So a mushroom walks into a bar…

We’ve had a mild winter (sorry, Northeast folks), and it’s already starting to take a springish turn here. The frogs are out and singing, and today, when I was out walking with my dad, I spotted my first mushrooms of spring. Naturally, I had to stop and take a photo.

mushrooms around branch

I think this is turkey tail. It’s very pretty, and almost hypnotic the way is swirls around the branch.

Or two.

mushrooms at base of tree

These lovelies were nestled at the base of a cedar tree.

Okay, much more than two. Fungus is very photogenic. (Or maybe I’m just my mother’s daughter.)

mushrooms on log

More (possible) turkey tails. As much as I like mushrooms, I’m not up on all the varieties.

I’m a moss girl, so it’s fitting that towards the end of our walk, I saw this beauty:

mossy fungus

Moss, stums, and mushrooms. Three of my favorite things!

February is normally one of my toughest months. By the time it comes around, I’m done with the gray and the rain and the dark, but as I mentioned, we’ve had a mild winter. Our fall wasn’t too bad, either. So far, this February has been, dare I say it, pleasant.

But I’m still excited for spring.

Wine Review: Northwest Cellars 12th Man Viognier

a toast to the Seahawks

Wine totally goes with Super Bowl pizza, especially when it’s 12th Man wine. GO HAWKS!

So. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. And since I live in Seahawks country, I am obligated to tune in. Okay, the for real true story is that I fully intended to follow the Hawk’s performance through my neighbor’s fireworks, Facebook, and Twitter, but then my parents invited me over for pizza, and mom said I should make honey walnut ricotta baked apples for them, and then I saw 12th Man wine in the grocery store, and. Well. I know my own personal version of Beast Mode when I see it.

I told my parents I’d happily come eat pizza, watch the Hawks trounce the Patriots (I know; it’s tied at halftime, but GO HAWKS!), and make baked apples if they’d do a special Brown Family Review of Northwest Cellars’ 12th Man wine, To further encourage mom’s participation, I even opted for the white.

This is a 2012 Viognier, hone grown in Washington (specifically Upland Vineyards at Snipes Mountain, in the Yakima region). Now, I am not a huge fan of whites, and Viogniers are hit and miss for me. This one’s a miss for me. All I can taste is the alcohol.

Luckily, my parents are around to pick up the slack for me. Here’s what mom has to say:

It truly compliments my pizza…yes, I would drink it again.

And dad:

I think it has a nice aroma, and the first taste is slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so. It has a fruity taste to me, and it has a nice finish, no unpleasant aftertaste at all.

Like mom, my dad would have it again.

The pizza, for the record, was bacon, black olives, and mushrooms. I can see why mom, who likes whites more than I do, said it compliments the pizza. The sharpness of it was effective at cutting through the lingering (yummy) taste of bacon.

End result: if you’re a fan of sweeter whites, this might be a good try. As for me, I think I’ll be sticking to late harvest Viogniers.

And if the Hawks make it to the Super Bowl next year? That will be an excuse to try the 12th Man red. 😀 GO HAWKS!

Wine Review: Fish Eye 2013 Merlot

One of the shows I’m enjoying this season is Fox’s Gotham, because I have a weakness for All Things Batman. And over the course of this season, I’ve developed a weakness for one of the main antagonists, Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith.

(I may also have a weakness for All Things Jada Pinkett Smith.)

(I definitely have a weakness for smart, scheming women looking to head up criminal empires. And when they look as fabulous as Fish Mooney and have sidekicks like Butch, hello special place in my heart.)

Without being too spoilery, I knew coming into this week’s episode that I might need some wine-infused courage.

(Yes, Fish, I feel the same way.)

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to try a new-to-me wine. Either way, I was on the lookout at the grocery store this weekend, and Fish Eye’s 2012 Merlot all but jumped off the shelf at me. I mean, really. It was a sign from the DC-FOX gods, or something. (And also, the bottle was under $10. That’s two and a half mochas, which made it an even easier sell. But I digress.)

Fish Eye Merlot

I can see Fish Mooney giving folks the fish eye with a glass of this in hand.

Fish Eye wines come out of south eastern Australia. I haven’t had a lot of Australian wines (south eastern or otherwise), so I can’t say how this Merlot compares to others from the region. I can say that this one tastes young. It’s got an up front bite that’s harsh and a bit hard for me to get past. The tasting notes say ripe plum, currants, and a nose of smoky oak. I can definitely smell that. In fact, the wine smells delicious. So delicious, that I’d like to snag another bottle and stick it in the back of the pantry for another year or two to see if the taste mellows out a bit, because with a little less up front bite, this would most likely be one of those wines I’d regularly have on hand.

This is a wine you want to let breathe (and breathe), and one to have with food. I had it with some cream of mushroom soup while watching Gotham, and I think it would have gone better with something more substantial, like a nice roast beef or a thick slice of meatloaf, or even lasagna with lots and lots of garlicy red sauce. Basically, food with a lot of bite on its own, so the bite of the wine feels refreshing.

Fish Eye has a number of other wines, all at affordable prices, so I’ll be tasting my way through their offerings. I’m particularly interested in their Pinot Noir. Merlots will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first varietal I realized I liked when I started tasting wines, but it’s not one of my current go-to favorites. That may have worked against this Fish Eye.

On the other hand, that harsh up front bite was a good pairing with the Gotham episode. 😉

(Oh, Fish Mooney! I do adore you!)

Animated gifs from & Fox TV, both found on

Like a Precious

Short post, because it’s Friday, which means it’s #WriteClub night on Twitter, and @FriNightWrites on Twitter does wonders for my mood and word count when I actually participate for more than two sprints.

But I can’t resist making a quick post. I like reading Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds, even though I never comment. (I am a natural hermit.) He posted a flash fiction challenge today that’s an X meets Y mashup, which. Hello. Yes. I have a lot of fun imagining fandom mashups. So I had to pull up a random number generator to at least see what I could have fun imagining.

I got Lord of the Rings meets True Grit.

Wait, no, I didn’t type that right. PEOPLE! I GOT LORD OF THE RINGS MEETS TRUE GRIT!

The instructions are to smash them together and see what original story squishes out, and maybe I’ll get there, but right now, I’m in crossover fanfic mode and imagining Mattie Ross as a most peculiar hobbit, Rooster Cogburn as a crusty old dwarf, and LaBoeuf as an elf, and I don’t care that I haven’t gotten much further than that. Because I keep coming back to Mattie Ross as a steely-eyed hobbit on a mission, and I wants it. Like a precious.

So, hi. Happy Friday! May you find something that gives you a similar bolt of joy.