Saturday, March 31, 2012

Enoteca Sogno Deliciousness

Since Enoteca Sogno is now in my neighborhood, we visit more frequently and can walk there. Lucky, lucky us.

We have enjoyed everything we have ever ordered. On this night we ehoyed some of the evening specials.

Seared scallops with balsamic vinegar. Some of THE BEST scallops. The pan searing - perfect without drying out the little seafood morsels. The drizzle of balsamic enhances the flavor without hiding what the scallop has to offer.


Burrata with tomatoes. We fell in love with this soft mozzarella with the creaminess inside while we were in Italy. Here, it's hard to get burrata. Enoteca Sogno sourced it from a producer in Maine. Heavenly.

Burrata and Tomatoes

Roasted Cornish Game Hen with a mustard-influenced sauce. A very healthy hen where I was tempted to pick up the bones and gnaw on them to get at every last bit of flavor. Since the bird was big, I took half of it home and gnawed my bones in the privacy of my own abode.

Roasted Game Hen

We washed it all down with a 2008 Rosso di Casanova di Neri. Mmmmm!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Salad Days

It's hotter than it has ever been here in March. I refuse to turn on the air conditioning. It's so wrong. Cafe Caturra on Grove contains the answer: Chargrilled Romaine with white cheddar dressing, tomatoes, and grilled chicken. The grilled lettuce and the dressing were the standouts.

Chargrilled Romaine Salad

And even though baby, it's hot outside, we still spring for red wine: 2007 Farther Petite Sirah.

Farther Petit Sirah

Maybe I'll survive March after all.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prosciutto Shrimp

Prosciutto Shrimp by pjpink

Prosciutto Shrimp a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
Occasionally, Tastebuds American Bistro will feature Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp as a starter. Delicious! The prosciutto is paper thin to ensure that the shrimp is not overwhelmed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yes, I Ate at Peter Chang's, Too

And I want to go back. Real soon. We arrived on a Saturday at 4:45 PM and lined up with the other eager eaters. Folks navigating the parking lot from Walmart slowed up and gawked at the line up. The doors opened promptly at 5 PM and we were seated along with two friends who had joined us for dinner.

Peter Chang sports a decent wine list!! Hooray! We ordered a Silvan Ridge Pinot Gris from Oregon. A nice complement to the bit of spiciness ahead.

Silvan Ridge Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris
For starters Spring Vegetable Rolls and Steamed Buns with Beef. The rolls were nice and crispy. The beef had a hint of spice. Unfortunately, the buns were okay. (We were so spoiled by the Duck Buns at the now defunct Ejay Rin. May the buns and kimchi be resurrected in another life!)

Spring Vegetable Rolls
Spring Vegetable Rolls
Steamed Buns with Beef
Steamed Buns with Beef
For entrees, a mix of beef and duck dishes. Orange Flavored Beef was tasty and traditional (at least from an American point of view).

Orange Flavored Beef
Orange Flavored Beef
The Beef Stew in Clay Pot was unexpected and very tasty. Presented in a big cauldron of a pot and consisting of beef brisket, potato, carrot, and tomato in a special sauce that was spicy without being hot. The beef was extremely tender.

Beef Stew in Clay Pot
Beef Stew in Clay Pot
My favorites, of course, were the duck dishes. Guangdong Gulu Duck was boneless, deep fried, and served with a sweet and sour sauce. And such a beautiful presentation. Hubby really liked the taste and flavor of both the meat and the sauce. He was also very pleased that the water fowl was boneless.

Guangdong Gulu Duck
Duck with Sweet and Sour Sauce
I ordered Tea Smoked Duck with Deep Fried Onions. Lovely smoky duck! This fowl did include the bones, but tender enough to strip away the delicious morsels. The onions reminded me of onion straws, but had a prodigious amount of red pepper flakes mixed in. A bit of heat (and even hotter heated up for leftovers the next day!). I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Tea Smoked Duck with Deep Fried Onion
Tea Smoked Duck
And what's so great is that Peter Chang offers even more duck dishes as well as a wide variety of other delectable dishes. I want to go back. Real soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Biggest Breakfast in Town at McLean's

BBIT by pjpink

BBIT a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
Three eggs your way, choice of breakfast meat, choice of sides (I have to have the home fries!), choice of toast or biscuits, choice of juice, and grits if you want 'em. No wonder this place is packed!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Leap Day Wine Dinner

Four Italian reds. Four delicious courses. Wine dinner at Enoteca Sogno.

We finally attended one of these celebrated events! and now that Enoteca Sogno has moved to the Northside, we can even walk there.

Enoteca Sogno
Communal Table

The Veneto region was highlighted for this evening with wines from Nicolis. The winemaker, speaking Italian, and the distributor, who translated gave explanations that were amusing and informative. Gary, the restaurant owner, was also on hand to explain the paired dishes.

2007 Nicolis Testal with Pasta and Bean Soup - The wine featured corvina grapes. The soup was an intersection of elegance and peasant (at least to my mind) with some of the soup being pureed with whole beans and pasta added. Both simple and tasty.

Bean and Pasta Soup
Bean and Pasta Soup
2008 Seccal Valpolicella Ripasso and Baccala with Polenta and Radicchio Gratin - This was my favorite wine. Hearty and in-your-face, but still displaying fruit. Baccala consisted of dried, salted cod reconstituted. The cod by itself was a bit too salty. The polenta a bit on the corny bland side. The marriage of the two, divine. And the radicchio gratin balanced bitterness with the richness of the cheese. Lots of taste sensations going on and the wine held it own throughout.

Hearty Ripasso
2006 Amarone della Valpolicella and a Cheese Plate - The Amarone was smooth and supple. We enjoyed it with a trio of cheese - taleggio, gorgonzola, and aged asiago. The simplicity of the strong cheeses with the sensuousness of the wine was perfect after the somewhat heavier second course.

Nicolis Amarone
Sensuous Amarone
2006 Recioto della Valpolicella and Tiramisu. A lovely little dessert wine that took on a few port-like qualities. The tiramisu was some of the best I had ever had. The lightness and freshness of it amazed me. This is why folks should rave about this dessert. I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience it.

Heavenly Tiramisu

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sandwiches and Raku

We visited the Visual Arts Center for First Fridays and learned a bit about the art of Raku pottery. We selected a bisque pot or bowl, dipped it in a glaze, let it dry, and loaded it into a kiln.

While the kiln was firing, we strolled up to Olio to have dinner. A Secco-Bertani Valpoicello Ripasso accompanied a couple of yummy sandwiches - a Sicilian - hot soprasatta, capocolla ham, and provolone with hot cherry peppers on ciabatta and a Proscuitto di Parma with fresh mozzarella, basil, greens, red pepper, olive oil and balsamic on ciabatta.

Sicilian with Black Bean and Corn Salad
Parma di Proscuitto with Tuscan White Bean Salad
After eating we returned to the art center for the real show - opening the kiln and cooling the pots.

Fiery Kiln
Opening the Kiln
Transferring glowing pots to metal cans, then trowing sawdust over the pot and closing the lid so the pots can cool.
As the pots cool, they produce a lot of smoke.
Raku Bowls
It only takes about 15 minutes for the pots to cool.
Raku Pot
As the pots cool, the glaze produces a crackled effect. We then cleaned them up with water and comet scrub and took them home!
Lots of fun for a Friday evening.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Friendly Hospitality

Last Saturday we traveled east to Quinton for a fantastic home-cooked dinner with friends. What a fantastic feast!

Here's the line up so you can be envious:

Cheese and Olives
Olive Medley with Mahon, Parrano, and Idiazabal Cheeses
Country Pate
Country Pork Pate with Cornichons
Tuscan Bean and Sausage Soup
Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup
Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root
Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root Graced with Chopped Celery Leaves
Ox Tails
Ox Tails
Broccolini Carrots Peppers
Broccolini, Carrot, and Pepper Medley
Brussels Sprouts Mushrooms Bacon
Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Bacon
Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream
Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream

With dinner we enjoyed a Brunello and a Vacqueyras. With dessert, a special treat - Russell's Reserve Bourbon infused with maple sugar. OMG! Stupid good.

What a wonderful evening with friends.