If there’s one thing we are dreaming about while stuck inside, it’s having a glass of wine and bite to eat outside on a patio in one of our favorite cities. Whether we're in New York, Texas or exploring around the world the Ladies of Lovard always have a new restaurant or cocktail bar on their radar. It’s no secret that the Coronavirus has impacted the hospitality industry. Thousands of kitchens have closed around the country with nearly a million restaurant professionals left without any source of income. The bartender who always gives you a free shot or the chef who makes the pasta you have to have every time you’re in a certain city is likely without a job. Over the next 6 weeks we'll be chatting with some of our favorite New York City chefs, sommeliers and bartenders on how to bring their favorite restaurant staples to life in the comforts of their own home. We will contribute 10% of every bag sold that week to the featured GoFundMe page, set up to help each restaurant's staff during this uncertain time.
We sat down with Brandon Bocoroman, the most recent wine director of one of our favorite New York City hotspots, Charlie Bird. Tucked away in a sliver of space just below Houston Street, Charlie Bird is best known for its coastal italian cuisine, world wide wine list and New York hip hop blasting through the dining room speakers. Whenever we find ourselves in SoHo we can’t help but pop in for a farro salad and a glass of wine at the bar. Brandon was kind enough to give us his thoughts on a few wines to pair with items you’re bound to have in your pantry.
Pasta seems to be the grocery store favorite during this pandemic. If you’re like us you have probably found yourself craving some sort of warm and easy to whip up spaghetti dish. Cacio e Pepe has always reminded us of ‘fancy mac and cheese’. Add a glass of wine and you’ve got the perfect night in. “When I think of Cacio e Pepe I immediately think of Piedmont, located in the northwest of Italy”, Brandon tells us. “Nebbiolo finds its home here, as do Barbaresco and Barolo, which produces wines with power and complexity. The tannins hold up to the density of the pasta while the flavors of the wine only enhance the creaminess of the dish. One of my favorite producers is G.D. Vajra and many of their bottlings can be found at a fair price”.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese takes us back to an easy at home lunch from when we were kids. All you need to recreate the magic is two slices of bread, your favorite cheese and a can of soup. ‘A meal like this calls for a fun pairing, something that is very pleasurable and not too complicated’, Brandon says. “To me, this means Beaujolais, specifically those made by Jean Foillard. Gamay is the main grape in Beaujolais and produces wines that are bright, fresh and juicy. Though many of Foillard's wines fit the bill, their 'Corcelette' bottling is especially delicious.”
While flipping through our instagram feed we can’t help but notice so many of our friends seem to be getting creative with ways to make ‘date night’ feel a bit more fancy. To us this means perfecting the classics, like chicken and wine. “Roast chicken and Burgundy is perhaps the best food and wine pairing that exists”, Brandon says. “The grape, Pinot Noir, is delicate enough to complement the flavors without overpowering them. As opposed to Pinot made in the States, Burgundy is generally earthy and more nuanced. These characteristics serve to accentuate the gaminess of the bird while the acidity keeps your palate interested. If you can find it, Bachelet-Monnot makes an excellent Bourgogne that is perfect for this occasion”.
Dying to see what all the hype is over Charlie Bird? Donate here to help take care of the staff so they can serve you once this is behind us. In the New York area? Luckily for you Brandon has started a wine delivery service that brings any wines from around the world directly to your doorstep.
Our Favorite at home Cacio e Pepe Recipe
What you’ll need:
6 oz. pasta (any shape works but bucatini, or spaghetti are our favorites!)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. We like our pasta al dante. Drain your pasta leaving behind about 3/4 cup pasta water.
While your pasta is boiling, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted for about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter to the skillet. Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan (or cheese of your choice), and toss. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, and the sauce coats the pasta. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.
Want the full Charlie Bird Experience? We’ve made a playlist for you to boogie down while you chow down.
Check it out here.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy-