Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wild Game and German Wine Dinner at Fora

Sunday October 24, 2010

Tonight Fora Restaurant,, and Rudi Wiest Imports along with the Wine Country,, hosted a "Wild Game" dinner.

I missed the one two years ago so I made sure that I found time for this one. Terry & Cora joined me tonight. Terry has eaten a lot of game and so have I. We were real anxious to set what tonight's dinner would bring.

The "wild" game are raised on a million acre ranch in Texas. I brought up the website and it was very interesting. Common folk like me can purchase these delectable delights.,

We started out with Pickled Herring, Smoked Trout and Anchovies with onion and sour cream. I think there may have been a very thinly sliced piece of green apple in there also. I thought the dish was great. I can handle strong flavors so I am not turned off by them. The wine was a 2008 Dr. F. Weins-Prum Estate Riesling, Mosel. Slightly sweet but dry. I thought it was an extremely good pairing.

Next was Wild Boar Sausage with Red Cabbage and Sweet German Whole Grain mustard. I really liked the flavor of these sausages. According to the website they are smoked. The wine pairing was a 2007 Schnaitmann Samtrot, Wurttembeg. This is a new wine grape varietal for me. Which brings my total up to 250 different wine grape varietals tasted

Then came the Deer Medallions. The menu said antelope but the chef switched the dishes around and did not tell anyone. I thought the "antelope" looked dark. Antelope is a lighter color, more like lamb or goat. But it had the Bread Dumplings with it so I assumed I was wrong.So did Terry. But the dish was good. The sauce excellent. Served with a 2007 Heger Pinot Noir, Baden.

Finally the Antelope Cutlet arrived. Had mushrooms & root vegetables with it. Wine was a 2007 Schnaitmann Lemberger, Wurtemberg. Good pairing but I think I would have preferred the Pinot with the antelope and the Lemberger with the vension.

Then we got a surprise from the kitchen. They served us a cutlet of Sitka deer. This deer is small and is native to Japan. So the meat was lighter than the venison that was served earlier.
They also brought out a small amount of deer liver. The liver was not strong and was very moist and tender.

A plate was brought out with a piece of Cambozola cheese, a Buckshot Brownie, Apple Strudel and Vanilla Creme Anglaise. I ate the cheese and since the Anglaise would not last the night I ate that also. Took the strudel and brownie home along with leftover meat. By this time I was overly stuffed.

The dessert portion was served with a 1999 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Auslese, Goldcap, Saar. The wine was excellent but I cannot get into sweet with sweet. To me it is total overkill. I thought the wine with the cheese was excellent and would have liked more cheese to go with it.

To me the wine of the night was the first one. The 2009 Riesling. It was dry but not overly. Just the right amount of residual sugar to be just barely there. And my best dish would have to be the boar sausage. Great flavor, not gamy but since boar is a not raised like our domestic pigs it was not fatty. But then is wasn't overly dry like some sausages can get.

A very enjoyable dinner, great food, good wine and fabulous friends.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Redeemption at the Factory

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Factory,, redeemed itself tonight with the BYOB dinner. Tonights theme was Tuscany. I knew there would be a lot of red wines so I brought a "Vernaccia di San Gimignano". A white wine from Tuscany. One of the very few white grapes grown the region. It did pair very well with the first two dishes.

We started off with a bruschetta with fresh cheese and heirloom tomatoes. Next was a white bean and mussel soup. Both dishes were very good and paired well with the Vernaccia.

Main course was chicken breast with a citrus based marina sauce. There were 2 Brunellos brought by our group an the younger (2005) went very well with this dish.

Dessert was a panna cotta with balsamic infused strawberries.

We had decided if the restaurant did not up their game this would be our last dinner there. They came through with flying colors.

So next month the theme is Zinfandels and we will be coming back.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The monthly gathering of the flock today. Theme was Oktoberfest with German wines and beers. Food was abundant as it is with all Oktoberfest's. Paul & Margie had their German friends cook the food. There was an over abundance. Sausages, weinerschnitzel, beef roulade, potato salad, pickled red cabbage, spatzle, saurekraut with pork loin and apples. A dozen desserts, Fresh baked soft pretzels and so much more.

Most of the wines were Rieslinsg but we had some great German beer also. Quite a different take for our "wine" group. '

It seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a good time. Something a little different.

555 East

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This is The Dine LA week and some restaurants are having specials. Along with the no corkage until the end of the year this choice was a no brainer.

555 is known for its steaks and naturally this is what we were aiming for, The special menu was $44 and you had your choice of 3 appetizers, oysters, crab cakes or grilled artichoke, 3 main dishes, 8 oz filet, chicken marsala or salmon and 3 desserts, creme brulee, chocolate souffle cake or strawberry shortcake. They also were very generous with their hot rolls and butter.

I chose the raw oysters, the 8 oz filet and the creme brulee. I ordered my steak rare and it was perfect. 2 inches in height. Margie and Cora ordered the same but medium so their steaks were butterflied. Paul ordered the 24 oz Porterhouse (not on the special menu). It was huge. We all had a form of potatoes along with the steak.

Everyone was happy with their selections and all agreed that the food was really good and the price was a bargain for 555 East. Except for Paul's $51 Porterhouse. H ordered off the regular menu. 555 is not cheap.

We all brought out some big guns for wine tonight. How can you not have a great wine with a fantastic piece of beef.

NV Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blanc Champagne
1998 Stolpman Cabernet Franc Reserve, Santa Ynez
2005 Kistler Hyde Vineyards Chardonnay
2006 Merry Edwards Angel Wing Pinot, Russian River, Limited Edition
2005 Krupp Brothers Stage Coach Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Krupp Brothers Synchrony (blend)

Great food, great wines and great friends. Can't get any better that that. Life is good.

Delius Passport Tasting

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This in an annual event at Delius Restaurant. 12 countries with 3 wines from each. Buffet set up and passed appetizers.

The back was still not in the best of shape so I had about 6 wines only. Had a small plate of goodies and was glad to see the baby lamb chops being passed. I only had 2 which for me is nothing. I just was not feeling that good.

All to food was good and there was a lot of it. I can usually taste all 36 wines but was not in the best form today. I did make it for 2 hours and then had to leave.

Tantalizing Thai

Saturday, October 9, 2010

CJ's Wine & Dine group met tonight at the Tantalizing Thai in Carson. You can always count on a good meal at this establishment. I brought a 2003 McKeon Phillips BPR Cabernet and a 2006 Huber Chardonnay.

We started out with Tom Yum Koong - a very savory soup with shrimp & mushrooms.

The appetizers were Thai Spring Rolls & Crisp Garlic Wing.

The entrees were, Yellow Chicken Curry, Green Chicken Curry and Vegetable Panang (curry). Three Curry dishes was 2 to many. I am not a big curry fan and to me this was overkill. We also had Pineapple Fried Rice, Siam Apple Catfish.

I had to leave at this time because the back just was not taking the sitting too well so I missed the Thai Baby Back Ribs.

I also missed having the Crying Tiger Steak. We have always had this dish and everyone likes it. For some reason CJ decided not to have it tonight (he does all the selection of the dishes days ahead of the dinner - we just show up and eat) Guess he wanted to vary the menu.

Chardonnay & Red Blends Wine Dinner at The Factory

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tonight's BYOB theme was Chardonnays and Red Blends. The Factory is in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. Small place run by a young couple., I cannot remember what wines I brought to this dinner. It may have been the Formula Wine from Meeker which is a blend of almost every red grape they grow.

Dinner started out with a "Confetti" Polenta. Fried Polenta with diced, colorful vegetables in it with a roasted red pepper sauce. This was the best dish of the evening.

Next was baby Brussell Sprouts with a Lemon Foam. First the sprouts were not cooked enough. Some were almost raw. And then the acidic lemon foam did not pair well with the chardonnay wine. They should have pan sauteed the sprouts with some panchetta or bacon. Then they would have been good. Someone definitely was not thinking.

Main course was "deconstructed beef wellington" ???? A piece of puff pastry on the bottom (took a knife to cut it) with shredded beef. This was ok but they served it with a cold Garbanzo bean "salad". Not a good pairing. Most of the plates going back to the kitchen still had the garbanzos on it. That should tell someone something.

Dessert was "Fried Plantains with Creme Fache". Plantains were tough. As Clyde said (who came from Barbados) he could cook better plantains that these.

Another disappointing dinner. Not as bad as the last dinner but not up to the first two dinners we did here at the Factory. Someone better get their act together.

September's Gathering of the Flock

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our monthly wino group met today and the theme was Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The hosts made a great beef brisket. Most and tender with an excellent orange based gravy.

Since this was the same day as the Stolpman tasting in Los Angeles we arrived about 45 minutes late. I had dropped off my food the day before so I would not have to mess with it.

I brought a 2005 Meeker Cabernet Franc from Sonoma. There was a good assortment of wines and some that were really quite good.

Next month Oktoberfest.

Stolpman Wine Tasting

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wine House in Los Angeles hosted a Stolpman wine tasting today. A friend drove and we parked on the upper level where the restaurant was. Of course no elevator so I had to hike down the flight of stairs to get to the wine shop. We had over an hour to kill so down we went. That of course meant I had to go back up the flight of stairs which was a slow process. I still have a lot of pain.

Three flights of wine were scheduled. Tom & Peter Stolpman along with Caufield from the Wine House poured a 2009 Rose of Sangiovese. Like the other vintages this was a very nice slightly dry rose. A nice start to an afternoon. To bad the chairs weren't comfortable.

The first flight was a library flight. Tom remarked to me that I was probably the only one in the room besides him that had tasted all these wines. I have bought Stolpman wines since 1998 when Tom & Marilyn just started bottling.

1998 Cabernet Franc Reserve $62 at its peak right now
1998 Sangiovese Reserve $58
1999 Syrah $54
2000 Rhone Ridge Cuvee $48
2001 Syrah $52

Next flight was called Exclusive Flight. 3 I had not heard of before nor tasted until today.

2008 Single Barrel L'Avion $58 24 cases made - a white rhone grape blend
2008 La Croce $66 225 cases made - blend of syrah & sangiovese
2008 Hilltops Syrah $48 400+ cases made
2008 Hilltops High Density Syrah $ 58, 200 cases made
2008 Rubens' Block Syrah $98 22 cases made with half going to the owners and winemakers and only 11 cases available to the public.

Last flight was called Pinnacle.
2001 Angeli (syrah) $94
2002 Angeli $78
2003 LaCroce $72
2003 Angeli $74
2004 Angeli $84
2004 Angeli "36 months Oak Aged" $98

I have all but the "oak aged" which was just released. A great tasting and it was nice to revisit the old wines. Bought a few to lay down.

So Far Behind

This is mid October and I have not posted since August 27. I pulled the muscles in my back and things did not seem to important to keep track of. By now I have a hard time remembering what I did and what wines I drank. So this is a short catch up.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - Renwood Wine tasting at Delius. The run of the mill Renwoood wines. Nothing special.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - Brulee in Long Beach. Met friends their for appetizers and jazz. Can't remember the wine I brought but I did not bring any home so it had to be good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 6 of us at Franco's for dinner. I remember I went in with the idea of having the salmon but after the specials were read I changed my mind. I think I may have ordered the stuffed chicken breast and I sure can't remember the wine.

Saturday, September 4, 2010 - A wedding reception dinner at Delius. Again vague remembrances. I know we had duck and the glazed pork belly.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 - Retirement Party - I do remember the Paella the host made. Along with a lot of other food. I think I may have brought a Grenanche wine to this event. And no I was not driving.

Monday, September 6, 2010 - woke up in the morning and could not move because of the pain in my back. I had been ignoring the symptoms for weeks. Had a week off work and neighbors took me to the chiropractor . I do not want to relive that week or the next few.