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Wanda Mann
New York City
I am a native New Yorker with a passion for travel, food & wine, and little black dresses!
Recent Activity
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Ah, liquid sunshine - Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles 2012 (white Burgundy) is my kind of summer sip. It may sound intimidating but white Burgundy is simply Chardonnay from the birthplace of the varietal - France's Burgundy region. If you've been turned off by some of the over-oaked & buttery Chardonnays from California, Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blance Les Sétilles 2012 (about $25) is a refreshing reminder of how subtle & fantastic Chardonnay truly is. On the drier side and beautifully balanced - Olivier Leflaive is crisp and clean with an appealing minerality. Full of finesse and not too fruity,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Eggs Benedict with a twist (shrimp & spinach) at Anchor Wine Bar. Few things get New Yorkers as excited as the opening of a new restaurant and Harlem is abuzz with the arrival of Anchor Wine Bar in Hamilton Heights (3508 Broadway bet. 143rd &144th Streets). The creation of three long-time Italian friends, Anchor offers a fantastic selection of wines from around the globe, cocktails, and a full menu strongly inspired by the flavors of Italy. Open less than a month, Anchor already has the comfortable ambiance of an established neighborhood restaurant and draws a diverse crowd. I ventured up... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Jambon de Paris (house smoked ham) & Scrambled Eggs From the posh hotel power breakfast to the street cart grab-and-go, New York City has endless options for the morning meal. However, my absolute favorite is the leisurely cafe breakfast where I can truly savor the experience. I recently satisfied my craving at the newest NYC location of the renowned French bakery Maison Kayser (1535 Third Avenue, 87th Street). Two years ago I had the opportunity to interview French Master Baker Eric Kayser - his passion and talent for baking are inspiring. Stocked with beautiful breads and pastries that you can... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When I started this blogging journey as The Black Dress Traveler in 2008, I never could have imagined all of the fabulous people and experiences it would bring into my life. But as I grow and evolve, it seems only natural that my blog should do the same. After all, six years is practically a lifetime in the blogosphere! Moving forward, The Black Dress Traveler will focus primarily on restaurants, food, wine, and spirits - with a special emphasis on my hometown of New York City. As a native New Yorker, I'll admit to sometimes taking the Big Apple for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Every bottle of wine tells a story - the story of a country, the terroir, and the winemaker. These elements, and many more, come together to transform grapes into wine and the story of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais is one of the most compelling. Founded in 1964, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is the #1 selling brand of Beaujolais in the world and is available in 140 countries. Located north of Lyon in eastern France, nearly all of the Beaujolais region's vines are devoted to the Gamay grape. My Beaujolais story began when I was 16 and my father, a professional chef,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Concha y Toro winemaker Marcelo Papa makes Chilean wines that pair beautifully with a wide variety of cuisine. No more stressing about which wine to pair with dinner! From barbecue to sushi, Concha y Toro makes it easy and affordable to find the perfect wine to pair with your meal. Founded in 1883, Concha y Toro is South America's single largest exporter of fine wines. Their award-winning winemaker, Marcelo Papa, recently hosted a luncheon in NYC that showcased the versatility of Concha y Toro wines alongside a globally-inspired menu prepared by Chef Ruth Van Waerebeek (Concha y Toro's Consulting Chef... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Embark on a financial plan to make your travel dreams to Paris, or any corner of the globe, a reality! Travel magazines and Hollywood films that show women eating and loving in faraway places can make us long for our own adventures abroad. But let's face it - it takes money to travel the world and many of us don't have the means to jet set on a whim. However, don't let your finances derail your dream of exploring the world. Travel is one of the most important gifts that we can give ourselves. With a little strategic planning, by... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ooh, the temperature is rising and along with it my craving for chilled wines without too much attitude. Frontera Specialties Pedro Jimenez fits the bill perfectly. Only $8 a bottle, this medium-bodied Chilean beauty is very refreshing and has mucho personality. When you want something a little different than Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, this blend of primarily Pedro Jimenez (an heritage grape varietal that had fallen into obscurity) with a touch of Moscatel and Sauvignon Blanc is a great option. Juicy and crisp with a pleasing minerality, this sip is perfect as an aperitif or with seafood, sushi - even... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I'm loving my Warby Parker "Piper" sunglasses ($95). The subtle cat-eye style adds an effortless dash of chic to any look. There are many more styles & colors to choose from! While out and about in NYC, I stumbled upon the Warby Parker store on 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue. So what's the big deal about buying a pair of sunglasses? Usually nothing, but the Warby Parker experience was fantastic. The store is gorgeous and the staff is very friendly and helpful. Best of all, the dollars that you spend at Warby Parker don't just help you look good -... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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My talent for mixology is pretty limited, so a ready-to-drink cocktail that doesn't require me to slice, muddle, or strain is a genie in a wine bottle - as long as you pick the correct one. I was recently sent a sample of Mionetto 'IL' UGO Elderflower Cocktail ($12) and when I saw the Mionetto name I had high expectations - they make some of the most consistently delicious Prosecco on the market. Inspired by a cocktail from the Alto Adige region of Italy, 'IL' UGO blends semi-sparkling frizzante white wine with elderflower blossom and wildflowers. The presentation is pretty... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I'm officially out of hibernation and ready to enjoy the simple pleasures that the summer season offers - spending time with friends & family, great food & drink, and basking in the sun. On my must-do list this summer is at least one Central Park picnic complete with delicious iced tea and a lovely linen dress! Since being introduced to Palais desThés, I've become a huge fan and spent many a cold winter day warming up with their superb teas from around the globe. Now that the temperature is rising, iced tea is my refreshing non-alcoholic drink of choice and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ooh la la, SOTHYS Rouge Intense & Rouge Doux Lipsticks = luxury for your lips! And, each chic shade name is inspired by a Métro stop in Paris. $29 each. Each day I join millions of women around the world in performing the lipstick ritual. We open the tube, apply the color, and voila - we feel just a little more ready to face the world. Lipstick doesn't take much effort but this little luxury can make a huge difference in how we feel and look. I never travel without it. The latest addition to my extensive lipstick portfolio is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A perfect match - Colavita Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 paired with Prime Sirloin of Beef, Fricassee of Spring Vegetables & Smoked Almond Purée prepared with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Delicious! You're probably familiar with Colavita - their award-winning extra virgin olive oil is widely available and recognized as the #1 Italian brand in the US. I've been buying Colavita for years because I love the flavor and feel reassured by the words on the side of the bottle - "obtained exclusively from olives harvested and pressed in Italy." Believe it or not, there are many impostor olive oils on the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The Monday Blues did not stand a chance when I found myself surrounded by delicious Italian food, wine & design, and more than a few very handsome Italian men!. No, I wasn't actually in Italia but I spent a fabulous afternoon with my friends at the Italian Trade Commission in NYC to celebrate Festa Della Repubblica (Italian National Day.) The festivities included the Le Eccellenze Italiane Exhibition - a display of Italy's finest. A trip to Italy remains number one on my wish list but why not add a great dress and a Piaggio Vespa to the mix? Italian Wish... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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During the summer season, I like my wine like my romances - not too complicated but very flirty and fun. The verdict is still out on the romance but one wine that definitely makes the cut is Re Midas Soave 2012. Bright and crisp, this easy sipping wine is made from 100% Garganega grapes grown on hillside vineyards in Italy's picturesque Veneto region. The lively and crisp bouquet of citrus fruit and wildflowers and smooth flavors of melon and pear make Re Midas Soave a refreshing summer sip. Available for about $10 a bottle, Re Midas Soave is consistently named... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." Dr. Angelou, reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" at boarding school filled me with so much inspiration - it was the first book I read in high school with a voice like my own, from an author with roots like my own. Reading your other books later on, your journey made everything seem possible. Meeting you years later when you were honored at... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since my unforgettable journey to Provence. From the fragrant lavender fields to the chilled glasses of rosé, I have vivid memories to last a lifetime. And, thanks to the authors of Provence Food & Wine: The Art of Living ($19.95), I can experience a bit of Provençal magic wherever I am. Written by François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska, Provence Food and Wine captures the allure of this region of southern France through recipes, stunning photographs, and historical facts. A great primer for understanding the traditions and wines of the... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Selecting the beauty products that truly merit space in your carry-on bag is no easy feat. Thanks to the TSA, carry-on lotions and potions are limited to no more than 3 fluid ounces per product and this stingy allotment must all fit in a tiny ZipLock bag. What's a glamour girl to do? Here are two great products that have proven themselves travel-worthy. Darphin Wrinkle Corrector Eye Cream Tired & jet-lagged eyes totally ruin your effort to exit the plane looking refreshed and glam.This Darphin eye cream may be a tad pricey but a dab of luxury goes a long... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Rotisserie Georgette's Poulet Roti prepared with Roast Chicken Jus and Provençal Sauce (Herbes de Provence & Garlic). Some wise old foodies say that chefs can be judged on how well they prepare an omelet and roast a chicken. Well, Chef Chad Brauze at Rotisserie Georgette makes a chicken so fantastic that I have no doubts about the perfection of his omelets. Should I expect anything less from a chef whose resume include tenures with culinary legends Daniel Boulud, Ferran Adrià, and Thomas Keller? Chef Chad Brauze and Georgette Farkas (image courtesy Rotisserie Georgette) Located just off Fifth Avenue at 14... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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On this strutting on sunshine kind of day, I was craving a white wine that was equally drama-free and upbeat. Matua 2013 Marlborough Sauvingon Blanc was the perfect choice. This lively wine perks up the tastebuds with zesty flavors of grapefuit, lime, and pineapple balanced by a subtle grassiness. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand may seem like a pretty standard sip but Matua is truly a trailblazer - in 1969 they were the first to plant the grape in the country. People called them crazy but Matua was clearly ahead of their time and they have the awards and fans... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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At the La Quinta Resort & Club beyond Palm Springs. Sunshine and stunning desert landscape by Mother Nature. Little black dress by H&M, suitcase by DELSEY. Yours truly just returned from a three-day business trip to California, but of course, I packed my little black dress and made time to have some fun. After the endless snow storms we've endured in NYC, it was nothing less than therapeutic to shed my coat and feel the golden sunshine on my skin. Here are a few highlights from my West Coast whirlwind. In Los Angeles, I stayed at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Opening a restaurant in New York City is no easy feat but staying fresh and relevant after ten years in business is an absolute cause for celebration. So, I was delighted to raise my Hibiscus Margarita in a toast to Chef Richard Sandoval and opera legend Placido Domingo on the great success of their culinary collaboration - Pampano. Located in East Midtown Manhattan (209 East 49th Street), Pampano serves sophisticated coastal Mexican cuisine, inspired by the shores of Mexico, in an elegant and airy space. The Pampano Margarita with white tequila and hibiscus is as delicious as it looks. In... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I love a wine without pretension and attitude that still demonstrates a commitment to quality. After all, if the wine doesn't taste good, why bother? Far from fussy and so much fun to drink, Matua 2013 Marlborough Pinot Noir (about $13) is a casual wine with serious credentials. I sipped a glass with a porterhouse steak and Matua's vibrant lush cherry flavors with a hint of peppery oak paired perfectly. Pizza and spicy Asian foods would also make a great match for this versatile beauty. Not familiar with Matua? In 1969, this award-winning New Zealand winery was the very first... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A completely full overhead bin on a plane can frustrate the calmest of travelers. Here's a little mantra to help you through it! Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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view from my building - day two. Are you okay? Where were you when it happened? I've been answering those two questions constantly since yesterday's devastating explosion in East Harlem. Calls and messages have been pouring in from concerned friends and loved ones from all corners of the globe. Like me, they don't understand how and why this tragedy happened. As I write this, eight people are confirmed dead and there are many injured. Rescue teams have been working around the clock outside my living room window. I gaze out and the scene is surreal and heartbreaking. "I'm okay" is... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler