Monday, August 10, 2009

Volare, Vino, Finito!

DISCLAIMER: Justin, honey, we stomped grapes. There is a possibility I might not have cropped the feet out of all the pictures. You've been warned--scroll at your own risk!

Brenham, Texas is not exactly a resort town. It is purty, and it is home to the original Blue Bell creamery, which, by the way, is not open on weekends in the high ice cream season of Summer, but not exactly what most people would call a destination.

However, if you like flowers, in particular antique roses, native plants, or hardy specimens that can handle the Texas heat, you can swing 15 miles north of Brenham to the Antique Rose Emporium nursery in Independence, Texas.

On our way back to town, after sweating like draft horses (like this fake one overlooking town) at the nursery we got a tad lost. This turned out to be a very good thing since we found (a) antique alley a couple blocks off main, but did not have the time or the heat tolerance to explore it and (b) Volare Italian Restaurant.

Click the link and look at their menu kids!

OMG the food was soooo good! The artichoke & shrimp fondue was to kill for, rich, creamy, and they did NOT skimp on the shrimp. My entree was super nummy (even cold out of the hotel room fridge the next morning it was delish!) though Ma seemed less impressed with her veal piccata.

The sauces were amazing and it was pretty obvious from the taste that they make their own in-house. Theirs was probably the best marinara I've ever had; light, tomato-y, and fragrant with basil and thyme, but not overpowered by it and not at all heavy or pasty.

The deserts... Oh! Ma had tiramisu that was so gorgeous I was almost tempted to steal a bite. And I can't stand tiramisu! I had the creme brulee. This was a first for me and it was yummy! The sugar shell was a beautiful tawny golden brown and crunched just the way (I'm told) it's supposed to. The pudding or creme or whatever it's called (not a food blogger, remember!) was a little soft for me, and a bit bland on it's own, like thickened cream pudding. Add a little of the sugar shell, though, and it was magically transformed. I'm pretty sure the sugar was infused with a lemon somehow--it gave the sweet cream pudding a light, airy citrus flavor--not strong or tangy, just wonderful!

Can you tell that I like to eat? lol..

The rest of the day, both before and after dinner was spent lounging by/in the pool with margaritas masquerading as Sonic slushies ;-) I worked on my scarf a bit while Ma and I played this, then got a solid 8hrs of sleep---something that hasn't happened in weeks. Go me!


Yesterday we dawdled at the hotel reading and doing our nails, til it was time to check out of the hotel & head to the winery.

We got there a little early and decided to do our tour and tasting first, then stomp some fruit of the vine. The tour was a little disappointing--they winery got a HUGE (14 bins) for them load of wine grapes from an area grower the day before and we were unable to go into the cellar due to a fume issue---they aired out and later tours got to peek in, I think.

On the plus side, I did get to learn the difference between a vineyard and a winery. Being a vino noob, the fact that there was a difference was news to me!

We tasted 4 wines and paid a little extra to satisfy my curiousity and taste a couple of ports. I confirmed my dislike for strong reds, particularly oak barrel reds. I tried a red/white blend that was aged in stainless and found it to be much smoother. I think I just don't like that tannin tang. The portsn were alright with the delish local artisan chocolates they served them with, but not really to my taste. The flavor was super stout, and definitely for small sips only. On the plus side, the port samples were larger than the wine tastings and, at 19.4% alcohol w/ no breakfast, pretty damn good by the time we got to the bottom of our glasses.

(Brought home two bottles of the Blanc DuBois, too--by far my fave from the tasting, though the Collina Rossa was pleasant, too.)

Buzzing a tad, we headed out to get grapey.

This is where we found out we had to PICK the grapes before we could stomp them.

The hike down the hill in the humidity (it rained in Brenham this weekend!) the fighting off wasps, bees, and fire ants, and trek back up said hill pretty much took care of the slight tasting buzz. Oh well. Now comes the fun part.


Found myself with a lot of time on my hands again today and I... finshed the wavelength scarf! Go me! It's done, the ends are woven in, and it now just needs washing and blocking. It was a perfect one-skein project--love that there were only TWO ends to weave in! I ended up with a whopping 3 yards of lace merino left that will probably go into the scraft box for the kiddo.

Below, my unblocked masterpiece:

1 comment:

Lara said...

Congratulations for finishing the wavelength scarf! It looks beautiful.