Simple DIY Kitchen Island-Turned Patio Table

It’s been awhile since I felt the need to build something, but when the idea strikes.. I cannot get it out of my head. Just like old times.

The Front Porch is currently going through an expansion of sorts, big changes are-a-comin! And, because of that, I had a need for a longish/skinnyish patio table. I wanted to be able to put my feet up on it, like a coffee table and Terry didn’t want to have to reach far to put her glass down. So, it needed two levels.

I consulted my old friend Google for a simple design. Countless hours of scrolling through thousands of photos later (and a new pair of reading glasses), I found a simple design that could work. Bonus, it was simple enough for me to wrap my head around. kinda like these:

 

Paint Rustic Wood Dining Table – Modern Kitchen

I wanted to re-purpose the table tops that I made for the original NOSH (Natural~Organic~Specialty~Healthy) tables we used in the store a few years ago – if you remember they were used in front of the Deli case before we moved all the NOSH into its own aisle. I just needed a base.

I almost skipped work to build it, I was pretty excited. But, I am a responsible adult, sigh. I went into work, got everything that had to be done –done, and left early.

The table was built in about 2 hours. Might’ve been quicker if I didn’t have so much help from Baby Cree.

less teal more white seemed Front Porch appropriate

Of course, I made it too tall. So, I had to take it apart, cut off its legs and put it back together. That took an additional two hours. That’s how I roll.

Whatta ya think?

Perfect for wine tasting!

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Petit Maison Chard, Lodi ~ Gray Mountain Chard, Paso Robles

Nitty Gritty Merlot, Napa ~ Luke Donald Collection Red, Napa

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2015 Petit Maison, Lodi $5.99

We started with this very pale, clear chardonnay. Larry liked the aroma, might be some citrus in there. Terry found it sweet and refreshing, but not too sweet. Arvin called it fruity, he tasted peaches. Connie said she liked it, she found it spicy and fruity. I thought it paired well the spicy cheese. Terry agreed, she said: when you’re mouth is on fire, this is real nice.

Grocery Outlet Exclusive: There are currently no on-line reviews of this Lodi Chardonnay as I believe it has been labeled for Grocery Outlet specifically. The back label reads: Cellared & Bottled by Rutz Cellars, Sebastopol, Ca. As a result, there is also no elsewhere retail price available for comparison.

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2015 Gray Mountain Cellars Chardonnay, Paso Robles $5.99

Next up, this beautiful golden pale yellow –on the clear side- Chardonnay from Paso Robles. Terry said the aroma tickled her nose. Arvin thought it was very mellow. Scott, who arrived very late so he started with this wine, said: OH, that’s nice – smooooth. Connie called it buttery and snapped a picture to remember the label for later.

3.9/5 stars from Vivino.com

From the Label: This full-bodied Chardonnay from Paso Robles, California, temps the senses with aromas of ripe melon and honeycomb, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. It’s a perfect match for soft cheeses, lobster bisque or pasta with cream sauce.

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2012 Nitty Gritty Merlot, Napa

Retail Price 20.99 ~ Grocery Outlet Price $8.99

This Napa Merlot was a dark ruby red in the glass. Larry said drinking it was like sucking on a blackberry. Scott thought it was very smooth and dry, but not bitter. Arvin agreed. Connie said: even a Chardonnay drinker likes this red.

86 points from Cellartracker.com

From the WineMaker: Delicate tannins and rich acidity. Aromas of barrel spice and dark cherries. FOOD PAIRING: Hearty lasagna, pork-stuffed mushrooms

http://www.nittygrittywines.com/

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2012 Luke Donald Collection Red, Napa

Retail Price $29.99 ~ Grocery Outlet Price $9.99

I took the advice of an on-line reviewer and decanted this baby for about 45 min -1 hour before serving. Arvin found this Napa red blend to have a good nose and nice legs. Larry said it was oaky and he tasted tobacco. He said he doesn’t care for oaky. Arvin said he does, it’s oaky and I like it! I always love a red blend, but especially when it’s dry. Great paired with dark chocolate and also with sharp aged cheese. I loved it. 43% Merlot, 43%Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot.

91 Points from WineMag.com (Wine Enthusiast Magazine)

WineMag Review #1: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are equally represented in this soft, robust blend that also includes smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Juicy blackberry and plum combine with dusty, integrated tannin, as a length of dark cherry and sage weave in and out.

WineMag Review #2: This is a well-balanced wine with excellent structure. I’m tasting it in January 2018 and I find that with a little aeration a lot of lovely fruit emerges. Lots of concentrated berries but not in any way jammy. The structure is clean, focused and the tannins very present. This is an excellent food wine.

Luke Donald Collection

Luke Donald plays an active role in crafting the wines that bear his name. His personal involvement in the blending makes the wines original and unique; wines that best reflect his own personality and style. Luke’s personal style is also reflected in the non-traditional, contemporary labels, which connect with today’s luxury wine consumers. For wine drinkers who share Luke’s passion for culture and competitive spirit, LDC delivers wines from Napa Valley that reflect Luke’s own sense of style, taste and artistic expression. Legendary balls ;^)

 

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Golf for Gals

Is there such a thing as spending too much time with your spouse?

For YEARS Steve has been trying to get me to take golf lessons. Now, just for a point of reference, I should explain that we are always together. We live together (obviously) and we work together. Most men would enjoy some time to themselves on the golf course. I have enjoyed his golf time as the best time to start DIY projects as he is not around to object. You remember my dog house/bar project.

So, as it turns out, him AND his golf buddies (all Front Porch Wine Tasters, of course) thought it was a good idea for us wives to take lessons. Well, we finally did it this week.

Five of us signed up for lessons. Check out these lovely ladies:

golf 1

From left to right, Terry, Kerri & Carol

not pictured: Misty (who has lessons a different day due to work) Boo. And me ‘cause I’m taking the pic 🙂

Our first lesson was all about putting. Great. I really suck at miniature golf. So bad that I have actually picked up my ball and threw it into that freakin windmill and I still didn’t make it. Miniature golf is all putting. Sigh.

The instructor was pretty good though. She gave us some great tips and I even made a couple long(ish) puts.

The girls and I decided we’d have to practice during the week. That was fun, but I had to borrow Steve’s putter. Afterward, he decided to get me my own. In the shop at the course they had a real cute set of ladies clubs. Used, so they were a good price. Steve checked out the driver and said they weren’t for me. Why? Who knows.

Man, did he regret not getting the cheap set. He took me to a fancy golf store and we checked out all the putters. There were so many different kinds. I picked one that felt right, plus it was super cute. Steve tried to suggest others, but I’d already found my putter.

golf 4

I love the matte copperyness of it

The next lesson is chipping, so we thought we’d get a chipper too (probably not what it’s called). The salesman showed us a few, but I thought it should match the putter. So I picked it out. Bonus, it was on clearance! At the register, I asked if they had any coupons and I’m pretty sure I heard the guy roll his eyes, but hey, this girl loves a bargain.

golf 5

Turns out though, I have expensive taste. Steve told me on the way home that I choose the most expensive brand. I asked him, “why didn’t you tell me?” He said he tried.

He just might regret this after all.

golf 2

UPDATE: I won’t be getting any more new clubs, I’m gonna use Steve’s old hand-me-down irons & woods

Cheers!

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golf 11

~ Figueira White Wine ~ Chateau Julien Chardonnay ~

~ Chateau Julien Merlot ~ Obscured Red ~

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golf 7

2014 Barao De Figueira White Wine, Portugal

Elsewhere price $7.99 Our ~ Price $3.99 ~ You Save 50%!

This slightly sweet white blend felt kinda sparkly to me. Arvin declared it a good wine and Ethan thought his wife Barbara would like it. Larry liked the taste but didn’t care for the bubbliness, Scott agreed. Terri thought the effervescence was a nice surprise.

3/5 stars from Vivino.com: Great value white wine, typical of a Portuguese white, peach fruit, citrus aroma with tart green leaf acidity, has an element of Muscat on the palate too, but without any of the associated cloying sweetness. I’d buy this again for an afternoon of savoury light bites on the terrace reading the Sunday papers.

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golf 6

1014 Chateau Julien Chardonnay, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $10.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 55%!

Terri found this chardonnay very smooth. Arvin added, ‘silky’. Steve thought it tasted vanilla-y. Larry didn’t immediately speak up, but after a couple tastes said it’s growing on him.

Tasting notes from WineLibrary.com: Aromas of white peach, pear and lemony citrus are complemented with notes of toasted vanilla on the palate

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golf 10

2014 Chateau Julien Merlot, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $14.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 67%!

Larry commented that this merlot has a pretty good tobacco aroma, and he liked the fruity taste. Scott said he really liked this, not too dry – soft but not sweet. I found it to be very light. I noticed that Larry and Scott both had a second glass, Scott said it was his favorite of the night. It is ready to drink now.

Tasting notes from UltimateWineShop.com: Forward fruit aromas of ripe plum, cherry and soft raspberry balance mild tannins and a hint of cedar. A full bodied palate with complexity through the finish.

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golf 8

2014 ObscuRed Dark Red Wine Blend, Napa

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $3.99 ~ You Save 77%!

Arvin thought this dry, full bodied dark red blend tasted like dark chocolate, Ethan agreed. I tasted black cherries, it was a very smooth drinkable blend. Arvin had a second glass and said, “I like this chocolate wine’.

4/5 stars from Vivino.com: A surprisingly good red blend from napa, good flavor and drinkability

 

Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Wine

Never is a wine choice more important than when you are bringing it to Thanksgiving Dinner with new people, like future In-Laws or even new friends & co-workers. Or worse, serving a wine at your first try at cooking Thanksgiving for your In-Laws. It’s like you’re on stage screaming, ‘Please judge me on the bottle of wine I brought.”  Or, maybe you’ve just struggled over the years with finding wines that are just ok with turkey – and now you’re ready for something better.

That’s why people Google wine reviews and that’s why I’ve been drinking my way through the wine department one bottle at a time. Just for you. Your welcome.

So, based on all the information on the internet, I can deduce that ALOT of people have trouble pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. I weeded through all the information available on the subject so you don’t have to, here is the simplified info that’ll help you get compliments on your wine choice this year:

 

What Wine Goes With Turkey?

Courtesy: Thumbs Up Wine Food Pairing

To help ease the stress of the holiday, here are some recommendations for wines that will make you the toast of the table:

22222 chard

2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay – Oaky – $7.99 ($24.99 elsewhere)

2013 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay – UnOaked – $4.99 ($16.99 elsewhere)

  • Chardonnay is always a safe bet. A fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, go for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy. ~source

22222 blends

Rocks! Stepping Stone North Coast Blends

2012 Red Blend – $3.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

2013 White Blend – $3.99 ($17.99 elsewhere)

  • Blended Reds – These are blended to take the best qualities of different grapes and make them compatible with a variety of foods. You will generally find Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Shiraz in the blend. ~source
  • White Blends – These often pair well with a number of dishes, and can please those who like both sweet and dry wines. ~source

22222 pinot

2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($18.99 elsewhere)

2013 Passages Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($19.99 elsewhere)

  • Pinot Noir – The Go-To red wine for the perfectly roasted turkey. Pinot Noir is the darling choice for poultry as a light red wine. Since the US just had 2 awesome vintages in a row (2012–2013), you’ll luck out on value Pinot Noir this year. ~source

22222 rhone

2012 Abbeycourt Cotes-Du-Rhone Reserve – France – $5.99 ($13.99 elsewhere)

  • Rhone – If you’re having smoked turkey, choose this bolder red. The smoked turkey flavors are rich and somewhat sweet. You’ll need a stronger wine to hold up to it. The combination of 3 varieties, –Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre,– make up the blend. Because of the mishmash of varieties, you’ll taste both red and black fruit flavors and find a range of medium to full-bodied flavor. These wines are a perfect match for a rich piece of meat because of their complexity. And yet, they are still light enough for poultry. ~source

22222 zin

2011 Gusher Zinfandel – Lodi – $3.99 ($12.99 elsewhere)

2013 Cline Zinfandel – California – $3.99 ($9.99 elsewhere)

  • Zinfandel – This is the classic turkey pairing wine for 2 reasons: for one, it’s a variety with a long history in America and two, the flavors of raspberry and sweet tobacco are an ideal match for rich darker or smoked turkey meat. It also will do great alongside a honeybaked ham. Zinfandel tends to be much more fruit-forward which is why is does well with sweet meat. The best Zinfandels generally hail from these 5 regions: Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Barbara and the Sierra Foothills. ~source

22222 sangi

2010 Gergenti Sangiovese – Sicily, Italy – $9.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

  • Sangiovese – Love bone-dry savory wines? From Tuscany and Umbria, Sangiovese-based wines have notes of tomato, cherry and leather along with an earthy note of terra-cotta. Expect tingling acidity and moderately high tannin that will compliment homemade gravy like a dream. The original Sangiovese wines were very rarely aged in oak which means they’ll be anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, they are a savory wine lover’s dream. The 2010 vintage was awesome for Sangiovese. ~ source