Tag: happiness

Simple Pleasures

What scents make you nostalgic?Whenever I commute on my bike I am bombarded with a cacophony of scents. They come on as invisible clouds, and many tell a story about what is happening in that particular spot in that exact moment in time. Sometimes however, the phrase “accosted by odors” seems more appropriate. Charcoal clouds of bus exhaust? One of the joys of living in LA. Marijuana smoke? Ahem. One of the joys of living in Venice. The attractive, if not slightly over-dressed woman stepping out for the evening, followed by a suffocating wave of perfume always gives me a laugh. Where is she going that she thinks men will enjoy literally drowning in her scent? I often smell the aromas of dinner cooking and imagine I can tell exactly what’s on the menu. Tonight I definitely smelled lasagna. If it wasn’t lasagna, then it was Chef Boyardee mini raviolis. Either way…

There’s never a dull moment in my study of smells and tonight’s ride was no exception. At one point, I got a whiff of the crisp scent of Lysol cleaner and it reminded me of how lovely a freshly cleaned space can smell (it’s a testament to my busy schedule that I haven’t smelled this my own home in quite some time). Freshly cut grass in front of Venice High School took me back to my childhood on Fletcher street and our acrobatic antics on the front yard. But by far my favorite was the Christmas Tree Farm on the corner, boasting freshly cut trees that did, indeed, smell brand new. That scent, combined with the one a half mile later of wood burning in a fire place, triggered that wondrous sense of nostalgia and plunged me right into the holiday spirit. It’s still warm here in the last week of November, but I’m dreaming of freezing nights with perfect stars, and boozy eggnog in front of a roaring fire.

What scents make you nostalgic?

Wine and Truffles: An Affair to Remember

Cakebread Merlot

Recently the boyfriend celebrated his 40th birthday, and his boss gave him a bottle of Cakebread Merlot and a box of Lindor chocolate truffles, with the strictest instructions to share them with me. I love his boss!

So we’re sitting on the couch soaking in the atmosphere of our new apartment, and it just seems like the right time to celebrate. I’ve never tried the Cakebread Merlot, but at around $50 a bottle (I looked it up, nosy thing), I know we’re in for a treat.  We decant it for 30 minutes to let the fruit and roasted herb aromas develop. We are very serious.

Lindor truffles come in dark, milk, and white chocolate and have a ganache center the consistency of butter. I’m not a big “chocolate-on-top-of-chocolate-decadence” girl (who would be, after working in a shop during college that sold every possible variant of the stuff), but these little babies are showstoppers. I’ve long since outgrown the over-sweet taste of most white chocolate but for some reason, white Lindor truffles hold the key to my heart. Basically, they defy everything I feel about the confection; about its decadence and tooth-pain inducing sweetness. And the buttery quality of the ganache gives such a silky mouth feel that it perfectly complements the velvety texture of the wine.

A tiny, creamy bite. A ripe, berry-filled sip.

The chocolate marries with the jammy flavor of the merlot, full of punchy plum and cherry notes, evoking Black Forest cake. Boyfriend compares the softness on the palate to sucking on a silk tie. It is marvelously balanced; there is just enough tannin to leave my palate cleansed and ready to taste all the nuances of flavor in the next sip and each one after that. Is that toasted oak that I detect?

Now this is certainly not the first time I have consumed chocolate and wine together. But it is the first time someone has given the combination to me (or Boyfriend) as a gift. Accompanied by the instruction to share this experience with someone awesome. Making this more than just a gift of wine and candy—making this a gift of time.  Making it a memory. A moment in my crazy life to stop and smell the roses. And plums. And cherries. And oak.

Doesn’t that just make you want to go and do something delicious?

 

Cakebread Cellars by James Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0/ Brightness increased from original