Passport to Oregon, Memphis' premier tasting of the best wines in Oregon, returns to the University Club on Thursday February 21st from 4:30-7 p.m. Those of you who attended the 1st Annual Passport to Oregon saw first-hand how much fun this event was & how exceptional the wines were. Each winery will be represented by someone direct from the winery. This is a rare opportunity to taste wines with the very people who had a hand in making them. Most of last year's wineries will be returning along with a few new faces. Tickets are $45 plus tax and include heavy "Northwest" inspired appetizers. Special discounts will be offered on orders placed that night. Wineries who will be in attendance include: Adelsheim, Argyle, Elk Cove, R Stuart, Bethel Heights, Erath, Anne Amie & many more!
For tickets contact Joe's Wines & Liquors, 901.725.4252.
I am thrilled to announce a partnership between Joe's Wines & Hog & Hominy for an upcoming dinner pairing unique craft beers with their creatively delicious food. On Sunday October 7th at 4pm please join us for what will surely go down as the best beer-food pairing of the year. Chefs Andrew Ticer & Michael Hudman have crafted a menu that will make this unlike any beer dinner you've ever experienced. Prepare yourself for an afternoon of courses that elevate, mirror & contrast against a wide variety of domestic & international craft beer. We met with the chefs & General Manager Nick Talarico to reverse engineer the menu using the elements of the beer as the jumping off point. The chefs unique perspective on Italian food with a Southern sensibility has garnered them critical acclaim, national press & even a coveted James Beard award nomination.
There are a limited amount of seats available. When making reservations please be sure to have a credit card handy to secure your spot.
Cost to attend is $70/person plus tax & tip. To make reservations please call Hog & Hominy 901.207.7396.
Chef Ryan Trimm has created a unique menu around some bad ass sparkling wines for this Thursday's Cooper Young Night Out event. Sweetgrass will start offering the menu at 5:30 but there is no need to arrive right on time. The pairing will be offered until 8:00 pm. Come taste some really good bubbly with me! The menu & price are listed below.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
avocado, kim chee, cilantro, sesame-red miso
Segura Viudas Brut Rosé NV, D.O. Cava
Duck Liver Mousse
pickled grapes, arugula, grilled sourdough
La Scolca “Rugrè” Sparkling Corese NV, Piedmont
Braised Newman Farm Pork Belly
green lentils, honey thyme reduction
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, D.O. Cava
Vanilla Scented Quail
poached pear, pea shoots, lavender broth
Argyle Brut, 2008 Willamette Valley
No need to call & make reservations just stop in.
Cochon Heritage BBQ will descend upon my hometown of Memphis on Labor Day weekend. This insanely delicious, pig loving, whiskey loving festival has something for everyone. Join me at the Mixologist's Rooftop Soiree on Friday August 31st at the Peabody Hotel. I don't want to divulge what I'm making for my featured because I don't want my competition to get a look at what they have to beat. But I'll give you a little tease: sarsaparilla.
I'll also be serving some very interesting cocktails at Food Republic's After Hours Brunch & Midnight Bourbon Toast. Hint: Bloody Mary goes Asian, Molè meets bourbon, Breakfast!
Sunday morning I'll be leading a cocktail seminar at the Peabody as well as pouring delicious bourbon drinks at Felicia Suzanne's Bourbon Reception to celebrate National Bourbon Month.
Obviously the best way to go is to by a full weekend ticket so you don't miss anything. However, the beauty of the events is that you can buy tickets to almost any of the events separately. Come down to Memphis & drink well, eat well & have fun with some of the most amazing culinary personalities in the U.S.
For more information visit: Cochon Heritage BBQ
The opening of Michael Hudman & Andy Ticer's new restaurant, Hog & Hominy, was easily the most highly anticipated opening of the past few years. These chefs are banging out some of the best food in the country at their restaurant Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen which is conveniently located across the street from H&H.
The menu is difficult to navigate only because I can't decide on what NOT to order. Kelly & I went one night & walked into a hopping, electric & very much busy restaurant. I love to see that. A busy, independently, locally owned restaurant is a vital life sign to the health of a city.
We started with a selection of fresh, raw east coast oysters & arancini stuffed with mushrooms. The oysters were so briny yet creamy & tasted of the ocean. The mignonette on the side was bright & acidic which perfectly cut through the richness of the oyster. The arancini is one of my favorite snacks. They remind me of my mom. Andy & Michael's arancini is a perfect little snack size hug. It was creamy, savory & earthy. Delicious.
Kelly went with the Prewitt pizza with eggs & boudin. The crust was snappy & had a lovely chew. The boudin was so creamy & meaty which blended perfectly into the egg. I had the fluke crudo with lemon, olive oil & serrano chili. The fluke was so creamy & practically melted in my mouth. The lemon provided that perfect zing against the rich fish.
We finished with the fig, melon & prosciutto salad with a creamy housemade cheese. The sweetness & caramel-like nature of the figs & sweetness of melon is braced with the salty creamy texture of the cheese. It has a certain richness to it but its not heavy at all. I also got to taste the barrel aged Negroni that Manager/Beverage Director Nick said was almost ready. It was deeelish!
My friend Richie & I popped in for a quick bite & a drink last Saturday & thankfully were able to squeeze into two seats at the bar. Our first order of business was to try the grilled watermelon cocktail with chartreuse & basil. It was sweet & herbaceous & WAY to easy to drink. We discovered what is quite possibly the best snack in the history of the world. Gorgonzola stuffed fried olives with fried chicken skin. I wanted 14 bowls of them. We also shared lamb ribs with cuban bbq sauce over pea pods & potatoes in a creamy sauce. The fat is really the star of the show on this plate. Its really a unique fat here. It was in solid form on the rib but as soon as it hit my mouth it just seemed to liquefy. It melted in my hands & I didn't mind whatsoever. It was so so good.
I love H&H's cocktail program. In my opinion it is one of the most unique cocktail programs in town. They are barrel aging cocktails, making their own maraschino cherries (absolutely delicious) & using lots of unique spirits. They have a kick ass beer selection too. I'm simultaneously happy & sad that H&H isn't in Midtown. I'm happy that I won't be spending all my time & cash there but I'm sad that it isn't close by.
When I was in the midst of planning this trip for the wine club I started thinking about my connection with California wine. I didn't have one really. Sure there are wineries that I respect but honestly I rarely reach for a California wine when I'm selling to a customer or buying for myself. I knew that in order for this experience to be personally successful I had to have that "a-ha" moment. However, going into an experience like this with such an expectation could be detrimental. What if I didn't have that connective moment? Thankfully I did have that...twice. I've been curious about Unti Vineyards for quite some time now. They grow grapes that are outside of the norm of Dry Creek Valley such as barbera, picpoul, grenache blanc, cinsault & montepulciano among others. I just had to take the group by there. We were initially just going to run into the tasting room, buy some bottles & take them back to the house with us. Well that plan went out the window when they invited us to stay & taste through their wines. The winery itself is super small. The "tasting room" is their barrel room & office all in one small area. So cool! Their wines were not your typical Dry Creek Valley viscous fruit bombs that I've seen. These were elegant yet still powerful, with spice, gorgeous texture & aromas. I was in love. I wanted to stay there the entire trip & just keep on sipping. I wanted to run through the vines like a wild stallion until I collapsed in the soil. Unfortunately I didn't snap any photos at Unti because I was too engrossed in the wines. Go there now & buy their wines......then send them to me.
We started our day at Frei Brothers Ranch. Frei is one of Gallo's many producers in California. While many may view Gallo as just simply another large producer I've always viewed them in a different way. Yes they are one of the largest wine companies in the world. Yes they produce some very bottom shelf bulk wines. However, they are still family owned & they are not publicly traded. Additionally they are very focused on making a positive impact on the environment.
Their 50/50 program sets aside an acre of land to protect & enhance wildlife for every acre of land under vine. But their positive environmental doesn't stop there as you can see from the link above.
Their Frei Ranch property is set amongst the gorgeous rolling hills of Dry Creek Valley. On this quite large property they grow merlot, chardonnay, zinfandel & a few other grape types.
We were taken all over the property by our gorgeous greek tour guide. She was very personable, very knowledgeable & super nice. At each stop on the tour of the grounds she had a different bottle ready for us to drink. What really stuck with me was our view into the production facility & the barrel cave. They were massive facilities. MASSIVE. If they were set in a warehouse park it would come off as a wine "Area 51" but set amongst the Valley it softened the hard edges. There was a beautiful row of redwood trees that bordered the outdoor production facilities. We were informed that Gallo actually spent the cash to uproot them from their original spot & move them to make way for new tanks. The fact that they even considered, not to mention actually doing it, as opposed to just getting rid of them is shocking to me. I commend them for that.
As you can see their barrel room is gargantuan. As is my smile. I can't help but be happy when I'm surrounded by wine.
After Frei we drove over to Ridge Vineyards-Lytton Springs. Ridge has always held a soft spot in my heart. The estate vines are old, gnarled & almost menacing looking. Richie & I remarked that they looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie. They could almost reach out & grab you & devour you. The wines themselves straddled the gap between elegance & bold power.
After the outrageous brews of Lagunitas we drove northeast of Petaluma to meet up with hometown boy Mike Drash of Tallulah Winery. Mike has worked for some of the best & most highly regarded wineries in California (ahem..Far Niente). Those big bombastic style wines of some of his previous wineries may not be my thing but I definitely like what he is doing at Tallulah. His sauvignon blanc & syrahs are deep, lush, spicy & delicious.
We pulled up at Farina Vineyard near Glen Ellen & were greeted by a smiling Mike Drash, his two dogs & a cooler full of wine perched on the back of his truck. He obviously knows the way to southerner's hearts. As we sipped his Farina Vineyard chardonnay Richie & Brad pulled out the dungeness crab. The sweet, succulent, briny richness of the crab matched up wonderfully against the rich, round texture of the chardonnay. Its acidity also cut through the suppleness of the crab.
The latest addition to the Drash family is Chester, a golden lab who was HUGE. Both Chester & Dexter (not pictured but a super sweet chocolate lab) romped around the vineyard as we sipped the fruits of their Dad's labor.
Once it was time to leave we jumped in our vans & drove north to our houses in Guerneville. Once we changed & cleaned up a bit we headed over to Hook & Ladder winery for a little bbq amongst the vines.
The lovely people at Hook & Ladder (thanks Kate!) set a this beautiful table for us between the vines & the bocce court. Obviously a few fierce games broke out before & after dinner. Their sauvignon blanc was spicy & smelled of fresh habeneros which really got our mouths watering. I think my favorite of theirs was the carignane which had these smooth edges, an earthy spice & a nice dark core.
As you can see my girl Fiona is enjoying a bit of the sauvignon blanc herself.