wine pairing class with synesthesia
today i want to talk about putting the whole “balance” thing that i always talk about into practice. i mean, this blog is called “bananas + bellinis” for a reason. monday funday is definitely a thing, and it’s a thing i like to take part in on occasion. this week, monday funday came in the form of an intro to wine pairings class with synesthesia at bamboo 52 in new york. we weren’t sure what to expect, but had a great time learning all about the different types of wine and how to properly taste them, eating cheese and of course, getting a little tipsy.
there were six of us in the class and there was an abundant amount of wine, cheese, bread and fruit for all of us. amanda, the instructor and owner of synesthesia, was enthusiastic, warm and extremely well-versed in all things wine. she made everything easy to understand, made sure everyone felt included and kept things really fun. i plan on taking all of the things i learned from her and someday hosting amazing dinner parties with perfectly paired food and wine. the main things i took away from the class were:
- don’t be cheap [this can be applied to any aspect of life, but we’re talking wine right now]
- wines from coastal areas will be lighter, fruitier wines
- when you taste wine, swishing it around in your mouth allows it to hit all the areas of your tongue so that you can make sure you are tasting all of the flavors
- sauvignon blanc is the best cooking wine
- cabernet sauvignon can go with any of the cheeses
- pinot noir pairs well with pizza [clearly this was the most important thing for me to know about]
so, if you need something to do on a cold monday night this winter and you want to put the whole balance thing to work, definitely think about taking one of these classes. you’ll have fun, learn about alcohol, and get drunk. you can thank me later.
miracle hangover cure: milk thistle extract
as you probably know, one of the recurring themes here at bananas + bellinis is balance, simply because i believe that in order to live a healthy life, you have to live a happy life and happiness doesn’t come from deprivation, restriction or self-inflicted punishment or criticism. i know from personal experience that depriving yourself, obsessing over your food intake and criticizing yourself for your appearance, weight, financial status, life choices, etc. does not lead to happiness… at all.
one thing that i’m not afraid to share is my love for going out and enjoying myself over a few drinks. cocktails, beer, wine… i like all of it. i believe that in moderation, having a drink or two… or three… is perfectly fine and nothing to feel bad about. now, with that being said, there is one kinda out there, health nut thing that i do to give my liver a little prep and that is incorporating milk thistle extract into my supplement regimen the day of an event I know i’ll be drinking at.
milk thistle extract is something that i was introduced to when i was doing a 30-day mind-body cleanse last january and it has seriously changed my life. milk thistle is a plant and the extract that comes from its leaves is known for its ability to detoxify and protect the liver and its vital functions, so obviously this stuff has a place when it comes to the prevention/cure of hangovers.
you can purchase milk thistle extract in tincture or pill form [i prefer the tincture] and take it during the day when you know you have a happy hour or a birthday party to attend. you can put a dropper full in your water or tea as much as you would like throughout the course of the day [the taste isn’t strong] or directly into your drink while at the event. the morning after a night of drinking, especially if I’m not having an #iwokeuplikethis moment, i’ll also put a dropper full into a glass of ice cold water and before i know it, i’m back to 100%.
of course, this trick is much less effective if you drink a lot, a lot or if you start mixing alcohol [that’s never a good idea and I can’t help you there], but give this a try the next time you go out for a few drinks and I promise you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
images courtesy of the glamorous housewife
eurotrip recap part 1: oktoberfest 2014!
happy friday, guys! i hope you had a great week and have lots to look forward to this weekend. rather than doing another recipe or post about “try this to be healthier!” today, i thought i would close off the week with a recap of the first leg of my recent trip to europe, which was spent in munich, germany at oktoberfest!
oktoberfest was the entire reason this trip even happened. one sunday funday last summer, a group of friends and i somehow ended up on the topic… and a few weeks later we had hotel rooms booked. no other plans, no flights, just a hotel in munich for the first weekend of oktoberfest. hotels and hostels book up fairly early since it’s such a huge event that attracts binge drinkers from all over the world, so having this locked down early is something you need to do if you don’t want to sleep in a public park all weekend [yes, i know people who have done this].
day 1: we arrived in munich on the friday before oktoberfest began, so we had some time to explore the city before the madness started. we grabbed a few beers and walked through the city, eventually over to the oktoberfest grounds to scope everything out and then made our way to the englischer garten, a beautiful park located outside of the city center. the seehaus beirgarten sits on the park’s small lake, which is where we decided to have our first steins, brezn [pretzels!!!] and other traditional german fare.
[enjoying our first steins of the weekend at the seehaus biergarten.]
day 2: saturday, september 20th. the first day of oktoberfest 2014. the day we had all been anticipating for months was finally here! we woke up early, like… 5:00am early… and made our way to the schottenhamel tent, where the mayor of munich taps the honorary oktoberfest kegs every year. obviously, when checking something like oktoberfest off of your bucket list, it’s really necessary to go big or go home. the doors would open at 9:00am and the first steins would be served at 12:00pm, but getting there early was the only way to have a chance at getting a seat inside the tent. unfortunately, arriving at 6:00am was still not enough time to guarantee us a seat. by the time we made it into the tent, all of the tables were taken and we had no choice but to sit outside, still at schottenhamel tables, but away from all of the official keg tapping festivities. so, if you ever plan on going to the first weekend of oktoberfest and want to see the tapping of the kegs, get on line like, four or five hours early.
as always, we made the best of a not-so-ideal situation and as soon as the beer started flowing, it didn’t matter that we were outside… we were in munich at oktoberfest drinking beer by the stein. i mean, how bad could life really be at that point?
[our first official oktoberfest steins at the schottenhamel tent… prost!]
we eventually wandered out of the tent and explored the rest of the festival a little bit. oktoberfest isn’t only about drinking [although this is certainly the primary focus] and there are other things to do, like eat german style food [pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, apfelstrudel, etc.], play games and win tacky prizes and ride the carnival rides. it was also fun to see all of the people dressed in trachten [traditional bavarian dress] and to walk around and take in the ridiculousness of seeing drunk people just passed out all over the place… ahhhh, oktoberfest.
[girls dressed in dirndls… next time i will get one of my own!]
[do not be fooled, this ride was not scary…. at all.]
[just a couple of people that i don’t know taking a midday nap in the middle of the street!]
day 3: so, this day…. this day… was really, really something. we got ourselves to the hofbräu tent around 10:30am [sundays at oktoberfest are typically a little quieter than saturdays], waited only 15 minutes before securing a table and got down to business. we quickly made friends with our neighbors [some guys from norway, a few from canada, a very drunk german kid who loved how i met your mother], attempted to learn a german drinking song or two and before i knew it, I had lost track of how many steins i had finished. the rest of the day was all a blur if you know what i mean, but one of the highlights was riding the swing ride towards the end of the day [disclaimer: i do not recommend doing this at the end of the day, but you know, just do you]. here are a few gems from the day.
[hofbräu tent… aka heaven]
[the quality isn’t great, but you can get a feel for the inside of the hofbräu tent.]
[the gang with our new friends from norway!]
[the swing ride… try to get this out of the way before you start drinking.]
[this is what pure happiness looks like, everyone.]
i have to say, this was literally one of the best days of my entire life. there was so much beer, i was with some of my best friends, i got to see an old friend and made some new ones and just thrived off of the happy, care-free atmosphere. oktoberfest, i’m kinda obsessed with you.
needless to say, we have already booked hotel rooms for oktoberfest 2015. yea, it was that fun and i can’t wait to do it again, this time, as an old pro.
has anyone else ever been to oktoberfest? what was your favorite tent? would you go back again or was once enough? share your experiences in the comments section below!
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