Wednesday, January 31, 2007
So, thanks to Greg and everyone at Bin 22, the $25 grand prize goes to Tripp from Clio - My Musings
A $10 gift certificate to The Belmont Butchery (courtesy of pjpink) goes to Ross who hosts RVA Blogs
Thanks to all who helped me celebrate 100!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Happy 100th Post!!!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
There are several ways to enjoy this Viognier as well as the many other gems that CanCan carries. Check out these wine specials now through April:
Sunday - Half Price Vin de Pays Bottles
Monday - $5 Regional Wine by the Glass
Tuesday - 50% Off Reserve Wine List
Wednesday - Half Price House Wine
Thursday - $3 Half Glass of Wine
Friday - Open Glass Night - All wines from Brasserie List available by the glass
Saturday - Half Price Sparkling Wine by the Bottle
A Votre Sante!
Over the weekend we relied on the hospitality of friends. We began with sopressata and Serrano from The Belmont Butchery along with Spanish olives stuffed with anchovies. The main course consisted of Indian Butter Chicken, rice, and green beans with grated lemon peel. The chicken had a wonderfully spicy (not hot) yogurt sauce. And we were also treated to homemade naan. The flat strips of dough puffed up like magic on a preheated pizza stone. And the sauce just begged for the naan! Dessert ended up being a delicious hodgepodge: fudge brownie, dulche de leche ice cream, and winesap apples and currents sautéed in port. The big surprise turned out to be the beverage accompanying dessert:
Saturday, January 20, 2007
We have already grown tired of the takeout routine, so, last night we headed over to River City Cellars for the Friday night tasting (they had a very tasty 2005 Brouilly) and then walked to Davis & Main. We were a little surprised at how smoky the place was. We didn’t see anyone currently smoking at the bar, thus, we determined it was the leftover odor from the night before. But it was cold, we were tired, so we stayed anyway. We had a bottle of 14 Hands Merlot from
Davis & Main was decent, but I will probably stick to the burger next time. Our steaks were $25.00 a piece and did not come with a salad and very few vegetables. This place is not upscale enough to warrant outrageous prices. And the out-of-town family from
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I'll be glad to have my kitchen back.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
We had friends over for dinner last Friday night. The weather was way too warm for January, but we took advantage of it and enjoyed the first course outside on our back deck. The menu is listed below:
Fol-Epi Cheese – A slightly nutty, buttery French cheese
Saucisson Sec Sausage – House-cured pork from The Belmont Butchery
Blue Skies Crackers - Available at Tan-A Grocery
2004 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec,
Chicken Breasts with Green Olives and Capers
Sauteed Carrots in a Lemon-Butter Sauce
Orzo with Parsley, Fresh-ground Black Pepper, and Grated Romano Cheese
2003 Les Chevrefeuilles Domaine La Remejeanne, Cotes
1999 Domaine Bois De Boursan,
Macaroons with Grated
2004 Nachtgold Eiswein,
Dark Roast Espresso-style Coffee
What a treat to host a casual multi-course meal! My general strategy was to do as much of the second course prep work before our guests arrived. We had a very easy-to-prepare first course and I did no cooking while we enjoyed the appetizers al fresco. As folks had more wine and digested the first course, I prepared the main meal while everyone gathered in the kitchen and chatted. We ate the next course in the dining room at a very leisurely pace. Dessert was a breeze because our guests brought the sweets. I believe it was a delightful evening for all.
Monday, January 08, 2007
If you are heading down to or coming back from the Outer Banks and you need to stop for sustenance, get off the beaten path (in this case Rt. 12) and head to the Coinjock Marina & Restaurant. Located at
I cooked a goose over the holidays. It turned out to be a memorable meal, but not necessarily because of the goose. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the goose. It was very similar to duck. We only partook of the goose breast the first night, and I managed to cook the breast to medium, thus, the meat did not dry out. I used an electric roaster as well, which I highly recommend. The rack in the roaster allowed the fat to drip off of the goose, and there were no concerns about fires from the goose fat. Despite my success with the bird itself, it was the Tawny Port Gravy that my husband and I raved about. The gravy is one of Emeril Lagasse’s recipes from The Food Network. We were so pleased with the gravy that I will be making it to accompany future duck and/or pheasant dishes. Here is my slightly tweaked version:
2 teaspoons olive oil
Giblets and neck from the goose (I halved the goose neck to fit better in the pot)
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Salt, freshly ground, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
5 bay leaves
Dried thyme, to taste
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups Tawny port (I used
2 cups water
In a sauce pan that can eventually accommodate all of the liquid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the goose parts and brown, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme and cook, stirring often for 5-10 minutes, or until onions soften. Add the flour and stir. At this point you may be scraping the flour from the bottom of the pan. Do this for about 5 minutes (or lees, if you can’t stand the scraping any longer). Add the port and scrape all of the bits one last time. Bring port to a boil, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about an hour. The liquid should reduce down to about two cups. Remove from heat and strain into a clean pot. Keep warm until ready to serve. Ladle over goose breast or other wild game bird. Enjoy.
My husband and I were thrilled with the results. The gravy was sweet and slightly nutty. The harshness of the alcohol had evaporated. It really was a perfect accompaniment to the gaminess of the bird. We also ate sautéed green beans and shallots as well as goose fat roasted fingerling potatoes.
I used the leftover goose meat to make a Goose Shepherd’s Pie. I also made goose stock and rendered the goose fat.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Texas de Brazil, recently opened in Regency Square Mall, greeted us with a diverse trio of hostesses amid old world Spanish décor. My husband had run across a 25% coupon, and we decided to give ourselves an early Christmas treat. As it happened, my sweetie left the coupon at home, thus, I waited in the lounge area, replete with cozy sofas. The bartender never even looked my way to offer a drink or even to say Happy Holidays. Thank goodness the rest of the staff knew how to portray customer service. Texas de Brazil is a Churrascaria or a Brazilian Steakhouse and focuses on grilled meats (all you can eat) accompanied by a “salad bar.” Prices tended to be steep - $39.99 for the combined salad bar and grilled meat bonanza. Wine, drinks, and desserts were extra. There was a $29.99 option (I’m not sure for what), but our coupon was for the entire deal, so, we plunged on in. Well, we first perused the wine list. As with most upscale chain restaurants, the wine prices are beyond the pale. While we drooled over the list, we tended to gape over the more than twice retail price. We did discover a Buehler Zinfandel for $31.00 and promptly ordered it. The “salad bar” came first. But this was no ordinary salad bar. In fact, only two bowls of leafy lettuce presented itself. The rest of the bar was literally a feast itself. Listed is what I remember:
Black beans (hubby raved about these)
Fresh mozzarella balls
Roasted red and yellow peppers
Seared sashimi tuna
Caperberries (I was thrilled to see these)
Herbed green and black olives
A wide variety of olive oils and aged Balsamic vinegars
What a chore to reserve our main meal for the grilled meats! We truly enjoyed the “salad bar” with its wide variety.
But on to the meat! At our table we encountered round disks – green on one side, red on the other. The grilled meats were presented by gauchos brandishing tall sword-like skewers of succulent carnivorous heaven (the gauchos were easy on the eye as well). When our disks were green, a gaucho presented a skewer. If our disks were red, he walked on by. What an assortment – Brazilian sausage, chicken wrapped in bacon, pork loin, beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon, flank steak, sirloin, etc., etc. Every time a new item passed by we flagged down the gaucho. All of the beef was prepared medium rare, but could be cooked to our preference. Since medium rare worked for us, we did not need to make any special requests. We discovered that the beef, particularly the flank steak and the sirloin, tasted the best. And the salad bar had chimichurri sauce to accompany the beef which was delightful. We also were served side dishes of garlic mashed potatoes and grilled bananas as well as rolls. Needless to say we stuffed ourselves. One of the managers arrived at our table to inquire if we were finished. We moaned, yes. Then he asked if we had tried the beef ribs. When we replied no, he said, “Well, you are not done yet.” He whisked our old plates away and returned with carved slivers of beef ribs. Yes, they were delicious as well.
Texas de Brazil is not a place I would frequent on a regular basis, but the food was good quality and offered a wide variety. I would think twice if not for the 25% coupon, except, maybe, for a special occasion. The other disconcerting discovery was how fast we ate and waddled out of the place. While a nice dinner will generally take us two hours or more to enjoy, we were at the stuffed phase in about an hour much to our dismay. Next time, we have a coupon in hand and we slow down enough to chew our food