Big Update

So it’s December.  And I’ve been seriously slacking on this blog.  Not necessarily because I’ve been super busy or anything, just because I haven’t felt that I have anything to update.  But that’s not true, I have lots to update.

First off: Work.  Work’s been decent lately.  I worked on Thanksgiving, which was actually much better than I expected.  We had lots of reservations, but over the course of 8 hours, so it was a bit slow.  Everyone was in an extremely good mood (and tipped very well!).  Two of my tables were people that I’ve had before, and have had great conversations with.  One of them, the Beers Family, are always excited to hear about my wine classes, and always want my recommendation on which wine they should have with their dinner (partially because I offer them wines that are not on our wine list).  It’s always nice to have customers not only request me, but request me because of my wine knowledge, especially since I’m still learning.

Next up: Play.  I went to NYC a few weeks ago to visit some friends, and see a Rangers game (and by a few weeks ago, I mean well over a month ago).  The Rangers, lost, so it wasn’t a great game, but it was still a great trip!  I spent one night with my friends John and Cayla.  We played darts and drank some beers.  The next day, John and I spent the day gallivanting around the city.  We walked aaall over the place.

We walked along the East River:

Law and Order SVU has filmed here

Then we went to Central Park:

I love parks

We met up with our friend Arion and headed to Columbus Circle.  I’ve been reading about a wine bar called Clo that I wanted to check out.  Clo is a high-tech, self-serve wine bar.  It’s on the 4th floor of the Time Warner Center, looking out over Columbus Circle and Central Park.  It’s an extremely beautiful view, that was wildly obstructed by an advertising banner.  Clo is set up like a kiosk, in the middle of the mall.  It is, seemingly, not a permanent fixture, but it works very well in the location. Now I know I shouldn’t judge a place based on my own expectations, but all in all, I was a little disappointed.  Clo has an interactive menu, which is projected onto the bar surface:

It allows the user to scroll through the menu, and read additional information on each wine, grapes, location, tasting notes, as well as the location of the bottle in the bar.  We simply played around with the menu for a little bit until someone came over to help us.  As I mentioned before, it is a self-serve bar. A gentleman came over and in exchange for a credit card, gave us each a Clo-Card, and a glass.  It’s an electronic reader that keeps track of which wines you have, and how many glasses.  He explained to us the process and left us on our own.  Once you select your wine, you take your class and card to the wall, where there are bottles lined up, set up to electronic pourers.

These cases also act as preservers

You insert your card into the reader at the case, place your glass under the pourer for the wine you want, and press the button.  We then returned to the bar to learn more about the wines we selected, and play around with the projection system (what else would 3 kids from an engineering school do at a bar?)  The system is definitely innovative, but we saw many downfalls.  First off, in order for it to work properly, you must use your index finger to point, while keeping your hand and finger parallel to the table.  In order to select something, you simply hold your finger over the item until it is selected.  It is a projection system, from above, so touching the table itself does nothing, and is in fact, counter-proactive.  It is very difficult to get used to, and I think it would’ve been much better if they used a touch-screen system, such as Microsoft Surface.  Check out this video from Popular Mechanics.

I was also a little unhappy with the service.  Now, I know it is a self-serve bar, but I would much prefer to have a bartender to chat with about wine.  If it were a bar with self-serve beer, it would be different. Wine isn’t just about drinking it, it’s also about the experience, and the conversation. The gentlemen who helped us in the beginning was there, but he even said to let him know if we had questions about the system, but he didn’t mention the wine. I would’ve loved to sat with him to chat about the different wines and the selection, as well as ask him about my next complaint:

There were only two Pinot Noir’s offered.  They have about 120 wines available at a time, including sparkling, ports, and dessert wines.  But only two Pinot Noir’s, which I found very interesting, considering Pinot Noir is one of the most commonly drunk red wines.  But, with 120 other wines to choose from, it’s only a minor complaint.

We only had time for one glass each, so I had a glass of 2007 Loango La Petite Pinot Noir. It was very smooth, light bodied, with fresh berries.  It tasted very high in alcohol, but was still very enjoyable.  Arion had a glass of Vouvray and had this to say:

“Meara says melons, but I say more tree fruit – kinda like how John says all white wine tastes like apples, I’m saying papaya.  Smooth, clean finish – dry – light to the tongue – slight bitterness of a spice yet to be determined.”

Arion's tasting notes put mine to shame.

But with those complaints, we still enjoyed ourselves immensely (who wouldn’t enjoy themselves at a wine bar with two of their best friends?)

The remainder of my trip was excellent. My friend Jay-Ro got us amazing seats for the Rangers game:

Back to the bench after scoring

Hello boys

Hello boys

The next day Jay-Ro and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge:

Saw the Statue of Liberty:

What up, Liberty

And went to Dumbo Park in Brooklyn. I love parks, and I love bridges.  And Dumbo is a park beneath two bridges:

The Brooklyn Bridge and The Manhattan Bridge

Parks and Bridges

It was a great weekend, got to see some of my best friends, as well as some of my favorite things.  To see more pictures, check out my Fall 2009 photos.  Also, check out my friend Arion’s photography.

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