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Value Vino: ‘Girly wines’ aren’t so pretty in pink

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We tasted these, so you don’t have to


LBD’s 2010 Divalicious Red is the wine equivalent of sausage making: there are nine listed red grapes plus “other.” “It smells like a Glade candle,” said one taster. “There’s very soft blackberry fruit,” said another, hopefully. “Nobody would buy this unless it were $4,” was another opinion. (It’s actually around $12.)

Which brings us to the pink-labeled 2010 Bitch Aragon Grenache, one whose target audience was less clear. In the words of more than one wine industry pro, it might be equally aimed at men and termed a “panty-popper.” (Note that others make variations on this theme: Royal Bitch, Sweet Bitch, Happy Bitch, Sassy Bitch…and these are more clearly woman-oriented.) Regardless, “Is this really a joke? That’s the secret power of this wine,” and “I’m upset that I like this the best,” were typical comments.

In the end, there was pretty much universal scorn for the marketing premise as typified by Little Black Dress: “Flavorful and feminine, [these] blends are the perfect way for every woman to embrace her inner diva.” Why not, we thought, celebrate instead women in wine by concentrating on influential female winemakers—of which there are many. Seems like a superior sisterhood.

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Flavor File: Say.She.Ate’s SoHo kitchen, Tre Trattoria Downtown’s last hurrah and ‘Bon Appetit’ taps two local joints

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Bryan Rindfuss

Say.She.Ate owner Brandon McKelvey


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What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

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Jessica Elizarraras

When it comes to juice, your choices are plenty


Monetary concerns also played a part in choosing which cleanse to do. The least expensive hovered at $80, while the most expensive came in at $157. For matters of perspective, I spend $25 on groceries weekly, not including any restaurant or bar visits for work. I chose to commit to a three-day, $99 cleanse via Juicer Heroes, which included five daily juices and a bonus option of alkaline water or coconut water.

Finally, the type of juice imbibed may also be part of the checklist, if not the most important reason to juice. Cold-pressed juices, made using masticating juicers, are preferred as a way to glean maximal nutrients from the pounds of vegetables that go into each blend.

Drew Taylor, part-owner of Juicer Heroes, along with sons Jason and Josh, clarified the process. A centrifugal juicer, the most common type available, which also helps produce the largest and fastest output, Taylor explained, generates heat that nullifies some of the nutrient and enzyme content. Cold-press juicers, such as those made by Norwalk or Omega, which take longer to process the veggies and fruit, don’t. Then there’s the difference between raw juice and pasteurized juice, which is heated and can, again, reduce some of the nutrients. To that same effect, Carral warned against high-pressure processing or pasteurizing, a process that may still nix some of the nutrients found in the juice that, while still technically raw, has a longer shelf life.

“How can it be raw if it’s sitting there?” Carral asked.

Testing, Testing

I placed the order for my juice on Friday and picked up my box o’ bottles Saturday morning. I stopped at Juicer Heroes’ original location (which funnily enough used to house a Popeyes) and asked one of the juicers about my cleanse. How should I take the juices (a handy paper slip with the order of each beverage was procured); how exactly should I drink them (turns out, I couldn’t just slam the juice down—I was encouraged to sip and make the juices last somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes); what should I do if I absolutely had to eat (I could indulge in a small banana, maybe some strawberries or an avocado); was there anything I should avoid (no working out for this gal, as my caloric intake would be low for the day, and hovered just over 1,200 calories). Above all else, I was encouraged to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I must have had more than 100 ounces of water that day.

Again, these aren’t your run of the mill juices. Choices run the gamut—from Juicer Heroes’ Kaleman Creation with apple, pear, grapes, kale, red cabbage and strawberries, to Urth’s seasonal El Compadre with prickly pear, lemon, grapes, spinach and orange, to Juice Central’s Revitalize with carrot, orange, Serrano pepper and garlic, to Revolucion’s Love Your Liver with beets, cucumber and lime, to Crave’s Romaine with namesake lettuce, celery, apple, ginger and lemon.

So how was it? Did I see mirages of cupcakes? Did I picture my friends as steaks? Was I bed-ridden? Did I have gnarly trips to the ladies’ room? Not bad, no, no, no (but I did take quite a few naps) and no, but I was a bit gassy. My biggest problem was finding something to do, especially since socializing around food is my mero mole. I did find it difficult to be around food, as a quickie trip to Central Market proved tantalizing, and a meeting I couldn’t get out of featured snacks. I was never terribly hungry, but I was incredibly aware of missing brunch. I suffered a mild headache on day two, arguably the roughest day on my end, but that could have likely happened because I didn’t taper into the cleanse.

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Value Vino: Finding sangrias that don’t suck

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Big Hops Gastropub

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Bratwurst

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Gravy-topped WTF?! (What The Fries?!)


The bratwurst was incredible: substantial without being too chewy and reminiscent of the boar sausage at Liberty Bar; the pretzel bun offered a soft, salty complement. The side of frites, sans the animal-product toppings of the WTF?!, struck an ideal balance between a crispy exterior and soft, starchy interior and made a great conduit for the ketchup, which came with an unexpected kick. I’d ordered a Branchline Woodcutter IPA (usually $5) to go with my meal, which made for a great Old-New World collision of flavors.

My wife ordered the tinga nachos ($11), which consisted of shredded, spiced chicken, queso and crema laid over a bed of tortilla chips. The presentation was pretty urbane for nachos, with the meat and dairy arranged artfully down the middle of a basket of chips rather than haphazardly spilled all over them, but the asado-esque flavors were on point.

As we paid the bill, our unfailingly-attentive server reminded us that there were beer specials for every night of the week at Big Hops Gastropub, featuring comparable deals to the Texas-specific discount we’d enjoyed that day, ensuring that anybody on the North Side can find find quality beers and killer noshes seven nights a week practically in their own backyard.

Big Hops Gastropub

22250 Bulverde, Ste 106
(210) 267-8762
bighops.com

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