Approximately a year ago, we almost lost the opportunity to attend the NAWBC 2009 as a result of a missed flight. Our stress and frustration only mounted when the realization barreled down on us that our tasting at the famed Portuguese restaurant, Aldea, in New York was the following day. With tickets eventually in hand, our first time to New York was primarily spent in a taxi cab, lacking anything in the way of tourism.
This year, however, we completed our goals! We savored a gigantic bagel, an amazing Thai meal and the opportunity to see a small slice of the city on foot. We meandered through Grand Central Station with our mouths agape, spotted few dozen historic buildings, strolled through lush parks, and enjoyed two very fine tastings: 1 hosted by us, the other by our friend Adrian Murcia the man that used to be behind the blog, Blame it on Rioja. Unfortunately, the blog is no longer in existence, but his work for the Vibrant Rioja campaign is still going strong!
So to say we’re having fun is probably a bit of an understatement. Things are going smoother, we’re traveling with friends, and we’re having a fabulous time!
But what exactly happened in New York?
New York City needs no introduction, and we’re enormous fans of its diversity and culture. I think Gabriella went into a mini orgasmic fit when we were confronted with multiple authentic Asian restaurants to dine at during our first night in Midtown. Our first night was spent dining on steamed vegetable dumplings, spicy crab cakes, spicy seafood noodles, green curry tofu and rice and a scrumptious duck dish alongside a delicious bottle of Alsatian Gewurztraminer. This was followed by a pint of a nice IPA, where Ryan had his own mini fit, and ended at 10pm as our heads hit the pillow some 21 hours after we left our home in Terrassa that morning.
Day 2 was an uncharacteristic 6am wake up followed by an early morning stroll to get our first real New York bagel with lox. About as big as Gabriella’s lovely head, it was pure heaven. With a half pound of thick cream cheese, and the most succulent lox you’ve ever experienced, we savored every bite surrounded in the lush and green Madison Square Park. The rest of our day consisted of meanderings and wanderings as we walked up and down Midtown, appreciating everything we normally can’t find in our wee little Peninsula of Iberia.
Come evening, with the support of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, and the organizational wizardry of Brand Action Team, we hosted a tasting at the Austrian Wine Cultural Forum to kick off the 2010 EWBC in Vienna this fall. Over 40 wine enthusiasts, photographers, journalists, bloggers and the like enjoyed over 30 wines from across Austria as we nibbled on little bites of Wienerschnitzel. It was an incredibly fun event, and one appreciated not only for the wines, but for the opportunity to spread the good word about how wine enthusiasts can use the internet effectively by attending the NAWBC and EWBC. We both have to say that the field blends ROCKED! More info on these vinous treasures in a future article.
Finally, as the clock bell chimed 9pm, we found ourselves alongside Chef Mark Tafoya spending the rest of the evening at a bbq and Rioja wine blowout. 50+ young and fashionable professionals in the NYC hospitality scene streamed into a gorgeous 2 floor apartment in Manhattan to experience Rioja wines. Complete with a DJ, we ate hearty amounts of barbecued beans and brisket, while sipping upon the 2000 Lopez de Heredia rose – one of many wines featured at the event. The goal of the tasting was simply to show the fun side of Rioja, pairing fresh and exciting summer wines like the Muga rose with everyday American fare. It was a great time, and lovely way to end our last evening in NYC.
As we type this we’re en route to Seattle, where we’ll host another tasting at Daniel’s Broiler tomorrow evening before heading to the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, Washington. We’ll provide you more updates in the near future, and if you’d like to see the Austrian wines we tasted last night, just head over to Adegga.
Gabriella and Ryan Opaz
Tasting a bagel in Madison Square Park