Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dinner at The Pops

Saturday, January 25, 2012

Attended the Long Beach Pops Symphony tonight with a large group of people. We took up 2 tables and I believe there was 21 of us tonight. Doors open 2 hours early so you can bring your dinner and drinks in and enjoy the evening before the concert. Tonight's concert was a tribute to Lerner & Lowe. I will say the music was excellent along with the singers. Very enjoyable evening. I had not been to a Pops concert in years. I forgot how much fun they were.

After dinner Cora had her picture taken with one of the male singers. I left during this time so do not know what went on afterwards. I was not physically that good. I got rear ended Thursday night and have a slight case of whip lash. So it was starting to take its toll on me.

Several of the people were going to Spaghettini's afterwards to meet Ellis Hall who some of them knew.Would have like to joined them but sometimes it's just not in the cards. It has been a very hectic week for me with 3 dinners, 1 concert and being in an accident.

Delius Prix Fixe

Friday, February 24, 2012

11 of us went to Delius tonight for the last "Beef Wellington" Prix Fixe dinner that will be served. Louise is handing over the duties of the Prix Fixe Room to Chef Dan and she will concentrate on the catering end of the business. That is how she originally started in the food industry. Dan has a completely different take on cooking than Louise has.. Excellent but different.

I looked at the wine book while waiting ro be seated. Sometimes on these Prix Fixe dinners I am not over enthusiastic about the choices. So I wanted to have a back up if I didn't like what's was being served.

We started out with a glass of Valdo Prosecco and an appetizer plate of  beef wrapped asparagus, quiche and hummus with pita points,

Next plate was a red & gold beet sliced thin with  warm goat cheese and a baby arugula salad. The wine that was on the list was a 2007 Taft Street Pinot Noir. I knew I would not like this pairing at all. I choose a Fritz Riesling which paired excellent with the dish. The Riesling also went well with the next dish.

Third course was a grilled salmon with a wasabi cream sauce. Excellent sauce. This was paired with a Hans Wirshing Rose. Good pairing and also the Riesling went well with this dish.

Main course was the Beef Wellington with creamed potato, asparagus and caramelized carrot. Louise makes her own pate to line the beef with. Paired with a 2009 Argiano Rosso Super Tuscan. Good pairing but not perfect. Altho I did pick wine out as an alternate.I don't laways have a successful pairing when I pick the wine.

Next a cheese plate with fruit.

Dessert was a trio - Marscapone Cake with whipped cream an Port Cherries, two cookies and a small panna cotta.

Another excellent dinner at Delius.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Attended a Stonestreet wine tastting this evening at a small local place owned by a brother and sister from Peru. This is an Italian themed restaurant but they do show their Peruvian roots in some of the dishes.

Stonestreet is a label from the big wine producer Kendall-Jackson. It is made by Jess Jackson whose middle name is Stonestreet.

We startede off with Grilled Scallops with sager butter and a grilled radicchio salad. The wine was a 2007 Alexander Valley Chardonnay. Too oaky for me but with the food the sage butter did cut the oak quite a bit. I was surprised that it also paired well with the salad.

Next was Sausage (spicy) Ravioli with a roasted pepper sauce which was spicy also. I scraped the sauce off which made the ravioli eatable. Paired with a 2006 Fifth Ridge Red Blend. It was a good pairing.

Third course was a Smoked Pork Loin with a cabernet and shallot reduction. Also on the plate was a baby argula, panchetta and carmelized onion. This was served with a 2007 Alexander Valley Caberent Sauvignon.  OK pairing but I have some Fifth Ridge left and tried that and it made a big difference. The smoked pork took too much of a ham like taste. I think I would had preferred to have it non smoked. They missed the boat on this dish both the food and ainw.

Main dish was Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with a horseradish potato gratin, carmelized brussell sprouts and a Caberent reduction.  Paired with a 2007 Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon.. Pairing was ok bit the one chop that I decidced eat was tough.  I would have preferred only one chop but much better quality on the plate. It should always be quality over quantity. I took the rest of this dish home to see what I can salvage from it.

Dessert was a dish of Cherry Walnut Ice Cream.

A decent dinner but I felt it was priced between $5 and $10 to high for the quality of the food. I have done dinners at this restaurant before and have the same basic sentiment each time. I only do wine dinners here when the menu looks interesting.

February's Gethring Of The Winos

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This months gathering was held at my Casa. My theme for the past several years  has been Wines Rtaed 93 to 100 . I have found over the years that when you force people to look for a better wine they will. If you have a very generic theme that is what wines you end up with. I do not necessarily follow ratings but they do you an indication that the wines is a little bit better than an 85 rated wine. You cab still find higher rated wines at a reasonable price but it may take some time. Since I do this theme every year people take that entire to timer to look for a wine.

Someone brought a wine that had a 96 rating from Wilfred Wong at Bev Mo. Now Wilfred usually has a 1 to 2 point rating higher than the other known wine raters but even at 96 of you deduct the 2 full points that makes it a 94 and for $13.99 it was a real bargain. The wine was excellent.

 A couple of the wines that I liked the best was the 2007 Stolpman LaCroce, a blend of Syrah and Sangiovese that I brought, 2007 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2008 Sledgehammer Caberent Savignon. I had never heard of the Sledgehammer label before.

So off to March - we will see what happens then.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The New Duong Son

Wednesday, February 8, 2011

Henry decided he wanted a few of us to try the new "Duong Son" restaurant. They have a new name "Golden Star" - to me it sounds like a Chinese fast food place. The new restaurant is about 1/2 mile beyond the old one.

When you walk in they still have the big case with all the duck and pork hanging. The take out is a big part of their business.

Evan, Henrys wife joined us tonight for the big occasion.

We started off with Salt & Pepper Calamari. Frankly I was disappointed. It did not seem to be the same as the old place and it was not up to the quality of the Seafood Palace. I felt the breading was a little heavy and the Calamari was slightly tough.

The waiter brought us a plate "Roast Pork" (on the house) It was very good. The skin was very crisp and no fat all all. Very tender and good flavor,

Another pork dish came out. Barbequed style, sliced very thin and a great sauce on it. Not too much sauce, just a light coating. I would order this dish again.

"Special Chicken" appeared. Roasted chicken, very tender, with a Maple/Seasame glaze. The sauce was excellent.

Cora had requested "Garlic Prawns" but Mr. Do said he could not find really nice ones so we had garlic shrimp instead. Good, but I really missed the bigger, meatier prawns.

Soup was "White Fungi".  Very flavorful broth.

Chinese Broccoli with Beef and Sea bass with Green Beans were the next two items. Somehow I felt the green beans were not as good as the "old place". But the Sea Bass was excellent as was the beef.

Last dish was the Tofu with vegetables and sauce. I did not even have a bite of this dish. I was so full from everything else.

Dessert was Asian Pears and Oranges. A nice light palate cleanser.

Nice to try the new establishment. I would not give up the Seafood Palace just yet. They have some outstanding dishes and I think that the new Golden Star still has a few kinks. Henry will be busy for the next month with his son's wedding but sometime in March we will go back and test "Golden Star" again.

CJ & I agreed that for some reason we felt the old "Doung Son" food was better. It is strange because it is the same owner, same chef, etc., so you would assume that everything would be the same.
Also the chef worked at the Seafood Palace while waiting for the new place to open. That is why I was surprised that the Salt & Pepper Calamari was not the same.

CJ brought a very good Champagne which he and I drank most of it. It also paired very well with the Sea bass.

NV Coutier, Grand Cru, Amboey, Champagne
1990 Domaine dala Font, Vouvray  ( a little too sweet for me, I let Terry & Cora take it home with them)
2000 Seavy, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 McKeon Phillips BP, Santa Maria, Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Alto Vina, Evodia, Granacha, Spain (never got opened)
2009 Fendan, Chasselas, Switzerland
2004 Clos Pepe, Sta Rita Hills, Pinot Noir (drinking nice - should not be held too much longer)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Seafood Palace Again

Friday, February 3, 2012

A big table of 8 tonight. The old "Dong Son" just opened but we want to give them a few days to get their feet under them so back to the Seafood Palace.

We started off with a new soup for us "Shrimp Ball Soup". Broth was great and the shrimp balls were like "shrimp nuggets". Then our old favorite "Salt & Pepper Calamari". They make the best around.

Next two dishes were "Fried Tofu" and "Chicken with Bok Choy and Fat Noodles." I really get into those fat noodles as they absorb all the great flavors of the dish.

Then came  "Beef with Chinese Broccoli" and "Whole White Fish with a Brown Sauce". The fish was excellent. Whole fish deep fried. Very moist and the brown sauce was really good. We will have to have this dish again very soon.

At 2 dishes were "Shrimp with Crispy Rice" and "Thin Pork Strips with Spinach".

Dessert was sliced oranges which were really good. A lot of flavor.

Wines brought tonight were quite a variety,

NV Tobin James California "Champagne"  Way too sweet for me.
2010 Halter Ranch, Paso Robles, Rose - very nice
2009 Avalon, Napa, Cabernet
2007 Petroni, Rosso di Sonoma Reserve, red blend
2008 Barrel 27, Paso Robles, Hand Over First, red blend
2009 Parker Estate, Paso Robles, Zinfandel
2004 Loring , Cargassachi Vineyard, Pinot Noir - showing very well

Another "Wake" For Cora

Saturday, January 28, 2012

After leaving Pinot Days in Santa Monica I drove to Newport Beach to attend another "Celebration of Life" for  Cora.

She enjoyed the one we held for her two weeks ago that her family threw  one for her.  She comes from a very large family and I think they were all there for her.  Abundant food  and wine along with music and singing.

It is so nice to able to do something for someone when they are still alive and with us instead of waiting until they have passed away and then try to make amends.

Take care of the living while they are still here. They appreciate it.

Pinot Days

Attended the Pinot Days event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.  Got the VIP pass so I could get in 2 hours early and attend a seminar on 4 different Pinot growing areas. Then they had a seminar on clones given by Davis Bynum.

The clone  seminar was interesting because you tasted wine made with individual clones and then a blend of several clones. An eye opener.

Saw numerous people there that I knew. Some people attending surprised me as I had not seen them at this particular event before.

Some of the better wines I tasted besides the obvious, Clos Pepe & Ken Brown were Arcadian Roessler, La Fenetre, Papapietro Perry and Thorne.    Jim Ontiveros has a label  called Native  9 .  I was very much impressed with that wine.

Naples Rib Factory

Friday, February 27, 2012

Dine LA week is upon us and we choose the Naples Rib . 5 of us descended on the place which was packed. No recession here.

It took awhile to get our order in because of the crowd.  Since it was Dine LA week they had a special 3 course menu to choose from for $26 which was quite reasonable. Two us us had the prime rib, two had the rib & shrimp combo and the other the full rack. vegetables, fruit and choice of two sides. I took the baked potato and the mac n' cheese. My appetizers was the grilled artichoke which I devoured. Ate two inches of the prime rib, the asparagus and one bite of the potato. Boxedeverything up and took it home.

When i ate the leftovers I noticed that the potato had a dark spot on the end , I pulled it away and the whole;e end of the potato was black. Approximately one quarter of the potato. I had not noticed this in the dim lights of the restaurant.  How anyone in the kitchen could cut and place this on the plate is beyond me.

They charged us $10 per bottle for corkage. There were five bottles brought and they made sure they counted them at the very beginning.

2009 Ryan Patrick, ColumbiaValley Naked Chardonnay
2009 Byington, Quenneville Vineyard, Santa Cruz, Red bland
2009 Turley Howell Mountain, Zinfandel
2009 Tablas Creek Espirit de Beaucastel
2001 Chateau Margene, Paso Robles, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon