29 December 2008

29Dec- Open Tues(closed 31/01) open for the weekend

That's the deal. It might be a little confusing, but there it is. With any luck, we'll get some business.

I hope everyone has a safe and pleasant New Year's Eve and a quiet and not too brightly lit New Year's day.

28 December 2008

28Dec- NYTimes article on Prosecco
Italian Makers of Prosecco seek Recognition

I've long been a fan of Prosecco (largely because of a server of ours who, when she visited Italy, noticed that young women sitting on their own at restaurants would be given a glass of Prosecco. This so charmed me that I would do the same, mostly for women waiting for their companions. Then that got a little pricy, so I had to stop.) and it would pain me to see this relatively up and coming grape misinterpreted through other people's misinterpretations.

27 December 2008

27Dec- I love the Art Shack
And I'll tell you why. Because I was hungry and wanted something delicious and nearby and breakfasty and, boy, did I get what I wanted.
I got the breakfast bowl (to go) which consists of eggs (i got scrambled), Adluh grits, sausage, and cheddar cheese sprinkled all over it. Not only was it fantastic (great texture on the grits, flavorful and spicy-ish sausage, eggs not overcooked) , but it was a very generous portion for a low price. I also got a "Shack Attack", which is their own blend of espresso in a cup of locally roasted coffee. Rich and strong and flavorful.

The store itself offers a wide variety of buyables made by local artists. Jewelry, sculpture, paintings, photographs, et al. There are several chairs, making for a welcoming atmosphere, and a bookcase of books. This I find terribly charming. Evidently, if you bring in a book you can exchange it for a book.

And there's something about art classes. The point is, I'm charmed by the whole thing and I fully recommend you visit it. It's right across the street from Pizza Man in Rosewood.

Here's a link to their menu.

Art Shack Menu

and this song happened to be playing when I was there.

26 December 2008

26Dec- Ridley Scott's "a good year"
I don't really remember how well this did in the movie houses but I watched it last night and particularly enjoyed it. It seems to touch on all the things in which I have or have had deep to passing interests: wine and wine making, of course. French country life. Pleasantly cluttered, warmly lit rooms. Attractive, elusive, charming, brunette, French women. English and French accents. Being callous.
And all of the wine nerdy stuff struck me, to my still learning ears, as accurate.

It made me want to be in France, drinking wine and making wine and making movies. I miss making movies.
It's marketed as a romantic comedy, which I think is a bit of a broad term for what this is. Though it does follow the formula of mean, rich man learns a valuable lesson about love and priorities with the help of a beautiful woman and spunky supporting characters.
Still. I enjoyed it.
Very pretty.

And I suppose I should seek out the book on which this is based. I began reading Mayle's "Hotel Pastis" but I lent it our recently and I don't remember to whom.

24 December 2008

24Dec- I love Moscato d'Asti
And I'll tell you why. It's entirely refreshing. A cold flute of Moscato d'Asti after a long day's work revitalizes my senses without sharpening them enough to make sleep difficult. Its nose is pleasantly aromatic of peaches sometimes. Sometimes some pineapple. It's slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so. It seems to touch the tongue with suggestions of pears, apples, or whisps of honey. Its slight sparkle dances in the mouth. It's like a delicate kiss, this wine. Sweet and soft and slightly intoxicating, as they're generally quite low in alcohol. I've not seen one over 9%, with the bulk of them around 6%. This means I can knock back a bottle myself and not feel lushy.
And, generally, they quite affordable; perhaps the best part. Green's has got one, the Rocca Cerrina, for about $11. Total has a couple in that same price range that are delicious. So far I've been lucky enough to have enjoyed every one I've tried. Cat at Green's on Assembly deftly moved me past a few of their selections, knowing what I was looking for was not what those items would offer. Blessed Cat.

They can be found in the sweet wine section of your locale wine shop. Or possibly the Italian section. If you're lucky enough to have a particularly specialized shop, it can be found in the Piedmont region. And I believe that this wine, though well-suited for desserts, can be enjoyed with a wide variety of food. I had a bottle last night with angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, and sauteed shallots, mushrooms, and eggplant. Dusted with rough ground pecorino and black pepper. In my opinion, I thought the Moscato worked quite well with it.

Problematically, given the delicacy of this wine's sparkle, it will go flat if opened and not consumed within a couple of days. It's best finished that day, which should not be any problem, but it does mean that I can't offer this by the glass at the restaurant. (not that people ordering sparkling is an everyday thing, which it should be, but that's for a different post.) I've got one now, a lovely 375ml of Fontanna Fredda's Moncucco, and I plan to have a few bottles sitting around but I mostly mention this to send everybody out in search of a bottle.

Delicate, refreshing, affordable stuff.

23 December 2008

23Dec- This sounds highly unlikely
How to Make Cheap Wine Taste like a Fine Vintage

Electric fields?
The thing is, I've tasted this Chinese wine on which they did the testing. I imagine they wouldn't have exported the wine they judged to taste horrible, which implies what's on our market is...the good stuff? The successfully electrified final product?

21 December 2008

21Dec- First day off
I feel like things will move far too quickly in the coming week and I won't return to work feeling rested.

but that's no concern of yours.

Here's an image I ran across that I think is useful.

20 December 2008

20Dec-We'll be closed Dec 23-27
Yup. the whole week. Which will be a gratifying but expensive break. During this time I hope to finish the beer menu. I'm excited that the Muscadet will be back on the wine menu. It's a different vintage and it does show a little different, but I think it's every bit as delicious.

As for our status in the week of the New Year, there's still some argument over when we'll be open. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on that.

I don't know who took this photo but I wish it were cold here.

19 December 2008

19Dec- just a general thank you
The year's tumbling to a close much faster than I'd like and, with this recession they got on, things have been tough all over. I was at Devine Foods yesterday and, at what should've been a busy hour, not much was going on. Over Miller High Lifes with one of the owners of Bar None last night a general sigh was shared. I wager there aren't many businesses in town who could give you a cheery thumbs up in these times.
There was a sad story NPR this morning about a family-owned housewares chain and the rough times they're going through.

So I just wanted to send out a general thanks to those of you who have continued to come to us and those of you who are seeking us out to investigate. We really appreciate it and we're glad to have had some busy nights the last few months to offset the silly slow ones. We promise to try our best to deserve your patronage.

And while they're frequently forgotten, I'm sure our many purveyors and those in that industry would like to thank you, as well. There are a lot of little, family-owned or just dream-driven purveyors in town who have always worked hard to bring us they best they can so that we can offer it to all of you. I feel like they get forgotten and we can't do anything without them.

Things are going to get worse before they get better so let's all remember that we're in it together.
...Maybe another Steinbeck will emerge from these troubled times....

you know I loves me some Hopper. Early Sunday Morning, 1930

And two songs named Sunday Morning:

I don't know what's up with the Tai Chi guy

18 December 2008

18Dec-Stardust Memories
The Woody Allen movie. I am a Woody Allen fan which, if you've ever met me, might not come as a huge surprise.
Of all his movies, Stardust Memories is my favorite.
And of that movie the two something minutes shown here are my favorite moments. Thinking about Francoise Hardy and her cheekbones made me think about Charlotte Rampling, which made me think about this scene. This quiet, peaceful, isolated scene that, if you know the movie, illustrates the wonder of a moment juxtaposed with the reality of the rest.

I just bought a copy on DVD. I need to start showing movies at the restaurant on Sunday nights. BYOB. Somebody buys a pizza. That kind of thing to get around licensing issues. If I'm not making any money off of showing it I think that's legal. It'd just be great to sit with some people and watch movies like Stardust Memories, Blade Runner, L.A. Story, Until the End of the World, and Brazil. Maybe in the new year.
18Dec- napkins and such
You know what I love? I love it when I see men (and it's always men) who tuck their napkins into their shirts at the neck before they start eating. It's so wonderfully un-self-conscious and it says to me that they're about to start eating so enthusiastically that they don't know where food is going to end up but they want to protect, at least, themselves.
I feel like it's a bit like bowties and corny puns: there's probably a loved one somewhere advising against the behavior but, I tell you, I think it speaks to a gusto and joie de vivre that more people should possess.

and for no reason I present a video of Fran├žoise Hardy singing "Comment te dire adieu."

I may love her. No one could make a whispery aside like Fran├žoise. Except maybe (maybe) Jane Birkin.

15 December 2008

15Dec- Gift idea?
So it's hitting that point where I'm beginning to panic about what to get people.
Since I've seen some interest in the photographs I put on the menus, I've decided to start offering them for sale. I have a number of them up on ArtBreak.com/old_yout, which are all unframed 8x10 prints.
If anyone is interested, I can frame a print and/or offer one at a smaller size.
And I'm also considering starting some more portrait work. So, if anyone is interested in that, we can talk about that, too.
(I won't ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. But...gosh, it's kind of hot in here, don't you think?)

15Dec - lengthy entry on some good local eating
Pleasure is an interesting thing.
We seek it. Sometimes we demand it.
Sometimes the promise of it drives us to make poor decisions.

And of the myriad pleasures available to us, last Sunday offered me one of the more complete forms: gustatory. This satisfies not only a desire for lovely tastes but it pleases through textures, aromas, physiological intoxication, as well as the all important satiety that only a full stomach can give you.

First, we had lunch at Ela’s on Forest Dr. (beware: the website has some music playing) across the street from that big church where the automatic doors didn’t open for me when I went there for a service because a girl on whom I had a crush invited me and I thought it might help (it didn’t.) Now, I’d been there once when it first opened and, while there were some interesting things there, I kind of forgot about it. Maybe a year’s passed and they’ve taken some emphasis away from the European Deli and put it on James Cooper’s (one of the owners) cooking skills. He’s Central American and the menu reflects it. Our brunch was Nicaraguan steak and eggs, which was a strip of steak (actually cooked to my preferred temperature of medium rare) drizzled over with what tasted like a chili, onion, and garlic mincing. This was also over something of a deconstructed guacamole, which was a big slice of avocado over a slice of tomato and some chives. Fantastic. He gave us several options of how our eggs could come out but we went with soft scrambled with three cheeses. This dish also came with a serving of refried beans that reminded me of my grandmother’s, who is Guatemalan and used to cook refried beans, tortillas, and tamales in her village’s market. In addition to this bounty there were two big pieces of garlic bread that had a great crispy and soft texture. So that happened, along with a couple of mimosas and water with fresh fruit floating in it. We had such a great time. The food was wonderful. The flavors were exuberant and honest and I felt very comfortable with the whole thing. I have every intention of stealing as much of it as I can for recreation at home.

That night we dined at Motor Supply. The executive chef is something of a regular at our restaurant and I’ve always loved his work. He seems to have a genuine, easy understanding of food and wine. While he wasn’t cooking that night, he was nice enough to help us pair (via text messaging) some items with some beverages. We began with creamy mussels, an olive plate and a cheese plate. While we were waiting for the wine I brought to open up we got a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose Brut, whose cork popping was enough to get the attention of a couple at the bar. They seemed pleased at the idea of someone having a good time with champagne, which is a nice thing about which to be pleased. Delicious as everything was, the one thing that seemed to make us bubble with ecstasy was a soft, Burgundian cheese called Delice. It was soft, creamy, with a bright character to it that seemed, to me, to require a bright, full, soft white wine. Leigh isn’t much of a white wine drinker but I wanted desperately to experience this so, against my sober judgment, I ordered a full bottle of a wonderful wine that Tim, the chef, had let me taste a few weeks prior: the Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon. Fullish bodied, crisp, slightly tart and wholly refreshing, this paired wonderfully with the cheese and I was glad to see that Leigh seemed genuinely to enjoy it. Enough to refill her glass several times during the course of our enjoyment of the cheese. When I texted Tim about this he suggested the Duck Liver Mousse to go along with it. This mousse. Oh my god this mousse. I talked to him later and I seem to recall he mentioned something like 11 pounds of duck liver and fat going into this. It was rich and light and bright and kind of salty in that way and, my god, I’ve been telling people I would happily give myself gout by eating this mousse every day. I’ve been thinking about that mousse for a week now.
And there was more food. Leigh got the duck and I got NY Strip with a Beurre Rouge that went quite well with the 04 HautBrion. Leigh loved, in particular, the skin on the duck.

About the 04 Haut Brion.
Expensive wines are curious thing. I’ve been lucky enough to experience some top-notch wines and some have been emotionally charged experiences. This was the only first growth that didn’t take me somewhere different. And I’m counting the 98Angelus as first growth status. The Haut Brion was amazing and rich and warm and aromatic and balanced. It was, in all ways, a fantastic wine but I think what struck me was how similar it was to the 02Pape Clement, which was considerably cheaper. The only explanation I can give that satisfies me is that it was either entering a dormancy period or that it was simply too young to drink. Quite likely the latter.

So, the day was a fantastic day for lovers of food, which we certainly are.
This town does have some wonderful dining experiences to offer.
You know…besides us.
So go to both and eat heartily and sit back and smile at your dining companions, if any, and nod at a job well done.

08 December 2008

08Dec - surreal video
very odd...

The Eye and the Fly from combustion on Vimeo.

07 December 2008

07Dec- time lapse video of the restaurant

on Friday and Saturday night. As you can see by the tendency to congregate on Saturday night, we were quite slow.

05 December 2008

05Dec- bored near an umbrella with a crook handle?Add Image.

because I found this website:

Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions

From the Greek: oinos = wine onios =for sale mania =insanity

While this disorder has not yet been recognized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft Zwangserkrankungen (German organization for obsessive-compulsive disorders) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, largely because I've just made up the term, I feel like, perhaps, I may suffer from it.

Spending beyond my budget. Buying wine to make myself feel better. Sometimes, maybe, being less than honest about what I've paid for a bottle.

As an oinosoniomanic -that is, one who suffers from oinosoniomaniacal urges- I feel entitled to some grant money to explore this new and tragic disorder.

So maybe Dr Ellen Stover, director of the Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS at the National Institute of Health can get me involved in a Program 93.242 Mental Health Research Grant to see how I'd respond to buying and enjoying a vertical of Chateau Latour.

Or maybe I can take advantage of the Deep Sequencing and Haplotype Profiling of Mental Disorders Grant to forward our understanding of genomic function vis-a-vis mental disorders by disaggregrating my oinosoniomania into components of finite risks through giving me the money to complete my 1855 Bordeaux Classification tasting project.

You know; for science.

this is from some website on clay drilling. I just thought it'd be a funny representation of science. I imagine Dr Stover is a little older

03 December 2008

03Dec-Boy. here's a good way to waste time
Performance Today's Piano Puzzler

In their words: "Test your ears as Bruce Adolphe takes a popular tune and transforms it into something that sounds like it was composed by one of the greats. Guess the great and the song. Then listen to a piece by the composer in question."

I keep telling myself, "Okay. Just one more." God, it's addictive.

...if you like that kind of thing...

...05November '08 is killing me...

02 December 2008

02Dec-(...don't wanna go back to work...)

...wanna stay in bed. wanna read my book and stretch sometimes and feel the covers nestle under my chin other times.
Wanna reheat leftover risotto and pork tenderloin for lunch and open another bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin.

01 December 2008

01Dec- Two books on Pinot Noir

We'd made lofty plans to do work at the restaurant over the break but, instead -and wisely, perhaps- we all avoided each other as much as we could. Family-restauranting can take its toll.

Anyway, the extra time afforded me the opportunity to get some reading done.
The Grail: A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best Pinot Noir wine in the whole wide world by Brian Doyle

I ran across this slim, little book while looking on Amazon for the next book I'll mention. It seemed right up my alley, based on the title alone, and it wasn't terribly expensive. It turns out that the winery Doyle visits is Lange Winery, Pinot Noir from which I've enjoyed but that I can no longer find in town. Naturally. Beautiful, clean, restrained Pinot that I held on to as long as I could, particularly after Green's sold out, but the last 1/2 bottle of which I opened up after a long, difficult night when I needed something beautiful and pure to dilute the bad vibes.

I liked the book a lot, partially for its educational aspect (as it delves deeply and casually into the doings at a winery as well as pinot noir history and the nature of Oregon wines in general) but also for Doyle's style. It took me a chapter or so to get the hang of his breathless, run-on sentence way of writing but when I realized I liked it I also realized I liked it because I could occassionaly hear my voice in his. There's my ego for you: I like you because you remind me of me.
Anyway, I liked the book a great deal. Here's a touch with some pleasing imagery:
"October. I drive to Dundee through a dense fog but then as I drive up the hill to the winery I drive right up out of the fog into a glorious glittering gleaming day, the fog and mist swirling and whirling and tendrilling below like a cottony sea, and something about the way the day above the valley is a secret gift to anyone up on the hills makes for a sort of unspoken giddiness in the air, a willingness to lay aside the things you were supposed to do and just eat the incredible gift of light with your thirsty eager skin, which giddiness I feel my own solipsistic self, and I put aside the careful accounting of shipping and distributing patterns and records I had planned for the afternoon and get a glass of pinot noir from Gabe and go sit on the warm grass in the glorious light and let the sun soak into me like crisp golden water, and I find myself thinking, not for the first time, that a brilliant day in October in Oregon is maybe the best day anytime anywhere anyhow..."
That sentence actually goes on for a little while, but the picture he paints there is enough to wonder how much my family would resent me if I ran away to Oregon.

North American Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger
Ooh boy, was this a difference in style. It was minutes between finishing The Grail and picking this book up and the contrast was marked enough that it could have rained in my brain. I heard about this book from a Carolina Wine Source rep (I want to say Richard, but I'm not a hundred percent on that) while I was at the Oregon tasting a little while ago. We were chatting clones when he recommended this book as being very informative. It is, for all intents and purposes, a text book. It's dry and dense but also incredibly interesting and engaging - if you're into that kind of thing. I happen to be in the mood for it so I'm really enjoying it. I've just gotten to chapter 5, the one about clones, and my head feels heavier for the breadth of Pinot Noir ground covered. Wine Spectator mentions his follow up book, Pacific Pinot Noir, as having the same faults as his first: interesting things lost among acres of grey text. Or something like that. Admittedly, the book has a very academic tone and, aside from maps, there are no illustrations or photographs, but if you know that going in I think it's a great book that I'm sure I'll be referencing for years to come.
So that's been fun. I've built a fire every night and cooked a good deal. I think I might have caught up on my sleep.

Now it's December. And Monday. And I haven't worked on the schedule yet. And I don't know what I'm going to get anybody for Christmas. And I'm kind of hungry.
Back to work.

reading Haeger's book with a glass of '99 La Poussie. Pinot Noir done Loire-style. And, yes, I'm aware of how that name sounds.