Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Grill Instinct

April 18, 2012
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I’ve beckoned Spring’s call.

Not to exercise.  Or to do yard work.

Spring awakens the animal kingdom’s instinct to procreate.  Me?  I’ve been married 5 years, so that part of my endocrine system is long dead.

But I have another undeniable need:  to grill.  To put food atop fire and make it tasty.  Do you?

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Posted in grilling, videos

Simmering Down

December 12, 2011
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Had a bit of a whiny rant go down late last week that came off (to me) as unappreciative.

Spent the entire weekend basking in the glory of lots of good wine, great friends, and amazing food.  Put in perspective how the wine world has so positively affected my life.  A really useful lesson in focusing one what is important.  Indeed, the “business” side of wine and marketing can draw us away from it’s ultimate goal:  enjoyment.  From Friday night through today, that goal was achieved.

Oh, and another milestone this weekend:  I finally got a damn octopus to be tender.  More on that later, as the epic saga between me and the octopodes continues…


Posted in octopus, thoughts, videos

The Way We Were

June 2, 2011
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No rapture last week, but is it a sign of the Apocalypse that I’m posting a pic of Barbra Streisand on the blawg? Nah, I was just reminiscing about the way we were… that is to say, the memories. That’s what we have on Memorial Day, right? And, as I wage war with an unbeatable foe- named “acceptance”- over the rapid deforestation of my scalp, thinking about “the way we were” spurred me to splice in a pic of myself, back in the days of glorious hair. This gambit would furthermore prevent me just posting a straight-up pic of Barbra, which would relegate this wine blog to the equally-overcrowded-and-unpleasant realm of Streisand-fan blogs.

As I was saying: memories. Memorial Day is ideally about paying respect to those who have fought and died for our freedom. However, to more than a few of us, Memorial Day is about eating meats, drinking booze, and recalling the debauchery of Memorial Day weekends past. As the great Jay Thomas said on his SiriusXM radio show, “there’s probably some guy in a trench thinking, ‘I hope those [expletive] back home are enjoying their ribs.'”
As for this past Sunday (spilling into Monday), I do recall several memories of the purely civilian nature… that is to say, gluttonous ones. Alas, this is the way we were, Memorial Day, 2011:

– I can’t wait to make the Lemon Confit from Francis Mallman’s ridiculous cookbook, The Seven Fires. Yes, I made Lemon Confit… mostly. Then I never got around to finishing it. Then I threw it away. Nincompoop!
– Ghee (clarified butter) + Lemon Juice + Chicken Stock + Garlic Powder makes an exceptional injection for chicken. Also a great mouthwash, mixer, gargle, bathing liquid, intravenous injection.
-A bottle of Vinho Verde goes down way too easily on a warm day. Yeah, I was inside at the time, comforted by air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a scorcher outside, where I was not… … … work with me here.
– (not gluttony-related) My daughter looks so stinkin’ cute in her bee bathing suit. Cue Blind Melon’s “No Rain”, please.

– When roasting a chicken, Rosé does the trick. You know, to drink while the chicken is roasting. It’s also good with the chicken. As is Oregon Pinot Noir (Bergström delivered the goods this day), and especially White Burgundy (made from Chardonnay). Olivier Leflaive’s “Les Sétilles” (a blend of grapes from Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault) is a ridiculous value for you Chard lovers for under $20.
– Ever dipped beef jerky into guacamole? Get ready to live, kemosabe.
– My next door neighbor has started experimenting with homemade hard cider. It’s certainly not bad. Next time, I won’t throw him under the bus by breaking out two bottles of Diane Flynt’s incredible Foggy Ridge Cider from Virginia after tasting his efforts. Diane had nothing to do with getting me these bottles. If you in Virginia, buy some. Or do something illegal. We’ll never know which route I took.
In retrospect, and in homage to the post title, I probably should’ve set the day’s compilation video to the song “Barbra Streisand”, by Duck Sauce. But this was a day for fowl of a different feather, and duck sauce has no place in the presence of chicken.
Ah, the memories…


Burgertime

April 27, 2011
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Just a few shots from a recent burger grind. I simply bought a ribeye steak and made it into hamburger. Some would say this is a waste of a good steak, but I argue it’s the makings of a tasty grind… if only I hadn’t overcooked the damn thing. Luckily, it was only slightly, and the ample fat kept it moist.
Paired that sucker up with the 2008 Tribute to Grace Grenache. Yowza. Hard to get, but try to get some.

Posted in burgers, Grenache, videos

Jerked Pork in Under Two Minutes

March 7, 2011
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Looking forward to go into greater detail on this one in a later post (which will occur Tues-Wed, as I do not have to go to meetings in Las Vegas all week). Anyone who likes flavor and likes pigs* MUST give this one a try. Something about the warming weather and Jamaican barbecue that just fit.
*If you only like pigs as pets and/or friends and you’re not-so-much into using them as food, then you shouldn’t try this. Even if you like flavor.

Posted in BBQ, jerk pork, pork, videos

Tasty China

February 8, 2011
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Some old footage from back in December.
If you live in Atlanta and you haven’t been to Tasty China, you’re missing out on some of the best Szechuan food in the U.S.
The secret of mercurial chef Peter Chang has long been out (in fact, he’s opened a second place in Atlanta), but the cravings never subside. Seeing these pics, I must make arrangements for a plate full of “dried fried eggplant with hot & numbing flavor” soon.
As for you, pack up some off-dry Riesling and prepare for a miserable following day. Living for the moment has never echoes so truly…

Eat Turkey, Feel Perky.

November 25, 2010
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Wishing everyone out there on the interwebs a very Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a day when we slow down and take currency in the things for which we are grateful. I can’t express enough thanks for all of you who have read, commented, linked, retweeted, and offered compliments, criticism, and encouragement towards this little opus.

I started the blawg over 2 years ago, and it’s made me neither rich nor famous nor better-looking. But it has been a great deal of fun,I’ve met some terrific folks, and I really appreciate all the support.

Now go eat until you develop a great hatred for and apathy towards food. That’s really what Thanksgiving is all about.


I Tried. I Tried.

November 8, 2010
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I tried to write a good post tonight. Wanted to amuse, enlighten, and entertain my beloved audience on a Monday morning (recently voted by me as the least-awesome day of the week). For most, Monday means a return to the grind, still not rejuvenated by the weekend that came and went, far too fast.
Many of us folks do still labor in dreary offices with florescent lights, surrounded by our fellow soul-shattered peons, baby-stepping to five o’clock with the hope of a quick commute and a crust of bread waiting at home (Loverboy was on to something. Maybe everybody IS working for the weekend).
But there’s always hope on a Monday morning: Youtube. Facebook. ESPN.com. And, of course, blogs. These distractions numb our soft brains, dulling the pain of monotony and giving us the good humor to press on to Tuesday.
Such is the mission statement of my blog: provide amusing distraction to those who need it most. Alas, despite my best efforts (meaning I stared blankly at the computer screen for a long, long time), I’ve come to the table with nothing this morning.
Okay, not quite nothing, but something very weird, based on an excerpt from A Clockwork Orange (as if that movie wasn’t weird enough). In its defense, this video IS wine-related. And mind-numbing. Sounds eerily similar to one of my “legitimate” posts.
Anyway, see you Tuesday. But for now, try the wine.

Food Porn.

November 4, 2010
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Caution: the following post is NSFW (Not Safe For Waistlines).
Read through the pages of Anthony Bourdain’s many food tomes, and you’ll notice frequent references to the relationship between food and sex. Similarities in the chemical and physiological changes in the body before a good meal or a good romp.
Enter food porn: the only pornography more shame-inducing than watching the real thing. Indeed the human animal is drawn to that which is taboo. Traditional porn showcases pleasures of the flesh (or so I’m told… … …), always stalwarts in the Pantheon of sinful deeds. Furthermore, in an American society resting on the slumping shoulders of heavyset and unhealthy citizens, the concept of ogling fatty treats with a lustful eye seems just as forbidden. Thus- I surmise- the notion of “food porn” has arisen.

Need an example? Take the Philly Cheese Steak. Who knew that Pat Olivieri’s innocent act of replacing a hot dog with some griddled beef in depression-era South Philadelphia would be the impetus for the ULTIMATE in dreadfully unhealthy, sinfully delicious junk foods? Indeed, the philly is a treat that’s life-saving at 3 AM with a belly full of beer, yet surely the harbinger of death only a few hours later.
Yep, phillies are the sandwich-equivalent to a double order of Waffle House hashbrowns- scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, capped, peppered, and ranched (Bonus points to whomever can identify the toppings in the comment field. College kids from the South are not eligible).
Now, despite the proliferation of food porn on this site, I try (with little success) to keep a trim figure. I don’t answer the Philadelphia Cheese Steak’s sirens’ song frequently. So, when I am lured in by its sultry promise of eventual gastrointestinal discomfort, I make sure to do it right:

Bread: Any salty Philly folk (and they’re pretty much all salty) will say that the bread is critical. I usually decide not to mess around and source Italian rolls from a Northeastern bakery, like J.J. Cassone or Amoroso’s. It takes a little more work to find perfect rolls, but when that soft, chewy bun starts soaking up flavorful grease, you’ll relish in your persistence. Warning to bakery zealots: these two companies ship the rolls frozen (they thaw up quite nicely). If you just can’t handle that, find a local baker who can make some decent Italian rolls. Just don’t come crying to me when a Philadelphia native dresses you down with a rant about bread geography.

Meat: It’s called a Cheese Steak, not a “Cheese Roast Beef” or a “Cheese Hamburger Meat”. So get steak. I prefer Ribeye, because it’s got a lot of flavor (read: fat), and it’s what the silverbacks like Tony Luke use. You can get a butcher to take a partially frozen ribeye and shave it down for you. Thinly shaved meat allows you to take clean bites, and it cooks quickly, so it retains all that juiciness (that will eventually soak into the bread…hey now). I’ve also used top round, and I’ve had success with the chain meat off a whole tenderloin (the stuff from step 2 in this video). Just make sure there’s some fat in there. Otherwise, go eat a celery stalk, Denise Austin.

Cheese: the more processed, the better. Traditionally (according to Pat’s King of Steaks), the proper slather is Cheez Whiz. I just put the whole can on the griddle and let that stuff turn into a molten cauldron of goodness. If you can’t stomach the thought of eating something that processed, use some White American. Provolone can also be employed if you’re a real sissy. The takeaway here is: if you’re in the mood for a cheese steak, have very little regard for what is going into your body.
Veggies: just to keep things healthy. The traditional roughage is grilled onions. Foks sometimes get fancy and throw in green peppers and/or mushrooms. Both tasty, but not traditional (they often make it onto my sammich so I feel like I’m getting a balanced meal). Beyond that, I’ve seen cherry peppers, tomatoes, and even broccoli rabe. Just don’t get too cute. The veggies will serve the purposes of flavor and texture ONLY. Their healthful properties will be swaddled in a cocoon of LDL.
In the end, we’re left with a disgustingly wonderful treat that is worthy of shameful adoration. Pair with beer, or a “cheeseburger” wine (like Garnacha, Zinfandel, or Aussie Shiraz). Throw in some Teddy Pendergrass, add a few strips of bacon, and you’ve got something that’ll really make you feel flush:


A Precursor to "Blind Fury"

September 14, 2010
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No, I’m not planning to rewrite the back story to (in my opinion) Rutger Hauer’s finest stroke of acting prowess. But I did get my hands on four different wine glasses, and I decided to test them out blind. Granted, it wasn’t very furious, but I couldn’t find a Rutger Hauer movie titled “Blind Mild-Mannered Wine Experiments”, so you’re gonna have to work with me.
Which glass proved victorious? There was indeed a clear winner (and I’d love to hear from the crowd on any preferences out of the lineup). However, I was compelled by the Alan Parsons Project– and a song called “Sirius”- to build up the suspense…
…only later to let you down with a boring subsequent post. For now, we’ll live in the moment, blind to what lies ahead.

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