Sunday, April 26, 2009

Krispy Kreme and Herbs Galore

Before embarking to Maymont for Herbs Galore we breakfasted (or sugared up) at the sign of the double K. I love this place! Watching the doughy blobs converyer belt their way through proofing, rising, frying, and glazing continues to fascinate my wee brain. And then the hot fried goodness encased in way too sweet icing is killer (sadly, in more ways than one). My hubby also likes the apple-cinamon filled confections. Somehow given a choice between a hot or cold doughnut, I will choose the hot one every time. Yummy, yummy!

And then we picked up a few herbs at Maymont including a flight of thyme - orange blosson, lime, and lemon -

barbeque rosemary -

purple ruffled basil -

Valentino basil -

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Six Burner Experience

We visited Six Burner this past week. To our delight Carol Covell greeted us with her lovely jazz vocals. We occupied the last available table and settled in to eat at one of our favorite spots. We chose our wine - Cabernet, 06, Wall Cellars, Napa, CA, $32. Full-bodied and lovely to drink. We then ordered a $3 snack of Shrimp Hushpuppies. These were extremely dense, lacking either salt or sugar, and not a shrimp was in sight. A bit disappointing compared to the food generally served. We will not order these again.

For entrees we ordered jumbo lump crab cakes, creamy polenta, pickled slaw, corn sauce, $25 and rockfish, salsify puree, baby bok choy, trumpet mushrooms, miso broth, $23. Once again the crab cakes seemed a bit bland, but the polenta and the pickled slaw were fantastic. These items were meant to be eaten together - the sum turned out to be definitely more than just the addition of the parts. Let's call it food synergy and leave it at that. The rockfish had an incredibly flavorful and crispy pan sear. The bok choy and salsify increased the dining satisfaction.

We finished with Rostov's coffee. Mmmm!

Six Burner on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slightly Out of the Ordinary Burgers

Slightly Out of the Ordinary Burgers

With the arrival of warmer weather eating outside and grilling are at the forefront. We grilled these tasty burgers over the weekend.

1 lb. lean ground beef
¼ cup onion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
4 slices of cheese
4 strips of bacon, cooked

Place beef, onion, capers, oregano, vinegar, pepper, and salt in medium bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until fully incorporated throughout the meat. Set in the refrigerator for about an hour. Divide the mixture into four patties. Grill over charcoal grill to desired doneness. Add slice of cheese right before pulling off of the grill, letting the cheese melt slightly. Place burger on buns and top with bacon.

I used capers stored in salt instead of vinegar and added some Hawaiian Kilauea salt to the mixture. My cheese of choice was smoked provolone.

Vote for My Prosecco Cocktail!

Any now for a shameless appeal -

I entered my Prosecco Cocktail recipe (very yummy!) in the Tuscany Tonight recipe contast. Please vote for it here.


River City Supper Club – Gathering #2

For our 2nd meeting we gathered at Bin 22. The weather, although windy, held off the rain so we could dine outside. Glasses of rose from Provence welcomed in the weekend. A generous olive bowl, a meat and cheese plate, and artichoke heart and goat cheese spread satisfied our initial hunger. Throughout the evening we ordered several bottles including a Spanish Monsant, a French Bordeaux, and CSM from Washington State. All really good at good price points. The standout wine for the evening was a 2005 James Judd and Son Malbec-Verdot from Paso Robles. We tasted a mouthful of spicy plum! Freaking awesome! We proceeded to order various paninis and ended with espresso over vanilla bean ice cream. What made this gathering so special was the comparisons of different red wines to each other (numerous glasses filled our table) and to the simple, yet delicious food. Our hours-long conversation focused on the wine and food interplay. While we conversed quite a bit, we neglected to take any real notes and I forgot to bring my camera. In any case a good time was had by all.

A Note about Bin 22

Every time we eat at Bin 22 we discover yet another truly wonderful wine to enjoy. Greg continues to offer a delectable wine list with varying price points from very affordable to “let’s go all out and treat ourselves.” His selections change as he finds new and interesting bottles – like the James Judd. Bin 22 is also affordable. All of the paninis are $8 and feature quality ingredients. Nothing on the menu is priced over $12. A cozy little boite in the heart of Carytown that is serious about wine, but doesn’t cost an entire paycheck to enjoy.

Bin 22 at Betsy's on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Recipe for an Early Spring Getaway

First, conjure up a sunny weekend with temperatures in the mid-60s. Next, head west on I64. Exit at Charlottesville. Go downtown and eat lunch at Tastings, a small wine shop, bar, and restaurant. Don’t let the appearance of the restaurant deter you. Even though the ~50 person area looks a bit like an out-dated seafood establish, the food is killer. Order a bottle of 2005 Chateau Ferrande Graves. Sip. Note the tart cherry in the front of the tongue. Luxuriate in the dark cherry as it hits the back of your throat. Remark upon how the wine changes as the meal progresses. Order cassoulet with duck confit and steak frites. Delight in how the meat on the leg falls off the bone with the slightest touch of the fork. Cry hurrah that the small white beans are actually cooked! Enjoy the char grilled tender beef and how it pairs so well with the Bordeaux. Peruse the wine shop after lunch. Drool over the extensive collection of Burgundies.

Bid farewell to Charlottesville and continue west to Staunton. Check into the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Unpack. Amble through the tiny, but quaint downtown checking out possible early dinner spots along Beverly Street (the main thoroughfare). Select Emilio’s, a large multi-room Italian spot. Order a 2007 Borgo Thaulero Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, ricotta gnocchi with Bolognese sauce and Chicken Franchese with a side of pasta (all decent, but not extraordinary). Finish dinner and head over to the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Theatre to view The Comedy of Errors. Laugh your ass off (get thee to see this play! The troupe is fantastic!!). Retire to the hotel king-size bed and retire for the evening.

Wake up! Walk to The Beverly for breakfast. Order coffee and chocolate milk, corned beef hash, chipped beef on toast (homemade bread!), and home fried potatoes. Walk around town. Check out the dazzling sunlit buildings of Mary Baldwin College. Stroll around the myriad churches in the area. Be sure to notice the copper-roofed Episcopal Church. Adventure to the fringe of town and eat a bacon cheeseburger at Wright’s Dairy Rite. Don’t forget to order a soft serve milkshake or float or sundae. Return to town, roam around the old railroad station and enter Sunspots, a wonderful hand-blown glass establishment. Check out the glass blowing demonstration in the back. In the afternoon wander in and out of the shops on Beverly – an eclectic blend of old, hip, funky, cute, and handmade. Stop by the Irish Alley for a Guinness or a whiskey sour. Go back to the king-size bed and take a nap.

Get up and dress for dinner. Stroll over to The Staunton Grocery Store on Beverly and check in early with the hostess. Tell her that you want a drink at the blond wooded bar first to give her time to clear the prime dining room table for your dinner. At the bar have an engaging conversation with the bartender who came to this place from Atlanta on vacation and never left. Order specialty drinks, Dr. Gonzo (Wild Turkey, house-made cherry syrup, fresh-squeezed lime juice) and Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s #1, ginger syrup, soda water). Examine the chalk board at the bar listing all of the locally sourced producers. Finish the most excellent drinks. Be seated at the table that looks directly into the stainless steel-laced kitchen (separated by a huge glass picture window). Strategize over the extensive wine list. Make a bold move and order two half bottles – 2001 Cafaro Merlot Napa (blackberry and dark fruit) and 2005 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa (black cherry with a full mouth feel). Drool over the deceptively simple, ever-changing menu. Delight in the amuse bouche – duck confit wrapped in rhubarb accompanied by pea shoots. Select first courses – fettuccini + sapring garlic + arugula + Meyer lemon + chive oil + chili thread and Spiedini meatball trio – pork + lamb + beef + fresh herbs. Order main courses – NY Strip(the leanest I have ever had) + black trumpet mushrooms + wild ramps + creamed leeks + parmesan and Roasted Haddock + truffled risotto + Swiss chard + roasted turnips + sorrel + orange sauce. Finish with a trio of pastries, coffee, and Sambucca. While the professional and wonderful staff relieves you of your money, enjoy the sweet farewells – pine nut button cookies and triangles of bittersweet chocolate tart. Continue to sing dinner praises while strolling back to the hotel. Sweet dreams.

Awaken once again, grab lattes and mochas at Mug Shots on New Street and head back to Richmond having properly welcomed in Spring.

Staunton Grocery on Urbanspoon

Beverley Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Emilio's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wright's Dairy Rite Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Tastings on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 03, 2009

Can Can is Non-Smoking!

My hubby and I celebrated this welcome news by going to Can Can. Thank you Can Can for taking the plunge! We will now be able to enjoy the best looking bar in all of Richmond.

We also discovered that Thursdays are great for a large group to dine at Can Can. Across from us a woman had hosted a bridal shower party.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Drinking Orchids

2006 Peltier Station Viognier from Lodi really tasted like liquid orchids. We had purchased this white wine a while ago from Bella Vino. We remembered that we were impressed. It was a white wine and cost more than $10. $16.49 to be exact. It did not disappoint. And paired well with my lemon pepper roasted chicken.

I have always had a tumultuous relationship with Viognier. The first time I got a whiff of this grape was at a Virginia wine festival oh so many years ago. And I inhaled a bouquet of flowers. Immediately, I was fascinated and fell in love with the wine's floralness. Alas, the taste of that particular wine did not meet my nasal expectations. What disappointment. I have informally continued my quest for Viognier that tasted as wonderful as it smelled. I'm sure that a Condrieu may satisfy this yearning, but the price of these French bottles are way beyond my means.

And then Peltier Station Viognier came along. The aroma is so floral and so heavenly and the taste - superb! I also liked the heavy weight of the wine. But beware. This lovely white has 14.8% alcohol.

The next time you want to give flowers, consider giving a bottle of this Viognier.