Superb 36th Anniversary Party at Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro


It is not often that I rave about an eating place, but the Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro is one of our favorites and definitely a 5-Star eatery. Staff is awesome and Chef Storm and Stephanie Hodge, the owners, winemakers, artist and “chief cook and bottle washers”, sorta, are so humble, courteous and kind. Kudos to you both and to your superb staff! And Thank-You for such a great venue for our 36th wedding anniversary. The food was superb and the patio seating was great. Note: The winery and bistro are a great place to go Wednesday through Sunday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you had best call for reservations. Contact information is at the link above. Left Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Chef storm and Stephanie Hodge
The meal that they prepared for us was great. Here is some of what we had.

Cheese Board
Beecher’s Aged White Cheddar, Chefs Choice Assorted Cheeses, Blue Cheese Fondue, Sliced Salami, Grapes, Crackers and Sliced Baguette

Puff Pastry filled with Lobster
in a
Cream Cognac Reduction Sauce

This is not on the regular menu, but rather was specially made for us by Chef Storm. It would be great to have this on the appetizer menu!! Thank-You Chef Storm for this surprise. Delicious!

Rutherford Burger
All-Beef Patty with Smokey Mayo, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Rocket Greens, Cabernet Grilled Onions & Sliced Smoked Blue Cheese

Pear Salad
with
Grilled Chicken
Mixed Greens with Apple Cider Viniagrette, Blue Cheese Crumbles and Poached Pears

Char-Broiled Filet Mignon
with
Cabernet Beef Demi-Glacé, Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Broccolini

Char-Broiled Ribeye
with
Cabernet Beef Demi-Glacé, Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Broccolini

And then the desserts. Yes. That is plural! We passed them around so everyone got some.

Meyer Lemon Custard
with a
Blueberry Compote, Lemon Whipped Cream and Lemon Wafers

Tiramisu Bread Pudding
Croissant Bread Pudding with a Mascarpone whip Over a Kahlúa Chocolate Sauce

Wine Lover’s Chocolate Cake
A Red Wine Infused Dark Chocolate Sponge Cake Filled With a Joshua Storm Butter Cream and Finished With a Chocolate Ganache

And finally, thanks to all these delightful folks who joined us.

Chris and Anna
Myra
Marnie and Eric
A view of the patio

Japanese Special March Festival


I found this to be interesting. That’s probably because of my Cultural Anthropology background.

Hina Matsuri in Japan

Source: https://matcha-jp.com/en/753
Although it is not a national holiday, March 3rd is a special day for girls. Families who don’t have young daughters might not do anything special on this day.
March 3rd is Japanese Girls’ Day or Hinamatsuri. Ornate dolls are displayed in the family home to mark the beginning of spring and to wish good health and good fortune for all of the girls in the family.
However, a tradition of this festival is still passed down until now. Actually, how people celebrate Hina Matsuri is different from place to place. We will introduce here what the Japanese people usually do on this day.
Hina Dolls represent what the imperial family was like in the ancient times. The dolls on the top tire of the platforms represent the emperor and the empress. The rest of the dolls are three court ladies, five musicians and the minister of the Right and Left who used to support the government in the old days. There are some decorations such as Gissha (oxcarts), small cupboards, Japanese paper lamps called “Bonbori”, and orange and peach tree branches displayed on the tire of platforms.
The facial expressions and costumes of each doll are also different depending on their personality and position.
The special meals for Hina Matsuri are Amazake (sweet drink), Chirashizushi (a style of sushi) and Hina Arare (sweet colorful rice crackers).
Amazake is a traditional Japanese sweet and thick drink made from fermented glutinous rice. Amazake literally means “sweet alcohol” but it has less than 1 percent of Shirozake alcohol in it. So children are also able to drink it.

Shirozake
Drinking Shirozake, which is a traditional sweet sake, was one of the customs to get rid of bad things out from your body. But Shirozake is an alcoholic drink, so Amazake was made with the children in mind.
Hina Arare are colorful and cute small rice crackers. The colors of these rice crackers have meanings. White represents the earth of the winter, pink and red represent life, while green represents the green shoots in the spring. Hina Arare is a snack showing our expectations toward the arrival of spring after the long cold winter. People also say that you will live healthy for this coming year if you eat each color of Hina Arare.
Chirashizushi is a type of Sushi which has lotus roots, shrimp and thinly shredded egg omelet on the top of vinegar rice. It has been a dish enjoyed widely at celebrations.
The ingredients in Chirashizushi have meanings as well. The lotus root is said to give one the power to see what will happen in the future, shrimps are a symbol of longevity and so on.

Source: https://www.thespruceeats.com/japanese-girls-day-hinamatsuri-party-dishes-2031057
As with almost all holidays, food and drink play a role on Girls’ Day, with rice wine and rice cakes taking center stage, along with flower blossoms. Hinamatsuri is also called Momo no Sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms. Peach blossoms, shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine) and hishi-mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes) are placed on the stand with the hina dolls. Hishi-mochi are colored pink representing peach flowers, white representing snow, and green representing new growth.
Traditionally, girls in Japan invited their friends to a home party to celebrate this festival. Many people prepare a special meal for girls on this day, including savory dishes such as chirashi, which is sugar-flavored, vinegared sushi rice with raw fish on top; clam soup served in the shell; and edamame maze-gohan, mixed rice usually consisting of brown rice and soybeans.
Other popular dishes to serve at a Girl’s Day celebration are inari sushi—rice-stuffed tofu pockets—with miso grilled salmon and cabbage ramen salad. Sweets are on the menu as well, incorporating a feminine shade of pink, like chi chi dango, which are pink pillows of mochi (glutinous rice flour and coconut milk), a favorite among children, and sakura-mochi, a pink, sweet rice cake. Some families include an impressive edible centerpiece, such as the layered chirashi sushi cake.

Some recipes for Hina Matsuri
(The recipes listed below can be found at the link above.)

Chirashizuchi
Easy Seafood Chirashizushi: Use a shortcut of packaged sushi seasoning to quickly season steamed rice and add pre-cooked gomoku vegetables for this delectable dish. Add your favorite toppings of choice.
Edamame Maze-Gohan (Mixed Rice): Is easy to prepare, especially for large crowds. Steamed rice is mixed with furikake seasoning, bottled nametake (seasoned mushrooms), and shelled edamame for a delicious rice dish.
Inari Sushi: Preparing a dish for a large crowd doesn’t need to be complicated. Find out the secrets of making quick inari sushi with impressive results.
Cabbage Ramen Salad: This spin on the traditional Chinese chicken salad recipe uses crunchy dried ramen noodles, cabbage, and shredded chicken to create a zesty Japanese-fusion salad.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Wings: Let your slow cooker do all the work to whip-up a batch of delicious teriyaki chicken wings with just a few ingredients, and use the free time to prepare a few other dishes.
Miso Ginger Marinated Grilled Salmon
Miso Grilled Salmon: Miso-grilled salmon can easily be prepared by making the marinade ahead of time and then letting the salmon marinade for a few days in the fridge. All you need is an oven or a grill to cook up delicious fillets in under 40 minutes.
Clam Soup: A traditional soup that is often enjoyed on Hinamatsuri is clam soup. This clear style soup is known as sumashijiru and is simply seasoned from the broth of the clams.
Chi Chi Dango: These pillowy soft bites of mochi are made of glutinous rice flour and coconut milk. These pink, soft mochi are an absolute favorite among children.
Sakura Mochi: Sakura mochi is a glutinous rice dish that is often enjoyed during Hinamatsuri. This slightly sweetened, pink mochi is filled with sweet red beans (koshian) and wrapped in a salted sakura (young cherry blossom) leaf.

Farm to Table Feast


And it was a good feast! Held at Peaceful Belly Farm and the new event room and building – Grand Opening November 16–18, noon until 6 pm.
The Farm to Table Dinner Series, “Josie of Peaceful Belly, Scott from Snake River Winery, Clay from Stack Rock Cidery, Nate Whitley chef at the Modern Hotel and Chef Abby Carlson have teamed up to create an amazing 5-course meal held on our magical Sunny Slope farm. The plates are creative, unique, and 100% local and seasonal. These dinners will transport you to another time and place where fresh food is cooked with amazing brilliance and presented to the table in a picturesque farm setting.” Here are some photos from the evening. Enjoy and Left-Click to see any of these photos enlarged. All in all – A good dinner.

Sunset at the farm.
The menu for the dinner.
New event room and tasting room.
Appetizer –

Fingerling Potato, Lentils and Onion

Smoked Trout
Warm Fingerling Potatoes
Buttermilk
Shallots
Arugula
2012 Arena Valley Riesling

Beef Tongue Carpaccio
Black Garlic Aioli
Roasted Chilis
Sunny Slope Cide
r

Roasted Winter Squash
Leeks
Kale
Brown Butter Tamari Vinaigrette
2014 Blauer Zweigelt

Reflections at the Intermezzo

Intermezzo
Pumpkin Pie Sorbet

Roasted Pork Loin
Onion Puree
Lentils
Tomato
Swiss Chard
2009 Reserve Bordeaux Blend

Tri of Ice Cream Sandwiches
2014 Orange Muscat

Great Dinner at Richard’s in Boise


Yes it indeed was and this is why Richard’s, located at the INN at 500 Capitol, 500 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho (208) 472-1463, is a 5-Star restaurant in Boise. One of the top restaurants. (Richard’s Boise) And when you make your reservations, ask to be seated where David will be your Server. Superb!
Here is what we had for dinner on the special. Robin had one and I had the other. And then we sampled. It was fun and exciting! It is good to note that Chef Richard Langston, Chef-Owner of Richard’s, tries very hard to source his food products from Idaho or from within 200 miles of Boise.
“…Chef Langston and his team share a culinary philosophy that celebrates the integrity of seasonal ingredients, locally sourced when possible. Dining at Richard’s is further enhanced by impeccably mixed drinks, a noteworthy wine list of old favorites and new finds, and sophisticated service in a stylish setting.”
Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

The Menu
Robin and our Server, David.

Crostini with Butternut Squash Puree
fried sage and pecans


 

Tomato Basil Soup


 

Roasted Beet Salad
citrus, arugula, herbs, dressed with labneh horseradish sauce

 

Risotto with Smoked Chicken, Apples and Hazelnuts


 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
hazelnut brown butter, Grana Padano and currents


 

Idaho Trout
pan-roasted, brown butter caper lemon sauce, seasonal vegetable


 

Grilled Sirloin Coulette Steak
sliced on a grape and spinach salad, fingerling potatoes, sweet onion soubise

Wines with dessert: Sticky and Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand and a rare Madeira.

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta
cranberry compote, local honey drizzle


 

Apple Crostata
cinnamon crème anglaise


 

 

Sunday Brunch at Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro


These are some fantastic Sunday Brunches! But call ahead to make reservations. They do get full and Busy! But then, that’s why they are a 5-Star Restaurant!! And we were lucky enough to receive and try some of their latest releases! Well worth joining their Wine Club. They do make an awesome Reserve Merlot, pictured here. And the Pinot Gris passes the test and goes well with asparagus!
Awesome wines and superbly awesome food. Here are some photos of what Robin and I indulged in. To bad there were no “left overs”. We had to get our daughter Marnie her own Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake. We had ours with vanilla ice cream. Here are the photos! Enjoy and Left-Click any of the photos to see enlarged. Cheers!

L-R 2016 Reserve Merlot (Superb!), 2016 Carmenere (Needs time. 5 years?), 2017 Pinot Gris (Goes with asparagus. Good with salmon) and 2017 LaRae Dolce Gewurztraminer (Superb with chocolate, as in Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake!)
Robin enjoys some wine.
Parma Ridge Pear Salad – with Grilled Chicken. Mixed Greens with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese and Poached Pear with Grilled Bread
The Phil Burger – All-Beef Patty with Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and Black Cherry BBQ Sauce and Rosemary Truffle Fries
Boy was it good!
The prize! Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Two Superb Wine Dinners for Father’s Day


The first one was on June 4th and we pared wines from 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, 5900 Pearl Rd, Eagle, ID 83616. The second wine dinner was paring Koenig Vineyards, 21452 Hoskins Rd, Caldwell, ID 83607. Both wine dinners were at Chandlers Prime Steaks and Fine Seafood, 981 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702. We had superb wines and food. If you are in Boise and want a fantastic meal – steaks and seafood being their primary dishes – be sure to go to Chandlers. Check all of the posted links for more information and their hours of operation. Enjoy these photos of the dinners. Let’s start with 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards. You can follow along for the ingredients with the posted menu. Double click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers!

Some of the crowd for appetizers.
Eagle Hills AVA Association President.
Robin relaxes before dinner!
The Menu and Wine List for the evening.
Appetizers
Frutti di Mare
Duck Two Ways
Intermezzo Sorbet
American Wagyu Flat Iron Steak
Fromage Blanc Cheesecake

And then on June 11th, we had a wine dinner featuring Koenig Vineyards wines. Here are some photos to enjoy!

Table setting and mood setter
The menu and wine list.
Appetizers
Opening dinner wine.
Moules Frites. The wine above went with this dish.

Baby Lamb Chops. The wine above was served with these delicious lamb chops.
Intermezzo Sorbet

Braised Short Ribs. The Private Reserve was an awesome paring.

Assorted House Made Truffles. The Ice Wine was a superb match!

Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc at “The Buzz”


Click Here for the latest news from The Buzz in Boise.

An interesting night, and the wines were so good! As was the food. Good to see Ed and his friend Ruth (see photo) there and good to have the sitting at our table. Also good to see Baily – it’s been a while.
The wines were different and my high scoring wine was a surprise. The Stuffed Mushrooms were excellent and they paired well with the 2014 Ezyaguirre Merlot (17). Here is the rest of our dinner and the wine parings. Enjoy! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.)

Stuffed Mushrooms

Green Minestrone

Green Salad
with
Spring Vegetables and Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Chicken
with
Vegetables and Rissoto

Chocolate Mousse Brownies