From Wine and Cheese to Elbow Grease.

Today was a wine tasting day in Advanced Dining Room class.  To be honest, I don’t really like the tasting days – since I don’t drink I usually end up really bored.  I’m also still really stuffed up, so I didn’t even have much of a nose for smelling all the notes and flavors, which made participation somewhat tricky.  We were each given four different wines…

2010-03-29 002 (800x600)

From left to right – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’ll tell you what – even without a sip I can still tell you exactly what each one is just by sniffing – even with a stuffy nose! 

2010-03-29 003 (800x600)

2010-03-29 019 (800x600)

While the class swirled and sniffed, I took notes and paid attention to important pairings, and enjoyed my hot coffee and ice water.  To give you a little perspective, our tasting started at 8:15am – gulp. 

2010-03-29 004 (800x600)

Also enjoyed having my friend Rachel sit next to me, because she brought in a tub of apples with some amaaaaaaazing Earth Fare cinnamon raisin peanut butter!

2010-03-29 005 (800x600)

When we finished with wine, we moved onto the second half of today’s tasting menu – CHEESE!  Now this is a tasting I can get behind…

2010-03-29 006 (800x600)

My fear of busting out the camera in front of my (sort of scary) teacher totally vanished when I saw this beautiful cheese cart roll up.  How could I NOT show this to you guys? 

2010-03-29 007 (800x600)

We each got a plate, and a piece of each cheese to sample.  All of today’s cheeses were from FRANCE – ooh la la!

2010-03-29 013 (800x600)

On the left – Roquefort – usually I love blue cheese, but this stuff about knocked me on my back.  WAY too salty – eeccckk.  Next was Camembert – gooey and good, probably my favorite of the group.

2010-03-29 014 (800x600)

2010-03-29 015 (800x600)

On the left – Petit Basque – the only semi-firm cheese we tasted.  It was just okay and pretty mild.  On the right – St. Andre – another gooey one.  Yum.

2010-03-29 016 (800x600)  2010-03-29 017 (800x600)

Last was the Le Chevrot – this was unlike no goat cheese I have ever eaten.  The flavor was really strong, and not in a good way.  2010-03-29 018 (800x600)


We tasted and used the cheese menus we made over the weekend for homework – isn’t mine pretty?  :)

2010-03-29 020 (800x600)

Overall I was pretty disappointed in the cheeses we tasted.  I am such a cheese lover, but none of these really made me want to lick my plate.  Maybe I just wasn’t feeling it because it was so early in the morning?  Clearly others in my class disagreed…

2010-03-29 025 (800x600)

We broke out into our individual positions and got the dining room all set up for service – so pretty!

2010-03-29 021 (800x600)

Lovely single rose bud vases, arranged by yours truly.   Mom, do you approve?

2010-03-29 022 (800x600)

Each day, four students are assigned the “Chef” position – which means you have to either carve or cook at the (terrifying) gueridon stations.  Luckily this was NOT me today, but the people who did have to cook had to make bananas flambé!  I have to do it again in a few days and I am already nervous about it.

2010-03-29 023 (800x600)

And what was I doing while others were setting the dining room and flambéing up a storm?  I went from my fancy schmancy wine and cheese tasting to the least glamorous spot in the school – the DISH PIT!  Mylan and I were the amazing dish team today, and we rocked it out and got our job done FAST.  Love this girl!

2010-03-29 024 (800x600)

We even earned GOLD STARS for our nametags at the end of class for our awesome dish washing skills.  Yep, you heard that correctly – 29 years old and still excited about a gold star.  For washing dishes no less! :) 

Pretty view of Uptown Charlotte from the classroom windows…

2010-03-29 026 (800x600)

I was ravenous when I got home, and put together two random sampler plates…

2010-03-29 027 (800x600) 2010-03-29 028 (800x600)

Apples and peanut butter.  Kath told me about a study she heard about on her field trip last week, about apples boosting immune system function.  Turns out an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.  You don’t have to tell me twice. 

2010-03-29 030 (800x600)

Gluten free brown rice bread with laughing cow and HONEY drizzled on top – yum.  I am NOT happy that my pricey GF bread is already getting moldy though – I feel like I just bought it.  I threw the rest in the freezer to try to save it.

2010-03-29 029 (800x600)

2010-03-29 032 (800x600)

Washed it down with another Sobe Lifewater – Acai Fruit Punch this time.  Same story – pretty good flavor, but I think they all taste the same.  For some reason I like having these mid-day with lunch, but I think they are too sweet for dinner.

2010-03-29 033 (600x800)

Okay, time to solicit some much needed reader advice.  The time has come for me to retire my stone age Motorola Razr phone (I KNOW!) and join the modern folks by getting a smart phone.  With Casey and the GPS out of town this weekend, I got lost THREE times!  I kept thinking to myself, “if I only had a phone that could get me out of this!” 

Also, I’m on the go all day long, and I’d love to be able to answer blog comments and emails faster, not waiting until I can get home and sit at my computer.  I am on Verizon right now, and I can’t decide if making the leap is worth it.  The biggest problem is that if I leave Verizon I have to give up my number – the one I have had since I was 19 – I can’t even imagine!

SO – the big question is… iPhone or other option?  Verizon has the DROID and now the Palm Pre – both of which are supposedly really good.  But does anyone actually have these phones??

My contract is up, and so is my patience with my forever-dead-battery dinosaur phone. Is the iPhone worth the leap, and the new number?  Help!  :)