Fruit Roll-Ups with Wine

At the start of first grade I experienced my first crush.  His name was Andrew Finch and we sat next to each other in Mrs. Dunkin's class.  Oddly enough, we all lived on the same block.  Mrs. Dunkin wasn't the nicest of teachers.  She was a big woman who didn't seem to have a soft spot for children.  I think I was so enamored with Andrew that I completely forgot about how mean Mrs. Dunkin was.  As 2nd grade rolled around, Andrew and I entered the same class once again.  We would often walk home together since we lived on the same street.  I still have a diary entry that reads, "April 3, 1991 - Today Andrew walked by me.  I love him and I dream about him!"  On many occasions we'd sit together at lunch.  I'd wrap my strawberry fruit roll-up around my finger or try to make shapes out of it while we ate and laughed with our friends.  The day finally came that he announced in front of the class that I was his girlfriend.  I couldn't believe it!  I ran to my friends after school to tell them what happened.  Come to find out he also told both of my friends, Sophia and Bridgett that they were his girlfriend as well.  Andrew turned out to be not only my first crush, but my first heartbreak too.

Most kids growing up in the 1990's had a fruit roll-up packed in their lunch bag.  It was fun to be silly with the snack and as you can see, I'm still having fun with it today.  Fruit roll-ups aren't over the top sweet.  They have a slight sourness to them and a smooth, rubbery texture.  Strawberry is still my favorite flavor and I absolutely love this snack with German "Kabinett" Riesling.  Kabinett refers to the lowest level of sugar in the 6 subcategories of high quality German wine.  These wines are typically low in alcohol and extremely food friendly.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine I notice the acidity in the wine mirrors the tart flavors of the fruit roll-up.  The acidity in both also cancel each other out and you're left with a strawberry explosion in your mouth.  Other wines to try with a fruit roll-up are off-dry sparkling wine (esp. rose), demi-sec Champagne (esp. rose), still/sparkling demi-sec Vouvray, Moscato d'Asti and Brachetto d'Acqui. Cheers!

Cinnabon with Wine

I had the hot mom growing up.  She modeled in her twenties and had not only men, but also little boys drooling over her.   In elementary school my mom was now in her late thirties, and still hotter than ever.  She was curvy in all the right places, rode a Harley and wore spandex pants.  I remember asking her to drop me off down the street from my school so that kids couldn’t tease me about her sexy demeanor.  At lunchtime I would see other kids open their lunch pales to find a note saying, “Have a great day!  Love, Mom.”  My mom wasn’t the Betty Crocker type.  I remember always wanting to find a heart shaped note inside, but that wasn’t going to happen.  Luckily my mom was cool in so many other ways that I let the note slide.  One of my favorite things to do with my mom was go to the mall.  She'd always stop at Cinnabon and I'd get McDonald's french fries.  She never complained that I was picky, she just let me be me and she always made me feel comfortable with who I was. Here's a thank you and a birthday shout-out to my beautiful and unique Mom...Happy Birthday!

What could be more over-the-top than a Cinnabon and wine?  Ok, I won't answer that!  I had to think long and hard about this pairing.  Many things came to mind but after trial and error, I enjoyed Brachetto the most.  Brachetto is an Italian, sweet, red, sparkling wine.  There are 3 ultimate outcomes when pairing wine and food together.  1st, the wine out shines the food.  2nd, the food out shines the wine.  And 3rd, they make each other sing!  In this case, they're making music together!  After a bite of the Cinnabon and then a sip of the wine, the strawberry and raspberry flavors in the wine come forth.  However, the flavor of the food is still there, just somehow heightened.  Because the wine is sweet, the sugar stands up to the sugar in the dish.  In addition the wine is sparkling, helping to cleanse the palate and prepare you for another bite.  If that wasn't enough, the wine has just enough balanced acidity to cut through the doughiness of the dessert.  Other wines to try with a Cinnabon are sweet sparkling Vouvray, sparkling Shiraz, Sauternes, sweet Sherry, late harvest white wines and sweet sparkling wines.

Fried PB&J's with Wine

We've all done it.  As soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's eve, we pledge to make resolutions for all our vice's.  Some of these include joining a local gym, giving up smoking, saving more, drinking less, and eating healthier.  I say to hell with New Year's resolutions!  Unless something is truly a problem, we all deserve to enjoy our lives in moderation.  Maybe that should be a resolution in itself....enjoy life more!  So this New Year's I'm starting out with a bang!  Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich's with wine!  You can thank me later.

Republic Kitchen & Bar serves up this delicious dessert here in Las Vegas.  Although you can't tell they're PB&J's from the photo, a quick bite will reassure you they are.  The delicious fried sandwich's are served with a side of strawberry sauce for dipping.  I like to place an order to go so that I can enjoy a beautiful glass of demi-sec sparkling Rose with these decadent treats.  The key is to keep the sandwich's in the fridge and then set your oven to 350 degrees just before serving.  The PB&J's only need 3-5 minutes to warm up.  I then pour strawberry sauce all over the top of them and indulge in it's goodness.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, the strawberry flavor goes off like fireworks in the mouth.  Because the wine is sparkling, the bubbles match the fried texture of the sandwich and help to wash the grease and peanut butter off the palate.  The wine is also slightly sweet, helping to match the sweetness of the jelly.  What a way to start off the New Year!  Other wines to try with fried PB&J's are Brachetto, Beaujolais and Riesling as well as off-dry sparkling wines.

*Chocolate sauce is served for dipping, however, it was not used with this pairing.

Buffalo Wings

My nephew loves buffalo wings. The spicier the better! He’s only 9 but he can eat a couple dozen in one sitting. Every now and again, he and my niece have a sleepover at my house. So you can only imagine what I order for dinner. When the wings arrive I throw the paper towels on the table and set a few aside for myself. While they chow down on the wings, I pour myself a nice glass of demi sec sparkling Rose or Zinfandel, and savor the moment with my two favorite kids. Afterwards we grab a blanket and cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie. These are the moments you never forget!

For a finger-licking good food like Buffalo wings, you need a wine that can stand up to the spice! A demi sec sparkling rose does this perfectly. The sugar in the wine helps to temper the heat and the bubbles help to cut through the grease. The palate feels refreshed and ready for the next bite. Zinfandel works well with buffalo wings too. Zinfandel is inherently spicy and when you pair it with buffalo wings, the fruit in the wine shows beautifully. However, be careful about how spicy you order your wings since Zinfandel is a high alcohol wine. If the wings are too spicy, you'll feel like there's a fire in your mouth!