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June 11, 2016 – Kagie Wine Party

Another year and another summer tradition of the Kagie Wine Party! We missed seeing some of our DDs because of summer vacation travels, but we also introduced some new friends to “wineapalooza”.

Great food was there as usual with all the guests making some really tasty dishes to share to support Pat’s super secret and tasty meatballs. 😉 I especially loved Ann’s caprese on a stick. It was a toothpick with bite size mozarella, cherry tomato, and basil leaf all drizzled with balsamic. Perfect little bite size and refreshing as well.

This year there was a good representation of Australian Shiraz along with the regular tastings of Cab Sauv, Merlot, and white varietals. Cheese selection was extensive with lots of choices including the delectable Brilliant Savann.  

Until next year,

Salute!

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Posted by on 06/11/2016 in theme party, Wine Bar

 

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November 22, 2014 – Moore Wine Party

Moore Wine Party

Time for the annual holiday festivus-ness that is the Moore Wine Party! Kelly made sure that her screen was protected from injury by installing a large duct tape X over each one. Good thinking Kelly!

Weather was great, food was a plenty, and friends were all around for a good time.

 
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Posted by on 11/22/2014 in theme party, Wine Bar

 

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A night for bons vivants – homemade pasta and wine at VinciTorio’s

VinciTorio’s 
1835 E Elliot Rd C-109
Tempe, AZ 85284
480-820-2786
http://www.vincitoriosrestaurant.com/
Organized by Fred and Karna S.
 

The Double D’s met up again in July to experience VinciTorio’s Italian Restaurant in Tempe. And yes, I mean not just visit, but experience it. The night we visited was also the night of the dueling pianos in the wine bar (Enoteca) section of the restaurant. There are other live music offerings in the wine bar during the week – such as Sarah Vanell who we have seen before at Vintage 95 – however the dueling pianos are only once a month, so reservations are required. There is a quieter dinning side if you are not in the mood for song and dance, but trust me…you would be missing out.

We started with a bottle of 14 Hands Chardonay (Washington) for some and a bottle – then another – of Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah (Sonoma County). The Syrah was delicious and a little bit lighter, which was nice for the summer evening.

All of our entrees came with a choice of soup or salad. Surprisingly all the men chose a salad and all the ladies ordered the cream of mushroom soup, at Karna’s recommendation. The soup was tasty and quite thick and creamy with little pieces of mushrooms included.

The entrees were well-prepared classic rustic Italian dishes: Raviloi di Formaggio (four cheeses), Raviloi Carbonara (sauteed bacon), Spaghetti Bolognese, Raviloi di Zucca (butternut squash), Linguine Vongole (clams), and Gnocchi Garganico – just to name a few. What sets these dishes apart is the focus on quality. The raviloi, trofie (short rolled shells), and gnocchi are all made in-house by Mario and his team. The remainder of the pasta is imported from Italy and made fresh daily. The tomato-basil sauce on top of the cheese raviloi and the gnocchi was refreshing and flavorful as opposed to a heavy marinara sauce. There was an extra abundance of sauce on the raviloi which could probably be reduced but it was tasty all the same. The linguine with clams was quite a bit heavier than expected and it is a large portion but the white-wine broth was good. The special of the evening was chicken stuffed with cheese in a marinara sauce paired with gnocchi in a cheese sauce. It was a lot of food, but delicious. Don enjoyed the gnocchi so much that he wished he could secretly lick the plate before they whisked it away. To sum it up the food was not overly pretentious, rather it was classic dishes with simple quality ingredients that allowed you to enjoyed the meal and not overwhelm your senses.

The service was exceptional. Mario (the owner) was very visible walking around the restaurant making sure that all the guests were taken care of. Water glasses were regularly filled, dishes were cleared quickly after you were done, and question or need was quickly addressed by a courteous employee, and all this with a very packed house. You could see the staff bustling around and clearly focused on making sure that everything was taken care of. Even when we left, staff that we had not even seen before were thanking us for coming and bidding us good night. This made for a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere during the entire evening.

The dueling pianos was a special treat which was lively and entertaining. Some of the girls in our group were dancing fools and enjoying every minute while some of the guys (I’m looking at you two, Bill and Don) were in agony. They are not fans of their wives dancing and signing at the table and this just gave them the freedom to do it all night and quite loudly.

All in all, it was an extremely fun evening with singing, dancing, lots of laughter, good food and wine, and great friends. Another successful DD’s event – thanks so much Karna and Fred!

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Posted by on 07/28/2013 in Italian, Pizza, Wine Bar

 

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Vito’s Pizza & Italian Ristorante

Vito’s Mesa
1947 N Lindsay Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85213
Ph. 480.832.3311
http://vitospizza.com/
Organized by: Bill and Sarah H.
 
Welcome to 2013! We rang in the new year with a tasty visit to Vito’s in Mesa. Our group was reduced almost by half this month due to traveling and the nasty cold and flu that is affecting everyone (it seems) in the country. We missed those who could not make it and hope they are soon feeling better!
 
Saturday night is very busy and the unusally shaped parking lot gets crowded and can be hard to navigate, but we managed to make it through. Vito’s has a bar area, and outside patio, a large dinning room with booths and tables as well as a finished downstairs cellar. The Cellar is their banquest room which they use as overflow on Friday and Saturdays and honestly is a bit more quiet than the rowdy upstairs. This makes it easier to hear everyone, not by much, but still easier. The table set up was two rounds pushed together for a group of 8. This made it kind of awkward and a larger table would have been preferred but we made it work. However all that was soon forgotten as the food started to arrive. 
 
We started with the calimari (both plain and herbed) which is just lightly breaded and pleasing to the calimari fans. We also ordered the bruschetta which is served on lightly toasted bread but soft enough not to crumble into crunchy pieces and topped with fresh tomato, onion, feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
 
Tonight Pat as well as Fred’s guest, Rex, enjoyed the Seafood Lasagna made with scallops, orange roughy, shrimp, crab, mozarella and ricotta and topped with their special homemade sunrise sauce, which is a sort of blend of red and alfredo sauce. mmmmm. There was also Sausage and Peppers made with their homemade Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and marinara sauce. Fred S enjoyed it and said he enjoyed their sauce better than Pesto’s. uh oh, thems’ fightin’ words!
 
Ann enjoyed the Eggplant Marinara, which I also got to sample, but she was a little disappointed with the spaghetti on the side as it seemed a little cooler than normal. Bill and Sarah shared a Deluxe pizza, and Jay gobbled up a meat lover pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and meatballs. These Chicago style thin crust pizzas are just heavenly and can be addicting so use caution! These have the ability to inspire dancing at the table while eating. yum-o-licious.
 
Lastly we washed down dinner with a couple bottles of an Argentinian Malbec. We sampled a Cabernet from Avalon Winery in Napa but it was much too sweet for our liking. We made a good choice since Argentina delivers some great Malbecs.
 
Lastly when dinner was over, we had no tummy room but it seemed a crime to miss out on dessert. We opted to try Vito’s mini-desserts as opposed to their giant “we only came here for dessert” sizes. The mini-cannolis, with pistachio and chocolate chips, and mini-tiramisu were just enough to sample and share and a nice way to end the evening. Deliciously done, Vito’s. complimenti!
 
 
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Posted by on 01/19/2013 in Italian, Pizza

 

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Pestos Pizza and Wine Bar

Pestos Pizza and Wine Bar
1960 W Ray Rd Suite 4
Chandler, AZ
Ph 480.821.2949
http://pestospizza.com/
Organized by: Jen and Don Westhafer
 
Merry Christmas! It’s time again for the DDs holiday party and wine exchange! This year we had a theme of Scarves and Hats. You can see from the pics who chose what to wear. Please pay special attention to Ann’s “honey bee” hat for it is quite adorable.

Pestos is a favorite of many of the DDs but we have never visited there as a group, so this was a great choice for our holiday get together. We started with some appetizers which included a sampler of Stuffed Mushrooms, a special dish of figs wrapped in bacon (hello, heaven!) and tasty bruschetta.

Dinner included various dishes from lasagna, calzones, meat pizzas (hello, heartburn), and grilled chicken dishes. Pestos also does a great job with cocktails especially the Blueberry Lemondrop (pictured).

Jay and Bill again did their best to avoid the camera but Sarah was able to sneak one picture of the ever mysterious Jay-man. This evidence should sell for millions on eBay!

The wine/beer/alcohol exchange was again a fun time with some tears of loss offset with tears of joy as gifts were stolen. We missed the company of Fred and Karna but know that we will see them soon. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

apps and martini group jay and bill jay ladies

 
 

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March 24, 2012 – Vintage 95 Wine Lounge

Vintage 95 Wine Lounge
95 W Boston St
Chandler, AZ 85225
480.855.WINE (9463)
http://vintage95.com/
Organized by: Fred and Pat Kagie
 

For the Double D’s, March Madness this year doesn’t mean basketball, rather it means visiting our March dinner spot  right smack in the middle of the Chandler beer and BBQ festival. Parking took skill and quick wits, but the gold at the end of the rainbow is a nice glass of wine!

We ventured back to the same area as last month and visited a wine bar in the bustling downtown Chandler district called Vintage 95. They have a fun and decorative interior dĂ©cor and a well furnished outdoor patio. Don’t forget to take a look at the glass walled wine cellar with a beautiful chandelier and the ornate and eye-catching double door.  Jen (who is always savvy about deals) knew that they will offer you a free charcuterie “cooked cold meats” board with every bottle of wine purchase before 6pm. Naturally, we took advantage and sampled some of the available options which can be found on their market board on the wall.

Sarah and Karna split the Pear Salad which was okay, but were glad that wasn’t the entrĂ©e. The vinaigrette was more oily than vinegary and the crispy pancetta was closer to tooth busting bits.

For entrees, Ann tried the Vintage Flatbread which is a surprisingly cold dish and with enough arugula on top to feed a couple of rabbits. She was enjoying it until she tasted Jay’s dinner, the Vintage Burger, which was brimming with flavors from the Angus beef, tender belly bacon, onion straws, cheddar cheese, and chipotle thousand island sauce. The Veggie Flatbread was scrumptious with mushroom, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers and they certainly did not skimp on the cheese which was house made mozzarella. The san marzano sauce also gave it a nice flavor with a small bit of spice.

The Portabella Mushroom with tomatillo risotto and a charred tomato coulis was okay but would not make another appearance at our table. On the other hand, red rover would most certainly send the NY Strip and Pork Chop, right back over. The NY Strip was a huge piece of steak positioned atop bone marrow mashed potatoes and accompanied by red onion green beans and a rosemary red wine demi glaze. Those who enjoyed it had audible confirmations of tastiness. The Pork Chop was also delicious and consisted of a tender belly Berkshire pork chop with apple bread pudding, pancetta brussel sprouts, and a sherry beurre blanc.

While we typically opt to avoid live music so we can have conversations and get caught up with friends, Sarah Vanell provided possibly the best live music in quite some time. It was apparent that she was something amazing when she nailed the first note of Adele. Unlike amateurs who attempt (and fail miserably) to sing Adele after one or several margaritas (your truly), Sarah delighted us with a fantastic version that had a little bit of a twist to make it her own. She is a regular on Thursdays and Saturdays, and since Vintage 95 has outdoor speakers, diners can enjoy her music either indoors or out. Her link is available on the right side of our page so you can sample (and maybe purchase) some of her magical vocals.

While the menu options had both hits and misses, the atmosphere was very comfortable, the wine was very good, the service was attentive, and we got to spend time with friends. Those added together makes for another successful Double Ds!

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Posted by on 03/24/2012 in American, Wine Bar

 

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April 24, 2010 – The Living Room

The Living Room
2475 West Queen Creek Road
Chandler, AZ 85248-2808
(480) 855-2848
www.livingroomwinebar.com
 
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Posted by on 04/24/2010 in American

 

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