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Levon The Foodie

A gal whose obsessions lie within fat, sugar, carbs, caffeine, and beverages that could strengthen the heart or seal up a womb.

Archive for the category “Wine”

Happy Hour Obsession of The Week – Cadillac Ranch, National Harbor MD

I experienced one of the happiest hours of the twenty four in my day at the National Harbor in Fort Washington, MD a few nights ago.  Nicely situated at the end of one of their massive bars at Cadillac Ranch, my fellow FPICs and I quickly organized the group selections over the next 20 min of the rapidly ending happy hour.  Despite the fact that of one of its oppositions competing for the HHOOTW crown, had probably one of the most innovative and healthy pizza combos known to man, it lacked one thing – Jarryd.  Cadillac Ranch not only has excellent food and a decent wine selection for the price, it also has a very charming bartender.  The super savvy and clever Jarryd possessed the kind of charisma, and unobtrusive yet timely presence to keep you coming back to that same spot at the bar over and over again.

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Mini Fish Tacos – Blackened tilapia in mini tortillas with shredded cheese, lime-cilantro cabbage, tomatoes and chipotle ranch drizzle $5

The fish tacos were some kind of amazing.  I have to say.  I couldn’t stop raving over them and they seemed to inevitably segue into every other conversation.  The Sweet Chili Boneless Wings $5 were a pretty good choice as well.   They also had a relatively generous offering of flatbreads in the happy hour deal.  We tried the Buffalo Chicken Flatbread $5 with grilled buffalo chicken, mozzarella, julienned celery, scallions and bleu cheese.  It was pretty awesome.

With the well balanced quantity vs quality factor of the menu items, the recession-proof pricing, the interesting selection, and the superb customer service, you’d either be a fool or in recession denial to ignore this place.  I my friend am neither..

 

 

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Happy Hour Obsession of The Week – Brio, Jacksonville FL

The Happy Hour Obsession of The Week goes to Brio Tuscan Grille in Jacksonville, FL. 

Sangria Rose – Sobieski Raspberry, fresh muddled pineapple and strawberry and Rosa Regale $5

Brio Burger (sectioned sliders) with provolone and homeade chips $3.95, Romano crusted ravioli topped with tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella and a cilantro pesto drizzle $3.95, Tavolo Matto Chardonnay $5

All in all for a bill of less than $18, I was able to walk out of the bar feeling like dinner was well accomplished and my wallet didn’t have to spank me afterwards. 

Their ravioli was very tasty, and the portion was very generous for a little over three dollars..

Their sectioned Brio Burger was pretty good also..

So there you have it.  You can in fact have the Tuscan-American experience right in the heart of Jacksonville for the price of a Manhattan toll.  Cheers!

 

 

Trader Joe’s Puttanesca Sauce

Trader Joe’s has a really incredible puttanesca sauce filled with olives, capers and anchovies that taste like you chopped them up yourself minutes prior.  If you ever need to cheat for dinner, follow my lead and saute your favorite veggies and meat with this sauce, tossing in your preferred pasta shells.  Go easy though since the sauce speaks for itself.  You don’t want to overpower it.  I threw in my favorite red sauce pasta mixture of portobello mushrooms, sweet red onions and ground beef.  I had to contain myself and withdraw from the temptation of throwing in shaved carrots – bolognese style.  Then I went with rigatoni for the shells and bam – Puttanesca heaven…

As much as I tend to spaz and go mad kitchen scientist with oregano and garlic with pasta dishes, this is one you have to really pull back on like I said before.  TJ’s sauce is pretty flavorful.  It’s definitely a cheat sauce so it tends to limit the work with this dish.  Still do it justice with a generous  amount of parmesan though..

I couldn’t go with the obvious like a Merlot with this heavenly creation due to my limited wine stock.  So I settled for what I had which was a white wine..

Bogle Sauvignon Blanc

So there you have it.  Creating magic with Trader Joe’s Puttanesca sauce and rigatoni.  Or was it penne??..

Palazzio State Street Santa Barbara

On a massive Italian hunt in downtown Santa Barbara, my FPIC and I were lured into Palazzio by the massive amount of people.  We knew we were in for a treat due to the crowd.  The menu had a wide selection of sauces, pastas and meats and I ended up ordering the fettuccine chicken alfredo.  Contrary to how amazing it looked,

 it had this unforgiving peppery taste that I couldn’t figure out.  I made my FPIC try it to make sure I wasn’t missing a memo on some new spicy alfredo technique, and by her reaction I concluded that it probably was a rushing chef moment where he accidentally over peppered my chicken.   So I did something that I absolutely never do and asked the server if I could try the same dish but with the vodka sauce.  I figured if we’re gonna have the spicy chicken moment we may as well top it off with pink sauce and not white.  So when the slightly modified dish finally returned, I found that the vodka sauce was a good choice for the heavily seasoned chicken.  It worked. 

 The food turned out good, the wait staff were amazing, it’s a relatively lively establishment, they have vegetarian pasta upon request if that’s your sort of thing, and they have the honor system house wine decanters.  Viva la Palazzio Santa Barbara. I’d go again.

May 25th National Wine Day

Today, May 25, 2012 is National Wine Day!  Wine has been an important part of human history and culture forever. Whether your preference is red or white, merlot or pinot, chardonnay or sauvignon, everyone can identify with today’s celebration. So today I am celebrating my personal favorite..

 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ~ Thanks for the introduction years ago Marie..

So today after work (probably around 1:00 since the majority of you are skirting out of the office early today due to the holiday on Monday) have a glass of your favorite wine and start your extended weekend off right..

 

My New Zealand Love

After the painfully long day I had, an unexpected friend from New Zealand turned it around in two swirls, one sniff and one swallow..

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Eco Love Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, New Zealand

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