May 2010 archive

Belated Dinner & A Bruschetta Faux Pas

We have had a very SOCIAL weekend this Memorial Day Weekend! Friday night we finally got around to doing dinner with our friends Suz and Matthew. They had their first baby in January. I intended to take them dinner when they were recently home from the hospital with a brand new baby…exhausted…not knowing which end was up. However, it had been so long since we had gotten to hang out, that Suz wanted us to stay and eat with them. I explained to her that this was supposed to be a gesture, not us inviting ourselves over for dinner. But she persisted. So we set a date and, wouldn’t you know it, it iced and snowed in the Queen City for that entire weekend. Our dinner date was cancelled as we couldn’t get out of our driveway. That was mid-January. We JUST got this thing rescheduled for last Friday! Seriously…are we THAT busy? That’s pathetic.

Oh, well. Better late than never, I guess. Suz supplied the vino, the salad, and the grill. We brought the salmon, our new cedar planks, and this awesome Goat Cheese Bruschetta for an appetizer.

For the main course we prepared this Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon and my special green bean recipe.

It was all a big hit! The bruschetta was so yummy delicious that I took it to two other events on Sunday: First to “drinks and hors d’oevres” with our friends Heather and Chris in their gorgeous new backyard and then to a cookout at our friend Aimee’s house. I should have coordinated with Heather, because she had prepared three other types of bruschetta for our get together.  For “foodies” like us that’s sort of like showing up to the Oscars in the same dress.

Judging by the empty serving trays at the end of our two hour visit, no one seemed to mind the bruschetta faux pas!

Today is Memorial Day and it’s gray and rainy here in CLT. So, the Beer Guy and I have decided to stay at home and made good use of the leftover veggies from the weekend while polishing off the remains of a Pork Tenderloin with Shallots.


Wine Girl

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Project 365

Today is my birthday. Therefore, I think it is a fitting day to start a year long project. You may remember that the Beer Guy and I recently purchased a Nikon D90 in an effort to develop (pun intended) a new photography hobby together. We’ll we’ve had it for about a month now and have taken tons of pictures, but I still don’t feel like I really know how the thing works. If I intended to continue to just “point and shoot,” then I should have saved my money and just kept using my Sony Cybershot. But that is not why we threw down the cash for the fancy-schmancy new camera. My true intension is to become a stinking awesome photographer. To that end, I am embarking on a year long journey, beginning today, entitled Project 365. You photography aficionados are probably familiar with the concept: I take my fantastic new camera and take at least one picture every day for a year. Ideally, I will experiment with the various settings, actually read the manual that came with the camera, maybe take a class, and throughout the course of the year becomes fluent in all things D90.

I will, of course, be posting the pics here possibly along with my photography “lessons learned”. We’ll also get a gallery started so that you can all see the Project evolve, even if you miss some posts. (I’ve got to enlist the help of the Beer Guy for that).

For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple pics for Day 1.

Please don’t be too critical. They will get better as the year progresses.

Wine Girl

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Rock Bottom Brewery, Charlotte

“I shall have yours next …” she says, after tasting my Maibock.

It’s the seasonal offering from Rock Bottom that she’s eying now. Her first round was the Randolph’s Ride Red Ale (American Amber Ale). A safe choice, but her curiosity was piqued.
Maibock in the glass
This beer is most appropriate for WineGirl on her birthday. Maibock (or literally “May bock”) is pronounced like “My Bock”, as in “I’ll have one of those Maibocks for myself!” A quick Sunday lunch has spilled into a lush afternoon of sipping and watching the crowds.

Bockbier is traditionally high gravity, and while it may have sustained medieval monks during their fasting, our behavior is anything but abstemious.

I smell hints of fresh bread in the glass. In the mouth, I get notes of crispness on top and a smooth, rolling undertone.
My Bock
On cross-examination, WG says it’s a little like cola. Hrmph.

The Maibock — 4 of 5 kegs
4 of 5 Kegs

Beer Guy

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Ed’s Tavern, Elizabeth

“Warm and I want to lay in it …”

That’s the mac’n’cheese, of course. WineGirl has a weakness for starches, so I’m not surprised. If she ever leaves me, it will be for a pot of mashed potatoes.

It’s just hot enough to be sticky. Late afternoon, early evening — perfect for cold beer!
We’re trying a new location for long-time bar, Ed’s Tavern in Elizabeth. We can see the competition from our porch table. It’s Sunday night at Philosophers Stone, with a band, crowds, and the requisite cornhole set. Ballsy move by Ed’s to locate across the street from a long-established bar.

I’m pleased to find the OMB Copper on the menu. 1 pint down, the next glistening seductively.
OMB = Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. We were introduced to OMB by friends during last year’s Mecktoberfest. Good set of beers from OMB, even if they’re not very “olde”.

Service is friendly and knowledgeable, though stretched a bit too thin tonight. I want to try one of their specialties. Our server recommended wings, which I can’t handle (weak stomach, but that’s for another blog). Then the burger, which WG is finishing. 3rd times the charm, and I opt for the suggested Philly Cheese Steak. I’m having a hard time describing it. The sandwich is good, with all the requisite flavors … Then it hits me — it’s not greasy enough, at least compared to the cheese steaks that I’ve had closer to Philly.

The ambience is comfortable. Conversations overheard indicate that this is a place where friends get together. Old neighborhood bar feel, but with the tag still on it.

New Brew Review
Good beer selection. It’s unusual to see more domestics that I want to try, vs imports. I picked Tommyknocker’s Maple Nut Brown Ale for my dessert. WG laughed as she read the label — always a good sign.

The ale has a thick pour. Looks like cola in the frosted glass. Hints of maple on the nose. Flavor of maple lolls on the tongue before slipping down the hatch. Not thick, but full.

Good dessert beer, or likely a kick-ass pairing with pancakes, and I’ll give it 4 of 5 kegs.
4 of 5 Kegs

Beer Guy

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A New Brew at Alexander Michael’s

Nestled in the leafy, quiet streets of 4th Ward Charlotte, Alexander Michael’s has been delighting patrons for nearly three decades.
Outside Alexander Michael's
After an afternoon of clicking the new camera, we found relief from the afternoon sun in the dark wood interior. Gazing around, I took in the comfortable bar, polished by many a busy night. For more on the composition of the bar and the history of the building, check out the “About Al Mike’s” section of their website.
Inside Alexander Michael's
I had the Reuben, AM style, and I found that the bite of horseradish was well balanced by the playful apple of Woodchuck draft. Woodchuck has long been a family favorite, and it’s a refreshing drink for a hot afternoon.

New Brew Review
For my dessert, I opted for a new (to me) brew, the Lammsbrau Organic Dunkel.
Pouring the Lammsbrau Dunkel
My slow pour was rewarded with very little head. At first sniff, the dunkel offered hints of nut and coffee. Upon sipping, the Lammsbrau had a quick bite and clean finish. It had a good bit of carbonation in my mouth — it was effervescent, tickling my nose slightly as I rolled it on my tongue.

I’d say this is a good sipping beer, and I’ll give it 4 of 5 kegs.

4 of 5 Kegs

Beer Guy

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