Friday, January 19, 2018

Take Our wine, Please!

I am from Delaware but, I work here in PA. Don't worry, it's not like I am traveling two hours away, though I did that once before. In PA, there is a thing called BYOB, Bring your own bottle. You probably knew that, but in Delaware, there is no such thing, as far as a restaurant is concerned.

In Kennet Square, at our shop and bar at The Market At liberty Place, we have quite a few customers purchase a bottle of Paradocx wine to take to their local BYOB restaurant. This is great news for them, and us. We happen to be conveniently located in the center of town on State Street, where you can just stroll on down to your favorite restaurant.

I thought, in this post, I would tell you folks about some of your options. I will break this up into cuisines.

The first is the one I hear the most about, Portabellos,  located at 115 West State Street, just a short stroll from The Market. I have yet to dine there. So sad, but the menu is amazing and I love how the menu reflects the seasons. The winter menu is hearty and diverse. Oh, and expect some clever mushroom preparations as well-it is Kennett Square after all. Some sample dishes include the Beef Stroganoff made with short ribs and Crimini Mushrooms. Another offering is the Crispy Duck with French cherries and a Merlot reduction. You had me at crispy duck.

What to bring? Try our 2015 Merlot for the duck and our 2013 Cabernet Franc with the Stroganoff.

Another choice within close proximity is Lily Asian Restaurant at 104 West Street in Kennett Square, PA. Lilys specializes in super fresh sushi, but also prepares other Asian favorites, such as Pad Thai and Kung Pao Chicken. The food is incredibly fresh and well seasoned. They are also well known for their Tuesday all you can eat sushi. You may want to arrive early for that one. Take our 2016 Vidal Blanc or Pinot Grigio for the sushi.

Finally, if you're in the mood for a no-frills authentic Mexican restaurant then look no further then La Pena at 609 West Cyprus Street Kennett Square, PA. This is definitely my go to when all I crave is authentic Mexican. Now they do offer a few classic Tex-Mex dishes but this is the real deal. Tamales, beef tongue tacos, dried beef chilaquillas, etc. Take our Barn Red or White Wash to cut through the spiciness. 

One Final Thought

Say what? In English please

"Please Pass the Jelly."

Do you remember that commercial in the 80s? A bunch of people are sitting at a well dressed table enjoying a fancy meal and they continue to ask for the Polaner All Fruit Spread, but when it comes to a less posh guest, in a southern accent, he says "please pass the jelly" - Classic. 

Do you also remember when we were kids and we picked up a menu and under the entree section, it said Lasagna, 8.99, and that was pretty much it. We knew what to expect and didn't really question it. We ordered it. Maybe we liked it. Maybe we didn't. 

Fast forward to the 90s and present time, and the description of a menu item is like taking a foreign language, with a whole lot of fluff and BS.  Does work?

Tell me if this sounds familiar? 

Dry-aged and free-ranged porterhouse, pan roasted with caramelized pearl onions and served with a red wine reduction sauce, accompanied with Gorgonzola laced polenta. Say what?

Here is how it translates: Beef that comes from cattle that has been allowed to roam around on it's own, then cut by a master butcher into large portions of beef, then hung up in a special air controlled room for several weeks or months then cut into thick tender steaks.

Placed into a preheated super hot pan then finished cooking in the oven. Then we take pealed pearl onions, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper then roasted in the oven until sweet and sticky. Maybe honey was added, who knows? 

There is more. When the steak is done (Medium Rare), you remove from the pan, pour in wine, and reduce to a sauce. Maybe butter is added, maybe beef stocked is added. who cares? It sounds great. Finally, you serve it with cornmeal mush that has had Italian blue cheese added. Yummy but who knew? 

New straightforward boring description

Steak with little onions and wine sauce served with cheesy cornmeal mush. 

Which would you want?

Here are a few other over-described menu descriptions:

Roasted shallot brined pork tenderloin, grilled to perfection and topped with a chiffanade of Thai basil and sake macerated watermelon. 

Grilled to perfection? Like the alternative is to grill it to mediocre?  Duh. Brined? Fancy term for salty marinade. Macerated? That's a term for steeped in liquid. Chiffanade of basil?  Herbs cut in thin strips. I just love it.

Cold smoked salmon crostini topped with roasted garlic and tarragon aioili served along side a salad of toasted  couscous and candied orange zest. 

Cold smoked? Is that possible? It's really smoking meats or seafood at low temperatures. Crostini, what's that?  Bread slices. Toasted couscous? Couscous that has been added to a hot pan maybe with oil until lightly brown and toasty. Aioili? That's mayonnaise. And finally candied orange zest. The peel of an orange dried with sugar. Boom! 

Seared Jamon wrapped chicken breast with grilled radicchio and sage infused olive oil, topped with pan grilled local stone fruit, drizzled with a reduction of barrel aged balsamic vinegar. 

Jamon is the French word for ham, and radichio, which is a leaf vegetable in the chicory family. Very Italian, usually red leaves. Stone fruit is simply summer fruit with a large hard seed such as peaches, nectarines and plums.Why didn't you just say so? 

Reduction of barrel aged balsamic? The good stuff  (red wine vinegar) is typically barrel aged anyway, and a reduction is no more than cooking a liquid down to a thicker substance, intensifying the flavor. Forget the drizzle, just cover the whole thing.

Is all the fluff really worth it? Maybe. I like it to a point. Sometimes I find it to be a little over the top, but it does certainly sounds enticing, and as long as they are being honest, it allows us to make better choices. What it boils down to is does the food taste good or not? That's what's most important. "Please pass the mayonnaise"

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