I’m generally against both Spanish and Italian wines just because they are too brash and overpowering at times. But, the Spanish Vines reds were great and both were reasonable on their retail prices. So, I suggest you look for either of these two labels and pick up a bottle next time you’re looking for a nice night at home with a good book (or better yet, good company).

Also represented were two of my favorites: J’s Russian River Pinot and Row Eleven. Yum! If you ever see J on the bottle, just take my word for it and pick yourself up one. Red or white, they do a good job. Same goes for Row Eleven. You may pay a few extra bucks for the Row Eleven on retail, but you’ll know where that money went once you put you nose down in there and let the flavors roll off the back of your tongue.

There were a few disappointments. For example, someone in the planning committee let Gnarly Head Wines have a table. When I see a wine on sale for $4 at Harris Teeter the week before, I can’t say that I had high expectations. After tasting two of their wines, I felt like the $4 was about $3.75 too much. A few of my female friends are into the Rose’. I am not. Same goes for the sparkle; unless it’s good Champaign , I’m not that into it. Now, I am notorious for my Sunday Brunch mimosas but I won’t get the best campaigns for that. I’m starting to ramble here.

Anyway, had fun at the Expo and I can’t wait for Spring in Charleston when all the art galleries start their exhibitions with free wine tastings. After that, all the vendors have Wine tastings all over town and you are sure to find some amazing wines all over town, and catch some amazing wine buzzes.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Funny Classic from Me

I ran across this the other day and thought I might post it. This was from the Fall/Winter of 2004, my first year in K-Stan. It got a lot of laughs and I thought since it was Winter, I would give it another run. So, without further delay...

AJ’s Rules for Surviving a Subzero Outhouse:
(All of these were learned by me through personal experience and over the course of four months of using a subzero outhouse)

Rule 1: Get dressed as normal. Hat, coat, two pairs of socks, boots, gloves etc.

Rule 2: DON’T, DO NOT, DO NOT forget the toilet paper. (No you can not leave it out there even in a plastic bag, it will freeze.)

Rule 2.5: If night time, take a flashlight. There is no light out there. Don’t take a book or magazine at any time, you won’t want to be out there that long.

Rule 3: Take a deep breath, exit the house and move quickly to the outhouse some 30 yards away.

Rule 4: Use small broom to sweep away any snow from the floor so as to prevent slipping.

Rule 5: Pull the door closed, but NOT ALL THE WAY. Yes, your breath will cause enough moisture to freeze the door closed and will require you to have to pry it open and cost you more time outside in the cold.

Rule 6: Remove coat and hang on wall. Remove one glove. Keep hat on. (Why only one glove? Look, you only need one hand free to do this and if you have to balance yourself with the other, you don’t want that hand to freeze to whatever it is that you’re grabbing. Who cares if you look like Michael Jackson for a second or two, just do it!)

Rule 7: Pull down pants and get on with it. (Note: at this point you have about 3 to 5 minutes before things start to go wrong and you need to go inside finished or not)

Rule 8: Finish what you have to do as fast as possible. Things will freeze whether you’re done with them or not. And yes, the smell is still bad no matter what the temperature.

Rule 9: When done, make sure you are DONE! You don’t want to have to come back out here again.

Rule 10: Get dressed fast! At this point you are numb from the waist down and it is hard to walk. Put on coat.

Rule 11: Don’t put on the other glove! That hand is already numb and of little use to you and you’ll need to wear that glove again later.

Rule 12: DON’T forget the toilet paper! It will just be frozen when you get back out here the next time.

Rule 13: Go to house quickly and wash hands in cold water. Hot water hurts at this point.

Rule 14: Sit in warm spot. If you have a radiator in the house this is where you will want to be for the next 10-15 minutes of your life.

If you remember to follow all of these rules every single time… you’ll survive a subzero outhouse. Otherwise… things could go wrong and the humor could ware off.