Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Knife, A Fork, A Bottle and a Cork

Pizza. It's a lovely enough thing. One of my favourite foods, as a matter of fact. Just the name alone conjures up that golden crust, topped with vibrantly red and fragrant tomato sauce, melty cheese, and if you're like me, enough veggies to make yo' mamma proud.

But sometimes- sometimes that pizza urge strikes, and you find yourself going down another path.

*cue erie music*

"Man opens the pizza oven door, and pulls out what he believes to be pizza.
But- there is, unseen by most, another way, a slice that is just as real and fresh, but not as brightly lit... a slice from.... the flipside."

That's right- not all pizza is brazenly naked. Sometimes, pizza comes with a bit more class, and with that, a demure top-crust. Please welcome the hearty stuffed-crust pizza.

DucCat came home from Florimonte's one blustery day, toting a large and extremely heavy pizza box. The smell emanating from within was intriguing, and he was all smiles as I pulled back the lid.

There was pizza in there, but one quite foreign, with nothing but crust in sight.

"It's a stuffed-crust pizza!" DucCat exclaimed. "Meatballs, roma tomatoes, onions, fresh mozzarella and basil..." he added upon seeing my derisively-raised eyebrow.

The words "stuffed crust" instantly conjured up terrible images of Domino's and Pizza Hut's greasy-creations. Not to mention that the all important crust-to-topping ratio was bound to be off. No matter, though- if DucCat said it was good, then it must be so.

The peek inside wasn't promising... the ratio looked off in a bad way. But the scent, ah yes, that glorious scent held all sorts of promise.

I laid into it with a knife and fork, as this definately wasn't finger food. DucCat was, of course, absolutely dead-on about this being good. Just the right amount of roma tomatoes had thickened a bit during cooking, snuggling into every crevice. The tender meatballs burst with flavour, not to mention whole cloves of garlic.

In fact, the whole thing reminded me a bit of a sub, but a really well-crafted one. Pizza shaped. And with an ultra-thin shell in place of the bread.

We tried out our second Smoking Loon wine, a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked this one much more that their chardonnay, but can't say it won me over completely. It was toasty and tannic, and went well enough with the pizza, which is all I was really asking of it.

Even so, I probably won't be buying this again, as we've plenty of other inexpensive wines that go well with food.

Stuffed crust pizza. Blustery, blissful manna.

Pick up yours at Florimonte's Fine Italian Deli, up in Williamsburg. Be warned that it is a special-request item, and one that will be made with loving pride.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Miss Hungry Rose tagged me for the 4X meme. Your life, neatly compartmentalized into tidy categories, with four answers.

I thought this sounded strangely familiar, and when I went to open a Word file, found this list already typed out. Had someone previously tagged me? If so, please forgive my Swiss-cheese brain. Without further ado...

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Video/Music Store Clerk
2. Bartender
3. Bookseller
4. Waitress

Four Things I Hope to Do Defore I Die
1. Cook without recipes.
2. Sell my photos.
3. Travel the world with my husband.
4. Find true inner peace.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
1. Pulp Fiction
2. The Birdcage
3. Waking Life
4. Ocean’s Eleven

Four Things I Cannot Do
1. Cook without a recipe.
2. Stay focused.
3. Be even vaguely interested in sports.
4. Think like a sheeple.

Four Places I've Lived
1. Omaha, Nebraska
2. Amersfoort, the Netherlands
3. Roseville, California
4. Orlando, Florida

Four Things That Attract Me To My Spouse
1. Humour
2. Intelligence
3. Smokin’ sexiness
4. He grokked me (and I grokked him right back)

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch
1. The Daily Show.
2. Project Runway
3. Inside the Actor’s Studio
4. Barefoot Contessa

Four Things I Say Often
1. Cheers!
2. Now where did I put...?
3. Hey, honey!
4. What do you wanna do for dinner tonight?

Four Places I've Been on Vacation
1. California Wine Country (Asti)
2. Duck, North Carolina
3. Vail, Colorado
4. Hope Town, Abaco Island, The Bahamas

Four Books or Book Series That I Love
1. Lavondyss
2. Garlic & Sapphires
3. Harry Potter
4. My cookbooks!

Four Blogs I Visit Daily
1. Cookie Madness!
2. Culinary in the Dessert
3. Mona’s Apple
4. The Amateur Gourmet

Four of My Favorite Foods
1. Pizza!
2. Sushi!
3. Bread!
4. Sugary, bad-for-me coffee drinks!

Four Places I'd Rather Be
1. In the kitchen.
2. Back in wine country. Any of them.
3. A sunny, warm, and empty beach.
4. Charlottesville, Virginia

Four Albums I Can't Live Without
1. Bedrock, John Digweed
2. Sampladelic, DeeeLite
3. BetaBeetle, The Beta Band & The Beatles, mixed by my husband
4. Speakerboxx/The Love Below, OutKast

Four Vehicles I've Owned
1. VW Rabbit
2. Pontiac Sunfire
3. Nissan Sentra
4. Honda Accord

Four Folks Who Ought to Do This Meme
1. Jen
2. Anna
3. Maureen
4. ???

Sneezy, Mopey and Snuffly

Anna tagged me for a little meme cooked up in honour of cold season: name your best cold/flu remedy.

A long time ago, it would have been Campbell's tomato sauce, hot sauce, and crackers. Then, the day came when I discovered Tom Yum Soup. Bursting with chicken and veggies, be sure to get it three peppers hot, to burn through the snot.

In a pinch, though, hot-and-sour soup will work almost as well. Again, ask for the spiciest.

Eat. Drink water. Rest. Repeat.

Got your own? Consider yourself tagged, or leave it in the comments!

[Sorry for the lack of posts around here, I'm still trying to get some of the details of my european vacation fleshed out just a bit more. We'll get back to the cooking very soon!]

Friday, January 27, 2006

Moe's Knows... Me??

There are a variety of cuisines that restaurants in the ‘blues don’t do well, and sadly, one of them is Mexican/Hispanic.

Along with Trader Joe’s arrival came a whole host of national chains. Trees were razed, the earth was cleared, and up from it sprang Silver Dollar Diner, Red City Buffet, Panera Bread Company, Applebees/Ruby Tuesday’s (they both look the same to me, and I’m not sure which one is actually there), and inevitably, yet another Starbucks.

DucCat and had finished our T.J.’s shopping late one morning, and with tummies grumbling, found ourselves drawn to another recent arrival, “Moe’s Southwest Grill”. This place had chain written all over, but we were hungry and quite curious.

The menu board held a host of classic ‘mexican’ cuisuine choices, burritos, quesadillas, etc. Each meal selection could be beef, chicken, or tofu, and were accompanied by tortilla chips.

We spent several minutes studying the menu, then gave it a go. We lined up and told the girl behind the sneeze guard our orders. I went with the Ugly Naked Guy, basically a veggie soft-taco; DucCat got the “John Coctostan” quesadilla. With steak, of course.

The girl began readying our orders, then asked us what additionals we’d like. The set-up is much like that of a sub shop, with little buckets of cheese, grilled and raw vegetables, salsas, and much to my pleasure, chopped fresh cilantro.

We continued down the line, plucked a couple of icy-cold beers, and paid up. Our order would be a few minutes more, so we sat and waited with a bit of trepidation. DucCat just looked resigned.

The joint began to fill up rather quickly, and everytime the door opened, patrons were greeted with “Welcome to Moe’s!” shouted in unison by the energetic employees. Shortly, another employee came by, and with a smile, dropped our order off at the table.

We both received overloaded baskets of chips. Much to my surprise, they were very fresh tasting and light, a far cry from the local norm.

DucCat’s quesadilla was piping hot, and brimming full. The aroma alone was mouthwatering.

My cold little veggie taco suddenly didn’t seem quite as appealing, but I sauced it up, and dug in. Again, a pleasant little thrill raced through my mouth. All the veggies were very fresh tasting; the lettuce had snap, and the tomatoes were flavourful. The cilantro sauce actually had an assertive cilantro taste, while the hot sauce managed to make my mouth tingle. Colour me impressed.

“You’ve got to try this!” DucCat said, proferring a bite of his mighty John Coctostan.

One bite, and my mouth was again happy with melted cheese, soft black beans, and most impressively, excellent-tasting beef . Succulent and satisfying.

Since that first visit, we’ve gone back several times for an inexpensive, quick and tasty lunch. I hate to say it, but sometimes it takes a franchise to refresh a diner’s tastebuds.

Look out, Plaza Azteca!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stalking the Oyster

Oysters are a big deal around here, and many a generation has made their living harvesting and selling these little bivalves from the surrounding waterways. I love them raw, but you know Southern folk, what with their penchant for battering and frying: there’s just no escaping it.

Fried oyster salad is one of those compromise meals ‘twixt DucCat and I. For days, weeks really, I’ve been aching for salad-based meals, while he’s been in fine and full-on comfort food mode.

He used a mixture of boxed fish fry batter and cracker crumbs to coat the oysters, quickly frying them to a lovely golden-brown. I prepped the salad base, and made a dressing based upon an egg yolk-enhanced mustard vinaigrette, found in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

This simple, satisfying meal called for an elegant and classy wine.
Luckily, DucCat had at the ready a Testarossa 2003 Castello Chardonnay.
On the nose, its all airy peachy lightness- on the tongue, it smoothes out with a bit of apricot cream, in just the right amount.

Just the right mixture of heavy and light for a warm winter’s night.

Vinaigrette in the Style of Mayonnaise

adapted from "How to Cook Everything"

1 egg
1/4 cup horseradish mustard
minced onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

Break the egg into small food processor, and process with the mustard, onion, and vinegar. Drizzle in olive oil with machine running. When the mixture is as thick as heavy cream, add the salt and pepper.

s'kat's notes: I greatly increased the amount of mustard in this, so taste and adjust as necessary.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Feeling Crust-ly

Slice me up a piece o’comfort, baby! A story in three parts, linked by comfort food’s skin: the crust.

I was justifiably horrified one evening to come home, and discover this... this thing burbling away in my oven.

Frito pie. DucCat had talked about making it for years, but I remained unswayed by the thought: seasoned ground beef, beans, fritos and gobs of cheese baked casserole-style, until heated through. Luckily, I was off the hook, as it was poker night.

Although the pie was destined for the wildly gesticulating, trash-talking men in the dining room, DucCat convinced me that it was my food-blogging duty to try a small bite. It was a bit like taco meat wrapped in Frito’s- and it was, to my great surprise, absurdly good. Great, even, in an extremely unhealthy, greasy, calorie-filled kind of way. Fine fodder for broke college students, and the like. Stoned college students, really.

A few weeks later, our friend Syd dropped by the house. He came bearing not only wine, but a whole chicken, some apples, and other assorted goodies.

After we toasted with DucCat’s new stemless Riedels, Syd began to get busy. With knife in hand, the chicken was quickly and efficiently portioned out. As he coated the pieces with flour, salt and pepper, he instructed Dave on getting the apples ready for fresh apple sauce. I began heating the oil in a deep-sided cast-iron pan, and soon we were ready to cook this bird true Southern-style, as Syd had promised.

Here’s the part where it all gets a bit blurry. I’d the best intentions to faithfully document the steps, but there was no time. As the chicken fried, the three of us danced around the kitchen in an easy rhythym. Dave continued with the applesauce, while I made biscuits with just-soured milk.

One of the highlights was having Syd show me what the actual texture of the biscuits was supposed to feel and look like. Just like my Mammaw, he measured nothing; it came together gently, purely by feel. Truly invaluable knowledge. No pictures, though, due to my hands being covered in the very sticky dough.

It was starting to smell really good at this point, but the chickens weren’t cooking quite as evenly as Syd would have hoped. A couple of the smaller pieces were almost done, while the bigger breasts needed a bit more time.

Syd pulled out a little stockpot, poured in the still-hot oil, and added the breasts for further cooking.

While that was going on, it was time to make the gravy. Now, I couldn’t really see what was going on here... flour was sprinkled, mushrooms were added, along with a bit of milk. After several minutes of frenzied stirring, the gravy emerged, lightly browned, and full of glorious, chickeny-flavour.

With all the cookin’ done, we sat down like proper folk to enjoy this classic meal.

The fresh applesauce alone was a revelation, as Mott’s has really been my only previous experience. Ultra-fresh tasting, still slightly chunky, and just bursting with ripe flavours.

The chicken was perfectly fried, and the mushroom gravy was a nice complement. Between the rice, the biscuit, and the peas (Le Seur, if you’re curious), it was a full-contact Sunday supper.

Of course, we ended up with a fair amount of leftover chicken in the fridge. Browsing one afternoon through various food blogs, I hit upon comfort food gold: chicken pot pie.

Now, this ain’t no Swanson’s, baby. I found the recipe over at Food Musings; when you get to the bottom of this posting, take a moment to read her very funny story involving airports and poultry carcases.

The peas were omitted (didn’t have any, and dammit, I wasn’t going to the grocery store again!), and I ended up using duck stock, as it was all I had on hand. I didn’t realize I was making gravy until the flour and stock suddenly began to come together in a silk smooth stream. I called DucCat out to the kitchen to witness and pay tribute to my proud culinary first.

When the veggies and chicken had all been coated in the gravy, it was all dumped into an oven-proof skillet, and covered in a cheddar-filled biscuit dough. I didn’t even bother to cut out the individual biscuits, although that would be cute for single-serving portions.

This was also my very first chicken pot pie experience. Results: like a mouth-watering stew covered in a cheesy crust, this was another delight that I suddenly understood.

Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Meat and Per-taters

Pot roast. We'd seen something about on television recently, or perhaps it just came up in conversation one day. Whatever the reason, DucCat became entranced with the thought of making ourHIS own pot roast. After looking over a few recipes, he coddled together his own adaptation, and left the roast to while away the hours in the oven.

Frankly, I was a bit suspicious, as pot roast was a since-childhood hated food. However, when I came into the house at the end of the day, the scent that greeted me was full of juicy, slow-cooked love. I followed that demi-glace train right into the kitchen, and stole a little French bread dip. Heavenly.

Consider me converted... now, I just wish that he had written down the recipe!

A few days later, with the temperatures racing back up towards the seventies, it was time for the flipside: steak and potatoes.

While DucCat wrestled with charcoal, fire, and thick slabs of meat, I began boiling the potatoes for a recipe discovered in a recent issue of Food & Wine. The method is one that was supposed to assure a very crunchy exterior, while maintaining the soft interior from boiling. Once they'd cooled, I chopped them into wedges, drizzled rather generously with olive oil and salt, and set them in a hot oven.

That gave me just enough time to make a wild mushroom sauce for the steak. Just as DucCat came in with a platterful of perfectly grilled steaks, the sauce was done, and the potatoes were coming out of the oven. Don't you just love an evening that ends in perfect harmony?

The original recipe calls for a romesco sauce to be served on the potatoes, but I wanted to keep it simple.

Crunchy Potato Wedges

4 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
¾ cup evoo

Preheat oven to 425.
In a large heavy pot, cover potatoes with water, and bring to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat until just tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.
Drain, and let cool slightly. Peel potatoes, and cut into wedges.
Transfer the potatoes to 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil, turning to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast the potatoes for 40 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and crisp.

Food & Wine February 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Italian Dreams *UPDATED*

I'm making a plea to any folk who may happen by my little blog. There's some good news in the cats world, and that is this: during the first two weeks of October, we will be traveling to Italy with some friends. The journey begins in Amsterdam (but doesn't it always?), at the lovely PhilDutch houseboat.

After four days, we then head down to Pisa, were we will be picked up by our guide. He'll take us through San Gimangiano, before dropping us off at our accomodations in Siena. He'll be back with us for the next two days, driving us to wineries and a host of Tuscan towns. We've one day on our own to explore Siena.

After that, we'll catch a train into Florence, staying for two nights, then continue up through Bologna. Bologna, as DucCat informed me, houses world Ducati headquarters, so is a must-see!

I've heard the food there isn't so bad either.

We then head up to Venice for the last three days, and then *poof* back home we go.

So that's the idea for our little journey. Any ideas on places to stay, ways to travel, eateries/wineries to visit, I am open to it all. I've never had the fortune to visit Italy previously, and am quite excited.

And at the same time, completely overwhelmed. So big, so much to do, so short a time. We like the food, the views, and the wine. Where to go, where to visit first? Comments are way open here, folks.

Is that a kielbasa, or are you just happy to see me?

When the increasingly absurd weather took a brief dive back down the thermometer, my thoughts again turned to the comforting, simmering warmth of a stew. In keeping with my intention to cook more out of my own cookbooks, I found myself browsing through Patricia Wells' "Bistro Cooking".

I pretty much honed right on in to "Les Pyrenes Stew of White Beans, Cabbage, Ham and Preserved Goose". Patricia points out that if one doesn't have access to goose confit and goose gizzards, one could easily substitute kielbasa, or some other good quality smoked sausage.

I used Nathan’s “We don’t only make hot dogs” Famous Keilbasa, and put it in about half an hour earlier than called for. This soup uses no chicken broth or stock, yet magically transforms itself into a flavourful and hearty bowl full of goodness. It’ll cure what ails ya.

White Bean, Cabbage and Kielbasa Stew

adapted from Patricia Wells' "Bistro Cooking"

1 1/2 cups (10 ounces/300 g) dried white beans
3 ounces (90g) Parma ham (I used Smithfield ham, cubed)
8 garlic clvoes, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
4 leeks, trimmed, well rinsed, and cut into thin rounds (I substituted green onions)
1/2 green cabbage, quartered
1 pound (500g) potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-oz kielbasa, or other smoked sausage, sliced or cubed

Cover beans with water, and let sit overnight.
Drain and rinse the beans the following day. Add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove pan from heat, leave covered, and let rest 40 minutes. Drain the beans, discarding all cooking liquid.

In a large flameproof casserole, combine beans, ham and garlic. Add 2 quarts (2l) of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the carrots, onions, and leeks. Season lightly with salt. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add smoked sausage, cover, and continue to simmer 30 minutes more.

Add cabbage and potatoes and continue cooking until all of the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes more.

Serve immediately in wide, shallow bowls. Even with all the starches present, I must add that thick slice of toasted bread really hit the spot.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Blue Sunday

This has definately been a season full of rich and hearty seasonal foods, so I welcomed the opportunity to join in Sweetnick’s ‘ARF/5-a-Day Tuesdays’.

And what better way to dip one’s toe into the realm of healthy and conscious eating than with blueberries? Wild Maine blueberries, to be exact. These delectable darlings are little powerhouses, just bursting with amazing antioxidant powers. Now, these are well and good enough popped raw into one’s mouth, but a sudden chilly snap gave me a better idea...

Pancakes!! Delicious wild blueberry pancakes, served with a cinnamon cream syrup, and a side of bacon. Did I mention that blueberries are extremely healthy? And really, I assure you that the bacon was placed there for purely stylistic purposes.

I don’t have a pancake recipe that really buttered my griddle, so a quick internet search found me checking in with Cooking For Engineers.

Basic Pancakes are a classic recipe that utilizes common cupboard ingredients for very tasty results. I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding the juice of one (smallish) lemon to the milk, and letting it sour for about twenty minutes before preceeding- it added the perfect tang to the fluffy cakes.

I also took the suggestion to add the blueberries after the pancakes are spooned out onto the griddle. Nothing appeals more to my Virgoan nature than a perfectly balanced wheel of blueberries in one’s pancakes.

The cinnamon cream syrup is a very special treat from James River Kitchen, my mother-in-law’s cookbook. DucCat and siblings were graced by the frequent appearance of cream waffles and the aforementioned syrup on many a happy Sunday morning. I was more than honoured to pay tribute this time ‘round.

Blueberries. It’s what for breakfast!

Basic Pancakes (Don’t forget to sour the milk with lemon juice... or just use buttermilk, should you have some available.)

Cinnamon Cream Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1/4 cup whole milk

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, water and cinnamon.
Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Cook and stir 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Stir in milk.
Serve warm over pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
Leftover syrup may be gently re-heated.

from 'James River Kitchen'

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Dig Sushi and Felines

After a week of fairly boring food- due to last week's reflux attack- DucCat finally began feeling better.
He surprised me last night by coming home with a platter-full of succulent sushi-love.

I'm sure we'll be back up to speed soon. In the meantime, here's a little pre-weekend cat blogging from Shishi and Spot. Lookin' forward to a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Mona tagged me for the newest/oldest meme running ‘round:
Too Much Information.

Here's the delly-o: post ten random and interesting facts about yourself (they don't necessarily need to be food-related).

After reading through her own insightful list, I’ve pondered a bit, and finally come up with one of my own.

-My hair has been every colour except blonde.

-In the early 90’s, I DJ’d under the name ‘Velvet Scream’.

-I lived in the Netherlands for three years... and never ate cheese! Didn’t like it, wasn’t interested in trying it. Really regret that one.

-I shared wine and cigarettes with a couple of bums at Jim Morrison’s grave.

-I no longer smoke, but will sometimes inhale deeply when walking by smokers.

-I don’t own a cell phone, and in fact, hate talking on phones in general.

-An F-4 tornado came right between mine and my neighbor’s house; I survived.

-I was practically a vegetarian when I met my husband.

-I’ve met two ‘celebritites’ in my life. One was Ken Ober (MTV’s Remote Control); the other was Nikki Knockers. Two guesses as to how she makes her living. ;)

-I would love to someday make a good living through photography.

Dude, that's like, way too much information!

I'm going to tag Anna, Joe, Deetsa, Clare, and Paul.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Season at Syd's

I've had several posts about previous visitations to Cowboy Syd's restaurant, and still managed to have quite a few miscellaneous dining photos floating about. I'm taking the opportunity to do a quick and image-heavy review of lunches, dinners, and the wines enjoyed at Syd's.

Brunch and lunch?

We've had a few...

As always, we begin with
that exciting Southern-classic,
Syd's spin on
neo-pimento cheese.
I don't like mayonnaise,
but I really like this!

The Frei Brothers
2003 Reserve

is lightly oaked,
and perfectly crafted
for casual Sunday sippin'.

Now, onto the food:
uptown French toast and Surry sausages
Poulet two ways, grilled...

...or wrapped up sandwich style.

My personal favourite, the citrusy and light-tasting crab salad. A first for me, a little cute quail, nesting under a fois gras pancake.

Chicken again, grilled,
and smothered in smoochie-bear ham sauce.

Now, the above wine is the Hendry Chardonnay, and DucCat and I can typically be found beginning our meal with a plate of neo-pimento love, washed down by this elegant little wine. However, there was something different about this bottle... click here for a closer look. Little ice crystals sparkled on the inside, and remained floating in our glasses. Ice crystals, sugar crystals...? Whatever they were, they didn't seem to have changed the flavour.

A random platter of cheese,
and smoochie-bear ham.

The Rex Hill 2003 Pinot Noir- excellent choice, good sir.

This was a cheerful and fun wine,
imminently approachable with red berry love,
and a hint of something like chocolate in the finish.

After dallying with the pefect cracker,
and lingering over wine and coffee,
a surprise was yet in store.

"New desserts!" declared Syd. "You just have to try these, girl-
friends!" Somehow, we sucked it up, and managed to try every one, and yes: they were as utterly delicious as you'd imagine.

Another night,
another course beginning with neo-pimento and Hendry...

let's skip right along to our 'taste'.

DucCat was sent a cute little piece of fried chicken
draped in gravy, and sitting on a bed of grits.
'Cuz that's just the Southern-style love
the Cowboy has for my husband.

My little dish was straight from the sea,
incredibly fresh and flavourful tuna.
Barely insulted by flame, this was rare tuna perfection.

A new wine graced our table that evening, the Graziano 2003 Petite Syrah Old Vines Mendocino. This was a toothsome fellow, barrel-chested and smeared in mashed berries. The finish was leathery smooth, and I knew then that it would go pefectly with...

...a blurry but tasty steak.

And perhaps not so good with...

Grilled rockfish and a pile of juicy seared shrimp. It was no matter, though, this was worth forsaking the wine for what has to be some of the area's best seafood.

Of course, it wouldn't be Syd's style to let us escape without trying some new desserts.

Tonights goodies were a chocolate-bourbon bread pudding (scrumptious!)...

... and a sugarless chocolate tart.
No sugar, no fake sweeteners, just quality chocolate, amongst other Top Secret ingredients. If he hadn't told us, I never would have guessed the truth, it was that decadent.

It certainly was a great and beautiful season of dining at Syd's. Thanks for everything, Cowboy!

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