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Posted on Feb 24 09 | Filed Under Blog

Talented Artists Saved This Talentless Interior Designer

Is that a painting or a photo hanging over there?” “Was that piece above the fireplace painted specifically for your place?” We get enough questions about our art work (including, “Is that you in the baseball hat painting?”), that answers are in order.

EWCo. shows the original art of 4 artists: Barbara Katz Bierman, Laurel Huggins, Danny Lawlor and Nathan Tumazi. We’ve been remiss by not previously recognizing their contribution to our place.  So upcoming newsletters will show the artist behind the works that provide a bit of visual stimulation for our guests.

was the first to permit her canvases to grace our walls. We couldn’t hope to describe her passion for creating art any better than she does:

“I feel drunk with pleasure my angels paint with me. I just create a piece and I smile when I am done for the raw experience of painting drives me to my ultimate happiness. I am my truest self when I am free to paint, to draw, to create. I am the essence of who I am sure I was meant to be. I feel every stroke. I feel every piece. I love to create every piece, I love to create the magic of the moment, the art, that might be yours and mine.”

During Barbara’s first visit, she saw a stack of pulp, wine bottle shipping inserts. She begged us for a few for creative experimentation. To us they were simple tools. To her they were creative inspiration.

Barbara has 3 pieces hanging over the EWCo. fireplace“Five at Five”, “Wine Fantasy”and “Amber Glow”. As with all EWCo. Artists’ works, they are for sale. When we told Barbara about this article, she said that any interested parties mentioning it would getspecial pricing for a limited time.

Barbara is also an entrepreneurial artist via her “Passionate Brush” line of collectible fashion accessories. EWCo. offers her Eyeglass/Sunglass Cases with Matching Microfiber Cloths, which are adorned by Barbara’s artwork. They are limited editions that include numbered certificates of authenticity. Until the next newsletter, EWCo. will offer them on sale at $20.99 (limit 2 per customer).

“Straw Dogs” makes “The Cooler” seem like Family Fare

During our inaugural “Free Move Flight” Night, an unsuspecting couple walked in to see Alec Baldwin’s character bloodying Maria Bello’s face. Luckily, they were movie goers and ordered a nightcap of Syrah Port for the movie’s ending.

This Tuesday the 24th at 6:00, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs will specially be presented with pre and post movie commentary by Darin Read. He was with New Line Cinema’s production team for 10 years before Warner Brothers gobbled it up. The “time off” is allowing Darin to complete coursework for a Masters in Fine Art in Film at LMU.

“Straw Dogs” was  in 1971 and does contain intense scenes, violence, profanity and nudity.There is no charge for the movie and wine flights will be offered at 30% off! For a special treat, EWCo. “Popcorn Cauliflower” will be specially priced at $3.50 a bag.  

Not to worry, next Tuesday the 3rd, we do a 180 degree turn.  In the first “pairing” of movies and libations, we host a Special Beer Night and present “The Simpsons Movie”!  Doh!

Syrah, Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Saint-Joseph? What’s the Deal?

One grape varietal.  Different names.  A similar name, but a completely different grape varietal.  And as usual, the French further confuse matters.  “Can anybody stop the madness and provide clarity?”

Well, we certainly aren’t smart enough for that.  So instead, we’ll just let everybody taste some wine on Thursday the 26th (note this deviation from our customary Wednesday tasting).  EWCo. will offer a tasting and “discussion” of the hard to get to know, Syrah.

On Thursday, EWCo. will be open for regular business and the tasting ($12.50 cost) from 6:00 to ???. Among the pours will be a 2006 Justin Syrah from Paso Robles, a Domaine Jean-Louis Chave (2004) Saint-Joseph AOC, and a 2004 Locatelli Petit Sirah.  Stop in and see how well you play the Sesame Street game of “One of these things is not like the others“.

Don’t forget to save the date of Wednesday March 18, as we welcome winemaker Peter Scott Fraser of Santa Barbara County’s .

Saturday’s Essential Music Lounge was SRO (Yea!), but left some SOL (Sorry)

For the first time late last Saturday evening, we had to utter these words, “It will be a short wait until a few seats open up, and there’s a party of 7 already waiting.“  EWCo. thanks the guests and musicians for their support of the Essential Music Lounge. Reservations are strongly suggested to avoid anybody being disappointed upon arrival.  We desire to avoid that Yogi Berra quote, “Nobody goes there anymore; its too crowded.“  If you missed it Saturday, for some video.

This Saturday the 28th, we host Guitarist Paul Weitz and Friends.  Feel free to ignore as mere puffery our opinion that Paul is talented.  Just know that our resident guitar legendJimmy Wyble had Paul sit in on Saturday(and that wasn’t their first appearance together;  for video of their prior jam). There are currently no cover charges or drink/food minimums for music events.  Sets occur at both 8 and 9.  More great music to come:

Saturday the 7th: Guitarist and Singer Diane Hubka is joined by Guitarist and Ukulele Player Dan Sawyer.  Once again clinging to Mr. Wyble’s coat tails, when he saw Diane athis show Saturday, he told me she is “a wonderful musician.” Saturday the 14th: Our first musician with a one name moniker: ”Eishun” brings his guitar talents to EWCo. Saturday the 21st: Latin Jazz Vocalist .

Last, for the Least: Tuesday to Friday Happy Hour and a Half from 5 to 6:30 on non-event evenings. There will always be a beer, a glass of wine or two, as well as a food item for $5 apiece.

Posted on Feb 17 09 | Filed Under

And Our Seats Have More Leg Room

You pay for a shuttle to the airport because parking is too expensive. Next up, tipping the skycap to check bags (on top of the per bag fee). Want something to eat on the flight? Either buy a Happy Meal in the terminal or pony up $7 for cheese and crackers from the attendant.

Even watching the movie costs for the headsets (at least nowadays you keep them). During these tough times, “EWCo. Air” is bucking the trend of wringing every penny from the customer. In anticipation of the Academy Awards, we will premiere our “Free Movie” Flight Nights.

Because of the President’s Holiday, the inaugural event will be Wednesday the 18th at6:00 (it will regularly be a Tuesday event). We’ll show “” with William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and Alec Baldwin (a best supporting role Oscar nomination resulted). There isno charge for the movie and wine flights will be offered at 30% off! For a special treat, EWCo. “Popcorn” will also be available (we think our our vegetarian friends will be quite pleased).

Occasionally movies will be presented with a discussion by a special guest. Next Tuesday the 24th at 6:00, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs will be presented by Darin Read. He was with New Line Cinema’s production team for 10 years before Warner Brothers gobbled it up. We will also attempt “pairing” movies and libations. E.g., a special beer night for “The Simpsons Movie” is already in the queue. Doh!

Who Knew “Unctuous” Could be a Positive Descriptor

Newly arrived is a steal of a California Chardonnay that received an 88 from the: Robert Talbott WinerySleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay (2006) Monterey, CA - $26.99!

And now for the use of “unctuous” in the Connoisseurs’ Guide’s description: “Very rich, somewhat honeyed and also carrying a nutty, roasted almond hint, this wine is quite expressive if somewhat unusual in character. It is full and fleshy in feel with an unctuous, viscous texture that extends it within a whisker of going over the top into ponderousness. It will serve well alongside chicken napped with rich sauces.”

$26.99 is an incredible price and we dare you to find it elsewhere for under $35! EWCo. is limiting initial purchases to 2 bottles. If there is sufficient interest thereafter, we will open it up to by the case pre-orders at a 5% discount.

For Now, Jimmy says it will be a Quartet this Saturday

Our resident Jazz Guitar Legend, Jimmy Wyble, says only 3 musicians will accompany him for Saturday’s Essential Music Lounge: guitarists  and Jamie Findlay, and drummer Rex Harte. Keep in mind that before Jimmy’s last visit he said it would be a trio, and by Saturday, we had a Sextet in our midst.

Jimmy turned 87 years young on January 25, so we understand that he’s accumulated many friends and wants to share them with us. Come out for his sets at 8 and 9 on Saturday the 21st, as we belatedly celebrate his birthday.  

Spend Some of that $13 of Stimulus on New Menu Items

Some estimates indicate the recent stimulus package will average $13 in benefits to each of us. With that in mind, consider some new EWCo. menu items to stimulate your palate (even by adding a suggested EWCo. libation, part of that $13 stays in your pocket):

Salmon Terrine (“Terrine Saumon Fume”) – Terrine serving of Smoked Salmon, White Fish, Pistachios & Cream. $8.50 (pair it with our Affligem Belgian Blond beer for a total of$12)

Vegetarian Fennel & Dairy Terrine (“Terrine Vegetarienne”) – Layers of Fennel, Broccoli and Carrots sliced and served on a bed of greens. $7.75 (pair it with our Spanish White Blend for a total of $12.75)

Garlic Salami Charcuterie (“Saucisson a l’ail”) – Slices of Fresh Pork Salami (not dried) with subtle Garlic and Spices. $6.75 (pair it with our French Red Table Wine for a total of$12.75)

Save the Dates: The Essential Music Lounge

Saturday the 28th: Guitarist Paul Weitz Duo.

Saturday the 7th: Guitarist and singer Diane Hubka is joined by guitarist (we’re told he’ll be doing some Ukulele work as well!).

Saturday the 14th: Barack Obama plays the Blues (have a Zin and cheer up Big O!)

There are no cover charges or drink/food minimums for these events, but reservations are highly recommended to ensure a view of the music. Sets occur at both 8 and 9.

Next Winemaker Event at EWCo.

On Wednesday March 18, we welcome winemaker Peter Scott Fraser of Santa Barbara County’s . Details will follow in upcoming newsletters. For a taste of his sensibility, his quote on their Cuvee J: “It combines 78% Zinfandel with 22% Syrah and balances high alcohol with tremendous fruitiness and firm acidity. I liken it to a linebacker who can dance ballet.

You’ll Be Sad if You Don’t Drop In After Work

EWCo. has instituted a Happy Hour and a Half from 5 to 6:30 on non-event evenings. There will always be a glass of wine as well as a food item for $5 apiece.

Posted on Feb 10 09 | Filed Under

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways. Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other. Body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘Woo Hoo, what a ride!’”

The above quote hopefully conveys our general approach to Valentine’s Day. Some details on our once a year binge on hearts, flowers and chocolates.

Valentine’s Day:
First, a mea culpa from the guy in charge at EWCo. Our attempt at short handed, stream of consciousness “scat” in the last email caused some confusion about our V-Day festivities. So, how about the straight forward details.

We will seat our guests for dinner anytime after 6:00. They can relax and enjoy their dinners and will not be hurried out to make room for a second or third seating. The live music (details below) sets will be at 7, 8 & 9. As usual, there is NO cover charge or minimum order requirement. EWCo. simply requests you keep that in mind so that we can accommodate newly arriving guests for the V-Day festivities.

Now for the best laid plans of the EWCo. wine and food dude. We had hoped to do a special three course wine and food pairing dinner for V-Day. Understandably, the uncertain economic times have people shying away from any commitments of their hard earned dollars (e.g., despite many inquiries, actual reservations for the 3 course special dinners were scarce).

As a result, the multinational corporate behemoth that is EWCo. similarly ran into planning difficulties. Consequently, our V-Day menu will be in line with the tasty and reasonably priced a la carte fare consistently enjoyed by our guests. Additionally, EWCo. will offerspecial menu items, as well as special wine and food and dessert pairing combinations.

Reservations are strongly recommended to ensure guests the best opportunity to enjoy the evening’s entertainment, a cozy spot with that special somebody, and the opportunity to partake in the food and libation specials.

Love is all you need (but are you brave enough to show up sans gift?)
A bestseller or a vacuum cleaner may be an ok Christmas present (well, maybe not the vacuum), but your Valentine deserves a gift with a bit more panache. EWCo. offers gifts, wines and beers with that certain “he/she will enjoy this” factor. Some gift ideas (includingcombinations at a savings):

For the PamperedWine Spa Essentials Gift Set – includes Whipped Body Butter Cream, Sugar Body Scrub and Bath & Body Wash Shower Gel, all containing real wine (Cabernet or Syrah), herbs and spices grown on the Accardi Vineyards’ estate. Comes in an organza bag. $14.99 Add the Angeline (2006) Merlot for only $11 more.

For the Culinary Inclined: Katz & Company Late Harvest Zinfandel Vinegar $11.99 (very concentrated almost port-like elixir, with rich plum & fresh berry overtones), Sauvignon Blanc Vinegar $9.99 (Crisp acidity with hints of vanilla, apricot, fig & pear), or Chef’s Pick Organic Olive Oil $21.99 (an unfiltered EVOO with a lush mouth feel and grassy, floral overtones). Add the Ancient Peaks (2007) Sauvignon Blanc for only $10 more, or theYalumba (2006) Grenache for only $13 more.

For the Oenophile: Vinifera Wine Cards, The World’s Great Wine Grapes ($14.99) – Boxed set of wine grape reference cards with varietals from Aglianico to Zinfandel. Each card features a photograph and interesting history, origin, lore, description and food pairings.Private Preserve, The Original Wine Preserver ($9.99) – it blankets the wine’s surface in a bottle and will not strip out bouquet like vacuum devices. Private Preserve stops oxidation by using the same inert gases used in the bottling of wine. Add the Frick (2004) Carignane for only $25 more.

For the Sweetheart: L’ Artisan du Chocolat Fresh Artisanal Chocolates – Hand-made Parisian style chocolates from a master chocolatier. Featuring designer flavor selections such as 3-Chili Apricot, Green Tea, Kalamata Olive as well as traditional Truffles. L’Artisan du Chocolat has been heralded by the Times’ S. Irene Virbila, celebrated on television by Huell Howser and enjoyed by the Dalai Lama. Gift boxes from $11.99 to$39.99. Add the Alimant (NV) Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose for only $20 more.

Among the other wine related gifts available at EWCo. include Gourmet Mediterranean Spreads ($5.99), Wine Divas Eyeglass Cases ($22.99), Artisanal Preserves ($6.99 to $9.49),100% Soy Wax Candles ($14.99) and of course, hard to find wine and beers $9.99 to $28.99. We can also create gift baskets or gift bags within all budgets.

“Lost In Translation, Part Deux”: A Tasting Event

What if a wine bar told you their Happy Hour Pour was the 2005 Paso Robles. When you asked what grapes were in it, they responded it was some combination from among 14 varietals. Confusing? Well, that’s both the difficulty and the fun challenge of French wines.

This Wednesday the 11th, EWCo. will have a tasting and “discussion” of French wines. We won’t use the term “explaining” since it is a continuing learning experience for us as well. We’ll present and pour tastes of wines for $12.50.

On the 11th, EWCo. will be open for regular business as well as the tasting from 6:00 to ???. The tasting will include a new arrival, a 2005 Bordeaux from Montagne Saint-Emilion, and an opportunity to compare it side-by-side with another 2005 Bordeaux, the Chateau Puy Bardens. Besides requesting reservations to ensure you a seat at the bar, we ask that you “pardon our French” (it’s quite ugly as can be attested to by our French suppliers).

Save the Dates: Essential Music Lounge

Saturday the 14th (Valentine’s Day): Vocalist Leslie Nesbitt will be accompanied by pianist, Karen Hammack. Please note for this special night only, musical sets at 7, 8 & 9.

Saturday the 21st: EWCo.’s resident legend, Jimmy Wyble, returns with Special Guests.

Saturday the 28th: Guitarist Paul Weitz Duo.

Saturday the 7th: Guitarist and singer Diane Hubka is joined by guitarist (we’re told he’ll be doing some Ukulele work as well!).

There are no cover charges or drink/food minimums for these events, but reservations are highly recommended to ensure a good vantage point for the music. Otherwise, we will do our best to meet seating requests as space permits. Except for Valentine’s Day (see above), music sets occur at both 8 and 9.

Don’t Wait for Congress to Start your Stimulus Plan at EWCo.

EWCo. has instituted a Happy Hour and a Half from 5 to 6:30 on non-event evenings. There will always be a glass of wine as well as a food item for $5 each.

Posted on Feb 03 09 | Filed Under Blog

“A Mouth Full of Wine for $9.99” Tasting Event

Economic worries. Fermented grapes to ease the worry. Value finds so that the twain shall meet.

Wednesday the 4th. 6:00 until ??? $9.99. Vida Organica(2007) MalbecAncient Peaks (2007) Sauvignon Blanc.D’Aragona (2007) MontepulcianoLes Haut Lastour(2005) Coteaux du Quercy. More.

Wines < 4 Venti Lattes (the modern currency comparison).  How to find them.  Why they exist. Questions will be answered. Bar seats scarce. Call ahead.

Winning Hearts & Minds

Romance vibrating from the cords of a songstress. Ivories tickled not by a feathered boa, but by a  digits. 3 courses. 3 glasses. To the delight of 2. Doesn’t that equal 8? 1.3 billion Chinese believe its a prosperous number.

More numbers. Seatings & Sets: 7, 8 & 9. The 14th (of course). $35 per romancer. Something sweet and decadent at 9:00 only? $15.

If this is your heart’s desire, reservations required.

In a Word, Chocolate

Gobble, gobble? That’s the 4th Thursday of November. Midpoint of the shortest month? The cacao bean reigns supreme.

Handmade. No preservatives. Truffling with Traditional, Espresso, Grand Marnier or Rum.Awkward? 3 Chili/Apricot. Pistachio. Coupling Art & Chocolate, L’ Artisan du Chocolat.Order now. Avoid Russell Stoving it at the 7 Eleven.

Be Happy for an Hour and a Half

T-F. 5-6:30. $5 Specials. Nuf sed.

These Lounge Cats Can Certainly Scat

slings a 6 string. Leslie Nesbitt & (not ibid, but idem above re: cords and digits). Jimmy Wyble’s odometer registered 87 on the 25th, but he’ll still bring party guests to EWCo. Paul Weitz will duel with a duo. Singer & Strummer Diane Hubka &  (with Guitar & Ukulele!).

February 7, 14, 21, 28 and March 7, respectively.

“All French Wines are Terrible”

The customer is always right. Newsflash! Obama honeymoon results in a 51st state!EWCo. celebrates with a new arrival as well:

Bordeaux BlendChateau Haut-Goujon (2005) Bordeaux, France (err, we mean USA).$24.99

The novel  inspired this email newsletter, so we hope that author believes that imitation (no matter how lame) is the sincerest form of flattery.

Essential Wine Co.

Carpe Vinum!..