Sunday, July 26, 2009

Industry Night at Lemaire

Last Sunday I was invited to an Industry Night reception/kick-off at the new bar at Lemaire. I was surprised to have received the invite - I'm an amateur blogger with no industry in sight and about a year ago my hubby and I had visited Lemaire with disastrous results (that were posted on my blog). But, I RSVP'd and was encouraged to attend. It's hard to turn down free food and drink and I was curious about the new space, so we went.

I have to say that I liked the centralized bar area with the sleek yet understated contemporary styling. And I liked how the dining rooms were located in the east and west wings - away from the bar and noise (and the carpets were oh-so-plush).

At the reception we tried a Farmhand with Jack Daniels, tea, and lemonade, good at first, but the melting ice really gave the drink a watered down taste by the end. We switched to red wine, that happened to be an Enotria Barbera from California and one of my favorites. It was also on the regular wine list for $38 a bottle.

To nibble we were offered a variety of free sample items that are featured on the Industry Night menu:

pimiento cheese / 5
white cheddar / olives / toasted sourdough

dave and dee’s oyster mushroom toasts / 8
goats "r" us goat cheese / local micro lettuces / billy bread

cornmeal-crusted chesapeake bay oysters / 11
upland cress / jicama-jalapeno slaw / green goddess

fresh gulf shrimp cocktail / 10
old bay / tomato / horseradish

pineapple curry-glazed chicken skewers / 5
honey / vanilla / brown sugar

spicy vine ripe hanover tomato gazpacho / 7
watermelon / blue crab / basil oil

All were very good. I really liked the shrimp and hubby really liked the gazpacho. Jennifer Crisp, the Public Relations manager chatted with us a while and confirmed that we were deliberately invited. We thanked her, praised the remodeling and the food, and made sure she was aware of the not-so-great-time we had last year. We also discussed the farm to table concept and the small urban garden that Chef Bundy grows for kitchen use. We picked up both a regular and an Industry Night/Bar menu. I think we will have to give the dining room a whirl in the future as well as the bar. Once again, it will come down to the quality of the service received.


It sounds like a great deal to me based on the quality of nibbles at the reception.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More South of the James

Brief post about goodies snatched up at the South of the James Market:

Bison flank steak from Edmond's Farm
Pork ribs from CCL Farm
Fettucine from Cavanna Pasta
Purple-skinned potatoes from Root Force Collective
Tomatillos and potato onions from Fertile Crescent Farm
Rustic bread and Yukon gold potatoes from Thistledowne Farm

Yum, yum!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

AC&T, SOJ, and BVF - A weekend for the senses

Last night we were lucky enough to be invited to Ashland Coffee and Tea to experience John Cowan's brand of very fine music. I want to thank J and D for introducing us to a new musician. while tapping our toes we sipped A by Acacia Red and ate turkey paninis and Quiche Lorraine.

And today...what a banner day. First up, early morning at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park. All of the vendors are now making good on that hard work of planting and tending. The bounty is beautiful and overwhelming. Today we bought even more goodies including:

  • BLT sandwiches for breakfast at Big Daddy's - can you say ripe, sweet Hanover tomatoes??
  • Sun Gold cocktail tomatoes from Amy's Garden
  • Iced coffee from Blanchard's
  • Indonesian hot tea from Koralee Coffee
  • Chocolate chip cookies from Countryside Bakery - they still carry blue chicken eggs and today they also had quail eggs; the chocolate chip cookies were so good last week, we had to buy some more
  • Red bell peppers and corn from Pleitez Produce - last week the corn was so sweet we could have eaten it raw
  • Onions and purple long beans from Fertile Crescent Farm
  • Tomatoes from the Hanover guy
  • Microgreens from the Microgreen guy
  • Feta from Lover's Retreat Farm

Always fun. Always dog friendly. Always colorful and picturesque.

And then we treated ourselves to a drive in the country to Brookview Farm. We had talked about going for forever and had never made it out there. Today was the day.

We were warmly greeted and received information about their organically raised beef and how they also carry pork raised on another farm nearby. The freezers were packed with deliciousness. On this visit we picked up:

  • NY strips
  • Ground beef
  • Sweet Italian pork sausage
  • Beef brisket

Considering what we purchased, the prices were not exorbitant. The steaks were $11 a pound which is comparable to The Fresh Market here. I'm excited about trying some local beef and pork products. Last week we purchased a flat iron bison steak from Edmonds Farm at SOJ. We marinated, grilled, and devoured the steak. What tender, lean goodness. I highly recommend giving it a try. The bison producers come to the market every other week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

River City Supper Club #5

River City Supper Club # 5. B and G hosted the event this time and took us on an Asian journey. The table and place settings were beautiful.

We were greeted with Thai tea. Very refreshing.

We then made our way to the back patio to sip 2006 Domaine Seguin Pouilly Fume while the first course was being prepared.

The first course was Vietnam-influenced with two types of Spring rolls and a fish cake.

Paired with a 2008 Pigmentum Malbec Rose from France.

The second course was also inspired by Vietnam – Mussels with lemongrass.

Paired with a 2007 Domaine de Saint-Antoine Rose from France.

The third course shifted us to Korea with Maeun-tang, a fish and seafood spicy soup with mushrooms. No picture available, unfortunately. The soup was paired with a 2007 Les Champs des Plantes Pouilly Fume and a 2008 Fritsch Windspiel Riesling from Austria.

The main course was also from Korea and featured Bulgogi – a marinated beef lettuce wrap

And Japchae – a mushroom and beef noodle dish.

The wine pairing was a 2007 Syrah from the Collines Rhodaniennes region of France.

And last to satisfy our sweet tooth – Chinese inspired Mandarin orange ice cream with sesame brittle.

What an abundance of delicious food and flavors. I had never had a Korean dish before or Thai tea. The wine choices were well thought out, tasty, and refreshing. We took our time with dinner and conversed a great deal (I have to say that discussing the merits of Weird Al Yankovic was a low point, however).

Thank you B and G for a wonderful evening!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tastebuds American Bistro - Delicious as Always

After a very long and busy week at work for both of us, we headed over to River City Cellars for the free Friday wine tasting. They had a kick-ass/delicious line up. Check out their notes:

Pampano 2008 Rueda: Grassy scents mesh with exotic aromas of guava and citrus pith in this aromatic but dry white wine made from Verdejo and Viura grapes in central Spain.

Fritsch 2008 Riesling: Our latest discovery from the talented Austrian winemaker, Karl Fritsch, this very dry, very fresh Riesling has lots of peach skin and orange aromas.

Bouland 2007 Morgon Vieilles Vignes: Plushly textured and rich with cassis and berried flavors, this fabulous red from the Morgon cru of Beaujolais is one of the best examples of the Gamay grape that I've ever encountered.

Vercesi del Castellazzo 2007 Oltrepo Pavese Rosso "Pezzalunga": Located in the rolling hills of the Oltrepo Pavese district of Lombardy in northern Italy, the Vercesi del Castellazzo produces several wines including this elegant, medium-bodied dry red made from an assemblage of Barbera, Bonarda, Uva Rara, Pinot Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky in texture, this complex red offers aromas that remind one of cinnamon and dried cherries.

Tintero 2007 Moscato d'Asti: Grown on a steep hillside vineyard in the Piedmont region of Italy, this exuberantly perfumed, delicately sweet sparkling wine has aromas that recall nectarines and various white flowers.

We bought the Pezzalunga and the Fritsch Riesling. Yummy!!

After the tasting we took care of a few cats for friends who are in London this week (wistful sigh). And then, instead of heading for a grocery store, we headed home and walked to Tastebuds American Bistro.

The menu offered a plethora of lip smacking, droll-inducing goodness. To give us more time to decide we ordered a glass of 2007 Urban Uco Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina. Very citrusy and grapefruity. Initially refreshing, but one glass was enough.

We then ordered a 2007 Montirius Cotes du Rhone to enjoy with dinner. Soft on the palate with light spice.

Everything we ordered to eat was fantastic! First up were a couple of small plates to share - Imaginative and flavorful.

Duck Leek Spring Rolls

and Pork Adobo Taco with Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa

We then had the Traditional Cheese Pizza. Very basic, but very good - especially the cheese (an abundant amount) and the crust. My hubby is extremely picky about pizza crust and he raved about this one. Crispy on the bottom. The edges were more puffy and just slightly chewy. He described it as a flattened baguette and this was a very good thing.

A most excellent experience, as always.

Tastebuds on Urbanspoon

More Treasures South of the James

Once again we visited the South of the James Market. Yay for us. Our new edible treasures included:

Bison flank steak from Edmonds Farm
Garlic and onions from Fertile Crescent Farm
White corn and white potatoes from Pleitez Produce
Cherokee tomatoes from (I forgot, please forgive me)
Green beans from Walnut Hill Farm
Iced coffee from Blanchards Coffee Company
Hot tea from Koralee Coffee
Maple sticky bun and chocolate chip cookies from Country Side Bakery (these guys also carry blue eggs)

And, of course, a few colorful snaps to view…

Monday, July 06, 2009

Marshall Street Cafe and First Fridays

We finally made it to Marshall Street Cafe for dinner. We had always been intrigued by the corner spot and were thrilled that it was non-smoking. The space was much tinier than expected - a nice looking bar, a few tables, and a corner band set up for jazz later in the evening (another reason to return).

The menu offered appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees with price ranges from $7 - $15. The wine list was hand-written and small and we had to ask for a list by the bottle. But we did find a 2006 Gouguenheim Cabernet for $18.

We ordered Philly cheese steaks with fries - one with onions and peppers (for me), one without the veggies (for hubby). The food was basic, yet nicely prepared and completely satisfying.

As we ate, others wandered in to grab seats for the jazz (every Friday beginning at 9 PM). We liked the neighborhood atmosphere and the vibe. And dinner with a bottle of wine and tip was less than $50. Oh, yes!

Marshall Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

And then we strolled Broad to gaze at art and listen to music. On the art side we liked Scott Phillips at the Schindler Satellite Gallery as well as The After Life: A Skull Exhibition at Quirk Gallery. The music front featured Hazeltone (Marshall Tucker meets The Rolling Stones) in front of Metro Sound and Music. What fun. I'll leave you with a few night snaps...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tomato Stealin' SOB

We were growing some beautiful tomatoes in our back yard. The first time ever that we were going to have a decent harvest. The tomatoes were still green - not yet turned. And someone took them. This was not the work of a four-legged critter.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Vino Market - New Wine Shop

Vino Market opened up a couple of months ago off of Robious Road near the 288 interchange. They have a great selection and offer free tastings every Friday. Hunter and Dave are very welcoming and extremely knowledgeable. They also carry a good selection of cheeses and meats. Sign up for their email list at the web site.

I know this is a welcome addition to the area. Check them out!


We made it to the South of the James Market again this week. And brought home the following:

Huge, sweet blackberries (Pleitez Produce)
Red leaf lettuce (Victory Farms)
Onions (a producer from Hanover - did not catch the name)
Cheese stuffed coffee cake (Bread for the People)
Iced coffee (Blanchard's Coffee)
Tart cherry pie (Simply Southern Pies)

Corn and tomatoes are beginning to appear. And more peaches are available. Faith Farm is offering whole, half, and quarter cow shares for next Spring.

Check out a few more photos - including the incredible garlic, stalk and all.