Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joe's Wines Octoberfest Beer Tasting

The lineup for Joe's Octoberfest High Gravity Beer Tasting is awesome! Tickets are still available for purchase at the store 1681 Poplar, 901.725.4252. The tasting is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Playhouse on the Square.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Night one in N.O. part 2

After a couple bottles & some cheese at Bacchanal we hopped in a cab & headed to Cure for some more snacks & drinks.

This was my first encounter with the cocktail culture of New Orleans. The drinks list wasn't very long but it was precise & had a good mix of different types of liquors. The spirits they chose leaned toward the artisanal which I greatly appreciated. Our cocktails took a little while to come to the table but we didn't mind at all knowing that they were being crafted by hand with meticulousness. The ice in the drinks were large square cubes which didn't melt as fast as smaller cubes & thus didn't dilute my drink as quickly.

I love this type of place because they built the menu for snacking & sharing over well crafted drinks.

Since it was still warm in N.O. we finished the night with a bottle of one of my favorites: Txakolina

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Night One in N.O.

We pulled into town with the sun casting a golden glow across the city of New Orleans. We were hungry & thirsty. What a wonderful city for fulfilling those needs. Our B&B was in the Faubourg-Marigny district adjacent to the French Quarter. Some people would call this the real New Orleans. Our place was beautiful with an big huge patio overlooking Royal Street. Our first stop was a place called Bacchanal Wine & Sprits. I'd heard many things about this place so I was incredibly excited to check it out myself. Sunday night must have been the night to go because we couldn't get a table out back where all the fun was being had so instead we grabbed a table inside, had a bottle of bubbles

This lovely French bottle was something I had never experienced before so I was incredibly excited. It was appley, yeasty & a little nutty. Quite refreshing too I might add. Paired with the cheese we had (What was that cheese you picked out Max?) it was close to heavenly.

Next up was

Summer still laid thick across New Orleans so a chilled bottle of rosato was exactly what we needed. At first taste the Terre Nere had little to no flavor but once it warmed a bit & had some time to breathe it was expressing great earthy fruit notes.

The space itself is raw & cellar like which is why I liked it. Exactly what I was hoping it would look like.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Amazing Dish

Housemade spaghetti with fried yard egg & Guanciale. The best dish we ate last night at Herbsaint in New Orleans

Friday, October 15, 2010

At the Table

I'm still reeling from one of the best wine dinners I've attended. Chef Wally Joe & Chef de Cuisine Andrew Adams outdid themselves at The Brushmark last night. Each course was so expertly paired with the wines of Seven Hills. The food complimented & elevated the wine & vice versa. Everyone who enjoys good food & good wine owes it to themselves to attend the next one for sure. Sorry for the lack of photos of the dishes but I was too busy enjoying them to pull out my iPhone & snap pics.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Menu for Thursday's Seven Hills Dinner at The Brushmark

Here is the menu for Thursday night's dinner at the Brushmark with Seven Hills Vineyard:
Amuse: Black Mission Fig & Foie Gras

First: Seared Maine Sea Scallop on Tapioca “Caviar”, Sea Beans, & Smoked Steelhead Roe paired with Seven Hills Winery Pinot Gris

Second: Grilled Colombia River Wild Sturgeon on Oxtail Marmalade, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Sunchokes, & Mustard paired with Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, 2007 Tempranillo, Columbia Valley, 2007

Third: Roasted Ellensburg Ribeye of Lamb & Benton’s Bacon-Sweetbread Croquette on Truffled Chestnut Puree, Brussels Sprouts, & Black Garlic Sauce paired with “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard”, Red Mountain, 2007

Fourth: Red Currant Gateau Basque with Praline Chocolate Bavarian paired with Cabernet Sauvignon, “Seven Hills Vineyard”, Walla Walla Valley, 2007

$65 per person call 901.544.6225 for reservations

Zoomelier October 15th

Enrich animals and experience more than 240 of the finest wines at this fundraiser benefiting the Memphis Zoo, presented by Event Rentals by Hicks and Southwestern Distributing. “Wine” through Teton Trek and Northwest Passage sampling offerings from Oregon, California and Washington, as well as choice wines from around the globe while enjoying live entertainment and light fare from Lancer Catering. Zoomelièr is a must for any wine connoisseur and is unique as attendees will have the opportunity to order any wine sampled at the event to be picked up on Monday from their choice of available retailers.

You can purchase Zoomelièr tickets until 11:59 p.m. on October 14. Tickets will not be available at the door. Tickets are $55 for Zoo members & $60 for non-members. Click here to purchase tickets & get more information. Joe's Wines & Liquors will be pouring the wines of Owen Roe from both Oregon & Washington. I'm so psyched for this because some of my favorite wines are being showcased.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Love Letter to Washington

When I read this blog post my blood started boiling & my fangs grew. I've been passionate about the wines of Washington State for years & after visiting the region a couple times my passion was near insatiable. Visiting the vineyards, meeting the winemakers & the people behind this glorious juice ignited something inside of me. After tasting some of the younger wines, from younger vines even, I was shocked. How could such interesting wine come from such young vines? There is truly magic going on up there.

I know what Steve Heimoff is trying to do with this post. A little jab back at his neighbor to the north? Perhaps puff up the collective chest of the California wine industry? It's in his best interest to defend & ultimately market the wines of his backyard. I won't begrudge the man for that.

Washington's wines speak to me. They are unique, brooding, layered with flavor & oh so delicious. The vineyards are starkly beautiful. When I was standing at the top of Red Willow Vineyard I felt like the only person for miles. Before hiking to the top of the vineyard's Chapel Hill Block I sipped on an early RW vineyard syrah that David Lake (one of the founding fathers of the WA State wine industry) made for Columbia Winery. It was spicy, earthy, leathery & super sensual. After returning to the floor of the vineyard I participated in a syrah comparative tasting where I sampled one of the last wines that David Lake ever made. Recounting this now still gives me chills. I'll forever feel honored to have experienced what this man created & it only could have happened in Washington.

Dinner with Seven Hills Winery

Next Thursday, October 14th at 6:30 p.m. join me at The Brushmark Restaurant for a wine dinner with Seven Hills Winery.

Here is the full text of the Brooks Museum's invite:

Help Michael Hughes, GM of Joe's Wines & Liquor, and Brushmark chefs Wally Joe and Andrew Adams welcome Vicky McClellan of Seven Hills Winery to Memphis on Thursday, Oct. 14!

Walla Walla, Washington winemakers Vicky and Casey McClellan create benchmark Bordeaux-varietal reds, which are are recognized as some of the finest coming out of the Northwest and are among the great values of the North American wine world. At Seven Hills Winery, they have developed a style known for balancing structure and grace.

Vicky McClellan, a knowledgeable advocate on behalf of the broader Washington State winemaking community, will attend the Seven Hills Wine Dinner at the Brushmark and discuss the wines that Hughes has chosen to pour, which Joe will pair with a full four course menu.

Dinner is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 901.544.6225 for reservations.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Chill In the Air

We haven't had our friends Justin & Amy over in a very long time. With the weather turning chilly I was in the mood for soup . Hence the previous post about roasted cauliflower which I turned into a soup. I mixed up a couple Manhattans for Justin & I using Sazerac Rye & Punt e Mes sweet vermouth with a few dashes of Regan's Orange Bitters & a dash or two of Peychaud's. Our garnish was some of my home marinated Brandied Cherries. Super delicious.

When they arrived I had a platter of grilled bread with sweet pea spread with lemon, parmiggiano, parsley, olive oil & salt & pepper. I know peas aren't in season but I was craving this dish so I made do with frozen organic. Blanched them off a bit & pulsed them in the processor with the other ingredients.

Justin brought some Burratta cheese & ciabatta with a fig-quince-red wine sauce that was outstandingly delicious!

For a little sweet I made some nutella stuffed wontons that I fried crispy

The name of the game this time around was simple, clean flavors. Alongside that we tasted through a delightful Owen Roe Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 & a Rosa Mystica Cabernet Franc 2008. Unbelievable wines!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

La Luna Azul

A traditional cocktail that has become an obsession of mine is called The Blue Moon. The star of the show is a liqueur called Creme de Violette which is unfortunately not available in Memphis. However I am working on getting a wholesaler to pick up a brand. What makes this booze so unique is its aromatics. Real violet petals are used in the distillation process which gives it a floral note unlike any other.

My spin on a Blue Moon:

1 1/2 parts gin (I like Citadelle for this)
1 part creme de violette (Rothman & Winter is a very good choice)
1 splash of my mother's homemade limoncello

Shake vigorously in an iced filled cocktail shaker or stir vigorously, your choice.

Pour into a chilled martini glass or highball, your choice.

Garnish with nothing. It's too pretty to need accessories.

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable & it is so underused. Here is a great, easy, tasty recipe

Slice 2 heads of cauliflower into cross sections & clean. Layer them into one large roasting dish or 2 medium size ones. The point is that you don't want to crowd the pan. This will ensure that there is nice caramelization on the vegetable. Add 6 cloves of skinned garlic, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast in a preheated 405 degree oven until browned around the edges.

While that's roasting pour a 32 oz container of vegetable stock (either homemade or Whole Foods brand is my preference) into a medium size dutch oven. Add approximately a tablespoon of fresh thyme. I don't really measure I just strip leaves & throw them in. Warm that through. When the cauliflower is done add that to the pot & simmer for 10 minutes. Once the vegetable is soft puree that with a hand held blender or add in batches to a traditional blender. At this point you will have a puree like consistency. If that is your preferred texture than check for seasoning & adjust. If you prefer a less thick consistency then add more stock & season to taste.