Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Pan

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Pan at 3550 Long Beach Blvd was the pick for the Bixby Knolls Supper Club this month.  It has been opened about 2 months. Was I surprised when I turned into the parking area and realized that it was the old location for Delius restaurant.  The Pan has taken over the entire strip for their place. The web-site shows the location in Gardena, but the menu is the same. www.thepan.com

This is a very laid back, rustic place. I am not a fan of these metal chairs but for one meal I can handle it. Acoustics are bad. Extremely noisy.

I had the fish and chips. Fish was decent. I have had better and I have had worse. Came with garlic fries and there is not way to mistake that these fries have garlic and they were good.  Also a very small side of coleslaw. Price was fine at $9.75. 

Others had pizza which they raved about. To me it looked a dark and crispy on the edges. Turkey burger looked good as did the pot roast special.

Perhaps it is because they had everyone (70 people) come in at 6:30 for the scheduled dinner but it was really disorganized. 7 of us at our table. One person got their beer and food way before everyone else. He had finished eating by time the rest of the  plates arrived.  Waiter forgot my beer. Had to ask again for it.  Salads came out after the entrees.  I was not a fan of the way the food was plated. My fish and chips were in a metal bowl that was lined with paper. Fries on bottom, 3 pieces of fish on top, a small metal container of sauce and one of coleslaw set on top of the food.  Now I wonder where these small metal containers were sitting before they were placed onto of my food. Did like that thought. So I did not eat the fries in the areas that the metal containers were sitting.

Very limited beer and wine menu. Wine list sucked.

The menu looks like this might be a bright spot for breakfast, which is served all day.  If you live in the area it would be worth a visit to see what they do when they are not over whelmed.  But this type of restaurant is just not my style,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Delius Restaurant and Lumen Wines

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lane Tanner whose new label is Lumen was in house at Delius Restaurant tonight for dinner. www.deliusrestaurant.com, Sat at her table along with another guest and the wine distributor. Lane Tanner retired  her other label but got antsy and decided to get back into the buisness.  It was a packed house for this dinner.

We started out with a Torchon of Foie Gras, Toast Points, Pistacho Butter and a cooked apricot.  The combination of everything was wonderful.  A good start to the evening. A 2014 Lumen Grenache Blanc was paired with this plate and the wine was clean, crisp and a slight hint of acid.  One of the better Grenache Blancs I had tasted lately.

Second course was Seared Salmon, Cauliflower Puree, Hazelnut Brown Butter.  This was my favorite dish of the night. Full of flavor , salmon cooked perfectly and the hazelnut butter added just the right touch I was a happy person. Paired with a 2014 Lumen Chardonnay. Not oaky, well balanced and a perfect accompliment to the salmon.

Third course served is a Grilled Pork Flat Iron, Red Current Chutney, Shropshire Blue Polenta Cake. Pork was good, polenta cake outstanding. My big complaint was it was served in a "boat" type dish., Hard to cut in those type of dishes and again that damm Frisee on the side. I will be so glad when the chefs in all these restaurants get on to another fad.  Frisee has seen its day along with excessive micro greens. Paired with a 2014 Lumen Pinot Noir. I did like this pinot much better than the 2013 . Had a lot going for it. And again another perfect pairing with the food. 

Last we had Roasted Leg of Lamb, Pommes Puree, Roasted Turnips, Baby Carrots, Rosemary Demi. At this point in dinner I have reached my capacity. Had one bite of the meat to taste and had it boxed up to take home. The lamb had good flavor but cutting my only piece had did had some resistance. I will know more when I have it for lunch tomorrow.  I also prefer the lamb chops.  A 2014 Lumen Grenache was poured. This was a really beautiful wine. 

Dessert was a Cherry Pecan Spice Cake with Housemade Cinnamon Ice Cream and Loquat Butter. That loquat butter seem to really add a lot to the spice cake. Everything was very good. 

Another excellent wine dinner at Delius, good dining companions. great food and wine. Hard to beat that combination.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pinot Showdown at the Sky Room

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Sky Room at the Breakers hotel in Long Beach, www.theskyroom.com hosted a dinner tonight with 3 Pinots from California and 3 Pinots from Oregon. We did not know that the wines would be brown bagged and tasted blind. Flights of two wines each and we had to guess which wine from the list. Not quite what I expected from a dinner but you just go with the flow. Since you are drinking two wines with each course your palate is going to be changing quite a bit because of the food. Our guesses were checked after every flight. I managed to get 3 right and received a bottle of 2007 Coquelicot, Mon Amour, a bordeaux blend. The owner of the Sky Room also owns the winery.

When I arrived I was a bit early so I got to pick out the seats for dinner. Choose ones facing the windows because of the view. We had a couple at the same table and two no shows. The no shows apparently were restaurant reviewers and they were getting comp'd dinners. I though that it was very tacky for them not to be there. The restaurant could have sold those seats to others.

Dinner started late because of people not being there on time. Our first course was a Lyonnaise Salad consisting of Applewood Bacon, Frisee and Radicchio, Poached Egg, Heirloom Grape Tomatoes, Brioche Crouton, Shallots and Sherry Vinaigrette.  Flavors were good but again the damm Frisee that just does not want to go into your mouth neatly. The brioche crouton was large, the salad sat upon it. That needed to cut with a knife.  My pet peeve , salads that need a knife. The two wines that were served was a Gainey, Sta Rita Hills,  CA and a Left Coast Cellars "Cali's Cuvee", Willamette Valley. No years were listed.

Second course  was a Sicilian Style Grilled Swordfish with a Caponata of Cherry Tomatoes, Plums, Capers, Shallots, Garlic, Roasted Pine Nuts, Basil and White Wine Sauce,. Fish was excellent. Cooked perfectly.  I was not wild about all the sweet in the Caponata and thought it clashed with the wines that were paired. A Serene Domaine "Yamhill Cuvee", Yamhill, Carlton, OR and a Dutton Estate, "Karmen Isabella", Russian River Valley, CA.. The Dutton was my favorite wine of the evening.

Main course served is a filet of Venison with Salsify, Brussels Sprouts, Morel Mushrooms, Star Anise, Cloves and Juniper Berry Sauce. Venison was perfect, tender and full of flavor. This was a well done plate. The wines were Neely "Picnic Block", Santa Cruz Mountains, CA and a Soter "Mineral Springs Ranch" Yamhill, Carlton, OR

Dessert was a Tart made with Strawberries and Rhubarb. Flavor were good but to me it was heavy after this meal. My preference would have been something very light and airy.

View is wonderful from the Sky Room. Service impeccable. Noise level is ridiculous. There are no acoustics at all because of the walls being almost a 100% glass. But on top of that especially for weekends the noise from the bar, cocktail lounge and dance floor. Loud music and a lot of dancers tonight. The place was packed. My head was throbbing when I left. But it was an enjoyable dinner with good friends and spectacular views.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Utopia and Hahn Wines

Thursday, April 28, 29016

Utopia restaurant in downtown Long Beach, www.utopiarestaurant.net, hosted a Hahn wine dinner. This place in on the small side but it was sold out. Price was right. $70 including tax and tip. In today's wine dinner markets that is a bargain. I did arrive early which turned out well. I was a least able to get a parking space  right by the restaurant. A half hour later and I would have circling the block looking.

Chatted with the wine reps before going in. Somehow I can never remember their names. Guess there are too many of them. But then most of the time they recognize me but can't remember my name.

Hahn winery is in the Santa Lucia Highlands area. Not expensive wines but fairly solid.

We started out with an appetizer of Warm Brie with caramelized garlic and onions.  Simple but very good. The wine was a 2014 Hahn, Monterey County, Pinot Gris. Clean , crisp and light.

Second course was  Pepper Dusted Grilled Scallops with a ginger, sesame wine sauce.  When I saw the wine pairing  I thought it would be a disaster. A 2013 Hahn, Monterey County, Pinot Noir.  Turned out perfect. The ginger, sesame sauce had quite a bite to it and the wine actually went well with it. Big surprise. The scallops were cooked perfectly. The wine was big and fruity. Not to my liking but paired well.

Next a plate of Grilled Lamb Chops with garlic mint sauce was served. I am not into mint with my lamb but the garlic sauce was great. served on two slices of grilled squash which apparently were supposed to be cold and a mound of mashed potatoes. That did not rock my boat. Chops were good, sauce was great but the rest was a disappointment.  The wine was the best of the night. A 2014 Hahn, Monterey County, GSM. Well balanced. just the right amount of fruit forwardness. A very nice wine for being inexpensive. $14 a bottle. A bargain.

Dessert was a nice warm house made apple tart with vanilla ice cream and a sliced strawberries. This was served with a Trenatadue Chocolate Amore wine. Very chocolate aroma and taste. Not overly sweet. A good selection.

A decent dinner, price was right. Several food items were excellent. The rest OK.  Amir, the owner was apparently glad to see me. Came by our table several times to talk with me. More than usual. Might do the wine dinner with them next month depending on the date.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday and It's Dim Sum With The Boys

Monday, April 25, 2016

Another Monday off work so it is Dim Sum again at the Seafood palace in Westminister. www.seafoodpalacerestaurant.com,. Five of us today. Glad to see Terry for the second Dim Sum in a row. 

We started out with a few items off the carts. White Fish Sui Mai which was different and quite good along with the Seaweed Wrapped Minced Shrimp.

Then came our complimentary bowl of  spicy sour soup. Today the soup had a real bite to it. Henry says the cooks used a lot of white pepper. Also a small plate of deep fried baby octopus. Crunchy and small taste of jalapeno. 

A dish with very large tender shrimp, bean sprouts and fat noodles. This had been dry stir fried. Excellent flavor. No leftovers here.

Since we have had the lobster the last few rimes we opted for crab today.  Cantonese style whole crab with ginger and chives. Crab was very sweet. Messy eating but worth the effort.

A shredded pork with garlic sauce was next. Very good flavor. Lots going for it today. No leftovers on the dish either.

Last dish before dessert was sauteed scallops with the house special sauce. Which means whatever the chefs threw together that day. Did not care it was excellent.

Dessert today was an egg, coconut, sugar, milk  concoction baked in pastry bun. Quite good and different from our usual egg tarts.

The wines today were exceptional. I brought a 2011 Clos Pepe HTC Chardonnay and a 2009 Sea Smoke Southing, Pinot Noir.  Both showing quite well. Chardonnay was perfect with all the seafood.

2008 Saxum,  Broken Stones, GSM,  can never go wrong with this wine. Excellent.

 2010 McKeon-Phillips BPR, Cabernet Sauvignon,. Good structure, well balanced.

2006 Denner, The Dirt Worshiper". Very "dirt" at the beginning but then really opened up and was an outstanding wine.

2007 P2, Brosseau Vineyards, Pinot Noir. I think we are all getting down to our last P2's. I had my last one a few weeks ago. Sorry to see Padrick close down but we have enjoyed his wines for the past years.

An exceptionaly good day today. Great wines, excellent food and very good company .

Mai the waitress gave all of us a a candy from Viet Nam. A cashew crunch type bar. No English on the label. It was very good. I will look for it when I am in one of the markets.

April's Wino's Soriee

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Very unusual wine tasting today. The hosts picked out Kosher Wines for their theme since is was Passover.

I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of the wines. I had thought they would not be close to being drinkable but they were all good wines and few were excellent. 

Several of the food dishes that were brought played into the theme.  Brisket, carrot pudding, cheese blintzes, smoked salmon.

Interesting theme, small group of winos but a very pleasant day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Wine Dinner That Wasn't At La Traviata

Thursday. April 21, 2016

Had made reservations to attend a wine dinner at La Traviata in Long Beach  and the day before I received a call from Mario, the owner,  that the dinner was being rescheduled for a later date. But if we wanted to come in and have dinner off the regular menu he would give us a bottle of  wine for the table. He indicated that this would be a bottle that would have been served with the wine dinner. So we opted to have dinner. It was free bottle of wine.

When we arrived Mario took a bottle off the bar and brought it to our table.  I took a look at it and informed him that this bottle was not listed on the menu for the wine dinner. He insisted it was. I pulled out the printed menu for the wine dinner and showed him that it was not listed. After dancing around a bit he changed the subject. The wine still had a grape varietal that I was looking for, Pugnitello" so I didn't make too much of it and it was complimentary. But nowhere near the "$65" price Mario alluded to on the telephone. 

We ordered at calamari fritta for an appetizer. One of the sauces was excellent. Had a lot of lemon in it. Calamari was good but not the best I have had.

Main dishes ordered were duck ravioli, scallops and Risotto with mushrooms and sliced filet of beef. Food was good but not outstanding like it used to be.

I am starting to think that the influx of new restaurants in areas of Long Beach are taking its toll on La Traviata. The parking has always been a a problem and I think the downward spiral on the quality of the food has an effect also. Mario is  personable but has a tendency to "forget".  He also over hypes. Hope he makes in through the downtown renovations that will be happening in that area in the next few years.