How to tick off a wine snob; ice cubes in wine

This post originally appeared on Seattlest

There are a host of faux pas that one can make when it comes to wine. Drinking wine too warm (or too cold). Storing bottles in too warm of a place. Keeping bottles in your car (don’t do this). Confusing your Cabernet Sauvignon from your Sauvignon Blanc. But there is perhaps none worse than putting ice cubes in wine. Or so I thought.

Before we get to the moment where I took pause with putting ice cubes in a glass of wine, let’s delve into why this is bad form.

Would you ever consider putting ice cubes in milk? Beer? Orange juice? Of course not, it’s weird. The additional frozen water just expedites the process of watering down your beverage. And watered down wine isn’t a good thing. It dilutes the flavor and thins out whatever nuance the wine has to begin with. Additionally, it’ll bring down the temperature a bit too quickly. Wine is intended to be served at room temperature, but note that this was room temperature from ancient times. The modern room temperature of 72 degrees is deemed too warm. Wine academics would prefer that wine is served about 12-15 degrees south of that.

But some folks still like putting ice cubes in wine. While there is nothing wrong with it, it’s not exactly suggested practice. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that superstar chef (and Seattle’s own) Mario Batali adds ice cubes to his wine. But, Le Grande Orange does it a bit differently and he certainly ‘chefs’ it up. According to the folks at Grub Street, he makes a light simple syrup and squeezes some fruit juice in it before freezing the concoction as ice cubes. And then he adds it to RosĂ©. How about that? While this isn’t exactly an ice cube (it’s more of a light popsicle), it does the same thing as ice; it lowers the temperature and dilutes the wine’s flavor. Mario just does it differently and amps it with fruit juice and simple syrup. His noted celebrity chef status simply makes the whole thing sound plausible, so plausible that I even tried it.

In the end, while I’m not an advocate for ice cubes in wine, you have an option. But please don’t add ice cubes to red wine. If you really want to do that, make sangria.

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Tako Truk returns for the summer

This post originally appeared on Seattlest

Tako Truk has led many lives. And Seattle eaters have benefited from all of them. The first came during the summer of 2009. This maiden voyage was a pop-up restaurant (before pop-ups were over-exposed) and was situated within Eastlake’s 14 Carrot Cafe. It was a summer party framed with delicious and fun food. Alas, Tako Truk only ran through the summer. The second life of Tako Truk was last spring when they partnered with SoDo’s Two Beers Brewing for a benefit collabo towards ShelterBox‘s relief efforts in Haiti. Just like the first life, it was tasty, yet even more fleeting with its one-time-only showing. Now we’re onto the third life of Tako Truk; it is kicking off its Sunday Social at the fresh digs of its big sister, Madison Park Conservatory. And just like the other two lives, we benefit from this one.

When Tako Truk’s facebook page let out a teaser last week, Seattlest’s ears were perked. Bryan Jarr and Cormac Mahoney’s summer experiment of 2009 was one of my favorite food memories that year. (Full disclosure; I went to high school with Bryan.) So when the facebook page was updated with more info, I had to know more.

Here are the broad details; this Sunday 6/26, from 4pm – 8pm-ish, the smoldering hot Madison Park Conservatory will host its first Tako Truk night. How on fire are they? If you haven’t heard, The New York Times‘ Frank Bruni was quite taken with his visit. Aside from the great plates the Conservatory team is doing most nights, we have another way to connect with them. And this Sunday we have the first opportunity with Tako Truk. The folks at the Conservatory will be creating a party on Sunday nights; a ‘Sunday Social’ different from their regular dinner service. For this first Social, they’re reviving the beloved Tako Truk and the good times that came of it before. They’ll also have a few more Sunday Socials throughout the summer with tentative plans for July 10th, 17th, and 24th for starters.

On the Conservatory events page, the menu mentions their tacos, guisos, fried things, raw things, and booze. But what I gleaned from my talk with Bryan, the menu will take inspiration cues from the original Tako Truk menu. Imagine variations on their chorizo tako, coco piggy (pork belly braised in coconut water), and chicken adobo tacos. Guiso is a type of stew and the fried things will be their bitty fries, their twist on shoestring fries. Prepare to eat these by the fistful.

The big difference from the original Tako Truk is that it will be framed by the devilish allure of booze. There will be Modelo drink specials and shots of tequila to go with your order. As an added bonus for old school Trukkers, Cormac will bring back his famed Green Drink, a variation on limeade with hits of lemongrass. And there will be a spiked version.

As for the flow of the evening, it won’t take on the traditional setting of Madison Park Conservatory – it’s a Sunday Social after all. They’ll use the open window to the kitchen at the entrance to take orders. And cash is encouraged. So bring a $20 and you should be rolling. Place your order and move your way into the dining room where there will be communal tables to grub. But don’t limit yourself to the dining room as you could also sit outdoors, or head across the street to the park and beach along Lake Washington.

Stay tuned to Tako Truk’s Twitter; they’ll provide updates leading up to the night and (if form holds) will call out when dishes are 86’d, so pay attention. Start planning out your summer because the good folks at Madison Park Conservatory have some fun Sunday Socials up their sleeve. Tako Truk starts it off this Sunday.