Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday wining and dining ideas

This week we've got dinner specials, artisanal food offerings and wine ideas for your holiday entertaining. Or, to loosely quote Steve Martin, "Waiter! Bring us some of your NEW wine! Not that old, dusty junk you've been trying to pawn off on her!"

The holidays are a wonderful time for dining out.

If you're looking for something on Christmas eve, Tre Amici is offering a four course dinner and 25% off all wines by the bottle. Plus, a 5 to 7 p.m. Happy Hour in the bar. 18020 North Dallas Parkway. 972-250-4400.

Kenny's Wood Fired Grill in Addison is offering special fixed price holiday menus for lunch or dinner for groups. Call 972-392-9663 for details.

Superstar chef Charlie Palmer is offering tips on his favorites from the "Regional New American Holiday Gift Guide". We're please to see a great Texas product makes his list:

Boerne, Texas: Pickle-licious
Made from an old family recipe, Fickle Pickles are probably the best pickles in the world. In the words of the original “Pickle Lady” Billie Shaw, they start out sweet and finish spicy.
Ask them about it when you stop by Charlie Palmer at the Joule at 1530 Main Street in Downtown Dallas.

Coast Global Seafood has some great daily specials going on right now that help make your holiday dining brighter.

Mondays - half price bottles of wine up to $100, including favorites such as Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay, Layer Cake Shiraz and more.
Wednesdays - Legacy Happy Hour with free appetizers such as calamari, oysters on the half shell and spicy rock shrimp from 4 to 7 p.m.
Thursdays - Cocktail Cruise with $5 house martinis and cosmos, as well as happy hour drink prices and $5 appetizers all night long.
Thursdays through Saturdays - live music from 8 p.m. until close from favorite local jazz duets and trios. Guest can enjoy the great music while taking in a spectacular view of the "dancing fountains" located just outside the COAST patio area.

COAST is located at 7501 Lone Star Drive, Suite B150 in Plano, Texas. For more information or reservations please call (972) 265-4722 or visit

Paula Lambert and the Mozzarella Company are offering their holiday favorite Christmas Cheese.

As Paula explains, "It's a once-a-year treat that we make only from Thanksgiving through New Year's. It's a crumbly, spreadable round of cheese festively flavored with a combination of chiles. It's a pretty cheese...a vibrant red round topped with a swirl of green jalapenos strips. Some might call it a Mexican cheese, but you'll just call it "good" when you taste it! It pairs nicely with beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Just one bite won't be sufficient.

It all began many years ago as a mistake. Something happened to one batch of our cheese. It just did't turn out exactly as it should have ... it wasn't a bad cheese, it just wasn't the kind of cheese it was supposed to be! So, we decided to convert our mistake into something new. Because Christmas was coming, we wanted to create something good for the holidays. We decided to add a variety of red chiles to make it spicy. We molded it into small discs that would be perfect for serving when guests stop by. We decorated the top with a star made of green chiles. And voila...Christmas Cheese!

Now our mistake has become a Mozzarella Company annual tradition, and many of our loyal customers have made Christmas Cheese part of their family holiday traditions. They flock to our cheese factory for our special, little, handmade cheese. Many buy 10 to 20 cheeses because they make perfect gifts for neighbors, teachers, and friends. And they are great to have on hand for quick, last-minute hors d'oeuvres and hostess gifts. Wheels of Christmas Cheese weigh a little over a half pound each and cost $12. They are great for snacking as well as for melting. They stay fresh for a month or longer...but they won't last that long at your house!
You can order online or call 214-741-4072.

How about some wine with that cheese? (Only at my house that phrase is usually "How 'bout some whine with that cheese!") Wine Guy Darryl Beeson explains the secrets of life and mysteries of the universe when it comes to Beaujolais. (Here's the only new wine you want that snooty waiter referred to in the headline to bring you!)

Beau-jest of fine wine

by Darryl Beeson

Most people that enjoy wine know about Beaujolais Nouveau, a fresh and fun red wine made with the gamay grape. It is youthful but maybe simple. For very little money, one may bump up to a cru Beaujolais of which there are ten. Compared to the wines of more central Burgundy, these wines offer bang for the buck. The finest producers would lead with Georges Duboeuf and Louis Jadot.

Brouilly is the largest cru area in Beaujolais. It covers about 20% of the Beaujolais wine region. Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly are two different crus (crus meaning specific growing regions). Cotes de Brouilly is grown on the slopes of the hill. Brouilly is grown at the bottom. Brouilly wine is packed with flavor. Some say that Cote de Brouilly is both aggressive and elegant. The wine is more rich because the grapes get more sun exposure than the ones at the bottom of the hill. Brouilly is better when consumed young while Cote de Brouilly should mature 4 or 5 years before tasting.

Another is Fleurie, meaning "flowery". Duboeuf captures these flowers on their lables and are easy to spot in a wine shop. Fleurie is a fruit-forward wine. Some call it the Queen of Beaujolais. Moulin à Vent would be the counter-point King. In total the ten crus Beaujolais and offer great wine value for an interesting red wine. Most are under twenty dollars.

The name Beaujolais comes from the house of Beaujeu, a name which first appears in the mid-900s. This region became famous in the 19th century for the textile industry rather than wine. The wines are now overlooked by many consumers.

On the subject of Beaujolais Nouveau, it used to be sold as "Beaujolais Primeur." The late Alexis Lichine observed in his first book on French wines that these wines did not merit even a mention. "It was a young, fruity wine sold in barrels and served in carafes in restaurants in Lyon and in specialized bistros in Paris--strictly the cheap places. In the early 1950s, this vin nouveau never saw the inside of a bottle or traveled overseas." Things changed big time. It is now very chic to enjoy this wine of the same vintage of the current year, harvested a few weeks before. It is officially released on the third Thursday of November each year. North Texas has the largest Nouveau Beaujolais festival in the world.

(Note: November 20th was the date this year for the Nouveau Beaujolais celebration in Dallas. The party was a smashing success at the Hotel Intercontinental, thanks to the hard work or Isabelle DeWulf and the French American Chamber of Commerce.)

Our friends with Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits are giving away a great trip for two to Napa Valley! Now, that's the holiday spirit! All you have to do is go to their Facebook registration page.

This is a 6 day, 5 night Napa Valley get-a-way (Monday-Friday) at the Vintage Inn with round-trip airline tickets for two. The Vintage Inn is a AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning elegant French country-style inn located in the heart of Yountville featuring breathtaking gardens and a central watercourse. Stay includes Champagne breakfast buffet. The deadline for entries is December 31st, and the trip has to be used in 2010. Good luck.

Be sure to join us at Centennial Fine Wine in Addison on Inwood for a free holiday tasting of Veuve Clicquot Champ
agne, Thursday December 10th from 4 until 7. Cheers!

How about leaving the driving to us? If you're attending the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting on March 6th at the beautiful Sheraton Dallas Hotel downtown, consider the "Savor Dallas Shuttle"--Ride FREE, clean and green! We'll pick you up and take you to the biggest wining and dining event of the year, and then make sure you get back to your car safely. You'll save on parking, gas, and stress. Check out our website for the Shuttle location nearest you:

The Savor Dallas Shuttle is presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits--promoting responsible consumption and eco-friendly alternatives.

Happy holidays. Jim

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