Last summer, the husband and I moved away from the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina after spending eight years watching the cities expand and their food scenes skyrocket off the heat-charts. Seriously, the New York Times is obsessed with the place! So I was excited to head back for the weekend in mid-September—my head’s still spinning from the other side of the country over all the new foodie destinations that have sprung up just this past year.
While my husband gave a presentation at NC DevCon, I decided to spend my weekend exploring as many of downtown Raleigh’s newly opened spots as possible. Why Raleigh and not the rest of the Triangle? I had no car and was staying downtown. It’s that simple. I needed to focus on places I could walk to.
After our flight in, my first stop was Jose and Sons (327 W. Davie St.) for dinner. It’s the newest incarnation of one of my favorite Triangle restaurants, Jibarra, located in the fast-redeveloping Warehouse District right by the train depot.
Jose and Sons is now more Southern-Mexican fusion, whereas it had been pure upscale Mexican food in the past. While I remain skeptical about the value of $8 guacamole—
–and the shrimps and grits didn’t have nearly enough heat for me—
–I have to give solid props to the Booze and Mango cocktail.
That’s dessert in a glass, and it’s a beautifully balanced one, too. Vanilla rum, Grand Marnier, cream, and what Jose and Son’s calls a mango popsicle and I’d call a mango-flavored ice cube make for a worthy night cap.
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JC Van Staden La Tau Zinfandel 2013
Didn’t know a wine could have an identity crisis? This zin smells wild like a syrah with spice and a lot of bacon. But it tastes like a merlot, all sweet raspberry and gentle spice. Your friend who’s afraid of heavy reds will love it, so use it to pull a fast one on them.
My 50/100 Quini Profile:
FYI, this is a NakedWines.com bottle, from the All-American Highest-Rated Case. You can get it here. Or you can always make use of a $100 off first-time costumer voucher for NakedWines.com by clicking on this link instead.
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Sonoma Valley Portworks Petite Sirah Port 2007
During my trip last spring to Petaluma, I picked up this bottle of port in a surge of jubilation that I had found a winery specializing in dessert wines (613 2nd Street in the Foundry Wharf building).
Plenty of wineries offer one or a handful of ports in their collection, but few give all their attention to after dinner drinks. Sonoma Valley Portworks makes sherry, grappas, and wine-infused vinegars in addition to port.
The typical list in their tasting room includes a sampling of everything but the grappa. Which means I need to work on getting them to offer grappa tastings too! Co-owner Caryn Reading did our pouring, and she was incredibly sweet and eager to help us plan a perfect day in Petaluma. I’m sure she’d be open to some arm-twisting…
The SVP Petite Sirah Port 2007 reminds me of biting into my first cherry cordial candy—the ones people either hate or love at Christmas time. The wine’s strong alcohol heat is akin to the candy’s syrup dribbling down your chin, a minor inconvenience endured for a sweet, indulgent treat.
I gave it a 72/100, which earns it an avocado.
My full Quini profile:
Other Bloggers’ Thoughts:
There are plenty of reviews available for SVP’s ARIS port, but not for this little guy.
Reviewed 22 August 14.