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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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The marvelous Maille Mustard Sommelier, Pierette Huttner image courtesy of Maille Living in New York City, I often meet people with unique jobs but only Pierette Huttner can proclaim herself the Maille Mustard Sommelier. Founded in France in 1747, Maille is famous for creating the finest Dijon and wholegrain mustards. Finally, Maille has opened their first boutique in the United States on Manhattan's Upper West Side (185 Columbus Avenue, 68th Street) and Pierette is the ambassador to this flavorful world. In quintessential French fashion, Maille elevates mustard to an art form. I experienced the Maille magic first-hand when I visited... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Black Dress Traveler
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Looking for a fun wine to sip at an informal holiday gathering with friends? Reach for Decopas! Only $12 a bottle but full of fruit-forward flavor, there is nothing Grinchy about Decopas. Decopas means "by the glass" in Spanish and is slang in Buenos Aires for Happy Hour. Decopas Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is an aromatic dry white wine with a touch of minerality and it isn't too grassy in the way that Sauvignon Blanc often is. Decopas Malbec 2013 is a smooth & medium-bodied red that nicely expresses the nuances of Argentina's signature Malbec - rich ripe fruit with a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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A magnificent magnum of wine just begs to be shared - after all, it contains the equivalent of two bottles of wine in one! So, when I received a gorgeous large format bottle of Castello Monaci Artas Primitivo Salento IGT 2010 ($93) from my friends at Frederick Wildman & Sons, I invited my pal Raffaele D'Amore, proprietor of D'Amore Wine Bar & Caffe in East Harlem, to join me for a glass. D'Amore is one of my favorite neighborhood spots - this cozy restaurant has a wonderful international wine list and a diverse menu of Italian cuisine. Raffaele D'Amore, of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Why settle for one beautiful blend, when you can have two? The Whip 2013 (white, $22) and The Spur 2011 (red, $25) are two fantastic wines from California winemaker Murrieta's Well that brilliantly showcase the artistry of blending a selection of grape varietals to create a unique sip. Murrieta's Well wows with their incredibly aromatic white wine, The Whip. Deftly blending 7 grapes - Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Orange Muscat, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and White Riesling; I loved The Whip's crisp & luscious flavors of peach, melon, green apple, with a hint of citrus. The fruit really shines through but The... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Hibernating at home is made ever more pleasant with a beautiful glass of wine - at least my tastebuds get to travel! Courtesy of Santi Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Solane 2011 ($17), I was transported to Italy's famed Veneto region and what a delicious journey it was. Rich cherry flavors with a hint of spice, earth and anise, this full-bodied & smooth red wine is perfect for these chilly winter nights. A blend of Corvina (70%) and Rondinella (30%) grapes, Santi Solane undergoes a second fermentation with the addition of Amarone grapes & skins - this is known as the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Peter Yealands, the self-described "mavericky" founder of Yealands Family Wines. With his flowing mane of silver hair and steely gaze, Peter Yealands has a certain rock-star quality so I wasn't completely surprised to hear him describe his approach to winemaking as "mavericky". With past lives as a general contractor, deer farmer, and marine farming innovator, Peter had never even set foot on a vineyard when he purchased 70 derelict acres in Marlborough, New Zealand in 1998. Fast-forward 16 years, and Yealands Family Wines has expanded so dramatically that they are now New Zealand's single biggest vineyard. I had a chance... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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From gift-giving to holiday soirees, wine & spirits add that extra glitter to the holiday season. So whether you are looking for the perfect vino to sip while wrapping gifts or an impressive bottle for someone special, over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting a variety of wonderful libations. Luigi Bosca Malbec 2010 (375ml half bottle, $16) A rich red Malbec is a perfect choice for the holiday season and this petite half-bottle of Luigi Bosca Malbec 2010 is certain to make Santa happier than a plate of cookies! A beautiful deep ruby red color, this full-bodied yet mellow... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
Hi Nadeen! Thanks for commenting. So glad to hear that you love Spain too! :)
1 reply
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Pimientos de Padrón ( blistered Shishito peppers sprinkled with coarse sea salt) pair beautifully with Boqueria's spicy Bloody Mary. The two years that I lived in Spain changed my life in countless ways and one of the lingering influences is my love of Spanish food & wine. A glass of Rioja, a wedge of Tortilla Española, a plate of thinly sliced Jamón Serrano; and many more Spanish delicacies rank high on my list of comfort foods. Luckily, New York City has quite a few restaurants where I can satisfy my craving for Spanish cuisine and one of the best is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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"I don't just sell the food in my store - I live it. This book is about living it." Lou Di Palo When Lou Di Palo's great-grandfather Savino opened his latteria (dairy store) in New York City's Little Italy 104 years ago, could he have imagined that his family would nurture and grow the business into one of the City's most treasured culinary destinations? More than just a store, Di Palo's is a valuable link to the foods & wines of Italy and a reminder that small family businesses make a priceless contribution to the culture of NYC. Before you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Cocooning at home with a hot cup of tea is one of my tried-and-true strategies for surviving the winter chill. However, I still want my hibernation to have a dash of style, so this season I'll be sipping plenty of Palais des Thés. Lately, I've been warming up with their N° 25 Cinnamon and Orange Limited Edition Tea ($21). This fragrant and spicy tea heats you up with a festive combination of cinnamon sticks, orange peel, pieces of almond, and vanilla petals on a base of green tea. It smells absolutely heavenly and the taste is an instant pick-me-up. Palais... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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I speak just enough French to flirt and order some basic foods but I'm always eager to learn more. While making no promises to snag me a French beau, The Farm to Table French Phrasebook (Ulysses Press, $15.95) will make it easier to communicate my culinary cravings en français. Written by French native Victoria Mas and illustrated by Meera Lee Patel, this lovely little book is chock full of phrases & definitions that make dining and conversing a la française a breeze. From the fishmonger to the farmers' market and from the butcher shop to the bistro; The Farm to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Ok, I'll be perfectly honest with you - a magnum of Laurent-Perrier Les Réserves Grand Siècle MV Champagne ($1500) is the absolute polar opposite of budget-friendly BUT, ooh la la, what a sip! Elegant, extravagant & exclusive; Laurent-Perrier produced only 1,000 bottles of this cuvée to commemorate their Bicentennial. Aged for over 16 years, it blends spectacular vintages from 1990, 1993, and 1995 to create a beautifully balanced and expressive champagne. I had a chance to sample Grand Siècle at the recent Michelin Guide gala in NYC and the memory has lingered with me - I dream of sipping it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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With some helpful tips from the fantastic cheesemongers at Bedford Cheese Shop, I assembled and prepared this far-from-ordinary grilled cheese sandwich with Sourdough Bread, Essex St. 9 Month Comte Cheese (a delicious cow's milk cheese from Eastern France), Aioli, Dalmatia Fig Jam, and Bacon. The flavors and textures melded together beautifully and Chianti was the perfect match. Grilled cheese is one of those comfort foods that brings out the kid in all of us. But you can easily give this classic sandwich a grown-up upgrade by partnering quality bread & cheese with sweet & savory ingredients. Chianti is the perfect... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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When award-winning winemaker Roberto Cipresso passionately speaks of the "magic mountain" where he grows and nurtures the grapes for La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, I wish that I had a magic carpet to whisk me to Tuscany in a heartbeat. Thank goodness Roberto came to New York with plenty of his wines for me to sample - each sip carried me a little closer to Tuscany. Like all Brunello di Montalcino, La Fiorita is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes specifically from the hill top town of Montalcino. Brunello di Montalcino also has the longest required aging times of any... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The gorgeous Banfi vineyards in Tuscany More than the house red wine at your neighborhood Italian restaurant, Chianti has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It's true that the rep of this Tuscan vino suffered in the 70's & 80's when the market was flooded with inferior bottles of Chianti enclosed in straw baskets, but the time has come to wash away those bad Chianti memories. Today's Chianti is well-made and an honest expression of Sangiovese - the beautiful grape that grows abundantly in Tuscany. Chianti pairs easily with so many foods - pasta, pizza, meats, and even... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Beautifully written & illustrated, French Regional Food ($40) is a treasure trove of France's rural culinary traditions and recipes. Transporting the reader to Alsace, Burgundy, Corsica and beyond, French Regional Food is an essential if you're smitten with France and its cuisine. A collaboration between culinary icon Chef Joël Robuchon (he has more Michelin stars than any chef in the world!) and French historian Loic Bienassis, French Regional Food is like a master class contained in 312 hardcover pages. Twenty years of research went into this book and the richness of detail and vivid photos express that commitment. Highlighting 27... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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With just a sip you can take your palate on a journey, so why not embark on a delicious wine escape to Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, and Italy? Millesima's new Travel Around Gift Sets make it chic & easy to satisfy your wanderlust and taste for fine wine. Available in sets of three or six, each gift is packed in an elegant & reusable gray linen tote and includes an illustrated leaflet with information about the wines and the region. With a three-bottle set starting at $90, this is an affordable treat for yourself and your wine loving friends. And, if... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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The Collazzi Villa, designed by Michelangelo, rests on a hilltop in Tuscany surrounded by vineyards. So full of personality and nuance, Collazzi Libertà 2012 Toscana ($23.99) seduced me with the first sip and I am now unabashedly smitten. If you share my taste for bold & voluptuous reds with a hint of spice then you'll want to give this vino a swirl. A blend of mostly Merlot (55%) with Syrah (30%) and a touch of Sangiovese (15%), Libertà 2012 perfectly balances lush berry flavors with a peppery panache and soft tannins. The grapes are hand-picked at Collazzi's Tuscan estate in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Culinary stars were shining bright on stage at the gala celebration for the tenth edition of the Michelin Guide to New York City restaurants. Of course, the Michelin Man was there too! There is certainly no shortage of places to dine in New York City but only 73 restaurants can currently boast that they're Michelin-starred! First published in France in 1900 to help hungry motorists find the very best meals on the road, Michelin introduced the NYC guide 10 years ago and their team of anonymous inspectors annually place a spotlight on the Big Apple's culinary stand-outs. Whether you're a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Bodega Salentein has the majestic Andes as their backdrop. Their Valle de Uco winery is Mendoza's single biggest cool climate estate. Soft-spoken and humble, legendary winemaker José Galante prefers to let his wines do the talking and these beautiful vinos speak volumes. Known as the father of Argentine winemaking, Galante was a trailblazer in introducing the American palate to the wines of Argentina, especially Malbec. Galante led the Catena Zapata group for more than thirty years but in 2010 he made the move to Bodegas Salentein as their Chief Winemaker. Bodegas Salentein has pioneered premium winemaking in the Uco Valley... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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What a pleasure to meet Emmy-winning "Off the Beaten Palate" host Michael-Ann Rowe. Did you know that Canada produces 90% of the world's mustard? Or that the world's second largest country has a vibrant wine industry that grows & bottles everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet Franc? And, let's not forget about the Canadian cowboys that rustle up some of the tastiest meat on the planet and the passionate chefs and self-proclaimed "Beef Geeks" that cook it to perfection. I learned these tasty tidbits, and many more, at a special screening of the Emmy-winning program Off the Beaten Palate. Created and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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image courtesy Champagne Pol Roger The percussion of the popping cork and the ballet of bubbles dancing ebulliently in the glass, champagne is the most dramatic of wines. And, who doesn't love a little drama? I certainly do! A simple lunch of perfectly roasted chicken at La Mangeoire restaurant in NYC reached new heights when accompanied by Champagne Pol Roger. And, co-starring with the bubbly at my champagne lunch was Hubert de Billy, the great-great-grandson of the actual Pol Roger. A fifth generation member of this legendary French family, Hubert oversees sales and marketing for Champagne Pol Roger. What a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Looking for a sexy new restaurant with fabulous food and cocktails? The menu and ambiance at Calle Dao (38 West 39th Street, NYC) will transport you to the sultry Havana of yesteryear. Calle Dao's Cuban & Chinese fusion cuisine is a tribute to Havana's once-bustling Chinatown - at one time it was the largest in Latin America but now occupies just one street - Calle Cuchillo (Knife Street). The name Calle Dao combines the Spanish & Chinese words for this historic strip. Calle Dao owner, Marco Britti, is also the proprietor of the popular Favela Cubana in NYC's Greenwich Village.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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Yes, the arrival of Labor Day is a symbolic adiós to summer but the thermometer tells a very different story. Savor the steamy days of September with a chilled glass of El Coto de Rioja Blanco 2013 - white wine from Spain. Straightforward and sassy, this affordable wine ($11) is crafted from 100% Viura grapes that have been fermented in stainless steel - the absence of oak really allows the zesty notes of the Viura to shine through. Beautifully aromatic, notes of citrus and pear with just the right amount of acidity make this crisp sip a refreshing treat on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler