Labor Day Weekend Booze Guide

So you're sticking around DC for the holiday am I. Look at the plus side, no traffic, no sunburns, just a relaxing, long weekend in our hometown. It's not ALL that bad! Check out these fun, boozy events:

Labor Day Weekend BBQ
Early Mountain Vineyards, Madison, VA

Ok, so it's not really in our backyard but it's a beautiful day trip to one of VA's newest wineries. Owned by AOL Executive, Steve Case, this newly opened VA winery is like no other. They feature a Best Of VA section right in their own tasting room, allowing other VA wines to be sold and tasted in one convenient place.

If you are free on Saturday, they are hosting an all-day BBQ from 12-6 with live music, BBQ, and of course VA wine!

Details are here.

Brewery Tour
3 Stars Brewing, DC

So you're not feeling wine on this holiday weekend, maybe you should visit 3 Stars Brewing in DC. They have opened their tasting room to the public and are offering tours on Saturdays at 2 and 3:30. To get a tasting of this new beer, each 4oz pour is $2 and growlers to go are $20.

Rocklands BBQ at Paradise Springs
Paradise Springs, Fairfax, VA

More BBQ and wine but closer to home at one of my favorite VA wineries. They'll be serving up Rockland's BBQ all weekend, until they run out. $12.95/plate and be sure to pair it with one of their crisp white wines, may I suggest my favorites, Sommet Blanc or Nana's Rosé?

If you choose to go on Saturday, they will also be featuring "Screen on the Green in Paradise". Bring a blanket, picnic, buy some wine and enjoy the showing of "Bottle Shock" starting at 8pm.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with J Vineyards Pinot Noir

August hasn't been as hot as usual. Cooler temps have rolled in allowing the windows to be open and reminiscing of Fall. Fall to me is an earthy, roasted dish and a light Pinot. That's exactly what I made over the weekend (well, not the wine!)

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Herb Rice and Roasted Vegetables
1 rack of lamb, frenched
Dried oregeno
Dried thyme
Dried parsley
Salt & pepper
Olive Oil
1 cup white rice
2 cups water
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 ear of sweet corn, off the cob
1/2 white onion, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt, pepper and drizzle the vegetables with olive oil on a baking sheet. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Bring the rice, herbs and water to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.

Season the lamb rack with dried herbs and salt and pepper. Once oil is heated, sear the rack on both sides. Place in an oven safe dish and finish in the oven for 15 minutes. Place the baking sheet of vegetables in the oven as well for 15 minutes.

Plate and enjoy with J Vineyards Pinot Noir!

The earthyness of the herbs and lamb is a great compliment to the fruity, ripeness of the Pinot Noir. This wine is fantastic on it's own, believe me, I finished the rest of the bottle after dinner! J Vineyards is one of my new favorite CA wineries. All of their wines have proven great quality, easy to drink and also pairs well with food. I wrote about the J Vineyards Pinot Gris and risotto earlier this year.

This won't be the last time you hear about J Vineyards :)


Places to feast and drink this weekend

Well, summer is drawing to an end BUT there is still plenty of fun events going on this weekend to enjoy the outdoors for a little while longer! Whether you're in DC, VA or MD there's something for everyone.

DC Funky Fresh Foodie Fest (that's a mouthful!)
Saturday, August 25th 1-9pm at The Fairgrounds near Nat's Park

It's a food truck and craft beer pairing event! What's not love about that? Sample food and beer from local food trucks like Takorean, DC Empanadas, Pepe and more! The featured beer includes Star Hill, Shocktop, Old Dominion and others.

Not a beer drinker? I'm not too much of one either but they'll be serving other libations too; frozen margaritas, WINE, Tito's Vodka and Red Bulls!

Tickets are on sale now.

Backyard BBQ & Wine Bash FlyerBackyard BBQ and Wine Bash
Saturday, August 25th 4-10pm at Twisted Vines in Arlington

Taste 18 wines from around the world, sip by the glass and devour some good ole BBQ from Backyard Barbeque & Catering Co. They'll also be hosting fun games like cornhole!

Tickets are $39.99 plus tax and available here. Each ticket includes all day access to the back parking lot, a tasting of 18 wines, and one generous plate of food!

Uncorked - Rockville Wine Festival
Saturday, August 25th noon-6pm at Rockville Town Square
Uncorked Wine and Music Festival 
I haven't experience many MD wines and if you're 
in the same boat, this could be the event for you! This festival is featuring wines from across Maryland, including Elk Run, Linganore, and Sugarloaf, and more. Join in the fun of cooking demos and live entertainment.

Tickets are only $15 and FREE if you are just there for the entertainment. Info can be found here.

Wow, that's a lot of fun, boozy things to do tomorrow! Know of another event? Leave a comment.


Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry paired with Dr L Riesling

It is #SummerofRiesling so what better way to celebrate the last few weeks of summer than by pouring a fruity Dr. L Riesling.

I wanted to pair it with something spicy and came across this recipe for Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry! Perfect!

Here's the recipe (from


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While rice is simmering, combine shrimp, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, sesame seeds and black pepper in a large plastic food storage bag. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Add red bell pepper and green onions; saute 3 to 4 minutes to soften slightly Add teriyaki sauce. Add peas and shrimp with seasoning; saute 4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.
  4. Stir cornstarch into chicken broth and add to wok; cook, stirring until mixture boils. Sprinkle with salt. Spoon shrimp mixture over rice.
 Stir fry is always a quick, weeknight option and a great way to eat all your veggies. The cayenne pepper in this stir fry sauce kicked it up a notch and the crisp fruit of the Riesling was the perfect pairing.

Dr L Riesling, a branch of the famous Dr Loosen, is from Mosel, Germany where Riesling reigns supreme. The slatey soil showcases the freshness in this wine and the semi-sweet palate helps cut the spiciness. An easily accessible and great budget wine, Dr L Riesling is a go-to for spicy dishes.

A great, fast weeknight dinner AND on a budget! Try it sometime.


Favorite Bars to Grab a Cocktail

So my love of wine has spanned across my career, blog, a hobby and just plain drinkin' it. But sometimes I do love a good cocktail. In honor of National Rum Day today I figured I'd make a list of favorite places to get said cocktail.

1) Founding Farmers - Always the first to come to mind when cocktails and good food are mentioned. Founding Farmers is located in the Golden Triangle district of DC and oh so conveniently located to my office ;) All cocktails are made by hand with the best quality ingredients around. You may have to wait a hot second to get your drink but be patient, these are not massly produced! They focus on being green and organic with fresh fruits and veggies and off the wall liquor labels. Check out their ever changing cocktail list, might I suggest the Organic Cucumber Delight?

2) The Passenger - With a speakeasy feel, The Passenger focuses on the new up and coming cocktails, ones that you can't find just anywhere. Small, eclectic, and dark, this cocktail bar feels like a step back in time. Be careful though, their drinks are strong! On my last visit, I ordered a martini with bourbon and man did that put some hair on my chest! The food is also a good accompaniment to their off-the-wall cocktails. We ordered the pork cheek chili nachos, To. Die. For. I suggest making a stop in here for an eclectic menu of food and drinks!

3) Co Co Sala - If sweet is what you're looking for, then look no further than Co Co Sala. Located near Chinatown, this sweet spot makes some mean cocktails! Not all of the drinks are sweet, the Allure cocktail is made with sparkling and obviously one of my favorites. Of course, they have chocolate infused cocktails to pair with their sweet theme. Co Co Sala has a cozy, warm and inviting atmosphere and serves up amazing, rich chocolate dishes. This makes for the perfect girls night out location as well!

These are just a few of my favorites as I continue on the quest for great cocktails. Send me your suggestions to try!