What’s Your Wine Profile?

With hundreds of wine bottles staring at you in the grocery aisle, it’s certainly never easy to choose which one to grab. I mean, really, how do you do it?? If you’re like us, it’s often a crap shoot. Go with the coolest label? Guilty. Eenie, meenie, minie, mo? Don’t tell anyone we admitted to that. B-line towards the one you’ve been buying every week since you visited their winery? So true. Unless you’re a sommelier, it’s pretty impossible to know what each varietal tastes like, let alone which will pair perfectly with what’s on the dinner menu tonight.


There is in fact a science behind a wine’s flavor profile {you can learn about it and even be a part of the wine making process through La Crema’s new Virtual Vintner experience! On their new site not only can you learn if you’re more of a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir person, but you can actually partake in community wine making. We certainly are intrigued to see how the final product turns out!}. While we’d never claim master sommelier status {or anything close!}, we have learned a thing or two. It’s safe to say we’ve drank our fair share of wine, after all. Pulling out tasting notes and pairing is actually quite fun and doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think!

Our little trick is simple: start with the winemaker’s notes. They often describe the influences you technically should be able to taste in that varietal {oh and varietal is a just a wine-industry word for type of grape – aka Chardonny vs. Pinot Noir}. Even if you can’t particularly taste “alluring boysenberry,” in your glass, you can use those flavors as your pairing guide.

For example, if plum notes are in there, think what food pairs with plums? A grilled pork loin with grilled plums and kale would be ah-mazing. But don’t stop there. Expand a step further past the obvious. Plums are often in jelly, right? I have this amazing Chipotle and Raspberry jelly in the fridge that is amazing on ribs! Perfect pairing? Done and done.


Sometimes tasting notes aren’t quite as specific. What if you only get “juicy tropical flavors” as the descriptor on your Chardonnay label? You don’t need to freak if you don’t see a specific ingredient jump out at you. You could throw together a fresh papaya salad. Or think about it, avocados grow in tropical places- maybe a creamy avocado sauce over chicken? The fattiness of the avocado will balance the acidic tones of the wine perfectly. And don’t axe out dessert! A key lime pie is superb with an exotic Chardonnay!


Of course the rule of thumb of pairing red wine with meats, mushrooms and hearty dishes is foolproof. Same goes for seafood, chicken and salads with white! Try any these scrumptious recipes with these wines for a dee-licious pairing:

Pinot Noir:

Mushroom + Kale Risotto
Turkey Meatballs + Zucchini Noodles
Black Bean + Corn Enchiladas Verdes


Crab Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata
Almond Crusted Chicken + Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpea Salad with Jalapeño Lime Dressing

Any wine aficionados out there? What are your go-to tricks for picking the perfect wine to go with your food??


photography by aubrie pick // art direction by erin hiemstra // styling by bianca sotelo

This post is in partnership with La Crema. Head HERE to partake in the Virtual Vintner experience for a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to the La Crema Winery. All opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open!

What Food Turns You On?

It’s really easy to look at a stack of chocolate chip cookies on Pinterest, an ice cream cone on Instagram or a beautiful homemade cake in a cooking magazine and begin to drool. The desire for a sweet treat is a mighty strong pull. I mean, you never hear someone say “I’m so bad – I’m indulging in some bell peppers today!” But who says salad isn’t a treat! I’ve long had a personal passion for healthy eating, but I’m also normal. I constantly fight back my choco-holic habit – which is especially hard when I’m scrolling past all the pics from National Chocolate Day on my Instagram feed.

That’s why I was so intrigued to learn about The Food Porn Index. The site aggregates all the “food porn” hashtags from various social media platforms to illustrate how much social media love the latest cronut craze is getting vs. say…broccoli. Every time a specific food is mentioned in a hashtag (#cauliflower or #cake) the count is added to the constantly growing list at FoodpornIndex.com. I bet you can guess who wins most often…


The idea is that the site will prompt people to stop posting as many pictures of junk food as #foodporn and instead, start snapping pictures of equally beautiful #foodporn-worthy healthy stuff! Apparently we still have some work to do because right now, junk food “foodporn” beats out healthy options by more than two to one – 64%!


Sure, sure I love a good #bacon covered…well anything, but I love the idea of using Instagram to give #pie, #donuts and #pizza a run for their {albeit tasty!} money. It’s certainly easier to whip up a salad then a layer cake! I’m also the first to admit it’s not necessarily easy to start a social movement, but who knows. Maybe giving our greens or our favorite fruit more love on Instagram might help someone else put down the hamburger. It may not work, but I do love the idea of celebrating healthier choices rather than glorifying junk food. So what do you say??

Shall we give radishes their day in the sun at #foodpornindex? I’m in if you are! — Erin

images via nicole franzen, the design filesblogging over thyme and glamour mag

This post is in partnership with Bolthouse Farms and the #FoodPornIndex. All opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open.

Tasty Tuesday: {Andiamo Dinner Recipes Revealed!}

What’s better than an epic dinner party?? Getting to relive it! We’re having way too much fun sharing all the yummy Andiamo SF dinner party details with you. It truly was a night we wish we could experience every week! Getting to throw the most awesome dinner, in the coolest space, with the best food for some of our closest friends?? Done and done. We consider ourselves very lucky.

If you missed it, last week we broke down the party details dishing {pun intended!} on everything from the venue to our favorite bits of party decor. But today is especially delicious because we’re revealing the recipe for the best salad you’ve ever tasted! Seriously, we’re talking When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene good. To top it off, our favorite bar Trick Dog {one of SF’s HOTTEST spots!} crafted a bespoke cocktail, the “Flirting with Travel” punch, just for the evening’s festivities. You don’t have to thank us!!


If you are Bay-Area based and have yet to eat at Central Kitchen in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, put it on your to-do list for this weekend right now! We’ll even save ya’ a parking spot. It’s one of our favorite places in the city- literally a couple of blocks away from the office and we are indulging ourselves there all too often. So we were more then ecstatic to find out Central Kitchen had an all new venue, The Upstairs, where we could throw our party. We knew dinner was going to be good- we just didn’t realize how good.

Chef Ryan Pollnow blew our menu out of the water- each dish was the definition of a culinary masterpiece, but the Spring Vegetables with Rye Crumbles + Goat’s Milk Curds and Whey Salad was our absolute faaaaaaave. Amazingly, we managed to wrestle the recipe for this incredible dish out of their hands, but let’s just say it produced a serious “whoa” when we opened the email. It’s only a mere three pages…of sheer intimidation! Eek. We do have it tucked safely away in our recipe arsenal, but will likely have to dumb it down whenever we take our first stab because really, we can’t all be as good as the pros!

That said, if you’re a home-cooking champ {we know you’re out there!} and you want to see what recipes from top restaurants really look like, click here – you can download the details from Rue Magazine!


Trick Dog’s punch recipe on the other hand, is one that we can handle. After all, we have a little more experience downing cocktails at our in-home bar than we do cooking gourmet meals. And as you may have spied here, punch is kind of our new thing. And our obsession all started with this recipe! Now you really have no excuse – it’s time you give a summer punch a try! We promise, you’ll be happy you did. It’s all in the spirit of adventure after all. — Bianca


Flirting With Travel Punch Recipe

1 Cognac {we used H by Hine VSOP!}
1 Aged Rum
1/2 apricot liqueur
1/2 Akavit
3 black tea
1 peach nectar
3/4 lime juice
1/4 simple syrup

Pour all ingredients into large bowl and stir. Begin diluting ingredients by adding ice 45 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


original recipe for apartment 34 created by Trick Dog // original photography for apartment 34 by Katie Newburn