Archive for Kennett Square


Posted in Info on Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by ballymote

Lots of little events to mention and it’s been awhile since I did this, so here goes. First, it was very sad to hear that Bryan Sikura and Aimee Olexy, the dynamic duo that made Talula’s Table in Kennett Square, PA, the ultimate Delaware Valley BYOB, have split up. The rumors had been prevalent for months but a front page article in this past Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer gave all the sordid details. In fact, I felt it may have gone a little too far. Suffice to say, recent diners are saying that Talula’s continues to shine and gives every indication it’s popularity will continue going forward. We certainly wish both Bryan and Aimee the very best and ideally, if it’s meant to be, perhaps they can find again what they once had.

Another loss, of a totally different nature took place yesterday when the Robert Parker Wine Board closed it’s internet doors to all but paid subscribers. For years it had been a source of great reading on every possible aspect of wine, food and travel. It was a place you could count on to hear first of new wines, wine regions, and opinions of all types. Henceforth, it will cost $99 a year to take part in the dialogue or even read what others have written. It feels like I have lost a friend as I spent many hours enjoying that board.

Saturday, May 8th, the Ninth Annual Philadelphia Wine Festival will take place at the Marriott Hotel. This is an excellent opportunity to sample lots of great wines and enjoy foods from local restaurants. If I were not doing a photography assignment at a friend’s wedding, I would be there myself. Tickets are $125.00 per person or $225.00 for early admittance which allows you to enter 90 minutes early when the REALLY good wines are offered. Here are the details:

Philadelphia magazine and The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Present The 9th Annual Philadelphia Wine FestivalSaturday May 8, 2010 The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Over 150 of the world’s finest winemakers and winery representatives will be pouring their wine at a GrandTasting and an exclusive VIP Tasting.  At the VIP Tasting, guests will sample vintages of some of the most prestigious wineries from around the world in a more exclusive environment than the Grand Tasting. Winery representatives will include winemakers, presidents, and brand ambassadors, all available and interested in discussing your thoughts on their wines. Includes Grand Tasting Admission. $5 Processing fee per order. Admission is limited.    Philadelphia Wine Festival VIP Admission Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 5:00 PM.

Where: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown


When: 5:00pm Sat 5.08.10



The recent earthquake in Chile not only brought death and destruction to the people and structures of the country but it also proved devastating to the Chilean wine industry. The 6.9 tremblor resulted in a loss of over 100 million bottles and an estimated loss of as much as 30 BILLION to the country’s economy.

Wine from Chile has gained great acceptance in this country and despite the tremendous loss, sources say, there will be no noticeable shortage of these wines on the shelves at your local wine shop. The main wine producing region of Chile, the Casablanca Valley, was spared and only small losses were experienced there. The Maule Region was hit the hardest with an approximate 12% of their wine destroyed during the quake.


Now that I have been there and loaded up on my own supply I can tell you that the wine pictured on the right, The 2008 Pillar Box Red, one of the great QPR (Quality/Price Ratio) wines of all time, is available while supplies last at your neighborhood PA State Stores as a Chairman’s Selection at the ridiculous price of $6.99 a bottle. This wine normally sells (and currently sells in most NJ wine outlets) for $12.99 a bottle and that is not a bad buy. You can spend $12.99 for a lot of lesser wines than this one. If I were you, I’d stop reading this nonsense right now and hurry over to your nearest State Store while this yummy juice is still available.


Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Philly BYOB Reviews, Talula's Table, Wine Dinners with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by ballymote

Conde Nast Magazine called Talula’s Table “the toughest restaurant reservation in America”. It is ranked #3 in difficulty by GRUB Magazine; ahead of the prestigious French Laundry in Napa, CA. It is without question the toughest BYOB to reserve and more importantly, it is worth the effort. Talula’s Table is a  world-class dining pics 020

It’s been 8 months now since our November 7th, 2008 dinner but the memory lingers on and I wanted to get my thoughts on paper before age began to color them. Before I tell you how I managed to get a reservation let me give you some background on Talula’s Table.

First of all, it is just what it’s name says it is, a table, a single table that seats 12 people. It is located in the back of  a store selling gourmet specialty foods such as cheeses, sausages, fresh pastries, home-made salads, breads and olive oils. They can make you a quick lunch or you can order entire meals to go. At 7PM the store closes and attention is focused on the lone dining table in the rear. Chef/owners/friends/lovers/spouses Brian Sikura and Aimee Olexy who previously owned the super- popular Philly hot spot, Django are responsible for this culinary wonderland.  The food and presentation are top notch. The menu is seasonal and changes about every 6 weeks.IMG_0876

When we dined there on November 7th of last year my wife Kathy and I were joined by five other couples, some from PA and some from NJ. For us Jersey residents it was almost a 90 minute trek out to Kennett Square.  I did not make notes on either the food or the wine but I have recently noticed that a gentleman named David McDuff who publishes a blog titled “McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail” dined at Talula’s a few days after we did and posted an excellent review of the meal, which featured the exact same menu as ours. It makes for an interesting read. I do remember we had some nice German Rieslings (Spatlese), A few Pinot Noirs from Oregon, O’Reilly’s was one of them and the Chateau Souverain Cabernet. All of them complimented the meal nicely.IMG_0873 We spent a good four hours enjoying the 8 course menu, each dish enthusiastically explained by the knowledgeable server. The total bill, with tax and gratuity was $125.00 per person. It was well worth the cost and all of us look forward to one day duplicating what was a thoroughly wonderful dining experience.

Here is how our reservation came about. I had called Talula’s in the summer of 2007 and was told they were booked for the rest of the year but would resume taking reservations on the first working day of January of 2008. On January 3rd, 2008 I came home from work at 5:30 AM and stayed up until the 7AM stated time when they would accept calls. I began dialing, and dialing and hitting re-dial while almost falling asleep, saved only by the irritating sound of the busy signal as I competed against other insane “foodies”. I was about to give up when an actual female voice said “Thank you for calling Talula’s”. My first response to her was “I have to be nuts to be doing this.”. She laughed and said “ will really enjoy the dinner, trust me.” I then received the next earliest opening which was over 10 months away. It was worth the wait.’s almost 7AM, I wonder if I called today…..that meal was really good….IMG_0875