Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter White

By Maureen C. Petrosky

I’ve been dying to buy a winter white coat for years, and this year I finally found the perfect fit. Since the splurge I haven’t been able to get my wine mind off the topic of whites, since I don’t want to spill any red on my new coat. So, which white wine is best for winter?

It’s only January and already I’m seeking something other than a big red to sip, especially with some of the dishes we’ve been having for dinner. While red wines are warming in winter, we eat less of the red meat that pairs so nicely with it once the wind turns frigid. With more interest in keeping cozy, there are far fewer nights when we fire up the grill. Cold weather equals spicy food in my kitchen. Indian and Asian curries along with hot and sour soups just don’t jive with bold red wines. Pinot Grigio is way too blasé to take the heat. When combined with all of these spices, Viognier can cause all sorts of confusion. Sauvignon Blanc is just too summery with all of its acidity, and while I adore rose that just isn’t answering the question.

So, the search has brought me to curtsy once again before the Queen of Whites: Chardonnay. Choose one from France, Burgundy in particular. The body is just right with a delicate backbone of oak. The acidity still exists, unlike many new world versions, making this the perfect winter white.

Faiveley, Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2004, $22
It’s got all the right stuff to be your winter white. The clean fruit, the frisson of oak and tinge of vanilla, along with mouthwatering acidity make this the perfect pair for some spicy Chicken Chili Verde.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Eat This: A Food-Centric Art Exhibit

By Pat Tanner

You can’t eat the works in “From the Garden of Earthly Delights,” the food-centric exhibition at the Arts Guild of Rahway, but I encourage you to devour them with your eyes. You’re sure to come away both hungry and satisfied.

The tempting offerings by 16 accomplished artists are variously witty, provocative, funny, beautiful, touching, sardonic, and downright disturbing. Admittedly, those in the last category - like vegan artist Channan Delivuk’s series of photos, Flesh…It’s What’s for Dinner – won’t increase your appetite anytime soon.

I couldn’t stop grinning at Nao Matsumoto’s lifelike bowls of cheese dip and tortilla chips – made of resin and wax but, come to think of it, maybe that’s not so different from the real thing. The kicker is the plastic toy soldier neck-deep and sinking in the bright orange dip.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at Birth Control, one of five works by Joe Waks. Suffice it to say that the name suits the unopened but, ahem, altered packages of Marshmallow Peep Bunnies in all their pastel glory.

Erika Diamond’s group of three torsos formed by overlapping grape skins is as beautiful as it is original. Traditionalists will enjoy the lovingly rendered still-life oils of asparagus, peaches, oranges, etc. by Gerry Heydt. More unusual are the just as lovingly rendered Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, and Devil Dogs in Gina Minichino’s Assorted Snack Cakes.

I won’t be a spoiler by describing the specifics of the video installation Tasting Rachael Ray by Naomi Liebowitz. Let’s just say this perfect audio accompaniment to the works on display will appeal equally to Rachael’s fans and detractors.

Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., but you can also visit during the staff’s office hours or by appointment. Just call ahead to arrange. Although the exhibition technically ends February 1st, the art will be hanging, most temptingly, a few days beyond.

1670 Irving Street