Lately at Lunch with Lauren: Wine Wednesday • Ribs • Pizza Piccola • Zaalouk

Recent excerpts from our Lunch with Lauren Facebook Group by Lauren Townsend for The Aha! Connection

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I wandered into Taste Bottle Shop today and am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. It is in the same shopping center as Dick’s and Chick-fil-A, right next door to Piece of Cake and I’m pretty sure I’m only buying my alcohol there from now on. The wine selection is great as are the prices and the knowledge and customer service that comes with it.

I was lucky enough to stumble into this La Boutanche Trollinger 2020. I took it home (yes amongst other bottles) and cracked it open expecting something different, but pleasantly surprised. Don’t buy it expecting an easy-drinking rose, because it is much more complicated in the best way. I found the best description, “Aromas of Luxardo cherries, pomegranate pith and wild strawberry. Bold tannins with a soft spice on the finish. It’s basically adult cranberry juice!” from Cheese Shop of Salem which totally nails it.
For you wine nerds, “In 2012, Californian wine importer Selection Massale collaborated with a few European winemakers to launch a line of wines called La Boutanche. They sought to create a series of wines that adhere to natural wine philosophy while also being affordable liter bottles with screw caps.” “Andi Knauss and his team use all organic practices in their 18 hectares of vineyards; in the cellar they employ all natural fermentation and use only minimal sulfur when necessary.” via the Cheese Shop of Salem.
Basic Googleing has confirmed, this wine is good; the guy who makes it knows what he’s doing; we are lucky to have access to it because it’s like, sold out everywhere. You can get it for around $25.


Kids requested ribs and I’m actually fine with it because it is really easy. BaCk iN TeXAs…ribs that fall off the bone are not acceptable and deemed overcooked. You can search past rants in this group for more details.

For super easy pork ribs that you throw in the oven, rinse and dry and remove the silver skin membrane on the backside. Then cover in rub, either store bought or make your own with kosher salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder and brown sugar. Wrap it with foil and bake at 300 for two hours. Open it up and you want it fork tender. Crank up the oven to broil and brush with bbq sauce. I do two coats at around 3 minutes each for it to caramelize. If you don’t want to broil, cover in bbq and and finish on the grill.


A few weeks ago, I had a lovely working lunch with the Farmhouse Realty team at Rumi’s Kitchen Atlanta, which I had never been to 😱. I am totally in love with the zaalouk they offer and tried to make it on my own. I started with the recipe below and added 2 more tomatoes, some tomato paste and I totally cheated with some liquid smoke which I’m sure is total blasphemy but I NEEDED that smoky flavor and it totally worked. It takes times to build the flavors but was a big hit with my adult friends and also works with a variety of meats.

Hussein at Taste Bottle Shop helped me pair it with this Malbec that totally complimented it.

Finally made it to Pizza piccola and may be obsessed with this New York style pizza. We kept it simple and ordered what was ready, but Lord was it delicious. Maybe I’m the last person in Dunwoody to try. Take out only.