Friday, July 22, 2016

Italian Wines at Arte Cafe

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Arte Cafe in Cerritos, ,  had a sit down wine tasting tonight.   Same wine rep as the tasting at Delius on Tuesday. This time it was all Italian wines.  Started out with plates of cheese and crackers and a trio of wines. Then onto a plate of meats and other goodies and finalized the food with a small bowl of beef stew. 9 wines, food for $25 - hard to beat that deal. A couple of the wines were really skunky on the nose because of their age but it did blow off and they turned out to be quite good.  A 2001 Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino was the hit of the night for me.  Next week Arte Cafe hosts their annual summer wine tasting. I do have that on my calendar. It seems in the summer the tasting get more frequent. Gives us winos something to do as we don't like sand in our wines so the beach is out.

First Wine Tasting of The Summer at Delius

Tuesday, July 18, 2016

Delius restaurant,,  hosted their first commuter wine tasting for the summer. Sold out crowd of 38 in the Prix Fixe room.  Italian and Spanish wines were the theme.  8 wines total. Several were very good and the pricing was exceptionaly good. But I am not in the buying mode. Just drinking so I did pass on the bargains.  Loads of passed appetizers so it made dinner for me  Ran into several people I had not seen in quite awhile. Had good conversation and closed the party down.

One more summer wine tasting coming up in August.  Most years Delius has had at least 4 tastings during the summer but like everything else times change.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

If It's Monday Then It's Dim Sum

Monday,  July 18, 2016

It's been a couple of months since we got together for Dim Sum. With vacations etc., getting in the way. So looking forward to today's lunch with the boys.  CJ picked up Terry and brought him. In two months there has been a drastic change in him. It saddens me deeply. But he is making the most of it and looks forward to be able to get out with the group.

We started out with Salt & Pepper Calamari followed by Shrimp Shu Mai. Just enough to get the taste buds going.

Then off to the Seaweed Wrapped Shrimp Deep Fried. We seem to have a tendency to stay with the tried and true for the most part

Our complimentary bowl of Spicy Sour Soup arrived.  Today it was just a tad bit spicier than usual. Different cook. 

A plate of Fried White Fish with  Sesame Seeds and greens was very good today. This was followed by a plate of Sauteed Shrimp with Chinese Broccoli. Shrimp were perfect.

Since we had so many red wines Henry threw in a dish of Orange Peel Beef Strips. Tender and amazing flavor.

Our normal dessert of Daan Tart  (egg custard tarts) was gobbled down.  Another nice Dim Sum.

Our wines were mixed. A bottle of Viuda Seguras Cava started us out in the right direction.

Followed by 2003 McKeon Phillips, BPV, Cabernet Sauvignon. 2005 Stolpman Angeli, 2005 Chateau De Doyenne Bordeaux and a 2010 Forstmeister Geltz, Zilliken, Spatlese.

The Cab was spot on. The Angeli was a little tight even after being decanted but started to open up after awhile and showed what is really was.  The Bordaeux was a weak wine and The Spatlese was too sweet.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Saturday. July 9, 2016

Margies's monthly wine activity was held at Mitsuyoshi restaurant in Stanton,, Japanese food and Sushi bar.  I did notice that lot of their clientele were Japanese and that is always a good sign.

11 of us tonight and we were seated in a small room. 2 tables, one with 5 people and one with 6 people. Table was crowded because of the wine glasses and the plates of food were large. Several of them came on trays which took more room.

Food was very good. Heard several compliments on the food. I had the Bento Box which contains a mix of numerous items. I like variety and this fit the bill. It was quite large so I did take some items home with me. I am so glad I did not order an appetizer.  The restaurant did set out bowls of picked cabbage and that was more than enough for me.

Restaurant also comped us a bowl of ice cream for dessert. Margie had her usual boxes of  See's candy that she passed around. I took one piece and took it home with me.

Wines were a mixed bag. I brought a 2009 Huber, Sta. Rita Hills, Barrel Select, Pinot Noir. It was well balanced,  nice lightly lush  mouth feel.. My personal opinion is it really over shadowed the two Sea Smoke's that were brought. I was not impressed with either one and they are twice the price of the Huber. And the vineyards are just over the hill from Sea Smoke

2012 Tablas Creek, Espirit Blanc - did not taste

2015 Patelin de Tablas, Rose - did not taste

2015 Hart, Temecula, Pinot Gris - I meant to taste this wine even though I am not a fan of Pinot Gris but never got around to it - I do like Joe Hart's wines

NV, Segura Vivdas, Spain, Cava Rose Brut - always a winner

Mio Sparkling Sake -  sparkling sake is always fun

2014 Lenz Moser, Austria, Niederistereich, Gruner Veltliner - a very good wine that went well with the food

2007  Sea Smoke, Sta. Rita Hills, Southing, Pinot Noir - not impressed and 2007 was a very good year in the area - thought the wine lacked complexity and was lacking in flavor - a big disappointment - it could have been the individual bottle - by all rights this should have been a good wine

2912 Sea Smoke, Sta. Rita Hills, Southing, Pinot Noir - way to young to be opened. - again did not have that much going for it

2014 Cloudy Bay, New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc - passed on this wine - have had it before and it is just not my style of Sau Blanc - too much grapefruit, too acidic and a heavy cat pee odor -  Patty was trying to find a place to dump hers

2014 Equinoxe, Rhone, Crozes-Hermitage, Syrah - did not get to taste this wine - the bottle never made it to our table 

2012 EOS,  Dry Creek Valley, Wolcott Vineyard, Zinfandel - did not taste

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Magic Castle Adventure

Saturday July 2, 2016

The Magic Castle beckoned again. I have not been here in at least 15 years.  Interesting  how memory works. I thought the Castle was much further off the 101 freeway that it was an I also thought the driveway was longer and steeper. Inside also was changed and that was not a memory problem. They had added numerous more bar/cocktail areas. Some only with 6 seats. Alcohol sales are a big part of their revenue so it is understandable why they did it when they renovated. The bar with "Irma" was smaller.

I had forgotten how many times you have to navigate stairs. There are 3 floors. When you enter,  the first floor has some small showrooms when you first go in. Then up to the second floor for dining. Then up and down depending on what showroom you want.

Dinner was good. I had scallops and they were cooked correctly. Others had Sea Bass and Pork Chop. No one complained about the food. Service was good as it should be. We ordered a bottle of  Failla  Pinot. Light weight but went well with the seafood.

The shows were good. One was a standout. You never know what is going on at the Castle. This was a Saturday and the place was packed. We entered at approximately 5:30 and left about 11:00 and only go into 3 showrooms.

Ran into a acquaintance who is a member. He gave us a small tour and explained the history of the Castle.  Had a book with lots of old pictures. Quite interesting and informative. 

My next visit will be soon. I have another pass and thinking about taking the family. Sunday Brunch is the only time that people under 21 can visit.  My great grandson would be quite taken with the magic. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fish at The Playground

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dinner tonight at the Playground 2.0 Room,,  was billed as as all fish.  Since the 2.0 Room only hold 17 people these dinners seem to sell out quickly. 

We started out with a glass of 2015 Arnot Roberts, Rose of Touriga National Rose from Lake County. Very light, very pale color and very light taste. OK wine but.  Our first dish of the evening was a housemade bagel (outstanding) with cream cheese (very light and silky)  fried capers and caviar. Caviar is fish just not hatched yet.  Maybe you could say "unborn fish"

The  Rose wine was replaced with a 2014 Habit, Gruner Veltliner. I have had this label before and was not overly impressed. The Gruner was OK but.  Food served was a Ceviche made with Fluke, Cilantro, 2 kinds of Corn and Popped Corn Kernals (not your regular popcorn), Red Onion - flavor was wonderful and the dish did pair well with the wine.

3rd dish is a "Poke"made with Ocean Trout Belly, Avocado, Soy Sauce, Toasted Corn and Puffed Quiona. Great flavor but I did like the Ceviche better. Of course I am also started to fill up and we have numerous courses to go

A glass of 2015 Schloss-Gobelsburg,  Gruner Veltliner  was poured. Winery in Austria was started in 1171. I was really taken with this wine. Good mouth feel, well balanced. It is also nice that they offer multiple pours. 
Next was a "Mexican" Kim-chi with Octopus. Served between two flat tortilla style corn chips. Flavors were good. Messy eating.

This next dish turned out to be one of my favorites. Tacos A La ??? something. Meant to be "governors taco" . Mexican name that I cannot spell. It was a take on a quesadilla. Shrimp, Oaxaca Cheese, similar to string cheese, curds are pulled into a "rope", Bell peppers and  folded into a house made Corn Tortilla. A small salad of Arugula with a Lime, Sour Cream dressing topped it off.

Wine poured next was a 2014 Anthill Farms, Peugh Vineyard, Chardonnay. Decent, not overly oaky but went very well with the foods being served.

A plate of very thin roasted Asparagus with thinly sliced Oranges and  toasted Almonds on a bed of Romesco Sauce. Had a small bite to the sauce. I will say I did like the asparagus dish we had at the Sunday Supper a few weeks back much better. This was good but.

Seventh course turned out to be Top Loin of Ocean Trout that had been lightly smokes, Sugar Snap Peas, Maple Syrup over a Horseradish Cream, Fish was excellent but I could not wrap myself around  snap peas  and horseradish

A glass of 2014 Anthill Farms. Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir was served.  Good wine. Went well with the next dishes.

A  bowl of Blue Hominy Pozole with Bacon (only protein that was not fish), Clams, freeze dried corn kernals,  paper thin sliced Radishes. Full of flavor but I am so full by now that I am groaning.

My second favorite dish was the  assorted Wild Mushrooms carmelized, with Shallots. crispy Garlic, Crimini Onions. The mushrooms were all the really wild ones. Enoki, Trumpet etc., So much flavor. I finished this dish up quickly

10th course is a Black Cod, Shisito peppers, Tomatoes, sauteed Corn. Cod was perfect. Light and buttery.

Wine being poured was a 2012 Kevin Olson,  Monterey,   Pinot Noir. New label for me. Good wine.

A palate cleanser of Mixed  Macerated Berries, Whipped Cream and Yuzu Tart was brought out.  Then onto to dessert. An Apricot Cake with Apricot Jam, crushed Pistachios and a Sorbet made from Jack Fruit. This was very different, very good and a really nice ending to a meal.

A beer was served that I had one sip and passed. Wheat Grass. Coriander, Sea Salt, local pulots. Did absolutely nothing for me.

So another very good dinner in the 2.0 Room.  Looking forward to the next.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Vintage 2009 Pinot Noir Tasting

Saturday, June 18, 2016

14 of us Pinotphiles gathered tonight for a blind tasting of 2009 Pinot Noirs from any place in the world. This was a real mixed bag of wines    A lot of nibblies to keep us going.  There was one bad wine in the group but a duplicate was brought. One bad , one good. The luck of the draw . It was the 2009 Huber Estate.  I had bought a case of this wine and they were all good. 

 Tasting notes were kept and at the end we compared our notes top the revealed wines. I brought two wines. The 2009 Sequana Russian River was a disappointment. I expected more. Have two more bottles so maybe I will not open them for a few years and hope they improve. My other wine was a 2009 Lucia, Santa Lucia Highlands. One of the better wines tasted tonight. Unfortunately it was my only bottle.

Everyone had a different opinion on most of the wine.

Williams Selyem, Russian River Valley
Sea Smoke, Ten, Sta Rita Hills
Williams Selyem, Ferrington Vineyards, Anderson Valley
Sea Smoke, One Barrel, Sta Rita Hills
Sea Smoke, Southing, Sta Rita Hills
Miner, Gary's Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands
Louis Jadot, Beaune, 1er Cru, France
Bouchard Aine & Fils, Burgundy, France
Copain, "Kiser En Haute", Anderson Valley
Thomas George Estates, Lancel Creek Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Vincent Girardin, 1er Cru, La Fussierre Maranges, Burgundy, France
Roessler, Ceremonial, Russian River Valley
Sea Smoke, Botella, Sta Rita Hills
Siduri, Hirsch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Clos Pepe Estate, Sta Rita Hills
Lucia, Santa Lucia Highlands
Rozak, Santa Maria, Valley
Martinelli, Lolita Ranch
Husch, Anderson Valley
Huber Estate, Sta Rita Hills
Cardwell Hill, Pommard Block, Williamette, 
Sequana, Russian River Valley
Fourth Estate, Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Huber Estate, Sta Rita Hills