Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never Let Them Get Your Goat

Being a Taylor, and now up in “Taylor” wine country… we can’t help but go to our favorite winery…Bully Hill.  With Mom in Elmira with Grandma, Dave and I sneak away from the kids for a date lunch at the Restaurant at Bully Hill.
A brief history on Bully Hill... It was founded by Walter S. Taylor the same year he was fired from the family business - Taylor Wine Company in 1970.  In '77, Taylor Wines merged with the Coco-Cola Co., and they sued Walter to have him stop using HIS LAST NAME on his wine products.  He lost ... and the Taylor name was blacked out on all Bully Hill labels.  He would sign them Walter S. _____

Walter was upset but pulled through it through humor, "I remembered when all those farmers demonstrated in Washington, they let loose a bunch of goats, and all the guards were running around after them. So I got a goat and it saved my life. That's when I decided to laugh at the whole thing, to laugh at life."

He then famously stated that "They took my name and heritage, but they didn't get my goat."

Until his death Walter Taylor would often say things like, "Just call me Walter S. Blank," or "Yes, I'm the owner of Bully Hill, but I can't tell you where I came from."  

Walter was also an artist...and created all the labels for his wines.  He took the Goat theme to his labels as well,  on his Love My Goat wines, and it is said that if you put all the labels together and fan through them, you will see the Goat lick his lips!

On to the restaurant...A beautiful setting overlooking the vineyards and the lake, we sit for what we know from experience will be a very nice meal. 
We were excited and surprised as this is the first time we were at the winery while they started the harvest! Fun to watch while we ate.
I order a glass of the Seyval Brut sparkling wine…served icy cold and absolutely delicious.  It is very dry cuvee but with a toasty, almost buttery finish and hints of a crisp, dry apple.  If you can find it in your stores, try a bottle!

This Brut went so deliciously well with my appetizer… Baked Brie.  A wonderfully warmed Brie with a raspberry almond compote, and served with apple slices, grapes and crispy, soft baguette pieces. 

The tangy, buttery, creamy Brie, mixed with the sweetness of the raspberry compote, spread on top of a crisp apple slice was just the right combination of flavors and textures to make your mouth happy.  I could have done with out the bread; except it was so crisp, yet so soft and aromatic that you just had to have a piece shmeared with the Brie. A rich, but light appetizer – Dave asked, as we ate, ‘Why don’t we think of doing this at home?’  I’ve no clue…but you can bet it’s being added to the list!

Dave’s appetizer was just about the best, absolute best chicken wings I’ve had in…oh, say…forever! 
They weren’t hot wings (I have an obsession with those) but a smoked wing and then served with two different sauces, should you want them (one a smoky sweet sauce, and one a tangy “hot” sauce)…And now we all know I’m a saucy girl…but this is the first time I would say, these wings-naked, were amazing.  The wings were hickory smoked, and so crispy you’d have thought they were fried…but nope, smoked to absolute perfection in a wing.  You bite into the crisp chicken and the flavor just fills your mouth, along with the juicy chicken piece – it was such a marriage of perfection in your mouth. 

 Moving on to our entrees … Dave ordered the Mediterranean Pita Sandwich, which had Roasted Eggplant, marinated and grilled Lamb with a roasted pepper aioli. 

Holy Flavor town! The eggplant, with its smoky grilled flavor, was cooked to the point that when you bit into the sandwich, it seemed there was an eggplant spread on the grilled pita, rather than the straight vegetable.  The lamb was so tender and with the hint of sweetness in the aioli – this sandwich was miles of flavor packed in a pita.  It was served with a delicious homemade potato salad and oh… grapes.  Again with the grapes, but these little bursts of angel sweetness were heaven. Not too sweet, not too tart, fleshy like a plum but with tender grape flavor…Dave says the only word he can think of to describe them is uncious. Yeah…Get some Delaware Grapes if you get a chance, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

 Now, one of the great reasons to do a food blog is that it will force me to order different things on a menu, rather than my usual…When I find something I love, I order it almost every time I go to a restaurant.  Well friends, this is not the time that I’m switching things up!  Lol.. I’ve ordered this same entrée each and every time I go to Bully Hill, and thank goodness I’ve never written about it before so I was forced to order it again.  Arm twisted…

Roasted Portobello Mushroom with a Maryland Style Crab cake and Seared Scallops.
Duh.  Need I say more?

Well, this is a blog, so of course I’m going to say more!  Just know…Salad not touched…Dave ate the French Fries…Cucumber salad, while I tasted it and it was delicious, I refused to let anything take up any more room in my stomach as I was about to stuff myself with the most delightful combination of goodness imaginable! 

Let’s start from the top…the Scallops.  Do you see that color on the sear? So completely golden and crispy, yet the scallop was perfectly cooked and had such a sweet tenderness and mild sea flavor.

The Crab Cake was filled, just simply filled with crab…seared perfectly as well, as that crust gave such a texture to a dish that can tend to be a bit mushy.  This was far, far from it…a nice crunch, a briny flavor and the sweetness of the crab was such a perfect combination with the meaty and smokiness flavor of the Portobello.  The blend of flavors and textures were enough to close your eyes and have a food moment right then and there.  While no tarter sauce was needed with this perfect pillow of delight, they did have a home made “tarter” sauce…I’ve no idea what was in it other than capers (oh, I’m obsessed with capers), it did have such a flavor to compliment the crab cake, with out drowning it out at all.

Bully Hill has listed their Crab Cake recipe on their web site...go, right this minute and make it!! Bully Hill's Crab Cake

Friends, I’ll recommend the Finger Lakes region to anyone, as it’s gorgeous, relaxing and just a fun place to be and explore.  But I’ll have to insist you visit at least one summer just so you can go to Bully Hill… take a tour, have a tasting…but definitely stop at the restaurant and have this amazing experience!!

So, my ratings:

Food: A+

Price:  Reasonable... Working off the Lunch Menu - The appetizers are sharable small plates around $12 and entrees range from $10-$16 dollars.

Service: a solid B+.  Taylor was our server and she was quick, bright and very attentive. Her attitude was very energetic and she was very thoughtful (we had just been seated when a table at the rail with a great view came available) and she asked us if we wanted to move, rather than re-seating the table.  Thanks, Taylor!

Bully Hill, my friends… Try it out… We’ll be going back next year, and unfortunately – or fortunately – I’ll be trying something different for the first time in 7 years!!

Until Next Time…

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