Friday, March 26, 2010

Recipe Friday: Hoisin Shrimp Skewers

Here's a great recipe I got from Real Simple magazine. It's quick, easy, delicious, and waay healthier than anything Paula Deen could some up with!

I recommend serving with a Pino Grigio or a Chardonnay. Enjoy!

1 lb of large shrimp
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
Sesame Seeds
1 Cucumber
2 Scallions
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 tbsp Canola Oil

1) Clean, peel, and de-vein the shrimp
2) Place shrimp onto skewers
3) Baste each side with Hoisin sauce
4) Cook under broiler for 2-3 minutes. Flip. Cook other side for additional 2-3 minutes
5) Sprinkle sesame seeds onto shrimp

Cucumber Salad:
1) Cut cucumber as desired (we used slices)
2) Toss cucumber with sliced scallions, vinegar, and oil.
3) Serve along side the shrimp.

Based on recipe taken from April 2010 Real Simple magazine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wine Wednesday: Camelot Chardonnay

On my never ending search for great, yet cheap, wines, I ran across a bottle of Camelot Chardonnay. Coming in at about $7 at Harris Teeter (on sale) and with a sorta hokey name, I decided that this wine was worth a try!

Even after I read the back of the bottle, I liked it even more -- "The name Camelot evokes the magical kingdom of King Arthur's Court, where beauty, goodness and harmony prevailed. You discover those same qualities in every bottle ... "

I've never run across a bottle of chardonnay with goodness and harmony! I wonder if that's more on the oaky or the fruity side?? Either way, with this much schmaltz on the back, I HAD to give it a try.

We served the bottle with hoisin shrimp and asian cucumber salad (recipe this Friday), and I've gotta say that I was SHOCKED to find this bottle was REALLY good!

This 2007 California chard has a light mouth feel, with hints of apple and citrus. The 13.5% alcohol isn't apparent, and in no way overwhelmed the light meal we had for dinner. Coming in a such a low price, I'd have no problem with paying double for it.

I have no problem buying this wine again, and I recommend you give it a try too.

Wine Rating:

Score: 4/5

Price: $ (under $10)

Wine Info:
2007 Chardonnay
Camelot Vineyards
425 Aviation Boulevard
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet Cakes

After the discussions about cupcakes on this blog and on my Facebook page, I decided that I REALLY needed a to try a cupcake at Sweet Cakes.

As I made my way there, I ran across a road closing that made my trek more difficult. After some parking lot maneuvering, and walking over a grassy area covered with doggie doo, I finally made it to the front door.

Sweet Cakes is an adorable cupcake bakery, that looks just like it should. Clean, quaint, and smelling REALLY yummy. I walked in and was greeted by the mother, of the mother and daughter team that run it.

The large variety of cupcakes are on display, and all look amazingly yummy. I'm glad I don't work there -- I'd gain 30 lbs before the end of the week.

The day I visited, there were 13 (THIRTEEN!!) different flavors available. Trying to get a decent mix, I chose four cupcakes, with three flavors. I got two vanilla (one for me and my wife), a carrot cake (for my wife), and a lemon (for me).

I brought them home, and gave them a try for dessert later that evening. The vanilla cupcakes, though a little dry, were very good. A good amount of vanilla flavoring, and not too sweet. However, the large amount of frosting was a little too sweet for my taste. I'm more of a creamy / cream cheese frosting sorta guy.

The next evening, I gave my lemon cupcake a try. ZOMG! What a cupcake! The cupcake had a little lemon curd filling, was nice a moist, and the lemon frosting had me begging for more. I literally was licking the frosting from my fingers trying to get every last molecule before I washed my hands.

On the same note, my wife was in heaven with her carrot cake cupcake. I tried to get a review from here while eating, but she couldn't be bothered as she was in cupcake heaven coma. But her grin said it all. :)

Well worth the machinations it took to get to the front door!

Restaurant Review:
Atmosphere: 4/5
Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Total: 12/15

Conclusion: Out of a limited sampling of 3 flavors, two were great, and one was good. I'll take those odds any day. Let me know what you think!

Restaurant Info:
Sweet Cake
20017 North Main Street
Cornelius, NC
p) 704-895-5800

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cupcakes in Cornelius!

As you can probably tell by now -- I like food. And I like almost all types of food. But nothing gets my "Sweet Tooth" going like a cupcake.

Just think about it. Cupcakes are almost the perfect dessert. It's an individual serving of a cake -- complete with frosting! You can have as many as you like. AND you can mix and match until your tummy is full -- or your glass of milk is empty. It's like being a little kid again... but better since we can have as many as we want! :)

So, imagine my excitement when I can across Sweet Cakes in Cornelius. At the corner of Catawba and S. Main / Old Statesville. They have an amazing variety of cupcake flavors to choose from, and they look delicious.

Next time I drive by, I'll have to go inside to REALLY give this place the scrutiny it deserves. The last time I reviewed a cupcake it was from Delish, and that was last summer! So, it's high time I get by butt in there and do some investigating!

P.S. Why didn't you guys tell me there was a cupcake place in Cornelius???

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Tournament of Fries

The Observer Food Editor Helen Schwab, is holding a March Madness for french fries. This "Starch Madness" features brackets where restaurants face off, and you vote for the winner.

It's awesome, and two of my favorite fry makers can be found. Tenders and Matt's Chicago Dog are in the Potato Bracket. I'm sad that they will probably face each other -- because I don't know who I'll vote for! In the end, there can be only one (sorry for the geeky Highlander reference).

Either way, my taste buds win!

Go vote!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LaSpada's Closed??

I have unconfirmed reports (which means I'll treat it like it's fact) that LaSpada's Original Cheesesteaks and Hoagies, in Cornelius, has closed.

On the front there's a sign that Mama's Pizza will be opening soon.

Admittedly, I've had mixed results from Laspada's. But I REALLY hate the idea that we lost another independent restaurant. And where will I go for a legitimate cheesesteak??? Any ideas?

Thanks for the heads-up from Foodie reader Jeff.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wine Wednesday: Opus One

The movie Sideways has a notable quote: " . . . the day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc, that's the special occasion."

And I'm just going to take that quote, run with it, and say "The day you gulp slurp drink a 2004 Opus One -- THAT's the special occasion." Then combine it with my Dad's 75 Birthday, and you've got one amazing special occasion.

The Opus One was served with Filet Mignon, grilled asparagus, and fingerling potatoes. Needless to say, the meal and the occasion were phenomenal. It was my first tasting of an Opus (my wines tend to be priced around $10), so I was very excited. But was the Opus up to the task? Short answer: yes.

I was surprised to see that Opus One is given the generic label of Red Wine. Really? This is a $%$#@!&^%@*!% Opus One. Can't they at least gimme the types of grapes used? After I calmed myself, and did a quick Google search, I learned that this wine is a bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (86%), Merlot (7%), Petit Verdot (4%), Cabernet Franc (2%), and Malbeck (1%).

The wine was full bodied and with a 14.1% alcohol content, you'd best make sure that you've got a meal that can handle it. Fortunately, the Filet Mignon was a perfect choice. The wine has strong currant and red fruit flavors that are followed by hints of tobacco, leather, and minerals. The wine starts dry, but the dryness dissipates towards the end. The nose on the wine has some plum and fruit with a lingering hint of tobacco.

All in all, a great wine to celebrate a special occasion -- even if that special occasion is just opening the bottle.

Wine Info:

Wine Rating: 4/5

Price: More than I can afford. (approx $90)

Winery Info:
2004 Red Wine
Opus One Winery
St. Helena Hwy
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 944-9442

I'm Back!

Sorry for disappearing this past week. I was in California visiting my Dad for his 75th birthday. And, since he reads this blog (Hi Dad!) I thought it would be best to just keep my big mouth shut.

However, it was by going - and opening my mouth - that I was able to partake in my first Opus One wine tasting... That review will be posted a little later today. Definitely, the most expensive bottle that I've tried!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Toast? No way!!!

I recently ran across an article this weekend, and today I confirmed it. Toast in Huntersville is closed. The new Toast in Huntersville is scheduled to open in the new Discovery Place building in several months. Bummer.

The rumor mill has been swirling on this one. After all why is the old Toast closing so many months before the new one opens? I stopped by earlier and looked around. The old signs are still up, but people are there working. Looks to me like another restaurant may be going in the old Toast location. How did that happen?? Stay tuned for updates...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yet Another New Restaurant

In what seems like a recent flood of openings and announcements, Red Eye Grill and Lounge has recently opened in Mooresville.

From what I can tell, it looks like the owner of Indigo Joe's wanted more flexibility with his menu and seating, so he closed down Indigo Joe's, and has opened Red Eye Grill and Lounge in the same place.

He has added customer suggestions to the menu including tuna steak, chicken fried steak, a Red Eye Spicy Club sandwich, and some specialty pizzas.

Next door you'll still find Red Eye Martini Bar. Which has an airplane theme (the owner is an air traffic controller), and of course martinis.

Restaurant Info:
Red Eye Grill and Lounge
279 Williamson Road
p) 704-799-4690

NOTE: I can't find a website, but I found this $5 coupon with a $20 purchase from Valpak. Enjoy!

Thanks to the Charlotte Observer for information that led to this post.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Restaurant Coming to Davidson

Flatiron Kitchen and Tap House will be opening around May / June in Downtown Davidson. Locates on Main Street, the restaurant will feature 24 beers on tap.

Chef Time Groody, whom you know from the Charlotte restaurants Sonoma and Pie Town, will be heading this restaurant venture with his partners Chat Hollingsworth and Michael LaVecchia, who is a Johnson and Wales graduate.

Now, I have just one question -- would they consider opening across the street from me?

Thanks to the Joe Marusak of the Charlotte Observer, and the Huntersville Herald for this info.