Thursday, October 02, 2008

highlight #97: Round two in more ways than one - Restaurant: Muss & Turner's

The surest way to know that I've been a good guest is to be invited back by the same host for a second time. And that's exactly what happened this week. The lovely C, who had so kindly invited me to the best wine dinner just a few short months ago asked J and I to her house for round two, this time to celebrate her new "egg," (won for the second year in a row at the High museum auction) with an inauguration grilling session helmed by the great guys from Muss & Turner.

We showed up at C's inviting home to find her puppy B already busy sniffing out the new toy on the back deck.

Inside, the M&T owners Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner laid out some tasty snacks to help get the party started. Not to disappoint the chefs, the ten of us dug in without hesitation. While everyone else busied themselves loading a rather different creamy "salsa" on to crackers, I found immense pleasure in the cute little pickled peppers that were delightfully briny and bright.

On the beverage end, there was a selection of chilled whites and easy drinking reds from M&T on hand. My favorite for the evening was the Martino Biscardo "Ripasso" from Veneto. Made using the ripasso method of passing the wine from Corvino and Rondinella grapes through Amarone lees, this was an unusually find in a very affordable price range. Perfect for the casual grilled food to come, this plummy, figgy, and fleshy wine offered up plenty of fruits but also showed a depth of chocolaty and earthy notes. It was great fun to drink and easy to enjoy. To make the drinking even more fun, AJC's Bob Townsend was our "beer guy" for the evening, guiding us through a number of bottles I've not seen on regular beer shelves. Please excuse my lack of descriptions, my beer knowledge is really rather pathetic considering that I've married quite the beer lover. Although he showed up late to the party and missed a good number of bottles, a hefty price to pay for a valuable life lesson. :)

Back outside, chef Mussman had finished up some cured salmon and shrimps on the "egg" tamed low and slow. The platter of pink seafood looked way too innocent to pack the kind of flavor punch they did. The curing had done wonders for the texture, which was preserved with minimal moisture lost in the gentle "egg."

After the seafood, some chunky veggies were tossed on a turned up grill to get some good grill marks.

I missed the outside cooking session with the burgers. But no matter, I was there for the eating.
Now the burger. Before I get to what this burger is, let me first just tell you what it isn't. It isn't the sizzling, grease dripping, char bits clad stuff to cure a hangover. Neither is it a lean and "healthy tasting" puck of zero enjoyment. What this is is 100% grass fed beef from young cows that were allowed to roam, but not long enough to become tough and is cooked just beyond red to pink all through the center. When I say pink, I really mean pink, like a peony. This was pretty meat that tasted like sweet cows if that makes any sense. I ate a half of my hefty burger with a bit of mustard and ketchup and shared the other half with a still growing R who immediately added the requisite BBQ sauce. :) You gotta love a man who knows exactly what he wants.

To finish things off on a sweet note, a box was opened to reveal a generous collection of M&T goodies. I tried a bite of each and then devoted myself to the blondies. Buttery yet not overly so, this was a good treat freshly made as it was lightly toasted the next evening.

Muss & Turner's
1675 Cumberland Parkway Ste 309
Smyrna, GA 30080


Dirty said...

Wow- Looks awesome!

Great to see you and J the other night!

Cathy said...

It was great seeing you too!

Let's try to get together soon. I was actually thinking of maybe organizing a bloggers dinner. Think you might be up for that?