Decatur Wine and Food Dude

Post July 4th Fun at Leon’s Full Service Decatur
What to do the night after July 4th when one is on vacation for a week?
Round up some friends and throw down a few cold ones at Leon’s Full Service was my choice.
It’s an easy choice when there’s so much to like about Leon’s.
Six of us descended upon a crowded Leon’s around 7PM Sunday night.

The first round of drinks included my Ayinger Brau Weisse
We also ordered a few Miller’s Cucumber Coolers for the girls. The cocktails at Leon’s are no joke, full of freshly squeezed fruit juices. I’m not a huge fan of cucumber juice, but this was a tasty summer cocktail.

We started with two orders of fries with garlic aioli, goat cheese fondue (yum!), madras curry katchup, and horseradish mayo. The goat cheese and horseradish sauces are killers.
Some bacon in a glass and peanut butter made it to the table as well There’s not much else to say here; it’s bacon in a glass, people. The peanut butter is just goofy, but I liked it again.

We ordered several other plates, but it was around this time that camera was acting up and the beer was flowing, so no more pics. I finally gave the shrimp gyro a shot, it was delicious with tender, sweet shrimp, onion, pickles and a cooling yogurt sauce. All the dishes on our table were kicking, with the exception of the mussels, which were just ok. Sauce here needed an ass-kicking to shake things up a bit.

All-in-all, Leon’s more than delivered again.

An additional kudos to Leon’s for taking care of their wines in several Eurocave-like wine refrigerators. It’s nice to see a local restaurant go the extra mile and maintain their wines in optimal conditions. It’s not often that bottles of red wine arrive at restaurant tables cool to the touch. Bravo, Leon’s.

I can also recommend a fun post-Leon’s activity: walk a couple blocks to The Chocolate Bar, sit outside and try a Tiramisu martini. It’s time for bed after this one.

POSTED BY DUDE AT 8:03 PM 0 COMMENTS
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2009

Checking out Mercantile’s $15 and Under Wines

Seeing as how I’m a morning regular at the San Fransisco Coffee on Dekalb Ave, Mercantile steers me in the in face everyday. I tend to check them out occasionally; their Inman Park and Kirkwood sammies are pretty damn nice.

This past month, Mercantile started carrying wine. You may have seen the sign out front proclaiming all wines under $15. I’m here to tell you, they aren’t lying; all wines in the store are under $15. Problem is, they only have about five bottlings in stock right now.
The guy that rang up my order didn’t seem to know much more than…uh, yeah, they have more wine coming. Cool. Guess I’ll check back next month.

I picked through their vast selection and picked a bottle to take for a spin. The 2008 Domaine de La Janasse D’Orange Rose. Check this out: It was under $15. $12.99 to be exact. It was a decent rose, but nothing too exciting. A bit two sweet up front and it lacked the acidic punch I like in a rose on hot day. Tad flabby for me.

POSTED BY DUDE AT 9:27 PM 0 COMMENTS
MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009

Killer Wine and Food at Rowdy’s!
Several Atlanta winos gathered for another round of culinary adventures at Chez Rowdy.
The Rowdy one has mad skills. No joke, he’s off the chain in the kitchen. Last night was quite the feast paired with ABC whites and 2001/2002 Cali Cabs.

I’ll let those who were there out themselves here if they choose.
I will say Dirty was there.

A great night of wine. Really not a bad wine all night.
Some real stars including the Rudd Oakville, Colgin Cariad, and Keenan Reserve.
There was a ton of wine; I’ll post some highlights.

White Flight I-With Rowdy’s Ungodly-Good Szechuan/Nashville Fried Chicken

1996 R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Crianza Vina Gravonia—Honey up front, sweet initial attack gives way to dry lemon rind finish. Stony. Interesting wine. 12%alc

1996-Chateau D’Epire Savennieres-Deep yellow color. There’s a wisdom to this wine not found in the other whites in this flight. Sweet concentration up front gives way to some herbal notes. It’s slightly waxy in the end. It was good for me, others were more impressed.

2001 Fritz Haag Braunberger Juffer Riesling Auslese-Trocken—Probably the white WOTN for me. Killer nose that just throws fruit and stone all over the place. After 10 minutes petrol flows. Beautiful lift from the acidity on the palate. Honey and apple here. Persistent. Beautiful.

White Flight II- With Sweet Pea Flan and Vichyssoise

2007 Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc Rosemary’s Block—Slightly feral nose initially, but it blows off quickly. Huge fruit here. Still. Just a knock your socks up your ass mouthful of fruit. Tropical. Fresh. Concentrated. Terrific. Thanks, Rowdy.

2008 Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc Rosemary’s Block—Clove and floral notes to the nose. Shows more alcohol right now. The fruit is here, but it’s not carrying the alcohol as adeptly as the ’07. Grapefuity. Happy to have more and a standout Cali SB. Under $25 too!

Intermezzo

1978 Ernest & Julio Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Sonoma—I brought my last bottle of this along on a lark. I think we universally agreed it was in fine form for a 32yr old Cal Cab from a not-great vintage. Cloudy-red-fading to brown color. Port-like nose, gives way to a dusty red fruited palate marked by some leather. Gary noted the amazing hit of acidity still here. A fun ride.

Red Flight I— Wagyu Beef Cheek Ravioli With Shaved Black Truffles (WOW!)

2001 Pride- Hello. Now were are talking. Powerful Cab that is firing on all cylinders. Deep, rich mountain fruit. Berries just explode in the mouth. Long, dusty-mocha spiked finish. Flout-out killer with the beef cheeks. Still kicking and does not appear to be heading south anytime soon.

2001 Rudd Oakville-These wines were all pop and pour. That said, this monster had the most potential of the first flight and was probably the wine of the flight. It will seriously kill in a couple years. Tight and unforgiving initially, but with 20 minutes in the glass—magic. Leather, red fruit, bitter sweet chocolate. Long, chewy ass-kicking finish. Wow. Stunner. Thanks Peter.

Red Flight II-With assorted Cheeses

2002 Pine Ridge Stag’s Leap—Good showing for an under-the-radar producer, but perhaps a bit outclassed tonight. Minty-herbal nose, nice dark fruit and earth on the palate. A bit candied. A fine Cab that is ready for prime time.

2002 Robert Keenan Mernet Reserve—Perhaps the surprise of the night. Kicked the ass of all the Cabs except the Colgin. Just grooving. Mint, cedar, tobacco amidst really tasty berry fruit. Finish goes on. Really fine with the Burrough Cheddar. Wine of this flight for sure.

2001 Colgin Cariad—This came along after all the other Cabs. For good reason. It needed to be alone or we would have thought all the other Cabs sucked…Decanted two hours. My scribbled notes say things like otherworldly-outrageous-sexy. Deep and expansive palate-coater. Rich dark fruit, tobacco, cedar, blackberry, and mocha notes. Goes on and on and on. WOTN by a light year. Thank you Gary. A treat.

There were three desert wines, but I have no notes. An incredible lemon goat cheesecake, too.

Rowdy-you are an incredible chef and generous host. Thank you.

POSTED BY DUDE AT 5:05 PM 3 COMMENTS
FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2009

Vote for Dirty! Vote for Dirty!
My good pal Hardy, (dirtysouthwine) has made the 1st cut and is now in the Top 50 (out of 2,000 apps) for the Murphy-Goode social media job that has become a national story.

The slate is now clean, and Hardy needs your vote again to make the cut to the top 10.
The top 10 will be announced July 7.

Vote for Dirty !!

http://www.areallygoodejob.com/vide…vid=e4-cDn8wez0
http://www.dirtysouthwine.com/goode_to_be_first/
POSTED BY DUDE AT 9:42 AM 2 COMMENTS
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2009

Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Crappy Food Part Deux-Roast Chicken and Summer Wines
Went back to our friends (who won’t be named lest you’ll be looking them up to cook for you) in 30307 last weekend for more tasty bites and wine.

The menu this weekend include beautiful airliner chickens roasted and basted with bacon fat.
Sweet potato chips fried in coconut oil and diced apples finished in duck fat.

The food was killer as always.
Feeling as though we were living closer to the surface of the sun last weekend, we opened several nice whites served on the cold side. These were bottles secured locally, all for$10- $15.
The 2007 Finca El Origen Torrontes Reserve (Argentina) was perhaps the star. Floral on the palate, some citrus notes, and also a nice flinty-mineral finish. Not cloying at all and a nice wine for drinking on its own.
The 2007 Domaine Saint Amant Viognier was recommned to me by the folks at Cooks Warehouse, Decatur. It is a lively Viognier, peach and apricot notes, but I felt it was a little light on the palate. It left me wanting more.
Not sure I’d run out for more at $15.

The 2007 Laurenz Und Sophie Singing Gruner Veltliner (Austria) was also quite tasty. Pale yellow in the glass, nearly clear, yet it packs an earhty-lemon infused punch. Silky and rich minerality on the finish. Refreshing. Tasty with the chicken dish. I’d happily buy this for $13. I think this one came from Murphy’s in the Highlands.

Until next time.
POSTED BY DUDE AT 9:34 PM 3 COMMENTS
SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2009

Weekend Eats-Crab, Pizza, and more
Sunday we worked through some snow crab legs with drawn butter and a Cali Chard.
An outrageously good match.

The 2007 Windy Oaks Chardonnay has nothing I don’t like about Cali Chard (say what?). It’s not oaky and all buttered up. It features a clean, crisp palate marked by some hints of butter, but more lemon and minerality. A nice wine that can age a few years. From the Windy Oaks list fort $30. http://www.windyoaksestate.com/
Later, some homemade pizza.

Made a sauce from San Marzano’s, some onions and garlic sauteed in bacon fat and a touch of balsamic and evoo at the end. I cheated, the dough came from whole paycheck (shhh).

My indentured servant rolling out the dough:

Bacon for the kids:

Zucchini and basil from the garden:

One note: Jacking your oven up to its max temperature of 550 is questionable at best when it’s 117 degrees outside like it was yesterday….to say I was sweating, is a bit of an understatement. Worth it though, as the pizza was tasty.

Drank my last bottle of the 1999 Qupe Syrah Bien Nacdio with the pizza. A tasty aged Syrah, but I’ve had better bottles in the past year. Perhaps it was the weather.
POSTED BY DUDE AT 7:20 PM 6 COMMENTS
MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2009

More French Laundry Cookbook Craziness
Been working my way through the voluminous tome that is The French Laundry cookbook.
This time, it was chef Keller’s riffing on Mac and Cheese, which, for the record, is nothing like this crap.

Keller’s mac and cheese features orzo in a creamy lobster broth with chives and mascarpone cheese dropped in. Top that with some lobster and a parmesan crisp…all is good.

The process:
Lobster stock rendered from lobster bodies, tomatoes, carrots, tarragon, h2o, and canola oil:

After the stock simmered for a couple hours, I strained it (twice…Keller is anal!). Once the stock was clean and pure I whipped in some heavy cream. This creamy lobster broth was like a little bit of heaven on a spoon:

The creamy broth reduced again. Then one cup was added to cooked orzo.
Into the orzo went a small handful of chives and 1/4 c of mascarpone cheese.
Holy cheesy-creamy goodness.
Topped with parmesan crisps that my daughter made.
Not the greatest pic–one should not drink a whole bottle of wine whilst cooking:

Drank a 2006 Bjornstad Chardonnay with the lobster. The Chard was perfect with the dish.
Lobster and phat Cali Chardonnay = Happiness.
Unfortunately, the Bjornstad will run you about $50 www.bjornstadcellars.com