Friday, February 27, 2009

Swine and Wine

Shannon, Avery, Tony and I attended a wine dinner with a little piggy theme at Andrew Micheal Italian Kitchen last week. We had a great time and I was really adventurous and tried (almost) everything.  Our menu read: We welcome you to our first "Swine and Wine" dinner to showcase pork in all its glory. This is traditionally the time of year, in Italy, when the hogs are prepared for the feast. To honor that tradition, we felt it was appropriate to celebrate our first wines for your enjoyment. This evening we are featuring Newman Farm Berkshire Pork."

Ready to Swine and Wine

Our table set up looks so elegant

The surprise 1st Course Hogshead Cheese, I tried but could not eat this course. And yes I told the chefs, they were ok with that. 

2nd Course-Baby red perella salad, blistered grapes, almonds and crispy pig ear. To be honest, the strangest thing in the salad to me were the blistered grapes, but I still ate them and really liked them. The pigs ear tasted like a chewy pork rind. The wine with this course was La Carraia Orvieto-loved it and ordered two bottles of it! 

3rd course and my favorite :) Braised pork trotter agnolotti dal plin, barbera sugo and figs. Yes this was pigs feet and tail ravioli, it was wonderful!! I loved the flavor with the figs, it was sweet and almost bbq flavor, but Michael said it had not bbq in it. The wine paired with it was Prunotto Barbara d'Asti, Barbara is the grape grown in the Northern Region of Italy and means strong young boy. Hmm, I like those strong young boys, so we bought a bottle of this too. 

4th Course-Porchetta, smashed cannellini beans, wilted spinach and fennel two ways. This reminded me of a pork tenderloin and the spinach and fennel were actually IN the pork. It was yummy, but I don't do beans, so I skipped them. This was paired with an Allegrini Palazzo del Torro, it was the most expensive wine, so of course Tony loved it and bought a bottle of it 

5th Course-Butterscotch budion and vanilla shortbread cookie. Wow, this was amazing! I would call this a butterscotch mouse, bc it was so light and cool. And if you cant tell the sugar is caramalized on top and it was yummy to eat too. The Zardetto Prosecco was paired with this and we didn't order it, we actually have a fridge of Bubbly now! 

With one of the Chef's Michael Hudman

The whole gang, Tony, me, Brian, Amy Katie, Michael, Shannon and Avery.
Michael gave Shannon and Tony some Hogshead Cheese to go! They couldnt resisit ripping it open and eating it in the car! 

Tutto ma la oink!

Happy Birthday Dad and Grandma Brown!

Ooops, meant to post this, bc YESTERDAY was my Dad's 68th bday and Tony's Grandma Brown's 72nd bday! Happy Belated to them both! This is us with Dad last year on his bday, Brayden kept wanting to blow out the candles..Brayden and Addison came to visit in Knoxville, I'm sad I'm missing it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gibril signs with the Fins!

Congrat's Gibril for signing with the Dolphins. Two free agent payday deals in two years, nicely done! You and Jason will have fun in the secondary down there! Tony and I will forsure be down to visit soon. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Rebels got us, but the bus trip was still fun!

Shannon, Andrea, Brett, Tony and I joined the UT Alumni Association on a bus trip to Oxford, MS to see the Vols play the Rebels. We had a really fun time meeting the other alums on the bus. The game wasn't so great since the Vols lost, but it was cool to be in another SEC arena, although it needed some upgrades. I'm looking forward to doing more with the Memphis Chapter of this group. Go Vols! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memphis BBQ Tour-Our 10th Stop-Gridley's

10 stops on our BBQ tour already!? We tried Gridley's in Bartlett. This was not Gridley's original location, but after having several locations in Memphis over the years, it is the last remaining one. We all had a buy-one-get-one free coupon from 'The Best Book in Town".  We went on President's Day, Monday January 16th. 

Tony's Review: I got there a little late. Kembree had ordered me 
the rib plate. I started with the shrimp that she had ordered. I love shrimp and these were delicious. The ribs were good, smoked not boiled and I don't mind the extra fat on them, I kinda like them like that. The beans and slaw were just ok. This place was somewhat boring and I don't know much about it. I give the ribs a 3.5 out of 5. 

Regina's Review: 
I remember the building of Gridley's-it was brown and had this orange/yellow striped awning. There was a picture of it on the wall yesterday. It was in East Memphis, maybe on Summer. I cannot say I remember eating there, but the building stands out in my mind.  I decided to try the ribs bc of the portion size. I don't remember seeing a lunch size rib plate anywhere else.  I was not impressed with the flavor of the meat. I was disappointed in the amount of inedible parts; a little fat is okay, but these had a lot of the gristle fat. I like the meat to fall off the bones and I had to fight these. The slaw and
beans were good. The beans had little pieces of pork floating and the slaw was crispy with just the right amount of sweet and tart. I also missed taking the smoky smell home with me! I like going to a restaurant that has the pit in house and the smell lingers. Yesterday, I smelled like I had been to any old place. The employees were very nice; especially that poor girl that ran to get tea for Brett. Drew had the chicken tenders and said they taste like Tyson. 
Randy's Review: 
The barbecue was just ok.
I liked the homemade potato chips. But they were not homemade. The place was just average. I thought they might have bought the Gridley's name and the recipes didn't translate with the name. Maybe this is true. Barbecue sandwich was a 2.5 outta 5. 

Diane's Review: I thought the meat on my sandwich was fine. Randy had asked for brown meat and I might have gotten that. Some of the sides such as the fried
okra need to be dropped. It's just frozen food that you could buy at the grocery. I don't remember the sauce. All in all it was ok. Nothing memorable about the place and I couldn't recommend it. My favorite is still probably Interstate which was first and I would now rate it a 4.5 out of 5 if I had to do it over, Gridley's would be a 3 out of 5. 

Brett's Review:  Gridley's was my first disappointment on the tour. First impressions were bad.  Small, empty, quiet and kinda grimy feeling.
The menus were incomplete and priced wrong and the 8x10 photos on the wall reminded me of a Chinese take-out 
place in the ghetto.  Everyone I was with complained about their food. From cold ribs to forgettable bbq sauce. All that being said, the bread they serve before hand was fantastic and my nachos were pretty good. When I asked the girl at the counter if I should get the big bbq sandwich or the nachos, she quickly said the nachos. I have a big problem with a bbq place that recommends anything over their bbq sandwich. 4 out of 10 for me. 

Courtney's Review: After 10 stops on our bbq tour, I would have to rank Gridley's 10th. I had the pork sandwich and although they were generous with the meat, it didn't have much flavor. I didn't think about it until I read Regina's review, but she's right, there was no smokey bbq aroma when you walked in..I don't know where or how they cook
the meat. The sauce was thin and had too much vinegar for my taste. The highlight of Gridley's (besides the company of course!) was the bread and the potato chips. Huge warms loaves of bread are brought to  your table and they were delicious. The chips are served in a basket right out of the deep fryer and they are wonderful, too. We have very friendly service but between 11:30-1:30 we were almost the only customers..not a great sign. 

Kembree's Review: I wanted to try Gridley's bc I have heard people talking about it and how it had closed. Well, finding the coupon, I was excited, and Bartlett is pretty close. Gridley's is located in a shopping center across from the Goodwill around Summer and 64 area. Walking in it didn't feel
very special. Just lots of pig statues and those old looking metal signs all over the walls. I'm not sure how much of it was authentic and what they just bought to decorate in the walls. There were a couple of people getting to go orders when I got there. When I sat down Brett informed me that the menu prices were not accurate, just a little bit more than what the price said. Ok, couldn't they at least cross the prices out, so we weren't guessing at how much the stuff was? Hard economic times I guess. I knew I wanted to try the bbq blackened shrimp and they were around $2 each, (I think) so I got the plate so Tony and I could share. After biting into the first one (with the shell on it) I started removing the shells to discover a delicious little shrimp. They were really good, served with average and boring fries and some oily bowl of sauce or dip for the shrimp. The dip wasn't needed, bc there was a lot of flavor 
already on the shrimp. I also got the bbq sandwich which was smothered in sauce, the plate was immersed in the sauce as well, but odd bc there was no taste of bbq sauce when I took a bite. The sauce was only on top and bottom, so I had to add even more on the meat in the sandwich. The meat was average and the sauce was sweet and vinegary and I did like it. I had to get the onion rings, and they were really good, but found out they were frozen and fried, just like the potato chips that (we even asked the girl serving us) were frozen, fried and they seasoned them. The tea was good too, they had sweet and extra sweet, I thought that was novel and cute. Now I LOVED bread and the huge rolls they gave us were amazing as well as the homemade tortilla nachos that Brett let us try. I would go back for the nachos, potato chips and bread. The sandwich was just ok and I give it a 2.5 out of 5. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bollywood Oscars

Well I really wanted to dress up and have a party for the 81st Oscars, but after 4 nights in a row out on the town..I settled for sweatpants and a tshirt and Kelly and her corn dip :) Nothing fancy, but good company and a great awards show. Tony came in after the first hour, he had to get out of the house after my cleaning obsession so I could sit my butt on the couch and watch E!'s entire Red Carpet and Pre-Red Carpet coverage. I love to watch all the red carpet dresses and these are the ones I want in my closet:
Taraji P. Henson's dresses was gorgeous. A lot of this color done, but hers looks great on her skin tone.  Her hair looked great too. Not hard out here for a pimp no more. 

Sarah Jessica Parker is Dior Haute Couture. I loved this dress. She looked like a modern day sexy princess. The light green color was very different. I loved the fitted bustier top part to"Carrie" it up!

Natalie Portman in Rodarte. She had a gorgeous tan that made the pink really stand out. Her hair was gorgeous too. 

Kate Winslet's YSL dress looked fabulous on her, it was just a little odd, but I think that it was her night, so I wouldn't mind having this dress. Although her dress wasn't my fave, her hair and make up were perfection.

I wish Angelina Jolie would wear something other than black, but she looked so hot! She was rockin those Emeralds!

Ann Hathaway rocked that pale skin in the silvery Armani Prive dress. I would love to have that one. 

I must say my favorite Oscar moment was the Bollywood Dance number and John Legend. Super weird how Peter Gabriel stepped out, but I would much rather see John Legend do the song from Wall-E anyway. I know some Bollywood dance and have always loved it. I've studied both Bollywood style and Bangra.  It seemed like everything Indian was hot last night. Slumdog winning 8 awards was wonderful, it was one of my favorite movies of all time, and I saw if before all the hype! I really wanted to get up and dance with them last night! 

On the other hand I didn't love Beyonce and Hugh Jackman's performance and tribute to musicals. Absolutely no chemistry there. Although Vanessa Hudgens and Amanda Sigfried were very cute as her backups. Also I wasn't digging the fringe swinging in between Beyonce's legs. 

I really liked Sean Penn's Best Actor speech. Some may criticize because he was too political, but I really appreciate what he had to say. He did speak out for gay rights and prop 8. He did say nice things about our new President. Dustin Lance Black wrote the screen play for MILK and also gave a touching speech to be who you are and also stood up for gay rights. I enjoyed his speech as well.  I like it when people speak their mind and say what they feel, even when it 
is controversial. 

Well, I'm glad I saw all those movies, the ones I didn't see didn't win, so I have more time since award season is over. I told Tony last night that one day I want to go to the Oscars, but I think I'd settle to wear a fabulous dress and go to one of the afterparties..

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Winners Leaked?

UPDATE: Well obviously NOT! But they were kinda close...

Tropic Thunder

Ok, so we finished up this one this morning...
One of those movies that are so silly and ridiculous that it's funny. I of course bought it so I could see Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. He was wonderful and hilarious! I see why he was nominated. I don't see him winning tonight, but this was a must see for sure, just for a stupid-funny movie! A military movie spoof- Jack Black and Tom Cruise had great performances too. 

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Only hours til the Oscars..Very interesting story and lot's of eye candy for all. Javier Bardem for the ladies and you can't top Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johanson for the guys. A very unique love story and love 'square', more people involved than your normal love 'triangle'. The scenery is beautiful and I loved the music. I can see Penelope winning for this one..very sexy movie. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Wrestler

Saw the Wrestler and was amazed by the acting. Mickey Rourke plays a washed up wrestler from the late 80's, Randy "The Ram" more than to perfection. I was a fan when wrestling was hot back then. Junk Yard Dog, Iron Sheik, Hulk Hogan, I followed them all. Rourke plays a down on his luck wrestler that it looks like squandered anything he earned and wrestled his entire life. Its definitely a MUST see!! The story is great as well as the acting. Evan Rachel Wood and Marissa Tomei were great in it as well. Rourke lost his dog this week and I really liked this ad they did for PETA. I know how hard it will be for him without him..

Friday, February 20, 2009

Go Tigers!?!?

Wednesday night we went to Ole Miss to see our Vols loose brutally to the Rebels, and tonight we have floor seats to see the Grizzlies and Kings. I can't wait. So I've seen lots of basketball recently, not mentioning Tony on the XBox NBA 2K.  But since I'm behind on posting, I'm talking Tigers. Well, Kelly and I went to my second Memphis Tigers basketball game ever last week. My friend Brett has hooked me up both times. Thanks Brett! He has suite tickets as well as the most amazing 2nd row from the floor seats. Gotta appreciate good seats no matter who is playing. Well last week we attended the Tulsa game and had a really fun time. Kelly and I were so amazed at how fun it is to watch two teams that you aren't really into when you have great seats. Well Kelly is a Tigers fan, I just try to support them, but have only ONE college team I follow, my Vols! I guess I'm glad when the Tigers do well, except against my Vols. Well of course I got some great shots at the game, so I am sharing. These seats would make any Tiger fan this post is for Sean, the biggest Tiger fan I know..Thanks again Brett!!