Monday, August 30, 2010

Nantuckets, Fenwick Island, DE

We stopped into Nantuckets at Fenwick Island, DE for a light supper in their Tap Room after a pleasant day on the beach.
Everyone in the group ordered their "famous" quahog and scallop chowdah, and it was really delicious. The chowder was not thick, but very light, buttery and creamy, with generous chunks of scallops and clam.
We also shared a pound of PEI mussels. The basil pesto garlic and white wine sauce was really good. So good, we ordered 2 servings of warm bread to sop it up after we finished the mussels.
601 Coastal Highway
Fenwick Island, DE
(302) 539-2607

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Touch of Italy, Rehoboth Beach, DE

While we were down at the shore last weekend, we went to Touch of Italy in Rehoboth Beach, DE for lunch. The guys at the shop are from the Bronx and they have created a real Italian deli and pastry shop. We were told that their mother makes all the pastries.
We had a couple of their sandwiches which were served on homemade semolina Italian bread.
I had their #2- the Don Orazio which had hot capicolla, handmade mozzarella and sun dried peppers. I kind of wish the bread were more "crusty", instead it felt more "toasty", but the spicy meat, homemade cheese and sweet peppers were delicious.
Some of our group also ordered the #9- Italian combo- with mortadella, parma cotto ham, genoa salami, capocollo, provolone, and olive oil. Most everyone added hot peppers, too. This was also a pretty great tasting sandwich.
We picked up some great Italian dried sausages from Taste of Italy. It will now be a must-go place now whenever we're down at the shore.

33 Baltimore Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dogfish Head Brewery Dinner at Bluegrass Tavern

Last week, Bluegrass Tavern and Chef Patrick Morrow hosted a dinner with beer pairings supplied by Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery. It was my first time having a dinner with beer pairings. My friend Coprock from LA was in town and he came along. It was his first exposure to beers by Dogfish Head.
Our first course, paired with Midas Touch, was a North Carolina Shrimp Presse with a kimchee puree. Chef Patrick described it as "salami" because of it's appearance.

Course 2 might have been the most perfect pairing of food and drink. We tried the Sah'tea, a brew with strong flavors of juniper and black tea. The food item was a generous piece of foie gras tourchon that was cured in the Sah'tea served with plum sorbet and a pecan praline. The spicy flavor of the beer went perfectly with the fatty goodness of the foie.

The third course was a beautifully cooked duck breast with duck fat fried potatoes and a rhubarb pudding. We drank with this course, the Raison D'Etre, a Belgian style brown ale.
The fourth course came with Dogfish's Palo Santo Marron, a rich brew that takes a lot of flavor from the resinous Palo Santo wood it is aged in. The flavor is reminiscent of Guinness, but with an ABV of 12%. Chef Patrick prepared a sous vide hanger steak with Anson Mills cheddar grits and a veal Bordelaise sauce. It was an amazing course.

We finished with Dogfish's famous 90 Minute IPA, and a piece of blue cheesecake with a little bacon jam.
It was a great meal and I was happy to see the versatility of these beers with fine dining.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dinner at Grapeseed Bistro, Bethesda, MD

I had a wonderful summer-themed multi-course dinner at Grapeseed Bistro in Bethesda prepared by chef Jeff Heineman.
Many of the vegetables and fruits came from the chef's own garden.
For starters, we had a grapeseed tomato cocktail. They used tomato water and mixed it with spices and a splash of Hendrick's gin. It was light, sweet, peppery, and I did not realize there was alcohol in it at first.

We followed with a trio of items using tomatoes grown on the roof of the restaurant.
My favorite was a fried green tomato topped with cheese. We also had a mini-bruschetta, and a cherry tomato with thai eggplant on toast.

The second course was a Frito Misto & mixed grill of summer vegetables including eggplant, squash, okra and green beans. Chef offered 2 choices of dipping sauce- a kind of remoulade or olive oil with balsamic vinegar. For this dish, the olive oil was so good I wanted to drink it.

Next up was soft shell crab, delicately yet perfectly fried, topped with a smoky piece of Benton's bacon, on top of corn chowder.
The fourth course was Piedmont Farms Beef hanger steak with creamed spinach, and Pecorino new potatoes served with a chili sauce. The meat was beautifully cooked, and I liked how the potatoes were a little smashed.
The dessert might have been my favorite: blueberries from Woodbine, MD prepped 3 ways with Limoncello. The blueberries were served raw, stewed and sauced, and the combination with the limoncello was so simple and delicious.
It was a pleasure to have experienced this seasonal menu at Grapeseed Bistro.

4865 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD
(301) 986-9582

Monday, August 23, 2010

Snacking at Churchkey, DC

Recently, my favorite combination of food and drink when going out is charcuterie and good beer. I went to Churchkey in the Logan Circle area of DC a couple weeks ago for such a meal.
First off, I was impressed with Churchkey's impressive draft and beer menu with selections for the casual drinker or the hardcore beer fanatic. On this evening, I decided to try a few Saisons with dinner. I enjoyed the Du Ronke Saison de Dottignies from the cask. It was nice and smooth.
We ordered both a cheese and a charcuterie plate to start. I can't recall all the cheeses we tried, but I know that I did like the Cashel Blue, a creamy Irish cow's milk cheese.
My favorite items on the charcuterie plate were the pig's head and trotter terrine (big surprise there) and the housemade duck liver mousse. We also had mortadella, a calabria sausage (pork, beef, bacon) and cured pork loin.
The appetizer of shrimp corn dogs with tartar sauce was fun to eat. It reminded me of the shrimp dumplings from Chinese dim sum, but with the fried corn bread coating.
We also ordered one of the specials, a house bread platter, which included a jalapeƱo cornbread, pretzel rolls and olive bread. Mmmm... pretzels.
Dessert was their take on the hostess chocolate creme filled cupcake. Not bad at all.

1337 14th St NW
Washington DC
(202) 567-2576

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Plaka Gyro, Plaka Grill, Vienna, VA

My friend Claus lives in Vienna, and he recommeded one time we try out his local Greek takeout joint, Plaka Grill. I really liked their specialty, the Plaka Gyro which, instead of lamb, was made with marinated pork. It has the usual tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce, but they also stuff french fries in it as well. It is truly a meal unto itself.

110 Lawyers Road, NW
Vienna, VA

Thursday, August 19, 2010

R&R Tacqueria, Elkridge, MD

I read on Howchow's blog about the R&R Tacqueria recently, and, being a fan of tacos, I decided to drop by. It's located inside a Shell gas station off route 175 in Elkridge, MD, just up the road from Jessup.
On my first trip out, I ordered 2 tacos: al pastor and carnitas. ($2 each!) Both were very tasty.

I also ordered their fish & shrimp ceviche, which was set on a freshly fried corn tortilla with avocado.
For such simple environs, they were putting out very delicious and inexpensive food.
I recently stopped again one evening, and they had a mole poblano special for $8. I had to get it. It was a quarter chicken smothered in a slightly oily mole sauce with rice, beans and cheese. Pretty impressive for takeout.

7894 Washington Blvd
Elkridge, MD
(410) 799-0001

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Haute Dog Carte, Baltimore

I've dropped by Baltimore's Haute Dog Carte in Mt. Washington a few times for lunch the last few weeks. They are a gourmet hotdog stand that also runs different kinds of gourmet sausages/dogs from week to week.
On my first trip, I had their Baltimore Dog which consisted of delicious pork and Old Bay seasoning. It was cooked in a "European steam" method- the dogs placed in a container and steam is piped in underneath. The wonderful buns were also warmed using skewers.
Other methods Haute Dog is making their hotdogs include the roller grill and the charcoal grill.

On my most recent trip, I enjoyed their weekly Chef's dog, the Tijuana Danger Dog, made by chef Sarah of Hampden's 13.5%: Duroc pork butt, applewood smoked bacon, pigeon peas, and chiles d'arbol. It was topped with a custom made peach ketchup.

6070 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD

Monday, August 16, 2010

Italian Beef at Portillo's, Chicago

While visiting Chicago, I finally had my first taste of its famous Italian Beef sandwich. I went to Portillo's. My friend, Skillet Doux, an Italian Beef authority, considers the beef at Portillo's consistent but not spectacular.
I ordered mine wet with hot and sweet peppers. Instantly, I became a fan of this local sandwich: great bread, juicy, beefy, and spicy all together.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dinner at Publican, Chicago

Last weekend, I flew up to Chicago to celebrate my friend's birthday, and his wife, knowing our love for food, organized the event at Publican, a restaurant known for all things pork and beer related.
When we arrived, I started with a delicious glass of Three Floyd's Alpha King pale ale, and we ordered a small cheese plate of Big Ed's, a raw cow from Wisconsin, and Summer Snow, a sheep from Vermont.
We sat down to dinner in large communal dining hall tables. Our first courses were Publican's famous house-made spicy pork rinds, and their Little Gem salad which consisted of lettuce, pig ears, basil, radish and a buttermilk vinaigrette.
The pork rinds were still warm, served in a brown paper funnel. I could not get enough of them.
We then ordered the house charcuterie plate. This included head cheese, a pork pie, a guinea hen gallantine, warm morteau sausage, and sliced bresaola. I loved the head cheese.

My friend, Chupacabra, told me to get a glass of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbach, a smoked beer from Bamberg, Germany. Its smokey flavor pair perfectly with the charcuterie plate.
For our main entree, we ate the roasted farm chicken with summer sausage and frites. It was a simple dish, but all parts were good. Great fries.

Dessert was a fresh, seasonal glass of nectarines, vanilla ice cream, basil, saba (a grape syrup), & almonds.
It was a great evening celebrating a friend's birthday with fantastic food and wonderful drinks.

837 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Virginia City Creamery, Montana

While others went hiking in Yellowstone, we decided to drive to Virginia City, an old gold mining town that's been preserved much to it's original Wild West heyday, a fond memory of redneckhunter's youth.

After a little tour, we cooled down with old-fashioned ice cream, made right on the premises on the main street.

Virginia City Creamery
205 West Wallace Street
Virginia City, MT 59755

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cateye Cafe, Bozeman, Montana

We went out to Montana for a wedding and flew into Bozeman. While walking down Main Street in Bozeman searching for a breakfast place before going to the Gallatin County Fair, the Cateye Cafe's sign down a side street caught my eye.

It was a cute retro cafe with alterna-cool waitresses. While perusing the menu, I noticed a list of rules on the table (click on the image to enlarge, or read the rules here).

Unfortunately, redneckhunter had not read the rules by the time the waitress came to take our order, and he broke rule 7 when ordering! I chided him before she was able to, so she was good natured about it. Of course there was no question that he would order biscuits and gravy (below) - this was not as good as the ones he'd had at the Atlanta airport the day before during our layover, but it was solid. I got the Fishbowl (above) - scrambled eggs with salmon, cream cheese, spinach and tomatoes. I had to take advantage of the wonderful local salmon!

Cateye Cafe
23 North Tracy Street
Bozeman, MT