Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Weekly Menu: The Grape, Iced Coffee, and Mango Sorbet


The Weekly Menu

Place: The Grape

Crave: Iced Coffee

Recipe: Mango Sorbet


The (bland) Grape

Since I currently reside in the metro area and not in the city of Atlanta, I have been on a constant search to find a decent bar to relax over a good drink. I recently discovered The Grape, a franchise of wine bars and bistros in the south with the exception of Nevada. To my surprise, this particular location I visited has been open for 10 years. I instantly became excited upon entering the bar, hoping this could be a potential activity in my regular routine in Atlanta.


Not exactly. Maybe I am a little too partial to New York, but I left The Grape feeling that its just a gentrified wine bar with a lack of its own personification, versatile wines, and tasty dishes. Due to the surrounding humid weather, I tried the La Noble 2005 Chardonnay. Even though it had a crisp, buttery color with mellow hints of pear and citrus, it tasted pretty bland in general. I thought the food I ordered would change the flavor. I tried the cambozola, prosciutto, and fig flatbread. Considering the bread alone was overcooked and almost of cracker consistency, there was not much to savor but the fig spread and prosciutto. It could use even a little more cheese. As for the wine, the food did not change it much. I even tried to drink it slower than usual, hoping the air would change its dull mellowness but nothing happened.

Despite the gentrification, bland wine, and overcooked food, the service was great. They were not too pushy but immediately there when you needed them. The Grape offers a decent elementary education to novice wine drinkers, but I would not recommend it if you are looking for more distinctive selections.

The Grape
4300 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339
770.803.WINE
www.yourgrape.com


Cooling With Iced Coffee

I always forget that Atlanta is called Hotlanta for a reason. I forgot the days where one would go outside for minutes only to come back sweating a bottle of water. Even though I am a coffee junkie, the thought of having a hot coffee in 100 degree heat just makes me want to cringe until I rediscovered iced coffee. I always thought the combination of ice and freshly brewed coffee did not make any sense and would ruin my coffee jolt. I was entirely wrong.

Its all about the coffee. I find that using a lighter coffee is more vulnerable to becoming watery if used with ice. A bold, rich coffee strongly holds the coffee flavor, and it will not fade if you add milk and sugar to it.

Good ones to note so far: I prefer Seattle's Best and my local coffee shop, Cool Beans in Marietta. I would stay away from Starbucks, for
the coffee was not strong enough, and the staff repeatedly puts too much ice.


Makin Mango Sorbet

We had a leftover mango in our fridge from last week and had no clue what to do with it until I remembered a house party my friend held in New York one night. We had a sweet pineapple sorbet which led my light to go on inside my head. Such a super simple dessert in which one needs only a stove (if you have none), blender, and ice cream maker. Nothing more and nothing less. I made it for 2-3 servings so you can double it if needed.

1 Mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes

1/4 Cup Simple Syrup*

1. Place mango into blender/food processor. Pulse until well blended.

2. Set up ice cream maker. Turn on and pour mango and simple syrup. Allow to churn for 30 minutes.

3. Dissemble ice cream maker and place sorbet into container or serving bowls. Add any garnish of your choice.


(*) How to make simple syrup (1 Cup): In medium saucepan, boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water together while stirring over stove on high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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