Monday, September 20, 2010

Maddi's Closing!!! (Say it ain't so!)

According to the e-mail in my inbox, and the article by Helen Schwab, Maddi's Southern Bistro is closing.  In addition, it looks like the art gallery part of the restaurant will be closing down and will be re-integrated into it's Dilworth location.

This is indeed a sad day for the Foodie.  I really enjoyed my meals there, and the gallery was fun to browse.  Now where will I go to get some decent fried green tomatoes and smoked gouda mac & cheese???

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Restaurant Review: TOTS

Last weekend I ran across an article by Joe Marusak describing the offerings at TOTS (Taste of the South).  Offering southern fast food fare, in a more casual setting, this "Healthy in a Hurry" restaurant piqued my curiosity.

Off of exit 33 and located in the old Showmars Building, it's really easy to get to.  So I drove up, parked, and walked in the door.

I've gotta hand it to them, this place is pretty sweet.  In particular, the flat-screens being used as menus really caught by eye.  Is there any way they can deliver those to my home??

After being mesmerized by the spectacular menus (I think I was drooling!), I decided on the Southern Fried Chicken Platter.  This consists of fried chicken tenders, waffle-cut fries and coleslaw.  Unfortunately, they're working out a few kinks at the checkout.  (the cashier ran out of change, and it took a while for the manager to run into the back and come out with the extra change.)  But aside from that, the staff were wonderful, my drink was refilled and my plate was cleared (though I could have done it myself).

The meal was massive and I didn't get a chance to finish it.  But lets look-over the food, shall we?  The chicken was fried REALLY crispy.  The batter was really good, and crunchy -- probably has a fair share of corn meal.  The chicken was quite good, though a little on the dry side.  The waffle cut fries were nice and crispy (not a soggy one in the batch!), and the coleslaw was quite good -- still crisp with a slight tang of vinegar.

After my plate was cleared, I got up to have a slice of their Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie.  As I approached the register I noticed the VERY long line that went out the door.  So, not wanting to wait in line for a small order, I walked back to my table to gather my things and leave.  Well, the owner must have noticed my sad face, because he came over and asked if he could help with anything.  I mentioned what I was going to get a slice of Key Lime pie, but wasn't going to worry about it.  He said, "Wait here for a minute."

A few seconds later he appears with a slice of the pie!  This dessert is actually Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a Stick!  (I LOOOVE food on a stick -- no plates to worry about!) This dessert was awesome.  The chocolate, the filling and the crust were fantastic, and are a MUST if you ever visit this restaurant.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Total: 12/15

Price: $
Kid Friendly: Yes

Conclusion:  TOTS is a notch or two (or three) above the standard fast-food chain.  The army of staff were always busy, and very helpful.  In addition, it was nice to actually meet the owner of a local fast-food(ish) restaurant.  Through him, I learned that all beef at the restaurant is Angus and the chicken is hormone free. In addition, the prices are very cheap.  This place is definitely worth a visit.

Restaurant Info:
129 Gateway Blvd.
Mooresville, NC 28117
p) 980-613-0537

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THIS is How You Celebrate a Holiday!

When I eat, I do it right!
I hope you all had a good Labor Day!  Now that we're all back at the tedious and mundane tasks that define our lives, I wanted to share this photo with you. 

It is a Point Of View Photo of my Labor Day meal!  That's one of my (not so) famous hamburgers.  And it includes 1/3 lb of beef, with thick-cut bacon, three slices of cheddar cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions and ketchup.  In addition, you'll also see on the plate an extra slice of bacon, macaroni salad and some garlic fries.

Yes, I ate like an oinker.  And if you combine that with my vacation next week, you're going to be seeing a VERY pudgy Foodie!  Thank goodness I'm (sorta) anonymous!

But to counter the pudge, I'm going to be taking drastic measures.  So, be ready for it -- in about two weeks I'm going to start chronicling a diet.  Why?  Because I keep losing pants to my ever-expanding tummy, and I can't afford to buy more pants!

But don't worry, I'll still be checking out and eating great meals.  However, I'm hoping the pressure of doing this publicly will make me get my butt out of the chair and start working out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recipe Friday: Hummus

Yesterday I tweeted that I enjoyed making hummus at home, and shortly thereafter a few Foodie
readers mentioned that they'd like the recipe.  So, here it is, based on the recipe from my favorite cook book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

15.5 oz caned chickpeas.  (I usually find two 7.75oz cans at Harris Teeter)
Slightly less than 1/4 cup tahini (a.k.a. Sesame Paste).  (I found this near the peanut butter at Harris Teeter)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove (use garlic press)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
pinch chili powder

Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and add all the ingredients into a food processor (I don't recommend using a blender -- I think the consistency of the hummus is too thick for that.) and turn it on until you reach the desired consistency.  I find usually about 45 seconds to 1 minute works just fine.

Serve with pita bread, and you're all set!  For some garnish, drizzle some olive oil onto the hummus and add some kalamata olives to the side.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Food Trend: Blind Dining??

Yesterday the Observer carried an Associated Press article about the latest dining trend -- Blind Dining.  This is when the customer eats a pre-prepared menu in pitch black.  The whole idea is that you are not distracted by the sights of the restaurant and food, and the only things you experience are the taste, smell, and texture of the food.


But really, I just don't think this is for me.  Though, I enjoy trying new foods and new experiences, I really like to see my food.  It allows me to inspect the food: Was it prepared correctly?   Was there any pride in the presentation?  Did I get what I ordered?  These are questions that I ask when I see the food.  Heck, just looking at pictures of food can make my mouth water.

I get the reasoning behind the idea, and time will tell if it will actually catch on.  But for me, at least for now, I'll take my food the ol' fashioned way -- with light.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wine Wednesday: Blackstone Rubric

It's easy to find a winery!
During this past August, my wife and I traveled around Sonoma, Calif., wineries with a friend. We had a great time trying, drinking, and occasionally buying some of the great wines of this region. There were many wines that I would be happy to drink (and drink, and drink) again. But none captured my heart like the 2006 Blackstone Rubric.

First, some background: After visiting the huge, gorgeous, and slightly overly-landscaped Chateau St. John the three of us made our way across the street (literally) to Blackstone Winery.  Blackstone has a completely different vibe.  The tasting room consists of a small farm house (at least that's what it looks like) with a small deck and modest landscaping.  And standing behind the counter we found Erwin. 

Erwin is a great guy.  Originally from Germany, he eventually made his way across the pond - and then across the continent - to where we found him.  He was very personable and extremely knowlegable about wines.  I certainly learned a few things from him. (See below for the video of him showing us the vineyard)

I was enjoying the tasting that Erwin was pouring, but when he brought out the Rubric he had my attention.  I had never seen this varietal before.  What was it?  What does it taste like?  And more importantly -- what's the alcohol content??

As it turns out the Rubric is a combination of the following wines: 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Sirah, and 2% Tannat.  And what a combination they make.  This wine had a wide variety of flavors, from cherry and blackberry to coffee and chocolate.  LOTS of chocolate.  The Rubric is so dark red, it's almost black and it has a soft, but lingering, silky mouth feel despite having 14.5% alcohol!  I enjoyed this tasting more than any others, and if it wasn't for the fact that I'd need to pay to ship it home, I would have bought several bottles. (Yeah, I'm cheap. I know.)

From what I understand, the Rubric isn't available in N.C. stores, and due to limited production, it isn't even available on their website -- I looked.  So, if you're ever in Sonoma and want to try an amazing red, give the Rubric a chance.  It's one of the best wines I've ever tasted.  For these reasons, and many more, the Rubric gets a perfect score!

Wine Rating:

Score: 5/5

Price: $$$ (Over $20)

Wine Info:
2006 Rubric
Blackstone Winery

8450 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
p) 800-955-9585

Here's the video of Erwin showing us around the vineyard.