Friday, February 25, 2011

Mensa & Washington Post Word Invitational

It's not wine and it's not travel but this is too funny not to post.

From the Washington Post's Mensa Word Invitational where people are asked to change one letter of an existing word and provide a new definition.

"Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational New Words Contest"

"Here is the Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition."

Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dope-ler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

Hotel Posta - Livigno, Italy

As skiing was out this week on the trip to Livigno due to some minor malfunction in one knee, I spent the days crawling around like a tourist and trying to find a good lunch and some souvenirs. (It is a good sign when it is near impossible to find a T-shirt shop!) Hotel Posta sounded familiar and it came with a strong recommendation from a cousin whose long time friend runs the place.

Livigno is a few clicks from St. Moritz on the Swiss/Italian border and before the tunnel was dug in 1964 was inaccessible in Winter. If you stand on top of the ski area you can see the mountains around St. Moritz, but it will take you an hour to drive there. Livigno is a duty free zone owing to its smugglers past and is quite lively year-round. There are three ski areas to select from and it is above the tree-line, groomed skiing. Dining options are numerous on the mountain from 3 star to BYOB, the lines manageable and the lift tickets reasonable.

Lunch was quiet in town as all able-bodied tourists were on the mountain , so we had the whole place to ourselves. Service was brisk and atttentive. The wine list was mostly local. And the pasta was great as was the sliced, cured meats from local sources. All in all, it was a wonderful meal. And I even managed to sneak one of their own wine labels home for dinner tonight to ease the unpacking and long train ride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Le Baron Rouge

Today was supposed to be a quiet Sunday. Waking up past 8am, having coffee leisurely while checking the mail before casually meeting a cousin at the Opera Metro station at 11am. So when I awoke at first light and wandered into the kitchen to fire the coffee machine I was a bit surprised to see the clock on the wall read 11. Eleven!!! Oh putain!

So I hadn't planned on reviewing Le Baron Rouge today as I dashed out sprinting to the Metro an hour late. Desole! I knew I was going there to reload some house wine and buy food for dinner at the nearby market and check out the flea market before a meal at Le Square Trousseau, but for some reason hadn't planned on writing up Le Baron Rouge. I was still waking up.

They offer bulk wine at under 5 E's per liter for fresh, simple house wine which is a steal and perfect for parties. The returnable bottles with a deposit are poured from 225 liter barriques offering about 6 different blends. The Reds, Cotes du Rhone, Touraine and Merlot, are simple and quaffable but not memorable. The Touraine Blanc however is more than quaffable and is perfect with some chicken dishes, seafood and oysters. Did I say oysters?

There are many reports on the weekend oyster offerings at Le Baron Rouge were throngs of people from every corner of the world descend during the Winter months to wash down dozens of oysters with good, cheap white wine. The rumors are all true. If you are shy about pushing into a crowded mass to secure 'le pot' of Blanc and fight for some counter space while your team holds up their end of the bargain by bringing 18 small oysters with lemon and bread and butter, then please don't go. Please! Save room for me on my return.

The oysters bar is set up outside on the sidewalk where people mill around swilling wine, smoking cigarettes and pounding oysters by the dozen. I didn't get the details of where the oysters were from as it was my job to get the wine remember, but my guess is that they were #3s from Normandy, maybe Claires or Brittany, that were at most one day old. You could taste the brine of the sea as you threw them back. Someone suggested dripping some of the wine into the brine before slurping and that worked too. I always listen to good ideas that involve oysters and wine. We were told by the 'shucker' that they go through "a couple hundred dozen" each day on the weekend. A couple hundred dozen. She would know.

There are other food offerings like pate and bread and charcuterie and the wine list, besides the 6 or so in bulk, totals about 50 by the bottle or glass. During the week the place is dead quiet and locals stop in to re-load their house wines and chat with the owner. Today there were maybe 100 people packed into a room the size of you living room which explains the street scene. Yes, you should go and if you don't like crowds, stand outside and send a friend in for the goods. This will give you time to exchange emails and phone numbers with the other fanatics from England, Argentina, Spain, Oslo and Cuba. I will definitely be contacting Ernesto from Cuba, and maybe the chef from Oslo who is from Spain. They all agreed that Barcelona was calling......and then Cuba.