A food-biz friend of mine, Jared (@foodandcity), invited me to an awesome event that Union Wine Company hosted at his client’s sandwich shop (Bunk Sandwiches) to fire up some press behind their newest wine-in-a-can, a sparkling wine/champagne in a golden can.
So my buddy invited his food crew, and the PR folks behind Union Wine invited their crew, so this was a big smash up on the streets of Williamsburg with wine being served out of a vintage 1972 Citroën H Van “Tasting Truck.”
As it turned out, Salt & Straw, an ice cream company out of Portland (in fact the other two businesses also originated in Portland), was also on-site, serving up delicious, unique and inventive scoops.
So let me take these down one by one. I’ll start with the ice cream, since that was actually the first thing I tasted.
Salt & Straw
A table inside of Bunk was serving up five wildly creative flavors.
I tried them all, and I think my favorites were the marionberry habanero and the gin spiced blackberry jam. The habanero had a great kick of spice at the end, but everything was mellowed by the sweetness of the ice cream. The gin spiced blackberry jam popped with a zing of flavor from the juniper spice and the blackberry added a nice roundness and hit of sweet.
All of the ice creams are top notch quality and extremely creamy. Even the sorbet was rich, creamy and not icy like you’d expect.
You can only get this shit in the Portland and Los Angeles areas at the moment, so this was a special treat. People were freaking out to get a taste. Hopefully they will open up shop here in NYC soon.
SALT & STRAW
Los Angeles, CA
The awesome people at Bunk passed around three different food items while we sipped canned wine and sucked the ice cream off of plastic spoons. The first thing I tried was this muffuletta.
I’ve been searching for a good muffuletta sandwich in NYC since about 2008. I think I finally found it.
I first became aware of these during a trip to New Orleans, where food history indicates that they became popular among Italian immigrants in the old days. My wife and I passed by some place late at night, and I saw these giant hamburger bun looking things through the window. I thought they were giant burgers!
It turns out they were large Italian sandwiches. To be precise, these are sandwiches made with layers of various Italian meats and cheeses that are topped with an olive salad or olive spread “salsa.” All of this is then assembled upon a type of Sicilian sesame bread called muffuletta. So, yes; the sandwich is technically named after the kind of bread it’s served on. There’s also some contention about whether it is spelled “muffuletta” or “muffaletta,” apparently. But if you’re ever in NoLa, the uncontested, undisputed place to get these is called Central Grocery, and it’s right near Cafe DuMonde, which is famous for its beignets… so two birds.
Okay so Bunk makes an awesome version of this sandwich on what seemed to be a foccacia bread. So delicious. The meats were all good quality, and the olive spread was coarsely chopped with all different colors and styles of olives in the mix. So fucking good. It didn’t matter that the bread was different to me, because the flavors were all well represented.
They also served up some pork belly Cubanos.
These were both toasty and tasty! The pork belly was sliced really thin so the meat just melted in your mouth.
Last, mole tots! These tater tots were topped with a mole sauce, fresh cheese, red onions, avocado and cilantro.
Noah, the man in charge over at Bunk, referred to them as “totchos” (tot nachos, in case you suck at life). They were delicious and very inventive, which seemed to be the theme of the day given all of the unique shit I was tasting.
I definitely need to get back here for a real deal meal with my wife, not only for a muffuletta fix, but because their menu is chock full of amazing sandwiches.
740 Driggs Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Union Wine Company
And now for the wine… I tried a few sips of everything they were offering. They had a pinot gris, which was nice and dry, if that’s your thing and you like white wines. They also had a rose, which was mildly sweet, crisp and refreshing. The champagne was fun, though I am not really a champagne guy to begin with, so I may be the wrong guy to ask about that. The pinot noir was pretty good though. It was light, and had hints of cherry. But the wine cooler was actually great. At 6.5% ABV this is like a fruit beer, of sorts, made with several different fruits and herbs/spices. It tasted like blood orange or grapefruit, though those fruits were not used in making the drink.
Wine in a can is taking off! And I bet the boys from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are laughing their asses off about it. Their joke is turning into reality. Life imitates art?
UNION WINE COMPANY
19550 SW Cipole Rd
Tualatin, OR 97062