We have been to several 5-Star restaurants in Boise – Richard’s, Chandler’s, Cottonwood Grill, Andrae’s (when it was open) and Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, FL – and the dinner that Chef and Winemaker Storm Hodge and Sous Chef Megan Hartman prepared for us, and 50+ others, last night at the winery, gives any of these restaurants a very serious challenge. This dinner was every bit a 5-Star dinner. It was amazingly delicious. Kudo’s to the Chefs, their kitchen staff and the wait staff! I sincerely urge any of you who are in the area, to visit the Bistro on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday Brunch and have superb meal. (Here is more info at Parma Ridge Winery – Snake River AVA Happenings) Look at what they prepared and we enjoyed! (Left-Click any of the photos to see them enlarged.)
It’s probably one of the greatest cheddar cheeses you could EVER eat! And it’s a cheese in a can! Not aerosol driven. So it is not Cheeze Whiz. Nor is it Velveeta! It’s pure, fantastic, fresh cows milk cheese.
Corti Brothers Store, 5810 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95819 916-736-3800, is probably one of the most fun grocery stores you will ever enter and they have some great information on this cheese! “…Frank Corti And Gino Corti started Corti Brothers in 1947…” and it has been open ever since. Darrell Corti, who Robin knows quite well and who I met several years ago, is the son of Frank Corti. From their website, Corti Brothers,
…Darrell, whose encyclopedic knowledge of food and wine attracts queries from around the world. As told by Ruth Reichel in her memoir Comfort Me With Apples, Colman Andrews described Darrell to her as the man “who knows more about food and wine than anyone else in the world.”
In 1967, using his role as an insider’s insider, he reached out to the rest of the country with a newsletter, featuring rare, high quality food items and wines discovered during his travels in Europe and Asia. After forty plus years of continuous publication, it is still prized for its wealth of information, including essential details about a product’s history, modes of production, uses, and occasional esoteric bits that ‘foodies’ adore. Never dull, Darrell is known for free expression of his wide ranging opinions, which are often iconoclastic and seldom sugar-coated.
Darrell’s contribution to the food and wine literacy of his friends, associates, and customers has been considerable. He played a large role in the development of wine production in Amador County. He was made a Cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of knighthood, by the Italian government for his efforts in promoting Italian products, not the least of which was the almost single-handed introduction of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale to America. Darrell, an early champion of local olive production, has seen his efforts bear fruit as chairman of the Los Angeles County Fair’s International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.
So when I say that Darrell Corti knows his cheeses and he likes to share his knowledge, here is what he says about Cougar Gold.
“COUGAR GOLD CHEESE is the result of war! In fact it may the only good thing ever to have come out of war. During World War II, it was created by Washington State University to be used as military rations. It is the only cheese that I know of that is made and aged in a tin can. Normally, one does not think of cheese aged in a can, but Cougar Gold has become famous for this methodology. It is a “cheddar” like cheese that I think is possibly the best cheese to accompany wine. It has very low acidity, which does not change the taste of wine, and does have the clean sharpness of an aged cheese. Unique, it is made only at Pullman, Washington, and deserves to be better known.
It is also an easy to care for cheese. Just buy several tins and put them in your refrigerator and turn them from time to time. They just sit there getting better and better. It is also a cheese that is firm, with a crumbly texture, a pale yellow color and it will have specks of tyrosomine on it. Once the can is opened, wrap the cheese in waxed paper and then film and enjoy it until it’s gone. I think it is perfect with an old Cabernet or Vintage Port, perhaps not rich enough for Burgundy. If you like cheese and have not had Cougar Gold, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is hard to resist. By the way, when was the last time you had a 10 year old cheese? COUGAR GOLD CHEESE 30 oz tin.” [Corti Brothers website]
Here is what the WSU Creamery says about Cougar Gold.
“Our most famous & popular cheese! Winner of several national and international awards. A rich, white cheddar with a smooth, firm texture. This unique cheddar has a depth and intensity that most people have never before experienced. Its creamy, lingering flavor will leave you wanting for more! Our current stock of Cougar Gold is just over one year in age. Buy 2 and store one for aging, as it becomes more sharp and crumbly with age, developing crystals throughout, which can give it kind of a crunch…Purchasing cheese from the WSU Creamery helps support student employees of Washington State University by providing competitive wages and valuable work experiences…In May of 1992, the Creamery moved from its old home in Troy Hall to a fantastic and modern new location in the Food Quality Building. This new facility allows the Creamery to be at the forefront of research in cheese production. It allows WSU students to gain work experience directly applicable to the work they may be doing in the Food Science field upon graduating… A portion of the revenue from the sale of WSU Creamery products is used for educational support of Food Science students.”
You can purchase it from Corti Brothers, see the link above, or you can purchase it directly from the Washington State Creamery at WSU Creamery. We usually send some to our family and friends at Christmas. But be aware, they do run out of it and then you will have to wait until early Spring or so to get some. And it ages very well. WSU claims that one of their customers had a tin of Cougar Gold for 25 years! And when they opened it, it was awesome. Robin and I have 1 tin of Cougar Gold produced in 2009. All tins come date stamped and who produced it.
Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Le Peep in Meridian, ID, at 3036 North Eagle Road, Meridian, ID, 208-629-0155, is a 3-Star restaurant out of 5-Stars. On the other hand, Alejandro’s Mexican Restaurant in Marsing, ID at 208 Main St, (208) 896-5339 and Sakana Sushi, 7107 W. State St., Garden City, ID 83714, (208)-853-4993, Mon.-Thur.: 11:00am – 10:00pm, Fri.-Sat.: 11:00am-11:00pm and Sun.: 12:00pm – 9:00pm are both 5-Star restaurants. I urge you to look at these links and visit the restaurants and make up your own mind.
Le Peeps problem is in their Hollandaise Sauce. It is advertised as Hollandaise, but it is far from it. Not bad flavors, just not Hollandaise and an unexpected taste. Plus, the potatoes were cold as noted in the caption above. Just can not give Le Peep a higher rating. Two of the better restaurants we went to were –
Bella Aquila Restaurante in Eagle, ID sponsored the 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards wine dinner. A full 6 course dinner was served with as many 3 Horse Vineyards wines. The participation was superb and the crowd enjoyed themselves. It was good to see the Cunninghams again – it has been a while. They are the owners of the winery. Also they have added Brandon St-Martin to their staff as the winery manager. Just look at this menu. (You can Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.)
Snow! Cold! Great time to stay inside by the fireplace. Snow keeps falling. Lots of food. Seafood mostly for New Years Eve. Then vegetarian – roasted spaghetti squash. Look. And look, too, at the wonderful Beef Wellington that Chris and Anna made. Awesome!
And then, check this out! Chris and Anna made this beautiful – absolutely beautiful – Beef Wellington. Look at this.
I do not generally add articles to this blog that concerns a winery – there are specific blogs for that, i.e. AVA Happenings in Idaho or Treasure Valley Wine Society or the Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog. But this was a special visit to the Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant. A 5-Star winery and restaurant, and well worth this post. And it won’t break the bank. You will have an outstanding meal, whether it is a Friday night Happy Hour visit, a Saturday evening dinner or a Sunday Brunch. And the kids are welcome also! The weather was foggy and slightly wet. The roads were wet, but not icy, until you drove on the “back” roads.
Here is what we had. Go to the winery. Eat there. And say “Hi” to Stephanie, that’s her artwork and to Chef Storm, who comes up with the fantastic epicurean treats. You won’t be sorry you went. Some of these treats are new to the menu. The servings are very adequate and border on being large. Four of us shared the following dishes. We also had some awesome wines to go with the brunch.
And as we were leaving, I told Chef Storm that tomorrow night (Monday) I am making a 5 Hour Roasted Duck.
I will probably also serve a 5 Hour Duck Sauce to go with it.
Chef Storm said he has never had a 5 hour roasted duck. And he asked me to
post photos – I will – and save him some. That may be more difficult as there are 4 of us eating it. I may have to make him one. That’ll be fun! Hmmmm!
Yes, congratulations to Skip and Melinda Smyser for 35 years of marital bliss! A great party at their restaurant in Boise, Capitol Cellars – a 5-Star establishment! (There is a permanent link to their restaurant in the sidebar.) Great party with some 30 year old wines that have aged well, just like the marriage. An interesting point – Skip Smyser was an Idaho State Senator for several years and many of the dishes served are of political slant. Check their menu on the site for some names. “Featuring Prime Rib six nights a week, our dinner menu is all about Idaho cuisine. You’ll be sure to find that almost every product is sourced locally.”
Love the beaming smile she has in this photo! After she got home from the hospital, I had to change the meal plans, somewhat. Watch the sugars, not totally eliminate them. Keep the carbs to 60 or so a day, which is not hard to do. Keep the calorie count to a max of 2000 per day. That’s harder, but not impossible. Here are some of the dishes I came up with. Enjoy! All made from scratch with mostly local products from the Boise Farmers Market – eggs, sausage, Acme Bake Shop Breads, Fruit, Salsa, Pico de Gallo. We’ll start with breakfast.
Lunch and “Tea Time”
On Tuesday, June 28, we visited Juniper, on 8th Street and we were delightfully surprised. It reminded me a lot of the Cloud 9 Nano Brewery and Pub Review. Essentially the same type of floor plan but an extended menu from Cloud 9. Both are very deserving of our 4-Star rating. We will most likely to return to Juniper, as the staff was delightful and the food awesome. There are some other items on the menu that we want to try. Here are some photos from today’s visit. They had a special soup today, Ginger Carrot Soup, and they gave us a sample. Spicy. Candied ginger. It reminded me of a tomato soup. That texture and “after taste”. Good. Cheers!
It could be anything! But hopefully, it’s always pretty good. Mostly healthy and always has a local product element. Local. That’s what we try to feature always! Beef, pork, lamb, seafood, greens, fruit, vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, sprouts. You get the idea. And what’s even more fun – sometimes … most times – is preparing the meals. Here are a few photos of some of the dishes we have made recently. If there is a recipe for the item, it may be in the recipe file as listed above or you can look for it by Clicking Here.
We were going to make Greek kabobs and I wanted to find a good Greek herb blend. There is a really good Greek restaurant near us, Mazzah Mediterrean and every time I walk by it, I get this wonderfully awesome aroma of Greek spices. So I found this chart of cultural Spice Blends. We used the Greek Spice and added Sumac and Marjoram. If you are looking for a particular blend, this may help. Save the image and print it out if you need to.
So there you have it. Not 100% local, but darn close. And this time of year with the Boise Farmers Market being open, it gets easier to buy those local products. Plus, our herb gardens are in full swing – bloom! Enjoy.