Book Talk Tuesday: Virgil’s Road Trip Barbecue

Yep. We love to cook and we love to eat. And we really love to grill and smoke and slow cook and barbecue.

Virgil’s Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook 
 had my mouth watering.

From the folks behind Virgil’s restaurants, including the flagship on Times Square, NYC, this is a collection of their best recipes.

The book is a cookbook but so much more. It opens with an overview of barbecue and grilling basics and techniques. Then the recipes. It finishes up with suggested menus.

Every single recipe sounds wonderful. They are divided into sections with drinks and sides not neglected. Chicken, beef, pork and seafood all get a generous portion. And each recipe is annotated about where and how the restaurant staff arrived at the combination of flavors and which barbecue region it best represents (the Carolinas, Memphis, Texas, or Kansas City).

As I read about the special spice and rub and marinades, I expected the authors would be proprietary about them and recommend you order the spice blends from Virgil’s online, but the full recipes were all included. I’m impressed. That’s a company that’s confident of two things: the tastiness of their goods and the willingness of the general eating public to continue to visit the restaurants even if (theoretically) they could replicate their favorite at home.

I’m kicking myself that we didn’t visit Virgil’s when we were in New York a couple of years ago. We spent a good bit of time around Times Square. We made sure to have pizza and other NY favorites, but somehow, barbecue didn’t top the list of New York specialties.

The recipes are easy to follow. The book is written in a folksy voice that  makes the reader/cook feel like they’re just sittin’ around talking ‘cue and meats with someone with a bit o’ learnin’ about the subject.

This is a “cookbook” that will be spattered and stained in no time. I can’t wait to try … well, all of the recipes. The Universal flour looks like it alone will make my deep-frying disasters a thing of the past.

Bon appetit!


I received a free electronic edition of this book in return for a fair review. I don’t know how fair it is that I now have to go buy the book since I can’t stand cooking from my Kindle or iPad.  But that’s just me. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it!

Book Talk Tuesday: A Beauty So Rare

Eleanor is tall, nearly 30 years old, and in possession of a dream: to own a restaurant.

Marcus Geoffrey is taller, older, and in possession of a secret: he’s a archduke of Austria and second in line to the throne.


Post-Civil War Nashville and the Belmont Mansion is the setting for Tamera Alexander’s newest historical romance. I loved other books I’ve read by her and was eager to get to A Beauty So Rare.

I love how layered and deeply textured Tamera’s characters and plots are. She uses many true historical details to add authenticity and the books are the richer for it.

Eleanor never feels like a stereotypical spinster. She’s a real woman who’s given up on finding love and being married and having a family. Marcus is a fine hero, caring and considerate. Since this is a romance, it’s clear they will end up together, the fun is in how they get there.

Although Eleanor’s dream of a restaurant is quashed almost immediately, she soon sees that God has an even better idea. A thank you dinner for a few friends grows until Eleanor is feeding a host of Nashville’s widows and children. Along the way she navigates Nashville society, an arranged marriage, and tending to her father’s failing health.

Marcus also harbors a dream: creating a blight-resistant hybrid potato and designing a building acclaimed for its beauty as well as its practicality. I thought his two passions were very different and wasn’t sure how Alexander could marry them in one man. But he’s a archduke and therefore very accomplished. I believed he’d be passionate about both endeavors.

As Marcus and Eleanor spend time together (and after she realizes he’s not the Belmont under gardener) their hearts are knit together as surely as a scarlet wool scarf.

I highly recommend A Beauty So Rare to anyone who loves romances, historicals, or just plain just books.


I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. Done and done.