Posts Tagged ‘Hole in the Wall’

Raising a glass to 40yrs of Iron Horse Vineyards and 4th of July Weekend in Sonoma

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

July 4th, easily one of our favorite holidays to celebrate and as such this year we had a whole lot of celebrating to do.   Our dear friend and longtime business collaborate with The Nyman Group, Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards filled us in on plans to celebrate 40 years of Iron Horse we knew exactly where Independence Day would take us.  Joy has shaped the vision of Iron Horse within the Hospitality Industry and her wines are regularly served at the White House and great restaurants around the country.

Iron Horse Vineyards

Sonoma is truly one of those perfect places in America and currently there is so much good happening from incredible juice being bottled and ready to drink to fantastic, fun restaurants to a housing and economic boom, the whole county is firing on all cylinders.  If you have the ability to travel to the region, go now!

Our visit started out on July 2 with us heading to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley to visit Bill Smart, VP and GM of Lambert Bridge Winery.  First off, Bill is the consummate host and what a lovely experience in our first visit to the winery.  The tasting room at Lambert Bridge is gorgeous and you feel right at home the minute you step foot inside (if you haven’t fallen in love with the winery upon driving up).  We tasted the range of wines and marveled at the delicious juice winemaker Jennifer Higgins has cared for.

Next, it was heading south to Santa Rosa for an afternoon in the sunshine with Rose and Bubbles over at Inman Family Wines. We’ve been big fans of the winery for some time and it was a pleasure having Jon as our host for the day and making sure our glasses were always full as we relaxed next to the vineyard.  If you make the trek this summer make sure to ask for Jon and pick up a bottle or three of their Endless Crush Rose.

 

Being a bit famished after two fantastic tastings it was off to Zazu for dinner.  This was also our first time at the new location inside The Barlow.  The true definition of Farm-to-Table is exemplified by what Duskie Estes and her husband, John Stewart continue to do at Zazu.  On this evening we started with a smorgasbord of salumi, antipasti and some black pig bacon wrapped dates. All tasty and delicious as was the homemade pasta used in the stroganoff followed by a perfect char and crust on the 30-day dry aged rib-eye. The wine list at Zazu is also filled with gems for you to select from and if you want to know what real Caesar salad should taste like, look no further!

 

The following day was what the whole trip was planned around, celebrating 40 years of Iron Horse Vineyards. As a family that has been there from the beginning it is with profound joy and admiration we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Iron Horse and the sensational job Audrey, Barry and of course, Joy, have worked tirelessly on to make the winery an icon in the business and in the world.  On this day we were all enjoying Spirit of ’76 Cuvee and wow what a firework!  Just an absolutely delicious and perfect sparkling wine while enjoying it in the Iron Horse garden.  In typical Joy fashion there was always a ‘next stop’ and on this celebration day it included following “Uncle Sam” and a 20-person brass band called The Hub Bub Club to a 1920’s corral where the bubbles were flowing and everything from New England lobster rolls to bison sliders were being served.  The highlight of the celebration however came inside the corral where Joy had assembled a collection of impressive and unforgettable memories over the past 40 years of Iron Horse. A perfect soiree for the holiday weekend.

 

 

Following Iron Horse and with a couple hours until dinner it was off to UNTI for a quick tasting. Having been a fan of the wines for some time because of the European styles and techniques we were all very excited about this tasting. We had a lovely host in Kelsey who took us through the whole range and even sampled us on some additional varietals, which weren’t featured on the daily tasting selection. While we sincerely advise you to go, buy, drink immediately we’d be doing a disservice if we didn’t advise you to purchase some of the UNTI Grenache Blanc, a home run!

For dinner we met up with good friend and journalist, Matt Villano, at Underwood Bar and Bistro in Graton. Matt and all our friends in the area all suggested Underwood as a must visit and as such we obliged and were not disappointed.  We could and nearly did eat through the entire menu; a few highlights include the pan roasted chicken (oh my harissa!) and Liberty Farms duck breast and confit.  Pair those entrees with Fathers & Daughters Ella’s Reserve Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 and the Kokomo Claret 2011 from Dry Creek Valley and we were happy campers indeed.

The following day was the 4th and to celebrate our nation’s independence we went to visit good friend, Sean Tevik at Thomas George Estates.  This is another must visit when you are in the area. The winery is relatively young after purchasing the land and facility from David Bynum in 2008 and with such a storied history prior to taking over it’s no wonder TGS specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay! Now look, not only is the wine delicious and one you should stock up on but they have also relocated the tasting room to the Cave making for an even better experience than one could ask for.  Sean and his team are gracious hosts and just give them a heads up you are coming and have a great time!

 

Like all good things, our trip had to come to an end but not before cruising down to San Francisco for a few hours to visit our good friend Nick Floulis at Hole In The Wall coffee. It’s amazing what he’s doing with 27 sq-ft of space (yes, that’s correct, 27). The pour over coffee is strong and tasty, four blends to choose from, and his personality may just keep you there for hours! Don’t believe us?  Go experience for yourself!

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A weekend in wine country flies by too quickly but we’re blessed to have the opportunity to see friends doing great things and we can’t want to be back and enjoy even more memorable experiences.

Adventures to San Francisco & the Bay

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

 

Recently, three members of The Nyman Group had the opportunity to head to the San Francisco and Bay Area for meetings, events and tastings, experiencing quite a few elements that the area had to offer.

 

Desiring to embrace a classic San Francisco restaurant landmark, we ventured over to Swan Oyster Bar at 1517 Polk St. (no website and they don’t answer their phone, fyi). – a seafood haven founded in 1912 that is cash only, you wait on line for the 16 bar stools and sit elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike.  Every fish and bivalve served are extremely fresh and completely delicious.  We sampled an oyster platter and then the mixed seafood salad, mounded with Bay Shrimp, Dungeness crab and Prawns, which was then served with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, mixed with some of the back fat of the Dungeness, in the shell.  WOW!

 

Needing some caffeine to charge us for the afternoon, we stopped over to see our good friend, Nick Floulis, at his 27-square foot coffee bar (yes, really), Hole in the Wall, located in North Beach at 524 Union Street.  Hole in the Wall only serves pour-over coffee (very cool and impressive), in three distinct roasts – Blonde, Brunette (lovingly known as North Beach) & Redhead, right on Union Street.  They’re fully embraced by the local community and a great spot for a damn good cup of joe.

 

We then moved along to one of our main reasons for the visit, heading to the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Experience Trade Tasting, being held at the stunningly beautiful venue, Bently Reserve.  Zinfandel is commonly referred to as ‘America’s Grape’, even though it is not native to our country, it has been fully embraced as American in flavor and palate appeal.  Tasting through the over 75 wineries, our favorites were definitely Turley, Klinker Brick, Gamba and Brown Estate.

 

Needing sustenance and wanting another San Francisco classic food and beverage venue, we made our way to NOPA in the NoPa (North of Panhandle) neighborhood.  Established in 2006, NOPA is more than a restaurant, but a gathering point for the local community for good eats, a lively bar scene and late night dining.  We were able to swap standing room only into seats, ponying up to the bar and holding down that area with the buzzing activity around us.  The Half Roasted Chicken was tremendous in flavor, having been brined and basted in an herb butter, and the Country Pork Chop with Brussels Sprouts, Cara Cara Oranges, Mustard and Sesame was divine.

 

Next stop on the tour was to The Independent, one of San Francisco’s premier live music venues, to take in a performance by Kamasi Washington.  The jazz saxophonist was in town as part of the 2016 Noise Pop Festival and came under critical acclaim in 2015 for his album, The Epic.  The show proved to be just that as Kamasi and his band (which at times included his father!) laid down a 90-minute set filled with jazz, funk and a room full of mesmerized fans.  To witness this is a room that holds just 500 people was truly special. Following the show we headed just up a touch of Divisadero St. to swing into Bar 821 for an amaro to finish the evening.  Upon arriving, we looked at the wall of the bar where to amari and digestivos were listed and, we were all immediately and completely in awe of the variety they had available.  There were at least 30 amaros and another 20+ digestives, with tasting flights and bottles from Italy, the U.S.A., Switzerland and France.  We were able to sample a great variety, including Brovo #4, an American amaro from Seattle, Washington, which we never knew existed!

 

Wrapping up the evening, we had decided to rest our heads at the recently renovated The Buchanan Hotel, in Japantown, right on Buchanan.  This Kimpton property had clean and spacious rooms, friendly staff and a perfect location for our trip.  We would gladly recommend the hotel to any travelers, business or leisure for your next visit to the Bay.

 

Friday morning we hosted a breakfast meeting at Sweet Maple, located right now the street from our hotel where they are focused on fresh ingredients, gigantic portions and fun combinations of flavors.  We were able to sample one of their signature items, the Millionaire’s Bacon (which was featured on the Discovery Network) – thick, free range bacon baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper.  Damn good!

 

After some meetings and exploration, we headed over to Union Larder, a neighborhood joint at the corner of Union & Hyde that refers to itself as a Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie Bar.  Our afternoon stop was perfect timing, as it wasn’t too busy and allowed us to sample the menu, most specifically their House-made Charcuterie and Uni Pate with Fruit Mostarda, a really cool concept of pate.

 

Venturing further down into the city, toward the Financial District (FiDi), we went to see our friends at The Hidden Vine, a wonderful wine bar in the shadow of the TransAmerica Building, complimented by their regulation size Bocce court.  They are great supporters of our Director of Operations’, Labor Wines wine project, featuring the Pinot Noir by the glass.

 

Next on the Bay adventure was a quick BART trip to Oakland for the Vance Joy/Elle King concert at the Fox Theatre.  On this warm February night, it was a breath of fresh air to see Oakland so alive and bustling with activity as patrons entered and exited bars and restaurants. Glancing into the windows of hustling hot-spots and seeing folks eating and drinking, smiling and conversing reassured us that Oakland is continuing to rise again, city-wide.  Just a couple years ago people would have called you crazy to paint a picture of the scene on this night.  The Fox was one of the venues that really led a change for the neighborhood and with shows like Vance Joy, a diverse, happy and fun-loving crowd invaded Oakland in a great way.

 

Saturday morning, we stopped over to the Fillmore Farmer’s Market, which is small but has a nice collection of vendors, purchasing some heirloom carrots, salmon jerky and fresh pastries.  A really fun treat to enjoy a piece of the area’s local flavors.

 

Escaping the city, we were taken to a classic restaurant for lunch, Max’s in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, which has been open for over 25 years and is run by our good friend Dennis Berkowitz.  His restaurants are truly run for their customer’s pleasure and enjoyment, and happily boasting, ‘everything you’ve always wanted to eat.’  Max’s menu is vast and full of deliciousness, and we sampled too many dishes!  Having the chance to taste their Corned Beef (Nitrate-free!) and Pastrami, was a heavenly experience.

 

Capping off the trip, we had the pleasure to get a full tour of Max’s Commissary, located in the shadow of San Francisco International Airport.  Being shown around this massive facility was quite the perspective, seeing all that they produce for their various operations, located around the bay.  We were given a Chocolate Covered Macaroon that was the size of our fist, truly unbelievable!

 

All told, our 2 very full days in the Bay Area, were tremendous.  Mixing our meetings in with pleasure, we came, we saw, ate, drank, listened to music and caught up with some great people.  Can’t wait to be back there!