Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kitchen Renovation Saga Part 12

Wow. It's been over a year since we installed our cabinets. We finally installed counter tops! A hard decision, counter tops. I did not want granite or laminate or concrete. Corian and Silestone did not win me over either. And then we discovered Ecologic. We chose Virginia-quarried soapstone. I love the dark, dark chalkboard gray with white veins and matte-gold splotches throughout. Once the counter tops were installed, we put in our new sink - hammered copper and faucet - oil-rubbed bronze.

Still a lot to do - backsplash, ceiling, one more wall, lighting, etc., etc. Yeah, I could go on and on. But I'm glad we have real counter tops instead of plywood.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farmers Market Photos

The South of the James Market continues to be a highlight of my week. Faith Farm had fresh ducks (and are taking orders for suckling pig!). Sign up for their email list and get first dibs on fresh chickens and duck. So, we picked up a duck to roast tonight. Along with fingerling potatoes from Root Force Collective and Prima apples from Victory Farms.

Enjoy some more photos:

Thymed Potatoes

You can probably use any kind of fresh herbs that you desire in this recipe. We had picked up some lemon and lime thyme at the Maymont Herbs Galore Festival and they do nicely in this recipe.

Thymed Potatoes

4 medium - large red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut up into 1 inch chunks (skin still on)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon and lime thyme leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil the potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until soft. Drain potatoes and place them in a serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and gently stir until the butter has melted. Serve immediately.

We enjoyed the potatoes with a broiled bison flank steak and fresh green beans sauteed in a bit of butter.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

River City Supper Club #6 - Cafe Caturra on Grove

River City Supper Club #6. This month it was time to visit a restaurant. B and G chose Cafe Caturra on Grove Ave.

My hubby and I had visited the other two locations a while ago with mixed results (decent food, good wine, lousy service, no wine knowledge). I have to say that this Cafe Caturra was our best experience of the nation-wide wannabe to date. The staff encouraged us to taste the wines before we ordered and even though we ordered at the counter, they were able to keep a running tab. Quite a few folks were celebrating the end of the work week and in this cafe, the wine was the major focus.

To imbibe we ordered a 2007 Cline Cashmere from California and a 2005 Marco Real Tempranillo from Navarra. The first more berry-like; the latter, slightly smokey/earthy.

To eat we partook of a cheese plate - 5 selections including Saint Nectair, Pecorino Tosca, Drunken Goat, and Stilton (we also had an American selection that my brain refuses to remember). The cheeses were accompanied by dried cranberries, black olives, slivers or roasted peppers, and English walnuts.

We also ordered Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, Roasted Pepper Soup, Cuban Pork Panini, and Cured Proscuitto Panini. All good. The Cuban could have been renamed The Intersection of Cuba and North Carolina - the pork really reminded us of barbeque.

Cafe Caturra on Grove offers inside seating, front patio seating, and back patio seating. They also serve specialty coffees and are open for breakfast and lunch as well as for dinner.

Cafe Caturra (Far West) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This Week at SOJ

This week's wanderings and observations at South of the James Market:

Dogs, all sorts

Blues guitar playing the howling dog blues

Friendly folk music duo

Creative pottery and jewelry

The smell of smoked meat

Sold out eggs

Pecks of peppers, all sorts

Beautiful, fresh-cut flowers

The best chocolate chip cookies

Buying all of the black-eyed peas left

Sweet baby corn

Frog-skin melons

Tangerine tomatoes

Mmmm...Turnbull Cab

I made an Herb-Crusted NY Strip Roast the other night (with fresh home-grown sage and thyme). Yummy, yummy. To drink we splurged and thoroughly enjoyed a 2005 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Newness and Nostalgia at SOJ

We always find great things at the South of the James Market. We discovered tangerine tomatoes - bright orange and very sweet (Amy's Garden). And speaking of sweet we found candy onions at Walnut Hill Farm. They also had Dixie speckled butter peas - in a pod like a butter bean, but red and ecru in color.

And then a bit of nolstagia - black-eyed peas, unshelled. I have not seen this since my grandparents stopped gardening. These were from a farm in Chesterfield.

And Faith Farm had fresh whole chickens today. Can't wait to roast it!

Here are a few more photos:

A Bohemian Evening

Last night we traveled to Ashland Coffee and Tea to particpate in the CD release party for Gypsy Roots. We ate paninis and drank A by Acacia Red Blend. The new CD is Chakra Odyssey and sounds mighty fine. They will be at Plan 9 in Carytown tomorrow (Watermelon Festival) around 1:30 PM.

These local guys are very good. If you get the chance, check them out and buy their CD.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Brunch from SOJ Bounty

Today I dragged a few friends to the South of the James Market and we turned the morning into a produce picking party and then headed back to my house for brunch. Scrambled eggs graced with garlic, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, sausage, and goat cheese; watermelon, peach, and blueberry salad, tomato pie, roasted potatoes, a variety of breakfast breads. An entire meal fresh from the market!

I want to thank R-2 and S, R-Prime and K, and B and G for getting up early and putting up with a less than perfect kitchen.

Check out a few market pictures from today:

A Trip to Bonefish Grill

Last Sunday we traveled to the Southside and ate at Bonefish Grill.

My husband had wanted to give it a whirl for a while and I had a couple of gift cards to use up. The parking lot was full, so we thought we might have to wait. But parking lots can be deceptive. The place hadn't even reached the half way mark and it was 7 PM. We were seated. The decor was generic and very dark.

We were presented with the regular menu, a specials menu, and dinner-for-two-at-a-special-price menu. We grabbed the wine list first and ordered a 2007 Hayman and Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa ($29). Decent red wine, especially at that price point.

We had a coupon for a free Bang Bang Shrimp - Tender, crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce (regularly $7.90).

A ton of shrimp over lettuce. Lots of tables either had these free coupons or it was very popular. The first and second shrimp bites were very good. Unfortunately, the more we ate, the more prominent the sauce became - very spicy and very creamy - reducing the shrimp to a tasteless structure designed to hold the sauce. And as much as the two of lus ike shrimp, we simply could not finish the dish. We also ordered the Fresh Ceviche - Chilled tender Bay scallops, shrimp, fresh fish, avocado, peppers, citrus & cilantro served with warm tortilla chips ($7.50).

Did this description mention anything about tomatoes??? I don't think so, but when the appetizer arrived the chopped up fish and seafood swam in a spicy tomato sauce. I would have described this as seafood gazpacho. While good, I am not a gazpacho fan - too tomatoey for me. We did not finish this dish.

The main menu featured lots of fish - grilled fish in particular, which truly reflected the name. We were a bit surprised that seafood did not figure as prominently. So, we ordered grilled fish. Hubby ordered the full portion of Norwegian Salmon ($15.90). I was pleased to see that a half portion was also available. The dish came with a veggie of the day and a selected side and a signature sauce. He chose the herbed jasmine rice and chimichurri as the sauce. He can be very finicky about his salmon. This dish he enjoyed very much.

I am not as big of a fish fan. but felt funny ordering a steak. The other specialties seemed too rich. So, I ended up ordering grilled Snake River Rainbow Trout with mashed potatoes and a side of chimichurri sauce ($15.90). This dish did not have the half portion option. And mine was very tasty. I would consider ordering it again.

The wine paired well with both dishes due to the grilled factor and the chimichurri sauce (if you order steak, make sure you ask for a side of this - very good). Other sauce options included Mango Salsa, Pan Asian (soy sauce based), and Lemon Butter.

We had a decent time, but we probably would not make a special trip. The menu descriptions in some cases were a bit off and that wee bit of difference was not as pleasant for us. The appetizers were enormous (or tastebud tiring). I would only order one for the entire table. The wine list was decent and affordable and the grilled fish was good. If you go, go for the grill.

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon