Tag Archives: wine

A Lovely Little Day Trip to Christian W. Klay Winery

28 Jan

As much as I love wine, I’m not particularly familiar with wineries in this region.  When LivingSocial offered wine tastings and tours of Christian W. Klay winery near Nemacolin Woodlands, I quickly snapped that up!  Our visit was in late January, so the vines were dormant, but that hardly detracted from the tour.

Roy is in charge of all things agricultural at the winery, and he proudly taught us about his craft.  This winery is a true family business, and they take enormous pride in their work.  Roy was so excited to tell us about all the grapes he had experimented with and all of the seminars he has taken, and all of the famous winemakers he has met.  There are few things more fun than listening to someone share their craft, when they are truly passionate about their job.  Even though I’m not one to dig in the dirt, I eagerly signed up to the winery’s volunteer mailing list.  They have volunteer grape picking sessions, and I can’t wait to get out there this summer and help with the harvest!

Klay winery offers a wide variety of whites, reds and fruit wines.  Their focus is not “what’s popular?” but “what can we do best?”  Although Mr. Beez and I are always an easy sell when it comes to wine, it was refreshing that there was no pressure whatsoever to buy.  Nonetheless we found several wines we really loved, and ended up purchasing four bottles.  I’m generally more of a red drinker than a white drinker, but I love super super dry white wine.  Klay offered two very dry whites that I absolutely loved (the “Fort Necessity” and the “Blanc de Lafeyette”).  The winery’s price point is very reasonable ($14-20).  Lucky for me, they also sell at the wine shop at Station Square, so I won’t have to haul all the way back to Fayette County when these delicious bottles are long gone.

We had a lovely afternoon touring the winery, and I’m very excited to learn more about Western Pennsylvania wineries and hopefully visit a few more once we get back to warm weather!

Fancy People at the Fancy Steakhouse

23 Oct

Mr. Beez loves steakhouses. His usual request for his birthday dinner is “a steak as big as my head!” We had a Morton’s gift card from back when we planned to go there for his birthday in May. We didn’t go then, because we had just gone to our most-insane-dinner-on-earth at Per Se, and were a bit scared off from expensive dining for a while.

Steakhouses aren’t really my style. I’m not against them, I can reliably find a tasty meal at a steakhouse. I just feel like if I’m going to spend a huge chunk of cash on a fine meal, I’d like for it to be memorably innovative. Steakhouses are predictable, and predictable dining isn’t quite my thing.


Mr. Beez, our friend David, and I went to the Pittsburgh Opera to see Rigoletto a couple Sundays ago, and followed the performance with fancy dinner at Mortons.

We had the New Orleans Shrimp appetizer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Shrimp and butter and cream and bread? Yum.


I chose the salmon for my entree. I’m failing at putting together a description. They made a good dish of it, because they are Morton’s and that’s what they do.


Really, I do.


I also love wine. I wonder if those huge wine bottles are just decoration, or if every once in a while some high roller comes in and orders one. Yum yum wine.


If you are wondering what to get me for my birthday, you can get me THAT bottle of wine!
Morton's - the Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Oh Canada!

29 Jul

Mr. Beez and I have been having a simply lovely time on our Vancouver holiday! We have done SO much in 3 short days that it’s unbelievable. All yinz are going to have to suffer through a bunch of Vancouver pics for a while.


Vancouver ahoy!

The airport is attractive and clean. All in all, Vancouver is a lot like Pittsburgh in terms of the city’s “feel”, except they’re doing a smidge better with certain environmental and livability issues (but I’d venture a guess that their homelessness challenges are more significant than those in Pittsburgh).

We started our first day in Vancouver with a visit to Granville Island Public Market. It is similar to Reading Terminal Market in Philly, or Pike Place Market in Seattle, except I think in Vancouver the local-to-tourist ratio is much higher.





I had to be careful not to chow down too eagerly, because we had a Gastown Food Tour (led by Vancouver Food Tours) scheduled for the evening. We have had a really fun weekend, but Mr. Beez and I agree this was the most fun event of the weekend. Gastown is Vancouver’s historic but funky district, filled with innovative and trendy bars and restaurants. Food and fun are serious business in Gastown.


Gastown’s famous steam clock.

The tour leader was incredibly knowledgeable about the fun trivia of the neighborhood, and was also an articulate foodie. The tour encompassed four restaurants, each with a different take on drinks and small bites. Our tour leader was both just plain fun to hang out with, and was also good about leading conversation about the food and drink.

The first stop was at Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar. They served 3 different microbrews, and small plates of chili and lobster mac & cheese. The food and drink were solid, and this would be a great place for happy hour or a meal if you work nearby. It didn’t have the kind of quirky individual personality I usually look for, so while I wouldn’t steer you away from it, it would not be my first pick for a bite in this very eclectic neighborhood.


The second stop was the Pourhouse, which is a pre-Prohibition style bar and restaurant. We were served the Jefferson County cocktail, which was citrusy, with a little kick to it. Just my taste! They also served us Scotch Eggs and Devils on Horseback, both of which were prepared to perfection. The Pourhouse was my favorite stop on the tour, and I’ll be sure to take a visit back here the next time I’m in town.


The third stop was the most innovative and interesting, and was Mr. Beez’ favorite on the tour. Judas Goat specializes in Spanish wines and tapas, but considering the MINISCULE and completely open cooking area they have, their tasty dishes are extra-impressive. We tasted 2 kinds of sherry at Judas Goat. While sherry isn’t my first choice of drinks, it was neat to step a little out of my comfort zone. Mr. Beez ended up really liking the sherry, so this was a great stop for him.




Our final stop was Salt which, like Judas Goat, is tucked away in a little alley, which makes it feel secret and exclusive. We tasted 3 wines at Salt, paired with cheeses and cured meats. SO YUM.


There are many food tour companies in Vancouver, and this tour was on the pricier end of the spectrum. However, I thought the tour was well worth the money. The quantity of food and drink is perfect, the small bites aren’t really that “small” and are spaced well, so that you finish the tour feeling full, like you just had a big dinner. The variety of drinks is a welcome mix, and is enough alcohol to make you a little more chatty, but certainly not too much. The tour guide did a great job of facilitating introductions and conversation, so that we all felt like comfortable friends by the evening’s end. Mr. Beez and I both say: Two Thumbs Up!!