Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

A View of the Kracken

The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing offers The Kracken (Kracken black spiced rum, fresh limes, simple syrup, fresh mint, club soda)

The Kracken

coupled with a spectacular view

River Panorama


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Muriel Thornburger

Muriel Thornburger by pjpink

Muriel Thornburger a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
Kick ass burger from Dot's Back Inn. I enjoyed this burger while watching The Preakness with a packed house. It was great cheering on I'll Have Another for the win (and then everyone telling their waitress the same after the race was over).

The Tweeting of The Magpie

Another awesome dining experience at The Magpie. What drew us in this time was the sausage of the evening tweet: boar and bourbon. While we had been thinking of an outdoor venue, the lure of wild sausage meat won out.

We, indeed, consumed a delightful feast of small plates. First we toasted our good fortune with an In Fashion - an updated version of an Old Fashioned.

In Fashion

An Amuse Bouche featuring beet followed to whet our palates.

Amuse Bouche

We also ordered a Paso Robles red blend: 2009 Field Recordings Chorus Effect.

The wine turned out to be the perfect pairing for the boar and bourbon sausage. The sausage was served with a rosemary custard (very soft and creamy) and blue cheese. We requested that the blue cheese be omitted since hubby gets ill just looking at the stuff. The chef asked us if we would like manchego, instead. Yes, please! We loved the substitute cheese with the dense and tasty sausage.

Boar and Bourbon Sausage

Along with the boar, we ordered the Fried Hearts of Palm with the Roasted Poblano Pesto. Yes, folks another winner. Both of us raved about the pesto.

Fried Hearts of Palm

The Magpie offered another special on that evening: Rabbit and Bacon Wontons. Yummy, yummy.

Rabbit Wontons

The most fantastic dish was the Popcorn Lobster with Chive Biscuit and Piccata Cream. Wonderful tender lobster chunks, perfectly fried with a creamy caper sauce. Unbelievably delicious. Get this while it is still on the menu!

Popcorn Lobster

For dessert we shared a salted chocolate caramel tart. Satisfying with after-dinner coffee.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Torte

The Magpie continues to bring inventive dishes to the table. Go give them some love.

Magpie Tables

Friday, May 25, 2012

SOJ 5/18/2012

Last Saturday was so busy, we only had time for a brief stop at the South of the James Market. But Markiss Blowfish was already plugged in and greeting everyone with some blues. Of course, we purchased a fresh chicken from Ault's. An abundance of veggies continue to delight the senses, including a market favorite, Asian turnips. And don't forget the must-have Maple Bourbon Bacon Popcorn from Dollop.

Markiss and Doreen

Ault's Pastured Poultry

Asian Turnips

Maple Bourbon Bacon Popcorn

Sugar Snaps


What are your favorite market finds? Post photos of any of the area markets on the RVA Farmers Market flickr site.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Butter Almond Cookies and Pear Sorbet

A great dessert from Tastebuds American Bistro. The cookies had the consistency of shortbread and a perfect match for the pear sorbet.

For a real treat follow up dessert with Irish Coffee.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Portrait of The Roosevelt - What Appeals To You?

Earlier in May we headed to The Roosevelt early to snag a table. We had a delicious time. I took a bunch of photos. Which ones look the most appealing to you?

The Roosevelt Sign
Window Sign
The Roosevelt
The Clawhammer
The Clawhammer - Bourbon, Aperol, Sweet Vermouth, Fig Jam
Pollak Meritage
A Blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot
Crab and Avocado Salad
Crab and Avocado Salad with Grapefruit
Fried Chicken Slider
Fried Chicken Slider with Kimchee Mayo
Trout with Grits, Sea Island Peas, and Sunchoke Relish
Whole Fried Fingerling Potatoes
Fried Fingerlings with Ramp Aioli
Steak Tartare
Steak Tartare with Chopped Egg and Apricot Mostarda
Let me know what you have savored at The Roosevelt.

SOJ 5/11/2012

Fun and great produce continue to grace the South of the James Market. I met Ginger the Chickunz chicken; admired mushrooms, radishes, Swiss chard; enjoyed iced coffee from Blanchard's; and picked up a T-bone steak from Sunny Vale Farm as well as the usual Ault's whole chicken.

Here is the photo round up:

Ginger Chicken

Swiss Chard

Basket of Mushrooms


Snow Peas

If anyone has local market photos, please add them to the Richmond Area Farmers Markets flickr site.

Wine Dinner Decadence

For the most part, I focus on local establishments, but this post is all about the wine dinner we attended at Ruth's Chris in Midlothian. We've dined here in the past with decent results, usually paying at least part of the tab with gift cards. It turns out that Ruth's Chris also hosts wine dinners once a month and they are on a Friday. Not many places can pull this feat off on a Friday; the private dining rooms here afford them that luxury.

We decided to sign up for the dinner in May because of one single wine: Penfolds Grange. Yes, that wine. A regular bottle costs around $600. About 15 years ago hubby and I had the chance to taste another vintage of this hard-to-obtain elixir. We were part of a local wine club and one of the couples graciously shared a bottle with the group along with some fabulous Kentucky burgoo. There was some brute force to this wine and could still have aged for years and been stunning. We counted ourselves extremely lucky and went about our merry way exploring less pricey wine options for regular consumption.

Along comes Ruth's Chris to announce a wine dinner celebrating the 2007 release Penfolds Grange. Dinner was not cheap, but $110 per person for 5 courses with wine considering the regular restaurant prices and what we would be consuming, seemed okay. And since the dinner was close to our wedding anniversary, we turned it into a gift for ourselves.

Less than 40 people attended, thus, the atmosphere was more intimate than some dinners I have attended. Service was impeccable. Most of the attendees were regular wine dinner patrons. Amiable conversation sprouted up at our table and the Penfolds regional wine rep also sat with us. Course portions were generous as well as most of the wine pours. Each attendee received a 3 ounce pour of the Penfolds Grange. I was able to take photos of the dishes, but only a couple of the wines.

We started with a Chilled Shellfish Salad - crab and shrimp with a creamy lemon basil dressing paired with Thomas Hyland Riesling. The riesling was bone dry and a nice aperitif. The salad delicious. I did not like the wine and the salad together. The dressing had a hint of sweetness to it. I would have preferred an off-dry riesling.

Shrimp and Crab Salad

The next course challenged both my food and wine sensibilities: Spring Asparagus Soup paired with Bin 311 Chardonnay. Anyone who is a regular reader knows I am not an asparagus fan and chardonnay for me is not much better. Hubby had the bright idea to announce my green spear aversion to the rest of the table with a bit of an evil glee in his eye. Conversation ensued. At least the woman sitting next to me came to my rescue and also declared no love for the stuff. The saving grace of the soup were the leeks. It tasted more like leek than nasty green to me. Whew! And the chardonnay turned out to be an excellent accompaniment.

Asparagus and Leek Soup

Next we enjoyed Duck Confit Napoleon with St. Henri Shiraz. I loved the duck (of course) and I loved the wine which retails for about $60 (a tenth of the price of Grange with big fruit and big tannins, complex and very tasty). The wine was 90% shiraz and 10% cabernet sauvignon. Great pairing and a dish that seemed to be out of the norm for Ruth's Chris that showcased the chef's talent (Chef Curt Jenkins).

Duck Confit Napoleon

St. Henri Shiraz

And then the highlight of the evening: Filet Mignon and Crab-stuffed Lobster Tail with Penfolds Grange. A hefty and oh-so-decadent course. Because the Grange had to be carefully measured, they also poured another Penfolds red (I forgot to write it down!) to enjoy and draw comparisons. The Grange is indeed a great wine. Complex, great mouth feel. Wonderful with the filet. I am so lucky to have tasted this again in my lifetime. Can I justify paying the money for it outside of a 3 ounce pour at a wine dinner? No. I'd rather buy a case of the St. Henri Shiraz or multiple cases of an even less expensive, but delicious red.

Steak and Lobster Tail

Penfolds Grange

The final course presented us with dessert - Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake with Club Tawny Port. By this time I was so full (and I had even boxed up half of my filet to take home) that dessert was a bit of a blur. I liked the strawberries in the cheesecake and the nuttiness of the tawny paired nicely.

Chocolate-covered Strawberry Cheesecake

A huge dinner with equally huge wines. Upon arrival we were issued raffle tickets. As we finished dessert a drawing was held for a magnum of St. Henri Shiraz. Unfortunately, the lucky bastard who won was not me. Upon the completion of dinner service, additional Penfolds wines were available for tasting on a more informal basis.

Wow. A very enjoyable and decadent dinner.

Waiting for Wine

Saturday, May 12, 2012

SOJ 5/5/2012 Pictorial

The regular South of the James Market opened last week at Forest Hill Park. Yeah! We snapped up chicken, fresh garlic, Japanese turnips, lettuce, iced coffee, sirloin steak, and BBQ last week. So glad to see the variety of vendors and all of the patrons.

I took a lot of pictures, per usual, and wanted to share.

Cute as all getout


Bacon Brownie

Spring Beauties

New Garlic



Box of Mismatched Bowls

Donut Line


Spring Basket

There are over 15 different weekly markets in the Richmond area this year. Support your local producers as much as you can.

If you have photos of any of the area markets, please post them on the Richmond Area Farmers Markets flickr site.