Monday, March 14, 2011

Dinner with winemakers

a few of the evenings bottles
Preparing a dinner for winemakers is an interesting challenge. The meal must be well balanced and complimentary to the wines but the challenge lies in not knowing just what wines the the winemakers will bring! 
Certainly there will be a few standout California Pinots and Chardonnays but just as certainly someone is bound to bring an outlier. Some obscure Austrian Riesling or knockout French Beaune could throw off an entire menu!
gougeres, with various whites
To start the evening off right, we served gougeres, still warm from the oven, with crisp cold white wines and a lovely Roderere champagne.
Striped bass, grilled whole and stuffed with lemon, fennel and onions provided an impressive main dish.
pearl barley pilaf; fennel celery salad w/ pecorino shavings
A simple fennel and celery salad, finished with pecorino shavings alongwith a pearl barley pilaf with shitake mushrooms & hazelnuts pleasently complimented both the fish and the wines, without overstating their place. For dessert, the ever favorite winter citrus tart.
Among the dozen or wines opened, the breakaway gem of the night was undoubtedly the 1978 Morey-Saint-Denis. A 33 year old Burgundy that just happened to be the most elegant, exceptional wine I have ever tasted. Brownish plum in color and cloudy in texture, the physicality of the wine was unlike most any wines of today.
I don't know that specific flavors can be assigned to every wine every time. Sometimes, to me anyway, its more just a feeling than a flavor. This wine was a perfect example of that. While it might sound even more pretentious than just saying 'red plum' and 'curred meat', drinking this delicate, complex wined reminded me only of a rare, antique, handmade lace.
The only thing better than enjoying this wine was enjoying this wine with winemakers. One noted the high fill level of the wine before opening, establishing how well the wine must have been stored over the last 3 decades. The cork collapsed into the screw in three pieces, a clear sign of its age, but had not absorbed much of the wine, again touting its good storage conditions. The high acid profile of the wine meant it must have been barely drinkable at bottling, but a large part of what made it so incredible 30+ years later! A generous and exciting addition to many great wines of the night.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Little Mermaid sing-along at the Castro Theater

Apologies for the long delay in posting, I know (all 12!) of you were at the edge of your screens awaiting an update from ButterDate.
 Well, wait no further...I bring you one of the most thrilling events experienced in the Bay Area so far...Sing-Along to 'The Little Mermaid' at the famous Castro Theater!!!
 DH and Aa were champs to attend the event with me and might have been the only 2 people in the theater that weren't female and/or under 29!
Goodie bag contents!
Attendees were given goodie bags filled with 'mermaid' related loot, including a King Triton-like gold crown, an Ursula-esque "pearl" necklace , a Sebastian-ish glow-stick/conducting baton, bubbles for the bathtub scene and a Dingle Hopper, better known as a fork on land but not in 'The Little Mermaid'!
Inside the Castro Theater
The Castro Theater could not have been a more perfect venue for this event. Built in 1922 in Spanish Colonial Baroque style, the building is now an historical monument and home to amazing screenings, special events and the best theater popcorn in town. Seriously. 
Organ player with crown!
 An organ player even emerged from below the stage to regal the audience with show tunes before the film.
evil, awesome Ursula
'The Little Mermaid' was the first and might have been the only movie I actively memorized the lyrics to at 7 years old, tape deck and sleeve in hand, in the backseat of the Puegeot wagon with Shann. Seeing the film and singing those songs again, 20 years later was a treat not soon forgotten! The only thing that might have the night more memorable is if Shann had been belting it out by my side!
For any skeptics that this night wasn't a total blast, go listen to 'Part of your World'. I dare you not to love it!