Wine Recommendation: Desert Hills Zinfandel 2012

I tried this Dessert Hills Zinfandel while I was touring Osoyoos wineries during the Oyster Festival (I know, oysters in a dessert…) a few weeks back. I was very impressed, enough that we brought a bottle home with us.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.11.42 AMWe cracked it last night with a dinner of spicy prawns and lobster over quinoa and vegetables and a salad of baby kale, tomatoes and bocconcini cheese. It paired wonderfully.

Utilizing the Quini app we were able to rate the wine and record our thoughts.

We gave Desert Hills Zinfandel at total rating of 77. We found the wine to be bright with a full aroma of spice, caramel, dried figs and jam and a hint of nuts which we could not place. The mouth was medium bodied and resembled the noise with dried figs, black currants, some spiciness and again the unknown nutty flavour. Our only criticism was the finish was lacking.

All around we were quite happy with this wine and would happily buy it again. My understand is it can be difficult to order as it is limited to the wine club at Desert Hills, but we got a bottle so maybe you can too.

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What I’m Reading Next: The Fencer Trilogy by K.J. Parker

I have written of my love for the work of K.J. Parker prior in my book recommendation for his novel The Folding Knife. He is the perfect example of the quality of writings that can be found when casually browsing the library or used book store; which has been a favourite pastime for my entire adult life.

I came across the last two books for The Fencer Trilogy, Book 2 The Belly of the Bow and Book 3 The Proof House while doing exactly that in the used book stores at Pike Place in Seattle (whilst sipping on a Starbucks made at the original Starbucks I might add).

I can’t quite explain the excitement I get when I stumble across such gems. I end up spending hours searching for more at an almost frantic pace like an addict hoping to find a secret and forgotten stash.

For Book 1 Colours of Steel I turned to Amazon as I suspected it would be more than difficult to locate K.J. Parker’s work at my local Chapters and I knew it was not available at my library. Besides, I love Amazon and I was (and still am) backlogged with dozens of books waiting to be read; I had ample time to wait for it to be delivered by mail.

parkter

The contrast in the books here as well as the Budai (laughing Buddha), wrestler and sword clearly reflects the internal conflict in me, and maybe many of you as well. Waiting to be read there: The Tao of Physics, An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritjof Capra. Maybe that will help with said internal conflict (insert winky face here).

 

What I’m Reading Next: Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont

I began my true foray into reading with fantasy as I became enchanted with magical worlds filled with wizardry, warriors and creatures all living according to rules dreamed up by the authors. Each new series or books were and are a revelation of just how limitless the human imagination is.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.20.36 AMThe fantasy world of Malaz co-created by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont stands out as the most imaginative. In Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont we return to the story that began it all.

This world began with Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, Book 1 for the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Steven Erikson is both an anthropologist and an archaeologist. I have often suggested that this is what gives his books and the world he co-created such depth.

Ian C. Esslemont’s first published work is A Night of Knives: A Novel of the Malaz Empire which was very well received by the nervous yet hopeful fanbase of Steven Erikson. It seems that the characters and the world which the authors share have found two voices that at times can be hard to distinguish.

Do not pick up these books if you are looking for a quick read requiring little thought or comprehension. The Malaz empire is not the land for you. But if you are looking for a series that makes full use of the English language (at times almost poetic) and plots that seem to defy reason then this is the series for you.

I will be writing more Book Recommendations for both authors at a later date I am sure as they both hold a space in my top 5 list.

I cannot wait to begin this book!

España – Always a Favourite Spot of Mine

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 9.00.23 AMEspaña is one of those restaurants that just gets it. They nail it on every level; ambiance, music, service, food and wine all while staying true to their concept, which is Spanish cuisine, mostly tapas.

The wine list while not extensive is enough to give anyone an insight into the Spanish wine culture, and the staff are knowledgeable and ready with suggestions.

The food is outstanding. Every dish has layers of flavours that most be savoured to fully enjoy. The stand out for me was the Fried Green Tomatoes which comes with white anchovies, soft boiled quails eggs, frisee, aioli, dill and manchego. This dish is one of those rare, perfectly executed plates that everyone should try.

I have returned to España more times than I can recall and I intend to keep returning. I suggest you do the same!

As a restauranteur I have a certain appreciation for my peers and their efforts. As such I like to share with others the spots I am most found of. I believe there is room for all of us to prosper. You can find me every day in the restaurants I am partner in at http://www.glowbalgroup.com.

How I Plan To Become Healthier and Lose 20 Pounds: Clean, The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger, M.D. with Amely Greeven

I have never read a book that has inspired me more. 

I opened with that sentence in hopes that you understand just how impactful this book, Clean, The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger, M.D. with Amely Greeven is. I believe it will change my life, certainly my health and that it can do the same for you. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 9.23.17 AMClean is written is a straightforward manner that speaks directly to the many ailments that modern society suffers from. I like many of you, I suspect, accepted my daily health struggles as the cost of aging. In Clean Dr. Alejandro Junger presents an alternative truth. You suffer not because of aging but because of the many toxins that you have allowed to enter your body, either directly through eat and drink or indirectly through the environment you live in. 

Clean promises to answer these toxins not just for time you are on the cleanse but for the remainder of your life by providing a solid medically researched cleanse and through guidance once the cleanse is finished. 

I found myself filled with hope as I read this book. I finished it in 4 days while travelling and entertaining family and friends. I have never finished any book about health, mind, body, spiritual or financial, in such a short time or with such pleasure. Nor has reading anything regarding this topic filled me with such an overwhelming desire for change. It could be the timing in my life, but I suspect it was Alejandro Junger’s message that moved me. 

I’ll let some of his closing words do the convincing for me. “…one accepted belief is that bacteria and viruses attack you and make you toxic and ill. This is like saying the mice and roaches make the trash can full-a crude analogy, but an apt one. The real reason roaches and mice hang out in the trash can is because garbage is there attracting them. Likewise, bacteria and viruses will land and thrive in bodies that are already toxic.” Crude yes, but poignant. 

I cannot recommend a book more. Please do yourself a favour and pick Clean up. 

I will report back in a month once I have finished Clean with my results.

Book Recommendation: The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker

I first picked up The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker from a library shelf in a desperate search for something good to read. I will admit that a novel’s cover can make the difference between flipping through a few pages or not for me. This one came with a sort of subtitle that quickly captured my imagination; it read ‘Even Great Men Make Mistakes.’

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.26.29 AMMy second step when intrigued is to flip open the book to a random page and read an excerpt or two. This is done solely for the purpose of testing the author’s prose. K.J. Parker did not disappoint.

I promptly sat down in the library and began reading.

The Folding Knife tells the tale of a man who rises to the top only to lose everything. In the opening chapter K.J. Parker spins the tale of the man’s lowest point, sometime after the character loses everything; he does this as a master of his craft. I cannot imagine anyone reading the opening and not being hooked, wanting or needing to know what happened to this once great man and how he came to be in such a condition.

I learned a lot about success and failure and the flaws and strengths that lie within all humans, whether great or not, from this book. I love nothing more than a great case study of a character, K.J. Parker delivers that in The Folding Knife. This was one of those books that I could not stop talking about or recommending to others. I very much hope you give it a read.

Favourite Poem #3 Amore VII by E.E. Cummings

I love a poem that makes me want to reach for my lover, to explore and savour the words and feelings they bring together. Amore VII by E.E. Cummings is one such poem.

if i believeIMG_1011

in death be sure
of this

it is
because you have loved me,
moon and sunset
stars and flowers
gold crescendo and silver muting
of seatides
i trusted not,
                   one night
when in my fingers
drooped your shining body
when my heart
sand between your prefect
breasts
darkness and beauty of stars
was on my mouth petals danced
against my eyes
and down
the singing reaches of
my soul
spoke
the green-
greeting pale-
departing irrevocable
sea
i knew thee death.
                             and when
i have offered up each fragrant
night, when all my days
shall have before a certain
face become
white
perfume
only,
      from the ashes
then
thou wilt rise and thou
wilt come to her and brush
the mischief from her eyes and fold
her
mouth the new
flower with
thy unimaginable
wings, where dwells the breath
of all persisting stars
E.E. Cummings

Favourite Poem #2 Still Another Day XXIII by Pablo Neruda

Next favourite poem is from Stones From The Sky by Pablo Neruda, XXIII in particular. I am not one who attempts to glimpse into the mind of the poet rather I enjoy what the words do for me, that resounding moment when first read, hinting at a revelation of self, if only I were brave enough to listen.

I am this naked

mineral:
echo of underneath:
I am happy
to have come so far,
from so much earth:
I am the last one, barely
guts, body, hands
that split off
from the motherlode
without knowing why,
without hope of staying,
resigned to this flighty human
fate to live and drop like a leaf.
Ah this destiny
of the darkening incessancy,
of being your own – unsculptured granite,
sheer bulk, irreducible, cold:
I was rock, dark rock
and the parting was violent,
a gash of an alien birth:
I want to go back
to that sure thing,
to home base, to the middle
of the stone mother
from which, I don’t know how or when,
I was torn away to be torn apart.
pablo

What I’m Reading Now – The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly, Chapter 14

lizardcageIn The Lizard Cage, Karen Connelly does not spare us a moment, no matter how private, of her prisoner Teza’s life behind bars. In Chapter 14 the author bares Teza’s soul as he recalls his courting and love for Ma Thazin, or as he puts it, he tries to find her.

Karen somehow reveals Teza’s pure love while mixing in lust smeared by imprisonment and shame. I have seldom felt a more contrasting mix of emotions nor such a strange building of tension, and she does not let up as Teza, himself, fuelled but a very human need could not let up until the very end, which prison and this candid novelist somehow turned into anything but the release expected “as though the wall itself has clenched tight and crushed them all.”

Maung-go lo-ba-deh. Chit-pa-deh. “I’m afraid. You’ll hurt me.” Ma Thazin whispered to Teza during their first love making.

I feel the same about this book.

 

 

 

 

Book I’m Going To Read Next – You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself: Daily Struggles of Small Time Wrestlers (Jobbers) by Ben Nelson Creed

I was both excited and a touch jealous when I saw that one of my favourite local wrestlers Nelson Creed released his book, You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself: Daily Struggles of Small Time Wrestlers (Jobbers) by Ben Nelson Creed. Here is a guy living two of my dreams, he is a current professional wrestler and has been for a long time and now he is a writer.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.57.51 AMI never wrestled Nelson Creed during my short stint as a professional wrestler but we did meet a few times both in catch wrestling and the professional wrestling circuit and share some mutual friends. I can’t say we know each other well but I certainly always held him in high esteem.

It is that respect for him and for his craft as a professional wrestler that has me so excited to read his book. Professional wrestling is a grind full of back stage politics, injuries, egos and very little money for most. The local shows really are a labour of love, and that is what each wrestler has, love for their art.

I have ordered this book already and suggest that my fellow wrestling fans do the same, as well as any would be professional wrestlers. If Ben Nelson Creed writes as he speaks and wrestles it will be sure to entertain.