Ask Sam: Pleasure

Ask Sam: Pleasure As New Yorkers we tend to complain a lot: the expense of living here, small apartments, traffic jams. But there are reasons why we live here: the magic, the energy of people connecting from all over the world.

For example, a few weeks ago I was invited by my manager to attend a party comprised of diplomats, Prince Igor, some fashion and theatre people. The outcome, a very cool party. People sang whatever they were singing on Broadway or working on. There were belly dancers and diplomats supportive of the arts. The luxury residence welcomed both artists and politicians, big money wheeler dealers and actors in between gigs. It made for lively conversations and a feeling that comes from such an eclectic mix of guests that one could only get in this town.

There is pleasure in living here and when you experience that joy, it is pure, exhilarating and intense.

Shakespeare In the Park, Midsummer Night’s Swing, free outdoor movies in Bryant Park, free concerts in Central Park; sometimes we forget how amazing this place is.

One of the greatest simple pleasures of my life is jogging around Battery Park City. It’s so beautiful there. Running alongside the water just seems to have a special effect; a cleansing of the mind.

New York has a pleasure that is all her own. Exploring a neighborhood that one is not familiar with. Sometimes it’s like walking into another world. Discovering a speakeasy on some random street. Walking up Canal Street and then going for dim sum, a foot massage and then getting lost for amusement in Chinatown. It’s fun to safari in New York when the weather is nice. The farmers’ market in Union Square. The Hamptons. Picnics in the park. Feeling the warmth of the sun on naked flesh. The joy of living in a place where there is a big bad city and lovely pristine beaches just an hour apart from each other. Brunch with friends. Getting hot and sweaty, dancing salsa to live music in the park. The best slice of pizza. Rooftop bars. (My favorite is the rooftop bar at the Peninsula Hotel with a killer power view of Midtown that allows you to look all the way down 5th Avenue.) The pleasure of making a new friend. To know that out of eight million people, two of you found each other and connected in a meaningful way. Exploring a little of the beaten path restaurants. Restaurant Week. Fashion Week. The Armory Show. Sample Sales. Theatre. Exhibits. Events of all kinds. Tar beach barbecue. When it’s a good day here, it’s a great day. It’s a city of high highs and low lows but when you are riding the wave of a high moment, whether it’s a minute or a few years, nothing feels better. The city is its own drug.

Without breaking into song, here are a few of my favorite things.

Trysts that are so passionate the world outside disappears. The perfect cup of coffee. Mojito popsicles. Watching attractive people bare their skin. Running through summer rain. A night out dancing. The guilty pleasure of a strip aerobics class. Laughing with a friend until it hurts.Wearing a favorite pair of sexy, stiletto gold sandals. Taking oneself to the movies and having your popcorn the way you like it. A perfect cocktail. A fine wine. The anticipation of an impending good time. Spending time with a person you adore. Spending free time with oneself, not having to please anyone but oneself. Making one’s home clean and wonderful with fresh flowers and luxuriating in one’s home. Taking the time to cook a special desired meal just for oneself. A tango that leaves me breathless. Learning something new. Bubbles. Playing with other people’s pets. Taking a snooze in a hammock. New sheets! A ride in a car that has a seat warmer when it’s cold. Dishing it with friends. Dark chocolate infused with chili pepper. A day at the beach.All the little moments that bring even a fleeting pleasure, they are appreciated. Sparkling like a jeweled collar, all these pleasurable incidents in this amazing life are what we can carry in our hearts.

Ask Sam: A Wine Tasting We Go

Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux Wine Tasting

I was delighted to be invited to the Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux Wine Tasting. It was a sea of attractive people drinking fabulous wine.

When presented with the various bottles of wine, I used the “Buy Wine Now!” app to record my first impressions and overall rating of each bottle I encountered. The app is a journalist’s dreams come true! After tasting each wine, I was able to look it up very easily in the app’s wine database. My first impressions were easy to log in as well as the app has key phrases typically used to describe the flavors of wine that you can highlight and use in your notes of each particular wine.

Each wine I reviewed was placed in a list and is categorized by my overall “star” rating of it.

These are some of the wines I had the pleasure of sipping on:

Château Faizeau (2013) – 4 Stars

This wine was nice; it had a fruity, tangy finish. The export manager was a very handsome Frenchman.

Château Fombrauge (2011) – 1 Star

Not a fan– all smoke

Château Greysac (2010) – 4 Stars

A great wine for the price! For $20 you can bring a totally respectable wine to dinner.

Château La Cardonne (2010) – 2 Stars

Very cherry with a little smoke.

Château La Cardonne (2013) – 4 Stars

This one was a little juicier, not as intense as its older sister but I liked it more. I think in a few years it will be more velvety and a little fuller. All in all, I liked it very much.

Château Rollan de By (2010) – 4 Stars

I’m in love! A totally respectable wine with a little more Merlot in the blend. Really easy to drink! In fact, for $30 you can hold your head up high when bringing this to a dinner party.

Château Trianon (2010) – 5 Stars

Just glorious.

Château Trianon (2013) – 4 Stars

Love it! Round balanced and a velvety smoky finish.

Château Vray Croix de Gay (2010) – 4 Stars

A very elegant wine for $65 a bottle

Château du Parc (2011) – 4 Stars

Smoky but full bodied a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc