Introducing...For The Memphis Wine-o's...Memphis Wine Events

Memphis Wine Events. <----Click there.

We will keep a running list of what is happening in Memphis wine scene. Bookmark it & check back frequently. We will update it early & often.

If you have any events, information, thoughts, reviews of events please share it with us by leaving a comment.

Thanx & Cheers!

Recipe: Chicken Satay, Shooting From The Hip

Last week I needed a way to cook some chicken for dinner. I decided on Chicken Satay. We had this a few weeks ago but I couldn't find the recipe La used. La was in class & couldn't be bothered with an text message, IM, email or smoke signals (ain't technology great). So, I had to shoot from the hip.

I know I could have gotten on Food or but where is the adventure in that?

I started some white rice while I made the Satay marinade/sauce, which I made to taste, so I have no quantities, but here is what I used...
  • peanutbutter

  • soy sauce

  • finely minced garlic

  • tobassco

  • five spice mix

  • 1 scallion chopped

  • cilantro

  • brown sugar

  • dash of fish sauce

  • some sesame oil & olive oil (more olive oil)

  • I mixed it all together & when it tasted to my liking, I pulled a little bit out to use as dipping sauce & I used the rest to marinate the chicken, for about an hour & a half.

    When the rice was done I let it sit with the lid on & I started the grill. While the coals were getting white hot, I rummaged through the crisper to find something else to grill, which happened to be a nice Zucchini. I sliced it & skewered it, along with the chicken & loaded it with sesame oil & five spice mix.

    I grilled both until they were done & by this point La was home & making a killer salad with herbed goat cheese, greens & pickled peppercorns. We also chopped the Zuke & tossed it with the rice, creating a duo worthy of seconds.

    I have never been to Thailand but I would like to think if you stopped at a Satay stall on the side of a moped & bike filled street this is how it would taste.

    If not, at least this meal whisked us away to a place we have never been.



    Great Wines & Spirits Free Tasting Saturday

    From the Great Wines & Spirits newsletter:

    Saturday April 29 from 1 - 3 p.m. at Salsa restaurant, 6150 Poplar Avenue in Regalia, adjacent to Great Wines.
    We'll be doing the 2006 version of "Tax Relief - good wines that won't break the bank." There is no charge to attend and reservations are not needed. Come for lunch - Salsa is always a good lunch place - taste and shop, in whatever order you want to do it.

    A quick word about the wines we'll pour Saturday - this may be the first of several 'value' oriented tastings that we will do over the next 3 or 4 months as I believe we are entering a period when it will be very rewarding to be a regular wine drinker, i.e. a lot of wine is being produced in Australia, new vineyards are coming on strong in Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and South Africa and California had their biggest harvest on record in 2005. While a lot is cheap industrial plonk, I think - and Saturday's tasting should confirm this - there are more and more very fairly priced, really good wines available. Hope you can join us and see if you agree.

    Great Wines & Spirits (901) 682-1333


    Last Nights Dinner Brought To You By: Bacon & Mustard

    Sorry, no pics. I was flying solo because on Mondays La is in class until 5-ish. I was going to do cedar plank roasted salmon but decided to save that for another night (I really was just dragging ass, in my 24 hour Monday fog).

    Here was the menu...Mustard Greens (with bacon), Mustard Baked Salmon (with bacon) & Parsnip Puree'.

    I cooked the mustard greens in the pressure cooker & guess didn't explode in my face like I was expecting. There was a few sketchy moments though, but I tamed the beast. Here is how it went down: I washed the greens & dried them in the salad spinner then threw them into the pot, along with 2 strips of bacon, 1 cup of H2O & a handful of mustard seeds (totally unnecessary thinking back, but the added occasional crunch & spicy explosion was nice). They cooked, hissed & threatened me while magically cooking in the pot of volatility for 5 minutes. They were cooked to perfection.

    For the salmon...I rubbed salt, white pepper & some whole grain brown mustard all over the fillet & then covered each piece with a strip of bacon & cooked in a 400° oven for about 12 minutes.

    To finish our Monday night dinner off I made a household favorite, Parsnip puree'.

    I got the original recipe from the Abstract Gourmet & it has slowly evolved into the creation we had last night. First, I cut the parsnips into small slices (<1/4 inch) along with a shallot. I then sauteed them both in some butter until they shallots were tender. After that, I de-glazed the pan with half a can of chicken stock & let it simmer with the lid on until most of the liquid was gone, when I then added some minced, fresh-from-the-garden Mexican Tarragon. Finally the puree' part comes in. I threw it in our blender & pureed the mixture (actually La was home at this point & she handled the blender quite skillfully, I might add since our blender is slowly dying). It might have been the best batch yet. The Mexican Tarragon made the dish with its sweet, lemony, fresh anise flavor.

    The wines poured were a Smoking Loon Viognier & I enjoyed the last glass of Luccarelli Primitivo. Both were good but the Primitivo paired better. The Viognier was just too delicate to stand up to the meal but was outstanding on its own. We have never tried a Viognier & we loved it. It was so delicate, floral & beautiful. We will definitely be trying more of this varietal. It is the first white wine to really make an impression on me.

    It was great way to end the worst day of the week...Monday.



    Weekend Herb Blogging Re-cap Posted

    Kaylyn at Kalyn's Kitchen has posted WHB round-up. There is lots of good recipes from the blogosphere. Be sure you swing by to check it out.


    Just When You Think Your Days of Eating Ramen Are Over...

    You get the craving & have to give in. We picked up a handful at the Vietnamese market yesterday. No nasty Top Ramen or Smack Ramen there, just the good stuff.

    Instead of coming with one packet of MSG, like our nasty domestic ramen, these bad boys come with a liquid broth packet, a spice packet & a packet of hot chile powder.

    I am going to reluctantly use an adjective I reserve for my mountian bike forum soirees & drunken nights.....
    They were the Bomb-Ass-Diggity!


    Weekend Herb Blogging: Herb Garden Update

    The herb garden is taking root & all is well except for the oregano & cilantro. Evidently Cilantro is tough to grow. I know we have struggled with it in the past & this year is no different. What is the secret?

    The basil, mint, thyme, Mexican tarragon & parsley are starting to flourish. We even had fresh basil with our pasta last week. I wish cilantro was as easy to grow as basil. Now that would be nice.

    Thanks to Kalyn's Kitchen for hosting the 29th installment of WHB.

    Vietnamese Sammich

    Vietnamese food was love at first bite for us. Luckily there is a big Vietnamese population in Midtown Memphis. This is one reason I love Midtown. In the bleak cultural wasteland that is Memphis (the whole South for that matter), Midtown is the oasis of multiculturalism. It is by no means as diverse as Miami, New York City, L.A. or San Francisco, but it is just enough to keep our lives interesting.

    I finally got my hands on a Vietnamese Sandwich. I have read about the wonders of the Vietnamese Sandwich all over the interweb, but have not been able to find them anywhere in Memphis & we eat at all the Vietnamese joints.

    We regularly shop at the Viet Hoa Market on Cleveland Ave. & recently they have opened a restaurant (Lobster King) next door & have started doing take out fare in the market.

    This is extremely exciting to us as we shop there regularly. They do a buffet, have pre-made sandwiches, Bun (rice vermicelli bowls) & an assortment of ducks, chicken & geese (i think they are geese?). Seeing whole cooked fowl hanging in a heated case gets us salivating every time we walk by.

    The other day we picked up lunch there. I had a sammich (FOR $2 BUCKS!!!) & La got a Bun bowl. Both were awesome.

    The sandwich had some unidentifiable meats, something like pate', some processed meat product, that I think was Vietnamese sausage & what I am pretty sure is BBQ'ed Pork. A nice menage a trois, whatever it was. What tied it all together was the crispy baguette & the veggies. Loads of fresh cilantro, pickled veggies (mostly carrots), some jalapeno, bell pepper & tomato made it unforgettable.

    It is going to be hard not to get one every time we swing by to get our score of fresh seafood.

    I will have to take some pics & post about the fresh seafood selection. It deserves it's own post, hell, it deserves it's web site. It is huge & is the best place to get fresh seafood in Memphis.


    Hot tamales and they red hot......

    'Yeah she's got 'em for sale
    Hot tamales and they red hot, yes, she got 'em for sale
    Hot tamales and they red hot, yes, she got 'em for sale
    I got a girl, say she's long and tall
    Now, she sleeps in the kichen with her feets in the hall, yes
    Hot tamales and they red hot, yes, she got 'em for sale, I mean
    Yes, she got 'em for sale, yeah...'
    -Robert Johnson

    We had homemade tamales for dinner last night. Not homemade from our kitchen. Homemade from the kitchen of a couple of guys that work with my dad, Arturo and Jesus. My dad hunts like a fiend. He loves deer hunting, but never eats the meat. So he gets his deer butchered and turned into either summer sausage, or meat that these two kitchen masters turn into fabulous tamales. They always hook us up with some, and we have them in the freezer year round. They are so good. Last night we had them with slowed cooked beans and brown rice.

    Slow Cooked Beans
    1 pablano diced
    1 onion diced
    1/2 cup canned tomatoes (Fresh, peeled and seeded. they aren't in season yet for us.)
    1 can beans of choice (I used navy beans because of their thin skin and canned over dry because, well, that's all we had.)
    Cumin to taste

    Sauté onions and peppers in some olive oil with a little salt until onions are transparent.
    Add beans and saute until combined well.
    Add tomatoes, stir well and bring to a simmer.
    Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour (they don't have to go nearly that long but they taste soooo much better the longer they cook).
    Add cumin and salt to taste and serve over brown rice.

    As a surprise, we found a tamale that just had cheese and peppers in it, no meat. It was lovely. I think I might request half cheese half venison next season.


    Mis bebés

    Hello, La here again.

    If you were curious as to why I refuse to post under my own name, I've been blogging directly from Collin's Flickr acct. and am forced to post under his name. His subtle way of trying to steal a little of my E-glory I'm sure. Anyway......onto to the herbs. This is our garden, a little sad huh? Well just you wait, by the end of the summer it will be a thriving bed of succulent herbs (meaning a smaller grocery bill for me and better tasting food all around.)

    In the very back, behind the divider we have rosemary and garlic. The rosemary is a two year old bush that I absolutely adore and the garlic just celebrated its one year anniversary in the garden.

    Now the new stuff. Starting in the row closest to the camera working backwards towards the garlic you have.......

    Row 1- oregano and chocolate mint
    Row 2- thyme and apple mint
    Row 3- mexican tarragon and parsley
    Row 4- purple basil and parsley
    And the very last plant at the back of the picture....cilantro. I've got 20 bucks on cilantro dying within the next month. We can not grow it to save our lives.

    I can't wait until everything takes off. Everything seems to be adjusting well, now I just have to be patient. That's my least favorite part of the whole process.

    Memphis Wine & Food Happenings

    Wine Tastings & Dinners

    Trinchero Family Estates winery will be featured at a four-course dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday at Capriccio Grill, The Peabody's Italian steakhouse; $45. Reservations: 529-4199.

    California AVA (American Viticultural Areas) will be showcased at a tasting at The Palm Court in Overton Square at 6:30 tonight; $20. Guest speaker: Le Chardonnay wine consultant John Vego.

    Tamale Tour
    Southern Foodways Alliance oral historian Amy Evans will lead a Hot Tamale Trail Tour through the Mississippi Delta with stops in Clarksdale, Cleveland and Rosedale on April 22; $75. For details: or contact Mary Beth Lasseter at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at (662) 816-2055.

    Cooking Class
    Bittersweet Restaurant's chef/owner Ed Dunkel will prepare "Seafood Up East Style" during a class at 6 p.m. April 27 at Mantia's, 4856 Poplar Avenue; $35. Reservations: 762-8560.


    Recipe: Potato & Leek Potage

    I know it is not typical soup weather for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but this a favorite of ours & we make it quite regularly. I guess you could add a little more cream, puree it & then chill it for a nice vichyssoise, which we will be forced to do since it is already in the 90's here (UGH!).

    This potage is so easy & delicious. It is homemade soup in it's primal beauty.

    Potato & Leek Potage

    5 medium peeled & chopped potatoes
    1 sliced leek
    1 chopped shallot
    3 slices of chopped bacon
    3 tbsp. flour
    4 cups of water
    3 tbsp. butter (more if needed/desired)
    fresh parsley
    S&P (I like white & black pepper)

    Sautee the leek & shallot in the butter until soft over medium heat. Then make a roux by adding the flour. Stir until golden, but don't let it get brown. Remove from heat & let cool for a bit. Stir in H20. Then stir in S&P, bacon, the greens from the leek if you desire & the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer & cook for 40 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, add a handful of chopped parsley & stir in some cream (a little goes a long way we usually use 2 tbsp or so, if any). Turn off heat, mash potatoes with a spoon or masher & try not to burn your tongue tasting it like I always do.

    This is a French recipe from our signed edition of From Julia Child's Kitchen (Thanks Mom!). It is actually the first recipe in the book & shows how simple & wonderful French cooking can be.

    French cooking isn't fancy cooking, it is just good cooking.- Julia Child



    Cheap Ass Magnum Throwdown #2

    This weeks throwdown was YUM across the board. Which rocks because I hate having 1,500ml of YUCK & who the hell does?

    '02 Muirfield Estate Merlot-YUM. This was an excellent Merlot coming in at $10. It was nice & smooth, full bodied & full of fruit.

    '02 Leaping Horse Merlot-YUM. Another nice $10 Merlot. I liked the label better than the Muirfield but not the wine, adding strength to the adage you can never judge a bottle by its label...or something like that. It had a little more tannins & heat than the Muirfield but still good. A nice steak wine.

    '02 La Playa Cabernet Sauvignon-YUM. $10 Don't hate La Playa hate la game (You know I had to use that line, Matt). Their Merlot was so good we had to try their Cab. No Playa hatin' here.

    '05 Lindeman's Cawarra Semillion-Chardonay-YUM. $12 After La insisted I get more white wine, I brought this home & it was a hit. Kind of off-dry (sweet) with lots of fruit.

    Last but not least....
    Barefoot Syrah-YUM. $10 We have tried all of Barefoot's offerings & we have liked them all. This Syrah is full of juicy fruit & syrah character. I still like their Zin the best.


    Restaurant Review: Cafe 1912

    Cafe 1912 is a local cafe two blocks from our home & is one of our favorite regular spots, which is why it is so hard to write this review. We went for brunch one Sunday morning with La's parents & it was terrible. One bad day is no big deal, but we have noticed a decline in quality of service & food the last couple of times we have dined at Cafe 1912.

    Right after walking in the door we were assaulted by the roar coming from a raucous 12-top in the middle of the quaint dining room. They were loud & obnoxious but could be ignored with minor effort. The joint was by no means busy, but it would be soon as people kept coming in. We were sat in decent time but were quizzed if we had a reservation when asking about sitting by the window. Note to self: Make reservations for the table by the window next time as this table is prime real estate.

    Our server was a girl who has been working there for quite some time & the other server was a longtime veteran too. The A-team at Brunch is not something you see very often. Even their new beret-clad, head chef, Thomas Schranz was at the helm. Things were looking good.

    Coffee & water was brought out quickly & while their coffee isn't great, it was good enough. It really surprises how many restaurants around here don't take pride in the black stuff. There is one exception though, Bosco's Squared. Their coffee is always top notch & even offer espresso.

    As we placed our order, the place was filling up to capacity. Our food was brought out in about as much time as expected, which was enough time to polish off a basket of foccacia & finish a couple of cups of coffee. Our cups were never fully empty thanks to our attentive server.

    Everyone had their plate in front of them, ready to dig in, except Laura. We were informed that her Lyonnaise salad (green beans, bacon, potatoes and poached egg) would be out shortly. I joked they burnt her bacon because minutes before I had smelled burned bacon (remember this place is quaint, as in maximum quaintness). As I sat there staring at my frittata of the day. I think I started to drool. It looked so good, but not like any frittata I have ever seen. It was a heap of scrambled eggs with venison sausage, potatoes & onions scattered throughout, not fitting my description of what a frittata should be....a quiche with no crust, served in pie-shaped wedges. It was good, none the less. It could have used more sausage & less potatoes.

    By the time our server came back to the table, La & myself were getting irritated that she did not have the salad & it only makes matters worse when she said the kitchen had to remake her salad because the kitchen put dressing on it. La specifically asked for it on the side, as she always does & this was not an outlandish request.

    Finally she brought it out with nothing more than an "I'm sorry." and then she was gone until we needed the check. La enjoyed the salad. It is one of their specialties & much better than their Salad Nicoise that is only good, if they dont over cook the tuna to a dull grey....which they usually do.

    It is hard to deal with the easiest dish on the table causing so much trouble with the kitchen staff. 40 minutes was way too long to have to wait for green beans, bacon, potatoes, a poached egg & a ramekin of dressing.

    I hate to see a decline the quality of restaurant. Especially one within walking distance of our house, that we love & have frequented since it's opening. I am not sure if we will go back. We will think long & hard about it, if the fancy strikes us.

    I do have to mention their wine program. They specialize in affordable wines with a set price of $5.50 a glass & $22 a bottle. While the list is unimaginative & full of cheap names like Jindalee, Trapiche & Yellowtail, I think it is great they are making wine more accessible to those not wanting to spend $7-$9 a glass of wine with dinner. They do offer a selection of some nice bottles on there "Wine Specials" list. They had some nice wines but were only available by the bottle & were over the $22 price cap on the regular wine list.

    We give Cafe 1912 a 2/5. It would have been a one but our coffee was never empty & everyone enjoyed their food, even La despite the salad fiasco.


    It Is Another Beautiful Spring Day

    Everything is so green right now & the Dogwoods are in bloom along with a ton of other flora. I love this time of year.
    We ate breakfast in the backyard & are smoking a tenderloin today on the patio tonight.

    We are definitely exploiting Spring for all its worth.


    Long time, No update... and a new recipe we just tried out.

    The blog hasn't be updated since TUESDAY!?!?!?!?!
    Another day at the Forest. Tony getting in a little frisbee and Roxi is a one dog pep squad.

    Greetings, La here. I'm trying to make up for my neglect of the blog lately. (Truth be known I should really be working on school junk.) Can you tell we've been enjoying the awesome spring weather? We have to get our outdoors time in while we can. I give it a month before the temps rise to the mid 90's. By June the dreaded Memphis summer will be in full swing and we'll be camped out under the sprinkler sipping a weather appropriate wine. I've been on a white kick lately, although I can't convert Collin. This summer I'd like to try some more rose.

    Anyway, expect some new dishes from us this summer. We have decided to cook in the kitchen as little as possible this year to keep the house a bearable temperature. Lots of cold dishes and grilled stuff on the menu this season.

    Here's a recipe we tried a couple of nights ago. I needed something relatively quick and easy with few ingredients and found this Filipino style chicken on Its all cooked on the stove so it won't be a staple for this summer but I really enjoyed it and the leftovers are great too. I served it with some brown rice and veggies.

    Filipino "Adobo" Style Chicken

    8 whole chicken legs (about 4 pounds), cut into drumstick and thigh sections
    1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed lightly
    1 cup water
    3/4 cup soy sauce
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    Chopped scallions, for garnish
    Accompaniment: Cooked rice

    In a large kettle combine the chicken, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 1 cup water, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the soy sauce and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken with tongs to a plate and boil the liquid for 10 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1 cup. Let the sauce cool, remove the bay leaves, and skim the fat from the surface.
    In a large skillet heat the oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it saute the chicken, patted dry, in batches, turning it, for 5 minutes, or until it is browned well. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed platter, pour the sauce, heated, over it, and serve the chicken with the rice.


    Wine Cures Poison Ivy

    Well, it doesn't really cure it, because I still have a nasty rash from my wrist to my armpit. But it sure as hell makes the incessant itching more bearable.

    Is wine a cure-all? So it seems. Just ask Doktor Weingolb. Wine has been his echinacea all Winter long & he did not catch a cold this winter, thanks to his regimen of a glass of wine a day (c'mon it really only one glass a day?). Come to think of it...La or myself have not been sick in quite sometime.

    It has to be the wine...or the healthy lifestyle that come with enjoying wine. By that I mean we enjoy wine but also food & both together...good food too. We cook using raw ingredients & never cook crap, such as instant this-or-that or microwavable slop, sold for pure convenience (except Ore-Ida french fries...I LOVE THOSE!). We don't eat fast food or even eat out at restaurants very much (once a week, maybe twice). We don't live this lifestyle because we are health nuts though. It is for pure pleasure & enjoyment. I guess the healthiness is part of the enjoyment too, but it is not the main pursuit.

    My poison ivy is itching again, so I am thinking I need some more Merlot.


    Cheap Ass Magnum Throwdown #1

    As you may or may not know, our wine buying strategy is to buy big-ass-bargain bottles (aka Cheap Ass Magnums) during the week to keep our wine costs low.

    We will review our weekday wines by either giving them a YUM or a YUCK & a few brief words. This will be a regular feature & hopefully help some other poor, broke, souls from wasting their money (cue violins).

    This inaugural batch was purchased at my weekday wine store, Midtown Wine & Spirits. I go there because they have the best deal in town, 10% off 4 bottles or 15% off a case or 6 magnums. They don't have a huge selection but they specialize in wines under $15, so the choice suits us fine.

    Barefoot Zin- YUM. Nice easy going Zin. We like to throw it in the fridge for a bit. Good anytime especially in the sun.
    Lindeman's Bin 50- YUM. Kinda' hot but good. Typical big fruit forward Aussie Shiraz.
    Barton & Guestier Cabernet Sauvignon- YUCK. I will only ever drink this again with food...if then. It taste like garbage & band-aids.
    La Playa Merlot- YUM. Nice. Good fruit with some mint.

    French Wine & Steak Night: Part 2 The Juice

    While the fillets were soaking up the olive oil, salt & pepper, we tasted the wines all back to back to back. All three had there own distinct personalites & we enjoyed each one very much.

    Just to recap...The Burgundy was an '03 Louis Latour Santenay, the Crozes-Hermitage was an '00 Domaine Pradelle & the Bordeaux was an '01 Chateau Greysac.

    We started with the Burgundy, being the lightest of the three. It was a pinot noir of course, which is the only red wine made in Burgundy, besides in Beaujolais, where they use the gamay grape. It possessed a delicate, spicy, strawberry bouquet with a bit of dried leaves & pine needles. This wine was oozing with varietal charecter. With the first wiff & taste it was evident this was a Pinot. The first sip revealed lots of red fruit followed up by some peppery spice. It was light bodied in the mouth with some tasty subtle tannins. The finish was nice with the spice persisting all the way through. This was our choice to drink with the steaks. It suited the meat & frittes perfectly.

    Next in the line-up was the Crozes-Hermitage. Being form the Northen Rhone, this wine was all syrah. Most of the Syrah we drink if Shiraz from down under which are usually juicy, fruity high alcoholic concotions. The Crozes was a hemisphere apart in geography & in flavor profiles.

    This wine was black as the Marlboro Man's lungs. It had a thick nose of meat, smoke & tar. There was no juicy fruit. In the mouth there was a subtle fruit that yielded almost immediately to an inky, tarry, thick lip smacking treat. There was lots of licorice too. It reminded me of licorice wheels. The ones that are so strong they almost taste salty. The tannins were soft & round. Everything was represented well in the long finish. This was one of the most distinctive wines I have had the pleasure of sipping. I imagine this is a love-hate wine. You are either going to love it or hate it.

    Last but definitely not least, we tried the Bordeaux, where they blend their grape varietals. It was comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & a scosh of Cabernet Franc. I feel we got an unfair representation at first. We let our wine breath in the glass for about 20 minutes before tasting but the Bordeaux needs an hour in the carafe. While we tasted it with the others it was tight & restrained with the tannins taking center stage. After decanting in the carafe....WOW. It was like a flower blooming or a catepillar turning in to a butterfly. Dark fruit, smoke, cigar box, tobacco & anise were all over the nose & palate in this thick teeth staining classic. It was top drawer.

    When drinking bargain Bordeaux (this bottle was $20) I usually wonde what the Grand Crus & 1st Growths taste like. Not with this wine. It made me think why someone would spend a fortune on a 1st Growth when you can get a bottle of Chateau Greysac for an Andrew Jackson.

    It was an eye opening experience to taste these wines together & we will be experimenting like this more in the future.


    Weekend Herb Blogging: Parsley

    For this weekends Weekend Herb Blogging I decided to shoot some parsely photos. Parsley is one of our staple herbs. It is always in our fridge & we use it almost daily.

    Parsley first became a staple when we started learning to cook French food. If you know how to chiffonade parsley, you can cook French food. I am kidding. There is more to it than that, but it is still an easy cuisine to learn.

    This batch was chopped & used to finish my special Potato & Leek Potage I cooked earlier this week. It gave the soup a nice fresh flavor & some good color contrast too.

    The soup is so good it deserves its own post, so stay tuned.


    French Wine & Steak Night: Part 1 The Meat

    Last Saturday night we had three bottles of French wine from three very different regions, Burgundy, Crozes-Hermitage & Bordeaux. The Burgundy was an '03 Louis Latour Santenay, the Crozes-Hermitage was an '00 Domaine Pradelle & the Bordeaux was an '01 Chateau Greysac. The menu for the night was steak à la bourgignonne & homemade pommes frittes.

    Before I talk about the wine, I have to mention the dinner. The only steaks we have been eating lately are fillets. We love them. They are so lean, but also very tender & full of flavor.

    When we went to the grocery store earlier that day, there were no fillets to be found except the pre-packaged fillets with bacon attached by a plastic, barbed, spear device. I picked one up & read the label. I felt like I was in Mr. Gordon's 11th chemistry class again. Sodium Benzonate, Nitro-what-the-hell & get this....BEEF FLAVORING?! It is a damn piece of cow right? Why does it need beef flavoring?! Another question I had was, how do you make beef flavoring? I dont want to know.

    Needless to say, I found the nice guy in the white coat & shower cap & asked him if he had any fillets. I was in luck. He got on the phone & summoned someone from the back who sliced us some nice fresh fillets, which we ended up getting for $.62 due to a tagging error by the butcher. Imagine our surprise when we noticed the screaming bargain on the receipt.

    We wrapped the fillets with bacon, rubbed them with S/P & EVOO, let them sit for a bit & grilled them to perfection over hot coals (no gas here...EVER).

    La will have to post the pommes frittes recipe, as my duties concerned taming the fire & grilling the meat, two of man's greatest needs. All I know is they were fried twice & kicked so much ass, Chuck Norris would be jealous.

    The steaks were perfect. While they were resting (you have to let meat rest so the juices/flavors don't spill out onto your plate, but you already knew that), we sauteed some shallots & creminis in butter then deglazed it with some Domaine Pradelle & reduced it & then of course finished the sauce with S/P & a pat of butter. Best steak sauce ever. Hell, best steak ever.

    Stay tuned for the wine notes...


    Cutest Baby Ever

    This is Beckham, Tony & Kimberely's, close friends of ours, little-bitty beh-beh. This photo was taken at Shelby Forest last weekend on an epic picnic. We were outside for half of the afternoon, basking in the sunlight, having a great time. See the Simple Pleasures post for our picnic fare.

    If you want to check out more of the little trooper's photos, check them out here.


    My Favorite Bargain Pinot: 2004 Five Rivers Pinot Noir

    ...At the moment, at least.

    Five Rivers Pinot Noir sells here in Memphis for $11 at most places & that is a steal if you ask me.

    This Pinot from Santa Barbara has lots of bang for the buck. If you like big Pinots with lots of spice, cola & tons of cherries, you will love this velvety smooth rendition. I first tried this wine well over a year ago when I was first starting to explore different wines. I didn't take notes back then, but I would write down all the info on the label in the back of my, now falling apart Unofficial Guide to Wine. I remember it made an impression on me then & it has every bottle since then....& there have been lots.

    If you are a "Burgundy sipping panty waist", as Sean at More is Less would call you, you might want to skip this one. Other wise pick up two bottles, because after the first one, you will want another.


    Restaurant Review: Bhan Thai

    Last Friday we ventured away from Downtown for lunch & ate lunch in al fresco, Thai style at Bhan Thai on their cozy patio.

    We showed up in the middle of lunch rush & still got a table outside very quickly. While this was nice, we did not see the waiter for a while afterwards. I knew it was lunch rush & figured our waiter was in the weeds or did not know he had a new table. Just as I was starting to get annoyed, he appeared, but wait, what is that in his hands? Soup? We haven't even ordered yet? I thought he was delivering us another tables order of soup. The nerve. Making us, smelling the heady, spicy, Thai aromas wafting from the kitchen, yards away & now putting this bowl of soup in front of our hungry mugs...

    "Your complimentary Tum Yum, sir. May I get you guys something to drink?" He chirped.

    My hero. I wanted to give someone a high-five, but only after I got this soup in my gullet.

    Spicy, sweet & delicate with a small number of mushrooms & tofu swimming in the bottom, reluctant to hop in my spoon, it was delicious to say the least. It was a very nice touch.

    The menu is full of good Thai mainstays. A good number of curries of all temperatures, Pad Thai, Pad-See-U & some house specialties like the Drunken Seafood Combo that looks awesome with a melange of almost everything under the sea, including mussels, shrimp & squid. The house specialties all look great & I would have a hard time choosing, but not today. At $12.95-20.95, they were all out of my measly lunch budget. Luckily there was an fantastic lunch menu with exceptional prices ranging from $6.95-8.95.

    I went with the Bhan Thai Noodle & a glass of '04 Erath Pinot Noir, one of my favorite Oregon Pinots (thumbs up for having this on the menu). Paul had the Bangkok Spicy Cicken. The Bhan Thai Noodles is a heaping plate of flat rice noodles with ground chicken, shrimp, squid, tofu, onion, carrot, baby corn, mushroom, and bean sprouts served in Bhan Thai secret sauce. It was way more than plenty for lunch with enough leftovers for a satisfying meal for both me & Laura the following day. It was good but not great & better the second day. It had a symbol, a wish bone I think, next to it on the menu signifying "spicy". It wasn't spicy at all & kind of a let down, I will stick with one of their curries next time. Paul also complained that his Bankok Spicy Chicken was too mild. If they are not going to make their spicy dishes spicy, they at least need to have some Sriracha on the table.

    It was good, but not a profound dining experience & I don't know if the spiciness level is toned down for American palates, but if so....I am extremely insulted.

    Again, as with Lolo's table, I saw something I like to see....The owner pouring her sweat into her business & what looked like her passion, serving food in her restaurant.

    I give Bhan Thai a 3.5/5. It would have been a four if my dish would have at least been spicy enough to make my nose run....a five if I cried.

    International Festival Fare

    Saturday morning we went to the International Festival at the University of Memphis. I wasn't hungry when we got there but that changed mighty quickly.

    The Islamic booth was serving some scrumptious goodies & I couldn't resist. La wasn't hungry either...until I picked up these tasty morsels. We ended up sharing the plate & practically licking it clean.

    The chicken kabob was awesome, as was the rice & chick peas, but what really got our attention was the chutney & the sweet rice. The chutney was sweet & savory & the perfect compliment to the kabob. The sweet rice was full of fennel seeds, almonds & coconut. It was so good & we are definitely going to try & recreate this dish. We will let you know how it goes.

    Until then we are searching for a Persian restaurant.


    Simple Pleasures

    Fried Mississippi round-steak with mustard only & it has to bee on white bread. I know bologna is lips & assholes with dash of phosphates, but I have to indulge sometimes.
    The only preparation I like better is BBQ'ed bologna.



    The Perfect Morning

    Ahhhhhh.....This morning has been perfect. Spring is in full swing & the weather is perfect. Last night we slept with the windows open & woke up to a cool breeze blowing through our bedroom with the sounds of birds singing non-stop. It was one of those mornings where we woke up but stayed in bed, just laying there talking about this & that, holding each other with two beasts snoozing at our feet. I didn't think it could get any better. Boy, do I love being wrong sometimes.

    After rolling out of bed, I went out to my car to fetch my coffee mug & the sun was at an angle where everything is golden. There was a slight fog in the air that made the sunlight soft & glowing. The air was crisp but the sun balanced it out perfectly, warming my soul. I walked up to the front door & was welcomed by the aromas of frying bacon & fresh brewed Colombian Supremo tickling my nose. I felt like I was floating to the kitchen, following my nose, just like Fred Flintstone did when he would come home to Wilma grilling some Bronto-Burgers.

    We have taken to eating outside a lot, now that the good weather is back. This morning was no exception. The ground was covered in dew that sparkled, making the ground glisten, as if someone scattered diamonds all over the ground. The soundtrack of songbirds & squirrels playing persisted the whole time. The daffodils are in full bloom giving us their beauty & perfumed scent throughout the air. There is no better place to dine.

    To top it all off, we have three bottles of French wine to enjoy tonight. A Bordeaux, a Burgogne Rouge & a Crozes-Hermitage. We are doing a mini French tasting, comparing the three regions, so stay tuned for that.

    I hope your morning has been a nice one too.
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