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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 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 4 days ago 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
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Miguel Ángel de Gregorio of Finca Allende is one of the captivating Rioja winemakers profiled in the eBook Rioja: Conversations with Winemakers. His family has been producing grapes for five centuries. The popularity of wines from Spain continues to grow, particularly those from Rioja. Do you want to know a little more about the vino you're sipping? The informative eBook Rioja: Conversations with Winemakers ($4.99) is a juicy source of information. Rioja: Conversations with Winemakers shows that wine education doesn't have to be stuffy and overwhelming. The book explores seven of Rioja's top wine estates and presents candid conversations with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at The Black Dress Traveler
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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 Aug 27, 2014 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 Aug 24, 2014 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