Well Dined

27Sep/151

Yelp Event – Tupelo Honey Cafe

Well Dined | Tupelo Honey Cafe

I am on the NoVA Elite Squad this year, which means that I get invited to awesome events!  Back in July (I'm so far behind on posting, lol) - I was invited to a tasting event at the (then) new Tupelo Honey Cafe in Arlington.  We got to hear about the menu and try several dishes and drinks.  It's a really great way to get an impression of a restaurant without having to visit several times in order to try a lot.  That's our fearless leader, Gretchen, in the photo there (check out her blog here).

I thought the location was really cute, on a corner near Ballston with a nice patio.  The decor was warm and inviting, and the staff handled the madness of the event quite well.  We got to try several drinks, starting with the happy hour special of sparkling sangria.  I actually did not like that drink, though many others did, because it tasted more like a vodka and soda than a sangria.  After that, I ordered the Violet Beauregarde (props for the cute name) with vodka, St. Germaine, blueberry puree, fresh mint, fresh lemon, and sparkling wine.  I LOVED that one.  I also loved the non-alcoholic blueberry spritzer that they passed around, but not the rosemary lemonade (too bitter).

Well Dined | Tupelo Honey Cafe

As for food, we tried the Goat Cheese Grits Poppers with Jalapeno Apple Salsa (4:00, my favorite); Fried Green Tomatoes with Grits (1:00, also really liked); Country Ham Wontons with Shaved Brussels Sprouts (10:00, very good); Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese with Apples and Figs (not pictured, pretty good); Salt Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Pesto (6:00, disappointed with this one); Pimento Cheese Dip (too spicy for me); Mac and Cheese with Cajun Shrimp (also too spicy for me).

My takeaway was that this is Southern food, get the fried stuff and the cheesy stuff and the grits - if you try to go healthy, you will be disappointed.  Everything we tried was from the small plates menu, so I would like to return to try an entree.  Or better yet, bunch - I hear the brunch is fantastic.

My thanks to Yelp and Tupelo Honey Cafe for their generosity!  You can read more about the event here.

You may be interested in: Yelp Progressive Brunch at Springfield Town Center

17Aug/158

Food ‘n Flix – August: Osage County (Biscuits and Gravy Casserole)

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

It's Food 'n Flix time again!  Where we watch a movie and then make something inspired by that movie.  This month's flick is August: Osage County, hosted by Elliot's Eats, and boy is it a doozy.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

I could tell immediately  from the dialogue that this was a play adaptation, and I was right.  The movie portrays the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family, set in the desolate plains of Oklahoma.  The cast (including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Juliette Lewis) acted the crap out of some very dark and intense material - addiction, depression, suicide, abuse, and incest.  This is not a feel good movie (you know it's bad when incest is the best scenario), but it is very good and it will make you think.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

As for the food inspiration - there was a ton!  Many of the most tortured scenes revolved around food, including the horrible funeral dinner and the infamous "eat the fish!" scene.  The moment that I was drawn to was Meryl Streep's character talking about her last interaction with her husband over biscuits and gravy.  She must have said the phrase "biscuits and gravy" ten times.  I'm not even that big a fan of biscuits and gravy, but that was what I wanted to make.

I wanted to make something special, not basic, so I went to Pinterest thinking I would find an herbed biscuit recipe or something.  But what came up were a ton of recipes for biscuits and gravy casseroles.  I had never heard of that before and it sounded awesome!  Some were just biscuits, gravy, and cheese; but I liked the look of one that included eggs (kind of like a strata).

28Mar/140

Pearl Brewery, San Antonio TX

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Photo credit: Nick Simonite

San Antonio has become a really hip place since I moved away, and that is due in large part to the Pearl Brewery area.  The original brewery was opened in 1881 and ran until 1985 when Pabst Blue Ribbon took over, and then shut down in 2001.  The land was purchased and slowly developed into a shopping area, which is now booming.  With a weekly farmers market, boutique shops, new apartments, and amazing restaurants - this is now the place to be.  It reminds me a lot of Mosaic District, actually.  They even built a new section of Riverwalk nearby!

Anyway, when I came to visit - all the places my family wanted to take me to ended up being at Pearl, so I have lots of reviews for you!

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Stock Photo

The night I flew in, my family took me to Cured, located in the historic administration building of the brewery.  As you can guess from the name, cured meats are a large focus of the menu, but they also have cooked main dishes under the categories vegetable, seafood, fowl, pork, beef, and goat or lamb.  My dad ordered a selection of cured meats for us, and they were delish - especially the country style pate and lamb/citrus terrine.  I also had the pork cheeks poutine, which was AWESOME.  The pickled cauliflower they put in there is totally unexpected and is what makes the dish, I think.  For dessert I had a beet twinkie with meyer lemon curd - yum.  The drink menu includes cane sugar sodas from much-beloved Dublin, TX; craft cocktails; and a killer beer list.  My brother is going to have to get on here and tell me what local beer I had, because it was fantastic.

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Stock Photo

The next night, we went to The Granary - a modern BBQ joint located in the original brewmaster's house.  I have never seen a concept like this before - super modern, artistic BBQ - very cool.  Apparently my father comes here for lunch at least once a week, because the waiter greeted him by his nickname and knew his favorite dishes.  We thought that was pretty funny.