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Wine Enthusiast Podcast: The Science of Wine and Food Pairing

Contributing Editor Nils Bernstein discusses the science of food and wine pairing with a top NYC chef and sommelier, plus Spirits Editor Kara Newman chats with the owner of New York’s first CBD restaurant and bar.

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Host: From Wine Enthusiast magazine, this is the Wine Enthusiast podcast. Coming up on today’s podcast, food and wine pairings, steak and Cabernet Sauvignon, salmon and Pinot Noir. What makes classic pairings so, well perfect? What’s the science behind the perfect pairing? A chef and a sommelier deconstruct with Contributing Editor Nils Bernstein the art of how to pair food and wine.

Eric Bolyard: The algorithm to any young cook for me to really make food exciting is balancing salt, acid, and fat.

Nils Bernstein: Yeah.

EB: And that’s totally translatable to wine. The fat being the texture of the wine, the olive oil in a dish, and the acidity obviously could be citrus, it could be vinegar, it could be a ferment. And then salt and the salinity in a wine, for me being versatile in pairing is crucial to having an enjoyable food experience.

Host: Plus, CBD oil from hemp is now legal in all 50 states and medical experts have held CBD of the future of medicine. But what about the future of cocktails? Spirits Editor, Kara Newman, talks with the owner of New York’s first CBD cocktail bar and restaurant about the increase in popularity of CBD infused cuisine and spirits.

George Csonka: I have been always curious about different kind of combinations methods, as far as fat washing, oil washing, infusions. And also, I start to actually looking into the wellness part of it, and it’s become very much in front of the front pages in every area as far as health and wellness. And that’s what I was thinking to start incorporating into our cocktails, however no one has done it before so it was an interesting twist.

Host: Plus wine myths, wine basics and more, all coming up on the Wine Enthusiast podcast.

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Host: The most successful food and wine pairings feature complimentary components, richness and textures. Great food pairing comes from an understanding of how the characteristics of a dish play a role in making memorable wine pairings. Food Editor Nils Bernstein discusses with chef, Eric Bolyard, and sommelier, Amy Racine, how food and wine pairings work, and how you too can create your own perfect pairings.

Nils Bernstien: I’m here talking about wine and food pairing with Amy Racine from The Loyal in New York City’s West Village and Eric Bolyard from Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. Amy, to you first, what are your concerns when you think about pairing with a dish? What qualities in wine is it, acidity, weight, texture, region? What are you thinking about?

Amy Racine: I definitely think acidity’s important, but I do agree that maybe… I’ll speak for myself only, I lean towards acidity as something that I look for, maybe a little bit more than tannins and body right away.

NB: Right, right. And Eric, you’re a chef at a wine-centric restaurant. When you’re developing dishes as a non-wine person, how do you think about wine when you’re creating dishes?

Eric Bolyard: Well I think the cool thing about what we do here at Compagnie is that, it’s about 60% traditional wines, 35, 40% from around the world. So that right there provides such a breadth of spectrum of which we have wines available to pretty much go with anything that I so choose to create, which is a leisure I think that you could say.

These guys have a strong knowledge to be able to put anything that I create with something phenomenal. They make my job easy in that regard. At the same time, it is always a dialogue, we have started to have more of a conversation, the sommeliers and myself in the kitchen. In recent months we’ve started these wine boot camps that are high intensity interval drinking of 15 minute class, really devoted to exploring a very specific region or a grape or a style.

And within each of those classes we do a very fun, distinct wine pairing with one of those wines. So that’s opened up a conversation with myself and the sommeliers so much more than previously.

It’s always been a dialogue but now it’s twice a week we’re exploring unusual things and pairings that may be typical or trying to uncover a pairing that’s rather atypical to really just prove a point to all of the guests at the boot camps that this works for these reasons. No fluff, no frills.

NB: Yeah.

EB: Not what are you getting from this wine, but this is why this wine is meant to be this way.

NB: So the whole restaurant is thinking in those terms, the wine side, the food side, the service? Everybody has had some…

EB: And hopefully educating the guests in that way as well, that there are certain things that are not meant to be broken and there’re certain things that are meant to be broken. We can really hone in on exactly which is which.

NB: Something that’s often said is, what grows together goes together. So Amy, do you have any thoughts about that, that there is some sense to pairing wine with food from the same region?

AR: Yes. I was just thinking, whenever I’m stuck with a pairing and I’ve tried a few things and maybe it’s just not working or nothing is really singing together, I think about, if this was a dish from any place in the world, where would it be from? And then once you start working with those wines, if it’s something that’s a little bit more Alsatian, start leaning towards those wines and then those tend to make sense or at least open up a door to get you into what makes the most sense. But I definitely thing about it quite a bit.

NB: It’s interesting how it really does work, and maybe it’s something as simple as coastal wines that might have a salinity that might go with seafood because you’re in a coastal region. But it really works throughout the world, or at least like you’re saying, it might put your mind in a different head space to just think of different ideas.

AR: Absolutely, and it helps paint the picture as well when you’re speaking to the guests about it. You were mentioning coastal wines, and if you start talking about Albariño and Rías Baixas and start painting the picture of what it’s like to be standing there and how you can smell the salinity in the air and then you taste this wine and you get this brininess. It definitely elevates the experience, but also ties more personal emotions and memories that you might have to that dish and to that wine. And it makes it a little bit of a fuller experience.

EB: Yeah.

NB: And wine as food, of course they have that commonality in that way when you can really paint a picture of a place or have food that’s really illustrative of a place that makes the whole experience that much better. Something else I think about with wine and food pairing is, somebody once, when I was much younger, illustrated to me that some people like lobster with butter, some people like lobster with lemon. And that’s a good example where you can pair, let’s say an oaky Chardonnay might go with lobster in the same way that butter might, and a Riesling might go with lobster in the same way that a squeeze of lemon might. When we talk about wine and food pairing, you can look at complimentary flavors or contrasting flavors. And are those equally valid, do you tend toward one or the other? How do you think about that?

AR: I look at it both ways and I’ve heard there’s plenty of sommeliers and chefs out there that have different opinions than I, but with for example very spicy Thai food and a Riesling that has a little bit of sugar, I think that’s a great classic example and ties back to, I think of wine as a to elevate your meal. And it’s like seasoning like you were mentioning, lemon over lobster or whatever it might be, it’s all about tying back into each other. I do enjoy contrast ’cause I think it could be shocking and fun and complimentary for usually obvious reasons.

NB: Eric do you, as you are learning about wine and thinking about wine in the context of what you do here, are you thinking about wine as an ingredient, as a sauce? How do you make it make sense in your head?

EB: We definitely cook with wine a lot here for no particular reason other than that’s what that particular dish is calling for. I do agree that there are those golden rules that heavy with heavy, light with light, but I also agree that another golden rule is that opposites attract.

NB: And I think the way people cook now, we’re not just eating grilled steak with roasted vegetables and mash potatoes, we’re having …there’s a lot of different, there’s sweet, salty, sour happening at once. There might be a meat, fish and vegetable elements co-existing. You might be pulling from a lot of different cuisines from around the world, so it’s hard to…these rules that we’ve all heard over the years, that white wine with fish, Cab with steak, these things that…those don’t necessarily hold true anymore because there’s so many other textural and flavor elements that you’re thinking about.

EB: Yes.

NB: I’m gonna do a little lightning round contest with Amy here. Looking at some traditional pairings and what you might see as an alternative pairing.

AR: Okay.

NB: A classic steakhouse grilled steak that might typically be paired with a big Napa Cab. What’s another red that might work there or white, whatever?

AR: I’d still go red, but you could get into older Barolo or reds from Northwestern Spain. I’m on a big Bierzo kick right now, yeah.

NB: Yeah cool. Oysters, you might think a Chablis, a Muscadet, where else might you go?

AR: You go to Fino Sherry. I’d probably go something really briny still.

NB: Yeah.

AR: I think Fino Sherry would probably work well.

NB: Yeah that’s a nice idea. I think that little bit of salinity… I had a bunch of oysters recently with a Assyrtiko, and it made a lot of sense because it had that same quality. How about caviar if you didn’t want to go with Champagne? Speaking of briny.

EB: That’s a wild card.

AR: Yeah that is a wild card. I think there’s definitely a wide variety of new exciting sparklings out there. England has some kind of cool sparklings now. I would still tie back to the same, going for brininess kind of a thing. What would you do?

NB: I don’t know, what are you thinking?

EB: Maybe some pét-nat from Australia perhaps.

NB: Yeah. It’s hard to get away from sparkling, ’cause…

AR: Yeah.

EB: It is.

NB: But those yeah, maybe…

AR: A dry Riesling maybe, like Clare Valley, dry Riesling.

EB: Yeah.

NB: Or a gin martini maybe.

AR: I was also thinking spirits, but I…I was also gonna make a Miller High-Life joke but …

NB: Yeah.

AR: I didn’t know if it’s that kind of a podcast.

NB: Always

EB: And my favorite way to create food, yeah.

NB: We’re big cross drinkers at Wine Enthusiast so Miller High Life absolutely. How about blue cheese which is a really fantastic pairing with a vintage port for example?

AR: It is. It’s great with port and great with Sauternes with extreme sugar and extreme saltiness. But I also think the dryer versions of those wines, like an aged Sémillon, again back to Australia, but an older age Sémillon that’s developed more mushroomy, umami flavors could be great. A wine with some sugar is definitely a classic pairing with that saltiness, but anything that has that honeyed aroma can tie you into that. But then I think you can definitely still go dry.

NB: And that’s kind of a…again, thinking of wine as an ingredient almost. Sweet and salty, obviously is a great pairing and it really works in the wine sphere as well. A little sweetness with a really salty dish can work really nicely. Let’s look at some of, Eric, some of your stuff on the menu now and see if there’s any pairings that really stand out to you that you’ve had here that kind of opened your eyes about the magic of wine and food pairing.

EB: We have a Cacio e Popcorn, we call it. It’s a play on the Roman pasta sauce, Cacio Pepe, and there’s like three types of pecorino in there. Ton of black pepper. 45 grinds for every order of freshly popped popcorn and Champagne Cacio e Popcorn is super exciting. I love drinking something so delicious and so refined from such a classic region with something as simple and fun and convivial as that.

Another thing that really excites me when pairing wine and food or having a conversation with our guys about pairing food and wine is the charred element in food and blackening some products and having that play off wines from volcanic soils. I get most excited about, you know, Mount Etna and Cornelissen and that was one of the first wines that really raptured me when I first started to really delve into wine when I was just starting to cook.

Right now we just put a fun little crudités. It’s local cabbage, funky and charred kohlrabi, which is kind of having a moment, but we char that and really intense Caesar dip. And then dulse, which is a briny kind of red seaweed that we make into a powder. But you have this, these charred elements on the cabbage and the kohlrabi, and the richness and then playing off those cloudier unfiltered volcanic soil, Sicilian or volcanic wines.

NB: It just feels right, to have a…

EB: It feels right, it’s…

NB: Volcanic wine with charred food. It just feels accurate.

EB: It feels right. It’s one of my favorite things to eat if I had to sit down and have a bite, yeah.

NB: It sounds good.

AB: It sounds awesome.

NB: So we’ve brought up Champagne a few times, which in my opinion is one of the foolproof pairing wines. Champagne really goes with almost anything. So Amy, do you have any other kind of go-to wines, sparkling, white, red, rosé, that when you can’t figure out what to pair or maybe it’s a meal that has a lot of different elements, something that might bridge a lot of different dishes.

AB: Yeah, I think Grüner Veltliner is a good way to go if there’s a lot going on. I mean I do love Champagne. And the still version of that, Chablis I think goes well with everything. And back to Riesling, too. Both Chardonnay and Riesling come and such a spectrum. You can usually find some version of it can work with anything

NB: And common to all those that you mentioned is acidity. They all have a nice balance of acidity. It does make sense though. Eric, you likely wouldn’t make a dish that didn’t have some sort of balancing acidity or some sort of…

EB: All of our food pops. You should really get like a little bit of a smack in the face when you take a bite of most of the food. In certain respects, there’s, you know, a dish that you don’t want that to play a role, but 95% of the time you really want that high acid but balanced, of course, salt and acid and fat. I mean that’s the algorithm to any young cook for me to really make food exciting is balancing salt, acid and fat. And that’s totally translatable to wine. The fat being the texture of the wine, the olive oil in a dish and the acidity obviously it could be, could be citrus, it could be vinegar, it could be your ferment. And then salt and the salinity in a wine.

NB: And just savory elements.

EB: Savory elements, yeah. For me, being versatile in pairing is crucial to having an enjoyable food experience, especially in a setting like this where it’s not as choreographed a meal as maybe some traditional restaurants or tasting menu spots. It’s kind of a more shareable, convivial free for all where you know this can come out first and the thing you ordered after could come out simultaneously with that and you want to have those bridge wines. You want to have those versatile lines. Bordeaux Sauvignon, Austrian Riesling, Loire Chenin, these really textured whites that go well with food, pét-nat rosé, those carry course to course seamlessly for me. One of my favorite regions, Beaujolais, can do the same.

Fun, funky, fresh, pink bubbles. Maybe in conversation I’m realizing that those excite me the most because I can drink them with anything I’m eating and food is obviously at the forefront of my mind always.

NB: And they have the same balance that you’re talking about that you liked with dishes where it’s a balance between body, fruit, acidity, a savory element.

EB: Right. It can be lush but it’s still always asking you for more.

NB: Yeah. What are some takeaways for people at home that are…some kind of, you know, basic ingredients, home cooking. What are some kind of rule of that people might think about when they’re at the wine shop, thinking of what to bring home?

AB: I think speaking to whoever is working in the wine shop is a great way to go. Especially for entertaining. I think Burgundy and like I was saying before, Grüner Veltliner, Verdicchio, a lot of Italian whites are great for picking up for a party. Beaujolais, like you were mentioning is great. Just ask for anything that’s like a lighter bodied red or more textural or slightly fuller white I think is a great just wine to have out. If you buy a couple of bottles and leave them out, everybody will be happy no matter what you’re cooking and no matter what you’re serving.

EB: I think the fun thing is if you do go into a wine store and you are having guests, you are doing some entertaining, I think challenging your guests, albeit in a restaurant setting, wine bar setting or at your home setting, challenging guests slightly just to push them a bit further than they were when they walked in the door and then setting them up for success. But if you go to your wine store and you’re looking to entertain and you have the basics that people are going to expect, ask the guy, ask the gal in the wine store, what is one step away from this classic grape that people may not know about that can be way more conversational and way more prevalent today or finally discovered and given a little more justice to and introducing that without straying it so far from those flavor profiles, those characters. I’m trying to think of an example.

NB: No, instead of a Pinot Noir, do a Zweigelt.

EB: Or a Zweigelt, yeah, exactly.

NB: Instead of Sauvignon Blanc do a Grillo from Sicily, something.

EB: And to me, that’s what excites me about wine. You know, I’m still novice in the grand scheme of the wine world, but being able to challenge someone through food, presenting something to them that they had a preconceived notion about, had a poor experience as a child, their mother, their grandmother, and never seasoning something or just boiling something or never…this is what I’m passionate about in cooking. This is half the reason I cook is changing people’s preconceived notions about something because they haven’t had it in its most well presented form.

If they had a horrible Albariño, that’s their benchmark for what Albariño is, or if they’ve never had…

NB: I had a really traumatic Albariño experience as a child and it’s been really hard to get over.

EB: Same with mushrooms, beats, asparagus, fennel, salmon because it was never presented to you where you were, you know, emphasizing its beauty and character in the best possible way. You were accentuating its, you know, its drab, instead of the opposite.

NB: Okay. So we’re talking about kind of experimenting and having fun with wine and food pairings. A friend of mine recently said that just because when he was younger, first time you had beer he had it with Pop Tarts and to this day he’s really obsessed with pairing beer and Pop Tarts, which makes some sense. Sweet, salty, it’s cutting through the richness of the pop tart. So I have one I really love, Sauternes and I found that Sauternes and fried chicken is an incredible pairing. The acidity, the sweetness, somehow it really works. Amy, do you have anything like that, that’s your guilty pairing?

AB: Yeah. I don’t feel guilty. It’s Cheetos and Champagne. Just that, after work, watching TV, unwinding. Or Fritos. Fritos are good too.

NB: Eric, anything, guilty pleasure pairing?

EB: Oh man, that’s tricky.

NB: It’s hard to beat Fritos and Champagne.

EB: Yeah, I mean you guys really put it out there on another planet. I would have to default to like a really high acidic, bubbly, Txakoli from the Basque country with just a big plate of anchovies.

NB: Yeah, that’s pretty good.

EB: Yeah. I mean, oil cured anchovies and like that really high acid driven Txakoli, which is something I drank a ton of when I was cooking in the Basque country. Those will never go away.

NB: Txakoli is another good kind of a fall back, go-to pairing wine. It really goes with almost anything.

EB: Right. And it really opens people up to, you know, something that they haven’t necessarily encountered before or often. And it’s more readily available now. So I say go for it. Yeah.

NB: I think people are really experimental now cooking at home and they’re trying new preparations, looking up new recipes, but there are maybe a little more reluctant to have that same sense of adventure in the wines that they’re serving. And I think what both of you are saying is you just have that same sense of adventure and experimentation and the wine shop as you do in the restaurant or in your home kitchen, you can have a really amazing experience.

EB: Yeah a lot of people think it’s going to suck them into the bottle like a genie and then never let them out until someone asks for three wishes. I mean, there should be a little bit more, you know, willingness to explore. There’s so much available now, so many more undiscovered producers and undiscovered regions and the classic things I appreciate and respect deeply, but the under the radar producers where you can actually find better deals, you know, from some Portuguese producer that’s never been seen and just started getting imported to America. That’s where the discovery happens. That’s where it’s exciting to see something that, a grape that you have never seen before and you realize that that’s your new favorite thing.

NB: And no meal made up of great food and great wine has ever been ruined by an imperfect pairing.

AB: Right. For sure.

EB: You’re still drinking wine and you’re still eating food.

AB: Be happy.

NB: Yeah. Well, on that note, thank you so much. Thanks Eric. Thanks Amy.

AB: Thank you.

EB: Absolutely.

Host: Next, Wine Enthusiast Tasting Director Alex Peartree dispels some classic wine myths.

Alexander: And on today’s wine myths, I’m going to debunk another common wine myth. That serious, age-worthy wines are always sealed with cork.

The reality is that screw cap wines can age just as well as those sealed with cork and sometimes even longer. Some people associate screw caps with cheap wine. However, there are plenty of super premium red wines from countries like Australia. You don’t need a court to be classy.

If you’ve got a wine myth and needs to be debunked, email me I’m Alexander Peartree. Thanks for listening.

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And you’re listening to the Wine Enthusiast podcast, the Adriaen Block Restaurant named after the fame Dutch explorer who’s best known for having Block Island named after him, continues its pioneer heritage by exploring the relatively new territory of CBD cocktails. Spirits editor Karen Newman visited the Astoria New York based restaurant, to have brief outdoor chat with its owner about what lead to the creation of the first CBD restaurant and bar in New York City.

Karen Newman: And I’m here in Astoria, Queens, at Adrian’s Block with George Csonka, who is owner of this lovely establishment. It’s the only restaurant in the New York area that focuses on CBD drinks and food, is that correct?

George Csonka: CBD drinks absolutely, yes. I see some of the CBD food items, they’re coming out in different restaurants. But as far as cocktails, it’s the only and the first CBD cocktail bar in New York City.

KN: So let’s talk about what I’m drinking here. What is this in front of me?

GC: You’re drinking a Stoney Negroni. We add a Floc De Gascogne, you have some nice Sherry, which we use a Taylor Fladgate, and then a touch of Lillet. And then of course we add the orange peel, and then you have it served in a nice old fashion raw glass. And of course the infusion, we do infuse it with our CBD hemp.

I want to emphasize that we still using Every Day Optimal as our suppliers. That’s a very reliable source. We do have all the lab reports and all that to back up the company, as far as make sure that we’re using a really good company.

KN: Okay, I’m starting to learn a little bit about CBDs. Correct me where I’m wrong. My understanding is that it’s all an extract of the Cannabis plant.

GC: Correct.

KN: But CBD is…

GC: Cannabidiol oil. It’s an oil based, but it could be a flower based as well. Basically this is just a extraction. So, the two parts they build in, one of them is a THC part, and one of them the oil base. So if you separate the THC from the oil base you just have left with the oil base only.

KN: Okay, and the THC is the part that will get you high?

GC: Psychoactive, yes. It’s a psychoactive part, which we actually taken out from the…

KN: This is just the CBD which promotes wellness?

GC: It’s wellness. Promotes wellness, promotes a nice sensations. Calmness. Lots of people using for different kind of areas to comfort them. Could be relaxation, could be different pains, inflations, insomnia. Some doctor’s offices describe it as a cancers…actually, a couple days ago just came out …few days ago, the very first time, came out that CBD is the best cure meant for epilepsy.

KN: Okay. I mean, CBD is huge. I’m drinking this, I’m not feeling anything, but I’ve only had one sip. But okay, so…

GC: Five minutes you will feel it.

KN: Okay.

GC: Once you finish your first drink.

KN: Okay. So how did you get into this? What was your journey to building this CBD restaurant empire?

GC: The journey behind it…I have been always curious about cocktailing. I have been always curious about different kind of combinations methods, as far as fat washing, oil washing, infusions. And also, I start to actually looking into the wellness part of it. Then CBD become very much in front of the front pages in every area, as far as health and in wellness. And that’s when I was thinking to start incorporating into our cocktails.

However, no one done it before, so it was kind of interesting twist to figure it out. Like, what would be the perfect balance to have alcoholic beverage infusion with CBD?

KN: So you’ve always been in the restaurant and the bar business before this?

GC: Yes I have. Since age 14.

KN: Okay. Wow!

GC: I’m not telling how old I am right now. I started in Europe. Eastern Europe. During college education I was working by the little lake, Balaton, in Hungary. And then after that I went up to the…

KN: Oh wow. The land of Tokaj.

GC: Correct. Then I went up to the capitol, Budapest. And then after, I started working in cruise-line company Royal Caribbean and from that, moved to New Jersey. And then start corporations, and all that. Worked for a larger steakhouse. I was…they filmed The Godfather in the Medicine Hotel. And after that, back in Hawaii, Vegas, Miami.

Yes. I have done my fair share of hospitality industry. From every aspect of it. From making a bread from Le Pain Quotidien, to serving drinks.

KN: Did something special bring you to New York and Astoria?

GC: New York education. I finished up my college education in here, in John Jay College. In criminal justice.

KN: Congratulations.

GC: Thanks. That was the main reason I moved here. And also, I liked the upbeat eating environment, where businesses can just boom. You find a fashion, you find a real estate, you find a finance, and you find the hospitality industries in this one tremendous city. All in.

KN: And what drew you personally to CBD?

GC: Most people are looking into, including myself, to the personal wellness. Meaning that mindfulness. The way you’re looking into what you’re eating today, as far as what kind of exercise you’re doing, as far as you setup your home base to be comfortable and balanced. Your workplace, you try to manage it. Like, make sure that you get the work balance with your private life.

It’s the same with the drinks. You wanna make sure that you get a balance. So everybody able to actually chill, and have a nice moment with a corner. And continue a conversation without having too many drinks and forgetting what we was talking about.

KN: I liked that on your menu, you can have alcoholic drinks or no. CBD drinks or no. And same thing with the food. I mean, some of it is…you have the option CBD-spiked sauce if you want to.

GC: Correct. Yes. We just start experimenting that we’re getting more and more deep to it. We started with a whip cream. CBD-infused whipped cream.

KN: Whip cream? Okay.

GC: Yes, to our desserts, and then to the crepes. And now we’re actually adding up to our cuts of meat. Like steaks, we do Béarnaise sauce with CBDs. We do demi-glaces with CBDs.

KN: Really? Okay.

GC: Yes. We having different kind of dessert options. We’re making sauces like a caramel-lavender sauce with CBD. Or a dark chocolate mint with CBD. And we’re changing dessert menus as well. So yes, we are getting more into the food items as well.

KN: What’s the big seller on the menu?

GC: As far as food?

KN: Yeah.

GC: As far as food right now, my burgers probably the best sellers ever. We do the Block Burger with a secret CBD sauce, and people are just…

KN: A secret CBD sauce.

GC: Love it. Also, believe it or not, truffle fries. We use potato flats. It’s incredible. Also, our meat cuts. Fillets. They always, Yeah. And as far as drinks, Rolled Fashioned was the best seller in the month of September. Then Negroni, and then Mellow Berry.

KN: Okay. Okay. I love the names for the drinks.

GC: Absolutely.

KN: Did you name them?

GC: Yes I have.

KN: The Stoney Negroni. The Mellow Berry.

GC: The Rolled Fashioned.

KN: The Old Fashioned.

GC: Rolled. Rolled Fashion.

KN: Rolled Fashioned. The Rolled Fashioned.

GC: That’s right.

KN: There’s a bacon and egg…

GC: Bakin’ and Eggs. Yes.

KN: That’s a fun one too. It actually had a bacon garnish across the top.

GC: That’s right.

KN: I’m wagering like a pisco sour-style drink? And there was the…

GC: Yeah. It’s really light, yes.

KN: It was … Yeah.

GC: It was beautiful.

KN: It was beautiful. It’s a lot of fun. So, I’m going to finish my drink.

GC: Sure! I’m pleased.

KN: And enjoy this lovely day out in Astoria. So people can find the place, it’s Adriaen Block. And it’s a different, unusual spelling. It’s Adia-

GC: en. Correct. He was basically an explorer. It’s located in Astoria, right by Astoria Park. You follow us on Instagram as well. Adriaen.Block.NYC. Thank you so much for coming, Karen. Thank you!

KN: Thank you! Well, goodbye.

Marina Vataj: I’m Marina Vataj, digital content director at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. In this episode of Wine Basics, we’re giving you wine tips for beginners. Here are some tips for finding great bottles on a budget, and how to kickstart your education.

One, invest in decent stemware. Look for glasses with medium-size bowls that are versatile enough for all wines. Hand-washing will keep them looking their best. But if the stems are dishwasher safe, use a top rack.

Two, get a few more wine tools. For example, keep wine sleeves in your freezer to quickly chill or keep bottles cool. Also, find a comfortable wine opener, whether it’s a small waiter’s friend, or an easy to use lever-style corkscrew.

Three, keep your wine comfortable. The worst place to store wine is on top of the fridge, where heat and vibrations can wreak havoc. If space allows, put your wine rack in a room without direct sunlight. If your new abode is too tiny, store your wine in the coolest and darkest part of your apartment. Like the closet.

Four, when you find a wine you simply adore, jot down the details in your wine journal or your smartphone. Note the producer, vintage, wine name, purchase price, aromas and flavors. Be sure to also include your overall impression of the wine.

Five, become friends with the clerk at your local wine store. Add yourself to the store’s email list to stay informed about in-store events and sales. Attend free tastings, so you can try before you buy, and ask for bargain wine suggestions. Clerks are always happy to share great finds.

Finally, take advantage of frequent shopper or case discounts to build your wine collection.

I’m Marina Vataj, thanks for listening. For more Wine Basics tips, visit

Host: That’s it for today’s Wine Enthusiast Podcast. To read more about wine, visit Or pick up the current issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine to see our annual Best Buys List. A hundred wines under $15. You can subscribe to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please, write us a review! We’d love to hear what you think. We’d also love to stay in touch. Use the hashtag #wineenthusiastmagazine, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also send us an email, at

The Wine Enthusiast Podcast is produced by Marina Vataj and Mike Sargent. See ya next time.