Opening Soon: The Wine Bar

SAMSUNGOxford has been abuzz over the Wine Bar signs that went up recently on the former location of Emileigh’s/Roasted at 401 South Lamar Boulevard.

With everyone wondering what this potential hot spot will offer, EatingOxford.com intern Leah Hawkins tracked down Lee Valentine and family along with manager and partner, Kevin Brooks, who are busily preparing for a mid-summer opening.

Read on to find out why the foursome chose to set up shop in Oxford, and how the restaurant’s unique offerings will help to set The Wine Bar apart from other bars and restaurants on The Square.

Leah at EatingOxford.com: Why did you choose to open The Wine Bar in Oxford?

The Valentines: As Ole Miss Alumni, and long-time supporters of the Oxford community, we feel like The Oxford Square is a quintessential southern destination for shopping, eating and nightlife. We wanted to add to the sophistication and charm of The Square by bringing it something unique and different.

Partnering with manager Kevin Brooks was the first step in making this dream a reality. Kevin brings years of experience in managing restaurants, country clubs, and wine & spirits shops. He’s a certified whisky expert and is equally knowledgeable when it comes to wine, having been a student of wines of the world for the better part of a decade.

What is The Wine Bar exactly? Is it a bar/lounge? What will the atmosphere be like?

The Wine Bar is a bar and restaurant with a 1920s, speakeasy feel—something that is very unique to the Square. We want our guests to be able to experience everything a bar and restaurant has to offer, combined with an upscale, elegant aesthetic reminiscent of a bygone era. The low-key yet sophisticated atmosphere will allow patrons to enjoy conversation in a relaxed, welcoming environment.

What types of wine will you offer?

The Wine Bar will offer a very eclectic array of wines from all over the world. We are going to focus on the very best grapes from the best regions, which can change seasonally or annually. Our selection of wines will truly run the gamut. We have relationships with some of the top wine providers and will have access to exclusive wines that you will only find at The Wine Bar.

Will The Wine Bar serve food?

Yes. We are privileged to feature executive chef John Burge (you may know him from his work at Lenora’s). He brings with him decades of experience cooking as well as teaching food and wine classes all over the United States. He’s been instrumental in helping us craft our food vision. We believe that wine should dictate the dish, so as our wine offerings evolve, so will our menu.

Every wine region in the world has food indigenous to its area, so we will recreate that, or at least, pay homage to it. Our menu will generally feature small plates and tapas-style items, but won’t be limited to those barriers. Each dish will be prepared from the freshest local ingredients. We are dedicated to supporting local farms and our food will be an inspired farm-to-table experience.

Will The Wine Bar offer beer?

Despite what our name may suggest, we are much more than just wine. In addition to favorite domestic and imported beers, our guests will be able to enjoy the best ales, pilsners, lagers, and stouts the country has to offer, with a focus on supporting the many micro-brews from around the South. Like our wines and whiskeys, our beer selection will change seasonally to provide the best and freshest beers available.

What about specialty scotches, etc.?

Yes, keeping with the theme of varied and unique drink offerings, our whisky concentration will include all the regional Scotch whiskeys such as Speysides, Highlands and Islay styles. We’ll also carry the malted whiskeys of Japan, Canada, and the U.S. Irish whiskeys and American Ryes are a special offering to show how far American whiskeys have come. And, we’ll of course offer Bourbons—be it Kentucky or West Coast, we’ll have them at The Wine Bar.

Will you offer wine flights for those wanting to sample wines?

Yes. We will have wine, whiskey, and beer flights along with flights/samplers of certain food items.

Will private parties be accommodated at The Wine Bar? 

Yes, absolutely. The Wine Bar is the perfect venue for private events of all sizes. We will also have a room called “The Cellar” that will specialize in smaller private events for up to 16 people and there are plans to possibly add another private room in the future.

Can we look forward to any special events such as wine tastings, wine and food pairings, etc.?

Yes! We will have special events of all kinds, ranging from fun wine, beer, whisky, and food tastings to engaging wine classes for those who want to expand on a beverage and food experience. The best part about our events will be their accessibility. They will cater not only to the casual enthusiast but also to the most obsessed connoisseur.

What will your business hours be?

We plan to be open seven days a week from noon to 1:00 a.m. (or midnight depending on the day). On Sundays, we will likely open early for wine and champagne-paired brunches.

 

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Sunday Liquor Sales Fuel New Brunch Offerings

Photo: infrogmation (Flickr)

Photo: infrogmation (Flickr)

By Katherine Bailey

With the new Sunday alcohol sales in effect, many restaurants in Oxford are opening their doors for brunch and/or drink specials while others are hoping to see some new faces at existing brunches. We’ve compiled the following list to help you navigate Oxford’s Sunday brunch offerings. Let us know if we’ve forgotten your favorite.

 

Sunday Brunch

City Grocery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Honey Bee Bakery from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Irie from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lenora’s

Locals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Oxford Grillehouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (build-your-own bloody Mary and mimosa bar)

Proud Larry’s from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ravine from 10:30 to 2 p.m.

Snackbar from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (serving limited Big Bad Breakfast menu)

Tre Amici from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

***Need more details? Check the Eating Oxford Restaurant Guide for restaurant contact info.***

 

7 Things You Need to Know About My Michelle’s

Hot Buffet 1

Photo by Paul Gandy

Last week, we gave away a $25 gift certificate to My Michelle’s on the Eating Oxford Facebook page. The contest drew nearly 100 entries, and helped to provide dozens of new buffet ideas to My Michelle’s. During the process, several questions came up about menu offerings, location and specials. This post will answer all of your questions and more.

1.       New Offerings: Over the past few months, My Michelle’s has grown its meals-to-go and catering model to one that includes those offerings alongside a full sit-down breakfast and lunch buffet Monday through Saturday.

Salad Bar

Photo by Paul Gandy

2.       Menu: The buffet menu at My Michelle’s changes every day, with the help of new chef Trey Bridgers who hails from City Grocery, Oby’s and Aramark. Menus are posted daily on the My Michelle’s Facebook page and include items such as wheatberry French toast; whole wheat biscuits; gluten-free buckwheat pancakes; steel-cut oats; eggs; Applewood-smoked bacon; and a granola, fruit and yogurt bar for breakfast, and a salad bar; smoked turkey pot pie; meaty pasta bake; Cajun shrimp and quinoa; and grilled sticky soy Hoisin chicken thighs for lunch. Breakfast is 7-10; Lunch is 11-3.

3.       Location: My Michelle’s is located at 1308 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 3. It will be four years in June since owner Michelle Rounsaville moved her business from just off University Avenue into a shared kitchen with Nancy Nations of Nations’ Best Catering, and just a few months back when they expanded the 1308 Lamar space to create a sit-down restaurant.

4.       Casseroles and Catering: For fans of Michelle’s to-go casseroles, grab-and-go dips and catering, these are all still very much available. My Michelle’s regularly caters weddings, parties and tailgating events, and by signing up for the newsletter you can keep track of the freezer sales they regularly run on casseroles, soups and dips.

5.       Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Intolerant Friendly: For those with special dietary needs, the buffet always features a vegetarian soup, most of the vegetables are vegetarian (marked if not), and the vinaigrettes offered on the salad bar are gluten-free.

My Michelle's Buffet

Photo by Paul Gandy

6.       Know Before You Go: The menu is buffet style, but you pay according to weight, similar to the Whole Foods pay-per-pound model. This model fits in nicely with the whole/locally grown/organic concept at My Michelle’s.

7.       Insider Tips: Grab a loyalty card while you’re there; it will get you a free trip to the buffet after 10 punches. Students—use your campus ID for free coffee or tea!

To find out more, visit mymichellesoxford.com or the My Michelle’s Facebook page.

 

My Michelle's on Urbanspoon

Be Proud of Your Brunch

proud larrys brunch - sean

By Sean D.

The Proud Larry’s Sunday brunch is another one of those things that I’ve always heard about and somehow managed to miss week after week. I can now proudly say that I’m in the know on this one.

The joys of Proud Larry’s Sunday brunch are two-fold: the food is amazing and there’s no waiting 45 minutes to two hours for a table.

When we went to Proud Larry’s last Sunday, the first thing I noticed was that the place was busy, but still had open tables. Then I heard the Beach Boys playlist and I was sold.

The brunch menu on Sundays is truly something special, with a large selection of omelets, pizzas and other favorites. The Mediterranean omelet was loaded with artichokes, red onion, feta and kalamata olives inside astonishingly fluffy eggs. It was refreshing to have an omelet filled with such fresh, light ingredients.

proud larrys brunch 2 - seanWe also tried the Larry Benedict with its Tabasco hollandaise and crispy sausage. It was a unique interpretation of a classic that was perfectly complimented by the accompanying cheese grits and biscuit.

Overall, I thought that the Proud Larry’s brunch was perfectly executed, laid back, and well priced. It’s a great spot for Sunday brunch regardless of whether you’re stopping in after church or nursing a 5-alarm hangover.

Have you tried it yet? Where else do you recommend for Sunday brunch?

–Sean

 

Honey Bee Bakery Halts Dinner Service for Summer

For the next six weeks or so, Honey Bee Bakery will not be offering dinner service, according to Honey Bee chef Sean Adams. The restaurant will resume normal dinner hours once school starts back up in the fall.

In the meantime, you can still find baked goods from Honey Bee at the Oxford City Market each Tuesday, and the restaurant’s open hours will be as follows:

 

Tuesday-Friday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (serving lunch 11-2)

Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (serving brunch 8-2)

Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for brunch/bakery

Oxford Grillehouse Menu

The Oxford Grillehouse, located on the first floor of Rooster’s, opened this past week, offering a brunch on Saturday and Sunday with bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary’s.

Much of the weeknight dinner menu has transferred over from the former Char Grille location, but I’m posting a link to the menu here as a reminder of what chef/owner Clint Boutwell is serving up.

 

 

 

 

Remember Mom this Sunday!

mom and me

Me and my awesome mom!

With all of the commotion of Ole Miss graduation this Saturday, don’t let it slip your mind that Mom’s day is on Sunday. Take some time out to celebrate the wonderful woman in your life who has given you so much!

The restaurants around Oxford will be bustling with activity, and Mother’s Day is also one of the “Select Sundays” in Oxford when you can treat mom to an alcoholic beverage of her choice.

While most restaurants will be first-come-first-serve, I’d suggest calling ahead if you have your heart set on taking mom to her favorite place; some restaurants will be accepting reservations, and a few are even organizing special brunches:

The Inn at Ole Miss Mother’s Day Brunch – seatings at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. (reservations required by Thursday at noon - click for more info)

Lenora’s Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (see event page)

Let me know if you’ve heard of any other Mother’s Day events and I’ll add them to the list.

 

 

 

 

Free Pancakes at IHOP Tuesday, Feb. 5

ihop

For the eighth year in a row, IHOP is celebrating National Pancake Day by offering its guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes on Tuesday, February 5, from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

For every short stack served, IHOP guests are invited to make a voluntary donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Donations made in the Oxford area will benefit the program at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center. IHOP hopes to raise $3 million this year, with an overall goal of more than $13 million.

For more information, or to donate online, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com

Game Weekend Sunday Brunch at Char Grille

 

Char Grille at 1518 Jackson Avenue is introducing Sunday brunch on Ole Miss game Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. starting this weekend. Thanks to new local laws that allow liquor to be served on special holiday and game-day-weekend Sundays, you’ll be able to enjoy mimosas and bloody mary’s along with your meal as well.

Brunch menu items include selections ranging from Shrimp and Crawfish Creamy Etouffee Smothered Biscuits to Bourbon and Banana Bread Pudding served French Toast Style.

See the complete menu above or call Char Grill for more information at 662-701-8285.

Old-Fashioned Grocery in Water Valley

When you’re in the mood for a lazy drive away from the Square, consider the quaint little grocery called The B.T.C. just up the road at 301 N. Main St. in Water Valley.

According to co-owner Alexe van Beuren, The B.T.C. is first and foremost a grocery, but it also houses a small, informal cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, and breakfast all day on Sunday. Breakfast highlights include housemade sausage gravy and grits, while lunch features an array of soups, salads, and sandwiches. It may be a simple menu, but Alexe says it’s made with love by Dixie Grimes (former head chef at Oxford’s Downtown Grille). Dixie also makes the grocery’s deli spreads; salads, such as watermelon feta; and frozen casseroles and entrees.

B.T.C. also stocks deli salads such as Tex-Mex pimento cheese and hand-pulled chicken salad; take-home casseroles (think hoop and havarti macaroni, jalapeno grits); and deli meats and cheeses that are sliced daily. Have a sweet tooth? Cora is on hand creating fried pies, chocolate buttermilk cake and other decadent treats.

The cafe is informal, with a playhouse for children, and affordable pricing, including some $2 sandwiches and a full-plate breakfast (eggs, bacon, biscuit and grits) for $5.99.

According to Alexe, the grocery carries several items not found anywhere else in the state, such as Eduardo’s handmade pasta from San Francisco. And B.T.C. Grocery offers delivery service to Oxonians who can’t make the trip to Water Valley, meeting customers at the local Garden Center on Fridays (same prices as if you had driven to Water Valley and shopped yourself).

B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery on Urbanspoon

New Chef and Menu at Colonel's Quarters

If you haven’t been out to Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill lately, the restaurant recently hired Lauren Lanza, the chef from Yocona in Exile. She’s brought a new menu to Colonel’s Quarters, with items such as fried goat cheese salad, braised short rib grilled cheese, butternut squash lasagna and pan-roasted salmon.

Brunch is available from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the kitchen is open until 9:00 p.m. and the lounge is open til midnight. Colonel’s Quarters also has resort status, so the bar is always open on Sundays.

 

New Menus at Lusa Pastry Cafe

Lusa Pastry Cafe has introduced updated menus for breakfast and lunch, which include new sandwiches and a daily soup menu.

The newly expanded restaurant and Portuguese bakery is open Tuesday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A new Facebook group page has also been setup here.

Lusa on Urbanspoon

Aphrodisiacs and New Menus at Ravine

Thursday’s art opening featuring Lisa Williamson of Memphis is the kickoff of several events coming up at Ravine.

The next food and wine pairing, scheduled for Wednesday, February 1, will carry the theme of “aphrodisiacs” as an early tribute to Valentine’s Day. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the cost is $30 per person. Call Ravine for reservations at 234-4555.

And speaking of Valentine’s Day, while Ravine is usually closed on Tuesdays, it will be open to accommodate those who want to enjoy a romantic evening near the fireplace. Call early to reserve a spot.

New menus (all except brunch) have also surfaced since the start of the new year. Check them out on the restaurant’s website or peruse them in person.

Ravine on Urbanspoon

Party at Honey Bee Bakery November 2nd

On Wednesday, November 2, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., in celebration of Honey Bee Bakery’s 3rd birthday and its grand opening for dinner, Oxford is invited to an afternoon “Friends of Honey Bee” party filled with delicious food created at the bakery; a showing of artwork from local artists; music; and wine.

Similar to lunch, every dish offered at dinner is homemade, southern, simple, affordable, and utilizes local ingredients whenever possible. A renovated and redesigned dining room helps promote an intimate dining experience, and the bakery is also now licensed for brown bag services, so feel free to bring a bottle of your favorite wine when you try out the new dinner menu.

Honey Bee Bakery is no longer serving breakfast during the week, but the weekend brunch is still offered Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m. The bakery’s new hours are Tuesday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Honey Bee Bakery on Urbanspoon

BBB Pain Perdu Recipe

credit: Bob Chamberlin/L.A. Times

If you’re a fan of Big Bad Breakfast, maybe you’ve ordered the Pain Perdu, a brandy-spiked French toast with berries and chantilly cream, on one of your visits.
 
Last week, the Los Angeles Times shared a recipe for the breakfast favorite, which I’ll pass along below. Be sure to send a photo if you make your own!
 
Big Bad Breakfast’s pain perdu
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
 
Chantilly cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until needed; the chantilly cream can be made up to 1 hour in advance.

Pain perdu and assembly
4 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup brandy
Peanut oil for frying
6 slices Texas toast or country white bread cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
Powdered sugar, fresh berries and/or Chantilly cream to garnish

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, half-and-half and brandy until thoroughly combined to make the batter.
2. Add enough oil to come up the sides of a deep cast iron skillet by about 1 inch. Heat the oil until a thermometer inserted reaches 325 degrees.
3. Halve the bread slices diagonally. Dredge a couple slices in the batter until both sides are thoroughly soaked. Lift the slices out of the batter and allow to drain briefly.
4. Carefully place the bread into the fry oil and fry each side until golden-brown, approximately 1 minute per side.
5. Remove the toast from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining slices until all are fried.
6. Serve the pain perdu, three pieces to a plate. Garnish as desired. The restaurant serves the dish topped with powdered sugar, berries and chantilly cream.

Each of 4 servings: 675 calories; 13 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 46 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 305 mg cholesterol; 14 grams sugar; 566 mg sodium.

 

Big Bad Breakfast on Urbanspoon