What we are up to

Our favorite red wines under $20!

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Photo edited using #abeautifulmess app.

Sophie and I, along with two of our gal pals, tested 3 different red wines priced at <$20.  These consisted of two Pinot Noirs and 1 Cabernet.

Pinot # 1: Francis Ford Coppolla Pinot Noir

  • What we saw: brownish in color, fairly translucent
  • What we smelled: floral, high acidity
  • What we tasted: blackberry, currant, cherry
  • What our tongues told us: dry, acidic, tart finish
“More like a Zinfandel in flavor and smell.”
Consensus: Nothing special and probably not worth the price. Would try something else next time.

Cabernet: Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon

  • What we saw: deep purple in color
  • What we smelled: spice
  • What we tasted: no one could decide…just “spice”
  • What our tongues told us: velvety mouthfeel, silky
“Spicy, but unsure of the spice.”
Consensus: Full-bodied red. Would definitely recommend! This wine can stand on it’s own. It would also be great paired with a rich and creamy blue cheese, or nice steak dinner.
Pinot # 2: Smoking Loon Pinot Noir

  • What we saw: rich, deep purple in color
  • What we smelled: heavy body, fruity
  • What we tasted: tobacco, fruit
  • What our tongues told us: heavy bodied with lots of flavor, easy finish
“Soooo good!  Can I have another glass, please?”
Consensus: Definitely worth another purchase!  Who needs food to pair when you have a bottle this good?  🙂
Smoking Loon was the winner in our book!  Everyone agreed that it was pleasant, very drinkable, and tasted of higher quality (considering it was less than 20 bucks)!
Have a comment on these 3?  Let us know your thoughts?

Have a recommendation of wines under $20 that we should know of?  Leave a comment below!

-xo Zooey


Cafe Sorriso – Woodley Park, DC

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At first glance, Cafe Sorriso in Woodley Park, not far from the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington, D.C.,  doesn`t look like much. Located under a consignment boutique and down the street from the Omni, it`s sort of a simple cafe in an area that contradicts itself.  The quarkiness of Adams Morgan + the classy feeling that always accompanies an Italian restaurant works in Cafe Sorriso`s favor!


The decor appeared minimal upon first walking in, but I was surprised to find that the “little details” were anything but boring: spray-painted brick bar (multi-colored), brightly colored chairs that reminded me of the hues that are used in caribbean or beach neighborhoods, and large but simple light fixtures (see pics below).





I must confess, we only went for drinks – but we were happily surprised to find an array of Italian wines (I settled on a nice Chianti) by the glass and several cocktails native to Italy, such as a bellini and spritz.

The food menu included the usuals: gnocchi, ragu di carne, spaghetti carbonara.  But there were some surprises thrown in there, such as homemade potato chips and organic cannellini bean hummus!

For dessert, they serve up fresh gelato and typical italian cookies (homemade) such as biscotti.

The atmosphere was chill and the service was great (the waitress gave us the happy hour prices, though we were 2 hours early).  I`d recommend this as a great little lunch spot or even dinner with a friend.  Not a place for romantic dates (lack of ambience) or for screaming children (too small of an area).

For more info, visit cafesorriso.com.

This weekend…

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Stay tuned for some scrumptious dessert recipes from Sophie and dets on Zooey`s visit to Catoctin Creek Distillery! (We love our whiskey and sweets!)

Shoes, Cup and Cork- Leesburg, VA

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Shoes, Cup and Cork is a cozy little cafe in downtown Leesburg.
Loved the decor, very warm and inviting.


The staff  was friendly. The food was simple, fresh and satisfying. One of the best Caffe Americanos I’ve had! Great little spot for a date or just coffee with a friend, I’ll definitely be visiting again.



For menu, hours, and info: shoescupandcork.com

Half-price bottles of wine in Sterling!

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Every Tuesday night at Hooked on Seafood in Sterling!

  • Decent wine selection (for a sushi joint)
  • Nice patio (but bring your jacket)
  • If you don`t want to brave the autumn breeze, sit inside at the large bar!  Separate from the sushi bar so you aren`t drinking in front of dead fish 😉

The Phillips Collection

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The Phillips Collection
1600 21st St NW
Washington, D.C., 20009
(202) 387-2151

My gal pal Rachel and I needed an art fix last Sunday, so we headed to The Phillips Collection in DC.  A short walk from the DuPont Circle Metro stop, America`s first modern art museum is nestled in the midst of a too-cute-to-be-real residential area.  The most surreal thing for us both was seeing Van Gogh`s paintings up close for the first time!  Also saw works from Edvard Munch, a curious dude indeed.  If you have time, stop by…admission is only $12 for adults! www.phillipscollection.org/