A Toast to Taylor

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wine tastings are always fun in my opinion, but one that I attended Tuesday night was especially sweet because the proceeds went to a cause that's near and dear to my heart. A Toast to Taylor raised money for Taylor's Tale, a Charlotte-based non-profit committed to raising awareness and funds to find a cure for Batten disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects children. In particular, Taylor's Tale was founded in honor of the now almost 11-year-old Taylor King who is fighting the disease.

Taylor really is an inspiration to all those around her. Even though Batten disease has robbed her of her vision among other things, she continues to participate in Girls on the Run, completing two recent 5Ks with the help of a running buddy (read a post by the founder of Girls on the Run about Taylor here). And she still dreams of growing up and becoming a fashion designer or pop singer - depending on what day of the week you happen to ask her.

Taylor and her sister, Laura, after Taylor finished the Jingle Jog 5K
in Charlotte this December.
Photo Source: Taylor's Tale

A Toast to Taylor is just one of many events that Taylor's Tale has put on in recent memory to fuel the fight against Batten disease with others including a group exercise class, a poolside BBQ and a springtime celebration. The planning of future fundraising events is in the works, so be sure to check the calendar of events on www.TaylorsTale.com soon! You could also become a fan of Taylor's Tale on Facebook or follow Taylor's sister's blog to find out about upcoming events and initiatives. Or, if you're interesting in supporting the charity financially, you can make a donation by clicking here. Cheers to the supporters of Taylor and Taylor's Tale!

Wine Tasting and Tapas Notes

Tuesday's wine tasting benefit was held at Las Ramblas, a delicious Spanish tapas bar in Charlotte. The five wines selected were a nice sampling with each of the blends carrying a very distinct and unique flavor. The line up was as follows:
1. Kenwood Pinot Gris
2. Angoves Viognier
3. Hess Chardonnay
4. Robertson Merlot
5. Natura Cabernet Sauvignon
My favorites were definitely the Pinot Gris and, above all, the Cabernet. The Cabernet tasted of chocolate and cherries; the wine had a very smooth, full-bodied flavor. It definitely would be great paired with a chocolate dessert. The Pinot Gris was lighter, carrying notes of tartness along with a citrus flavor. Even the Chardonnay was good; instead of the traditional oaky, buttery taste, it held hints of green apple, vanilla and peach.

Enjoying a Toast to Taylor with friends!
Photo Source: Self

As for the tapas, the Las Ramblas Sliders (skewered marinated lamb with a mint yogurt sauce) and the Crab Stuffed Picollo Peppers were standouts with the Queso de Cabra Frita, fried goat cheese with almonds, roasted garlic and quince honey, as another notable dish. The paella wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped, but the dessert more than made up for this shortcoming. Testing out my recent infatuation with Tres Leches Cake first experienced at the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, the dessert passed the test a second time. The sweet, caramel soaked cake was too-good-to-be true although it could have done without the mile-high layer of icing. I also nibbled on a piece of Tosta de Chocolate, a tasty and unlikely pairing of chocolate, salt and baguette, which turned out to be quite good and disappeared right before our eyes!

The honey, almond and garlic sauce that accompanied
Queso de Cabra Frita added balance and gave the dish a unique flavor.
Photo Source: Self

Verdict: Las Ramblas has a fun, laid-back atmosphere that's perfect for post-work drinks and appetizers. While the food is an Americanized version of real Spanish tapas, the variety of options, and above all, the company make it well worth the while. Be sure to save room for dessert!

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