Welcome, Autumn

fall socks

I was at work yesterday when the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall. The wind picked up and it turned into a dreary, wet, cold autumn day.

Well, finally.

persimmons at the santa monica farmers marketpumpkins

Autumn is such a romantic time of year in my eyes. There are warm smells coming from the kitchen. There are cozy sweaters and comfy scarves. There are cuddles under blankets and snuggles to keep warm. There are steaming hot chocolates and spiced ciders. There is a crispness to the air that sharpens your step and there are colors surrounding you that set fire to your eyes.

asian pears pears

It’s the time of year for your favorite, comfiest sweater, a wooly pair of socks, and scarves for days.

It’s the time of year to put away the rosé, the crisp whites… and break out he big, full, juicy reds.

It’s the time of year to buy a big hunk of meat and roast it on low for hours and hours so the whole apartment smells like tomatoes and garlic and herbs and juices.

roustabout wine pot roast

Thanks for finally showing up, autumn. I can already tell you were worth the wait.




IMG_2999I’m sorry, it’s October?!

Somehow, this doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know what happened in these last 8 months or so that ended up with me turning in my rent yesterday with the date October 1st on it.

And the real joke is that it is still summer hot here in Los Angeles. It doesn’t at all feel like sweaters and boots. It feels like bikinis and rosé. It feels like AC blasting all night long as you sleep on top of all the sheets. And kicking your dog off the end of the bed because she is just radiating heat all over your feet. And not letting your husband even touch you because it is just –

too. damn. hot.

So while I’m yearning for all those fall colors, glasses of heavy red wines, scarves, thick socks, and cuddling to keep warm – I’ll settle with toes in the sand, listening to Tom Petty and Lou Reed and the waves crashing against the rocky sand. I’ll settle with driving almost an hour to a beach where I can watch my dog run like a mad woman into the ocean. I’ll settle with a few more cold glasses of white wine before I switch for good over to red.

But come on, fall. You’re really my favorite of the seasons.

…Now I have to admit, between starting and finishing this post I have turned the fan directly on me and found a new artist (Johnnyswim? Liking them.) who has a Christmas EP…

It’s October 2nd, 81 degrees out, and I’m adding to my Christmas playlist. Lord help me.



Hot Off the Farmer’s Market

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I survived living in Orlando, Florida for six years.

Temperatures have been stuck right around the 90 degree mark here in Santa Monica, which is perfect if you want to hang out by a pool or on a beach or something.

But when you’ve had a serious wine night with friends until about 3am the night before and you’re hanging out at the Farmer’s Market the next morning… 90 degrees hurts a little bit.

No big deal.  I just threw on my handy hangover hat and shades….

watermelon shirt

And a watermelon shirt that made me feel like it was straight up summer around here.


Brad, of course, stuck to his normal uniform.  Skinny jeans, vneck tee, Chucks.


Enough about our fashion choices.  The market was also full of produce that felt very summer-like… Continue reading

Affordable Wine Review: Bonny Doon 2013 Vin Gris De Cigare

Don’t worry.  I’m off the cocktail train for a little while.  I’m back to my beloved grapes!

Especially the ones that are affordable and delicious.  So get your wallets ready to hold on to some of that cash, and get ready for a crazy, yummy bottle of vino.

Let me clarify.  The crazy is about the actual bottle.  The yummy is about what’s inside.


I picked up a bottle of Bonny Doon’s 2013 Vin Gris de Cigare on one of our scorching hot days here in Los Angeles last week.  It was on sale for $13.99.  Bonny Doon Vineyard sounded familiar to me.  (i have since discovered that i was thinking of bounty hunter.  oops.)

It was a lovely color for a rosé, and I am always up for trying a new pink.


But wait, I have to stop myself there.  This is not just a “rosé”.  This is a Vin Gris, made in the traditional vin gris style.  If you’ll remember back when I reviewed Chateau du Campuget, I talked about how rosés were made by leaving the skins in with the juice for a limited amount of time.  With Vin Gris, the grapes are pressed and juice starts to ferment without any additional skin contact.  Because some of the grape varietals were red, their juice has a slight pink tint to it.  This is sometimes (but not in bonny doon’s case!) done first to create the Vin Gris, and then the rest of the pressing can be used with the skins to make their own red wine.

So let’s start over.

I found this lovely vin gris, so I picked up a bottle (actually two).  I head over to the counter and set my purchases on the counter.

But then I see this. Continue reading

Affordable Wine Review: Joel Gott Pinot Gris

joel gott Pinot gris

A couple of weeks ago, I grabbed a few bottles of wine while grocery shopping.  I figured I’d try something new – something affordable – and if it was any good, I’d write about it for you.

Before I even got up to pay, two different people stopped to tell me they loved one of the bottles I chose.  One of them even told me the whole Joel Gott line was incredible and I couldn’t go wrong – Cabernet to Sauvignon Blanc.

I figured I was on the right track.

But then the weather turned from summer-like back to winter, so the Pinot Gris that I picked up stayed tucked away in the fridge for a while…

…until the parents were in town and we needed a little bit of white wine to make that homemade pizza dough.  I figured we could spare a few tablespoons, and then all taste this affordable wine together.

IMG_1681 IMG_1677

Fun fact!  Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape.  They are different styles of the same wine – Pinot Grigio being the Northern Italian version that is crisp, clean, dry, and light. Pinot Gris usually refers to the style of the wine coming from the Alsace region of France, which is more rich and almost sweet – think spicy tropical fruits.  With wine made outside of these two regions, the difference between the two is simply a labeling choice.  Typically, wine makers will choose Grigio or Gris based on the style of Pinot they’ve created.

So thinking about that, and noticing the use of Gris instead of Grigio, I started tasting.  I usually like Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, OR.  Its a great growing climate for both Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir because of it’s extremely cool climate.  Joel Gott’s definitely had some sweet citrus, maybe Meyer Lemon?  I liked the floral characteristics and the really subtle peach I got, almost with a touch of creaminess that I wasn’t expecting from a bottle of wine that cost me just $10.

Then I wanted my parents’ opinions.

Both mom and dad loved the light, crisp wine.  My mom even commented that she typically doesn’t choose a Pinot Gris because she feels like it has a grit that lingers on the palate, but she didn’t get that in this wine.


would say that the wine went lovely with our homemade mozzarella and our arugula and tomato pizza, but we were on to a different bottle of wine by then.  However, I can tell you that this Pinot Gris would have – if we had another bottle or two – gone very nicely with our dinner that night.  It was crisp and clean, a tiny touch of sweet fruit, and a light acidity that would have cut right through the sweet balsamic glaze.

I also checked out the Joel Gott website to get a little more info about the winery, and found this video about this wine.  Coming straight from the winemaker, here is the Joel Gott 2012 Pinot Gris!

Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Gris 2012 from Ann Pepi on Vimeo.

The weather has been a little bipolar recently between super hot days (usually when I’m at work) and the wind, fog and cold, but I have another bottle of this Pinot Gris just waiting for my next summery day off.

Because for $10, how could you not?


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Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Mozzarella

I woke up last week and had the urge to make something crazy. For some reason, I thought that cheese would be crazy enough to satisfy my craving. Nursing our hangovers on New Years Day, Sarah found a recipe for … Continue reading