Tag Archives: wine


Turn up this Tuesday! Jimmy Buffett and Trio Solisti are in concert. Plus, drink up at MOFAD or hit a comedy show.


Cheers to the freakin’ weekend! A sweet wine event, plus two different kinds of Yankees await.


The boys of One Directin are back, plus catch some local hip hop or a delicious dinner.


It’s the weekend! Strip down for the Undie Run, indulge in some wine, or check out some cool new museum exhibits.

Figo Serves Up Good Italian

figo 38660129p1Technically named “Osteria del Figo” but simply called “Figo”, the Howell Mill edition of this popular metro-area upscale Italian chain plays well with both the business and leisure crowd. Casual and cool, Figo is modern with lots of Italian flair beginning with the walls bathed in amber and the wooden bar and tables. It’s more spacious than it appears, accommodating large and small parties alike. Orders are made at the front of the house with guests then receiving colorfully festive pepper shakers to place at their table for food delivery.

Simplicity is king here, with the build-your-own-pasta serving as the main draw. Make a ravioli, short or long pasta selection and then pair it with a sauce. For traditional fare with a pleasant kick, try the Tuscan Sausage and Apple Ravioli with the Arrabbiata sauce (spicy tomato sauce with garlic and chili peppers). The Spinach Penne with the Salmone con Piselli (oak-smoked salmon and English peas in pink vodka sauce) is also good but, with over a dozen ravioli and pasta choices and nearly that many sauces, the combinations are truly endless.

The Caprese Salad, prepared with buffalo mozzarella and vine-ripe tomatoes, is a nice jump-starter. Tiramisu is a given but Kenny’s Key Lime pie, from the locally-based super pie company, is a welcomed American indulgence.

Eat Breakfast Any Time Of Day At Buvette

Buvette is an exquisite French-Italian breakfast cafe where you can meet for food and drink anytime of day. Located in the West Village, this unique restaurant serves a wide variety of food. You can either go in the morning and eat a fluffy brandade with fresh squeeze orange juice or sit down for dinner with steak tartare and a glass of champagne. Another satisfying feature includes a French and Italian list of wines that makes Buvette a place where breakfast and wine can coincide.


Twenty five years ago, on this very street, Robert Colombo’s original Sfuzzi opened in Uptown Dallas. Known for it’s fresh, innovative italian foods, and lively social setting, Sfuzzi became a McKinney Avenue landmark for over 10 years. Even today it is remembered as one of Dallas’s most innovative and successful restaurants.
Now, Sfuzzi is back. The new Sfuzzi harkens back to the roots of an old New York City pizzeria, centered on our commitment to serving fresh pizzas and pasta, wonderful wine and beverages, and, oh yes, a dash of great music. Musically, you will hear everything from 80s dance songs, sing-a-longs of the 70’s, jazz and blues, current top 40 hits and classic rock of artists such as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

Sfuzzi’s wrap-around patio rekindles beautiful memories of the original Sfuzzi patio scene, which set the social standard for McKinney Avenue. Equipped with flat screen panels, pulsating music, glass-enclosed fireplace, and fabulous food and drink, the patio at the newly evolved Sfuzzi will rival those of Miami’s luxury venues and the family oriented venues of the Grand Caymans.

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime is the culmination of a creative exercise we started in 2006 to define the best in culinary, beverage, service and atmosphere. Their team wanted to pair a great steakhouse with a great seafood restaurant. We imagined a place where our guests are greeted by name and partner with us in adventures of great food, wine and libation.

Ocean Prime was not developed overnight. Their executive chef teams traveled, tasted and compared notes to refine a menu that would ignite curiosity and surpass expectations. Their operations teams sourced the finest and the freshest ingredients to elevate every plate that leaves our kitchen. They curated a Wine Spectator-honored wine list for perfect pairings. And they poured energy with a fresh twist into the creation of our signature cocktails, expertly prepared by our well-trained bar chefs.

Uncork a bottle of vino at Cork

Cork Wine Bar has a nice little concept for tasting, drinking and bottle-buying destination for anyone from a casual sipper to a connaisseur. Here’s how it works: you go in and pay the cashier, who then gives you a money-loaded card. You check out the featured wines “on tap,” swipe your card and choose if you want a tasting (a small amount) or a full glass. They have a spiffy little lounge in the back to sit and sip. Aside from a place to drink, Cork is also a good place to buy bottles at reasonable prices, and they have a good selection of wines that aren’t sold at every grocery store on every corner.

Salumeria 104: Midtown’s ode to the trattoria

Lovers of salami, cheeses, olives and the like are flocking to Salumeria 104 in Midtown Miami. It’s the latest addition to the area’s “restaurant row” and an ode to the Italian trattoria.

Sure there are fantastic pastas on the menu, but the star here is the salami after all, it’s billed as a “Salami Shop and Trattoria.” Those nifty wooden boards get plenty of use here, piled high with hard salami rounds and thin slices of prosciutto and truffle ham and a round ramekin filled with olives. It’s a veritable feast for those who love to nibble.

One of their most authentic dishes and one not easily found on Italian restaurant menus is the gnocchi alla romana. Unlike the traditional small round gnocchi, these are thick round homemade semolina gnocchi topped with parmesan cheese and crispy prosciutto and baked until it’s crispy and bubbling. Aside from the mouthwatering pastas, they’re also serving succulent roasted pork loin wrapped in crispy pork belly and slowly braised pork spare ribs.

Salumeria 104 is located at 3451 NE 1 Ave., #104, 305-424-9588, www.salumeria104.com

Sepia: Chic Design & In Living Color Cuisine

Enter Sepia and you feel like you’re stepping on set for some design show on TLC. This place is impeccably designed to perfection. As its name implies, sepia tones alight the ambiance with a sexy and chic mood lighting while elegant touches like candles, gorgeous chandeliers and warm brick walls relax you even sepiabefore the wine hits your lips.

Transformed from an old printing building from 1890 the restoration is nothing short of spectacular.

The food is just as worthy of the spotlight. Flat iron steak with potato confit, maitake with coffee and bearnaise sauces or apple and morcilla stuffed trout with black garlic romesco and white polenta – you really can’t go wrong here.

Legal Seafood

See fish. Eat fish. Legal Sea Foods is located in downtown Atlanta’s Hilton Garden Inn, across from the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola. Our two-story restaurant is double the fun for Atlantans who love seafood.

The buzz-worthy Oyster Bar is our street level lounge. Its close proximity to the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena makes it a popular lure on game days. Our second floor dining room features panoramic windows overlooking Centennial Olympic Park and Atlanta’s skyline, a balcony with outdoor seating and a wine room for semi-private parties. Guests can make waves in our Oyster Bar or restaurant or even in the two additional on-premise private dining spaces we utilize. 19 signature cocktails, 28 wines by the glass and countless varieties of fresh fish and shellfish will get you hooked.

Click here for more information.

Cellar 56

Cellar 56 features a delectable menu created to complement the flavorful selection of wines. We work with local farms and dairies to bring the best and freshest ingredients to the table. Every palate is accommodated with small plate choices like the Grilled Flat Iron with chimichurri, and the Macaroni and Cheese with green chiles and prosciutto. Plates range from $5 to $7.

Wine is an obvious focus for Cellar 56, as the name comes from its 56+ options. Of these selections, many are sourced from boutique wineries on small allocation to bring Spectator rated 90+ wines to the consumer starting at an amazing $24 a bottle and by the glass at $3 half and $6 full. The remaining wine choices are available by the bottle and include many favorites at various pricing. Visit cellar56.com for more information.

Mondays: $16 Bottles of Any Wine Carried by the Glass
Two for Tuesdays: Buy One, Get One Free Small Plates
Wednesdays: $12 for 4 Half Glasses of Wine from Three Flight Option


Chef Clay Conley is at the helm of Azul. His diverse cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean flavors with Asian influences. The rising star chef honed his culinary reputation at Todd English’s acclaimed Olives restaurant, where he served as executive chef and culinary director.

At the focus of Azul, a magnificent white marble open kitchen and raw bar vie for your attention with the floor to ceiling windows that showcase the picturesque bay views. Once the food arrives however, your attention is sure to be captured by the dishes themselves – like Grilled Chop and Loin of Colorado Lamb with Harrisa, Charred Eggplant, Braised Shank Bastila and Feta and “A Study in Tuna Roll,” Raw Tuna, Tempura Avocado, Asian Sauces with Ossetra Caviar.

Azul’s wine program, designed by sommelier Cynthia Betancourt, features more than 700 world-class wines. The award-winning wine list encompasses a mix of current releases, to classic vintages from the finest producers, with the latest boutique wineries worldwide.

Laurel Hill Cemetery for ’Til Death Do Us Part: The Love Stories of Laurel Hill

Gravesites don’t usually come to mind on the most romantic day of the year, but couples looking for an out-of-this-world Valentine’s Day can head to Laurel Hill Cemetery for ’Til Death Do Us Part: The Love Stories of Laurel Hill. Red wine and snacks follow the hauntingly romantic tour. February 12. 3822 Ridge Avenue, (215) 228-8200, thelaurelhillcemetery.org


Garces Trading Company- A Unique Concept

Located in West Washington Square, Garces Trading Company offers a dining experience unlike any other. Whether you are dining at home and looking for a gourmet touch, or looking to dine out-Chef Jose Garces has created a one-stop shop. Food Network’s newest Iron Chef has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and opened Garces Trading Company, a cafe, wine shop and on-site bakery. Not only can you go in and purchase a bottle of wine to take home, but you can also buy a bottle with no markup price to accompany you at your table as an afforable asset to your meal. Along with a phenomenal menu for diners, customers can also purchase artisan cheeses, charcuterie, breads, desserts and much more. Although the restaurant is in the middle of the market, the ambience is charming and does not lack an ounce of rustic flare. This unique concept in a Philadelphia original and definitely worth a trip.

Insiders Tip: Check out the vingegar bar, where you can find a plethora of choices to dip your bread in before dinner. The pomegranate balsamic vinegar is delicious! Yum!

Epic: Spoil Yourself

epicRocking Hubbard Street, Epic has made a splash on the Chicago scene and for good reason – the service is ridiculously good. On a street and in a ‘hood where new restaurants come and go as fast as fashion fads, Epic should be here to stay as guests feel spoiled indulging in the attentive service and delicious menu.

Here, despite its location in the Midwest, the calamari is as thick, plump and juicy as if you were in Hawaii – same goes for their tuna tartare. Steak lovers rejoice and celebrate in a hearty Midwestern steak and if you’re only down for cocktails, this is the perfect place as well. The dark and sexy lighting makes the medicine go down.

Urban Elegance & Very Happy Hours at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse

One of  NYC’s premiere steakhouses, Del Frisco’s stands out in a city filled with suits and their discerning steak tastes. Listed as one of the country’s top grossing restaurants, Del Frisco’s is located in the McGraw Hill building on 6th Avenue in, what NYMag claims, “is without question the most ubanely elegant steakhouse.”

The sophisticated, three-floor eatery is home to one of midtown’s most popular Happy Hours, filled with the beautiful and successful people in Midtown’s financial area. The wine list is one of the best in the city; the wine cellar and private party room is actually an old bank vault. For those martini lovers out there (this is NYC after all), Del Frisco’s offers an array of signature cocktails, including the popular “V.I.P,” which contains pineapple pieces soaked in Smirnoff Orange Vodka.

Now Del Frisco’s would not be a steakhouse without the steak, and the chefs here serve up some of the most mouth watering sirloins and filets. Regular customers almost instantly order the infamous crab cakes and freshly baked bread before biting into a juicy Double Eagle Strip Steak. Prices are reasonable for the large Manhattan portions. Reservations are not required, but recommended to be seated quickly.

Dine in Style at City Café

When a fabulous restaurant serves afternoon tea, you have to try it. Make a reservation at City Café for a real treat. The homey vibe is to die for. The decor is neutral with lace-covered windows and friendly people. If you miss the tea, the delicious dinner menu will do. Food is seasonal with more than 200 wine choices. Ask to sit in the Garden Room. Then come back another night and sit in the Fireplace Loft.

Keste is Neapolitan for “This Is It”

San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella flash-frozen in Campagna, Italy before shipping to New York, sea salt, volcanic stone heated to one thousand degrees: these are just some of the necessary ingredients for a true Italian pie at Keste Pizza & Vino. And this attention to authentic detail is working, as the newest contender for the best slice in New York, it has already ranked #1 on NY Mag’s list of NYC’s Top Pie.

Keste Pizza & Vino offers over twenty pizza pies ranging in price from $9 to $19 with striking toppings such as imported cooked ham, butternut squash cream and truffle spread. Once the order is placed and the toppings are spread over the dough, pizzas cook in just one minute thanks to the thousand degree oven.

Chef-owner Roberto Caporuscio is a traditionalist when it comes to making his twelve-inch Neapolitan pies. With an oven that was made by artisans flown in from Naples, Keste Pizza & Vino is the newest contender for the legendary New York slice status, even if it is through and through Italian. The name sake pie has tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugola, gran cru and extra virgin olive oil. And for the purist there is always the simple elegance and perfection that is the equally popular Margherita.

Fresh market, delectable menu at Perricone’s

The marketplace at perricones is just as enticing as the menu and the venue. Housed in a renovated New England barn, this charmer has been ranked tops by the likes of Zagat, Fodor’s and Forbes Magazine and it’s because of their fresh take on the best in Italian cuisine.

Although it’s located in the busy, bustling Brickell area near Downtown Miami, the garden seating and cozy interior make it unique from the other flashy competitors in the area. Worth trying are their delectable fresh sandwiches, especially their chicken salad, it’s homemade and out of this world. The selection of gourmet cheeses and fine wines are the perfect compliment.

In the restaurant, their oozy baked brie en croute is a cheese lover’s delight and the goat cheese salad is fresh and tasty. Pastas dominate the menu with classics like penne pomodoro, spinach-stuffed ravioli in a pink sauce and eggplant parmigiana. Rack of lamb, skirt steak and salmon join those on the menu and are spectacular choices as well. Atmosphere and great food, what else could a diner ask for?

Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe is located at 15 SE 10 Street, Miami, FL

Bin 36 is Oenophilian Heaven

Bin 36, it’s as simple as that, hell their very own Brian Duncan was voted “Wine Director of the Year” by Gourmet Magazine. Here’s a place where flights of wine take up table tops, their wide array of flirty flights making it near impossible not to opt for one (because one equals four). Cheese specialties fatten up the acidic wine selections making this happy hour heaven, the perfect place for a date and a top joint for scouting for peeps who still have class.

Yes, Bin 36 does have food and yes it is delicious – it’s just an after thought when the wine menu is taking the spotlight. But it’s worth the spotlight as well, Chef Caputo’s wonderful selections are attributed to his rich culinary past working in Michelin rated restaurants in France and studying wine in Sonoma.

Breakfast, lunch (perfect business lunch in 40 minutes!) and dinner, Bin 36 is now somewhat of a Chi-town icon with is wine shop and wine classes. Each month they offer classes on food and wine pairings (whilst promoting tasting as the best means to learn!), themed movie, culture and game nights. They’ve also spread to Wicker Park with Bin Wine Cafe.

Mon Ami Gabi: Fun to Say & Great to Eat

ATwinetasteIf you aren’t familiar with Lettuce Entertain You, the big wigs and ingenious company behind so many staple Chicago bistros and top notch eateries, than either you’re not in the biz or not from the Windy City. It doesn’t really matter, what does, is that you sample some of their top joints, one of those being the most fun to roll off the tongue: Mon Ami Gabi.

If your high school French is failing you, N’inquiétez pas, it simply means, My friend Gabi. Just as fun as the bistro’s name, is the executive chef and owner of six of the top Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, Gabino Sotelino (hence the name). Sotelino is touted as one of Chicago’s best and a few samplings of his French delicacies will tell you why.

Classic French fare is done just right and the ambiance is cozily reminiscent of that corner bistro in Paris, yet the gluten free menu and option to buy their steaks online make it all-American too.

Morels Steakhouse: Drink Up

In a city full of bleach blonde hair and fast food, Morel’s Steakhouse brings an element of Parisian flare that Los Angeles has desperately been craving.

Located at The Grove, Morel’s is the dream steakhouse and bistro combination for those who love a good steak with a hearty onion soup. Perfectly situated next to The Grove’s famous fountain with hourly shows, Morel’s is the perfect first date, anniversary or just because restaurant to enjoy a great meal and free show.

Though the red awnings are home to delicious dishes such as dessert fondue and filet mignon, Morel’s gained a reputation for being THE place to get your drink on. From crazy mojito concoctions to never ending wine lists, Morel’s is the perfect dinner and a drink location.

And in true Paris form, Morel’s offers diners patio seating to enjoy live jazz music and the ambiance of those passing by.

Thanks to its perfect location, wine list and food, Morel’s definitely brings a bit of Paris to a whole other city.
morels cimg1337-500x375

Iconic Gibsons Steakhouse is Good Enough for Johnny Depp

If there is one iconic restaurant in Chicago, it may just be Gibsons Steakhouse. This is Chicago at its best: mouth watering steaks, a bar that never runs dry and serves nothing but premium liquors and wines, celeb sightings to watch for and enough people watching to compete with your appetite.

Rounding off the “Viagra Triangle,” yes, the ‘hood really is called that because of the Ferrari driving white-haired men and their hot young things, Gibsons Steakhouse is the place to be. In case you don’t want to call its digs the V Triangle, it’s also known as the Gold Coast area where Rush Street and State Street become one. Gibsons Steakhouse is literally packed from Monday through Sunday, partly because of the financial district heads who dine there or the ladies who lunch (and linger until happy hour), but the place gets jumping early and ends late. If you want to snag a good table, you’ll want to head there at 4ish on a weekday!

As for the Johnny Depp connection? Gibsons Steakhouse was a favorite eating place for Depp when filming the mobster flick: Pubic Enemies. Johnny liked the place and its service so much, he left a $4,000 tip! So if it’s good enough for Johnny, you better believe you’re going to love Gibsons.

Nob Hill’s Amélie Wins With Wine and Ambiance

When in San Francisco, wine and dine as the San Franciscans do. With its sleek, lacquered, red bar and dimly-lit, wine-bottle-shaped sconces, French-owned Aamelie sfmélie is a modern wine lounge with worldly flair. Its extensive wine list globe-trots from California to Europe to South America, and pairs off perfectly with delectable cheese plates, charcuterie, and favorites like Raviole du Royan — stuffed ravioli with chanterelles and Gruyère — and the indulgent grenadine caramelized onion flatbreads.

Get cozy on vintage theater seats with a glass of wine for a romantic rendezvous, mingle with chic locals at the bar, or sit down with a booth full of friends at this lively Nob Hill spot. Whether you go stag or you arrive with company, the engaging and lively international staff — all expert sommeliers — are reason enough to stop in for a wine and cheese pairing, and perhaps, sharpen your Française.

Tom Colicchio Knows How to Get Craft-y

Ever since Tom Colicchio made his mark on Atlanta, Dallas and New York, it was about time that the Top Chef superstar brought Craft to the City of Stars, Los Angeles. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or dessert, Craft restaurant brings swanky, sexy, simple, sophisticated American classics together without ever missing the mark.

Featuring courses of octopus and Dry-Picture 9Aged sirloin, the food at Craft truly cannot be beat and pretty much everything off the menu is worth ordering. And that’s the point, everything comes a la carte, and sides like Shitaki mushrooms will blow your palate away as much as the cooked-to-perfection NY strip steak. Though Craft is known for its fish and meat, it is probably one of the only Los Angeles restaurants with a dessert menu long enough to act on its own. Between classic beignets and fabulous dessert combinations, you truly get the full culinary experience.

Though the food is outstanding on its own, the décor and ambiance of the restaurant truly make it an unforgettable experience. If a party is in your future, make sure to book the outdoor patio that can seat up to 80 people.

In the famous words of Bravo’s Top Chef, “Please pack your knives and go” to this restaurant!

Prime Dining at BLT Steak

blt steakPower diners and wanna-be politicos are in for a treat with Chef Laurent Tourondel’s Washingtonian edition of his well-known BLT Steak – the self-proclaimed “Modern American Steakhouse” with locations in culinary hotspots such as New York, LA, Miami and Hong Kong.

Located near the District’s most celebrated residence, BLT Steak exudes Washingtonian sophistication at its finest with its nod to a traditional French bistro combined with an updated, urban American finesse.  With rich hardwood accents, an intimate glow, and an all-around sleek appeal, BLT Steak is the restaurant of choice for Washington’s movers and shakers.

Like most conventional steakhouses, BLT offers a variety of prime steaks (USDA Prime, Certified Black Angus, American and Japanese Kobe Beef), paired with decadent condiments and sauces, as well as rich, tempting side dishes, served in Staub cast iron cocottes, that are intended to share.  The chef’s warm, fluffy popovers are an inviting start to a filling meal at one of the best spots in town.  BLT is also known for a great raw bar, as well as other main courses including lamb, chicken and fresh fish options.

Fratelli Lyon Takes Fresh to Another Level

Stroll along the heart of Miami’s Design District and discover a place where the decor is modern and the food is prepared with a heart. At Fratelli Lyon, the dishes are not only great tasting but made in the freshest way possible, with ingredients like grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood and organically grown produce. Even the water filtration system is special here, producing triple filtered still and sparkling waters that are used in the homemade sodas, beverages and bottled waters.

Picture 20Now that the standard’s been set, don’t think for one minute it’s all boring food here. The menus – both lunch and dinner – are full of Italian favorites. The extensive list of antipastos is impressive all on its own with three categories: cheese, meats, or greens and fish. Even the wide range of pastas have two categories: handmade fresh or artisanal imported dry. The wine list is beyond extensive with something for any taste and price range.

Pizzas, paninis, salads, house specials, and specialty Italian coffees round out the menu and for lunch there’s an irresistible $24 fixed price that includes a choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert or house wine.

1. Premier Dallas Wine & Food Fest April 21-25

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 12.44.12 PMCome and taste the best wine that Dallas has to offer at the 26th annual Dallas Wine & Food Festival. This is the premier food and wine event in Dallas, taking place over five days at landmark settings in and around the city. The festival showcases local and national talent and is the only festival in Dallas to feature award-winning wines from the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, the largest national wine competition outside of California. There are various events throughout the festival, from a movie & dinner ticket to cooking seminars to an over-the-top five-course winemaker’s dinner featuring the top winners of the annual Rising Stars Chefs’ Contest.

5. Coral Gables Wine & Food Fest April 10

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 5.33.07 PMWhat do Grey Goose vodka, Martini vermouth, Premier Beverage Company, and Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables all have in common? They are all sponsors for the 7th Annual Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida Coral Gables Wine & Food Festival; a one-day street festival where you can enjoy world class cuisine, exquisite wines, and live entertainment. At a $50 ticket price, don’t let that turn you away, because all proceeds benefit The American Lung Association in Florida-South Area’s lung research, education and patient assistance programs and The International Bronchitis Center at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

French Riviera Glamour at Award-Winning Palme d’Or

Picture 10Mention the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to anyone in the greater Miami area and the words classic, elegant, sophisticated and swanky will undoubtedly be repeated. So it’s fitting that the French restaurant Palme d’Or would be the hotel’s signature eatery. Featuring a menu brimming with French nouvelle creations by chef Philippe Ruiz, the cuisine is #1 with Zagat (it swept the Top Food, Decor and Service honors in the 2010 guide) and the Miami Herald critics have twice ranked it “exceptional.”

Stated clearly on the menu is the chef’s recommendation of at least three to four courses. Suggested options include sauteed Maine scallop, grilled duck foie gras, wild mushroom cassolette, seven-hour braised beef effilochee, and for dessert, a new twist on the strawberry shortcake.

Palme D’Or also has a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, an enviable wine list and a theater menu available only from 6-7 pm for those catching a show in the area. And how fitting since that’s what the entire Biltmore experience recalls, the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, where this restaurant deserves its own Palme d’Or for best restaurant experience.

Tuxedo Wearin’, Soprano’s Stylin’ at Acappella

Picture 11Ever wonder where those classic Italian restaurants that are always in gangster films exist? Look no further than Acappella. Featured in the first-ever Soprano’s episode, the food, service and ambiance make you feel like you are in a scene from The Godfather.

The menu is filled with authentic and traditional Northern Italian cuisine, from veal to lobster to pasta. Be sure to try the Bandiera Italiana, consisting of fettuccine with wild mushrooms, cavatelli with pesto, and green and white “hay and straw” pasta with fresh plum tomatoes and herbs. Everything is fresh, and the pastas and desserts are homemade. There are also seasonal specialties, such as wild rabbit, wild boar and buffalo meat in the fall or winter. The wine list is impressive as well, with plenty of domestic and imported wines, including specialty Italian wines.

With sixteen foot high beamed ceilings, oversized columns, brick walls, Italian tapestries, and tuxedo wearing waiters, the experience is unique and very Italian. Like the motto says, “We will make you a dish you can’t refuse!”

10 Acres of Rich Romance at Delaney Vineyards

Wine and romance go hand in hand. For a true tastePicture 21 of both, Delaney Vineyards doesn’t disappoint. Grapevine, Texas is famous for its namesake and Delaney takes it one step further with free tours of the vineyard and winery, a vast selection of local wines (including beloved Sweet Texas Red and Three Daughters), and a French Chateau style building that is the perfect backdrop for special occasions.

While on the free tour (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm) , take the opportunity to spend around ten dollars on a stellar wine tasting. The wine tasting serves as a mini wine class, which is great for amateurs and connoisseurs alike. Guys, keep this place in mind when dreaming up a creative date that will set the mood-you’ll have a great time and your special someone will be impressed.

When you can’t afford to jet off to southern France or Napa Valley to sip the best, Delaney Vineyards is the escape you’ve been looking for, only much closer to home.

Grimaldi’s: New York Style in a Southern Locale

Just east oPicture 22f the West Village, Grimaldi’s Pizza can get you in a New York state of mind; it’s the closest thing you’ll find to New York style pizza this far south. The coal-fired brick oven pizza is cooked until the crust is delightfully crisp, and everything is homemade or shipped from back east.

With a range of toppings including jalapenos, artichokes and good old pepperoni, you can’t go wrong adorning your pie. Tomato Basil pizza comes highly recommended, as well as the nice selection of beer and wine. If weather permits, enjoy your meal outside and drink a bottle of wine from the Cork wine bar next door. With traditional Italian decor and Rat Pack music playing overhead, you just might forget you aren’t dining in the Big Apple.

Don’t Break Up Over Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse

Yes, it’s true that there are several Smith & Wollensky Steakhouses throughout the US, but only one can claim fame for hosting Jennifer Aniston and hometown Chi-guy Vince Vaughn in the mega-hit The Break-up in 2006 (the restaurant is definitely recognizable in its break-out role).

With its killer views Picture 13and location in “Marina City,” Chicago’s Smith & Wollensky is proudly perched above the Chicago River in the heart of the city and surrounded by big players like Hotel Sax and the House of Blues. Smith & Wollensky is the ultimate place for a date, a steak, and/or just a glass of red.

The original location in NYC opened its doors back in ’77 and was the brainchild of the same guy who brought us T.G.I. Friday’s. But fear not, none of the cheesiness can be found in this venture. Instead, its all about the upper echelon of steaks with The Chicago Tribune’s food critic calling it “perhaps the best sirloin of my life.” The classic interior design of dark wood, shining brass, polished wood floors and iconic Chicago views is icing on the, er, steak.

Come once and you’ll come again – with or without the person you originally came with.

1. Valentine’s Sweetheart Wine Trail Feb. 13-14

Picture 2Love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Nothing says I love you more than a glass of red wine, or, rather, gets you to say I love you.  Therefore Grapevine Wine Trail is proud to put together the perfect Valentine package for lovebirds.

Guide yourself and your sweetheart in three tasty samplings at each of 8 wineries. Come on an empty stomach, because hors d’oeuvres will be served as well. Each ticket includes a bottle of premium wine and a large wine glass so the romance and suds don’t stop when the trail winds home.

4. Flay & Ray at SoBe Wine & Food Fest Feb. 25-28

Picture 4Join your favorite Food Network stars for a fun-packed 4 days of cooking demonstrations, book signings, seminars, wine tastings and more! Take some pointers from celebrity chefs Paula Dean, Rachel Ray, and Bobby Flay, to name a few.

Typical to the Miami Beach lifestyle, it’s not all learning with no playing at these events. Get mischieveous on Friday at Mischieve, where artists, performers and dancers will set the scene. Cocktails will be served by beautiful agave girls whose drinks will replace all spirits with Hornitos, the 100% pure blue agave tequila.

Attend a sunset soiree on Saturday as fashionista Sandra Lee hosts the gala that’s fittingly held in the house where fashion was built, Casa Casuarina, the former home of Gianni Versace. Sip on fabulous cocktails while you enjoy savory hors’ devoures and mingle with Miami’s elite.

There’s so much more than just food at the Food Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

2. Unmask Your Passion at Zinfandel Fest 1/28-1/30/10

“UnmPicture 11ask Your Passion” may be the theme for the Zinfandel festival, but you’d be surprised how many people turn out to celebrate this niche wine. Every year the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, or ZAP, puts on the sell-out tasting event that features nearly 300 wineries filling the pallets of over 10,000 guests. The four-day event will allow you to taste all the sides of Zinfandel- bold, celebratory, independent, unpretentious, refined, elegant, versatile, and diverse.

Eat Chic at Cafe des Architectes

Nestled in a perfect Gold Coast locale, the Sofitel Hotel is a hubbub of activity: business people staying, cool locals hanging, and enough gorgeous French people to star in a Sophia Coppola film. Within the hotel lies the delicious Cafe des Architectes with its partner bar, the aptly named Le Bar.

pic20No matter the day or time, people watching here is like eating candy: sweet and energizing. But of course, the people are here for the cuisine. After all, the chef, Martial Noguier was a semifinalist in the James Beard Best Chef of 2009 competition! He will also be starring in his television debut on the upcoming Glutton for Punishment on the Food Network.

His culinary skills have also lent a hand in making Cafe des Architectes a hotspot for Christmas and NYE dining. The five-course menu starts at $89 and goes up to $160 with wine pairings. From short rib tortellini to veal strips and center cut tuna – you will actually need and want to save room for executive pastry chef Suzanne Imaz’s delectable creations like the white chocolate coconut mousse!

Year round this cozy-chic eatery remains a hotspot for food, drinks and gorgeous patrons serving brunch, lunch, dinner and the worker-friendly executive 30-minute lunch. Merci Noguier!

Vintage Wine Bar – Much More than Fine Wine

Malbecs and Beaujolais and Viogniers, oh my! Just as a fine wine has its particular nuances that sometimes you can’t seem to put your finger on, Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro has that charm that keeps you coming back for more.

Picture 6It is certainly helpful that Vintage is constantly changing their menu, but the one great consistency is that there’s over 60 wines by the glass at all times. The menu is crafted to enhance the wine, and features French-inspired bistro food like steak frites and escargots for fantastic prices. For those that prefer a different fermentation, Vintage also features a plethora of specialty brews from all nooks of the world, like Dogfish Head from Delaware and Sagres from Portugal.

If you’re searching for an evening with some extra oomph, the staff offers personalized food and wine pairings and would be happy to work with any group. Order a flight with some recommendations from the wait staff and settle in for a great evening in this enticing and sophisticated atmosphere.

Buzzworthy Films at The Angelika

Looking for something entertaining and low-key with a side of wine? Check out the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station. Whether you’re trying to impress a date or a client, this place has it all.


One of the most stylish and beloved theaters in Dallas (voted Best Movie Theater by the Dallas Observer), the Angelika combines old world charm with new world hip and features some very under-the-radar Oscar-worthy films. During the spring this place packs a hearty crowd of celebrities and movie critics for the annual USA Film Festival; however, look over your shoulder on any given day and you’d be surprised who might be sitting behind you.

Majestically overlooking the whole of Mockingbird Station, the Angelika is easily accessible by car, cab, or train and provides an abundance of shops, like Movida Boutique, and restaurants, such as a local Dallas favorite Trinity Hall.  But don’t overlook the Angelika Cafe where you can order standard movie fare such as popcorn and a soda, or get into the mood with wine and chocolate.

2. SFWA Does Wine Holiday Style on 12/10/09

The San Francisco area is known for its wines and so it’s no surprise that they are celebrating the holiday season with a little vino. The elite San Francisco Wine Association is hosting their second annual Holiday Showcase wine event where participants will enjoy award-winning vintages, meet local vintners, and will even take home a special gift.

The event mixes both the low-end and high-end SF vintners so even if you have no aspirations towards being a sommelier, you can definitely can get into the spirit of the holidays with this wine event.

4. Taste Decadent Gourmet in Philly 12/1/09-12/31/09

The Decadent Gourmet Tour title says it all. This is one tour that you don’t need to be a tourist to enjoy. It is 2.5 hours of culinary adventure starting with an extravagant cheese tasting, tea tasting, and finally a chocolate tasting. Through the various courses, attendees will be able to taste Philly’s finest in these genres from some of the city’s hidden culinary gems. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, then you might fall in love with Philly after this tour.

It’s “Fromage” at Pastoral

Ooh la la!  At the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, you’re sure to hear plenty of French speaking voices coming from the France tourism office. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that the best cheese in the city is found in a petite shop across the intersection at Pastoral. Orvieteo002

What may be the norm in France certainly isn’t here in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our cheese and eat it too. Pastoral focuses on small amounts of high quality cheeses from across the globe and if you want a taste, by all means ask! The fromagers are always happy to dig up bites of heaven for visitors to try. Those who become obsessed with their selection can go on to join the Cheese of the Month Club.

Aside from the cheese, Pastoral has freshly baked breads, plenty of charcuterie, and an antipasti bar. At this point the only thing one needs for a party is the vino- and they’ve got plenty of it.

There’s a reason Pastoral keeps swiping all the awards in Chi-town so stop by and taste why.

Stars of Cabernet at the Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Stars of Cabernet lives up to its namesake, showcasing wines from elegant and outstanding wineries like Paul Hobbs, Sequoia Grove, and much more. The event is not limited to wine, with food selections from host The Peninsula Hotel and a silent auction benefiting the TJ Martell Foundation. The event is limited to 125 guests, so make sure you get your tickets in advance.

Martinis & IMAX

A good thing should never go away, so make sure to savor the last month of Martinis & IMAX at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History before it goes into history. There are only four Fridays left to enjoy live music, martinis, a wine bar, dinner selection, and of course, an IMAX movie.

More for Less at Cellar 56

Your taste buds will be enticed at this bastion of flavor. Getting its name from the 56 types of wine it carries, the obvious focus is on the vino. The large selection comes at a reasonable price with $24 per bottle being the average. And if you just want a taste? Most varieties are just $6 a glass and $3 for half a glass.

The restaurant serves tapas-style small plates like fried oysters and macaroni and cheese- all at a very reasonable three to five dollars per plate. There’s quite a variety here for you to taste at Cellar 56, from wine to fine meals.

Dance in the Vineyards of Chouinard Winery

Picture 2Located up in the hills near San Francisco Bay is the family run Chouinard Vineyard & Winery. Sure, Chouinard offers tours and wine tastings, things you would typically expect from a winery, but don’t be fooled, this is no ordinary vineyard. Reggae in the Vineyards, Jazz in the Vineyards, 70’s and 80’s Dancing in the Vineyards as well as Ghouls in the Vineyards are some of the ever changing events happening at the winery. It’s needless to say, these are certainly not activities you would expect from a vineyard.

Yet, you’ll still find a staff that loves making wine and can’t wait to share it with their clients. Escape the city for a day to this nearby vineyard and winery and take pleasure in the award-winning wine- and entertianment- Chouinard has to offer.


Eat at Atmosphere for an elegant ambiance and incredible French cuisine with a modern twist. Feast on amazing appetizers like Escargot or sink your teeth into something substantial like the Boeuf en daube (translation: Beef Short Ribs Stew). Choose a wine to accompany your exquisite meal; the list is endless!


Wines from around the world and meat that’s braised, roasted, and stewed are just two of the reason’s why Aria has us utterly captivated. Pastry chef, Kathryn King, churns out delectables like the Warm Chocolate Cheesecake, and entrees like the Zinfandel Braised Beef Short Rib are nothing short of heavenly. Open in the evenings only, the kitchen devotes the whole day to concocting dinner-time masterpieces.