Thursday, September 24, 2009

Multi-course wine dinner

Tonight was a pretty cool night. We did a 6 course wine dinner for a few of the members. A lot of fun, eating and drinking was had by all! We tried to stick with the local food as much as possible and, with the exception of a few things, we did pretty well. Supporting local farmers makes the food taste better, if you ask me!

Check out the menu and wines used below (Thanks Tim for the question!):

Amuse Bouche

Goat Cheese and pistachio covered grape with blackberry gastrique

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Trio


Pan-seared fois gras torchon with butter poached red currents and micro green salad

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier


Celeriac bisque with roasted root vegetables and parsley

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Chardonnay


Local bitter greens and fresh herbs with Yuzu vinaigrette

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Pinnacle

Main Course

Bone-in Pork loin chop with Nise’s local apple jam and thyme Jus

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Cabernet Francrt


Mocha gelato chocolate chip tuile and espresso foam

Paired with: Childress Vineyards Starbound

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fatty Mcfatster (and his lovely wife) at the cholesterol festival

I feel dirty. Yeah, it's true. I feel dirtier than Mike Roe dipped in rabid dog ball pimple puss (too graphic? sorry, lol)

So, every year in our town, the Cabarrus County Fair comes around. In our opinion, its the best in the area and we look forward to going. Of course, being the foodie that I am, I use [any] fair as an excuse to scope out the typical and a-typical snacks that are offered, followed, usually, by the anti-gravity slams of some of the rides.(ever ride the "Tilt-a-wirl" after eating fried dough? Priceless!)

After watching a few in-bred redneck "women" with halter tops eat cotton candy (you should see some of their kids! Reminds me of that monster on "The Goonies" who liked the Baby Ruth candy bar, remember him?), we scoped out the standard food favorites like the infamous Kielbasa Sub with onions and peppers (makes me fart just typing those words). And, the spawn of Satan Foot-Long Corn Dog. After eating those gut-bombs, we hunted for our dessert. Last year, we had our first fried Oreo cookies dusted with powdered sugar. No, I can't tell you how good they were with words, you'll just have to figure it out.

This year, we revisited the site of said fried treats to find that they were now offering every major candy bar on the market dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried to artery clogging goodness. Yes folks, it's true. You can now get Snickers, 3-Musketeers, Milky Way and a few others battered and deep fried! I've heard about this blasphomy on TV but never could imagine I would be in the presence of such greatness! (Hope my doctor, mom or health insurance agent are not reading this, lol).

Well, we got the Oreos again and I had to try the Snickers Bar. Wow. Simply stated. I mean, Snickers Bars have always caused me great guilty pleasure in the past, but eating it this way was just retarded. It was crispy and light on the outside and warm, gooey and crunchy on the inside. Just insane! The Oreos, yeah, they pretty much rocked too. Its hard to mess up an Oreo no matter how you treat it.

Problem with that meal was just this, I'm getting to old to carry that sort of calerie collection around in my body. I felt like total shit the rest of the night and into the next morning up until I took my morning pooh. (Dont ask, it wasnt pretty). I've learned my lesson and will never eat that stuff again! (chuckle, until next time).


Atitude of gratitude and my inner a**hole

A good and long time friend of mine wrote an interesting post on his blog recently and asked himself an interesting question into the Google search engine, "How do I stop being an asshole?"  and the result was an interesting quote from a dude that slept with his friends wife and was beating himself up about it and other things he has, apparently, done. A part of the quote read like this, "...I can blame it on depression, or a shitty childhood, but really, I have to blame it on myself. I have had so many incredible opportunities, squandered most of them, bitterly, and been a shitty person dressed up as a funny man." Hmm, interesting question with a deep meaning. It got me thinking, as I type this at 3 am, my wife snoring her ass off in the other room, if I, myself, am an asshole?

Well, my very first thought was, "Yeah, I can be some times", and can't we all? How many times have you watched or listened to someone and thought, "This dude is an ASSHOLE!" lol.

I spent the majority of my life surrounded by a man who, for the most part, was a complete and utter asshole, drunk all the time, cheated on his wife, smoked too much, talked down to his entire family and beat his kids whenever possible. This sort of person was full of fear, I'm convinced, and made others around him feel less-than and not-as-good-as because he, himself, felt that way.

When I started coming of age, I was, for the most part, an angry person. I felt no one liked me, I felt I didn't fit in, I felt fearful and insecure beyond belief! Being this skinny long haired freak with my two front teeth chipped, my self esteem was a little low.

Thankfully, on hind-site, no one tried to fix this for me. I was forced, in my own way, to deal with those feelings of self worthlessness and self loathing. I tried fixing it with booze and drugs and it only acted as an amplifier of my true inner feelings and pushed friends and family away from me, which started the vicious circle. I'm not loved, I should drink, people hate me, so I should try to fit in by getting high with them, and the more I do this, the more my inner feelings come out and the more people couldn't stand to be around me (or so I thought), so on and so on. Eventually, I ended up completely alone, on that ugly blue shag carpet in a two room apartment with no furniture with nothing and everything I thought I needed to make me feel whole, was gone. I have never felt so empty and sole-less in my entire life.

That same day I began a journey to get better. It took me a long time to feel worthy by loving myself and not concerning myself with what others thought of me. By not comparing my insides by peoples outsides. By mending these fences in my life that have shut me off from love and personal growth. Today, I am far from perfect and will most likely never posess personal peace within 100%, but I have the greatest thing anyone could ask for in life, a reason. A reason to get out of bed in the morning, a reason to want to do well in life, a reason to want to be nice to others (most of the time, lol). That reason, bottom line, is gratitude.

For me, I must be grateful for what God has given me. I must remember where I came from as I could go back there in a second! I must be thankful for the lessons learned in my life, especially how NOT to treat others. If I'm treating people like shit, I must have something going on in my head that needs to be looked at. Some conflict of sorts that needs to be addressed. Most of my inner conflicts revolve around perceptions. and, its amazing how my perceptions can change based on many factors. If I hadn't gotten enough sleep, for instance, or hadn't prayed or sought spiritual growth in some way, or if I hadn't eaten in a while of whatever, my perception changes and my inner asshole comes out 10 fold. But, even if Ive gotten 12 hours sleep the night before, had a healthy breakfast of tree bark and love, even if I just came floating out of church, well, my perception still has a way, sometimes, to be a little skewed.

Who knows why, really, people are assholes to each other some times and why others are so nice you want to puke. Its hard to figure out why some people only need to lose everything once and learn their lesson or that some people need to lose everything like once every 6 months and still blame others for their mis-givings, laying out the "poor-me's". Who knows, really.

Well, one thing I have learned in these past 37 years, that we are all human with feelings and expectations and, when you are as complicated as most of us are, you tend to want to punch one of them in the face sometimes, no matter what the bible says, right? For me, my only goal is to, perhaps selfishly, feel fulfilled. I want to make sure I gave those around me the love and respect they are owed. Not only in a self centered way, but feel like Ive accomplished a good life and when the day comes when I will meet my maker, can only hope that I wasn't too much of an asshole that at least a few of you will come to my funeral, lol.

Eh, life is crazy, fun and exciting as long as I keep my mind out of it, lol.

*Edit - Oh, and since we're on the topic of being an asshole, Rob H., if you're still following my blog, you should grow up and learn a few things about burning bridges with your employer(s) and keeping your dick out of places they don't belong. God bless you dude, you deserve whatever heart-felt-pain you receive. Douche Bag.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

OMG, this might be the best sandwich I've ever eaten!

Wow man, I think we found the place that makes the best sandwich I ever ate and it's right in my back yard!

We drove by "Havana Carolina" a few days ago and I mentioned to my better half that I'd like to check them out one day. As a matter of fact, they sell one of my favorite sandwiches on the planet which inspired me to put one on my menu at work (which sells very well I might add).

It's this little Cuban sandwich store that came to town about a year ago, I think, and has gotten pretty great reviews from the locals.

Anyway, a few days go by and we ended up there for a quick dinner a couple nights ago before seeing a movie. We walked into this simple little joint with palm trees and ocean painted on the walls, tacky table cloths and place mats and Spanish guitar plucking from a boom box in the corner, pretty cool little place. This little Cuban dude behind the counter welcomes us with a huge grin and broken English. When I saw the panini press and the hand written menus, I knew we were in for a treat.

I look up and point to the "Cuban Sandwich" written on the wall, the wife goes safe and gets a pressed club sandwich (yes, she's a big fan) and a couple beef and chicken empanadas. Our new found Cuban buddy suggests a couple authentic Latin-esqe soft drinks to go with it and, within a few short minutes, we were crunching down on our heavenly prizes.

The empanadas were hand made and filled with spicy flavorful beef and shredded chicken. I dashed a few drops of habanaro hot sauce and we were in heaven! Perfectly made with love, I'm sure.

Now, when I tell you this Cuban sandwich was the best I've ever eaten, well, there's no need for too much proof. I've had some others made by very reputable sources (including my own kitchen!) and none of them can even hold a candle to this bad boy.

He put this slow roasted pulled pork on it that must have been made by someones loving mother or something, thin slices of smoked ham, slices of pickles, Swiss cheese a little mustard and some mayo and it was pressed between a press made especially for this task. Perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with juicy pork fat oozing out along with mayo-ey (is that a word) cheese glistening out the sides, JEESH MAN!!! And yes, even my wife's Cuban-style club sandwich was pressed to utter goodness.

We washed our meals down with "Iron Beer Cola", a fruity version of coke, and "Malta", an alcohol free malty cola that reminded me of malt balls or something, perfect.

Of course, one can't visit a Cuban joint and not get an espresso! They are a bit different than the espressos you may be used to as they add sugar during the pressing and are served in really tiny cups, smaller than your average demi-tasse.

Needless to say, it's on the top of my list of best meals and definitely nailed the best sammy award! Check it out if you're in the area.

Some pics for you:

Cute neighborhood joint, eh?

Iron Beer? Yes, it's yummy.

Yea, the burps make your eyes water, lol

Chicken empanadas with firey habanaro sauce.

The beef empanadas were our favorite and we liked the green sauce a little better, too.

If anyone asks, my wife does NOT like espresso! :) (she hates this picture!)