The History of Eggs Benedict

In 1827, at the beginning of New York City's evolution as the financial center of the world, the genesis of what would become a world renowned culinary institution, Delmonico’s Restaurant, was set. A small shop selling classically prepared pastries, fine coffee and chocolate, bonbons, wines, and liquors as well as Havana cigars was operated by the Delmonico brothers. Its success led them to purchase a triangular plot of land at the intersection of Beaver, William, and South William Streets where, in 1837, they opened the first fine dining restaurant in the country.

Delmonico's offered the unheard of luxury of the availability of private dining rooms (located on the third floor) where discriminate entertaining was the order of the day. The basement held the restaurateur's treasure, the largest private wine cellar in the city, holding an impressive 16,000 bottles of the world's finest wines. It was during these early years that Chef Alessandro Felippini began to develop the restaurant's culinary identity with the house special, Delmonico Steak.

In 1862, Charles Ranhofer was named Chef de Cuisine inventing many original dishes during his time at Delmonico's. He is most noted for his innovative creations, Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska, and Lobster Newburg. These dishes remain on the Delmonico's menu today.

A regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, finding nothing to her liking and wanting something new to eat for lunch, discussed this with Delmonico’s Chef Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), Ranhofer indulged her with Eggs Benedict. He has a recipe called Eggs a' la Benedick (Eufa a' la Benedick) in his cookbook called The Epicurean published in 1894.:

Eggs à la Benedick - Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, then place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached egg on each toast. Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce.

Before Delmonico's , diners ate at cafes or boarding houses, where food was offered prix fixe. Diners had no choice of dishes but ate the food that was served. Delmonico's changed all that and claims the following firsts:

* The first dining establishment called by the French name restaurant
* The first restaurant where guests sat at their own tables instead of communal tables
* The first printed menu
* The first tablecloths
* The first debutante ball outside a private home
* The first restaurant to offer a leisurely lunch and dinner
* Oysters Rockefeller
* Lobster Newberg, first called Lobster Wenberg
* Baked Alaska in honor of the acquisition of the Alaskan territories
* Eggs Benedict
* Delmonico potatoes
* Delmonico steak
* Hamburger (known then as the Hamburg Steak)
*First use of the expression that something is "86'd"

(since the Delmonico Steak was item 86 on the menu and, when sold out, it was "86'd")

A good idea can be had in more than one place and more than one time. The following story appeared in the December 19,1942 issue of the weekly New Yorker Magazine "Talk of the Town" column and is based on an interview with Lemuel Benedict the year before he died:
In 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, who was suffering from a hangover, ordered “some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The Waldorf’s legendary chef, Oscar Tschirky, was so impressed that he put the dish on his breakfast and luncheon menus after substituting Canadian bacon for crisp bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread.

I wondered what, exactly, is a "hooker" of hollandaise? It's not what one might think... it's a boat, a boat of hollandaise. The boats are often noted for their strong sharp bow and sides that curve outward like 'the breast-bone of a water fowl'


In another account, Craig Claiborne, a writer for The New York Times Magazine and famous cook book author, wrote in a September 1967 column about a letter received from Edward P. Montgomery, an American living in France at the time. In the letter, Montgomery detailed a dish that was created by Commodore E.C. Benedict. Commodore Benedict was a banker and yachtsman who died in 1920 at the age of 86. The dish created by Commodore Benedict was Eggs Benedict. The commodore claims that the recipe had been given to him by his mother who had received it from the commodore’s uncle.

In November of the same year, Mabel C. Butler of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts responded to Mr. Montgomery’s letter to The Times requesting a correction to the story. Her story was the “true story” of how Eggs Benedict came to be, a retelling of the Delmonico's stpry above. In Ms. Butler’s story, the creation of Eggs Benedict was well known to the relatives of Mrs. Le Grand Benedict, of whom she was one. Her version included a truffle on top.

A fourth origin of the dish is in food historian, Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, where she writes about a traditional French dish named œufs bénédictine, consisting of brandade (a puree of refreshed salt cod and potatoes), spread on triangles of fried bread. A poached egg is then set on top and napped with hollandaise. This story would also explain the continental syntax, where the adjective follows, rather than precedes, the noun.

Mrs. Isabella Beeton's Household Management had recipes in the first edition (1861) for "Dutch sauce, for benedict" and its variant on the following page, "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte", so Eggs Benedict undoubtedly precedes the New World stories above. In 1859–1861, she wrote a monthly supplement to The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine In October 1861, the supplements were published as a single volume, The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper,Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman,Coachman,Valet,Upper and Under House-Maids,Lady's Maid, Maid-of-all-Work,Laundry, Nurse and Nursery maid, Monthly, Wet Nurse, and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical,; Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort.

While all of these stories are entertaining, it is most likely that the dish is a Lenten or meatless dish evolved from Renaissance times.

Now presenting How To Make Truffled Eggs Benedict...

A History of Brunch or What Time IS Dinner?

The 1972 supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary says the word "brunch" first appeared in the British magazine, Hunter's Weekly in 1895. This is confirmed by the Aug. 1, 1896, issue of the magazine Punch: ''To be fashionable nowadays we must 'brunch'. Truly an excellent portmanteau word, introduced, by the way, last year, by Mr. Guy Beringer, in Hunter's Weekly, and indicating a combined breakfast and lunch.''

Although the meal itself became a star in the United States during the 1930s, the word is a British invention, coined in 1895 by Mr. Beringer, an early visionary foodie. He wrote "Brunch: A Plea." Instead of England's early Sunday dinner, a post church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, Beringer wrote, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. "Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting," Beringer wrote. "It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.""

More than a century later, Beringer's advocacy for brunch remains as compelling as the day he made it, perhaps because, in drafting his brunch manifesto, he was not too specific about what dishes should be served. He demanded ''everything good, plenty of it, variety and selection.'' In a postscript, he suggested that beer and whiskey could be served instead of coffee and tea, laying down a precedent for the mimosa, the Bloody Mary and the screwdriver.

Perhaps the best way to approach the history of brunch is a reflection on "What time is Dinner?" I grew up in central Illinois, my relatives were farmers. When we spoke of dinner we meant the meal at noon. Supper was eaten in the evening. During my university years, I cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner for co-workers in the laboratory for which I washed dishes. I was quite shocked when no one showed up until the evening. I had not been specific about the time. I just knew they would show up around noon. Most of my friends were from Chicago. Dinner meant 7:00 pm. What caused this miss-communication?

Class distinction, local customs and from where or when our respective ancestors immigrated to America were to blame (my not stating plainly the TIME withstanding). I didn't think it was strange to have a large meal in the middle of the day because our family came from a long line of farmers who immigrated from England, Ireland, and Wales generations before. They got up early, ate a fortifying breakfast at sunrise, worked the fields, came home to a large and hearty dinner that my aunts spent the entire morning preparing then returned to work until sundown when they might enjoy a light meal of leftovers from dinner or a bowl of soup or stew made from the aforementioned remains. The women folk, as my aunts referred to themselves, spent the afternoons working the gardens or canning or sewing. They didn't have time to prepare a large meal again in the evening and it was wasteful to throw away leftovers. Leftovers were best eaten the day they were created. This was an old English way of eating based on sunrise and set, and the requirements placed upon my aunts by their station in life. In my young life, dinner was ALWAYS at NOON. I didn't know people ate a different way until my guests failed to arrive when I expected them.

We, in the United States, rarely eat a large meal at high noon. We have become a fast food nation impoverished by lack of time. Today we take the light switch for granted. Back in the day, artificial lighting, oil lamps and candles were an extravagance. Everyone went to sleep at sundown except the extremely wealthy who could afford candle wax. So supper, the third and last meal of the day, was usually eaten before the sun went down, or very shortly afterward. People generally went to sleep soon after eating it, plus it was considered unhealthy to sleep on a full stomach. That was the standard schedule for centuries.

There were some exceptions, of course. People at the wealthiest courts might stay up after dark. They controlled most of the world's capital and used it for things like indulgent parties, clothing, castles, armies, and candles. They were used to the world revolving around them, rather than the other way around. They didn't use the self important names such as "Sun King" or "Swan King" without reason.
The Mirrored gallery at Herrin Chiemsee built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria 1878
Fifty two candelabras of gold and fifty two chandeliers provide support for 2500 wax candles.

From the Middle Ages to the age of Shakespeare, there are scattered references to occasional extra meals, called luncheon and nuntion or nuncheon.
Oh rats, rejoice! The world is grown to one vast drysaltery! So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon, Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon! Browning, Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Nuntion was eaten between dinner and supper, and peasants were sometimes guaranteed nuntions of ale and bread on those days they worked harvesting the fields in the lengthy days of late summer and autumn, when sunset and supper came many hours after noon and dinner. Luncheon seems to have been eaten between breakfast and dinner, when dinner was delayed. Luncheon was taken mainly by ladies and was not a large meal. It was more of a snack on those days when they had to wait for a late dinner due to the political or sporting affairs of their husbands. These late dinners became more and more common in the 1700s, due to new developments in culture and technology.

Capitalism, colonialism, and the industrial revolution were changing the British economy, many people had a lot more money to spend on things like light and food. The nobility and gentry became a class of leisure and began to spend more time in the cities where they had parties and entertainment night after night. They had, or at least most of them had, no more real work to do so they partied or socialized...they became socialites.

The middle class evolved at the same time, due to growth in mercantilism, trade, crafts and manufacturing. Rising wages led to more purchasing of goods, and the cycle revolved. I sometimes wonder if that cycle is turning in reverse today as real wages drop while manufacturing in both England and the United States has virtually ceased, and agriculture is industrialized. Our middle class is disappearing. Our agrarian class is gone.

Anyway, people then began to have more money, and in the cities at least, more goods were available, including candles and lamps. People began staying up later using better lighting, naturally there were things to do at night. The 1700s were a time of entertainment as well as enlightenment. Theaters and operas were suddenly available on a wider scale in cities like London and Paris, with most performances at night. In Shakespeare's time they had usually been in the day, in sunlight. Now they were in enclosed halls, illuminated by hundreds or thousands of candles and lamps.

The Municipal Theater in Bologana, Italy 1756

These were not just affairs for the upper class, either; middle and lower class people went in large numbers.

Today the middle class and lower classes stay at home, isolated in front of the TV eating industrially prepared, instantly reconstituted foods. Communal entertainment and eating is on the wane. Our Theaters are closed or closing.On occasion Americans go out to sporting events where they eat fast food, or to fast food restaurants where they watch more TV. As the middle class disappears, the concern for quality is replaced by cost.

As I pointed out earlier, with more artificial lighting, people in the cities began going to bed later and rising later in the morning. The clock and habits shifted forward. When you ate was relative to when you got up. In London, by the 1730s and 40s, the upper class nobles and gentry were dining at three or four in the afternoon, and by 1770 their dinner hour in London was four or five. In the 1790s the upper class was rising from bed around ten a.m. or noon, and then eating breakfast at an hour when their grandparents had eaten dinner. They then went for "morning walks" in the afternoon and greeted each other with "Good morning" until they ate their dinner at perhaps five or six p.m. Then it was "afternoon" until evening came with supper, sometime between nine p.m. and two a.m.! The rich, famous and fashionable did not go to bed until dawn. With their wealth and social standing, they were able to change the day to suit themselves.

Some upper-class individuals did get up earlier, children for instance and sometimes their mothers. By 1800 the dinner hour had been moved to six or seven. For early risers this meant a very long wait until dinner. Even those who arose at ten a.m. or noon had a wait of anywhere from six to nine hours. Ladies, tired of the wait, had established luncheon as a regular meal, not an occasional one, by about 1810. It was a light meal, of dainty sandwiches and cakes, held at noon or one or even later, but always between breakfast and dinner. Women, being domestic goddesses and inventors, lead the way with tea, biscuits and pastries as a refreshment to serve visitors during the long afternoons. Then ladies began taking tea and snacks of light sandwiches and cakes around four or five in the afternoon, regardless of whether or not they had visitors. At first they had this snack in relative seclusion but by the 1840s they had established afternoon tea as a regular meal in drawing rooms and parlors all over Britain.

All these changes occurred first in London and took years to affect even the upper classes in the country. The further away from London one went, the greater difference there was in meal times. The rural populace, however, long persisted in eating dinner at midday and supper in early evening. The middle and lower classes in Britain were quick to adopt this new meal when they could. Tea came to fill the same role that had once been met by lunch, filling in long hours before a late dinner. But tea never caught on in the US. The industrial revolution started later in the United States than Britain. In the United States there were vast fields which called out to new immigrants to be farmed. Most Americans lived on those farms until World War II. This is why many of the older customs of eating persisted in the US, to the confusion of many, including myself.

The Industrial revolution in Britain during the 1700s and 1800s had completely changed life. People began to work further from home, and the midday meal had to become something light, just whatever they could carry to work.
A 19th Century lunch pail.

The main meal was still dinner, pushed to the evening hours after work, when they could get home for a full meal under the gas lights. People in the middle and lower class began to eat dinner in the evening like the kings and queens. But they did so due to the demands of their lifestyle which was much different from royalty. However, many of them retained the traditional dinner hour of noon or one on Sundays or Holidays, when they were home from work and had time to prepare the large meal of the day and because tradition persists when there is no pressing reason to change.

Luncheon as a regular daily meal developed later in the United States, by the 1900s. In the 1945 edition of Etiquette, Emily Post still referred to luncheon as "generally given by and for women, but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday or Sunday, to include an equal number of men." She also referred to supper as "the most intimate meal there is...none but family or nearest friends are ever included." Only hash or cold meat were to be served at supper (left overs from dinner, no doubt); anything hot or complicated was served at dinner. In her first edition of Etiquette, in 1922, Post had seen no need to explain that. But by the 1945 edition, she had to explain that luncheon was an informal midday meal and supper an informal evening meal, while dinner was always formal, but could occur at midday or evening.

Later editions, such as the 1960 edition edited by Elizabeth Post, standardized the times and dropped all the old traditions of formality. Lunch was formal or informal, but always at midday, and everyone ate it whether male or female. Dinner was formal or informal, but always in the evening. Supper was an optional meal, thrown in during late night balls. Timing had become more important than ritual; ritual became an optional and personal choice. So much for the Etiquette mistresses. Most people rely upon a hodgepodge of ancestral traditions mitigated by newer customs which evolved in response to modern life to decide how and when to eat.

In our current century, we eat dinner any time from noon to midnight, and most people never have a supper. Like so many old rituals, once followed with iron-clad discipline, our meal times are now as fluid and changeable as the rest of our lives. Customs that persisted for centuries have disappeared in a few decades while new ones such as brunch take their place.

Photography Show - Forgotten Places - Noel Kerns and Rob Fuel January 8, 1010

Meet Noel Kerns and his fellow night photographer, Rob Fuel, for wine and cheese at The Turtle Enoteca, 510 Center Avenue, Brownwood, Texas, January 8, 2010 5:00pm - 6:00 pm. Night photography lecture at 8:00 pm in the candle room. Noel and Bob will talk about their techniques. If you want to learn more about night photography and how to make better use of lighting and filters - be here. The show will hang in the wine bar and candle room through March. All Photographs will be for sale.

Robert Feuille known as Rob Fuel, is a photographer with no home but Texas. Born and raised in the desert town of El Paso, he has always been captivated by photography, but this fascination really took hold in high school. In college, Robert trained as a photojournalist, working primarily with 35mm black and white film and relying on an old manual Canon with a fussy light meter.

After graduation, Robert jumped into the world of copywriting and advertising, working on personal photo projects and freelance photography in his free time. These freelance projects soon turned into commercial commissions for advertising. Shooting mostly in the digital 35mm format, Robert has photographed yachts, TV personalities, church services, cheese, livestock, realty, cars, people, and much more.

Robert has always been fascinated with the abandoned and the forgotten. The mark that humanity leaves on a place and the way that nature works to reclaim the land is a haunting and beautiful thing. And while nothing can quite match the feeling of re-exploring that which has been left to itself for so long, Robert works hard to approximate it in his photos.

Robert calls Austin home, but currently resides in El Paso while undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. He and his wife Aimee are the proud of parents of two cute little girls and one baby boy. Rob's Website:

We'll let Noel Kerns introduce himself :

I'm a Dallas-based photographer specializing in capturing Texas’ ghost towns, decommissioned military installations, and industrial abandonments at night. My background is in large-format, black & white photography, which has proven to be a perfect launching pad into the art of photographing our world in darkness.

I find night photography to be an interesting and addictive dichotomy; the purity and natural beauty of photographing under a bright, full moon, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the creativity and power of the virtual blank canvas that is laid before me as I "light paint" an interior scene.

One of the things I enjoy most about photographing under a full moon are all the latent details, those things which reveal themselves only when you take the time to let the moonlight tell the story. I love the general sense of calm and tranquility in a peaceful night scene, as well as the eerie feeling one can get when looking at a decaying old ghost town under a full moon.

Light-painting is all about vision, or more specifically, "pre-vision", the ability to imagine the scene and lighting you want to create in the darkness, and to execute it in such a way as to match or surpass that imagination. The execution itself is an exercise in patience and control, imagination and experimentation, all the while drawing on your experience from previous shots to recreate your vision. To me, it's fascinating.

So two entirely different kinds of images, but both born of the same desire to express the emotions and feelings one gets when exploring these old, forgotten places.

So what do I do when I'm not taking pictures of old abandoned places? You can usually find me entertaining around the DFW area as a singer & acoustic guitarist.

Photography website:

Music website:

Cancelled Luz de Estrella Wine Exploration Dinner January 21, 2010

We are sorry to have to cancel this dinner. Linda has been ill and it seems that everyone is dieting as their New Year's Resolution. We will try this again later in the spring.

Eat and drink at The Turtle Restaurant with award winning winemaker, Linda Armstrong. She has created an exciting and tasteful collection of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chenin Blanc, together with masterful blends such as their oak-casked Merlot/Cabernet and their bold Big Bend Rojo, Big Bend Blush, and Big Bend Rose. So please come and enjoy the best Wine experience West Texas has to offer.

The beauty of West Texas," is what Linda Armstrong said drew them there. "I just fell in love with the area." She and her husband, Houston attorney John Armstrong, share a passion for wine. Linda started learning about grapes from her great-grandaddy. "My great-granddaddy in Brownwood used to have grapevines" Linda Armstrong said. He showed her how to prune grapes and make homemade wine. Linda and Her husband studied the vintner's art at Grayson County College in Dennison then bought their property near Marfa. Linda and John held their grand opening on July 8, 2006. The winery is located at 100 Starlight Way in Marfa. Phone number is (432) 729-3434. More details will be posted as I have time -


Sea Scallops En Croute -
bacon leek duxelle, mache, maytag buerre blanc, wrapped in puff pastry

Bacon Wrapped Quail -
dijon-maple glazed on granny smith apple and celeriac slaw, raspberry vinaigrette

Steak Diane -
tournados of filet, garlic, shallots, demi-glaze, dijon mustard, new potato graninee, grench beans

Wine Exploration Dinner at The Turtle Restaurant
514 Center Avenue
Brownwood, Texas 76801

January 21, 2010 7:00 pm reservations required

Celebrate New Years Eve 2010 At The Turtle Restaurant

Oh Boy, our menu this year is going to be old school! See The History of Beef Wellington posted below.

Dinner will be served from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Reservations required. Call 325-646-8200 or reserve online enter the date December 31, 2009 and the number in your party. You will receive a confirmation. In the spirit of The Bakery and Chef Louis Szathmary, the evening is Three Courses Prix Fixe at $45.00 per person not including, drinks, dessert, alcohol and tip.

Bloody Mary Crab Cocktail
wild caught crab, tortilla strips, spicy tomato broth,
Tito's Vodka, pico de gallo

Winter Salad
rocket, toasted almonds, maytag bleu cheese, cranberries,
aged balsamic vinaigrette

Filet of Beef Wellington
wild mushroom duxelle, pate foie gras, puff pastry, perigourdine Sauce

Now a word about our sparking wine. We brought in a variety of sparkling wine, Cava from Spain, Champagne from France, and Prosecco from Italy for the New Year because, what kind of a New Year's celebration would it be without bubbles? Few people have heard of Cava. We think that is a shame as Spain produces many fine "champagnes" equal to the French and at a better price. So we have Champagne for the die hards, Cava for the adventurous, and Prosecco for the romantics at a wide range of price points so you can comfortably afford to try something new.

Rumor has it that there might be a live jazz duo as well.

The Turtle Enoteca will be opened from 5:00 until people leave or the law says close.

The Turtle Restaurant, 514 Center Ave, Brownwood, Texas 76801

The History of Beef Wellington

You have probably heard of Beef Wellington. There are many recipes which claim to be the "original recipe", Some including truffle paste, others using brioche or pastry dough instead of puff pastry. This famous dish had a resurgence in the 1960's because former President Nixon was quite fond of it. The White House served Beef Wellington based on a recipe from the early 19th Century at every state diner during his tenure.
At the end of the 18th century it was very popular to cook meat inside pastry shells, sometimes with a sauce much like pot pies, and often just wrapping the cut with vegetables in a basic pastry made with flour and water. This pastry would protect the meat from the extreme and hard to regulate heat from the period's kitchen appliances. All of which combined to produce a juicy and fragrant cut.
The origins of the basic recipe for Beef Wellington can be traced back to the kitchen of Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington. Wellesley is famous for having won the battle of Waterloo in 1815 against Napoleon. That first version of the dish was filled with truffle paste instead of duxelle mushrooms and the wrapping was normal pastry dough.
Several other sources mention that the dish might have gotten its name from the resemblance to a highly polished riding boot -- also called a wellington boot -- when taken out of the oven. Another theory is that Beef Wellington is of Irish origin. In "Irish Traditional Food," Theodora FitzGibbon uses Irish spelling for the recipe by calling the dish Steig Wellington. While this theory has never been confirmed, it still appears in various cookbooks as part of the history of Beef Wellington.
The first time we tasted Beef Wellington was right after we were married in the mid 1970s. Food fans who were in Chicago in the 1970s probably remember The Bakery, Louis Szathmary's restaurant, one of the very best restaurants in the city, whose specialty was Beef Wellington. The popularity of the Bakery was partly due to its moderate prices and casual attire. Chef Louis was friendly and accessible. He would check on every patron, warm and welcoming, part Santa Claus and part, well ... Chef Louis. The Bakery is where we learned to become comfortable with Fine Food. Julia Child and Chef Louis were both responsible for my learning to make puff pastry, mushroom duxelle, and Beef Wellington.


"I see no reason why the artists in the kitchen who are creating our daily bread should not be treated academically the way other artists are. To be a good chef, a good culinarian is to be an artist, and a scientist. Our skills are the perfect combination of creative, visual and performing arts at once."

Wine Enthusiast Magazine Names The Turtle Restaurant One Of The Nation's Most Wine-friendly Restaurants for 2009!

The Turtle Restaurant is one of a select number of restaurants in North America to be honored with the Award of Distinction. It represents our dedication to delivering one of the nation's most wine-friendly experience to our patrons.

Wine Enthusiast's Annual Restaurant Awards magazine feature will appear in the upcoming February 2010 issue, which will be available the week of January 11th. The article will include a listing with The Turtle Restaurant having our contact information. The Turtle will also be listed for an entire year as one of the “Award Winning Restaurants” in Wine Enthusiast's fully searchable database

We'll tell you more as soon as we know more, but this is very exciting and kind of puts us on the U.S. wine map. People still make light of Texas wine but we are telling you now that it won't be long before central Texas is the new Napa Valley. Our wine bar showcases some of the best of Texas wineries. We also serve some of the lesser known varietals from the rest of the world in addition to cab, merlot and chardonnay.

Here's your chance to see Joel Melton and friends at The Regency Bridge.

Saturday, November 28th Joel will be back at the White Wolf Trading Post by The Regency Suspension Bridge 14 miles NW of San Saba Texas on FM500 Playing all day and evening with Alton and Sue Watson come on out.

Alton and Sue Watson singing at the Regency Suspension Bridge in Regency Texas. Filmed by Joel Melton and Edited by T. Howard Maxwell for the film "There's Something in the Water".

Catching Up With Tom Bowden

If you wondered where he is and what is happening with our crazy guy on a bike, you can read about and see Tom's pictures here. I tried to post some of his pictures but apparently they won't upload from his website. So far Tom has made it to Roy's Campground somewhere in Mississippi.

We hope you will join us to celebrate his safe and heroic return and to contribute to Lance Armstrong's stem cell fund raiser on November 17 - Real Ale Beer and real beef hotdogs for everyone who donates. Why wait? You can donate here.

As you read Tommy's journal you meet people who have benefited from stem cell research in other countries, ordinary people like you and me whom he met as he rode his bike across America. By "other countries", I mean these Americans had to travel to other countries in order to receive treatment because other countries are more advanced than we are in their methods of the applications of stem cell research which they supported. That's embarrassing. We're supposed to be a world leader. Stem Cell research saves lives.

Our First THANKSGIVING At The Turtle

We've been opened almost 5 years and decided that since last year that number of families called to see if we would be opened on Thanksgiving, that we better accommodate our customers.

This is the menu: Chef Thomas' juicy melt-in-your-mouth prime rib or house smoked turkey. Dinner will start with our Windy Hill Mixed Green Salad. You'll choose three sides from of our list of traditional comfort dishes followed by a selection of traditional desserts. Home made milk and butter rolls will be on the table. Coffee and Tea included. Prime Rib Dinner is $36.00, Smoked Turkey is $27.00 Children under three are free. Reservations are required. Call 325-646-8200 or make them online. We'll be opened from 6:00pm - 9:00pm Not part of a big group? We'll have a community table for singles who want to dine with someone.

November 19th, 2009 Is The 5th Wine Exploration Dinner - With Alphonse Dotson Of Certenberg Vineyards

Here's a really special event. We know Brownwood is a football town and we're pretty sure Brownwood is a wine lovers kind of place. Now football and wine go together and no one has proved it more than Alphonse Dotson. He was drafted by the National Football League's Green Bay Packers, but signed with the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. He played for the AFL's Miami Dolphins. From 1967-1970 he played for the AFL's Oakland Raiders Mr. Dotson has traveled a long and dusty road from professional football to Certenberg Vineyards in Voca, (population 50) Texas. Wine, yes, wine.

There's a lot more to this story but we'll let Mr. Dotson tell you that himself while you dine and taste Gotas de Oro. Alphonse and his wife Martha have until now, sold all of their grapes to Fall Creek Vineyard. Fall Creek is Texas' oldest vineyard. Ed Auler, owner of Fall Creek has called Dotson's grapes the best in Texas. Fall Creek wines made with Dotson’s grapes have won major awards. Well, now the time has some for The Certenberg Vineyards to make it's own wine. The Turtle Restaurant is proud to present the first bottling of Gotas de Oro or "Drops of Gold." this nectarous wine has a heady peach, apple, floral nose with a long finish to match. It is a perfect foil for many kinds of spicy world foods from Thai to Indian to Latin. For our dinner we are choosing Latin. It could also be a dessert all by itself and complements many cheeses and sweets.

Other things you should know about Alphonse Dotson and proof he is an all round Renaissance man and a charming dinner companion: Mr. Dotson is on the board of the Texas Commission on the Arts. He studied Impressionistic Art with George Dureau and is (as we mentioned above) a former professional football player, teacher, and juvenile probation officer. Mr. Dotson is a cum laude graduate of Grambling College. In 2008, Saveur Magazine named Mr. Dotson as one of the Top 100 Most Interesting Personalities. Mr. Dotson served as President of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association in 2006 and 2007.

Sooo we can't think of any reason why everyone won't enjoy this event. Make your reservation now at The Turtle Restaurant by calling 325-646-8200 or online November 19th, 2009 7:00 pm

Our customer, Tom Bowden, 71 years old will ride his bicycle from Brownwood, Texas to St. Louis..

down to Natchez, MS then back to Brownwood. The Trip begins October 4, 2008 and will last about 45 days. Tom is available for speeches and discussions on the subject of Adult Stem Cell Research (or your favorite conspiracy theory, Tom is the owner of the former Dallas Conspiracy Museum). Tom is riding to raise money for The Lance Armstrong foundation. On line donations can be made at one cent per mile is $35.00, two cents per mile is $50.00. Let's make it worth the old man's time. You can view trip progress at the following site

The Turtle will celebrate Tom's safe return home with kosher hotdogs, home made buns and Texas' Real Ale Beer in the garden out back of the Enoteca on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Proceeds from hotdogs and beer will also be donated to to honor Mr. Bowden's spectacular ride and safe return.

We'll soon be posting pictures of his riding rig. Mr. Bowden is proof that it's not how old you are, but how old you feel that counts. Some of our younger wine bar crew are going to ride with him part way to Oklahoma. If you are interested in riding along contact Tom at the the crazyguy web site listed above.

September 17, 2009 Our 4th Wine Exploration Dinner with Bluff Dale Vineyards

David & Theresa Hayes make one of the few sweet white wines I will drink, Sweet Caramella. This golden wine has a heady floral bouquet with just enough citrus to balance the sweetness. The finish is what does me in on most sweet whites, no cloying finish there, just a saweeet snap! Great ice cold on the patio with apple pie for two or a good Texas cheddar made by our friends at Veldhuizen.

The veranda at the Bluff Dale Winery tasting room has a view of the beautiful vineyards and the Hill Country of Bluff Dale. It is located between Stephensville and Granbury on 377.


Cabernet Sauvignon - Beef Tournado
- green peppercorns, foccacio crouton

Chardonnay - Pan Seared Ahi Tuna
- Asian greens, wasabi cream, pickled ginger

White Cliff - Peking Duck Salad
- pulled duck, Asian vegetables, glass noodle, sweet sesame vinaigrette

Nexus - Rosemary Garlic Seared Pork Tenderloin
- roasted garlic whipped potatoes, french beans, mango chutney

Lenoir - Caramelized Peaches

For tasting notes visit Bluff Dale vineyards wine list.

Jazz on The Patio Sept 11 and Sept 26, 2009

Enjoy a relaxed balmy evening on the new patio behind The Turtle Enoteca catching the groove of The Heartland Jazz Combo. The band will play two sets on Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 26, 2009. There will be two shows each day starting at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The Heartland Jazz Combo was founded in 2004 by Brownwoodians, Stephen Cox, Gannon Phillips, Mathew Ramirez and Kristopher Redus, with the mission to bring their love of Jazz music to the surrounding area. Since then the ensemble has played at local weddings, celebrations, and the Brownwood Reunion. Members of the band have performed and won awards in various jazz festivals including the Temple Jazz Festival, the North Texas Jazz Festival, the North Sea jazz festival in France, and for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The Combo plays a variety of jazz music styles including swing, be-bop, and latin styles such as the bossa nova and samba. They are excited about bringing life and music to downtown Brownwood, especially on September 11. As jazz great, Steve Toure says, "A musician is like a doctor, he's supposed to heal people and make them feel better."

Cover charge is $7.00 seating on the patio or $5.00 (bring your own blanket) on the grass in the Event Garden behind the Turtle Restaurant. Enoteca Menu or Brown Bag Picnic in the grass available. The Turtle Enoteca is located at 510 Center Avenue, Brownwood, Texas The Event Garden and Patio is directly behind the building. For reservations call 325-646-820.

Picture left to right: Stephen Cox, Gannon Phillips, Mathew Ramirez, Kristopher Redus

Photo Exhibit and Reception - Eric McNatt - The Character Project Sept 18-20, 2009 in the Turtle Enoteca

The Turtle Enoteca is hanging Eric McNatt's Photos for viewing by the public in the wine bar during the city of Brownwood's Feels Like Home Festival. Eric McNatt is an Austin Texas native with roots in Brownwood.
He has been living and working in New York as a photographer since 1996. He holds a degree from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he graduated with distinction. To date, Eric's work has been published in The New York Times Style Magazine, ESPN -the magazine, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Fortune, Wired, Interview, Paper, Flaunt, Spin, and People, as well as many others. His commercial clients range from A & E Entertainment, The History Channel, Sony/Columbia BMG, The USA Network, and EURO SCG to book projects for Galerie LeLong in New York City. He splits his time between his 1970's A-Frame deep in Ulster County, surrounded by trees and deer, and his East Village apartment with a garden view and old men arguing on the stoop.

Hours of Exhibit are: Friday September 18 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday September 19 11:00 am - 10 pm
Reception 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday September 20 Noon - 5:00 pm

This will be an opportunity to buy photos taken for the Project directly from the photographer and talk with him about his experiences photographing the citizens of Brownwood, Texas. Eric will be signing his book which will be available for sale. The framed photos in the exhibit itself will be sold through a silent auction.

And if these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it’s this: I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture.
- One Hour Photo

August 20, 2009 - Alamosa Wine Cellar Showcased at our 3rd Wine Exploration Dinner

If you intended to go to July's wine Exploration Dinner you missed a good time, great food and some of the best wine the W.O.W. Wineries has to offer. It's going to be difficult to top July's experience but we'll give it our best effort. So...what's on our plate this month?

  • Amuse Bouche: pan seared sea scallop with braised leeks golden chanterelle mushrooms
  • Appetizer: beef carpaccio extra virgin oil, cracked pepper, lemon juice, capers
  • Salad: Windy Hill organic greens, anjou pears, candied walnuts, Pure Luck goat cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
  • Intermezzo: pear and grappa - sorbetto
  • Main course: dijon crusted lamb chops, wilted spinach and wild mushroom napoleon
  • Dessert: french apple tart

We will post the tasting notes for this dinner from Alamosa Wine Cellars soon. Watch this space!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile we serve Alamosa's Texacaia in The Turtle Enoteca - A blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo, Texacaia is our Super Texan! Pronounced: Tex-uh-ki-ya Look for the contributions from all three grapes: the cherry of Sangiovese, the blackberry and pepper from the Syrah and Tempranillo’s blueberry and leather. Great with a variety of foods…true to Sangiovese’s versatility, but try with Italian dishes with tomato and meat sauces or smoked pork with mushrooms.

Scissortail - Roussanne, Viognier, and Marsanne from Cherokee Creek Vineyards, High Valley Block, comprise this unique (for Texas) blend. A typical combination in the Rhone Valley, this wonderful wine reflects our limestone soils and sun drenched vineyards. It has a tribute to the Scissortail Flycatcher bird on the label…the latest in their Texas Icon series of wines.

El Guapo - Tempranillo Blueberries, juniper, chocolate and leather with rich fruit and supple tannins. This is ALamosa wine Cellar's most talked-about wine, written up in Wine Spectator, Gourmet, Saveur and others. Serve it with a grilled steak and portabellas, a rack of lamb, beef tenderloin or game. Follow up with flourless choclate cake or dark chocolate gelato and continue with the El Guapo for a perfect match.

So don't miss out make your reservation here. Fill in the date August 20, 2009 7:00 p.m. and indicate the number of guests. The cost is $65.00 per person. A round of tastings is included. Additional glasses of wine are $8.00 each. Oh.......and tell your friends!!

Meet Your Local Bird Banders - Public Presentation Saturday July 25 3:00 pm

Every summer interns from various parts of the world visit our Gelateria and restaurant from the MAPS Program. I knew they were studying our bird population but never had a chance to interact with them or understand what it is that they do here other than catch birds in nets and band them. This year three young women are in Brownwood from the Institute for Bird Populations and they are going to present an informational program on the MAPS Program and birds found at Camp Bowie. Camp Bowie is one of 500 banding stations through out the US. monitored by the Institute for Bird Populations.
"The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program was created by The Institute for Bird Populations in 1989. This program was designed to assess and monitor the vital rates and population dynamics of over 120 species of North American landbirds in order to provide critical conservation and management information on their populations through various publication. The MAPS Program utilizes constant-effort mist netting and banding at a continent-wide network of monitoring stations."
Read Stephanie's Blog Birdy Words and Whims for the gorgeous pictures and descriptions of our local birds or

Meet Your Local Bird Banders
The Turtle Restaurant
514 Center Ave
On Saturday July 25
Public Presentation 3:00PM

July 16, 2009 The Second Edition of Wine Exploration Dinners at The Turtle Restaurant: Red Caboose

Mark your calendar on July 16, 2009 then climb aboard for the second edition of our Wine Exploration Dinner with Red Caboose Winery and their vintner Evan McKibben. Red Caboose Winery is the newest winery in the Northern Growing Region of Texas and the very first winery in Bosque County. Red Caboose uses the latest energy-saving technology: geothermal cooling and chilling, PV arrays for generating clean electricity and rainwater collection are only a few features that make Red Caboose green.

Evan will be presenting his Cabernet 07, winner of a Grand Star and Gold medals in the 2009 Lone Star International Wine Competition and his Merlot 06, a silver winner at the 2009 Dallas Morning New Wine Competition. Plus, we will be making something desserty with his sweet Blanc du Bois. For reservations go to and enter July 16, 2009 7:00 pm on the reservation form.



Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass - parpadelle, farm vegetables, lemon, capers

Asian Greens - bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, daiko, pine nuts, sweet sesame vinaigrette

Steak Au Poivre - chateau potatoes, baby carrots

Red Caboose Cheesecake

The first four courses will be served with 2oz tastings of Tempranillo Syrah blend, Viognier, Blanc du Bosque and their gold medal Cabernet Sauvignon.

$65.00 per person additional glasses of wine $10.00 each

Chicken Purses and Hearses Too

On the 21st of June, we hosted Wine Enthusiast writer Lisa Rogak and State of Texas Wine Marketing Director, Bobbie Champion as they toured the Way Out Wineries in our neck of the woods. I suffer a little fear and trepidation when meeting the unknown. I was the kid who worried about flunking out of kindergarten before the first day. I wondered, "will we meet their expectations? Will we be good enough?" We are self conscious knowing we are new at this wine gig. Our wine storage room is unfinished with boxes on the floor and my grandchildrens' toys strewn about. So my staff and I waited anxiously, ready or not, for their arrival.

We laid out a spread from our Enoteca menu on the bar including all of our pizzas, Al Diavalo, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese, Quattro Fromaggi, Mellanzanna, Prosciutto and Rocket, Margarita and held our breath as they tasted each one, chose their wines and declared their favorites. As they explored our food, I tried to explore our guests. Lisa is effervescent, overflowing with ideas and bizarre interests like funerary museums. She is someone who loads her hearse with musical instruments - the accordion and double bass. Michelle, my head waitress, coveted Lisa's rubber chicken purse. This lead to the discovery that Lisa is a fan of the hilarious Wallace and Gromit cartoons, owning a Shaun the Sheep purse as well. We gave Bobbie and Lisa the Grand Tour of the property, I wished we had more time and lived next door.

Announcing The Turtle's Wine Exploration Dinners

On June 18th, 2009 at 7:00pm The Turtle Restaurant will have the first in it's series of Wine Exploration Dinners featuring W.O.W. (Way Out Wineries), a group of wineries located here in central Texas. We invite you to have dinner with Barking Rocks' vintner, Tiberia. He is going to release his 2005 cabernet sauvignon made with grapes from the high plains. With this wine in mind our Chef, Thomas Vezina, has created a special menu for the evening consisting of
  • Amuse Bouche - Beef Tenderloin, mushroom deuxelle in cabernet sauce
  • Terrine of Lamb
  • Windy Hill Organics Greens, apples, walnuts, gorgonzola, raspberry vinaigrette
  • Veal Osso Bucco
  • Gateau Noix walnut tart from St Paul de Vence

The cost is $65.00 per person and includes two glasses of "to be released" Barking Rocks Cabernet. Reservations may be had by calling The Turtle Restaurant 325-646-8200 or on line at the website choose the date June 18, 2009. Tiberia will be on hand to discuss his wines and take orders.

The Turtle Enoteca serves other Barking Rocks wines by the taste, glass and bottle including 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Quail Ridge high plains grapes - A plum nose and wonderful berry toasted oak flavors with a great tannin structure.

2004 Sangiovese - Newsom grapes Bright and rich with notes of raspberry and spice. 2007 Lone Star International Wine Competition medal.

Little Red Wine in Hood 90% Syrah, 10% Blanc du Bois. Friendly, light bodied wine with subtle hints of white pepper and cherry.

2005 Viognier - Comanche, TX grapes Complex and full bodied white wine with notes of oak, anise and tangerine.

We hope you will join us for dinner or in our wine bar.