Thank you so much Artist Stephanie and Chef Storm Hodge for another delightful brunch! These brunches are superb! 5-Star! (Bistro Weekend Menu – subject to change – or Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro) And many thanks to Garry and Donna for meeting us at the bistro for lunch, despite the highway detours! Here is what we had along with our 2016 Parma Ridge Winery Tre Bianchi and a 2015 Parma Ridge Winery Carmenere. Cheers! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
Such a great Wine Dinner hosted by Capitol Cellars in Boise. The featured wines were from Parma Ridge Winery. And if I may so bold as to say, if you need something to do on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, give the Parma Ridge Winery Restaurant a try. Chef Storm Hodges does an awesome job in the kitchen while Stephanie serves some great wines.
The wine dinner served consisted 1 appetizer and 3 entrees and Parma Ridge wines that were perfectly matched. The 2014 Merlot that was served with the Pork Ballontine is in short supply – they have mostly sold out. A wonderful Idaho Merlot and we were lucky enough to get 2 bottles! Yea! Here is how the dinner went. Delicious!
I did not get a photo of the appetizer, Amuse Bouche, an apricot-prosecco sorbet served with a 2015 Parma Ridge Winery Chardonnay. This was a super good chardonnay.
Capitol Cellars did a fantastic job in preparing these entrees. Our hats are off to Exec Chef Dave Shipley. Wonderful job and it is great to see your using mostly local, Idaho products in your menu. From their website, “Our History – located in Boise’s historical Belgravia Building, Capitol Cellars opened its’ door in March 2015. Capitol Cellars takes pride in serving local cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a full coffee bar and an extensive wine list.”
Some really good Spanish wines last night at the Buzz. One of the better ones is pictured here. The food paring with the wines was also spectacular. I think I should tell you right up front that I am not an avocado fan. But Cristi made a wonderful Avocado Soup that was served cold. “Mikey liked it!” The only criticism that I have is, it was a little salty. I asked Cristi about that and she told me that she used chicken stock in the soup. That is probably where the salt came from because she did not add any.
The 2008 Faustino Rioja pictured here was one of the better wines of the night receiving from me a score of  out of . The onluy better one was a NV Destello Cava that was served with the Brazo Gitano – in Spain, the dessert is called brazo de gitano (literally translated as gypsy’s arm) and is commonly filled with cream or chocolate truffle – and Quesada Pasiega – is a dessert typical of the region of Cantabria, Spain. It is one of Cantabria’s most recognizable dishes. It has the consistency of a dense pudding and is made from milk, sugar, butter, wheat flour, and egg, and flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon. It can be served hot or cold. A photo of this dessert is posted below. Here is the rest of the story. Enjoy!
Yea! Parma Ridge Winery, 24509 Rudd Road, Parma, ID has re-opened! Under new owners Chef Storm and Stephanie Hodge, the venue has changed also. They are now serving a wonderful Sunday Brunch from 12 noon to 5:00pm. The space indoors is limited in the winter season to about 25 seats. The deck is open in season. Wonderful owners. Wonderful location. Wonderful food. The wine pictured is really a good Rosé of Merlot. Not too sweet and with a little spice to it. It was named after their daughter. You might want to call for reservations if you have 4 or more people. Or visit their website at Parma Ridge Wine and Spirits. From their website, “Tasting Room hours are 12-5 p.m., Friday – Sunday. Now open for Happy Hour Friday from 4-7 p.m. Join us for a glass of wine, a bite of food and take in the amazing view!” Enjoy the creations of Chef Storm and/or the artwork of Stephanie. Here is what we had and some photos of the area. Enjoy! Ranks very high for winery food – 5-Stars! It’s that good! I have also listed it on TripAdvisor.
Another good wine dinner at the Buzz in Boise. This time, Cristi pared wines from the NW, and Idaho, with Idaho farm products. Some interesting information that Cristi presented. (This is a great food, wine and educational affair every month!) 99% of the mint used in the USA comes from Idaho. 90% of the trout sold in the USA, either for private use or to restaurants, comes from Idaho. 95% of the lentils produced in the USA come from Idaho. Cristi used a new spice to me, Grains of Paradise, in the soup. Grains of what?
Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. This spice, commonly known as grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, or Guinea pepper, is obtained from the ground seeds; it imparts a pungent, peppery flavour with hints of citrus. Although it is native to West Africa, it is also an important cash crop in the Basketo district (Basketo special woreda) of southern Ethiopia. The Pepper Coast (or Grain Coast) is a historical coastal region named after this commodity.
Melegueta pepper is commonly used in the cuisines of West and North Africa, where it has been traditionally imported by caravan routes through the Sahara desert, and whence they were distributed to Sicily and the rest of Italy. Mentioned by Pliny as “African pepper” but subsequently forgotten in Europe, they were renamed “grains of paradise” and became a popular substitute for black pepper in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Ménagier de Paris recommends it for improving wine that “smells stale”. Through the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, the theory of the four humours governed theorizing about nourishment on the part of doctors, herbalists and druggists: in this context, John Russell characterized grains of paradise, in The Boke of Nurture as hot and moist.
The importance of the spice is shown by the designation of the area from the St. Johns River (present day Buchanan) to Harper in Liberia as the “Grain Coast” in honor of the availability of grains of paradise. Later, the craze for the spice waned, and its uses were reduced to a flavoring for sausages and beer. In the 18th century, its importation to Great Britain collapsed after a Parliamentary act of George III forbade its use in malt liquor, aqua vita, and cordials. In 1855, England imported about 15,000 to 19,000 lbs per year legally (duty paid). By 1880, the Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th edition) was reporting, “Grains of paradise are to some extent used in veterinary practice, but for the most part illegally to give a fictitious strength to malt liquors, gin, and cordials”.
Today, it is sometimes used in gourmet cuisine as a replacement for pepper, and to give unique flavors in some craft beers, gins, and Norwegian akvavit. In America, grains of paradise are starting to enjoy a slight resurgence in popularity due to their use by some well-known chefs. Alton Brown is a fan of its use, and he uses it in okra stew and his apple pie recipe on an episode of the TV cooking show Good Eats. They are also used by people on certain diets, such as a raw food diet, because they are less irritating to digestion than black pepper. [Wikipedia]
Here is what we had for dinner and the wines that went with dinner. Enjoy!
In my not so humble opinion, this was by far one of the best Wine Club Dinners at The Buzz! Everything tasted so very good and the paring with the wines was superb. The Grilled Potato Soup with Bacon Bits was awesome. And the sauce on the pulled pork brought the entire dish together and made for a great entree. The Beer Can Chicken Salad was a refreshing and cooling dish on a hot pre-Summer evening – 99 degrees here in Boise. Many thanks to Peggy, Joseph, Michelle and “The Kids” for helping out tonight. Cristi’s Choice Wines were a 2009 Cold Springs Riesling  $10.00 and a Cellar 616 Red Blend  $16.00. Both Idaho wines! Here is what we had for dinner tonight and the wines that went with the selections. You won’t see me rate a Pinot Noir higher than a Zin. But tonight, I did! Enjoy and Left-Click any of the photographs to see them enlarged. Cheers!
It was great to have Garry and Donna Scholz back with us. Next month: BBQ Around the World on Tuesday, July 14 & Wednesday, July 15. 6:30pm. $20.00/person for a dinner like I have just shown you and wines specifically chosen for the dinner selections. Hope to see you there!
Overall, a good visit and meal at da Vinci’s Italian in Eagle, ID last night. Overall good flavors in the food and good wines. My only negative comment is that there seemed to be an overuse of salt. Things were salty. But the layers of flavors – after you got by the salt – were very good. Had it not been for the overuse of salt, we would have rated da Vinci’s a 4-Star restaurant. Instead, we rate this as a 3-Star (out of 5-Stars) restaurant. You can see their menu at Yelp. From their website, “All Full Size Entrees Include Our Bottomless House Salad Bowl With Da Vinci’s Homemade Italian Dressing And Freshly Baked Tuscan Bread, Or Substitute A Caesar Salad For An Additional $2.95.all Chicken And Veal Dishes Are Complemented With A Side Of Angel Hair Pasta With Aglio Olio Or Tuscan Tomato Sauce. Add Extra Chicken $2.50 Add Extra Veal $4.50” Here are some photos from the evening. Enjoy!