It was a perfect warm spring day as I attended the New York City Wine Expo and got to spend some time catching up with a friend at a new Manhattan club.
I had never been to the New York Wine Expo before and was very surprised by the variety of wine regions represented at the Jacob Javits Center. The nearby Finger Lakes was well represented and proved to many how different Rieslings can be. I stopped by and tasted some unusual Greek wines before spending awhile checking out La Strada del Vino, a region of Tuscany. I sampled some excellent Chianti’s and talked about planning a trip there this coming fall.
Another region I am expecting to get to soon is New Zealand and they had some of their famous sauvignon blanc out. There were also plenty of tastings at the Côtes de Rhône table, as well as a representation from South Africa that included an unusual sweet Shiraz (Jam Jar).
I found some unusual wines, such as Renee-Hugues Gay Wines, Happy Bitch Wine and Middle Sisters, all of which had some good offerings. Food vendors with everything from olive oil to Finger Lakes Wine Cake were sprinkled throughout the venue. The Dutch cheese was a big hit, as was the Belgian chocolate, but it was the wine everyone left talking about.
After I had made my way around the room, I left the expo and headed downtown to stay at my friend Liza’s. We enjoyed a girls’ night in catching up because we need to rest up for our next night out. We were checking out a great new bar and I was really excited.
The Vault at Pfaff’s is located at the corner of Bleecker and Broadway, although I should say it’s actually below it. It is underneath its sister restaurant, the Corner Shop Café. This former cocktail den was called Pfaff’s Beer Cellar when Charles Pfaff first opened it in 1855. Walt Whitman was among the frequent patrons then and he was often joined by actors and artists.
The space at Pfaff’s has been restored, using some of the original stone and brick. It has a real classic look, a comfortable speakeasy that almost looks like Al Capone may walk in the door any minute! Liza and I had no fear as we tasted some of the many cocktails and small plates on the newspaper –like menu.
I loved the Big Bird (house-infused Two Berry Plymouth Gin, Marie Brizzard Apricot Brandy and fresh sour mix) while Liza sipped on the Leaves of Grass (Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka, Taylor Fladgate 10 year old Port, house-made honey syrup and fresh lemon juice). Later we tried a great Champagne Charles (Ayala Burt Majeur Champagne, June Liqueur and house-made cranberry bitters) and a creamy, but not too rich Melkor’s Ghost (Delord Armagnac Blanch, crème de cocoa, crème de banana and crème).
You will also find an interesting list of international draught and bottled beer at The Vault at Pfaff’s, as well as quite a few offerings of wine by the glass and bottle. There’s a similar selection of spirits that include artisanal distillers like Brooklyn Gin.
The Maitake Mushroom Melt was actually a large plate of finger sandwiches that were delicious and the Artisanal Cheese and Charuterie place was a nice grouping of fruits, meats and cheeses. We also sampled the tender Filet Mignon Medallions with blue cheese dressing.
We lounged at The Vault at Pfaff’s for quite a bit and then met some friends upstairs at the Corner Café to share some scrumptious cheesecake for dessert. We also managed to catch some music before heading for a good night’s sleep and another big day in New York City.