Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from Cuisine and Screen!

I cannot wait to dig into my Pumpkin Italian Cream Cake, recipe courtesy of Mississippi Kitchen!

I had the pleasure of reuniting with some friends at Milner's in Winston-Salem last night, and enjoyed their Bourbon Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. This is unlike any Pecan Pie I've ever had. Luxurious, velvety, uber rich - this is the stuff dreams are made of. Go Friday, after your turkey coma has worn off!

Dining out today? Check out this list of restaurants open in Winston-Salem:

For you Greensboro folks, get your gobble on here:

Hoping to see "The Book Thief", "Dallas Buyers Club" or "12 Years a Slave" today. Anyone planning to go to the movies too?

Take a moment to be thankful today. Now get eating!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Europa Bar and Cafe

I think everyone in Greensboro can agree that Europa Bar and Café is a wonderful place to spend an evening. This happens to be a very special place to me personally, but if you’re looking for a ladies’ night out (see Wednesday's half-off already inexpensive wine), or a place to take your parents when they visit (you really can’t beat the brunch value), Europa has been my go-to for a while. 

A lovely, spacious patio makes me want it to be 75 degrees year-round. Inside, the wooden accents and long bar invite you to picture Hemingway and the like sitting there, enjoying a cocktail. Whenever you have a craving, just give the bartender a wink and say the word “Pimms” or “Cointreau” and he’ll whip you up just what you were looking for.

Essentially everything on the menu is tremendous bang for your buck. The Grilled Chorizo appetizer gives you two deliciously plump links of Spanish Chorizo, served with Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, which is reminiscent of hummus. Warm pita is a nice base for these spreads. The Garlic-Lime Shrimp appetizer may be my favorite thing on the menu. Black Tiger Shrimp is saturated with flavors of Garlic, Lime Juice and Cilantro, and served in a boat of buttery sauce, featuring all of those flavors. You won’t be able to resist dunking the Italian bread that comes alongside in this. The flavors are robust.

I spoke too soon - the Niciose Salad is my favorite thing on the menu. Mixed Greens with Tomatoes, Hericots Verts, Boiled Potatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, Olives and Grilled Tuna are dressed with the best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing I've ever tasted in my life. This is an exquisite salad. The dressing wowed me big time. This is not your average BV. The Cuban is phenomenal. Pork, Ham, Mustard, Swiss and PICKLES are too classic a combination to be altered. Order the cold herb and vinegar-based Pasta Salad as your side, and you'll swear off the Ranch dressing-based stuff for life. It rocks.

Unforunately, Europa is like all of us humans, and thus cannot be *perfect*. The Crab Dip is Cream Cheese-based, and baked and topped with Parmesan and Breadcrumbs. It’s pretty rich, and not my favorite rendition – I detected very little crab against all the cheese. It’s served with fried, greasy pita, which makes it even more overwhelming – simple grilled pita would be preferred here. I was deceived by the list of ingredients in the Pork Belly and Jalapeno Sandwich description. These are all “Amanda” words, but the dish leaves a lot to be desired. Pork Tenderloin is wrapped in Pork Belly, layered with Gruyere Cheese and Jalapenos on a baguette. I needed more flavor from the pork, and less grease. Also, the Croque Madame is better in Paris (but what isn’t?) A little tweaking (and salt) to their Beschamel would do this mama sando right.

Europa is perhaps the best brunch in town, and without a doubt the most wallet-friendly. The three egg Western Omelette serves as a bed for Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Red Peppers and Pepper Jack Cheese, alongside Hash Browns (the fried potato cube kind), fruit and a miniature muffin. For $6.50. Unreal! Fancy yourself a Gruyere Omelette with a Blue Cheese Wedge Salad? Just a meager $6! Cappuccinos are the proper size and potency. Bring me a split of Spanish Cava and just the right amount of OJ to fill it to the top, and I’m a happy girl.

You’ll see me here a few times a month, and wished you’d discovered this spot sooner if you haven’t already.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Table 16

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Counselor

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt
Director: Ridley Scott
Running Time: R
Rating: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Put Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in a film and every woman on Earth is happy. Unfortunately, these beautiful all-stars couldn’t save this sorry excuse for a film. Loose beginnings and loose endings really don’t leave you much to contemplate. If you ask me where it went wrong, it was when "The Counselor" started. I sat there the entire 117 minutes wondering what exactly the point was, and it’s never really addressed. All talk and very little action make for a really poor movie.

Ridley Scott is known for making long movies, and Cormac McCarthy is a pro at writing obscure scripts with long scenes and lots of dialogue (see "Robin Hood" and  "No Country for Old Men," respectively). Combine the two men, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The casting is the only saving grace of the film, except for Cameron Diaz. She just isn’t quite the badass broad her character is supposed to be. Angelina Jolie, someone with easy sex appeal AND bad bitch-dom would have been stronger here. I won’t get the ridiculous car scene with Diaz out of my mind anytime soon, though. You don’t want to watch this with your parents.

Michael Fassbender is just yum. He isn’t given a name other than “the Counselor” during the entire film. He embarks into the world of drugs and the Cartel, but before he can get his foot in the door, a coincidence paints him in a very bad lighting – not good when you’re dealing with the Cartel. This is just begging to be a little more like “Savages,” but you never get any of the heart-pounding action and suspense.

Westray (Pitt) and Reiner (Bardem) are in the Counselor’s drug ring, with Bardem’s character looking especially wiggity-whack. The beautiful Cruz is phenomenal as Laura, the Counselor’s naïve and concerned fiancée. John Leguizamo has a terrific cameo, but don’t blink.

The only thing I got out of this film is all the eye candy and two terrific lines. Westray tells the Counselor "you don’t really know someone until you know what they want" (universal truth), and the Counselor tells Laura “being in bed with you is life, everything else is just waiting.” Swoon. But seriously, don’t waste your time on this one.