Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Californian Room - Hyatt Huntington Beach

Friday, February 8, 2013

A dinner based on Pinot Noir was scheduled for this evening. Today its raining. I don't do well in the rain apparently. I drove to the back of the Hyatt where the valet parking is. Saw the valets and turned in. Walked into the building and something was not looking right. After wandering around in and out of the rain I finally found the main lobby and then I knew where I was. Went and joined my dining companions and was relating my story when I was informed I had pulled into the wrong valet parking.  It seems that there are two wine events tonight and I pulled into the wrong area. If I did not move my car to  the correct valet area I would be socked with a $14 charge. So off I trudge again to retrieve my car. Seems both valet areas did not know there was another event going on. Big lack of communication. I was not the only one who parked in the wrong area.

Since it was raining the reception was held inside the dining area instead of outside. I missed out on a few of the passed appetizers. They did not seem to have as many appetizers and did not pour multiple glasses of bubbly as normal.

All the Pinots poured tonight were from the same winemaker, Brain Maloney and all owned by the same company but different labels and vineyards.I originally was not going to do this dinner because of the line up of wines and the poor quality of the food that I had had at the last two dinners at the Hyatt, Glad I changed my mind as the food was good. Best dinner I have had at the Hyatt so far.

We started out with Duck Rillette, Gnarly Vine estate olive oil, sea salt crouton and pickled shallots. Interesting flavors. My only problem was I wanted more of this. Wine was a 2011 JCB Russian River Pinot Noir Rose, A good pairing.

Next came Community Grains Organic Red Flint Polenta, roasted cultivated mushrooms, fine herbs and Point Reyes Toma cheese. We all raved about this polents. It was "rustic" not creamy and the flavor was great. Paired with  a 2009 Buena Vista Winery Carneros Pinot Noir. Decent wine but a good pairing with the dish.

Third dish was Shetland Insland Seared Salmon, pine nuts, golden raisins and roasted cauliflower. Salmon was cooked perfectly. Last time this salmon was not what it could have been.  This was a good dish but nothing to knock your socks off. Good and safe, Served with a 2009 Deloach Vineyards, Marin County Pinot Noir. Best wine of the evening. I did not know that Marin County produced Pinot Noir. They had a home run with this one.

Main course was a Lamb Shoulder Ragout, organic carrot puree, cilantro and mint pistou and Pniot Noir Syrup. This ragout was exceptionally well made. Great flavors. Another dish we all raved about.
A 2009 Deloach OFS Russian River Pinot Noir was paired with this dish. A good wine but for the the money I preferred the Marin County.

Dessert was a plate with Duck Farms Glacier Cheese, Spiced Pear, Seal Salt & Rosemary Marcona Almonds and Sundried Cranberry Cookie.  Wine was a 2010 JCB N'7 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. A nice ending but by tine we had gotten through with dinner there was not much room left to enjoy.

The wine maker Brain Maloney was very personable and came around the table several times to talk with us. The chef came out and talked with us also. I did let him know I had reservations about doing this dinner because the last two were not that memorable. I think he took my comments well, especially about salads and wine and do not do two salads in one dinner.

Since this dinner was just a few days after my birthday, Margie had them make a "birthday" dessert for me. A butter crust filled with Nutella and naturally a candle. Margie is really into the "extras" which make for a really nice experience.  A nice ending to a good dinner.

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