If you haven't been to a winery in the Fort Wayne area on a Friday or Saturday, you haven't been living. You also probably have also had the chance to enjoy a bevarge without a massive line. I love the local wineries and so does everyone else. It isn't just the actual wineries that are busy anymore though. The great selections of food trucks are dragging people out and keeping them there.
Last week, my friend Jessica wanted to hang out. Part of me was like, no, I'm tired. The other part was like, oh, did you say Country Heritage? We haven't been there since Switchfoot performed. I was there a few weeks ago getting silent auction items, but I wasn't there to just relax.
We arrived and got a really good parking spot (shocker) and we went in. We separated. She wanted the food truck "Who Cut the Cheese" and I wanted wine. We both stood in crazy long lines, but mine finished about 30 minutes before hers. Did I mention that it was REALLY busy?
We enjoyed a bottle of Fall Harvest. She had two sandwiches and I stole some of her fried pickles. after getting some much needed food, we went to do a tasting. Since I recently did a tasting, I was excited to try something a little different.
My first wine was Pinot Gris. This was a good wine, but it was very plain. I sat there tasting it and I kept thinking, am I crazy? Is it supposed to be so flavorless? It wasn't bad at all. I partially wonder if it just ties to my lack of love for white wines. Jessica later tried it and said "well that's kinda plain" and I immediately felt better about my assessment.
My next wine was Marechal Foch. I was drawn to this wine from the word smoky. I have a love for dry reds and I instinctively love when they are described as smoky. The first assumption I have is that it was aged in a bourbon barrel. I asked about the flavor and it wasn't. It was indeed just the aging with the wood. Perhaps it was the difference between the aging of cherries over grapes? Who knows, but I was really impressed.
Next I tried Lacresent. This was not actually on my list, but it was on Jessica's. We ended up just tasting each others so we could get a wider range of tastes. This wine is described to have aromas of apricot and citrus as well as peach. It was actually more dry than i expected. I really thought something with so much fruit would be sweet. I think I still prefer the super sweeter Two EE's peach, but it was indeed good.
Vinter's Cuvee was my other love for the night. I knew by the description that it was going to be love at first taste. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Sirah, it was a perfect red for this dry red wine loving girl. I felt like I should just buy some to have for every dinner party.
Cayuga White had the most accurate description in the tasting pamphlet. The exact words I said were light and crisp. I looked down only to see that written down. It really was a great wine.
Dos apples felt like nos apples! I totally get the cute name, but all I tasted was pineapple. I love pineapple and I really liked this wine. It was sweet and It tasted like it should be served on a beach. I just wish I could taste more apple!
Lastly, I tried Blueberry Estate Grown. I couldn't handle more than the sample. It tasted good. It was just too sweet. It was great for a desert wine, but I just couldn't help but taste blueberry. I asked one of the employees and they probably thought I was crazy. I dare you to try it now without thinking banana!
I love Country Heritage. If you haven't been out there, you should go.
One of the best parts of being in the Emerging Leader's Alliance (ELA), is that we get the opportunity to travel to other counties to recruit and just meet young leaders like ourselves. I took particular joy in getting to go on this excursion because we went to a new winery and brewery.
Our first stop on this trip was Tippy Creek Winery. I must warn you that it is in Leesburg and it is our in the middle of nowhere. We were driving and looking around and just feeling like, is this right? Can this really be where we are going? It is so far away!
The winery was just adorable. You could tell it was newer, but it was off to a great start. The decorations were very crafty and country. I had a glass of Sunset Syrah. It had a beautiful spice. We sat outside with our group of young regional leaders. It was perfect fall weather. It was just a little cool and just a little warm and the sun was setting perfectly. We listened to an acoustic guitarist play Tom Petty and the Goo Goo Dolls while we talked about real world problems. These weren't the things that normally brought us together, but they were the things that made us seem more human. We normally see each other as exceptional go-getter's, but occasionally, we all have bad days and need a glass of wine. It was the perfect place to chat.
After we had out fill on wine, one glass for most of us, we headed over to HopLore. If we weren't following people, I don't know if we would have known it existed. It is located right on the train tracks in town and is kind of hidden. Much of the place is full of mismatched tables, but I'll tell you what they did right. That sign and that beer tap. The sign was glowing green behind and I am still trying to figure out if they have a green room back there. Those taps were also wood. I felt like I was in some fairyland.
When it came to ordering, I was excited to see Two EE's Plonque on the menu. It is a classic standby for those of us who just do not like beer much. After looking at the menu, Rachel and I both decided to get Korean Tacos. Kristen was inquiring what kimche was, and if I had know how spicy it was, I would have heft it off. They were the spiciest tacos I have ever had. Not bad, just so spicy. The kettle chips you can't go wrong with, but it did seem super weird with tacos. The most amusing part of the who trip to HopLore, was the slightly dirty themed menu. Hot dogs were "horny dogs". My favorite weird mashup was the HopLore Morning Wood. I had to point it out to everyone and send it to people for laughs. It got a good discussion going. Can I have a horny dog with a morning wood please? Priceless.
Just under a month ago, I joined Snapchat. This was mostly because my intern made me do it. I kept thinking it wasn't safe, it was stupid, and I just wouldn't use it. Color me shocked when one of the first snaps I get is from one of my best friends from high school and they live in the same city as me.
I immediately thought, who the hell just moves here out of nowhere? Oh wait, I did. I was immediately pumped because I have very little connections to my high school friends. I talk to maybe 2 friends. Distance and busy schedules are just sometimes way to much over the years.
We agreed we would go out for coffee. Well I pretty much don't do coffee so we did guacamole instead. We met at The Hoppy Gnome, one of my favorite places in town. The next weekend, I introduced him to the joys of Two EE's and the Weekends Uncorked series. It was chilly and breezy, they were serving Malbec again, and of course the music was fantastic. We got the chance to talk about some uncomfortable topics from the last time all of our old friends were together as a group, and I was finally given some peace.
It's funny how you can go through so much turmoil in your head for years, and one conversation can change everything. One of the songs I listened to on repeat all of those years ago before having a little bit of "fallout" with my high school friends was a song called I'm Looking Forward to Looking Back on These Days" by Mandy Moore. And I know you loved me in your way, I'm looking forward to looking back on these days, And I'm fine, but I'm not okay, I'm looking forward to looking back on these days.
I'm okay. It's kind of funny looking back. Why are we all so stupid in our late teens and early twenties?
I can't believe it has been almost a month, but this has indeed been one of the craziest times in quite a while. My awesome intern and I were trying to gather a ton of silent auction items and some of them I just kept putting off the pick up. Looking back, I don't know why, but I'm guessing it had to do with it not being as close as to my apartment as Meijer. If something isn't that close, it normally gets scrapped.
I finally made my venture out to LaOtto, IN to Country Heritage Winery and LaOtto Brewing. I came in to Country Heritage on a mission. They had already donated, but when I learned that they had a wine that had a Mastodon on it, I was sold. Just for kicks, I wanted to do a tasting while I was there. While I had been to Country Heritage before, it had been during a Switchfoot concert and it was so packed that it was hard to get to the bar. I remember getting a bottle and a wine slushee and finding a comfy spot outside.
This time I was alone and I was not on a time crunch. I was surprised when they said tastings were free. On top of the tasting being free, you could pick what you want and exclude the featured wine, because that would be included anyway. My wine loving heart fluttered.
My tasting adventure included the following:
Malbec - Never met one I didn't like. To be honest, I was surprised it wasn't my favorite because I am normally a sucker for dark, dry wines. It was excellent. I felt like I could taste the plum and blackberry.
Blueberry Merlot - It hurt my heart to say that this was my least favorite. It was good. It followed a Malbec, and it just felt too sweet for this dry loving drinker,
Fall Harvest - I live for this blend. Every winery seems to have a fall blend. This one almost strayed me from my mission of coming to get the Ice Age White.
Ice Age White - Once I tasted it, I knew it was fate. While I am not a fan of sweet wine, this was better than sitting and eating cheesecake and watching Netflix. I saw it had a 2017 Gold award from the Indy Wine Competition and I said out loud to myself, yup. I get it.
Hard Apple Cider and Hard Cherry Cider - I am a sucker for ciders. I am not saying these were the best ciders in the world, but I overheard someone say, mix the ciders. Once the apple and cherry were mixed, they were awesome. Individually, I would go opt for a Strongbow somewhere else.
I left Country Heritage wondering why I don't go there more often. The wine was excellent, it is so spacious, and the snack options surpass any other winery in the region.
This weekend, I went somewhere new, yet old. A good friend asked if I wanted to go to a local martini bar to see a band play. She had known a few of the players, so it sounded like a good idea to go see what they had to offer. Indeed, they were worth it.
I have gone to see many bands at bars. I have also been to many bars in this city, but this had a special little experience. No, it wasn't when I told the piano player he looked like Luke Danes. That was true, but that was silly. As we enjoyed our cocktails, we looked around and realized that we were really young. That never happens anymore so this was a huge moment for me. We looked around and saw older people that were overdressed, dolled up, ready to dance, and practically sitting on top of each other. I wish I could say it was creepy, but there was something oddly charming about it. Strangers were dancing with each other, seasoned couples were kicking it on the dance floor, and friends were just enjoying a drama free evening. One couple made it to the dance floor and I swear, everyone was smiling. The way the looked at each other after so many years of marriage was impressive.
Dancing is a lost art. Thanks to clutzy people like me, it will go the way of the Easter Island statues and Stonehenge. True love and loyalty is also lost. I can name couples of the true love nature on one hand. It is one thing to love someone, but another to be soul mates. These people were soul mates. I am a pessimist about love, but these folks make me want to be a better person. Or maybe it was just the martini..
One of the things I love about wine is that it is as versatile as my moods. It is never the same in any different location and it can often be unpredictable. Most people who are wine drinkers have a specific type of wine they are drawn to. For example, I hate white wine. I can tolerate it if it is peach or fruity, but dry whites are terrible. I can be very happy with dry reds. Myself and many others have theorized that not only do wine drinkers have a certain type, but certain types match with the personalities of the drinker.
Does your drink match?
Merlot - Sensual, active, and gets along well with others; basic; nature lover; empathetic, responsible
White Zinfandel - Fun and adventurous; Outgoing, Exuberant & Accepting
Malbec - Deep and soulful, eye for detail, deep thoughts and intimate relationships; flexible, tolerant & pragmatic
Riesling - Nice and genuine; approachable; kind-hearted
Chardonnay - Sophisticated
Cabernet Sauvignon - Assertive and direct; strong personality; bold and adventurous spirit; driven, independent & holds high standards
Pinot Grigio - Cultured and connected; love with all of your heart; likes safety
Rose - Feminine; stereotypical girly girl; beach lover
Pinot Noir - Fresh; elegant and graceful; often romantic; perfectionist; focused, skeptical & an abstract thinker
My favorite wine is Malbec. Was it right?
Some things just bother me. One thing that bothers me is when something like avocado toast is being called the breakfast food of millennials. I'm a millennial and I have not had this... still. It also bothers me that this is making the news again. One billionaire decides that he has an opinion that is truth and suddenly we all look like poor, glutinous idiots.
I look at that picture above and I actually get a little hungry. I love avocados. I admit that I am new to this food, but I believe it was a good addition to my diet. I love standard breakfasts. Eggs, bacon, sausage, and tomato are my favorite breakfast foods. I hear toast and I get really nervous.
I also get nervous from over generalizations. My average breakfast is fruit and yogurt with water and a green tea. It doesn't cost a lot of green to get your healthy dose of greens. Also remember that a full avocado would cost around a dollar at the store. Toast maybe $.15 a slice. If you are spending ungodly amounts of money on food, it better be chocolate covered chocolate with a steak on the side.
Aside from the gluten, this seems to be a fairly healthy breakfast. Possibly our billionaire friend was just a little green because millennials are making better food choices and are more creative. You find me this toast and I will try it. Until that day, I will be enjoying my guacamole.
Have I mentioned that I wi ll do just about anything to get healthy? This is actually one f my tastiest adventures yet. My mom offered to let me use her juicer that was in storage. I remember having a decent time last time I played with the juicer. My roommates and I forgot to put the cylinder in right after putting the fruit in. It was either that or we didn't hold it. No matter, I believe we had a grape stuck to the ceiling for the rest of the time we lived in that apartment.
I enjoy that story because it was so much fun. It was so messy. We had some wild shenanigans, but all of our best times involved food. Well, most of my best memories still do.
When I finally decided to try this, I knew that we had to have options. Here is what my mom and I did in order to have a successful evening of juicing.
Friday night marked my third TinCaps game of the season. I was super excited to attend this game because it was my first time attending in a suite. I don't know if I could ever go back to regular seats!
It really is amazing how many conversations have come back to this team lately. I publicly defended and cheered for them a few weeks ago when they were on the road, I organized my alumni association's night, and I still had 2 games left to go to. I was sitting in a meeting on Wednesday and we were asked if we remembered what it was like before this team. Yes. We had the wizards. That was a sad excuse of a team. I honestly don't remember the playing, but I remember the field. It sat on the parking lot of the Coliseum and it honestly reminded me of going to a high school baseball game.
When the TinCaps came, I finally felt like we had something to be proud of as baseball fans. I grew up going to Comiskee Park and Victory Field. This was so much more beautiful. I loved the apple themed snacks, the cleanliness, the mascot, the dancers... it was just perfect. We had something that no one else had.
However many years later, I still believe that. I still think that this is the best team, best park, and best atmosphere. I look forward to my next game tomorrow. I look forward to looking back on the memories from the previous games. Most of all, I am thankful that someone took a chance and gave Fort Wayne a chance for good, clean entertainment.
My generation has it right. It is incredibly annoying when we get blamed for all of the pain and laziness of the world, but I am fairly certain, that is just not the case. I recently read an article that claimed that millenials can’t retire because they eat avocado toast. First off, how do you know our retirement plans when the oldest of us are in our early thirties. Second, what is this and how did I not know about it?
In the past few years, I have noticed a major insurgence of local businesses feeding the masses. Quaint local eateries are everywhere. I even have friends who refuse to go to places like Applebee’s. I never would have gone to any of these places in my hermit life. Since I joined my book club and other social groups, I find myself hopping to different amazing eateries. Here is my challenge to you local businesses and chains. I will list the top 5 places in Fort Wayne according to my judgment and by the raves I hear. I will also do a rank of bests bar service. If you disagree, invite me out and I will review you myself.
The Hoppy Gnome
I have nothing but pleasant things to say about this place. I was terrified of the menu for quite a while, but they were serving at Zoo Brew and Wine Too and they hooked me. It took me a while to go in because I had no idea what I ate, but I found it. The Korean Short Rib is to die for. The Mahi Mahi is also a dream. You also can’t leave without the smores. Just don’t try.
The Friendly Fox
Sometime after the continuous comparing of different restaurants, our book club decided that the Friendly Fox was the only place to go. I can’t resist the BLT or the flatbread. The ever-changing local art is just one of the charms that makes this place feel like home.
Wine Down Tastings and Tapas
I have yet to meet a menu item that is bad. The service is impeccable, I have even gone in just for the food. If you go, just try the sweet potato fries with the awesome pumpkin ketchup.
I think the draw from the chefs helped this place. It is pricey, but it is pretty worth it.
Yummi BunniI went there. I had to add unhealthy food to the list. I mean, isn’t that the best kind? This is the new thing. Who would have imagined?
You are served by a real Irish person if you are lucky. It is still my favorite chill spot after all of these years.
Two Words. Lady Stark.
They have wine vending machines. Oh and this drink called a smoked old fashion. It is kinda the shit. Just go.
I’m not an alcoholic. I love tea. They have amazing tea. Try the Matcha.
I am typically a wine drinker now that I am older. This is the only place that I feel obligated to have a fancy martini and not feel bad about it. It will take at least 5 minutes to decide which one I want to knock me on my ass though. Worth it.