Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Small Plates

So I wanted to share a few tidbits from recent experiences in May. Not restaurant reviews, but just a few personal thoughts and recommendations. Hope you enjoy!

Summer Wine Recommendations

Winzer Krems - Gruner Veltliner Ried Sandgrube (whew, that's a mouthful!)
So the main part of the name that you want to get is the "Gruner Veltliner". This is a type of white wine that comes mainly from Austria, and it is perfect for the summer. We discovered this style of wine at Cafe Caturra, and have since purchased two different brands, finding the Winzer Krems option to be the best.

I would describe it as in between a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay. It is perfectly crisp, but with a fuller body, and it creates a nice bite at the back of the jaw, ideal for light summer dinners and evenings on the porch.

You can find this specific brand at Total Wine for around $12. If you don't want to buy a bottle to start off definitely look for this at area restaurants, it is seems to be getting more popular. But I don't think you will be disappointed if you jump right in.

Dr. Loosen Bros - Riesling

I am guessing a few more of you know what a Riesling is, and this is one of the best I have ever had. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, but not dripping with sugar like a White Zinfandel, Riesling is a great bet. The Dr. Loosen brand is wonderful, still crisp but not as biting, and a bit smoother than the Gruner Veltliner. It would be perfect for summer get-togethers where you want to offer something that pleases everyone.

I usually can't just sit and drink white wine without any food to go along with it, I always end up getting tired of the taste, but that is not the case with this great find. The night I opened it I ended up drinking half the bottle by myself, and not because I was getting drunk, but because I liked the taste so much!

We also found this gem at Total Wine (it was one of their free samples) and it will cost you a little less than $10 there. If you like Riesling you should definitely give this one a try ... it may become your new favorite!

Naked Mountain Winery - Raptor Red

Photo from
Ok, so this is not really a "summer" wine recommendation, but I have to put it in here because it is my favorite red wine! And it's from Virginia, which makes it even better ;) Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, this winery is a charming place to stop by if you are in the area. It is a ways off the beaten path, but if you have time, brave the winding roads to enjoy some lovely scenery and some great wines.

The Raptor Red, specifically, is just a great red. It is warm and strong, and finishes with a pleasing after taste that leaves you wanting another sip. It's ideal for sitting by the fire in the winter, but since it's summer ... I would suggest this for when you throw some steaks on the grill!

I had been saving my bottle from the winery for a special occasion until we found it again at, surprise surprise, Total Wine, so now we can indulge in it whenever want! This one is a little more expensive at $20 a bottle, but trust me, if you like reds it is well worth it. So get some for the summer, or stock up for the chilliness of the fall, and enjoy a little whimsy while you "Drink Naked!"

Check out the Naked Mountain Winery website at -

Total Wine (Just a little vino.)

Photo from The Washington Post
So, after all that lovely promotion of Total Wine - check out their website at -

It is a really cool place to go, and they have great prices and tons of selection for wine, beer, and all the accessories! You can find them on Robious Rd and West Broad St.

Brock's Bar-B-Que

If you are from Richmond you have probably heard of Brock's BBQ, but you may have never eaten it. I just had some for the first time at my aunt's wedding two weeks ago, and man it is great! I think this may have taken over Bill's Barbecue for me.

I am definitely a North Carolina style bbq kind of girl, so I prefer my pork minced and vinegary, with a little hot sauce. Brock's meat is a bit sweater then Bill's, has a more tangy taste, and is a little less dry, making it a better choice in my opinion (though I still love Bill's).

Photo from VAgirl on

The only drawback is that the restaurant is located way out in Chester, so I doubt I will make it out there ... ever ... though apparently they have an all-you-can-eat buffet! But I look forward to the next event that features Brock's barbecue. Perhaps you should consider having them cater yours!

Check out the Brock's BBQ website at -

The Biggest Cheese Sticks I Have Ever Seen!

So, some work colleagues and I went out to F.W. Sullivan's for a happy hour last week, and I got these ...

OMG, look at the size of that thing!

... huge, brick-sized, homemade mozzarella cheese sticks with homemade marinara sauce.

Ohhhhh, it does not get much better than that! I was just amazed at how big they were, and they were delicious! And due to Sullivan's great happy hour special of any two appetizers for $10, I got these and their crab cakes, also great. Let's just say I did not get through all of it. Considering that their apps are normally $8 and up, I was very excited by my haul, and had lunch taken care of for the next day.

While their beer menu and late night weekend atmosphere is not my fave, I must admit Sullivan's has a great happy hour and decent appetizers (lots of choices from normal bar food to a couple varieties of shrimp). So if you are looking for a spot in the Fan with a good happy hour, especially one with a nice outdoor patio, this could be it!

Check out the Sullivan's website at -

Hope your May was good. Now on to Summer!

Be Real.

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