Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life


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Dining Out

I’M BACK!

I have been so busy it has been hard to find time to write but I have also found I miss writing my blog and I have had several people contact me to make sure I was ok so I will start getting you caught up with our busy life.

We got an evening invitation to Greenville Tech. Cullinary school dinner so we attended that with our friends Al and G. Ann.   This one was a Russian theme dinner.   Delicious as always.   Last year we went to another Russian meal  but this menu was totally different.   The meal was really perfect.  I couldn’t find anything not to like.

Russian Menu

Georgian Beet Pkhali   – This was fabulous.
Sliced Yellow and Candy Stripe Beets in Garlic Walnut Sauce
with Baby Greens and Fennel Salad

Pureé of Root Vegetables
With Siberian Pelmeni Dumplings, Wilted Cabbage and
Horseradish-Chive Foam

Salmon Kulebiaka – perfectly prepared
with Wild Rice and Mushroom Filling
White & Green Spring Asparagus
Dill Sour Cream Sauce

Plum Baba
with Vanilla Poached Plums and Poppy Seed Cookie

Newcomers had their first Beermeister gathering.  This will be a monthly meeting to sample and discuss beers.   Bob and I certainly aren’t as interested in beer as we are in wine and don’t like the heavy dark beers that the real beer people like but it was fun and we had a good turnout.  I’m sure we will go from time to time.

Our big splurge was something called Sip and Sup on March 2.   The location was on the rooftop of a wine bar in downtown Greenville.   It was expensive but very unusual and worth it.  What first caught my eye about the event was that it was paring a Chef from the Green Room here in Greenville, a restaurant I like, with a Chef and a winery called Chateau Elan, a vineyard and winery and resort outside of Atlanta.   A couple years ago I spent a long weekend there with a girlfriend when they had a wine festival and food and wine paring outdoors in the vineyard and it was fantastic.

Chateau Elan provided the wine and the two chefs each made courses so we had two different wines,  two appetizers, two entrees, two starches, two vegetables, two breads and two desserts.   There were about 30 people there.   There were only 5 of us over 30 or so which surprised me.   On March 2 it was still pretty cool so I was glad we dressed warm.   Bob didn’t believe me when I told him I thought we would be eating outside.    Here is the menu.  As you can see we had plenty to eat and we brought home enough in take home boxes for 6 more meals!

Appetizers  – Both appetizers were excellent.   I couldn’t pick a favorite.
Ahi Tuna Tar Tar
Sesame chips and spicy ginger glaze
Chef Patrick Long
Wine – Sauvignon Blanc

Shrimp Escabeche
Tomato-avocado bruschetta with blood orange gastrique
Chef Justin Kurtz
Wine – Pinot Noir

Main Course
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apple Relish
served with roasted brussels sprouts, parsnip and celery root mash – These sides were especially good.
Chef Patrick Long
Wine – Scarlet – Liked this wine

Rosemary and Sherry Braised Lamb Shank a  -This was delicious, so tender.

(Somehow Bob talked the chef out of another Lamb Shank to take home and we had 4 more meals out of it)
Confit fingerling potatoes and roasted garlic haricot vert
Chef Justin Kurtz
Wine – Muscadry

Desserts
Brown Butter Cake with Balsamic Soaked Strawberries
Chef Patrick Long

Lavendar Chocolate Cake
Almond lace cookie with orange chantilly cream
Chef Justin Kurtz
Wine – Port

One interesting side note, the city requires them to have plastic glasses.  ICK  for wine tasting.   So why am I more in danger of cutting my feet on a roof top vs. a restaurant or a sidewalk?

Fay on the deck before dinner.  As you can see no leaves on the trees yet.
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The table set where we ate

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Dessert

IMG_0248 I would definitely go if they do this again, just when it is warmer.   Chateau Elan right now doesn’t sell wine here but they want to establish a presence.  In Georgia the only grape you can grow is Muscadine, which is not one I like very much, but they are trying new things with the grapes to make it much less sweet and I must say they are making progress.   They had a sparkling appetizer wine that was drinkable.   They make a wide variety of other non muscadine red and white wines but they bring the grapes or juice in from outside Georgia.  If you are around Atlanta this property is a must see.   Resort and golf course and spa are fantastic and then there is the winery.   One of the largest I have seen.  Learn more here http://www.chateauelan.com/

Siip is a very nice spot in downtown Greenville  to just go have a glass of wine and appetizers and look around the city on a nice evening.  I might be the oldest person there but that’s ok.

https://www.facebook.com/SipRooftop

After abstaining for awhile I am back into buying groupons, deal chickens and living social restaurant discounts.  Looking forward to some new dining experiences.


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Russian food luncheon at Greenville Tech. Cullinary School

Once again Bob and I and a couple of our friends were invited to Greenville Technical Culinary School for one of their luncheon meals.

This four course meal had a Russian theme, the three we went to this summer were elaborate buffets.   It was a sit down luncheon, all the wait staff dressed in black and the tables set with white tablecloths and dishes with black accents of napkins.   This was one of the first meals of the new school year so I didn’t know how good it would be.

They did a fantastic job.   The presentations of each course was as good as you could see in any very fine dining restaurant and all for only $8 a person.

Here is the menu:

Russian Menu

With Russian Style Service

 Salad

Smoked Fish on a Yukon Gold Potato Blini with Pickled Red Onions and Baby Arugula

Soup

Beet Borsht with Horseradish Cream and Dill Oil

Entrée

Roast Pork with Caramelized Apple Sausage

Kasha and Mushroom Casserole

 With Spring Asparagus

Garlic Yogurt Sauce

 Dessert

Rhubarb and Apple Strudel Served with Whipped

Cream, Honey and Cider Reduction

We are so lucky to live so close by to such a great resource as the Tech School and their fantastic food.  It is only 15 minutes from our house.


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Growing Mushrooms

I’m so excited.   At the Travelers Rest Farmers Market on Saturday there was a new company who sells supplies to grow mushrooms.   They also gave a really interesting talk on mushrooms.   They made them sound like little people!

Anyway, they have a package of stuff called coffee mushrooms because you grow the oyster mushrooms in coffee grounds in a 5 gallon bucket.  It takes 4 – 6 weeks and then you have mushrooms.   I got the coffee grounds, from Forest Coffee House in Travelers Rest.   I have a couple questions about what I am supposed to do so hope to get my mushroom spores planted in the next day or so and then the bucket goes in the basement. They also have many other ways you can grow mushrooms in logs, woodchips, etc.   The company is Mushroom Mountain Http://mushroommountain.com. 

There farm is about 45 minutes from my house.  In a week or so they are having a tour so I have Bob and I signed up.   I wouldn’t be surprised to come home with more stuff. There is also an Upstate Mushroom Club that goes mushroom hunting every month.  

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And before you ask, there are no magic mushrooms, at least as far as I know.


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A delicious lunch at Greenville Tech

Another delicious lunch at the Greenville Tech Culinary School. We went with our friends Lois and Greg and had a nice chat as well as beautiful food.  Wish I had taken some photos.   The presentation was spectacular.   Here is what we got for $8 each.

American Regional Menu

 Clam Chowder with Rolls

 California Mixed Greens with Peanut Dressing

 Salpicon of Chicken with Greens, Vegetables, Blue Cheese, Avocado and Tomatoes

 Southwestern Bean Salad (My Favorite Salad)

 Chilled Grilled Hawaiian Pineapple Salad

 Shrimp Pasta Salad

 Clam Bake Terrine with Aioli

Yucca Crusted Fried Catfish with Buttered Popcorn Sauce and Corn Relish

 Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade (YUM!)

Southern Grit Cakes with Country Ham  (One of my favorites)

 Chicken and Sausage Étouffé

 Herb Glazed Meatloaf with Pan Gravy, Whipped Herb Potatoes and Fried Onions

Corn Muffins

Apple Cobbler with Oatmeal Crumb

Raspberry Mousse

 Individual Chocolate Bread Pudding Soufflé  (Excellent with Brown Sugar Ice Cream)

 Fresh Churned Ice Cream (Strawberry, Peach and Brown Sugar)

 Blueberry Pecan Crisp


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Southern Living Magazine – The South’s Tastiest Towns – Vote Greenville, SC

foodI just read that Southern Living magazine is having a contest for the Tastiest Towns in the South and Greenville is one of the 10 towns picked.    Seems the Upstate is popular for contests for the next month or so!   You can vote every day through February.   Help Greenville win and even better come visit Greenville and taste what all the fuss is about!  I will gladly admit that there is no shortage of very good restaurants of all types and at all prices.   Nothing is missing!   The hardest part is deciding what and where to eat.   We have a private wine and food paring meal at the newly remodeled Hyatt in Jan. and I can’t wait.

Vote at this link:Edit

http://www.southernliving.com/travel/souths-tastiest-towns-00417000076768/

Here is what the article says:
Don’t be fooled by the quaint, leafy town of Greenville, SC. When it comes to eating and drinking well, it means business. A concentration of international corporations (including BMW and Michelin) means surprising culinary diversity and well-traveled palettes. Stars like Vicky Moore from Mediterranean-inspired The Lazy Goat and Spencer Thomson from Deveraux’s earned their chops at the best restaurants in Charleston. New restaurants like Ford’s Oyster House and The Green Room have forward thinking menus rooted in Low Country goodness. Restaurants like American Grocery and Roost (in the newly renovated Hyatt) serve refined seasonal cuisine with products from local and regional farms. An alfresco fall food festival, renegade newcomers like Neue Southern Food Truck and The Owl (which serves, no kidding, molecular gastronomy), make eating here an endless revelation.


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Chateau Elan weekend girls trip

I am behind on writing about my adventures.   Kind of hit a month or so when I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything so I didn’t.  My theory is I was just so tired of the heat and being cooped up inside with the air conditioner.   I really miss being outside and having the windows open.   I did get a couple books read which I haven’t done in a very long time.   Steven King’s 11-22-63 and Night Circus.   Thank you friend G. Ann for loaning them to me.

Quite by chance in August I got an opportunity to go with my friend from Newcomers, Cindy, on a two night trip to just north of Atlanta GA  to the beautiful Chateau Elan Resort, Spa, Conference Center, Golf Course Winery and Vineyard.  Cindy is also a big cat lover so we spent a good amount of time talking about our kitties.   I didn’t even know Georgia had much wine making going on so it was a very educational trip.

We left on Sat. morning.  It is only a 2 1/2 hr. drive.  Sat. night they had this spectacular wine and food paring meal out in the vineyard with dessert under the stars.  I had a meal like this on my bucket list and it was fabulous.   There were only 40 people there, two long tables of 20.  We sat with some really interesting folks so it was good company, a beautiful setting, wonderful music and of course great food and wine.   All the wine was from Chateau Elan.  The pictures tell the story.  Each course was a work of art.

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Georgia is known for its Muscadine grapes and wine.  The southern US is the only place in the world that these grapes grow.  I have to be honest and admit that I am not a fan of Muscadine wine.   It is usually quite sweet and has an unusual flavor.  The food and wine paring brought one very unexpected combination.   We had a salad with quite a bit of gorgonzola cheese and it was the perfect combination with the Muscadine wine.   I was really surprised and liked it quite a bit.   We had three of their white wines, a couple red wines and port with the chocolate dessert.  By the time we got to dessert it was dark outside and all the stars were out and there was a big full moon.   It was perfect.

Our room was on the bottom floor and overlooked the golf course so I could read my book out on our little patio.   On Sunday we attended the food and wine festival in the winery.   The winery is huge.  Tens of thousands of square feet on three levels.  Includes a large gift shop and demonstration cooking kitchen.  I had a great opportunity to collect info on some wineries in north GA which isn’t far from us.   There were also quite a few beer breweries.   Did you know there is peach beer, orange beer, chocolate beer, coffee beer, vanilla?  I didn’t try any of these.   Just give me the plain simple beverage.

Click here to get to a map of all the wineries.  Some are up in the mountains.  Bob and I hope to get to visit some of these when the fall colors arrive in Oct.  In addition to tasting wine and eating we went to one cooking demonstration on a yummy pork dish  and one wine lecture on Muscadine grapes.   Really interesting.  Although GA is known for the Muscadine grapes they also grow many other so there is a good selection for everyone.

Sun. night I went for a swim in the pool and soak in the hot tub.   It was a great day.

On Sunday we had the brunch at the hotel and took a short tour of the spa, which is in a separate building with its own small hotel.  Definitely Chateau Elan is the full package of things to do.  The resort is in Braselton GA.  Here is an interesting tidbit about Braselton: In 1989 Kim Basinger  paid $20 million to buy the entire town of Braselton, Georgia, about 60 miles from Atlanta. Four years later, she was sued for backing out of a film she had agreed to star in, and was forced to sell Braselton for just $1 million.   Here is my question – How and who do you buy a town from?

I think this is only my third girls weekend in my life plus I have gone on several weekend retreats but this was different from a retreat.  Hope you enjoyed the story.   I would definitely recommend visiting the property.

Still to come another time-

Bob and I had a weeks vacation in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in early June which I haven’t told you about yet.  Let me just say that Virginia is an absolutely beautiful state.  They have mountains, wineries, scenic wonders and Monticello as well as a lavender farm!


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High Cotton Peach Dinner

You have heard me comment several times on how wonderful the peaches are here so when I saw this special meal come up a few weeks ago I just had to sign us up.

Last night we celebrated Bob’s birthday again with a fancy night out at our favorite restaurant High Cotton.  They had a special “Peach” of a meal paired with wine.  Below is the menu.  The wine is from Italy.  Besides the great food eaten during this 4 hour meal we had the company of 7 other people at our table.  It was really fun.

Each course was delicious. While you are sitting there eating it is easy to forget one really important thing.   All six courses visually were works of art.  You could taste how good the food would be as soon as you looked at the beautiful plate.     Most of the items weren’t really heavy with peach flavor.  I can’t pick a favorite.  The dessert was a trio of desserts each with a different temperature from warm to chilled and a different texture and flavor.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

The expert that talked about each of the wines really expanded my knowledge of Italian wines.  We had three whites and two reds.  An absolutely perfect dining experience from food to wine to company and conversation and of course the great ambience  of High Cotton and it’s great view.   We even got to take home a couple fresh peaches to enjoy at home.

High Cotton Peach Dinner

Thursday, July 26th
6:30pm

First Course
Citrus Poached Wild American Shrimp
peach BBQ glaze, marcona almonds brittle
Mastroberardino Sanno Falanghina

Second Course
Seafood Risotto
grilled white peaches, saffron, crispy ginger
Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio Bianco

Third Course
Goat Cheese Tart
lemon thyme braised peaches, roasted beets, local honey
Mastroberardino Fiano di Avellino

Fourth Course
Bethel Trails Rabbit
green olives, sage, peach brown butter sauce
Mastroberardino Aglianico

Fifth Course
Slow Roasted Heritage Pork
gorgonzola polenta, braised escarole, peach balsamic glaze
Mastroberardino La Cryma Christi Del Vesuvio Rosso

Dessert
Peach Variation
honey panna cotta, fried pie, peach granite