A terrific red with a real Bordeaux character. Lovely fruit and balance. HISTORY First coined by winery founder David Stare in 1986, the term “Old Vine” has special meaning to our family.  We define an old vine vineyard as being more than 50 years in age. In the case of our Old Vine Zinfandel, the […]


HISTORYDry Creek Vineyard Signature Wines 2011 Dry Chenin Blanc
For more than 25 years, we have sourced fruit from the Clarksburg appellation in the
Sacramento Delta. This area has provided us with delicious Chenin Blanc grapes that express our Loire Valley inspired roots. Most California vintners have given up on
Chenin Blanc. We believe this delicious varietal has a rightful place at the table. It is
the perfect aperitif wine, extremely versatile and food friendly, making it one of our
most beloved wines. 

The 2011 season was fraught with many weather related challenges. Our viticulture
team however, was up to the task; carefully managing the vineyard and providing us
fruit with near perfect ripeness levels. Winter rains were plentiful and lasted well
into the late spring and early summer. The summer growing season was unseasonably cool. Harvest was temperate and canopy management was a key to achieve optimal ripeness in the grapes. Unwelcome rains came later into harvest – fortunately, much of our fruit was already picked and safely at the winery. 

Since our founding in 1972, we have produced a wonderfully crisp, incredibly
refreshing dry Chenin Blanc. The 2011 vintage perfectly represents our love for this
wonderful grape variety. Fragrant aromas of pineapple, white peach, melon and citrus
leap from the glass. A few swirls reveal an underlying minerality, even some chalky
notes, which are an ode to the variety’s Loire Valley roots. The palate expresses soft
apple characters, zesty citrus and a wonderful sense of balance and freshness. A perfect patio sipper, Chenin Blanc is summertime in a bottle!

DRY CREEK VINEYARD     3770 LAMBERT BRIDGE RD     HEALDSBURG, CA 95448     707.433.1000     FX 707.433.5329     DRYCREEKVINEYARD.COM
BLEND 100% Chenin Blanc
HARVEST DATES September 13, 2011
FERMENTATION  Stainless steel fermented at an average of 55˚F for
approximately 30 days
pH 3.53
TA 0.63g/100mL
SOILS Flat, sandy delta soil
VINE AGE 10 years on average
YIELDS 6-7 tons per acre

SRP: $12

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.



Ember Room, Where The Scene Is Hot And The Food Is Excellent

Embers Room Int1

                             Ember Room

647 9th Avenue
Between 45th and 46th Streets


T 212.245.8880

With no big signage or neon signs, Ember Room is hidden in plain sight near the corner of West 45th St & Ninth Avenue. Suspended above the entrance are four thousand authentic handmade Thai temple bells, whose soothing and resonant tones are said to create a peaceful and meditative state. Designed by internationally renowned Thai chef Ian Chalermkitticha, Ember Room’s menu takes on an existing culinary trend in Bangkok: described as "progressive Thai comfort food", the menu is both firmly rooted in Thai tradition and seamlessly adapted to the selective integration of other culinary cultures. Signature dishes range from Italian-influenced Green Curry Lasagna, with fresh mozzarella and parmesan baked with a rich green curry Bolognese, to Chef Chalermkitticha’s signature Chocolate Baby Back Ribs grilled with surprising and irresistible BBQ Belgian chocolate glaze. They are fork-tender, absolutely delicious and a steal at $7(all of the carefully cooked dishes are fairly priced).

Ember Room is the latest venture of New York City-based restaurateurs Ace Watanasuparp and Chatchai Huadwattana, founders of Chace Restaurant Group, whose recent successes include Spot Dessert Bar, Obao, and Reserve wine Bar.

The restaurant design, boldly envisioned by internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Roy Nachum, mixes rustic and contemporary through the use of rich colors, distressed wood, and brushed metals. Near the white-veined black Carrera marble bar, the Marble Poet’s Lounge is a floor-to-ceiling 25-foot wall of 200 year-old reclaimed wood, overlaid with oversized gold-leaf Chinese calligraphy-the characters point out that sharing food and company is the greatest form of wealth. Downstairs, the focal point is the Ivory Prince Terrace: a raised dining area with symmetrical walls of mirrored bronze, stacked with metal frames evoking authentic Asian lanterns, and lit with Edison light bulbs. The room unites around a striking original painting by Nachum of a child in a forest, protected by an elephant. Upstairs, an open Mezzanine overlooks both the Marble Poet’s Lounge as well as the restaurant’s floor-to ceiling façade, with its view of the lights and bustle of Ninth Avenue.


embers room int2

“EMBER’S GEMS” include such SMALL PLATES” as Koi Tuna Tartare, fresh tuna, roasted ground rice, crispy tortillas, chili-lime dressing ; “Yum Hoi” Pomelo Scallops, 
seared “diver” scallops, chili jam glaze, pomelo salad, roasted pepper-lime dressing; Terra Cotta Fish Cakes, crispy rice-crusted red chili paste fish cake, ember room sauce and the aforementioned Chocolate Ribs.

ember room menu1

Signature ENTRÉES offer Lobster Pad Thai, Bangkok street-style pad thai, herb-poached lobster;  a divine Red Chili-Glazed Sea Bass, freshly baked, sweet and spiced glaze, celery root puree, gailan and Heritage Pork Belly, chaing mai spiced braised pork belly, root vegetables, asian herbs, fresh ginger.

SMALL PLATES purport Grilled Japanese Eggplant,  smoked salt, cilantro, red miso glaze , Bamboo Chicken Curry Dip, pan-fried roti, chicken, green curry, bamboo shoot, eggplant ; Thai Tacos, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, chives, peanut, tofu, coconut,
sweet chili sauce; “Nam Prik Ong” Lettuce Wrap, northern thai-style bolognese, fresh vegetables, crispy eggplant and that Green Curry Lasagna with green curry bolognese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ground beef.

There are fun plays like the Thai Chili Mac & Cheese, thai chili jam, smoked bacon, onion, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and house-made breadcrumbs and  a not-to-be-missed concoction called: Thai Pastrami Meatballs, ground pork, bacon, sweet tamarind glaze, chinese mustard’. The chef is a master of mussels and oysters, whether Steamed “Icy Blue” canadian mussels, lemongrass, spicy and sour bouillon, garlic bread or beautifully presented Half-Shell Fried Oysters, crispy fried oyster, sautéed bean sprout, garlic chive, and a zesty sriracha sauce.

For a twist, check out the fun Ember Original Lobster Roll,  with homemade sour cream, chili jam, celeriac, shallots, mango served with crispy 7-spice fries and mayonnaise.

Soups and salads are expectedly excellent and bigger appetites will love ENTRÉES
like the Had Yai Volcano Chicken (a mere $16) for oven-roasted turmeric-coconut marinated chicken, green chili sauce, brined for three days and served  flaming.

Service is surprisingly benevolent and there is is short and attractively priced list of wine, beer, sake and such.Cocktails are generous and well constructed, and the hose versions are fun.

Don’t miss the Thai iced tea (lavender tea is also terrific), nor fabulous desserts, including all homemade iced cream (the chocolate Grenache is to die for); a light and lovely Meyer lemon layered crepe cake; or  a rich and decadent caramelized coconut cheesecake.

Certainly the definitive choice for creative Thai food near the theater district, Ember Room is one of the best Thai restaurants in Manhattan. Rating A Major.


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.



Continue reading “Ember Room, Where The Scene Is Hot And The Food Is Excellent”

Two Delightful Whites From Different Parts of the Worlds for $20 and Under.

The World Is Your Winelist Whitehaven® 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc The Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2010 embodies the quintessential Marlborough style: Full-flavored and medium -bodied with fragrant notes of citrus, gooseberry and ripe tropical fruit followed by freshly cut herb undertones. A brilliant straw color, this rich and elegant wine refreshes the palate with a clean, […]

Japanese American Pub Brings Ramen to Tribeca


Zutto is located at 77 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013. And is open for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30am-5:30pm, dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:30-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30-11pm. For more information, please call (212) 233-3287, and visit zuttonyc.com.

The name Zutto may be familiar to connoisseurs and Tribeca locals as it was the first sushi restaurant in the area 30 years ago. Now, while the name and location remain the same, the new chef Joshua Smookler has recreated the core concept and turned Zutto into an Japanese American izakaya-inspired pub. Yes, they still have sushi, but the real star is seen in the Japanese menu, which draws from Smookler’s French culinary training and includes an extensive wine, beer, shochu and sake program.

Chef Smookler, a Korean raised Jewish who grew up in New York, came into the professional kitchen world in an unusual way. After he finished his bachelor’s degree, Smookler was supposed to study medicine. But, he decided first he wanted to see more of the country. He got as far as San Antonio, Texas before he needed to stop driving and work. He saw an ad for wait staff at the French restaurant L’Etoile and went in for the position dressed in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. Lucky for him the owner was Jewish and when Smookler started speaking to him in Hebrew, he got the job.


The Amazing Pork Belly Buns

His training can be seen not only in the stunning way he plates his food, but in the solid flavors and innovative bites he offers, especially in his Japanese pub-style food. Take the Steamed buns (but go easy . . . are terrific), Smookler whips up variations that include a classic Asian style pork belly with miso-mayonnaise, tender and sweet short rib, and a Kobe beef patty with hijiki, his version of an American slider. Other menu items also speak to the izakaya style like the finely pounded fish that gets breaded and fried to create salty fish “chips” with a side of spicy edamame and jalapeño dip. The result is a deceptively simple and memorable creation.


Lobster Rolls

For the signature ramen, the chef’s favorite dish, Smookler starts by making the various broths, a process that takes almost two days to complete. He pours the rich, velvety liquid over long, tender noodles made from Smookler’s own recipe and tops the dish with various ingredients. Start with the tonkotsu classic bowl, which comes with smoky chasu, sweet pickled ginger, sesame, and kikurage, also known as wood ear mushroom. It is the star.

For heftier fare, go for  Smookler’s take on steak frites, which uses tender Kobe beef ribeye. The portion isn’t huge, but the quality is superb and the fries are wonderful.

While their menu remains sophisticated, the giant communal table in the center, cozy bar, intimate banquette seating, and soft Japanese lanterns hanging overhead helps create the down-to-earth vibe Smookler wants. It’s easily a place where you can pop in for a great bowl of ramen, a snack, and a glass of beer or wine. Actually, the beverage list alone is worth the Tribeca trek as it features Asahi on draft that is actually brewed in Japan and shipped here. In bottles they offer spiced Schneider Weisse, rich Allagash Dubbel, and light and nutty brews by Hitachino Nest’s.

zutto food 1

On the wine menu Smookler taps into his years working as a wine director and has created a masterpiece of whites, reds, and sparkling from all around the world. He arranges on the menu from lightest in body, to the heaviest. For example the list of whites starts with a Hautes Noelles’ 2010 Muscadet Sur Lie and ends with Le Vieux Donjon’s 2010 Rhone blend. For reds he features over two-dozen bottles including CVNE Imperial’s 1999 Tempranillo and Kenzo Estate’s 2007 Bordeaux blend. All wine prices are value oriented and lower than many places charge for the same bottles.

Another feature on the drink list is the flushed out sake list. Where the original restaurant offered few, the new Zutto has around 60 including unfiltered Hakushika “Snow Beauty” Junmai, earthy Shichida, and the pear tinged Yaegaki Mu. Loyal Zutto customers will also find the classic sushi list re-imagined save for the traditional triangle shaped Tribeca roll, which has been on the Zutto menu since the beginning. Other rolls Smookler has created to express the more wild side of things including the animal roll, a feisty maki with short rib, jalapeño, garlic, and a sweet and savory soy glaze, which gets served on the bone from which the beef came. Also innovative is Smookler’s bright yum yum sae woo, which is made with a thin, lime-green tofu skin and wrapped around tempura shrimp, lettuce, and crab, giving it a crisp texture and more of a summer roll feel than traditional sushi.

Dessert is an experience unto itself as Smookler comes up with all sorts for fun creations like the salty-sweet chocolate-caramel crème du pot and a melt-in-your-mouth caramelized brioche with grilled bananas and homemade vanilla ice cream, which is so airy and light it’s hard to believe it’s really ice cream. He used to offer a dish called a tasting of three chocolates and rum, which consists of a molten chocolate with three chunks of chocolate, paired with three amazing single barrel aged rums from different parts of South America.On our visit, it wasn’t available, but we adored “coffee and donuts,” a fabulous coffee semifreddo with foamed cream and zeppole donuts. It would put any Italian restaurant to shame.

zutto interior use

Whether you come to Zutto for a light snack and a drink, a full dinner, or for lunch, grabbing a seat at the community table or outside, once they open their glorious French doors, gives you the full Japanese pub experience with an international twist.

Service is friendly and the ramen is as good as it gets.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Continue reading “Japanese American Pub Brings Ramen to Tribeca”

Two Winners From Rodney Strong For Around $20

2010 Chardonnay, Estate Vineyards, Chalk Hill In 1965, founder Rod Strong was the first to plant chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique chalky white soils, which […]


leogard The Parrot Girl


THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is located at 1 West 67th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The restaurant is open daily for Dinner from 5PM-11:30PM. Lunch is served Monday – Friday from 12PM-3PM and brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday from 11:30AM-3PM. Reservations are recommended: 212-787-8767 or www.theleopardnyc.com.

Historic New York City Landmark Serving Southern Italian Cuisine Sets a New Standard For Luxury Italian Dining

Housed in one of New York’s most legendary and famous buildings, the Hotel des Artistes, THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes offers Southern Italian cuisine inspired by the area once known as “The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.” Restaurateurs Gianfranco Sorrentino and his wife, Paula Bolla-Sorrentino, who brought New York the successful Il Gattopardo (Italian for The Leopard), and the former Sette MoMa Restaurant at The Museum of Modern Art, have totally renovated the former Café des Artistes space. The restaurant’s breathtaking murals were given a much-needed restoration to their original colors, to bring back their atmosphere of romance and fantasy.


Architects Roger Hirsch and Myriam Corti renovated the restaurant to create a sophisticated and comfortable dining experience. Classic and modern details are subtle and refined in homage to the artful spirit of The Hotel Des Artistes. Diners are seated at roomy and luxurious banquettes situated throughout the dining rooms, which boasts a combination of terrazzo floors complete with large, playful zinc circles, and rich walnut floors. Walnut-clad columns bring dramatic warmth and refinement to the interior, and a new lighting system accentuates the mythical murals’ beauty. The overall effect is clean and airy, creating a contemporary elegance in which to enjoy memorable cuisine.

leopard owners chef

Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo, who is also the executive chef at Il Gattopardo since its foundation, along with Chef de Cuisine Claudio Cristofoli, created the Southern Italian menu that finds its roots in the culinary traditions of the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, Sardinia, and of course Sicily. His genius lies in his ability to utilize traditional recipes and maintain culinary honesty, while keeping is creations light and toothsome. Everything tastes authentic; nothing tastes old fashioned. “Taste” being the operative word. Chef  Gnazzo’s hand with seasoning is awesome.

Guests may begin dinner with appetizers including Eggplant and Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella timbale with spicy tomato sauce; Sardinian “fregola” with clams and mussels in a shell fish broth and Fennel and Orange Salad with Nocellara olives dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar (below).


We adored melt-in-your mouth Grilled Octopus and celery potato salad with olive oil and lemon dressing, and green olives. Imported White Asparagus (a special) was the best we have ever tasted this side of the Atlantic. All ingredients are the finest quality, whether imported or sourced from local purveyors.


Homemade pappardelle with roasted rabbit and seasonal mushrooms: Images Credit: Melissa Horn

Ravishing pastas include Bucatini with sardines, onions, wild fennel, peanuts and raisins; Rigatoni “alla Norma” with sautéed eggplant and aged ricotta cheese in a tomato sauce (pictured below) and remarkable Ravioli filled with braised artichokes and burrata in a light tomato marjoram sauce.


Signature entrées consist of Filet of Mediterranean “Branzino” wrapped in parchment paper with baby vegetables and herbed olive oil; Lamb Loin sautéed in a red wine and tarragon sauce, served with braised pearl onions and carrots and Roasted Berkshire Tender Pork Loin in its own sauce, served with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms and artichokes.

For something really special, go for one of the best  Grilled dry aged rib eyes, in New York,  served with crispy rosemary French fries (serves two people) . You may never visit you favorite NY steak house again.

leopard food1

Shellfish ragout served with organic couscous

The “temptation” menu was crafted by Gnazzo and Cristofoli and includes delectable desserts such as a crunchy Cannoli filled with sheep’s ricotta milk, chocolate chips and Bronte pistachios; Warm Bartlett Pear over puff pastry with caramel sauce and Warm Lava Chocolate Cake served with a side of artisanal ice cream. Best of all, Traditional Zabaione with fresh mixed berries, is whisked tableside and is perfection.


leopard bar

Diners can also enjoy drinks and light bites at the newly redesigned bar.

Gianfranco Sorrentino, who also oversees the beverage department of THE LEOPARD, collaborated with Sommelier Marco Irato to create the restaurant’s wine list, which offers over 160 bottles of Italian whites and reds, fifteen of which are by the glass. A sprinkling of French Champagnes also have a presence on the menu. Signature cocktails include a Neapolitan Martini with Limoncello and Vodka and Donnafugata Campari shaken with Grand Marnier Orange.The wine list is admirable and affordable. We were delighted with a sprightly Manzoni Bianco 2011 “Villa Brunesca” at 14 the glass and a lovely Super Tuscan 2007 “Poggiassai” Poggio Bonelli, which was $21 for a glass. Cocktails are expertly constructed and generous.

Service at the THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is exceptional, from reception to waiter and bus-staff. And considering the extraordinary dining experience, prices are not out of line. In fact, there is a $28 Prix Fixe lunch Monday to Friday and one of our town’s most delightful brunches can be enjoyed Saturday and Sunday.  As one of Manhattan’s most rewarding Italian restaurants, THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is an absolute must. Rating: A Major

leopard dessert canoli

Traditional Sicilian cannoli (Above)

leopard swinging girl


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.



Two Chardonnays at Affordable Prices Make Ideal Summer Drinking: William Hill and Frei Brothers Excel.

What a delicious wine. Frei Bros. Reserve 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, at a suggested retail price of  $20.00, goes beautifully with seafood, light cheese, chicken and Japanese cuisine. The balanced fruit and good acid make it the ideal wine for summer drinking. At Frei Brothers Winery, they craft wines in a gentle, traditional style […]