September 27, 2012

Food & Wine Photo Dump, September 2012

Just some random pics from eats and drink over the past couple of weeks, including a few more from Asheville.
The tortilla soup at Mamacita's Grill, a satisfying taqueria on Biltmore Avenue just outside Biltmore Village.
Also from Asheville, the chicken salad sandwich at City Bakery Cafe on Biltmore.
This little bakery and cafe has an excellent artisan bread program along with a breakfast and lunch menu focused on local produce and meats. Had several tasty eats here including the Avo Melt.
Some pics from back at home. My brother was in town and we hung out at the Brick Store Pub. It was the first time I'd been in what seems like years. Bad on me, as the Brick Store is an institution. Pictured above, from the Brick Store's respectable liquor list, the Balvenie PortWood, 21 yr. and Macallan 18 yr.  The Balvenie is crazy good scotch.
Also, had a solid dinner outside on the patio at No. 246 Saturday night. Brought a couple of stellar Burgundies with us including the 2008 Etienne Sauzet Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes, which was inspiring.
A 1996 Maurice Ecard Savingy Les Beaune Les Peuillets, which was also drinking beautifully.

And, a 1996 Prince Merode Corton Bressandes, which was great, but perhaps not as inspiring as the 1958 out of magnum (douchey wine reference!) back in July.
Oh yeah, also had time for a quick Fellini's fail on the way to my son's baseball game. When Fellini's misses, they really miss.

September 21, 2012

Mezcalito's Cantina in Oakhurst

Oakhurst. Decatur's appendage. It's a cool little village, not really big enough to be its own city, but big enough to matter. I'll admit, I don't spend a lot of time in Oakhurst, outside of frequenting the Oakhurst Market for Benton's bacon, and for dropping the kid off at school. That being said, I went to Mezcalito's Cantina in the heart of Oakhurst for the first time in a couple years recently and had a very good meal.
The tostadas with pulled chicken.Fresh and clean flavors. A wee bit sloppy, but flavors were there and the shredded chicken was nicely done.
Steak and goat cheese enchiladas. Don't be alarmed, the rice is green because its cooked with spinach and cilantro (the menu told me that). Again, despite the slightly sloppy presentation, good, clean flavors here, somewhat atypical for many of our local Mexican joints.
 Tacos. Chipotle shrimp special and chicken.
Patio mural at Mezcalito's.

September 17, 2012

Asheville Eats

I recently spent a few days enjoying some beautiful fall weather in Asheville, NC. In between rafting Class III and IV rapids on the French Broad, riding ATVs around Pisgah National Forest, running zip lines in Nantahala George, and commiserating with hippies, I managed to eat some really good food. There seems to be a focus on two general themes in Asheville restaurants, one is organic, local, farm-to-table eating, and the other is craft beer. Both of these things we were able to experience often during our trip. I look forward to a return trip for some more good eating and drinking.

Tupelo Honey Cafe hit all the right notes, including the fact that you can have breakfast for dinner at THC. The biscuits are Tupelo Honey are complimentary and flow like tortilla chips at a cheap Mexican restaurant. They are ridiculously good; some of the better biscuits I've had in some time. Slightly crisped on the top, soft, buttery, and airy inside.

The fried chicken BLT with slabs of Benton's was tasty as was the mac and cheese side. We also enjoyed the rich and homey goat cheese grits on the side.

Other highlights from the trip include stops at Earl Girl Eatery on Wall Street where brunch is the thing.
The Earl Girl Benny pictured below is menu favorite. A decadent late morning hangover cure, it features grit cakes topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado, served with toast or biscuits. A good dish for sobering up and getting one ready for whitewater rafting.
We also had a great meal at Lexington Avenue Brewery, one of Asheville's many brewery/restaurants that dot the downtown area. With more time, I'd have hit each brewery, but I'm glad we made the stop at LAB.The restaurant also has a thriving late-night scene with live music and after midnight eats.
With an expansive front patio that looks right on to the bustling Lexington Avenue, it's a great place for people-watching, drinking, and eating. I didn't get a great pic of the dish below, but it was probably my taste of the weekend. A blueberry and jalapeno biscuit "sandwich" stuffed with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, and Goodnight Brothers country ham.
Also quite tasty were the chorizo nachos with ancho-guava sour cream.
The beef sliders with blue cheese and truffled frites.

Lexington Ave Brewery (Lab) on Urbanspoon Tupelo Honey Cafe on Urbanspoon

September 10, 2012

Pig and More

Some words and pics from a recent suckling pig roast and party with friends over the holiday weekend. The star of the get together was the suckling pig sourced from Caw Caw Creek Farm. He got a little dark on the Big Green Egg, but he was damn tasty. There was a good bit of smoke flavor and some nice juicy pork in there, especially around the cheeks. There was a good bit of other food and wine, too.
A cured and smoked side of line-caught wild Alaskan salmon that my buddies hauled in just a week earlier in the waters around Homer, AK.
My contribution was smoked Gouda and roasted poblano macaroni and cheese. It turned out pretty good, but it did dry out a bit as I cooked it too far in advance of the party.
We were treated to a 6 Liter bottle of 1989 Bruno Paillard Champagne from one of our many generous friends. That's right, 6 liters of Champagne, also referred to as a Methusalah, which is equal to 8 full bottles if you're wondering. It was a bit of challenge to lug around and pour from as it weighed nearly 75 pounds when full. The bubbly inside was pretty incredible; fresh and vibrant despite being nearly 25 years old.
We also had a killer magnum of white Burgundy from Fontaine Gagnard that was delicious and not premoxed.
Perhaps the best bottle of the day was the 1995 Remoissenet Montrachet. The Grand Cru Montrachet vineyard is rather soundly argued to produce the greatest dry white wines on the planet. This 1995 is a wine that is hard to describe in words. Just brilliant. It was a good cap to a fun evening of good eating, drinking, and camaraderie.

September 3, 2012

Wine This Week, Vol. I: 2011 Arianna Occhipinti SP 68

So, I thought I might start focusing on one locally-sourced wine each week for those readers looking for new wines that can be easily found in and around Decatur. Often, I write about my adventures drinking wines that could be featured in RichKidsofInstagram, but I'm not sure that does anything other than feed my own ego. So, that being said, I'm going to write about one wine each week that can be found around town and costs under $25. For Vol. 1, a wine from the lovely and talented Arianna Occhipinti.

Arianna Occhipinti has been making a bit of a splash in the wine world in recent years. Despite being only 29, she has been making natural wines from vineyards in Sicily that speak of a place and its land. Arianna has a total of 10 hectares of Nero d’Avola and Frappato vines that, since April of 2009, have been farmed using biodynamic methods, adding complexity to the expression of the soils.

I recently tried her 2011 SP 68 IGT Sicilia Rossa, a red blend of two important Italian grapes,  Frappato and Nero d'Avola.The latter being arguably the most important of the Sicilian varieties. The wine is not unlike Cru Beaujolais in that it shows a good bit of minerality coupled with juicy dark fruit. It's earthy and complex, yet easy to drink with many dishes. For those in my area, this wine is available at The Little Wine Shop in Avondale Estates for around $20.