DINNER 212: Monday, July 31, 2006

Tonight, Wendy & I met up with Dave & Robin to go to Vincenzo’s Italian restaurant. Wendy & I had eaten there when it was in its previous location — an old gas station with 14 tables and bathrooms out back. The place was so small that customers couldn’t wait inside for their tables, so Vincenzo’s would call your cell phone if you wanted to wait in your car or at a local bar. The food was worth the wait. It was really good, authentic Italian food.

A few years ago, they moved from the tiny building to a nice new building that is much larger and sporting a kitchen that is larger than the entire old restaurant. The food is every bit just as good as it was. We enjoyed an appetizer of Mozzarella Capricciosa (roma tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, served with crostini di muffalata); salads; and I had Gamberoni alla Balsamo (jumbo shrimp and mussels in a white wine sauce with capers and garlic, over capellini pasta). After dinner, we sat and chatted for a while before heading to the Green Hills Creamy Whip for some ice cream.

DINNER 213: Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Tonight, I worked at Cincinnati State helping with another non-credit culinary class, this time a team-building event for guests of a local company.

Chef Ritter, Patrick (a first year student), and I got everything together for the class to be able to make Gazpacho, Caesar Salad, Steak Diane, Asparagus with Hollandaise, and to enjoy a Caramel Flan that Chef had made earlier. We prepared the stations with all the ingredients and tools, collected bowls and containers, unmolded and plated the flans, and rolled silverware in preparation for their arrival.

The students — about 20 of them — were enthusiastic and willing to learn & work. Everything went well, but they used nearly every dish in the whole kitchen (it seemed). We were washing dishes endlessly when the event was over! Still, it was fun, and they did a pretty good job — items were well prepared (if a bit underseasoned), so dinner was tasty.

Speaking of Hollandaise, click (more…) for a BigOven recipe for a very easy, tasty Hollandaise from Mark Bittman.

Continue reading “DINNER 213: Tuesday, August 1, 2006”

DINNER 214: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

We had another SALSA class this evening — a make-up from a previously-scheduled class that had to be cancelled. Scott, Amy, Wendy, and I finished up in grand style because Mason, our instructor, did such a nice job teaching us. This was our final night of instruction, though Wendy & I talked with Mason about an ‘intermediate’ class in the future.

Before class, Wendy & I ran an errand out to JCPenny out near “the bypass” and stopped at Arby’s on the way to class for a Beef-n-Cheddar for me and a Santa Fe Salad for Wendy. After class, we went to the Creamy Whip for an ice cream and to listen to the big band playing in Green Hills Commons.

DINNER 216: Friday, August 4, 2006

Wendy & I both took the day off and we spent it taking the dogs to Wendy’s hospital for boarding, getting packed, and preparing for our trip.

Oh. Didn’t I tell you about our trip? As loyal readers know, we’ve been part of a supper club since 2002. From time to time, the club takes road trips and Wendy planned just such a trip for us. Our destination? Memphis Tennessee, the home of great barbecue, Graceland, Sun Records, and music, music, music.

Jay picked us up in his mother’s car (thanks to Mrs. B for lending it to us for the trip!), a lovely late-model Lexus, and then we picked up Ron at his house. Our 8-hour journey was in luxurious comfort, and we made it down to Memphis with no trouble.

We got checked into our hotel right across the street from The Peabody Hotel, one of Memphis’ famous landmarks. Most of the rest of the gang — Ted, Tracy, and Angel — arrived just a little a bit later. We were expecting Dave and Robin even later, but they told us to go on the evening’s events without them.

Rendezvous Restaurant in MemphisAfter a brief consultation with the desk clerk about what we wanted to eat (“Memphis food,” we answered), how we liked our barbecue (“dry,” we said, knowing that dry is typical Memphis-style), Ted, Tracy, Angel, Ron, Jay, Wendy, and I went to sample Rendezvous restaurant in the alley alongside our hotel. For three generations, the Rendezvous has been in the alley, downstairs, behind 52 South Second in downtown Memphis. They specialize in dry barbecue, and it was delicious, as were the Sausage & Cheese plate and the Chicken Barbecue Nachos, all washed down with plenty of beer.
After dinner, we walked along Beale Street and sampled the nightlife before retiring rather early because we have a big day scheduled for Saturday!

Memphis: Graceland, Sun Studios, and more

This article was submitted by fellow traveller, Ron (who selected “Ronnie Lee” as his Memphis name). Thanks for submitting it, Ronnie!

A good time was had by all on our recent sojourn to Memphis. After sampling some BBQ ribs and taking in the neon lights of Beale Street the night before, we found ourselves exploring the King’s home in all is grandeur. And it was quite a scene as we explored every room in Graceland, with our highly coveted VIP passes hanging around our necks. The Jungle Room, the TV room, and kitchen were all universal favorites with our group. As Wendy Ann noted, the decor is frozen in time. A very garish and gaudy time that is.
P1010174.JPGThe tour took us all through the house (with the exception of the upstairs). I was tempted to sneak up the steps when no one was looking but I decided against it when I considered the fact that security would probably kick me out. The tour ended, after taking us through numerous rooms and additions to the house, at the Mediation Garden where the King, his parents, and grandmother are buried. We then moved to the front of the line when we heard “All VIPs come this way” to the VIP shuttle. Before getting on the shuttle we posed for a picture in front of the mansion.
Drew eating a Peanut Butter & Nanner SandwichWe then explored Elvis’ private jets, one of which is called the Lisa Marie, and checked out his extensive car collection before enjoying some fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. And man oh man, they were tasty. We then explored, and made many purchases, at the gift shops. There were only seven (7) shops to choose from so we were somewhat limited in the memorabilia department.
Ron outside Sun StudiosFrom there we headed to Sun Recording Studios, the “birthplace of Rock-n-Roll”. This was my favorite part of the trip. I mean, this little recording studio is literally where it all began.

P1010252.JPGIt was in this little studio that Sam Phillips, with a meager budget and a staff that consisted of one person (a secretary named Marion), produced the most influential records in history. Mr. Phillips encouraged local talent to come record in his studio and encouraged their innovative and novel approaches to music.
The studio itself was built by Mr. Phillips in an effort to attain the best acoustics. The room is filled with musical instruments, some used by the original Sun artists. There are also black X’s on the floor marking the spots where a young Elvis and his band stood while recording. In fact, our tour guide informed us that Bob Dylan, while visiting the Studio, kissed the spot where Elvis stood. This prompted Drew to do the same. Drew kissing where Elvis stood
It is simply astounding to think that, for whatever reason, the confluence of country, blues, jazz and gospel created a new sound, a uniquely American sound, within these four walls. P1010244.JPG
After our tour of the studios we headed back to the hotel and then to Beale Street for dinner and drinks. Dinner was a delicious selection of ribs, catfish, red beans and rice, fried green tomatoes, and other “fixin’s”. We then listened to some music and enjoyed the rest of Beale Street before heading back.
A good time was indeed had by all.
-Ronnie Lee