Archive for November, 2010

First Friday Office!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Mockingbird HQ has an actual office space free of cat hair (except that which travels on me), boyfriends, and general house distractions! I’m excited to be sharing with Nathanna Design and Burning Fork Studio at the West Jackson Workshop space.

We’ll be having an open house this First Friday from 5-8. Stop by if you are out and about. I can’t wait for my productivity to shoot through the roof, or at least the desk top. Downtown has it’s own source of distractions….Like my bar that opens at 4 most days!


Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

On Saturday we all trekked out to the Restaurant Linderhof. It was the usual German sausage awesome-ness that I’ve come to expect from the place. Our table was full of meat and starch pretty much the whole evening except for the salad platter I got instead of soup.

Despite the amazing flavors from each different sausage my favorite treat is always the Spätzle, a German pasta when at it’s most basic is made from egg, flour and water. I grew up eating this at my German grandparents’. They always made it from scratch and it was great.

According to the German Food Guide, “The classic way to form Spätzle is to spread the dough over a wet wooden cutting-board. Cut thin strips of dough with a knife, then scrape the strips into boiling salt water.” You can also use a garlic looking press tool, a cheese grater, or a sieve looking tool with bigger holes. The dough cooks in boiling water and unlike Italian pasta is not a uniform shape. Spätzle is small and round and misshapen and delicious.

Once cooked the texture is a cross between Gnocchi and Egg Noodles. I had Spätzle at DB Bistro in New York last weekend, one of Daniel Boulud’s places, and they weren’t nearly as good as the Spätzle I had at Linderhof. The best part about Restaurant Linderhof is they serve it with this AMAZING brown gravy. I generally hate gravy, but this is a semi-translucent beef sauce/gravy. It is salty and meaty and light.

Yes Linderhof is in Farragut and a strip mall but it is totally worth the field trip. Pile in a car and go out there, the array of sausages and potatoes and Spätzle all make for a great way to welcome the winter.


Monday, November 22nd, 2010

The food world is obsessed with the holidays. I saw a tweet the other day from an American in Asia who said she always tunes out this time a year to the American food media because of their obsession with the holidays. It sounded more than a little pretentious to me. This is such a fun time of year to be cooking.

After reading all the tweets and articles and seeing the beautiful cookie pictures, I got really sad that I wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of my favorite meals of the year to cook. I let myself use butter for everything and go totally overboard on side dishes and sauces. I generally have a blast. So, last night while sitting around with friends we planned not one but TWO holiday meals, a family of friends Christmas dinner and a family Solstice dinner. I am no longer sad!

I am also looking forward to my Thanksgiving dinner which is going to be a full on traditional Brazilian Feijoada which I haven’t had since being in Brazil. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Be thankful and happy!


Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Our view from the incredible hotel we stayed at in New York:


Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Date night was not exactly what it could have been because I pretty much instantly got sick as soon as we got to New York. I, however, would not give up on our dinner plans at Vandaag and boy am I glad I didn’t. It was an incredible and surprising meal. Who knew Dutch food could be such an unexpected medley of familiar and unfamiliar flavors.

First the drink menu, this was insane.

So above is the list of infusions. Mr. Mockingbird had the Horseradish and Dill. I did not try it because of my sickness and fullness by the time he ordered it. If I had been in full form a) it would not have taken me the entire meal to finish my one cocktail and b) I would have totally tried a few of these…Amazing.

Below is the actual cocktail menu. These drinks came out and there was something about them. They looked crisp and clean in their drink specific glassware. There are beer and wine cocktails which, for me, is great to see. I love using wine as a mixer but I’ve rarely seen it out.

Okay, on to the food.

We ordered the bread basket and even in my cold induced haze I managed to sniff out the bacon hard roll. There were also slices of brown bread, a cherry anise bread, a white bread, and some thin buttery crisps. The 2 reviews I read suggested the bread. You have to pay for it but it’s worth it.

We also got the pickle pot (look for a Public House version of this when the menu changes) and the romaine salad. The pickle pot had parsnips, cucumbers, and little baby pears. It was delicious. The romaine came out grilled with a sausage crumble and herring dressing. I couldn’t really taste the herring in the dressing and the sausage seemed like it was from liver or some other part with that kind of texture. Mr. Mockingbird bought some romaine tonight to try to replicate it he liked it so much.

We also got the Bitterballen, Oxtail croquettes. These perfect little round balls came out topped with a dollop of mustard and were resting on a mustard relish and rue. They were like heaven. Perfectly fried which gave the outside a hard battered texture with a soft beefy tasting inside:

Next was our main. Duck for two. This was also recommended by the Immaculate Infatuation guys. I don’t know that I’ve ever had duck better than this. The duck for two came out 3-ways. The confit came out on a little toast and was salty and lovely. The drumsticks had a honey, sweet, crisp flavor and then the rest of the duck was cooked with juniper. The duck came out in a beautiful red casserole dish with dandelion greens and the most delicious roasted potatoes.

Despite the fact we were stuffed, we could not pass up the SMOUTBALLEN. We made some dirty jokes about each others’ moms smoutballen before we heard what it was. Basically it was what you would get if there was a Dutch county fair. Fried pastry/bread stuffed with a hazelnut chocolate mousse sprinkled with powdered sugar and some tiny cubed apples.

This meal was phenomenal. It’s the most creative, outside the box meal I’ve had in a long time. It reminded me how food can be an expression and in the right hands can change your mood, mindset, and thoughts about something as simple as dinner.

New York Market

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

From the produce market in Chelsea Market. Fresh garbanzo beans, fava beans and more!

Public House Wine List!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Wine List // Season 1

Yali Cabernet Carménère / Chile / $5 / $20

Round tannins with cassis and cherry flavours coming from the Cabernet and soft spice notes from the Carménère.

Snoqualmi Naked Merlot / Washington State / $8 / $32
100% organically grown grapes that winemaker Joy Anderson says produce ample structure and lingering fruit flavors, like eating fresh Merlot berries off the vine.

Concannon Pinot Noir / California / $8.50 / $33
With aromas of raspberry and ripe strawberry this medium-bodied wine is balanced by warm spice accents of cloves and cinnamon.

Ruta 22 Malbec / Patagonia / $9 / $35
This 100% Malbec grown in Patagonia’s cool, dry climate has a dark fruit orientation with a hint of plum.

Ramón Bilbao Tempranillo / Spain / $10 / $40
100% Tempranillo grapes aged a total of 22 months with aromas of smoky wood and a persistent spicy finish.

Yali Sauvignon Blanc / Chile / $5 / $20

Exotic flavors of tropical and citric fruits that are in balance with the wine’s natural acidity.

Perrin Reserve Côtes du Rhône / France / $8.50 / $32
Fresh French olives marinated with Provencal herbs, bright green and briny

Acrobat Pinot Gris / Oregon / $8.50 / $32
This Pinot Gris gives the impression of dryness. Loaded with pretty pear fruit flavor and lightly dusted with cinnamon spice.

Bio-Weingut Grüner Veltliner / Austria / 5.50 / $32
This liter bottle (5-6 glasses per bottle) is slightly carbonated with hints of pepper and black walnut and a light citrus finish.

Sauvion Vouvray / France / $10 / $39
Lively and punchy with a honey-noted finish, but not sweet. Round flavors and a beautiful amber color.