Sunday Dinner With the Pope

Actually just dinner with one of may favorite Rhone style wines – The Châteauneuf du Pape!  Although this vino from France’s Rhône valley, does not possess the elegance and longevity of a great Bordeaux, its wide array of aromas and flavors are earthy, rich with stone fruit and it’s its texture is rich and round, sumptuous and opulent … which makes it just right for my dinner table!  But not all CDP’s are created equal gentlemen.  For my money Château de Beaucastel is one of the best!

Today, my choice was the 2007 vintage of Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

After opening the bottle a full 2 hours before the meal, I found the juice to be full bodied and ripe, with dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and licorice notes.  In my Riedel stemware as always, the taste is enhanced 🙂  A nice long finish on this one.

I matched this with grill salmon wrapped in cedar with mango, ginger and orange peppers with a side of yam, broccoli and haricot verts.

To finish … a dessert of frozen peanut butter and milk chocolate yogurt topped with chocolate sauce and graham cracker crust.  Ah … the simple pleasures of life!

Cordovans by Crockett & Jones

As written by Glenn O’Brien (GQ’s Style Guy)

Cordovan shoes are made from horsehide. Before you start weeping and gnashing your burger-biting teeth, consider that the hides that wind up on our feet are not from steeds raised for that purpose but from older horses that have been knackered for other reasons. Often called shell cordovan, this leather is made from the “shell,” a membrane on the part of the horse that goes over the fence last. For some reason, this is where the most nonporous leather known to man is found. Each horse provides two shells, enough to produce one pair of shoes. Genuine shell-cordovan shoes are known for their shiny finish, durability, and flexibility. The word cordovan comes from Córdoba, Spain, where the natural vegetable tanning of these hides originated, but the lone remaining factory in the States that produces shell cordovan in the painstaking, time-consuming traditional manner is Horween Leather Company of Chicago, the same outfit that tans the leather for NFL footballs. The process is labor-intensive, so cordovans are quite pricey. The most popular cordovan shoes are those made by Alden (the sole remaining shoe manufacturer in New England), Allen-Edmonds of Wisconsin, and Crockett & Jones of London.

My Cordovans – made by Crockett & Jones, London.  I wore them today with APC denim, socks by Richard James, Savile Row

The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach

The Crow Bar & Kitchen in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach) is the brain child of Steve Geary, a long time resident who envisioned this gastropub to exist as neighborhood eatery with quality food in a relaxing ambiance.  Definition of a GASTROPUB?  It is the British term for a public house (pub) which specializes in high-quality food, steps above the more basic “pub grub”. The name is a combination of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben opened a pub called ‘The Eagle’ in London.  Gastropubs typically have an atmosphere which is relaxed and a focus on offering cuisine prepared as well as it is in the best of restaurants.  Staying true to the format requires a menu that complements the assortment of beers and wines the gastropub offers.

The Crow Bar & Kitchen boasts of a pub style menu that showcases local and seasonal food with an amazing variety of  beer and decent wine to make pairings enjoyable.  As seen on the “Specials Board” below, the humble organic egg is a ubiquitous feature on the menu.  The chef loves to accentuate a lot of dishes with this kitchen staple!

The grilled cheese sandwich special above looked appealing and I went for it.  It arrived on the table with thick white lightly toasted buttered bread with generous topping of crunch smoked bacon and cheddar.  The soft fried egg yolk added another level of creaminess … every bite was home food comforting!

I chose to wash this creation down with the Avery Rascal Belgian style wheat ale from Boulder, Colorado.  This brew was unfiltered, cleverly spiced and a refreshing thirst quencher.

Appetizer was followed by an ahi nicoise burger.  Served on a whole wheat bun, tapenade aioli, roasted tomato, sliced organic egg, red onion, grilled green bean ‘fries’.  See what I mean … the organic egg appears again.  The ingredients work well but as I worked my way trough chomping it down, one of the two pieces of ahi was fibrous and stringy. Ruins the complete experience but the manager worked quickly to bring me a fresh seared piece within minutes.

Ahi – part deux freshly seared from the kitchen.  Cooked to perfection.

I chose a pinot noir from Marlborough region of New Zealand.  It was so so.  I like restaurants that bring their wine in mini carafes rather than pouring glasses full to the brim that make swirling impossible.

We also ordered The Kitchen Sink salad with fresh seasonal vegetables and local organic lettuces, bacon, nuts, hard cooked organic hen’s egg (ha – there’s the egg again!).  Veggies were fresh and the chicken (Mary’s organic).

Due to time committments we did not get to sample the desserts, but what I saw on the list looked good … Butterscotch pot de creme, Bread pudding, S’mores and Gelatos.

Some interior shots of the restaurant – the main communal table dining area and the bar.

The “Egg Guy” art on the wall …

Overall – a good experience.  The service is friendly and the food worthy of  return.  Highly recommended.  Y’all come back now he crows …

Classic White Wingtips by Brooks Brothers

I recently happened to come across Brooks Brothers’ upscale Peal & Co. line of footwear on their website.  Did some research and learned that these English shoes are actually made by the fabled Alfred Sargent house of footwear.   Brooks Brothers had purchased the name Peal & Company and now uses respectable English shoemakers like Alfred Sargent to supply shoes under that name.  I found a pair of white wingtip lace ups at 50% off.

As one would expect from Alfred Sargent, these are extremely well crafted with Goodyear welting and quality materials.  The Goodyear welt process is the traditional method for the manufacture of mens dress shoes, taking its name from the inventor who devised the original hand sewn method. The benefit of a dress shoe which is made using the Goodyear welt construction is that the system allows for a constant flow of air through the shoe, which keeps the shoes ventilated, durable and strong.

A closer look at the sole on these brogues and the quality tacking.

These shoes have a Scotch grain leather which is embossed with a pebbled pattern.  Looks great on this pair.

I’m ready to step into these dandies …

No rules with how to wear these.  Pair them with dark denim, khakis, linen or wool trousers.

Brooks Brothers supplies these shoes with individual dust bags.  Use them to avoid getting scuffs and maintaining a clean look.

Barker Black, Take 2

On my last Barker Black report, I mentioned a follow up post if I visited their store in Los Angeles.  Well, I managed to make that happen this past weekend so here it is …

Located on N. Robertson Blvd, it is a pretty little store with foliage, shrubbery and paned windows.  Of course the skull and cross bones of the brand speak volumes about the bad ass merchandise waiting for you inside.  Come on in gentlemen!

As you walk into the front entrance of this 500 sq ft. place, you are greeted with a beautiful wall display with shoes placed on wooden shoe lasts.  Brogues, slip on’s, sneakers, slippers, driving shoes, boots … footwear that is both elegant English but with an attitude.  According to the brand story, Barker Black’s  skull-and-crossbones logo comes from the 17th Century Lancers, once England’s best-dressed regiment, and the inspiration for some of Barker Black’s shoe styles, which range from $495 to $5,500.

A closer look at an old fashioned, textured contrast leather, wing tips for the dandy in you!

Since I own a pair of Barker Black traditional loafers, I was on the look out for something different on this visit.  I was instantly attracted to the slippers that are well crafted and exemplify amazing embroidery (on the velvet variety).  The difficult part?  Having the ability to choose just one … trust me gentlemen … you want them all!

The velvet slippers are hand-embroidered with artistry, appear super luxuriant and the soles are hand-tacked.  Unfortunately my size was not available.   But “Not to worry sir” says Tim Akinmurele, the store manager, an affable, helpful and very customer oriented gentleman … “We can one shipped for you from our store in New York”.  Ok, no problem I think to myself, but I do need to walk out with another pair while I was there in person.  I mean … c’mon look at all these gorgeous shoes!

Tim was more than happy to oblige.  I considered the Death and Glory slippers but passed on them.

I really liked this pair of paisley all skull patterned slippers but once again my size was sold out!

I kept going back to the linen cross bones slippers and decided on purchasing that pair.  Stylish, simple, and well crafted arrogance was going to be on my feet this summer.  The grey / black ones in the middle … they are special.

Tim complemented my good taste and grabbed me a fresh pair from the storeroom.

Here are some more shots of my selection and how I wore them this weekend.

Worn with dark denim, these slippers look great sans socks!

In closing I have to say that Barker Black shoes are definitely special.  They are well designed and crafted, have an edge and the customer service is quite special.  From the email help from Derrick Miller to the great service from Tim, my experience was special.  My BB’s are “BAD TO THE BONE!”  Rock on Barker Black!