Sunday, October 19, 2008

October's Wine & Dine

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tonight we gathered at Ante's Restaurant in San Pedro for CJ's monthly wine and dine event. There were 15 of us tonight. Some good wines were brought. I did not taste most of them and I did not keep track but a couple of them were very good. There were 3 Grand Cru's. Kent brought a 1974 Sauterne for dessert and it was outstanding. I brought a 2007 Hill Family, Napa Valley, Chardonnay which I felt was very good and it paired well with the seafood. I also brought a 2003 Loring, Gary's Vineyard, Pinot Noir. I was disappointed with this wine. It was not up to Loring's standards. It had quite a funky nose which blew off but the wine lacked substance. It had upfront fruit then fell off.

Out appetizers tonight were Antipasto, sauteed shrimp, calamari steak and steamed clams .
The Entrees included, "Sarma" - cabbage rolls, "Kiseli Kupus", sauerkraut, pork, sausage and vegetables (this is a favorite of mine), "Balacane", eggplant parmesan and "Pecena Patke", roast duck with Ante's special rice. I had so many appetizers that I took very small portions of the entrees. The duck was good. Not on the scale of Doung Son but nevertheless a good dish.

For dessert we had apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. Darka the waitress gave us all a wine stopper. Mine had fishnet stocking legs. She has a small gift shop close to the restaurant. I thought the gesture was very nice.

Oysters & Bluewater Grill

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Bluewater Grill has oyster tasting's during the season. Since they restaurant moved from South Coast Plaza to Tustin I had not been to any for awhile.

The Tustin location was only about 10 minutes further so today Remy and I decided to see what the new place was like. Its about 4 times as big as the other location and much spiffier.

They advertised 12 oyster and one glass of wine of beer for $19.95. This is a bargain. I took a bottle of 2005 Huber Chardonnay and it was excellent. When we were seated the waitress came up and put 2 wine glasses in front of each of us and asked what we wanted first. We opted for what was in her hand which was the Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc. It was pleasant enough but just a run of the mill wine. Then the rep from Firestone Walker Brewery came to the table and asked if we wanted beer. He poured us a pint of Firestone pale ale which was excellent. Then the wine rep came to the table and poured the Rodney Strong Chardonnay. Again another ran of the mill wine. Drinkable but not great. I felt the beer was the best deal. Three people serving us. So we ended up with 3 pours of wine and 2 beers along with the wine I brought. Not bad for $20.

We had a dozen Mendocino Roasted Oysters done three ways. 4 with butter, garlic and wine which paired with the wines. 4 with Tangy barbeque sauce. This went great with the pale ale. And the last 4 were Pacific Rim Style which had a Thai Curry sauce. This had a definite bite to it and also went great with the pale ale and with the Huber Chardonnay that I brought. They serve everything with hot fresh sourdough bread and I can say I was fully satisfied afterwards.

Passport Tasting

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Delius Restaurant in Signal Hill had their annual "Passport Tasting" today. This was the second time at the new location. This years tasting was much more organized that last years. If it had been the same as last years I would probably decide not to do this event anymore. There were 4 wine rep' s pouring today. 12 countries and 3 wines from each country. These are never the high end wines but some of them were quiet good.

A buffet was set up with the mandatory cheeses. A great ceviche which paired excellent with a couple of Italian white wines. Poached Salmon, sausages, a great crab dip. The table also had an array of desserts. The servers passed around trays of Pork Pesto, Ahi Poki, stuffed mushrooms and fabulous lamb chops.

This was definitely better than 2007 and I will be attending the 2009 tasting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chinese Dinner # ???

Saturday, October 4, 2008

8 of us attended dinner at Doung Son restaurant in Westminister (Little Saigon) tonight. Henry has been coming to this place for years every Fridays night with his friends. so we just let him do the ordering. This place is "the Find". No ambiance and only about 10 tables but the food is outstanding.

We started of with "Duck Two Ways". First the very crispy skin with a small amount of meat attached was served "Peking" style with soft buns, hoison sauce, cilantro and shredded scallions. This was served on a bed of shrimp chips.

Next the meat of the duck was shredded and served with crispy rice noodles with bell peppers.

Our favorite "garlic green beans" with seabass was served. This is undoubtedly with best way to serve green beans.

Salt & Pepper Calamari was next. This is so far superior to the"chain" restaurants, The breading is delicate, the calamari is very tender and good size portions. You get a lot of "meat with a little breading.

Shrimp with fat noodles was next. Another good dish. I do like the fat noddles . They absorb the sauce and the flavor is great.

Crispy fried beef was served. Spicy, tender and very satisfying

The last dish was Doung Son Tofu. Fried tofu with mushrooms. This is the only place where I like tofu.

The restaurant gave us 3 desserts tonight. A walnut tapioca type pudding, fresh melon and lotus seed buns.

The wines tonight were all good.

2004 Meridian Gerwurztraminer, 2006 Steelhead Sauvignon Blanc, 1999 Tinta Caravelas ( a blend of Spanish & Portuguese varietals made by the winemaker at Martin Weyrich ), 2001 Martin Weyrich Insieme, 2002 Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 Four Vines Heretic Petite Syrah, 2004 Bridlewood Arabesque, 1997 Grey Wolf Merlot dessert wine and a 2003 Tobin James Liquid Love dessert wine.

Another good dinner, great food and good friends.

Risotto & Lamb Dinner

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A few years ago a group of us attended a wine dinner at a small restaurant in Newport Beach. One of the dishes was a risotto which we all decided was not very good. It had not been cooked properly and the chef/owner did not have a clue. So our good friend Clyde, opened his mouth up and said "I make better risotto than this". He said he would have us all over for a risotto dinner.

I guess his conscious got the best of him and he finally set a date. 9 of us dined this evening. We brought the appetizers and desserts and Clyde made braised lamb shanks, mushroom risotto and his wife Libby made a great salad with greens, pears and cheese. The dinner was excellent. and the risotto was far superior to the dish at the restaurant in Newport Beach.

Wine flowed freely. There was a least 15 bottles set out. I did not keep a list of the wines but I brought a 2003 Loring Cargasacchi Pinot Noir and a 2007 Clos Pepe Pinot Rose. Several of the other wines were very good.

Good friends, good food and good wine. What more does a person need. It just does not better than this.

Monthly Gathering of The Flock

Sunday, October 21, 2008

Today was our monthly get together of the winos. Today's theme was Margaret River vs. Russian River. With all the wines that showed up from the Margaret River we did not need to include the Russian River. I was very pleasantly surprised that people went out of their way to search out wines form the Margaret River which is in Australia.

All the wines were very good even the Chardonnays. The only one that I did care for was an over-oaked Paul Hobbs Chardonnay from the Russian River. But that is my personal preference. Other people liked it.

The wine that was the biggest hit was a 2003 Vasse Felix, Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 220 cases came into the USA and the price was a reasonable $27. Even tho we use 1-1/2 oz pourers (so everyone gets a taste) this bottle was emptied first.

As usual our host for todays event, Henry, created some great Chinese dishes for our dinner. All the appetizers were good and there were a couple of real standouts. It seems everyone went just a little bit more on selecting wine and food for today's event