Aaaaah, life is good!  It’s a beautiful day out, I’m going shopping for new cookware after I get out of the library, and I’m just in a great mood.  No philosophising here, I’m just going to jump in and let you in on the latest and greatest coming up this week.  Just an FYI…it’s finals week for the college night students, so it’s a little busy with students trying to write last minute papers and needing help with their Works Cited pages…if I can’t post all I’d like, I’ll be back at it Monday night!!!  Please check back, I’m sure there will be some adds…

Of grape and grain

Some really cool events going on this week, and one idea I’m tossing around that I’d like to share with y’all.  First off, (and this is one I will be at with the girls!) this one at Martha Clara Vineyards sounds like a HOOT ( a bit over budget, but sometimes you have to just bite the bullet)!  Copying and pasting here:  Wine Food Pairing – 5 courses of Hawaiian style food paired with our wines. Prizes given away for best Hawaiian themed costume.
$30.00 at the door, $25 in advance…next Saturday!  WOOHOO!!!!

Mora’s is doing their “Wish they all could be California…Wines!” tasting next Saturday as well!  FREE!

On Saturday at 2PM, winery guests can enjoy the smooth sounds of The Shenole Latimer Quartet while savoring a glass of wine at Raphael Estate Vineyards.  I’m a fan of Mr. Latimer’s…and once you see him, I’m sure you will, too!

I’ve chatted on here about making wine and cheap wine parties…I’ve come up with a great friends’ night in idea!  Wine Spectator has online courses to help you learn about wine…from beginner to expert.  Hook your PC up so your TV acts as a monitor, get a few friends and bottles together, and schedule a few nights on the calendar…good people, good wine, and if you split the cost, this can be a real bargain!

Movie night

This sounds interesting:  “Sunshine Cleaning” at the CAC. Great reviews, and seems to be quirky, a possible sleeper worth catching…I’ll paste the summary–“Once the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback, Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) now finds herself a 30-something single mother working as a maid. Her sister Norah is still living at home with their dad Joe, a salesman with a lifelong history of ill-fated get rich quick schemes. Desperate to get her son into a better school, Rose persuades Norah to go into the crime scene clean-up business with her to make some quick cash. In no time, the girls are up to their elbows in murders, suicides and other specialized situations. As they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, the sisters find a true respect for one another and the closeness they have always craved finally blossoms. By building their own improbable business, Rose and Norah open the door to the joys and challenges of being there for one another–no matter what–while creating a brighter future for the entire Lorkowski family.”

WoodSongs at the Movies has a great lineup this week!  Catch David Bailey and Richie Havens this Wednesday! 

Guitar hero

This Thursday at Once and For All, Raina Rose will be playing…come on down and support independent music!

A bit above budget, but a can’t miss show–The Refugees will be at the University Cafe!  Don’t miss these Grammy nominated musicians in a rare local performance!

Gathering Time will be at the Garden Stage this Friday!

I’ll have more on Monday nite…check back then!

Sushi–love it or hate it (and I happen to love it!), it’s one of the quick adds I have for you!

This weekend at Osprey’s Dominion is a wine and sushi pairing event.  $15 per person, 6 stations.  I’m not sure if reservations are required, but it certainly does not hurt to check!

Imago Theatre’s “Frogz” is on tour and coming this weekend to Staller Center, $12 door.  If Blue Man Group and Cirque de Soleil is your thing, don’t miss this show suitable for all ages!

Cinema Arts Centre presents its “Anything But Silent” series monthly and it’s often featured here…but this week’s event is particularly special–it features Charlie Chaplin in a series of short films in honor of the comedian’s 120th birthday.

All for now, you kooky cats!  Got a gig or event that should be here?  Email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com.

I’ve been bad this week…spending wayyyyyy too much money and going against everything I preach here, and will get to the music, arts and more in just a few…but let me review an event and give you some more “spirited” picks first…

I did go to the Bedell Cellars event last night. I really enjoyed it, and was a bit intimidated when I saw the spit buckets…I thought that this event was going to be filled with real “wine snobs” who were going to be looking down their nose at me, as I’d rather not “waste” my wine…I’d rather drink it! I felt a whole lot better when some young chickies walked in and when asked, “Merlot or chardonnay?”, they replied, “What’s the difference?” All in all, it was a very nice event, and I’d love to do it again (unfortunately, I had medical tests done on Thursday, so I was not feeling my best when I was there, which really put a damper on things!). I ended up falling in love with their 2005 Musee that they offered at the end of the event. At $65 a bottle, I’ll be saving this one for a special occasion! (Yes, I bought it!)

I’m really rather new to learning about wine…a few years ago, Two Buck Chuck would have been OK by me.  After separating from my husband in 2001, I became friends with a gal who worked in a restaurant (which has since closed) as a waitress, and her manager made the staff try different wines and wine/food pairings so they would be able to dole out some good recommendations when diners asked.  She, in turn, taught me.  I’m no expert, but I pride myself on making some pretty good picks on the cheap!  So here goes…. 

I haven’t picked this up in a while, but I’ve got a bit of a jonesing for Villa Mt. Eden 2001 Pinot Noir.  This is an easy drinking wine, medium bodied, with a lot of fruit notes…but not so fruity it overpowers what you might pair it with (I love this with pasta in some kind of plum tomato sauce…something on the sweeter side).  You can still find this wine online for under $10. 

Here’s my brew pick of the week–Dogfish Head Chicory Stout.  I tried this last night after the Bedell Cellers event…this was YUMMY!!!!  Not a whole lot of nose, but once you sip it, the tastes of chocolate and coffee come through.  This almost leans more towards a porter taste…for those of you who like a dry stout–this is NOT the beer for you!

Wine me, dine me…

A couple of great wine events coming up this week–

I am so bummed I will be working at the library when this one is going on!  $15 per person gets you in to Corey Creek Vineyard’s wine and artisanal cheese pairing next Saturday!  Reservations required!

Also next Saturday, Raphael Vineyards hosts free jazz with Napoleon Revels-Bey Rhythm Kings Ensemble.

Mora’s and Jazz n’ Grapes will also have their usual FREE weekly wine tasting events as well!

While my guitar gently weeps…

And on to the music!  TONITE!!!  The Hard Luck Cafe presents Gretchen Witt and Denise Romas on the same bill…$10 gets you in!

Also tonite, the Harbor Crab proudly presents the Rhythm Kings Acoustic Duo!  The Rhythm Kings will be playing quite a bit this week in the local area…This coming Friday at Once and For All, and next Saturday at Grey Horse Tavern.

The Homegrown String Band will also be at the GHT next weekend!

Last Licks Cafe is proud to present Mike Agranoff next Saturday.  $15 door.

Yeah, I know, kind of a light week gig-wise!

Art farts…

Main Street Petite Gallery has Brilliant Disguise, a portait show, running right now.

This one’s for those who like to get their hands dirty…Art That Matters is holding a life drawing class on Tuesday…it’s a bit above guidelines at $20 per person, but if you like to draw, this might be right up your alley!  Reservations required.

Graphics, illustration, and advertising art fanatics, this one looks very cool!  Did you know there is a gallery that caters just to you?  Check out Giraffics Gallery!

Adelphi University’s Creative Cups exhibit to battle breast cancer is currently running…you should really check this out.  Save the ta-ta’s!!!

All for now…I’ll be back this week with more info!  Got a gig, event, suggestion, or comment?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

Looking for music, art, and wine events?  Look one post down!   Today’s post is about wine, beer, and a book!

First off…hey, all…I goofed!  I had an email waiting for me this morning from Bedell Cellars…I’ll just copy and paste it for y’all:

“Sorry this may have caused confusion with anyone. We are tasting the library, not tasting in a library. When wineries put old vintages aside for extended periods, we say that we are putting them “in the library.” What we are doing is tasting a series of wines as much as 15 years old each: “A Library Tasting.” And yes, it is EXTREMELY cool. You should come ($25 per person.) For people who are into wine it is an experience you put in the memory banks for the rest of your life.”

I’m really into wine, as most you know.  I even converted a 1920’s china cabinet to a “wine closet” (work still ongoing…), have more books on wine than I could list here, and pride myself on trying to find some interesting wines (and microbrews for that matter) that don’t break the bank.  As I’m hearing snow for Saturday night, why not do a little experimentation?  I’ll give you some of my picks, but I’d love to hear from you–I’m always looking to try something new!

 I like to buy cheap wines.  Cheap does not mean bad, by the way.  Sometimes, it’s wine made with “new world” technology, or a new vineyard just getting its “legs” ( pun definitely intended for my wino buddies), or it could even be a situation of a shop that has overbought.  I limit my spending to $15 per bottle, and have been known to buy cases of “good” cheap wines, just to keep my house well stocked and to give as gifts.  A few goodies I have had lately (forgive me if I had mentioned these on the blog before…I tend to be a creature of habit!):

No Yellow Tail here!

I would have provided websites for all the wines, but they seem to be sadly lacking!

Bogle Vineyards 2006 Petit Syrah–I just picked this up recently for about $10.  This drinks like a much more expensive wine, with a deep red color, a fruity nose, and with a bit of pepper and berry on the tongue.  Other reviewers say that this is a “big” wine…meaning that it’s got a lot of fullness to the flavor…I guess that’s the best way to put it in layman’s terms.  I had this after drinking merlot, so it seemed a bit drier than I was expecting.  I loved this wine!

Speaking of the merlot, my galpal brought this over for a girls’ night in…Foxhound Vineyards Merlot…I think it might have been a 2004.  This to me was a BIG wine…fruity, heady, with a lot of ooomph…this paired nicely with the grilled steaks I made that night.  Screw cap, be damned…didn’t bother me none!  (I am a big fan of screw caps…after losing some investment wines to being corked, cheap wines and screw caps are ok by me!).

I like wines with a lot of presence.  Delicate wines rarely get room in my collection.  I cook like a peasant and like my wines to be able to stand up to my cooking…but my Daddy-O brought this one to my house, and it was a pleasant surprise.  Fontana Candida Frascati is a nice, light (cheap) Italian wine with notes of apple, lemon, and grass.  The best part is, you can find this one readily at most liquor stores.

catwine

No Budweiser, either!

Microbrews these days can be found in as many varieies as wines…from the IPA’s to porters, there’s something for every taste!  Head on over to your local beverage center and try a few of these:

Southern Tier Oat Stout is a dark brew that is on the dry side.  You can taste the oats in this, along with some earth, and a bit of chocolate.  Yummy!

If your tastes tend to lean towards something a bit more wine-like, I have two suggestions for you–imperial porters and lambics.  Southampton Publick House has an imperial on tap now with a rich, full mouth feel and notes of chocolate, malt, and raisins.  (Of course, you can always check out my absolute fave–Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter…) Lambics are much lighter, and have a tendency to be on the fruity side.  Dogfish Head’s Fort is a sexy seductress with a raspberry kiss that will knock your socks off without overpowering you (can you tell I love this brew?). 

Like a bitter, hoppy brew?  IPA’s might be for you!  India Pale Ales are a great alternative to those who find the darker beers a bit much for their palate, and prefer the taste of, say, Heineken or Beck’s.  For a lot of flavor, try the Stone Brewing IPA.  Do yourself a favor…don’t serve this ice cold, as it will dull the flavor.  Get your hop-head on!

A book by the fire…

This is one I have to check out!  Drood, by Dan Simmons is getting incredible reviews.  This historical novel is a weighty tome at over 800 pages, and reveals the hidden life of Charles Dickens after a train wreck…his drug addiction, morbid fascination with the deceased, and his search for a serial killer named Drood with his protege in tow.  (Don’t forget, I know books…I work in a library!)

All for now…I have lots more to post on Saturday.  Got a gig, idea, or event?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

I’m home sick with a killer cold that hit all of a sudden instead of being out and about enjoying my oh-so-rare night off.  That’s not a bad thing…I do have quite a bit of new info to let you all know about!

School daze…

With the economy in the toilet, and people re-evaluating many things in their lives, returning to school is an idea that gets tossed around in many people’s minds.  How to afford it, though…that is a huge concern for many.  If you live in Suffolk County, there are options…a “pay it forward”, if you will.  Volunteer firemen have a great program available to them called SERVES–a tuition reimbursement program that requires a certain amount of service after obtaining your degree to ensure it won’t have to be paid back.    Credits for Caring is another County sponsored program that will pay for up to TWELVE credits when you volunteer in soup kitchens and other approved programs.  The best part?  There are NO LIMITATIONS as to the curriculum you choose!

Take a hike!

I try to get out several times a week on the days I don’t run and get some hiking in.  Spring is definitely right around the corner–the beginnings of skunk cabbage (those strange pod looking things that grow in swampy areas that look like something from Invasion of the Body Snatchers) are already starting to poke through the mud.  They’re pretty cool looking, and you can see them too–Blydenburgh Park has a wonderful trail with bridges and boardwalks, and house tours every Saturday at 1PM!  FREE!!!

Wine makes the world go ’round…

This one exeeds my $30 for two people guidelines, but it sounds so cool!  Bedell Cellars is having a special Wine Tasting at the Library…books, wine, good company…how can one go wrong?  Reservations are required and the event is limited to 30 people, so get a move on!  This would be a great date or girls’ night out!

Jazz and Grapes is having their usual FREE weekly soiree with the Danny Wolf Trio…

Mora’s is hosting a FREE Italian wine tasting this Saturday.  When you’re done sampling, shoot on up the road for some great cheap eats at the Curry Club!

Winterfest continues with free jazz at the vineyards…my pick?  The Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard with the Dred Scot Trio.

Returning to your roots…

The Cinema Arts Centre celebrates Black History Month with its African Diaspora Film Festival.  There are too many great films here to list…just check out their site for info!

Learn African crafts and make a scarf to take home at this event!  Reservations are required…space is limited!

Rock me gently

Return to the Dream is one of my faves, and I’m sure it would be one of yours as well once you check them out!  See them this week at Our Times Coffeehouse, $15 gets you in the door!

Deadheads and jam band fans, I’ve got one for you…$15 advance tix for The Electrix with The Reckoning!  Grab your hula hoops and tie dye…

Poetry jamz…

The Poetry Cafe at Huntington Historical Society Barn welcomes featured poets Lance Silver, Russ Green, Marek Bertelik, hosted by George Wallace at HHS Conklin Barn.Open reading to follow. $5 donation appreciated, but not mandatory.

Baby, it’s cold outside…

…but maybe not quite cold enough for you to consider ice skating outdoors, however–you can!  Christopher Morley Park and the Sayville’s Main Street (you need to check this out!) both have ice skating for a fun day for the whole family!

Arts update

In these hard economic times, our representatives have been trying to balance the budget, and that means cutting out the fat.  Unfortunately, to many that means the arts…your music venues, museums, galleries, and other things I feature on here as sources for great Cheap Dates.  Many local gems such as Phoenix Gallery and the Vanderbilt Museum may be nothing but a memory in the very near future if we do not do something about it!  Go, visit these sites!  Your attendance will make a difference!  If you feel a need to do more, click on this link and get information about letting your thoughts be known to the people who can make a difference–our politicians!

One last HOT gig!

This is one more show that exceeds guidelines, but can’t be missed!  Featuring Jack’s Waterfall, the Kerry Kearney Band and more, this is a fundraiser that promises a rocking good time.  Check the image for more info!

life3

Comments?  Ideas?  Let me hear from you at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

Ah, Valentine’s Day…the a day of great hope for some, and a bane for others.  Really quickly, as I know some of you are probably scrambling for last minute gift and event ideas…I’m going to post some of the best Cheap Date picks for TODAY…and then do a separate post for the weekly gigs and shows. 

Cheap Date Valentine’s picks:

The date…Collaboration at Gallery 4222…pay $5 and paint on a canvas for charity.  This is a lot of fun…don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!  If that’s not your thing, Waters Crest Winery is hosting a FREE wine and chocolate pairing on Valentine’s Day, with the giveaway of a free glass filled with sweets with wine purchase. 

The drink…Prosecco.  A light bubbly white I happen to like better than champagne.  A good bottle can be found for under $10.  You can find some good ones at Houdek’s.

The movie…Like Water for Chocolate.  It’s a chick flick, but it’s good.

Willing to drop some coin for a gift?   This Dazzle ring by Swarovsky is smokin’!  At $90, it’s not cheap, but I thought it was prettier than most of the diamond rings I see in shop windows.  Don’t judge by the picture…go see it! 

Single and looking for something to do?  You’re not alone!

How about a wine and beer tasting event!  A bit above guidelines, but hey–it’s Valentine’s Day!  Treat yourself!

Also,  Mora’s Fine Wine and Spirits will be having a FREE Italian wine tasting and noshies…

The ULTIMATE anti-Valentine’s Day movie has to be The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.  Dreamlike and disturbing, this is not a movie for the squeamish.

And for everyone…from a previous post:

Maybe you have that someone special in your life, but you are on a budget…you can still rock their world for very little coin!  Restaurant.com has AMAZING deals on gift certificates you can buy online, print, and redeem that day (hence, it’s also a great LAST MINUTE GIFT!).  Some restrictions apply, so please read carefully.  What’s really great about this site is that if you sign up for their free membership, they send you a savings code you type in at the end for even more savings!  For example, you decide to purchase a gift certificate to Bliss, paying $10 for a $25 value…add in the secret savings code at the end, and that $10 is now $3!  That’s right…you can get a $25 gift certificate for $3!  How’s that for a Cheap Date?

I can make this even sweeter!  Since V-Day falls on a Saturday, you may have the opportunity to get out a bit earlier in the day…avoid the crowds by hitting your destination of choice for lunch!  Chances are that there is a menu just for mid-day with lower prices.

I’ll be back later…good luck today!

Ah, ain’t gettin’ older grand?  The fact that I’m turning 40 this year-that I qualify for the “Silver Plan” according to that cheesy TV commercial, that a push up bra is a necessity these days instead of something worn to attract the opposite gender, and that pounds pack on faster than I can ingest them-it’s all hitting me now.  Don’t get me wrong…I look darn good.  I pass for someone ten years younger.  However, I know that soon (oh, so soon) the years will be marching across my face, my waist will be a forgotten memory, and my greys will be too numerous to count–NOT!!!!!

I have decided today that I will be running a 5K before my 40th birthday.  In the past few weeks, I have purchased weights (which I am using) a chin up bar (which I have yet to assemble and install) and a sit up bar (ditto).  I got running shoes and found a great running website for couch potatoes which I plan on starting tomorrow.  I am going to fight this all the way! 

One of my secrets to looking so young is to have fun as often as I can.  Being mirthful over the little things (and ecstatic over the big ones) just has a way of keeping us in a good place, both mentally and physically.  Everyone has their own “something” that brings them joy.  Mine is food, beer, wine, movies, my hottie honey, and too many other things to list.  And on that note…let me start listing some cool things here.  (If you are looking for music and such, check my previous post for this week’s listings, though there will be some here as well!)

It’s the sparkle in your eyes!

Fellas, have you met that special someone?  You know she is the one…and she’s not materialistic–that she appreciates something for its beauty and the thought behind it (because a SMART girl knows that a man who knows how to save money is incredibly sexy)–and you want to get her something that will really knock her socks off with its sparkle?  This Dazzle ring by Swarovsky is smokin’!  Don’t judge by the picture…go see it!  At $90, it’s not a Cheap Date deal, but if she’s anything like me and you are looking to take your relationship to the “next level”, this might be the ring to get (who the heck cares if it’s not diamonds anyway…I’ve got more jewelry I DON’T wear…and no, honey, this is NOT a hint!).

I’m wearing my art on my sleeve…

There’s some really great art shows going on right now!  At Suffolk County Community College’s Huntington Library, the thread art of Charles Winslow will be on display until February 27th.  FREE.

The Long Island Black Artists Association will be showing their work through March 27 at the Molloy College Art Gallery. FREE.

The Brookhaven Arts Council is feeling a bit romantic this week with two very special offerings–at the Gallery on the Hill will be a visual art summation of “The Loves of my Life”, and at the North Shore Heritage Center will be the A. R. Gurney play, “Love Letters” on, appropriately enough, Valentine’s Day.

The Staller Center has art all around!  From undergrads to MFA’s, there is art of all types here!  FREE!

Christopher Gallery has the work of many artists on display and is definitely worth a look around…

Beer me!

My pick of the week is Unibroue (I hope I spelled that right!) Chambly Noire.  This dark brew is a treat with notes of chocolate and cherry, but it’s not too heavy to have with some hearty food.  It can be found at most local beverage centers and is relatively inexpensive at about $5 a bottle.

My honey and I also tried the Atwater Vanilla Java at Bobbique this weekend.  It’s good, but a bit overly sweet to my palate.  If you know of someone who doesn’t like hoppy beers and leans toward fruit brews and stouts, this might be a good choice.  This would probably make a great beer float with vanilla ice cream.

Coming soon…

This one is a bit over guidelines, but with so many great acts…it’s worth it!  A Celebration of Life, featuring Jack’s Waterfall, the Kerry Kearney Band, Miles to Dayton, Karma Sutra and MORE will be hosted by the Patchogue Congregational Church on February 27th.  Tix are $20 a person, and available at the Brick House, the Blue Point Brewery, and the Jack’s Waterfall website. 

Gotta run…it’s getting late!  I still have to do some research on microwineries (yes, I might just do this!) and shut down the computers.  Got a gig or event that should be here?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com, and don’t forget to check for my Pick of the Day on Twitter!  Chat soon!

No, that’s right…we just blog! 

Gotta say, I was a bit disappointed with the stats from the last post…I thought more people would be interested in finding the perfect Valentine’s gifts on the cheap!  With today’s economy, I thought it would be helpful to put some ideas out there that weren’t the same tired, old, lame stuffed animal and chocolates, balloons, and roses.  (Most people would be ok with the numbers, but I am fiercely competitive and just want to keep seeing them go up!) All right, time to stop whining and get back to what I do best…posting the best local arts, original/indie music, mom and pop food joints, and events for two people for under $30!

Rock my world!

Free Grass Union will be playing Sunday the 8th at Fadeley’s.

On Tuesday, Stuart Markus of  Gathering Time plays solo at Rachel’s Waterside Grill, 6PM.

Also on Tuesday, Buddy Merriam and Back Roads will be at the Patchogue-Medford Public Library, FREE.

On Wednesday an open mic, hosted by The Long Island Fingerstyle Guitar Club, at the Westbury Friends Meeting House. Contact Lisa Doll at 516-361-5122. $10, 8PM.

This Thursday is one not to be missed!  I’m just going to copy and paste this one in–Canvas Open Mic Night, an evening of music and poetry hosted and featuring a performance by talented singer-songwriter and percussive fingerstyle guitarist Joe Iadanza, whose deeply personal and inspiring original music explores themes of love, stepping out into the world and learning to enjoy the ride, Footprints Gallery, 51 Gibson Avenue, Huntington. 7-9:30 p.m.; performer sign-up at 7 p.m. $5 admission includes healthy snacks.

Stuart Markus is back again on Friday at  The Clubhouse (mmmmm, steak….) 8PM.

Also on Friday, Phil Minissale will be at Grounds and Sounds Café at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stony Brook, 8:45 PM, preceded by an open mic at 8. $15.

Steve Robinson and Jim Treutlein will engage in an acoustic song swap at the Irish Cottage 8PM.

Frank Latorre and the King Bees will be (as always) playing at the Eastport Luncheonette.

On Saturday the 14th (Valentine’s Day)and Sunday the 15th, there’s lots going on!  Don’t worry if you didn’t book some swanky dinner…take your date to one of these gigs!

Long Island-based performers Bill Lauter and Lois Morton share a bill at The Eclectic Café, Saturday 7:30 PM. $10.

Rhythm Kings Acoustic Duo will be at one of my faves, The Grey Horse Tavern, 9PM.  Get a Chimay and an artisanal cheese platter, or one of their killer burgers and enjoy some great music.

The Kerry Kearny Band will be at Sparky’s Texas BBQ!

On Sunday, a Folk Jam and Sing-Along sponsored by the Folk Music Society of Huntington, a monthly gathering for mostly amateur musicians and those who love to sing, during which everyone joins in!  Huntington
Public Library
, 1-4:30PM, FREE.

Poetry slams and jams…

Poetry has become a huge underground movement, appealing to young and old alike…hipsters and scholars…you name it.  From spoken word to beat poetry, it’s got a funky vibe that is catching on. 

The Live Poets Society will be having a readaround at the Barnes and Noble in Bayshore this Sunday, the 8th at 2PM, FREE.

On Monday, there will be a reading and open mic for new works at Cool Beanz from 7PM on…donations accepted gratefully.

On Wednesday, there’s an open mic at The Velvet Lounge with Erik Friedman at 8:30PM.

There will be an open mic in Fresh Meadows this Thursday at the Barnes and Noble at 7:30PM…

…and this one looks like a great Valentine’s date for the artsy ones in your life!  The Rogers Mansion in Southampton will be hosting a Hearthside Reading presented by the Southampton Historical Museum and the North Sea Poetry Scene.  4PM, FREE, refreshments will be served.

Wine me, dine me…

Waters Crest Winery is hosting a FREE wine and chocolate pairing on Valentine’s Day, with the giveaway of a free glass filled with sweets with wine purchase. 

And here’s one just for singles–a wine and beer tasting event!  A bit above guidelines, but hey–it’s Valentine’s Day!  Treat yourself!

Also on Saturday, Mora’s Fine Wine and Spirits will be having a FREE Italian wine tasting and noshies…

Gotta run, but check back often!  I’ll be updating with arts events this week, so stay tuned!  Check out my pick of the day on Twitter (look for cheapdateli) and email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com if you have something I should know about!

Now, off to get some books on how to start a microwinery…chat soon!

Flavor…it’s everything.  From the food we eat, to the things we drink–flavor is something that separates an ordinary gastonomical experience from something absolutely epicurean.  I’m a hopeless romantic (though you would never know it from talking to me) and even though I may pan Valentine’s Day when we are chatting in person, I look forward to spending a cozy night with my honey in my pj’s instead of out battling the crowds, and I can’t wait to see his face when he opens up his gift.  You see, this edition is about the men in our lives and how to find the perfect Cheap Date present for them–I’m going to hook all you chickies up with some microbrew and cigar pairings so you can go out well armed and get him a gift he will truly enjoy!

I have to give credit to my very dear friend Paul Brown (of the eponymous Brick House Brewery nut brown ale fame) for doing the research on this one and giving me his picks.  I can vouch for the fact that this man knows beer and cigars–he actually has a special beer fridge in his kitchen and TWO humidors and reads extensively on both subjects.  So, thank you, Paul!  You’ve made this much easier for me to write. 

And what does cat pee have to do with this post?  Everything!  If you are a fan of wine, beer, cigar, or anything that is tasted and/or smelled, you’ll find there are many reviews out there that use some really strange terms to describe the experience…and sometimes the terms that sound the most offensive are really terms to look for!  Click here for some great descriptive wine terminology info, and here for the beer!

A brew and a stogie!

I’ve learned a lot from when I have decided to write this post until now.  I don’t consider myself a cigar expert, but can certainly hold my own when it comes to microbrews.  However, I never really thought about pairing beer and cigars like some people do with wine and chocolate.  Beer and food, sure.  But this is a new one for me…so read on, my friends–I hope you will learn something new as well!

When pairing beer and cigars, a simple rule applies–the more delicate the beer, the smaller the cigar.  And I don’t just mean the length…you know that paper ring around the cigar?  That’s called a ring gauge.  The narrower the ring gauge, the less intense the beer.  A thinner cigar will pair well with a wheat beer (think hefeweisen), while a stubby robusto will pair well with a porter.

Tobacco does contribute to the flavor of a cigar, and I’m going to name them here from mildest to heaviest:

Jamaican-mild and light.

Dominican-still light, but heavier than the Jamaican.

Honduran-fuller and spicier than the Dominican.

Maduro-varies from light to rich to rich and heavy, known for heavy chocolate and coffee flavors.

However, cigars actually get most of their taste from the wrapper (who knew?)!  Here’s a list from lightest to heaviest:

Claro Claro (also known as Jade or Candela, light green in color)

Claro (light yellowish brown)

Colorado Claro (light brown)

Colorado (medium brown)

Colorado Maduro (chocolate brown)

Maduro (dark brown)

Oscuro (almost black)

A rule of thumb–the lighter the wrapper, the lighter the brew!

Paul’s picks!

The best part of the list below is that all the beers and cigars should be readily available at your local tobacconist and beverage center!

With wheat beers, you really don’t want to overpower the light fruity flavor that makes them a refreshing treat.  Try pairing a Macanudo Jamaican cigar with a Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager or the Widmer Hefeweizen Left Hand Haystack Wheat.

Fruit beers make it very difficult to match a cigar as they run the gamut from light and crisp to heavy and sweet.  Stick with a Claro or a Colorado wrapped cigar and pair it with GD Wild Raspberry, Ithaca Apricot or Blue Point’s Blueberry Ale.

Ales are another category of beer that run the gamut.  For amber ales, such as Flying Dog’s Amber Ale (sorry, Paul, I had to stick my Flying Dog in there somewhere!), try the Hamilton Series “George Line”; and for a more bitter brew such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the Don Tomas “International Line” makes a great pairing.

Scotch ales are a heady, full-bodied beer, and your cigar should be up to the challenge.  Try pairing Innis and Runns Scottish Ale with a Dominican cigar having a Sumatra or Colorado wrapper.

And now, my favorite…the porters and stouts!  There is such a wide range in flavors with these that I will break this out a bit.  The drier stouts, such as Guinness, pair well with Don Manolo’s Colorado Maduro.  Sweeter stouts like Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout and the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence are a match made in heaven with a Tamboril Maduro.  And porters, such as Santa Fe State Pen Porter and (my fave) Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter just cry out for a Don Tomas or Petreus Maduros.

All for now…ladies, get on out there and get your man something he can enjoy with the boys (and be the envy of them all!).  Life is too short not to indulge in a bit of vice here and there! 

Gotta run…got an event that should be here?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

Hmmmmm….cat pee…I’ve been contemplating getting some winemaking equipment, taking some classes, and trying to create some funky, boutique-y fruit wines.  I can see it now…Cat Pee Winery!  If you see it out there in a year or so, that might just be me!

Chat soon!