Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dining in The Wine Cellar

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tonight was a special treat. Five of us dined in the Wine Cellar Room at Delius, . This room is private and has a window that looks out into the kitchen so you can see all the activities going on. 10 courses which is a lot of food even with the small portions. Half way through I had reached my saturation point.

I let the others pick out the wines for this evening. As long as they went well with the food is all I cared about and they did a good job or doing that.

We were seated at 7:15 and left at 10:45. No one trying to push you out for the next diner.

We started off with an appetizer plate which had, Spanish white anchovies, Kalmata olives, a very good Hummus, tomato salsa for bruschetta, endive, feta cheese and toast points. Only missing for me was a pate.

Next was a seared Ahi which was exceptional in flavor.

Scallop with carmelized shallots, fried mushrooms, carrot puree and chive oil.

Salad was very thinly sliced gold and red beets with micro arugula, goat cheese and a balsamic reduction.

Soup was a roasted garlic and carmelized onion. Very good. I have had this soup before and always enjoyed it

The two whites wines we had with these dishes were a 2007 Xavier Frissant, Val de Loire, Sancerre and a 2009 Vionta Albarino. Very good pairings and the wines were very reasonable.

This is where I hit the wall.

Entree was roasted duck breast with potato gnocchi with raspberry gastric. Had one bite and asked Fred to box it up for me. As always the duck was excellent.

We were then served a pink grapefruit sorbet to clean the palate.

Main course was a beef filet with mushrooms, onions, green beans , parsnip puree and a red wine reduction . Again one bite and boxed to go.

The red wine we chose for this part of dinner was an 2008 Miner, Garys Vineyard, Pinot Noir. A good choice.

A cheese plate appeared with a soft brie type cheese, manchengo a blue cheese, crackers and grapes. I did not have any at all as dessert was next and I needed to save room for it. But the plate got cleaned up by the others.

Dessert was a Filbert (Hazelnut) gelato over a thin slice of a decadent chocolate cake.

All the food was top quality as it usually is at Delius. Had good service with Fred and Phillipe. Company was good along with the wines. It was a very enjoyable evening. Could not have asked for anything more. Will have to do this again.

BYOB Diiner at The Factory

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Theme for tonight's BYOB dinner at the Factory,, was Zinfandel. Since they redeemed themselves with last months dinner 9 of us decided we would try again. All the Zins on the table were good. Ridge, Seghesio, Chateau Margene, Turley Rattlesnake. I tried to remember them all but it got lost in my brain the last few days.

First course was a Roasted sweet potato soup - good flavor.

Salad was Warm Wild Mushrooms with Dandelion Herbs and Roasted Hazelnuts. Surprisingly it was very good.

Next was a Pomegranate Glazed Grilled Duck Breast with Creme Fraiche, roasted grapes and potato bacon gratin. Everything goes good with bacon. Duck was good.

Dessert was a Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Strusel and Maple Ice Cream. A nice end to a meal.

These dinners are only $25 and you bring your own wine. It is a lot of fun and reasonable. The portions are not big but for $25 I think you get your moneys worth.

They are talking about having a dinner in December but it would be so close to Christmas that I doubt that I will be able to attend.

Last Wine & Dine

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dinner tonight was at Fritto Misto's in Hermosa Beach. CJ has deceided that after 10 years of organizing these dinners this will be his last. It is a tremendous amount of work on his part to have new and different menus each time to we out.

There were 29 in attendance tonight for the "Last Hurrah". Since I just got back from vacation and a lot of driving, I rode with friends tonight. The food here is good but the parking really sucks. A few people who live in the south bay area came by taxi to avoid the parking issue.

A lot of wine was on the table. As usual I did not keep track of anything besides the 2005 Stolpman LaCroce I brought. This wine was showing very well. Glad I have a few more bottles left. I did not taste a bad wine tonight. Everyone seemed to bring out the good stuff for the last supper.

We started off with Misto Salad - To me it is a "salad", greens with a few additives.

Next was Fritto Mist which is vegetables and seafood, battered and deep fried, served with a roasted garlic mayonnaise and a marinara sauce. Always a favorite.

Garlic Shrimp was next up shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Good flavor.

Chicken Cilantro Ravioli - ravioli filled with chicken and served with a cilantro cream sauce with tomatoes and green onions. This was very good.

Italian sausage and Roasted Peppers - sliced Italian turkey sausage, marinara sauce, roasted green peppers and carmelized onions on linguini - the sausage was too spicy for me but the sauce and the linguini was great.

Fresh Mixed Vegetables With Beef Tips - just what the name says. Good flavor.

Food was good. But unless I was in the area for some reason I would not make the trek to Hermosa Beach to eat here. There are some very good Italian restaurants within 20 minutes driving time to my "abode". I would much rather stay close to home.

Good home close to 1:00 am which is very late for me. Sure glad it was on a Saturday so I had Sunday to rest before going back to work.

Sad to see it being the last Wine & Dine. But everything has a shelf life and this one came due.

Vacation Time

Left mid morning on 11/5/10 for a week in Avila Beach. This puts me in close proximity to several different wine areas. The last few trips up to the central coast area I have been avoiding the 405 freeway and taking the coastal route up through Santa Monica and Malibu and then at Oxnard cut back over to the freeway. Takes about 30 minutes longer to get to Buellton but its worth not being stressed when I get there. Today the ocean all the way up the coast was blue. Usually its a murky green .

Stopped at a new tasting room in Buellton on Industrial Way. Called Avant. It is a custom crush and barrel facility for many small winemakers. You enter the building, take the elevator to the second floor and enter a very large tasting room. They have those dispensing machines for the wine. A taste, pour or glass . 32 wines are available for tasting right now and after the first of the year there will be 64 available. The wines available are all from winemakers that use their facility to ferment and barrel age their wines. Ken Brown, Longoria, Summerland, Shoestring, Falcone, Huber, all use this facility along with many more small producers. They also have small plates available for eating. A very large variety of food items to choose from. Well worth the stop.

Saturday I had a ticket for the SLO Wine Fest which was held at the golf course just adjacent to the resort I was staying at. Food was good and tasted a lot of wine from new wineries that I was not familiar with. Talked to several wine makers that I knew. Even the rain the came didn't dampen the spirit of the day.

Sunday I took by glass from the wine fest and went to the Edna Valley. All the wineries were having open house with free tasting if you had your glass from Saturday, food and entertainment. One of the winemakers I talked with on Saturday gave me a pass to attend a "shindig" at the old Corbett Canyon building which now houses may very small wineries. The name of this new one was Central Effort. They had 2 Chardonnays and 2 Pinot Noirs that they produced. Nice wines and I did sign up to get on their mailing list.

During the week I visited a few places that I had not gone to before Ranchita Canyon, Derby, Ancient Peaks, Niner, Calerous. New tasting room in downtown Paso Robles called Meritage and a new tasting room in Pismo Beach called Taste of the Valley. I really liked Taste of The Valley.

Calcerous Winery is on Peachy Canyon Rd. Windy road to begin with. The view from the winery is outstanding. You can see the whole Paso Robles area from their facility. You have to see it at least once. But I would never drive up there again. After you turn off of Peachy Canyon onto their driveway you make a curve and there is a shear drop off into the canyon with no guard rail. Only reflective markers. This is not my type of road.

Among other labels I tasted were Arada-Katin, Brochelle (which I think I may have had a Zin from them years ago), Line Shack, TKL, Michaud, Belle Glos, Margerum, Barrick, Thorne and Reeves Ranch (owner owed the Rams many eons ago).

Had a very relaxing trip and did not push it like I usually do. My acid reflux was in full swing so I really watched what I ate and kept everything low key. So no great new places to eat to report on. Had breakfast at Ellen's in Buellton on my way back. The only time I get biscuits and gravy. Ellen's is always worth the stop.