Posts Tagged With: vegetarian

New Midlothian Restaurant – Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine

About a year ago, a new, little (actually little) shopping center started going up about a mile from my house. All the buildings had fancy facades that matched each other and it was starting to look like we were going to have a medical offices complex close by. As we drove by this complex being built everyday going to and from work, I said to Megan, “wouldn’t it be great if we got an awesome restaurant this close to our house!” She of course told me to not get my hopes up, so I didn’t. Well low and behold, a few weeks ago, up pops a sign for Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine, hot damn.

After giving the restaurant a few weeks to work out the jitters Megan and I went with her family to see if Mediterraneo would be a local favorite. Right off the bat, the interior of the restaurant was very pleasing. It had a cozy, warm atmosphere that was a great combination of rustic and modern making us feel far removed from the strip mall the restaurant is nestled in.


First off the wine list was very nice, a great range of wines both in region and countries as well as prices. Although I would have loved to choose one of the nice Barolo’s or Barbaresco’s on the menu, I decided to stick with the same region but different grape. We started off with the 2006 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d’ Asti DOC for $28. It had very nice red fruit, dominated by red currant and cherry with a touch of wet earth and shroom on the palate, very nice especially for the price point. On the menu we had ample vegetarian options for appetizers as well as entrees, so of course we were pleased.

In addition to the assortment of foccacia with sun-dried tomato olive oil dipping sauce and balsamic marinated olives we ordered a very interesting sounding salad as an appetizer. The Ricca Gorgonzola consisted of endive leaves filled with corn, hearts of palm, romaine and avocado topped with a creamy gorgonzola dressing. At $13.75, I was slightly concerned that the salad was overpriced until I saw the size of it, this definitely could have easily been shared by four people. The gorgonzola sauce was not overpowering and added a salty richness to the otherwise refreshing salad.

By this time we were already on our second bottle of Chiarlo Barbera and we ordering our 3rd before the entrees arrived but were informed that we had taken the last two bottles. So, wanting to stick with Barbera I chose another one from the list although a bit more expensive at $40, the 2005 Rive Barbera d’ Alba DOC was quite good. The Rive had more dark fruit and fuller tannins, surprising being that it was a year older, and again a healthy dose of earthy, funkiness that was very nice and provided some great layers to each sip.

For entrees Megan got the Gnocchi ($13.75) and I got the Fettuccine Alfredo ($12.75) as well as a side of asparagus. The gnocchi was covered in a wonderful fresh basil pesto and was cooked to perfection. My fettuccine was quite surprising, but in a good way. I hadn’t had fettuccine alfredo in quite some time, remembering it as an overly rich soupy, cheesy mess that isn’t worth the caloric expenditure. But I went out on a limb and was glad I did, the dish was not super heavy but definitely rich and super flavorful. The sauce had a slight nuttiness to it that was enjoyable and the fettuccine itself was cooked perfectly and was just on the side of al dente.

For dessert we had hazelnut gelato and two cups of coffee. Oh man, I am not sure if the hazelnut gelato is always on the menu, but I definitely hope it is the next time we go back. It was so good!! It was as if someone took some Nutella and a bit of espresso and froze it to make this creamy delight!!

Everyone else at the table loved their dishes as well even my Italian brother in law gave his seal of approval. Some of the other dishes were the Filetto al Pepe Verde ($26 – filet mignon, topped with creamy green peppercorn sauce), Carpaccio di Manzo ($12.75 – thinly sliced beef loin topped with micro greens, shaved cheese and extra virgin olive oil), Swordfish ($23 – fresh swordfish grilled and topped with lemon salmoriglio) as well as a couple more that I didn’t write down and can’t remember. In addition for vegetarians, there are a few more pasta options as well as some great sounding pizzas.


Also being the stemware freak that I am, I loved all the glassware that Mediterraneo uses, it definitely adds a nice touch. I can’t wait to go back, especially since I can walk to the restaurant!


Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine

3730 Winterfield Rd.

Midlothian VA 23113


Mediterraneo Fine Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Categories: restaurant review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

What to pair with Tofurky?

tofurkyAround this time of year, wine bloggers, magazines and newspapers start printing their Thanksgiving wine pairing ideas. I usually don’t write about my wine pairing strategy, but rather post what I am going to drink or actually did drink on the festive occasion. This year, I feel it is my duty as a vegetarian to post my wine pairing ideas for Tofurky.

Ah Tofurky, that gloriously weird (even to a veggie) molded mock turkey that elicits giggles and ridicule from our non-vegetarian family members year after year.  As the name would imply, Tofurky is primarily made of tofu, with other protein-rich ingredients like soybeans, garbanzo beans and wheat gluten.  The “skin” is mysteriously textured and the inside is stuffed with a mixture of brown rice and whole wheat bread crumbs.  I think the key in pairing this wonderful “bird” with a wine is in the 3 basting options that are provided from the company.


Tofurky Baste – option 1:
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

Tofurky Baste – option 2:
1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sweetener of your choice.

Tofurky Baste – option 3:
1 tablespoon apricot jam or spread
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water

As you can see, the main ingredients in all of these are a type of oil and soy sauce. The Tofurky itself is like tofu in that it has a fairly neutral taste to it and typically takes on the flavor of the chosen baste. So barring a hugely tannic red wine, the pairing possibilities are quite extensive.

We primarily choose the first option above, because it is the more savory of the three, although we “freestyle” wih fresh sage and a bit of thyme.The wine I usually choose is a nice Cabernet Franc, preferably from Virginia or the Loire Valley. These wines are usually softer in nature and have great red fruit, earthy, herbal and vegetal notes that help to enhance the “herbiness” of the baste.

Since I usually don’t choose the sweeter basting options, I can’t speak from experience, though based on the ingredients I would probably choose a wine to enhance the tropical fruit notes of the basting concoction. Be careful though, the olive oil combined with the soy sauce does provide a distinct flavor and somewhat fatty texture. I would go with a fuller bodied Pinot Gris, a bone dry Riesling or even a Viognier.If all else fails, I love to fall back on a good ol’ dry Rose, which will go with almost everything on the table.

The other thing to consider is the fact that the vegetarians are typically the only ones bold enough to eat Tofurky.  If you choose to indulge, make sure that the wine you choose will go with the plethora of other foods that are being served.  More than likely you will be fine, because as my friend Lenn put it “there just isn’t a “perfect” pairing for anything”. With all of that said, drink what you like and it will almost definitely go with Tofurky, and green bean casserole etc…

If you are a Tofurky fan, please leave a comment letting me know what you pair with it.


Categories: wine pairing | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments