HOPING YOU’RE FEELING INSPIRED!!!!
HOPING YOU’RE FEELING INSPIRED!!!!
“I leaned sidewise against the bar, which was on the same side of the room as the orchestra stand. I was turning a small glass of tequila around on the top of the bar… The bartender leaned beside me, on his side of the bar…”Do you like that stuff straight,” he said, “or should I smooth it out for you?” “Smooth it out with what?” I said. “You got a wood rasp handy?” He grinned. I drank a little more of the tequila and made a face. “Did somebody invent this stuff on purpose?”
From Finger Man by Raymond Chandler
First let me say I love Tequila, it’s a liquor steeped in history and each brand of Tequila is unique. In his poem Tequila: Panegyric and Emblem, Alvaro Mutis wrote: Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. It is the pursuit of this pallid flame, of the crisp, clear fire it burns within us, that makes us lift the glass of tequila to our lips and to savour the rare fragrance it imparts. There are hundreds of flavours and aromas you can find in tequila, the 3 below are the most common.
Blanco: Agave nose and flavour should be foremost. Citrus, mint, spearmint, green beans, anise or licorice, freshly cut grass, freshly cut fruits like apple and pear. Peppery and sharp bite – the alcohol is more noticeable in the bite. Slightly oily finish. Should have the strongest vegetal or floral aromas and taste of all the types.
Reposado: Agave still present, although muted. Hints of vanilla, almond, oak, honey, sweet melon, slightly sweet butterscotch or brown sugar. Not too woody. Alcohol is present but less pronounced. Finish is less oily, more silky. Some hint of earthiness is allowed.
Añejo: Chocolate, caramel, stronger butterscotch, burnt honey, sweet potato (yam), vanilla. Sometimes tobacco or leather. Agave may be almost hidden. Alcohol is much less noticeable. Finish is long and silky smooth. Añejos can show off their complexities with pride, but the wood should not be overpowering.
Perhaps even more popular than the actual tequila is the worm crawling around the bottom of the bottle. But the worm, or gusano, actually originated with tequila’s cousin, mezcal, largely as a marketing ploy. The gusano is the larvae of a type of moth that lives on the agave plant.
Tequila, whose origin lies in the Indian civilisations of ancient Mexico, is the one liquor that for me has an aura of magic and mystery. Tequila’s ancestor, Pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant was first made by the Aztecs around 1200 BC, and was used by them as a ritual and ceremonial drink dedicated to the God Ometotchli.
The legend says Mayahuel, a farmers wife, was chasing rabbits from her agave fields, when she saw one dancing in circles and found the rabbit had been drinking the nectar from the heart of the agave. She and her husband discovered this nectar made people joyful, strong and fearless, and so Mayahuel was declared goddess of the agave, and was often pictured by Aztecs sitting in the middle of an agave, with a rabbit nearby. The transformation of Pulque into Tequila happened in the 1500s when the Spanish conquistadors ran out of brandy, they began to distill Pulque to make Mezcal wine which later evolved into what we now know as Tequila. Today Tequila is made only from the blue agave plant. Agave grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands Los Altos region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavour.
Since opening in January 2016 Xupito has become the most hallowed Mexican & Tequila bar in the city. Locals and tourists alike flock to the sprawling cantina in old quarter’s Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, to munch on antojitos (tacos, quesadillas, and more), and to enjoy Mexican mariachi music. Of course, drinking tequila from the extensive list of producers—can only help for inspiration.
Xupito has a vast selection of world class tequila, such as Herradura Anejo, Highly-regarded by aficionados worldwide, this wonderful anejo has a beautiful pale gold colour, and a deliciously smooth, sophisticated palate. Silver 1800 Tequila, named after the year it was created, made from pure, 100% blue agave grown on family owned ranches and bottled in Jalisco, Mexico. Each bottle is double-distilled and matured in French and American oak barrels, then rested for 15 days in ex-American whiskey barrels prior to bottling. And Don Julio one of the most respected producers in Mexico is rich, distinctive and wonderfully complex, this is a Tequila to savour. Xupito has a great range of Tequilas each with their own distinctive notes and aromas. You can also try their amazing cocktails like the classic Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, El Dablo and many more… There is also a range of soft drinks, fresh fruit juices and a good selection of beer and wines.
Xupito has a blend of authentic and innovative Mexican food. All the dishes are cooked with fresh ingredients. Here are just a few dishes of appetisers and main courses from their extensive Mexican menu: Empanadas, Tostadas, Grilled chicken oven baked and marinated in Mexican spices, Gorditas, Potatoes Podupin, Mexican BBQ pork ribs, Smoked Buffalo, Tacos, Burritos, Chilli con Carne, Nachos, Quesadillas and so many more.
They also offer a range of salads from Tacos salad, Caesar salad, Greek salad and more, Tex Mex finger food, Club sandwiches, Steak sandwiches, Onion rings, Fried Chicken Wings, Fried Calamari all hot and spicy, but if you’re feeling like something not quite Mexican, they have a range of oven fired pizzas and a menu of Asian dishes like Pho Mai Day, stir fry rice with chicken beef or sea food and snacks like deep fried spring rolls or Bun Cha Hanoi and fresh Nem Chua.
Xupito’s brightly colored Mexican decor will transport you emotionally to the tequila region of Jalisco, this bar is inspired by old-school cantinas with a touch of hipster cool. The decor reflects the history of Tequila, with its mystical Mexican Indian art and the feel of a rustic Mexican cantina with it’s warmth and the party always in full swing.
XUPITO TEQUILA BAR & MEXICAN RESTAURANT IS A CREATIVE COMBINATION OF ARRESTING DÉCOR, CULINARY ARTS, FINE TEQUILA AND CRAFT COCKTAILS
Check it out for their exemplary cuisine, great service, and innovative cocktails.
Always on the look out for new fun venues in Hanoi, the new West Lake Station in Tay Ho is one of the best with its garden oasis, pool table, great food by French chef, craft beer and wine, wood fired pizza oven and awesome music!!!
West Lake Station is a new Bar-Pub-Bistro (just opened) located at 24 To Ngoc Van Tay Ho.
It has a peaceful cozy garden where you can relax and chill night and day and if you love having a drink with friends together with a good game of pool this is the perfect place.
WLS offers you a ‘casual-fine dining menu’ with daily specials…. Be curious, be adventurous as everyday they will change…. I’ve had some wonderful food here, it’s a great for lunch or dinner with every dish carefully prepared by their French female chef.
WLS also offers you fresh and tasty wood fired oven pizza, as well as weekly and monthly specials regularly updated on their restaurant standee or Facebook page.
I’d recommend enjoying a bottle of craft beer, great wines or spirits around the pool table or in the garden while listening to awesome music from the worldwide web radio station.
WLS could soon become your next FAV venue…
VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES AND EVENTS
A wine lover’s dream. Hanoi has a vibrant wine scene and here’s my list of some favorite bars and restaurants with great choices in wine and tasting notes. Whether it’s pairing wine with Vietnamese and Mediterranean food, or a glass of wine with friends at sunset overlooking Hanoi’s lakes, here are some of the best spots. The most amazing bottle of wine you have ever tasted might just be the next one, so never stop searching and never stop drinking. Cheers!
My Top Favourites
La Badiane Hanoi has many restaurants that celebrate the Vietnamese-French culture so If you want to know the definition of “real French” in the middle of Hanoi, go to La Badiane. A Fusion of local and regional ingredients blended into classical French cooking. A great selection of wines, my favourites here are the Beaujolais and Premier Cru from Joseph Drouhin and the Spanish Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro with (Sweet dark cherry overlying pure red fruit with appealing wood smoke and blackberry set among grippy tannins) The restaurant setting is elegant and you’re welcome to pass by for wine and an aperitif. The restaurant delivers interesting tasting menus, including one designed with the most discerning gourmands in mind. La Badiane’s vegetarian menu is as sophisticated as its Dégustation Menu: a four course feast, with authentic flavors, which will convert you into a lover of the French cuisine.
Avalon Cafe Lounge Refreshments with a view. First I love their amazing roof top terrace with views over the lake, this is one of my favourite spots to relax with friends over a glass of wine and some very delicious snacks. You can eat here too and they have good Vietnamese & Western cuisine. Their selection of wine is varied, I would like to recommend the Pascal Jolivet blanc from the Loire Valley and Spanish Hecula red wine with (plum, fig, berriesintense balsamic aromas) The lounge bar is open all day, till late and a glass of chilled wine on the roof top late afternoon is magical. If you like, top off the experience with a snack to go along with your drinks. Both their Vietnamese and Western dishes are prepared creatively with the freshest ingredients. Then sit back and enjoy the view of the lake while the sun goes down and the city lights start illuminating the night skies.
Salmonoid Elegant fusion cuisine: There’s a new aroma and a new concept in town and it’s called Salmonoid. The idea is to create a wide range of fusion cuisines all based on salmon. Located in a beautiful villa with terraces and balconies which are filled with exotic palms sets the mood for Wine & Fine dining. A really great selection of wines, my choices would be Chateau Haut Selve, Graves with (Morello cherry, cedar, vanilla toast and black fruit notes) paired with the Grilled lamb-rack & Salmon with ginger sauce or with the Grilled beef & Salmon on potatoe puree. Also try the delicious Salmon Symphony with a chilled white wine.
Au Lac House: I love sitting here at sunset on the villa veranda with it’s majestic columns, the black and white tiled floor and the wooden shutters surounded by shady trees it feels like stepping back in time, it’s wonderfully French-Vietnamese, and to have in my hand a glass of Chateau Paveil or Pessac Leognan. The beauty of this villa with its great selection of French wines to pair with the delicious Vietnamese cuisine on offer makes this a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner. Though I love just passing an hour or two here drinking some seriously good wine. Don’t be fooled by the French name though – the restaurant specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, serving all-time favorites such as fresh and fried spring rolls, and more extravagant dishes, like roasted duck in mandarin sauce.
Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake. Champagne and sunsets : In a super location with a large terrace overlooking the lake, this is the place to sit and enjoy Hanoi’s amazing sunsets. With large cane and bamboo sofas and shady gazebos it doesn’t get more luxurious than this and if you feel like splurging they have a really good choice of different sparkling wines to enjoy such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant. This is the go to wine spot in Hanoi as they host a Vinoteca event each month with seriously good wine. They also have red & white wines imported from famous wineries around the world.
Vine Restaurant & Wine Bar Worldly wines & innovative plates. Located in the buzzing restaurant and bar area of Tay Ho, this has to be one of my favourite wine bars in Hanoi. They have a superb selection of wines, the decor has a luxurious ‘wine cellar’ style and if you’re looking for something special this is the place. I enjoyed a Turriga Isola Dei Nuraghi 2003 with two years aging in French barriques, Turriga has notes of Mediterranean herbs, roasted coffee, spices, and licorice with a generous core of black and red fruit.) they also have a good range of Tiganello and South African wines from the Winery of Good Hope. I’ll just add they have friendly staff and really good metierranean cuisine.
Local Bar Wines in a party atmosphere, 16 Ta Hien Hoan Kiem. Aimed at a younger generation of wine lovers, this party place serves wines such as light Italian roses and crisp French Sauvignon Blancs. If you are feeling adventurous and want to go for something out of the ordinary, test their signature wine cocktails. Drop by with your friends in the evening and dance the night away to their cool tunes or come by during the day and sit and chill. The wines on offer change each week as choices are aimed at good value for your ‘dong’. Local Bar is in the old quarter and has those cute Vietnamese cafe chairs and tables outside the bar where you can sit and watch the ever changing panorama of the French quarter.
From the Caliterra vineyard this Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is a high quality wine that reflects the nature of its terroir and fruit. It has a beautiful pale greenish yellow hue and a very bright Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is intensely aromatic, highlighting its great freshness and aromas of tropical fruits, mango and passion fruit. Also it stands for its citrus and mineral notes, and some hints of green pepper and tomato leaves. In the mouth it shows a pleasant acidity and a citrus feeling that make it an easy white wine to harmonize dishes. A modern and elegant wine which reflects the particular characteristics of the terroir. This is a distinctive and flavorful wine to be enjoyed on any occasion.
Vintage 2015: Gold Medal International Wine Challenge
Province: Casablanca Valley Chile
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Food Pairing: Refreshingly herbal and grassy with some bright lime notes, it’s terrific for an aperitif or companion to European cuisine: fish, salads, seafood and shellfish. It pairs well with Spicy Vietnamese dishes & sauces too, like nuoc mam, it goes well with the spiciness of nuoc cham, with the sweetness of shrimp and Banh Mi fillings and most dishes harmonise well with this wine which balances the palate perfectly.
This is Wine of the month here in Hanoi at Jafa, an International restaurant in Tay Ho. They have a range of exquisite Vietnamese dishes such as: MUC BAO MIA, Minced pork and calamari formed around sugarcane skewers, grilled and served with sweet chilli sauce. Ideal as an appetizer. GOI BUOI TOM, A light, fragrant, hot, sweet and sour salad, with prawns, pomelo, chilli, mint, coriander, peanuts and MY VAN THAN, Home made pork & shrimp wontons, tender BBQ pork slices, prawns, quail egg, chives, herbs & egg noodles in a flavoursome broth. Beautifully cooked European cuisine: Fish dishes such as fresh Salmon in a creamy Mustard sauce with green beans and Garlic potatoes, or Salmon with Lemon Tarragon, Butter sauce, served with broccoli and potatoes & parsnip cakes. Braised Beef cheek, Claypot Cottage Pie and South East Asian dishes like Chicken and Prawn Laksa from Malaysia… and much more, Check out their facebook page
You can also find this wine at DaLoc Wine shops for more info visit their Facebook page DaLoc Wines.
Come and join us at Business Thursdays this month, taking place at Sunset Bar, Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake. This is a great opportunity to network, meet foreign and local business executives, exchange business information and news, and introduce your company’s products and services. We are looking forward to a fun networking evening in a great location at Intercontinental Westlake over a glass of wine by Daloc Wines.
Business Thursdays Hanoi is jointly organised by the British Business Group in Vietnam (BBGV), the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV) and the German Business Association in Vietnam (GBA). We looking forward to seeing you all again and welcoming new faces.
Ruffino Chianti: Chianti DOCG occupies a special place in the heart and history of Ruffino. When Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino founded the winery in 1877, the first wine they produced was a Chianti. In keeping with tradition, Chianti DOCG features a distinct Florentine bottle reminiscent of the fiasco, the straw-dressed flask in which Chianti was originally bottled. Known as a Tuscan red: 70% Sangiovese, blended with varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied, well-balanced wine is approachable and aromatic, with classic Chianti aromas of violet and wonderful cherry fruit flavors. It finishes with spicy hints of wild cherry and hazelnut. It retains these fresh and fruity flavors since it receives no wood ageing.
Best Buy – 2011 Vintage
World Value Wine Challenge
Gold Medal – 2011 Vintage
Food Pairing: Pair this Chianti DOCG with a variety of traditional Italian dishes like ravioli and tomato-based pasta sauces, such as the Tuscan slow-simmered Ragù. Pizza is another favorite pairing especially the Margherita and a personal favourite meat pairing is Bistecca alla Fiorentina and beef carpaccio. Cheeses such as Mozzarella, Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino and Ricotta will be simply perfect. Its brightness and acidity also makes it a great companion for some Vietnamese cuisine such as the strong salty meat dishes and spicy pork dishes that are heavy on the garlic.
This wine is Imported by DaLoc wines and you can find this wine in Hanoi’s finest restaurants and as Wine of the month at Il mediterraneo restaurant in Hanoi. A great wine that you can really enjoy with great Italian food.
Enjoy a 20 hour slow smoked sucklin’ pig and side dishes with a free pasteur street beer or a chilled glass of Gris d’Ardèche rose on our stunning terrace overlooking the lake.
Sit back, cool down and enjoy our favourite day of the week with mouth watering food, cold beer and relaxing beats every Sunday at The Fat Pig.
At 74 Quang An Tay Ho Hanoi: A delightful bar & grill, on Sundays offering a special event With Da Loc Wines, not just delicious food but a special offer on Pasteur Street Craft Beer and Gris d’Ardèche – Grenache – Rose Wine… Plus Great Music and Great Atmosphere…
If there’s a western dish loved in Vietnam as much as it is everywhere else, it’s pizza. You can find pizza in all corners of the world: deep-fried or deep-dish, flambéed, stuffed, sweet, and spicy…
This article is on one of my favourite blogs – ‘luxury restaurant and cuisine in vietnam’
FOOD GUIDE FOR GOURMET Source: The Best Pizza in Hanoi you should try
Many people do not associate Vietnamese food with wine but think again. First what makes Vietnamese food special? It’s those fragrant elements which play an important role in just about every dish in the Vietnamese cuisine canon. Each dish could really have its own bottled fragrance. L’eau de Pho would be redolent of mint, cilantro, lemongrass, garlic, star anise, and ginger, with long-simmered beef bones, tear-inducing chilies, and the essential drops of fish sauce. If you are thinking of Vietnamese food for dinner be adventurous and order at least half a dozen different dishes and share with friends over a selection of wine. Now what would be the perfect wine to pair with these fragrant dishes?
The range of flavors from spicy to sweet, to salty then sour variations within each bite can make pairing even more confusing. White wines, in general pair well, but dry Rieslings, dry Gewurztraminer, dry Rosés, many Viogniers, and Champagne (or Sparkling Whites or Rosés not from Champagne) are best because these wines tend to have a crisp, brightness, as well as a touch of sweetness that goes with the varying delicate, strong and often spicy Asian flavors. They combine well with hot, chili flavors. Particularly the slight sweetness of the dry Rieslings and Gewurztraminer handle the spiciness very well. They seem to cleanse ones palate of some of the flames, so that as you eat and sip, your mouth goes “Oooh!” “Ahhh” “Oooh!” “Ahhh!” It becomes a beautiful dance of fire and refreshment.
The heavier, fatty, salty meat dishes have always been complimented by reds
The reds that tend to work best are Syrahs, Pinot Noir, many Rhone reds (go Gigondas and Chateauneuf de Pape!), and the occasional Zinfandel.
Three favourite Vietnamese Dishes with wine:
Bo La Lot (Grilled Beef wrapped in Wild Betal Leaves)
One of our favorite dishes calls for one of our favorite wines, the spunky, brash and peppery Zinfandel. Well, maybe not an over-the-top Zin, but a tasty well balanced Zinfandel. The la lot leaves (for those who haven’t tried them yet) have a unique, peppery quality, which combined with the beef and the smokiness from the grilling lead up to this Zin – Bo La Lot pairing. Pinot Noir or most all red Rhone blends would also be great. I really like a nice Gigondas with the Bo La Lot. Dry rosés are good to, especially in summer, and a Sauvignon blanc to compliment the peppery la lot is a nice choice for a white wine.
Mizuna Mustard Green and Shrimp Salad
With the nuoc cham based dressing, a dry Riesling (or Gewurztraminer) is a great choice. Sauvignon blanc, Champagne (particularly a Rosé), or a dry rose wine would also be winners. The Riesling (or Gewurztraminer) is the ideal choice, though, for a couple reasons. The sweetness of the shrimp is easier to pair with any of the aforementioned wines, but the spiciness of the nuoc cham complicate matters a bit. However, the Riesling is up to both challenges and shines with this dish.
Black Pepper Pork Banh Mi
For this one we might lean more towards a fruitier red. Something like a Syrah, or Pinot Noir. Of course, Champagne (particularly a Rosé Champ.) or a dry rosé would also be yummy.