Showing posts with label free wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free wine. Show all posts


Pottery Barn Turns Art Gallery

Art gallery shows can always be fun (hello free wine!), but I was intrigued by this particular event because it's hosted not by Gagosian Gallery or David Zwirner, but Pottery Barn!

Join Pottery Barn on 59th and Lexington on Saturday April 26th from 1-3 pm for schmoozing and browsing photography by Nichole Robertson. Sip free wine and take home a pillow or two if you feel so inclined. To RSVP, click here for your free tickets.


Awesome Cooks!

It's no secret on the blog how much I love cooking. So when Cook & Go in Meatpacking invited my friend Laura and me for a blogger cooking class, I got very excited.

The "classroom" with windows to the street
My set-up

Originally a French company, Cook & Go opened their first outpost in the US on West 16th Street about 1 year ago. They offer various cooking classes, which rotate monthly, designed to incorporate several "cooks" (ie, cut into julienne, make meringue, fold a papillote, etc.) and ultimately prepare a single serving of a multi-course meal. In the summer, they offer a Highline picnic class, designed to be taken up to the park after class. In the winter, they replace it with their TV Tray class, designed to be eaten, you guessed it, at home in front of your TV. All classes after 5:30 are served wine. They also host a wide array of parties!

For our class, we started with 2 appetizers: purses filled with pears, brie, and raspberries and Tuscan white bean crostini. I liked that one was cooked and one was not (meaning we could eat it right away, I was hungry!!).

'Purse' prep

Folded purses
Cooked purses
Crostini prep
Finished crostini
For the main course, we made apricot chicken. I will DEFINITELY be making this at home as it was so easy and so full of flavor. Here's the recipe in case you're interested:

Apricot Chicken (serves 6):

1 1/2 pounds apricots (we used dried), roughly chopped, pits removed and discarded
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (can sub olive oil)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 cups chicken stock or broth (use gluten-free stock if you are cooking gluten-free)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce (you can add more if you like)
Black pepper

Place the chopped apricots in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and the vinegar. Let sit while you brown the chicken in the next step. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the pan, without crowding the pan, and brown them on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle salt over it. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. As the onion cooks and releases moisture, use a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the browned bits from the chicken (called fond) from the bottom of the pan. Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium. Put about 2/3 of the apricots, along with any juice they have given up, into a blender and blend into a purée. (If using dried apricots, there isn't really a need to do this step, just chop very finely). Pour the purée into the pan with the chicken stock and onions. Add the cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco and taste. You may need to add some salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 10-20 minutes. When you are ready to serve, put the chicken and the remaining apricot pieces into the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice.

For dessert, we made date filled cakes and s'mores shots. The s'mores shots were my favorite, although I admit we didn't really cook them, our teacher Christina did, but I did put mine together in the coolest looking way possible! The date filled cakes were more like cookies to me, but were really delicious, especially when they were hot out of the oven.

Me with my date filled cakes
Finished date filled cakes
Chef Christina making meringue
Laura and me with our s'mores shots
Finished s'mores shot
All classes run from $39-$59 and are 90 minutes long. Extra portions/people range between an extra $15-$25. But wait!...if you use the code BPIBLOG you can get 15% off any class! But wait again!...Living Social is currently offering vouchers to Cook & Go! For only $34 you can get admission to any two classes of your choosing, that's 56% off!! The deal is only good for 3 more days so get on it!

One thing I will note, however, is that the classes are meant for people who have little to no cooking skills. If you cook a lot and know how to follow a medium hard recipe by yourself, you may get a little frustrated in the classes, especially because they only allow you to use a paring knife because chef's knives are liabilities apparently. Nonetheless, it's still a fun time and you go home with a yummy meal and a fun experience. For those of you who use your ovens for shoe storage, I highly highly recommend you sign up at Cook & Go!


Little Brown Glass

Friday nights are when to score at Bloomingdale's. I went in to make a quick purchase at the Mac counter and to my surprise, ran into a man serving Champagne. Now it's rare for me to turn down a man serving Champagne, so I followed him into the Coach boutique, which had just opened. In addition to the bubbly, Coach ladies dressed in black were manning a candy station complete with gummy bears, Starburst, and my old-time favorite Pop Rocks. The store was mobbed with people trying to get in on the action (I swear it was like people had never seen M&Ms before), but I stuck around to finish my glass of awesome and browsed the goodies. In addition to all the free giveaways, including notebooks and pencils with the brand's logo, everyone who made a purchase received a monogrammed leather keychain.

Cute clutches with a hint of sparkle
The mob at the candy table
Coach ladies in black (note the empty bins once filled with candy)
Man serving Champagne
I loved these little coin purses in lots of fun colors - only $38
Free monogramming with purchase
Once I had my fill of Friday night fun, I made my way toward the exit. But wait! There was another man serving Champagne. Although it was way to early for a second glass, I had to see what else could possibly be going on at the 59th Street Flagship store. I found another large crowd in the Dior boutique and a lady with a clipboard. Her personality was about as bubbly as the Champagne I had just consumed, and she informed me that Elle Magazine was hosting a celebration in conjunction with Dior. Elle's head astrologist, I didn't get her name, was giving personalized (and apparently very accurate) readings, the man was serving Champagne AND white wine, and another man was passing around those delicious little French macaroons. I passed on the reading (hello, 45 minute wait!?) and the alcohol, but I had to have a cute little macaroon, yum!

Dior Boutique inside Bloomingdales 59th Street
Delicious little French macaroons complete with a pineapple (?) leaf

I don't know what you're doing next Friday (not this Friday as all craziness breaks loose on Black Friday), but I'm heading back to Bloomie's to see what else goes on around the designer sunglasses and shimmery eyeshadows of the awesome department store. Will I see you there?


Gratis Wining

Don't you just love when you find out about a series of ongoing events that you can attend free of charge, without a reservation, in a centrally located establishment, where you can taste (and by taste I mean get pretty tipsy off of) about four dozen different alcoholic beverages made from grapes, sometimes sample food and then purchase said beverages at a discounted price? Well, I do. If you do too, I highly suggest visiting Union Square Wines for one of their future Saturday wine tasting events.

 I popped in to the fairly large wine shop on the NW corner of 13th Street and 4th Avenue last Saturday afternoon for their Spanish Wine and Tapas Party with a couple of USW veteran friends. It's rare for me to turn down a free tasting so off I went, half expecting to be there for maybe half hour then find some cool coffee shop nearby and stay out of the rain. The store itself is neatly laid out with wines from all over the world, an exclusive tasting room up front where members can enjoy samples of some elite wines whenever tickles their fancy, and a bar area in the back where a good number of staff members were curating the tasting.

Even as a recently discovered oenophile (I don't claim to be an expert, but I have gotten know bit of terminology) I was lost in the Spanish descriptions and the Spanish names of the different grapes. So I was happy to just grab a glass and follow the herd. All said and done, we probably walked out of there after tasting at least 20 different wines. The selection ranged from sparkling whites, oaked whites and roses (very unique), smoky reds which tasted like a bbq in a bottle, and some fruity reds. Pricing on the bottles was very affordable, from about $10-$40 on average. I ended up purchasing one of the oaked roses, and if you know me, you know I'm sort of finicky on the rose side, so that was definitely some yummy stuff I tried. Since we got there on around 3:45, they were out of food, but word has it some great tapas samples were being circulated.

If you make a purchase, you are eligible to join USW as a member. You get a fancy card and everything. Basically, it's a point system. They start you off with 500 courtesy points and you get about 10 points per dollar spent every time you buy. You can spend the points in that elite tasting room previously mentioned, where they sometimes offer wines sold at more than $100 a bottle.

The next advertised event is for this Saturday from 2-5, the USQ's BLT Fest 2010: The Summer Series Final. They'll be pouring an assortment of different wines along with some good ole bacon, lettuce and tomato.I would get there closer to the 2 side so as to be able to snag some food. If you can't make it this weekend, keep checking the website all year long for some awesome looking ways to get drunk for free, I mean ways to be classy and refined. I'll definitely be back!


Paradou it!

I've heard it said that it would be impossible to ever try every single one of the city's restaurants even if you ate out 4 meals a day; there are just too many. Now that's heavy competition.

One of the things I love most about New York is the originality that abounds. A restaurant must be creative if it wants to get people in the door. This was the case with my Supper outing a couple of days ago, and this is the case with a little French bistro called Paradou in the West Village. Paradou is super creative in that I have never even been there and I'm already hooked.

 It all started with a Grub Street posting I came across. The owners of the establishment had been advertising that after 9 years of running their business, they were in need of some honest to goodness feedback from the people who really mattered, their customers. For those who email their comments in, a $20 coupon will come their way. 

So I decided I had to check out the restaurant's website. Since I'm a sucker for contests, the first thing I noticed was "Sign up for our newsletter and enter our weekly drawing to win a $100 gift certificate." So of course I sign up. The next nice surprise was an email in my inbox thanking me for signing up and offering me a  complimentary glass of wine. But that's not all! On the restaurant's Yelp page, it lists a "Free Wine Mondays" special - just mention "Wall Street" when making your dinner reservation for a Monday night and you get a free bottle of wine with your meal. At this rate I'm going to have a feast on the house! 

But you know if it's good, I'll go back. And so will others. That's why they are smart cookies in my book. 

So if you're looking for a new cute little French place to call your own, I'd definitely check it out.  

Paradou on Urbanspoon