There are hundreds of wineries in Virginia, and we managed to visit only 5 during our September trip. Nice work if you can get it. Regional wineries are really coming of age with local grapes in the limelight. Thomas Jefferson was the nation’s first vintner, bringing back vitis vinifera from France. The Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia regions have excellent luck with the Viognier grape as well as Chardonnay. Some wineries are producing excellent Pinot Blanc as well. For the reds, Merlot grows well here, a well as Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin (not for everyone’s palate, but good with chocolate!). The Norton grape is grown only in Virginia and is a local favorite. This grape produces successful sweet, as well as dry, wines – unusual. Two standout wineries – Blenheim (owned by Dave Matthews by the way of the Dave Matthews Band – they try to keep this quiet for some reason!) and Barboursville… I felt “connected” to the grapes and the land while at Blenheim ( www.Blenheimvineyards.com ) . Barboursville wines ( www.Barboursvillecellars.com ) are as elegant as the surroundings. Another standout – Gabriele Rausse’s french style Chardonnay -not to miss a glass if it’s on a menu…this winery is not open to the public. Any questions if you’re visiting VA – ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Day One: Lewisburg, West Virginia – if you haven’t been to this incredibly lovely town about an hour from the Virginia border and pretty much smack dab in the middle of white water rafting country, you’re missing out. The town is rich in Civil War history, and boasts the General Lewis Inn, a lovely civil war era inn and restaurant serving up traditional fare, and some mighty fine biscuits and grits for breakfast, as well as fresh squeezed orange juice! We also decided to try “Food and Friends” restaurant, very popular amongst the locals and travelers alike. G had his first taste of Juengling beer there, and has been looking for a case ever since! We toured “Lost World Caverns”, a privately owned beautiful cave structure. Next time we’re going to get muddy and spelunk the caverns on the 4 hour tour! Lula
Please visit Lula’s home page www.lulasforlunch.com and check under “Seasonal Recipes” – about 2/3 down the home page. Click and you will bring up our entire soup selection – Lula loves soup; we have an extensive selection list – let us know if you’d like us to make something not on the list! PS….Two new soups this fall not on the list…Sweet Potato Five Spice and Williamsburg Pepper Pot!
Folks, Lula is going on vacation. Due to my really bad luck with all things technological, you’ll probably not hear from me while we are in Virginia visiting caves, natural wonders, Historic sites, beaches, wineries, and of course, restaurants, and oh! Polyface Farms!! Our trip will culminate with The Greenbrier for my Birthday. If you don’t hear from me until we return, I promise some wonderful reviews of our escapades and good information on a trip east to my family “home” in Virginia! You can still place orders for delivery from 9/28. Whoo HOOOOOO….she crab soup here we come!!!
If you’re going for a mustard (South Carolina) or a vinegar (North Carolina) BBQ flavor profile for your pulled pork, one of the essential sides is coleslaw, and hot sauce (Texas Pete is a big one down south, but use your favorite!). Thank you to a friend who put this together and made it easier after all these years of topping my sandwich with coleslaw and then shaking on the hot sauce…try mixing in a tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce WITH your coleslaw for a WONDERFUL spicy kick and an EASY pulled pork sandwich topping! Questions about hot sauce? Pulled Pork? Cole Slaw? Lula answers them at www.lulasforlunch.com !!
Raw garlic is strongest. The more you cook garlic the milder it gets. Never brown or burn garlic – it’s useless and must be thrown away. It will make your food taste nasty! Always add garlic to flavor bases (like sauteed onions) at the end, and stir through only for a minute or less before adding your liquid. At 150 degrees, garlic’s enzymes are destroyed and no longer produce flavor. For this reason, sometimes it’s best to use garlic POWDER in a rub rather than fresh garlic – it doesn’t burn in the oven or on the grill. For any questions regarding garlic, one of my favorite things, contact me at www.lulasforlunch.com –Lula
Don’t mess with fancy tools to skin or cut garlic. You need only a big knife (chef’s – because of the wide blade). Lay the garlic flat side down on a cutting board and place the flat side of the blade on top of the clove. Holding the handle with one hand, smack the blade with the heel of your other hand right where the clove is laying. If you want to SLICE your garlic (milder flavor), then smack it lightly to “pop” the peel loose. If you want to mince your garlic (yea, garlic lovers!), SMASH with more force with the heel of your hand, and most of your mincing will have been done for you! In both cases, once you smack or smash, the skin will easily come off with a gentle pull at the narrow end. –Lula
Allicin – the compound created when garlic cell walls are ruptured, is what gives garlic is flavor and strength. The more you rupture the walls, the stronger the garlic becomes.
If you’re going, Lula says stay away from nachos…fake runny “cheesefood”. DO get a corndog – batter dipped fresh before your eyes! Yum! Pretzels are OK – more like a freshely baked roll consistency than a true pretzel, though. You are able to order 4 or 5 condiments AT A PRICE – a ridiculous price, but hey, we are a captive audience aren’t we?!? The “Garlic Parmesan Fries” are simply fresh cut fries doused (and I mean DOUSED) with Italian dressing. Yuck. Mango fruit smoothie ROCKS! –Lula