Thursday, June 24, 2010

VeggieDag Thursday: Fried Olives and Beer

The Department of Agriculture's newest Dietary Guidelines will recommend that Americans eat more vegetables. In lieu of absolute freshness, if more vegetables were prepared like these fried, gorgonzola-stuffed, Castelvetrano olives, maybe more Americans would heed the advice. (Well, okay, an olive is actually a fruit.)

Fried olives

Castelvetrano olives are all the rage these days, and should be. These Sicilian green olives are fruitier and less briny than the 'average' green olive. And, at Secco Wine Bar, they are but one appetizer on a creative menu.

Located in Richmond's Careytown district, Secco is itself is all the rage. Intimate in size, hip but inviting, it's been packed nightly since opening in May. On a recent Sunday evening, two beer bloggers and their friends were reserved a table for "collaborative research."

Reserved for Tom C.

Tom C. (Cizauskas) of Yours For Good
Eric Delia of Relentless Thirst

A wine bar yes, but with good beer and food as well (or, as the website puts it: "a European-style eatery for exceptional everyday dining, from the folks at River City Cellars").

Among (more than a few) beers we drank, La Douze ―celebrating the 12th anniversary of Swiss brewery Brasserie des Franche Montagnes (in the photo next to the olives)― was a draught standout. Zesty, lemony, yeasty (cloudy), spicy, and 6.5% alcohol by volume. The brewery mentions the use of salt to make the beer. Odd, since most breweries in fact routinely add brewing salts (including sodium chloride) to their brewing water in order to bring out flavor, and assist yeast fermentation.

As good as the beer was, we found those fried olives nearly addictive. We ordered three times.

Read more about our "collaborative research" from Eric Delia: here. View more photos: here. And, read a report of my pre-opening tour, led by owner Julia Battaglini: here.

Thank you to Julia for reserving the table for us. I freely admit my bias!

  • VeggieDag is a series of occasional Thursday posts on
    vegetarian cooking and food issues.
  • Why the name? Here.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed: Here.

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