June 26, 2014

Beer Time!

I've been delving more and more into craft beer over the past year. I don't post about it, because that's not really the focus here. However, thanks to my brother and other friends, I've had the opportunity to drink some rare and amazing beers in the past few months. Again, not much help for locals, as you can't find these around town, but they are worth chasing if you are willing.
If you know beer, then you know about Heady Topper. It is the DRC of American beer. Made in miniscule quantities in Vermont by Alchemist, it has developed a rabid cult following in the northeast and around the country. It's like a perfect double IPA. Not sure what could make it any better. A great beer. Like all IPAs and DIPAs, this best consumed fresh.
There is something about the New England region in general, they know how to make good beer up there. The Ghandi-Bot from New England Brewing in New Haven, CT is nearly as flawless as the Heady Topper. A super crisp double-IPA, with loads of citrus-spiked acidity and body.
And more from the New England region, Maine Beer Company. More great Pale Ale and IPA. Maine Beer is now distributed in SC and should be available in other southern states soon so be on the look out for these tasty beers.

June 15, 2014

Summer Wines that Won't Break the Bank

I haven't posted much about wine lately on this little blog thingy of mine. It was wine that first got me into doing this blog five years ago, and I still drink my share of it, but it's not holding sway over my life the way it once did. I've been fortunate to have some mind-bogglingly legendary wines over the past few years, and to be honest, getting spoiled on the good stuff can be dangerous to one's wallet and sanity.

That being said, here are a few current wines I've been enjoying with the onset of warmer weather.  The Petit Cochon Bronze, or Little Brown Pig, by Domaine Rimbert in Saint Chinian. A lip-smacking, crisp and lively rose, perfect for a hot afternoon with food off the grill. I got this bottle for around $16 from my buddies at Le Caveau Fine Wines in Chamblee.

Moussamoussettes by Agnes and Rene Mosse. I love this producer; plain and simple. Their wines have achieved cult status in recent years, yet, it's readily available around town. Like many wines in the Loire, this wine is handcrafted by non-interventionist winemakers. The wine is ‘petillant naturel,’ it is made from its own natural yeasts, and it is unfined and unfiltered. There is nothing added and nothing taken away from what the earth gave. What's in the bottle is a cloudy, burnt orange pink wine that tastes of strawberry, earth, and sherry with a lively froth. It resembles a sparkling cider more than a sparkling wine. I got this one at the Little Wine Shop in Avondale Estates.
I've posted on this one before. A bone dry, refreshing Txakolina bubbly rose from Ameztoi in the Basque region of Spain. This one is made for grilled shellfish. Another winner from Le Caveau for just under $20.

June 9, 2014

ElMyriachi in Kirkwood

A couple of weeks ago my neighbors told me about a new Tex-Mex place they enjoyed in Kirkwood called Elmyriachi. Elmyriachi also recently got the Creative Loafing treatment. It must be nice to open a restaurant and have a hit right out of the gate. We waited 30 minutes for a table at 6 o'clock on a regular-'ol Saturday night. A massive front patio overlooking Hosea Williams, solid food, a vast margarita and cocktail menu, and the family-friendly-vibe will most likely keep the crowds coming. 

The tampiqueno burrito filled with grilled skirts steak, caramelized onions and jalapenos and doused in salsa verde and queso. A tasty burrito. El Myriachi's menu claims that all of their proteins are hormone and antibiotic-free and that the produce is from local farmers' markets. There was a lighter-cleaner-touch to many of the flavors and an overall freshness to the dishes we tried, which is not something one can say about many Tex-Mex joints. The burrito, like many of the dinner offerings, comes with well-seasoned re-fried beans that were spicy and creamy. The rice needs help.
Baja tacos with mahi, curtido, slaw, and charred red pepper remoulade. Again, fresh, clean flavors that worked well together. Not reinventing the wheel here, but a solid two fish taco plate for $9. The tacos verde with chicken was an equally well-executed dish with well-seasoned chunks of juicy chicken. There is also an expansive cocktail list and craft beer selection at El Myriachi. The two margaritas we tried were a welcome change from what often gets passed off as a margarita around town. More tart and fruit driven than sweet, and a nice balance of silver tequila in a big old pint glass. Imminently gulp-able. Funny, but Kirkwood is literally 2 miles from my house and I never visit the area. It's just not part of my regular routine. I look forward to another visit soon as El Myriachi might be the place to scratch that Tex- Mex itch that a mid-week margarita will often cure.

June 3, 2014

June Gavage: Gu's Bistro, Sun In My Belly, Cakes & Ale

A nod to a friend for the title today as gavage was not part of my lexicon until he used in a blog post last year. That being said, some pics and words from recent visits to old favorites. 
Spicy-crunchy crawfish at Gu's Bistro on Bu Hi. Ridiculously addictive plate of food. Feel the burn. In real time, and the next morning. But it's all good. 
Spicy-crunchy chicken. Feel the burn, part deux. Not the best rendition from Gu's on this day. Chicken lacked crunch and was a bit soggy.
Stir fry green beans. 'Cause you have to have some veggies. The lotus root is a nice touch.
Chengdu cold noodles to cool it all down. I like Gu's, need to visit more often. 
A recent dinner at Sun in My Belly on the outskirts of Kirkwood. I like SIMB, though, I've had many more lunches than dinners. It's unpretentious, funky, and a fun hang out. The food is solid and well-priced. The grit cakes above were doused in a Gruyere and mushroom cream sauce. I carried in a young Chablis ($10 corkage). It all worked.
Shrimp and grits from SIMB. A bit clunky with a bbq-like sauce on the shrimp and those big sausage patties, but still tasty. I ate it all.
Lunch of the week was this cold-smoked trout salad from Cakes & Ale. Nothing to say, really, other than I could eat this every day and be damn happy. And it's pretty. Until next time...