Saturday, July 26, 2008

Appreciating Customers

The Kroger at Willow Lawn is appreciating its customers today from 1-4 PM. They promise food and wine pairings. Since its free, I plan to check it out.

I have no idea if the other Kroger area stores are emulating the Willow Lawn store.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chile Excursion at J. Emerson July 23

J. Emerson will feature a free tasting of Chilean wines on July 23 from 5:30 - 7: 30 PM. The line up includes:

2007 Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc
2007 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alex Chardonnay
2005 Concha y Toro Marques De Casa Concha Cabernet
2005 Concha y Toro Don Melchor
2005 Casa Lapostolle Clos Alpalta

J. Emerson is located at 5716 Grove Ave.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Did I Taste a Wee Bit of Heaven?

We ate dinner at Cafe Rustica tonight. Yeah, you know. The one that has garnered raves on East Main? We enjoyed our dinner, but this time, we saved room for dessert:

Grilled Pound Cake with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries.

The pound cake was moist and sported grill marks that added a bit of crunch to the mix. The curd held just the right amount of lemon flavor. Not too much to turn one's mouth sour and just enough to play off of the fresh strawberries. Fresh blueberries rounded out this send-me-to-heaven dessert. Did I mention the price? Only $5.

Next time, I may have to eat dessert first!

Cafe Rustica on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shockoe Chef Showdown - Sign Up Today

The 17th Street Farmers Market has a call to all Top Chefs (and all of you know you are the top!) to show your stuff on July 26. Go to their site for all of the details.

Sounds like a yummy time!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shouting Over Mac and Cheese at deLux

Last night we paid a visit to deLux on Main St. What a happening place! The non-smoking downstairs, both bar and tables, were filled to capacity while the mojitos flowed through the crowd. Our smartly dressed host whisked us up the staircase and seated us well away from the upstairs smoking bar. Our seats allowed us to people watch both bars as we worked our way through the meal. We also admired the large paintings gracing the wall by the stairs. I liked the contemporary feel juxtaposed with the exposed brick.

Indecision on our food order hounded us. A number of appetizers caught our attention, the pork special with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers also beckoned. But, then wait, what about the skirt steak or the Cuban pork? We gave up and ordered mojitos and beef empanadas to get started. The mojitos balanced mint and lime very well. A tad sweet for what I wanted last night, thus, we only had one. The empanada filling contained a spicy ground beef accompanied by a spicy sauce. While tasty, the pastry was a bit thicker than I like and did not allow for more of the delicious filling to be stuffed in the shell.

After finishing our mojitos we ordered a 2003 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa to enjoy with the rest of our meal. Hearty and fruity.

Still indecision on our meal. So, we decided to try a couple of appetizers and share an entrĂ©e. First up was the Truffle Fries with melted Asiago cheese and truffle oil. Melted Italian-style cheese on fries that still sported potato skin with a sprinkling of dried herbs – looked like thyme to me. So far, all good. Unfortunately, I just could not detect the truffle oil. Part of it may have been due to some of the fries being coated with an orange spice that reminded me of Bullets fries or Arby’s curly fries. Any truffle oil lurking about must have surrendered to this stronger component.

The Fried Calamari tasted wonderful. Not chewy with a good breading. The sauce, however, reminded us of straight-from-the-bottle barbeque sauce. We happily ignored the sauce and enjoyed the appetizer with a spritz of fresh-squeezed lemon.

The “Oh my God” dish ended up being the Macaroni and Cheese. Vermont white cheddar sauce with ham and peas and toasted bread crumbs. Rich, creamy, must-be-a-sin-to-eat goodness. We had some food hits and misses, but this dish will definitely lure us back (and we will now need to try the Lobster Mac and Cheese!).

One last comment. deLux was LOUD! I have discovered that the owner of deLux also owns The Hard Shell (one of the LOUDEST meals we have ever had in Richmond). As we mull over when to return, it will probably be a weeknight to secure a space in the non-smoking downstairs and to hopefully enjoy a quieter setting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Angels Share

2006 Two Hands Angels Share Shiraz McLaren Vale. Oh, what inky dark cherry and plummy goodness. We enjoyed this with a pan-seared thick cut bone in pork chop.

Available at J. Emnerson for $29.95.

Fair warning: Drink at home. This baby contains 15.2% alcohol.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just Cool Enough For Brunch Outside

We wanted to go to brunch at Six Burner. Alas, they had closed for vacation. And, good for them. I'm all about vacations. I just wish I had known. So, we ended up at CanCan. Because we arrived before 11 AM we secured a table outside. The overcast skies earned our praises. Michael, our waiter, garnered our adoration as well. Pleasant and attentive.

We ordered a half carafe of rose, Eggs Benedict, the omelet of the day (garlic sausage, potatoes, leeks, and brie), and a side of frites (I believe I have mentioned that CanCan has the best fries). All good. My husband really liked how the melted brie added a nice creamy texture to the omelet. A couple of suggestions, however. My spouse always comments that the omelet should automatically be served with a side of frites. I can't fault him - we ordered enough omelets in Paris to know that the frites are a staple side. And this morning my Eggs Benedict was served over toast instead of English muffins. I prefer the English muffins, they soak up the egg yolk and the Hollandaise sauce better.

Our lazy Sunday brunch is now at an end...laundry awaits.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Another Drug Dose

Recently, I've read numerous posts about Tarrant's and now Tarrantino's. I continue to crave Tarrant's Grilled Cheese and drool over the garlic rolls. Since we were going to First Friday's Art Walk (on Thursday) we wanted to try the pizza. We arrived around 6 PM and the place was comfortably brisk. I'm happy they added more space. The second room featured intriguing colorful art. As always, we were served by a wonderful, personable, and attentive waiter. We ordered a Cotes-du-Rhone for dinner and he was able to wax rhapsodic about how good it was and that the producer also makes a rose. The 2005 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles was smooth and fruity. A good choice for a pizza.

As usual we had a tough time deciding what to order. We finally "made our own" and ordered a pie with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and sweet Italian sausage with red sauce. We liked it. The sauce made the bottom crust a wee bit soggy, but the outer crust was a good mix of crunchy and chewy. The toppings were good quality with the cheese and pepper on the delicate side. The sausage had been shaved into thin round slices. The one thing we would have changed would have been the red sauce. We liked the sauce - pungent with a hot pepper punch. Unfortunately, it overwhelmed the other toppings. When ordering this combination again, I would request a brushing of red sauce, instead of a ladling.

Still a decent pie. We will definitely go again to experiment with other combinations (and to order from the regular menu!). I would not consider take out because it is too far away from my house.

And, although extremely warm, the art walk was lovely. Ghostprint Galley had an eerie grouping, but clearly talented artists. And the Turned for Use II exibit at Gallery 5 was worth a gander. We also found out about the First Annual InLight Richmond that will be held Sept. 5, 2008. I have marked my calendar.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Sparkling Surprise

This evenng as I was picking up a few items at the Kroger in Willow Lawn, I discovered that they are now carrying Gruet Rose Brut from New Mexico. This is the first time I have seen it in Richmond. I picked up a bottle for $14.29. I hope it will be as good as I remember...