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They’re here. 100% recycled cotton, hardy, oversize Table on Ten grocery bags, sporting the REFICITE bookplate. A trembling buck gleans sustenance from a tiny oasis in the middle of nowhere. Metaphors. Gotta love ‘em. Modeled on turn-of-the-century Dutch woodcuts, appropriated and adapted by near-legendary Mark Ohe, big enough to tote every library book you’ll ever tote, every root vegetable you root. The limited-edition first pressing is purring on the shelves, ink still glistening. $20.
Come and get ‘em. Or email us; we’ll shuffle across the tundra to Bloomville post office, freezer-burned tongues will lick stamps and ship packages to warmer climes. Proud parents, we’d love to hear what they get up to once they arrive. Send snaps. Our first functional message in a bottle, forgive us if we get a bit teary. Already spotted barreling down the Thruway bearing Tilsit and Pure Mountain Honey, we’ve assigned them global ambassadorial duties. Next stop Pyongyang. Go, Diego, Go!
Winter threatens. There’s snow on the tops and the wind’s slapping the clapboard like a gloved hand on a baby’s bottom. Pulling on our woolly sweater the other day, we encountered that moment of reflection that comes when your head’s inside the tunnel, one arm’s up a sleeve and the other’s groping about blindly for its hole. As the moment lengthens to a phrase, you’re confronted with a dilemma: freak out, hurl yourself onto the rug and start flapping about like a spastic burrito: or stay calm, ruminate on the task at hand and calmly move forward. The other arm-hole will be found. You are not in possession of the world’s only one-armed sweater.
It’s been a heady year. The summer was like surfing the Zambezi. Wobbly knees, borrowed shorts and an implicit understanding that falling off might mean never being seen again. The confidently anticipated Fall slowdown somehow got lost in a flurry of Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, Nowness, Pines Dinner, Refinery 29. Suddenly November is upon us and we find ourselves panting a little bit, running to stand still. And there’s lots coming up – the holiday season, a litany of menu ideas as yet uncooked, unique dinners, Thanksgiving, the annual burgeoning of the microshop, sprucing, tweaking, exploring, experimenting.
As a consequence – in order to nourish the spirit of ongoing adventure – we’ve decided to prune our winter hours. Wednesdays will find the doors closed and kitchen transformed into a laboratory. Thursdays we’ll spring from the burrow like March hares (in November), endeavouring to be all that we can be. Thursday through Sunday will look like it always did, with colour in its cheeks and soup on its chin. So. Until further notice, and with occasional publicized special exceptions, café hours will be as follows:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – closed
Thursday – 9 to 3
Friday – 9 to 3 and 6 to 9 (Pizza Night)
Saturday – 9 to 3 and 6 to 9 (Pizza Night)
Sunday – 9 to 3
As ever, watch this space, the Facebook and Instagram feeds, for further embroidery.
Here’s the thing. There’s this old Italian precept that says you can only write about Lambrusco if you’re drinking Lambrusco. Maybe bear that in mind as you read.
No really, but listen, listen. What? Nah, I’m fine. I’m fine. That … happened earlier. In the cab, the bag opened up and. Y’know, some … yeah.
It’s not often we take to the interwaves to shill on behalf of a wine; ordinarily we pop it on the tea-stained list, ask everybody to shut their eyes and pin the tail on the donkey. But Lambrusco’s a funny marsupial. Needs to be coaxed out of its hole. And when it comes, it comes darkly, lurking at the fringes. You really need to get your thumbs under the curves of that cork before you’re going to see what it’s made of. Like taking off Lois Lane’s glasses.
Thing is, it comes out of the gate limping. Not its fault though. See, history hasn’t treated Lambrusco kindly. That syrupy plasma your Auntie Dorothy used to drink in 1979? The stuff you’d steal from her drinks cabinet, mix with Baileys, Malibu and Kahlua, then collapse hyperglycemic in the airing cupboard trying to remember your lips? Yeah, that was also called Lambrusco. I know, I know, it’s like trying to sell people on Lee Majors in Hamlet.
But that stuff was sweet, blended with fresh grape juice to satisfy a palate weaned on Wonder Woman. Today’s Lambrusco is dry, almost furrily so, with the faintest hint of bitterness. Also, Auntie Dorothy’s was fizzy, TaB fizzy, baking-soda-and-vinegar-in-a-Play-doh-volcano fizzy. Ours purrs like a black cat. Yes, it’s frizzante; hits the glass with a plume of purple froth. But don’t be fooled. That’s just the genie coming out of the bottle, grabbing a breath before he does his three wishes thing (that I get drunk/that my pizza comes soon/that I get more Lambrusco). By the time you put it to your lips it has settled to a kind of … prickle. None of that ‘bubbles the size of pool-balls’ thing. Just something to take the flatness off the landscape, windmills at Kinderdijk.
Not convinced? How about a field-trip to Bologna, the food capital of Italy, where they guzzle the stuff like Uncle Derek at Cousin Abigail’s wedding before he fell in the latrine. And those Bolognese know a thing or two about wine. Pretty much all Lambrusco is produced no more than an uncontrolled cork-pop from their weird due torri. Ours – Barbolini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro – is from vineyards south of Modena, Emilia-Romagna, where they’ve been making it since they were Etruscans. Want a second opinion? How about Cato the Elder, who insisted that two-thirds of an acre could produce enough Lambrusco to fill 300 amphoras? Or Eric Asimov in The New York Times, who says ‘I’ve been on a genuine Lambrusco kick for some years now, and I’ve been delighted to see delicious evidence of its rebirth here in New York.’ And I’ve seen the guy. He looks perfectly normal. Not at all like Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Or, indeed, your Auntie Dorothy.
Most pertinently, it’s the perfect Table on Ten red. Perhaps not the ideal pairing for Armagnac-drowned Ortolan in Saint-Germain-des-Prés; but for great sourdough pizza roasted in a wood-oven in the Catskills with a root vegetable salad? Unbeatable. Inexpensive, unpretentious and a tiny bit lower in alcohol, so you don’t have to feel guilty for drinking the whole bottle. If we were given to being unscrupulous, we’d give it away for free. For a couple of weeks. Till you’re all hooked. 7 in the morning, knocking at our cellar door. ‘I love you, baby. Can I have some more?’.
October 28, 2014. Posted in Inspirers, The Menu, Underpants. Tags: Auntie Dorothy, Barbolini, Bologna, Cato the Elder, Charles Laughton, Emilia-Romagna, Eric Asimov, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lambrusco, Lee Majors, Lois Lane, Maria Clark, Modena, Neil Young, Polaner Selections, TaB, The New York Times, Windmills at Kinderdijk, Wonder Woman.
September 28, 2014. Posted in Inspirers, Press. Tags: Abby Aguirre, Andrea Gentl, Bovina Valley Farm, Brooke Alderson, Brushland Eating House, Burnett Farms, Cheryl Lins, Conde Nast Traveler, Dan Finn, Hamden Inn, Holley Giles, Inez Valk, Jeanette Bronée, Justus Kempthorne, Kabinet & Kammer, Kelli Cain, Last Harvest Farm, Lucky Dog Farm, Marty Hyers, Peter Schjeldahl, Richard Giles, Sara Elbert, Sean Scherer, Sohail Zandi, Steve Burnett, Susan Riesen.
Equal with colleagues in a ring
I sit on each calm evening
Enchanted as the flowers
The opening light draws out of hiding
With all its gradual dove-like pleading,
Its logic and its powers:
All photographs: Gentl and Hyers
September 25, 2014. Posted in Events, Inspirers, Journeys. Tags: Andrea Gentl, Bramley Mountain, Camille Becerra, Christopher Rawson, Courtnee Martinez, Diana Delli Santi, Dusty Ray Richards, Emily Elsen, Emma Farrell, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Inez Valk, Jack the Cat, Joe Aponte, Julian Richards, Kimberly Chou, Marty Hyers, Pamela Berry, Sadie Farrell, Star Route Farm, The PINES.