My first video using Shadow Puppet – Mu Shu Pork and Mushrooms

I have been reluctant to enter into the production of video content.  Not because I don’t understand the value.  More because I dread being “camera ready” at a moment’s notice.

So, it is with great pleasure, that I stumbled across Shadow Puppet for my iPhone.  It is also with great pleasure that I present my first video using this app.  I see great things ahead.


Shadow Puppet Video – Mu Shu Pork




The sauce for this dish contained Sake.  In an effort to obtain pairing harmony, I would recommend your favorite Sake, or perhaps a glass of dry Riesling from the Loire.


Jodi aka tampawinewoman

Wine is sexy! 50 Shades of Grey Wine

If you don’t think that wine is sexy, then you must be doing it wrong.

50 Shades of Grey Wine is Sexy (and delicious)

50 Shades of Grey Wine is Sexy (and delicious)

When you get right down to it, some of the most romantic and intimate encounters you have ever had, probably have much to do with a properly set stage.  The gentle glow of candles, the sweet smell of fresh roses, the soft whispers of gentle music.  You would think that these things would not make such a forceful impact on how you perceive a night of romance, but you would be wrong.

So to, must the stage be properly set for wine.  A wine’s packaging, aroma, texture, and taste, each playing their important part in your overall enjoyment of a wine.  Each contributing to your perception of the wine.

Fifty Shades of Grey White Silk and Red Satin, live up to the expectation.  Silky, smooth, intoxicating aromatics, and like the novel a bit racy.  Just like an aforementioned romantic encounter, I will look forward to encountering these wines again.

For more information, and full tasting notes, visit



How long will sherry remain wine’s best kept secret?


If you aren’t trying Sherry, one of Spain’s best kept secrets, than you are really missing out.

Originally posted on Dave McIntyre's WineLine:

I actually took this photo at Saltram winery in Barossa, in Australia.

I actually took this photo at Saltram winery in Barossa, in Australia.

Why don’t we drink more sherry? Every time I explore this category of fortified wines I marvel at their quality, value and suitability with a wide variety of foods. I marveled again Friday as I tasted and talked sherry with Lucas Paya, beverage director for José Andres’ Think Food Group of restaurants, and with Derek Brown and Chantal Tseng, the husband-and-wife team behind a number of Washington’s finest watering holes, including the sherry-themed Mockingbird Hill.

Is there a lingering stereotype against sherry? Do we still picture Grandma sipping a glass of cream sherry before dinner? And have we collectively decided that sherry is a medium-sweet wine with no special distinction to merit our attention?

“That medium-sweet style of sherry is perfect for the afternoon by the fire, and who does that? Your Grandma, so maybe she was right,”…

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Pair it Up! Riesling and Coconut Curry


Just because you want to make something quick and easy for dinner, does not mean that you have to sacrifice on flavor.  I love traditional comfort food, but sometimes I need something a bit lighter, and a bit quicker.  Allow me introduce you to the warm comforting flavors of one of the easiest and versatile coconut curry sauce recipes I have ever had the pleasure of cooking.  (Don’t you just love it when a recipe makes you look like a rock star).  A tip for the single ladies (and gents) out there, this is great date night food.  Sweet and spicy, a natural aphrodisiac.

Coconut Curry Sauce (from Everyday Feasts – Tampa Junior Women’s League) (a great book of recipes – buy it!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

(Pick your protein.  I use chicken thighs or shrimp with equal success.  Tofu would also work great for the vegetarians.  Whatever you plan on using, cook it first.  Grill, fry, saute, whatever you like.)

For the sauce:  Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and saute until softened.  Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until the aroma from the curry is released, stirring constantly.  Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the basil, salt, and red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

This will serve 4 as a main dish (or two if you are hungry).

Curry absolutely sings with Riesling, or maybe it’s the other way around.  Isn’t that true of the best couples though?

I recommend Pewsey Vale Riesling from the Eden Valley, located in South Australia (#56 on Wine Spectator’s Top Wines of 2012, if you’re into that kind of thing).  In addition to all manner of lovely aromas and flavors, the fresh squeeze of lime mirrors the finish of this dish.  Although labeled as Dry Riesling, this wine sacrifices nothing on fruit flavors and fresh finish.  If you prefer a sweeter Riesling, it will give you no difficulty in pairing with this exotically aromatic curry.  The Pewsey Vale Riesling was last spotted at the Fresh Market in Clearwater for about $15.  A bargain for a Riesling sporting this much joie de vivre.

Put on some music, whip up a batch of curry, and linger over the table with someone you love tonight.

It’s been a tough week, you deserve it!

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite “go to” food and wine pairing for date night success?  Leave your answer in the comments below.


Jodi aka tampawinewoman

If you would like to explore the mysteries of pairing wine with food, book a wine tasting.  We bring the wine (and the fun) to your doorstep.  Chef demos are available.

Question of the Day: What Makes a Great Wine Shop


Since my recent tirade about the service I have been receiving at my local Total Wine, I have been asked to offer my opinion about what makes a great wine shop.

Back in the day, which seems like a lifetime ago, I worked at a new boutique wine shop in Valrico, Florida.  It was my very first wine job.  During my time with this wine shop we opened several more shops in the Tampa Bay area.  I rose quickly from being a wine party hostess to becoming manager of that location, as well as opening another shop for them.  Part of my job responsibilities as manager included both hiring and training new employees, as well as overseeing the daily operations of the shop.  I remember the owner saying to me during one of our first meetings “Our competitors can copy our stores, our shelves, our concept, but they don’t have our people.”

While the franchise eventually failed, some of the greatest lessons I learned were those having to do with customer interactions when it comes to wine, and I have taken those lessons with me into every conversation I have ever had about wine.

  • Greet all customers at the door with a warm hello.  Bonus points for holding the door open for them.
  • Explain, briefly, how the store is laid out.
  • Invite the customer to take a look around, and after they have taken a look around the shop, invite them to the tasting table.
  • When the customer comes to the tasting table, ask them a few questions.  These questions may include ‘what brings you into the wine store today?’ ‘are you looking for wine for a particular occasion – such as dinner, or a gift?’ ‘what is your budget?’
  • With some general information now in hand, ask the customer if they prefer a white wine or a red wine.  Now ask them if they prefer a sweeter wine or a dry wine.
  • Once you have sampled them on three or four wines, make some recommendations based on their preferences.

It’s important to develop a relationship with this customer.  You want them to be comfortable and confident with their purchase.  You want them to come back, don’t you?  So, in general . . . and this is the really important part . . . CARE!!  Don’t just act like you care.  (I am a customer as well, and I know when you are faking it.)

When hiring and training employees throughout my career, I couldn’t stress the importance of making the customer feel at ease enough to discuss their wine preferences and/or phobias with you.  Getting the customer to open up to you is the one true secret in recommending the right wine for them.

Sure, a great selection and fair prices are also helpful.  See this great article by Dr. Vino for more information on these other great wine store elements –

For me personally, however, the best selection in the world does absolutely nothing for me if the employees and owners of the shop don’t engage with me.  If you are lucky enough to find a wine shop that offers the kind of service I have outlined here, support them with your continued patronage.  You have truly found an ally in your wine journey.


Jodi aka tampawinewoman

If you would like to bring the fun of the tasting table to your home, email today to schedule a wine tasting party.

Tampa Foodie Potluck – January 2014

Foodie Potluck - January 2014

Foodie Potluck – January 2014

Sometimes writing a wine and food blog affords the blogger some amazing opportunities.  However, this blogger would like to state that the best opportunity I have ever had as a blogger, is an opportunity to connect with this passionate and talented group of fellow foodies for potlucks.  Held about once a month (with the occasional, longer than anyone would like gap), everyone brings forth their best creations for the feast.  Wine, beer, and libations are poured freely.  The conversation is lively and varied.  Laugher and merriment ensue.  If there was one word to describe the whole affair it is certainly AWESOME!!

Thanks to Bill Leon for these great photos shared on Facebook of our Foodie Potluck dinner this weekend. Thanks to Kurt and Heidi for being the ever so gracious hosts. Thanks to everyone who poured their heart and soul into the creations presented for feasting. The love put on each plate truly embraces what the words “foodies” and “friends” mean to me. You all ROCK!


Jodi @tampawinewoman