Sunday, November 23, 2008

Champagne Dinner

Friday, November 21, 2008

Delius,, had their annual "Champagne" dinner tonight. We had a group of 20 people at our table. With this many people you could only talk with those close to you without getting up and walking around. It would have been better to have 2 tables of 10. I personally prefer a round table with no more 8 people. Makes for better conversation.

The restaurant did not have menus at our plates so I did not write down the bubblies that were served. Space was tight at the table so there really was no room for paper and pen. I do remember one of the sparklings was from South Africa and was quite good. The last champagne poured was a Henriot was very good. We started out with a Proseco.

First course - Ahi Carpaccio with citrus herb salad, fried capers and wasabi cream. This was an outstanding dish

Second course - Watermelon salad (red & yellow) with goat cheese and micro greens, Very refreshing and interesting,

Third course - Pan seared scallops with crispy prosciutto, artichoke hearts and a lemon-olive oil emulsion. Excellent flavor.

Fourth course - Duck Confit with fingerling potatoes, pears and arugula. The duck was perfect.

Fifth course - Apple Tart with homemade cinnamon ice cream. Just big enough to end the meal perfectly.

November Wino's Gathering

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's theme for our monthly gathering was Stags Leap AVA and Alexander Valley AVA. Seeing as Alexander Valley wines are a little cheaper they were the predominate wines poured.

I brought a 2005 Robinson Family Merlot from Stags Leap. It showed every well.

A couple of others that I liked were the 1993 Geyser Peak, Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Vally and the 1995 Shafer, Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap.

In all there were 22 wines and they were all good. No dogs in the bunch. The hostess served a beef tenderloin and again the side dishes were great We were all stuffed by time we left.

Wine & Dine

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tonight the Wine & Dine group gathered at Tantalizing Thai on Long Beach for dinner. We had a couple of new dishes tonight.

We started off with the Tom Yum Koong - soup with shrimp, mushrooms, lemon grass & chilies in a broth. A favorite of mine.

The appetizers consisting of Satay Beef with peanut sauce, Thai style chicken wings with garlic and "Sarong" shrimp coated with seasoned ground pork and wrapped with egg noodles, then fried. This was very good.

Entrees included Fried Rice with Basil - ok to me is just fried rice, I'm a potato person. Next was mixed vegetables stirred fried with a Kra Prao sauce.

Siam Apple Catfish - fillets with a light batter, fried and served with a lime juice sauce made with apples, onions, garlic and chilies. This was a really good dish.

Crying Tiger Steak - always a winner. Marinated rib eye with a lime juice dipping sauce.

Thai baby back ribs - this was a new dish. Ribs served with a tamarind sauce with garlic. Again another tasty dish.

Bubbly was poured and the red & white wines flowed. I did not keep track of any wine. I brought a 2006 Stolpman Sauvignon Blanc and a 2004 Loring Rancho Ontiveros Pinot Noir. Both showed very well.

Bluewater Grill & Oysters

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remy and I decided to take trip down the road to Tustin and attend another oyster tasting at the Bluewater Grill. Today's theme was East Coast vs West Coast Oysters. 12 oysters and 3 wines for $24.95.

Remy also brought a bottle of wine that she picked up in Texas. Turned out to be quite good.

Tonight they served Blue Point, Malpaque, Fanny Bay, Hammersley Inlet and Pickering Pearl oysters. I had not tried the Pickering Pearl oysters before. Very small but nice taste to them. My favorite of the selection was the Malpaque. They had just the right amount of briny taste to them. Very enjoyable. Tonight's wines were a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc which is always nice, a Ferrari Carano Chardonnay and another white that I can't remember. These are all decent drinking wines. But for the price how can you complain. It is a bargain. I hope they do not jack up the price to $29.95 like before. Then it no longer becomes attractive. Just high priced.

I did start the evening off with a bowl of clam chowder which is very good at Bluewater Grill. I highly recommend it.

Blending Party

Sunday, October 2, 2008

Today we had a Bordeaux Blending Party. A wine rep opened bottles of the 5 bordeaux wines that would make for a bordeaux blend. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. You indicated to him how much of each wine you wanted in your glass to be "your" bordeaux blend. If you didn't like your blend you could go back and make another one.

This was a lot of fun and interesting. I had done this type of blending before so I was familiar with the process. Everyone had a good time and really seemed to enjoy themselves.

Taxco Mexican Restaurant

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tonight 8 of us ventured up to West Hollywood to attend dinner at a restaurant that Remy has raved about. I am glad John drove because it took and hour and half to get there. Since we were late for our reservation we had to wait about 20 minutes on the patio area before being seated. We had Sangrias while we waited. They were refreshing. The restaurant only had a beer & wine license. The margaritas were made with wine instead of tequila. I passed on that and stuck with the sangria At least it was overly sweet. The waiter comes over and asks if you want chicken, beef, seafood, shrimp or vegetarian. Also gives you a choice of sauces. All the appetizers are the same. No menus.

We started off with chips and salsa, both which they make fresh daily. Next was a very good quesedilla with one of the best guacamole's I have had. The meatball soup was ok. I have worst and better so it fell in the middle. The next appetizers was a mini chicken enchilada followed by a "mexican" pizza. Beans and cheese on top of a tortilla. It was good. I ordered the shrimp mole for dinner. The mole was very good but I felt the shrimp were just overcooked a tad. The refried beans were good but by this time I could only taste them and not eat them. They make their tortillas fresh everyday also.

The only dessert that is served is some kind of pudding/flan concoction which was tasty. This was served with a small glass of Sherry.

I would only venture to this place with a group of people to make it a party. Its a long drive and they don't even have tacos.

Winos Gathering For October

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today was our monthly gathering of the dedicated winos. Todays theme was Oregon Pinots, Noir, Gris and Blanc.

Two of the wines I felt were outstanding were the 2006 Adelshim Pinot Gris and the 2000 Siduri, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir.

The host grilled pork tenderloins and we stuffed our faces. As usual the food was good, the wines were good and the conversations were good.

Oktoberfest at Clos Pepe Winery

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Took off early this am to wander up the highway. I was invited to an Oktoberfest party at the Clos Pepe Winery in the Sta. Rita Hills. Lots of fog on the coast driving up. I had arranged to meet Tom Stolpman of Stolpman Vineyards at the tasting room to taste the new releases. Picked up a couple of cases of his wines, which are among my favorites. Made a quick stop at Dierberg Winery before heading over to Clos Pepe shindig. If you have not stopped at Dierberg I would suggest you do. Very nice wines and their Pinot made Wine Spectators top 100 wines for 2008.

I arrive at Clos Pepe and the party was in full swing. It was Steve Pepe's 65th birthday and he was in his realm grilling sausages to go with the sauerkraut, ribs and potato salad. Plenty of wine and beer flowed. The kids had a costume parade and Chanda gave a demonstration of how her sheep dogs work herding. This winery uses Babydoll sheep to keep the weeds down.

I sat at a table with Norman and Traudel Huber of Huber Cellats and Norm Yost of Flying Goat Cellars. Food was good and the conversation was great. I drank beer today seeing as it was Oktoberfest. Need to stay true to the tradition.

When the Hubers got ready to leave they invited me to their house to taste Normans new Pinot Noir and a Dornfelder port he was making. Theye lived right across the road from Clos Pepe. They left their gate open for me (its a closed winery) and I proceeded to the house. Was greeted by Heidi, another sheep dog.

We went into Normans playroom and had a glass of Pinot and then a glass of the Dornfelder Port which turned out to be 20% alcohol. It was really great and when he gets approval for the label he will be able to market the wine. Traudle gave me cookies to try and counter the port as I was driving home that evening.

2 hours at 45 minutes to drive up and 4+ hours to drive back. The 405 freeway had an accident blocking 3 lanes so the masses stayed on the 101 just like I did and it became a parking lot. Very long day. But I had another wine function on Sunday so I did not want to spend the night. It was a good day but tiring.

Chilean Wine Dinner

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Since I am making this post a month late I will have to wing it. I cannot find my notes or the menu for the dinner. It was at Utopia in downtown Long Beach. Chilean wines were featured and the only one I can remember is a 2003 Tay's Creek , Maipo Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon and that is only because I bought a few bottles. At $14 it was a bargain. I can't for the life of me remember the meal or the other wines. But since I have enjoyed all my meals at Utopia,, I would venture to say this meal was the same. If I ever find my notes I will update this posting.