The Momofuku director of wine special projects knows how to party.
In our series, Liquid Diet, a professional drinker journals every sip of one beverage-packed week. Here, sommelier Jordan Salcito, director of wine special projects at Momofuku and creator of Ramona, the delicous Sicilian sparkling wine and ruby grapefruit spritzer in a can, documents a week of tequila cocktails in the Hamptons, Champagne at The Pool, and birthday grand cru Burgundy.
7:30 a.m. I am jolted awake by our 18-month-old son, who sits up in his crib requesting “Mama” and “Papa” with increasing volume and frequency. Within a few minutes I’ve extracted myself from bed: I’m on Henry duty this morning.
It’s a gorgeous Sunday, and we’re staying at a friend’s house in East Hampton. Henry and I amble to the kitchen. I make a bottle of milk for him and a cup of Earl Grey tea with honey for myself. I try to convince him to eat sliced fruit in addition to the Breadzilla blueberry scone we bought yesterday that he’s currently inhaling. When I notice his enthusiasm for breakfast wane, I make a second cup of tea before indulging his request to go exploring outside. We meander in the backyard and investigate some brightly-colored pool toys, stray tennis balls, a blueberry bush, an abandoned garden and a swing set before he leads us both back inside.
8:15 a.m. My husband Robert (Bohr of Charlie Bird) wakes up and makes a pot of coffee. I’ve ambitiously signed up for a spin class at 8:30, which means Henry and Robert will have some bonding time and I can indulge in a deeply needed workout fix. I am like a dog that needs to be walked. During class, I drink two full bottles of water.
9:45 a.m. Back at the house I have a cup of Harmless Harvest coconut water.
2:40 p.m. As a Plan B, we drive toward Montauk to The Surf Lodge, which, misleadingly, is situated on the shore of a small murky pond. No one is surfing. We negotiate with the manager who agrees to let us order lunch, even though it appears to be just past the cut-off when we arrive. I order a Paraiso cocktail with Avión tequila, cucumber and lime, plus a small bottle of San Pellegrino to accompany my fish tacos. We order a watermelon juice for Henry, and I have a sip.
3:45 p.m. While in Montauk we visit our friend TJ, who has a beachfront house and a daughter who is Henry’s age. He opens a bottle of 2014 François Mikulski Meursault 1er Cru Poruzots, which we drink while eating sliced Frog Hollow Farm peaches. This pairing is unconventional but delicious.
4:30 p.m. Back in the car, I combat dehydration by polishing off a bottle of Poland Spring water. Henry starts napping and I catch up on emails. We stop at Balsam Farms for some tomatoes and a few staples for the morning.
5:00 p.m. We’re home, and I make a cup of peppermint tea before starting to prepare Henry’s dinner.
8:30 p.m. Friends of ours are celebrating their one-year anniversary with a Full Moon party at their home in Sag Harbor. Before heading over, we dine with friends at Highway Restaurant & Bar. I start with a Hot on the Highway—a spicy tequila cocktail with Lillet, mezcal and lime. It’s delicious, so I have another. We drink a stunning bottle of 1985 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques with the entrées. On our drive to Sag Harbor, we listen to Jay-Z’s new album and try to unpack the lyrics to the title track 4:44. That song is raw, transportive and emotionally dense.
10:20 p.m. We arrive at the party and need a minute to readjust. The ocean crashes in the background and Jeff Bell and Auriela Nossa are making cocktails in front of the sea. I opt for a tequila-watermelon and lime situation and after a sip, know I’ve made the right choice.
11:40 p.m. By now I’ve had a lot of cocktails, so I have a chamomile tea. A few of the partygoers cannonball off a dock and into the ocean. When guests say goodnight and we head back home, we listen to the song Kill Jay Z and I’m grateful for this album. It’s vulnerable and introspective, things that rap albums usually aren’t. Jay-Z is a good therapist.
Before bed I have a few glasses of water and fall right to sleep.
8:30 a.m. I share a Balsam Farms green juice with Henry and have a chai tea. Robert makes a pot of Illy coffee, and I have half a cup. Our nanny is with us, so I ambitiously try to take a members-only exercise class in a studio where I’m not a member. Once that plan is foiled, and once the forecast predicts torrential rains, we decide to drive back to New York. Cleaning out the fridge, I stumble upon a turmeric juice shot I’d purchased earlier that weekend. I down in quickly and we leave.
2:15 p.m. Robert gets hungry and suggests stopping in Williamsburg since it’s en route to our home. We go to Diner, where everyone else orders a show-stopping burger and I lamely order a homely plate of sturgeon-flecked scrambled eggs. We drink warm mugs of George Howell single origin Costa Rican coffee and temper its bitterness with organic raw milk. All coffee is not created equal. This one is up at the top.
5:30 p.m. The rest of the day I drink alternating glasses of water and mint tea. I skip wine with dinner – it’s a grind-it-out-at-the-computer kind of night where I stay up until midnight knocking out emails. Then Robert gets home and we watch Game of Thrones. He opens a bottle of Roumier Chambolle-Musigny and I have a small glass because it would be criminal to turn down Roumier.
6:08 a.m. Henry's up and I'm happy to take early duty today. Tomorrow I’m going to crash—multiple days of early mornings and late nights aren’t sustainable. But for the moment I drink a tall glass of Poland Spring water and head into the day.
7:00 a.m. Henry and I share the last half of yesterday’s Balsam Farms green juice, which managed to survive the drive home. I’m thrilled and surprised that it’s still green and still excellent. I accept this gift of delicious day-old-green juice from the universe.
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. I’m back at the computer alternating between Mariage Frères Paris Breakfast Tea and water. My co-worker at Ramona, Brette, is at Blackberry Farm today so a lot of my work involves setting up meetings for the following week and plowing through emails.
2:30 p.m. I head to Momofuku Ko, swinging by the park where Henry is playing with his friend posse. But first, I strategically walk through SoHo and up Mott Street, where I pick up a quick Hardbody juice at the NoLiTa Milk Bar.
4:30 p.m. At pre-service, Jake Lewis, Momo’s awesome beverage director, tastes the team on a Norman Hardie Niagara Peninsula Chardonnay (grown on limestone and delicious), as well as the 2005 Trévallon Rouge which has just joined the pairing.
6:00 p.m. I’m on the floor until 1:00 a.m. but the night zooms by. A few highlights include: Cédric Bouchard’s Roses de Jeanne Val Vilaine Blanc de Noirs; 1993 Marquis d'Angerville 1er Cru Volnay Fremiet (spectacularly elegant and charming, just like Guillaume d’Angerville, the domaine’s proprietor); 2014 Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay; 2015 Keller Kirchspiel Riesling (one of the great white wines of the world); 2013 Chartogne-Taillet Orizeaux (a favorite Blanc de Noirs Champagne); 1999 René Engel Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru; and a stunning bottle of 1990 J.B. Becker Wallufer Oberberg Kabinett Halbtrocken, made by the best Rheingau winemaker too few people have heard of. We also opened a bottle of L’Anglore Tavel Grenache, a quaffable little number from Eric Pfifferling.
1:45 a.m. Home, and down a glass of coconut water alongside Ko sourdough toast slathered with butter before curling up into bed.
9:30 a.m. Just woke up! Aside from a small break when Henry used our bed as a trampoline, I catch up on some much-needed sleep. I have a glass of water and make breakfast: blueberries and a sliced Frog Hollow peach with chia seeds over granola. I’m back on a chia seed kick.
9:45 a.m. My first of three mugs of Mariage Frères Paris Breakfast Tea with some wildflower honey and a splash of milk. Then I hunker down and get to work. Brette is still in Tennessee so it’s another solo day in the zone.
3:00 p.m. Water up to now, when I head to Once Upon A Tart for an iced cold brew before heading to meet with my brilliant and stylish friend Camilla Marcus, who’s offered to help brainstorm Ramona teambuilding strategy as well as merch. At one point our idea for a Ramona Chambong and Pong tournament comes up but that's not today's focus. I also get the scoop on her insanely progressive upcoming Sullivan Street restaurant, west~bourne, a mission-driven, California-inspired soon-to-be hot spot that will donate a portion of each purchase to The Door, which helps young people in need become successful in school and beyond.
6:30 p.m. I head to drinks at Bar Goto, Josh Siegel's (Momofuku VP of business operations) excellent recommendation for a drink. Josh, Alex and I are meeting to talk Momofuku and wine, and creativity flows more freely out of the office. I opt for a Far East Side (sake, tequila, shiso, lemon, elderflower, yuzu bitters). The cocktail, served in a beautiful ceramic tea vessel, is impeccable. Next, I get the Improved Shochu Cocktail, because Dave Chang is always trying to convince us that shochu is delicious, and I’m perpetually in search of that ah-ha moment—it doesn’t happen tonight… Shochu remains the emperor’s new clothes, even though the presentation is beautiful. We sip our drinks alongside wings, French fries and kombu celery.
8:40 p.m. Back at home, Henry is sleeping, so I knock out part of my to-do list with a tall glass of water. Robert comes home and orders dumplings, and we share a bottle of Bellus Caldera.
9:10 a.m. The morning is full of meetings. I rush out of the house after downing a coconut water. I’m tempted to grab a café au lait, but I forgo and head right to the meeting, which involves a potential Ramona x frosé collaboration. At Once Upon A Tart I order an iced tea (it’s not the best). Cold brew is the move here: I make a mental note.
8:00 p.m. For dinner, Robert is taking me for an early birthday date to The Pool in The Seagram Building. Once Henry is sleeping and our babysitter arrives, I put on a new dress and stilettos and we whoosh up to Midtown. The new space is luxurious and grand, and I’m very excited for this team. Mario Carbone and I both opened wd~50 back in the day, and our dear friend John Slover runs the wine program. First, we navigate the cocktail list – Robert orders Grape (a play on a pisco sour) and I let John choose something for me. He reappears with Grapefruit, a negroni variation.
Then John opens a bottle of Ulysse Collin Les Enfers, a rare and spectacular bottle of Blanc de Blancs Champagne produced by Olivier Collin, a protégé of legendary Anselme Selosse. John received two bottles of this wine for the entire restaurant from a private collector and this is his last one. Collin’s wines are still somewhat under the radar and are worth hunting down and snatching up any day.
For the first course, John steers us towards a 1996 Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Valmur and it’s impeccable with our sea urchin toasts and Dover sole. It’s also delicious with a mid-course foie gras terrine, a dish that solidifies for me that Rich Torrisi (The Pool's executive chef) is a genius. With our duck, we drink a bottle of 1980 Domaine Dujac Clos Saint-Denis, a stunning Burgundy that Robert procured from the domaine.
We ride home in a trance.
7:05 a.m. It’s my birthday! Henry and I wake up early and walk to the grocery store for some kale and cucumbers for green juice, then off to a spin class.
9:30 a.m. Meeting at Saturdays surf shop café in the back garden. I have iced coffee with milk, and then dive in with Dustin Wilson and his team at Verve Wine – we’re brainstorming a few collaborations.
2:40 p.m. A deeply luxurious birthday treat, friends of ours have offered to let Henry and me ride out to the Hamptons on their helicopter, which slices our travel time and means we fly above shorelines and sailboats instead of sitting in traffic. We arrive and, after some hellos and a walk to the beach, start Henry’s bedtime routine.
7:45 p.m. Jason, formerly a chef at Pasquale Jones, is preparing dinner tonight. He’s on fire. With caviar and paper-thin corn pancakes, we drink 1996 Champagne Salon out of a magnum, before transitioning to 2011 Roulot Clos des Bouchères. With the rib eye, Robert has planned a treat – three bottles of 1980 red Burgundy – Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-St.-Vivant Grand Cru and Henri Jayer Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Meurgers 1er Cru. Robert began collecting these long before they acquired their current market value – it’s incredibly special to drink these time capsules and most importantly to share them with friends.
10:00 p.m. We finish the night with a bottle of 1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage.
6:48 a.m. Henry is up early, which means Robert and I are up early, too. We drive to a new bakery called Carissa's and order coffee. Robert, who usually has more willpower than I do with sweets, proceeds to order one of every single baked good.
8:00 a.m. We return to the house where people are emerging from bed. Henry’s godfather is a coffee perfectionist - drinking coffee at the breakfast table here last year is what converted me to a coffee addict. He makes drip coffee in an impressive machine that looks like a laboratory device. We drink sparkling water as well.
1:20 p.m. At lunch, we sip Tempier Rosé alongside a fish stew reminiscent of bouillabaisse. After lunch, alongside squares of chocolate and slices of Milk Bar Birthday Cake, we drink another cup of coffee, softened with half and half.
5:40 p.m. One of Charlie Bird's fans, who has an extraordinary wine cellar and generosity to match, hosts dinner that night. For aperitif: 2004 Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur. We drink a Tokubetsu sake with the first course, then a tempura course served alongside Haut-Brion Blanc, an unexpected, but brilliant, choice. With shabu shabu, he serves ’71 Pétrus, a velvety and indulgent wine that pairs perfectly.
Afterwards, people drink Yamazaki 18. I have a sip of Robert’s but my body craves water.
10:00 p.m. We ride home. In our room I lie in bed listening to Henry snore and can’t help reflecting. Birthdays are always a reset, a new beginning – and this one feels especially charged. I think back to when I moved to the city in August 2005, 12 years prior, broke and wide-eyed, simultaneously craving stability and adventure. Wine is a big part of the connective tissue between then and now. It’s been a good week. More than any other feeling I am grateful.