Sunday, March 31, 2013

Delius & Hartford Court

Friday, March 29, 2013

The first of Delius's wine dinners for the year. Tom Rozner from Hartford Court was at the table I was seated at. I just had seen him at the dinner at the Hyatt a few months back.

First Course: Potato Gnocchi, Shredded Pork, Marinated Green Apple Celery Cilantro Salad. Interesting dish. The Gnocchi was quite large and stuffed with the pork. Good flavor They poured a 2011 Russian River Chardonnay with this dish and another bonus wine , a 2010 Stone Cote (Durell Vineyards) Chardonnay. Good pairing.

Second Course: Cherry Smoked Octopus, Mache Salad, Beluga Lentils & Cherry Vinaigrette. Octopus was outstanding. . They poured a 2011 Russian River Pinot Noir with this dish. OK pairing but I still had some Stone Cote Chardonnay left and it was a far superior pairing. 

Third Course: Beef Short Rib Ravioli, Pinot reduction and organic mushrooms. This was a big hit also. Really great flavors. They paired this with a 3010 Lands Edge Pinot Noir. Also a 2009 McLeans Block Pinot Noir and a   2009 Far Coast Pinot Noir.

Fourth Course: Cumin & Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, Chestnut Puree, Swiss Chard. I had the kitchen box this up to take home. I could really not stuff anymore in to me and still had dessert. Ate it the next day and it was very good. The wine served was a 2011 Russian River Zinfandel.

Dessert: Meyer Lemon Tartlette, Strawberry Ice Cream, White Chocolate, Tulle ( shaped like a spoon) Berry Sauce.

Good dinner and decent wines. Hartford Court makes several single vineyards Pinots which I prefer but all in all the wines tonight were good.

Single Malt Scotch at ABC

Thursday, March 28, 2013

ABC Liquor & Wine hosted a Gordon & McPhail single malt scotch tasting tonight. I like good scotch and always enjoy being able to taste without buying a bottle.

Tonight we tasted:
Scapa 2000, 11 year
Bladnock 1993, 17 year
Smiths Glenlivet, 21 year at $170 a bottle
Glenburgie, 10 year
Clynelish 1993, 13 year
McCallan 1990, 21 year at $170 a bottle
Benromach Organic (my least favorite)
Caol Ila 1999, 10 year ( very smokey & peaty)

The one that suited me best was the Scapa 2000. It was only $90 per bottle

Phil Trani's Wine Dinner

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

6 of us gathered tonight to try out Phil Trani's  in Long Beach venture in hosting wine dinners.. Apparently he has had 2 others previous but Margie just got onto the mailing list. Wines were provided by Southern Wines & Spirits. I had not seen Dave, the rep for Southern in several years.

I will give the restaurant credit for not holding dinner up for the late attendees.

We started off with a 2011 Markham, Napa,  Sauvignon Blanc. It was a decent sau blanc. Paired well with the "Spring mix salad with shrimp". A salad is a salad. The dressing was good and the wine paired nicely with it.

Second course was a pan fried Catalina Sand Dabs with lemon, capers and butter. Again a decent dish but I feel the quality of the sand dabs at the Fish Camp are superior. Wine poured was a 2011 Lucky Country Chardonnay from Australia. A little oaky but did go well the the sauce on the fish.

Next came a Walnut crusted lamb chops and country potatoes. My chops we cooked medium well which for me is way over done. Good flavor and the walnut crust as good.  The potatoes were something else. If I had not read the menu I would not have known they were potatoes. Paired with a 2009 Chateau Timberlay Bordeaux Superior Rouge, Good pairing but the wine was "light".

Fourth course was a Flat Iron steak with a reduced cabernet sauce served over cous cous. The streak was cooked perfectly., Had good flavor. They poured a 2010 Canto Lapostolle red blend from Chile.
This to me was he best dish and wine tonight.

Dessert was a Red Velvet Cake and a German Chocolate Cake. A Fizz sparkling wine from Italy accompanied the dessert. Way to sweet for me. Cakes were good but I would have liked a little sauce of some kind drizzled on them .

They had a few prizes to give away. CJ & I both won a bottle of the Fizz along with a insulated wine bag to carry it in. I gave my wine to Margie since she seemed to really like it. But kept the bag. It will be handy for cold wines.

A decent dinner considering the price. Nothing to really fault them on. The food was good. If I had ordered the lamb chops off the regular menu at a dinner they would have been cooked to my taste. When you have large group in for a "wine dinner" there is a certain amount of give and take.

I would go back and try another dinner. Have been to Phil Trani's before and thought the food was good. This restaurant has a lot of sports memorabilia. Helmets, signed jerseys, drivers suits etc., Phil used to have a place in San Pedro which was the hang out for the Rams and other sports teams. Over he years he collected quite a bit of "stuff". Worth a lot of money nowdays.

Wino's March Gatherimg

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It was Terry's turn to host this month so he opted for a "cellar cleaning". We brought the food and he furnished all the wines. A lot of good food showed up. Most I did not get to taste. I have this thing about walking around with a plate, eating and trying to pour and balance the wine  glass, I always go for the finger foods..

We started out with a 1982 Caymus, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon. It was old, and over the hill but still had a lot of fruit on it. Old wines can be interesting. Most people really pass them up because they are into "fresh". But it is unique experience to taste the old ones.

A lot of McKeon Phillips wines were on the table as Terry is a big fan of them. All were good. Ranged from 1999 to 2010

All together there were 31 wines opened. A couple that I did like were the 2004 Notarpanaro red blend from Italy and the 2006 Reignac Bordeaux. There was a 2009 Winzer Dornfelder which was not even close to the Huber Dornfeldere out of the Sta. Rita Hills. One is German and much lighter in the structure and the other is classic Sta Rita Hills big , jammy, wine.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Russo's in Naples

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Margie's monthly wine activity today consisted of a wine tasting at the Main St Wine Shop in Seal Beach and dinner at Russo's.  I opted to do just the dinner which apparently turned out to be a good decision. Turned out that it took them 45 minutes to get served and this was after a set time reservation had been made. Wines were not that good and they could have done the tasting with the plates of goodies off the menu for less money. Margie was not happy. Doubt if they will see any of us again.

Russo's was another thing. Service was good, food was good and we all got convenient parking which is the best of all.

I did not keep track of what everyone ordered but I started out with the appetizer plate which had Coconut Shrimp, Grilled Artichoke and Rockin Shrimp (shrimp, avocado on a crostini). Followed by a dish of risotto with seafood.  Dessert was a cannoli which was very good. I was happy.
 I saw many different dishes sitting in front of people. Everyone seemed to like what they ordered.

Wines were good tonight. Not a complaint about any

NV Louis Roederer Brut Prmier Champagne - Reims
NV Bvio Prosecco
2010 Alfio Morieom Selection Kupelwieser Alto Adidge
2009 Amore I Grepppi Bolgheri red wine - Italy
2010 Tenuta Laghiaia Almagesto Vermentino - Colli Du Luna, Italy
2009 San Flippo "Lo Scorno" Rosso di Montalcino - Italy
2009 Calcareous Twisted Sisters Matriarch
2010 Rosso di Montalcino
2004 Williams Selyem Russian River Pinot Noir
2007 Tobin James Silver Reserve Lagrein
2005 McKeon-Phillips BPR Pinot Noir
2006 Sinor-LaValle, Aubaine Vineyards, Pinot Noir

Two of my favorites were the Tobin James Lagrein and the Sinor-LaValle Pinot (which I brought)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Raymond's Bristo

Friday, March 22, 2013

Raymonds is a small "bistro" type restaurant on Warner near Gothard in Huntington Beach. Had read reviews on it but did not eat there until tonight. Paul & Margie ate there few weeks ago and liked it. So tonight I met them there for dinner.

Raymond, the owner is  very personable. Trying hard to make it in the business.

The place was crowded, in fact a few people came in and left because there was no room left. Service was very good.

I had the Peppercorn Sauced filet with assorted vegetables and mashed potatoes. I had asked for it "rare" but it came out medium. The vegetables were cooked al dente and were good. Better than last night a Villa Nova. The sauce on the steak had great flavor. The steak was tender but not cooked the way I had asked for. I did not make a fuss as I will return and order it again and then I will mention that is was not cooked properly the last time I had it.

I brought a 2001 Stolpman La Croce (Sangio & Syrah) which was excellent. Paul & Margie brought a 2010 Monti Guidi Del Carmine Percorino. A white wine that actually went well with my ceasar salad. The wine was a little too cold at first but it really blossomed after a bit of sitting. They also brought a bottle of D'Alfonso-Curran, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir. Since I had the Testarossa last night I could remember that wine and see the distinct similarities to them, Again all these wines were very good.

We did leave the bottles with Raymond. There was a little in each it was good PR to let the owner have them. He also dids not charge us corkage which was nice. Normally it is $10 oer bottle.

Villa Nova and the Closing of Same

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Villa Nova a long time landmark restaurant in Newport Beach is closing after who knows how many years. Owners family did not want to take over running the place so the building along with the prime piece of land with the bay views was sold to the Winery Co restaurant. It will be interesting to see what they do with it. Have an idea that the fine dining with waiters in tuxes will be dropped in favor of a "hip" place for the younger crowd,

Terry, CJ and I attended the last night for a couple of musicians that Terry knows.  I got there first and snagged a table. Good thing because by time CJ & Terry arrived the place was packed. Several of Terry's in laws werwe attending. They follow the musicians.

 CJ brought a 2006 Testarossa, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir and Terry brought a 2002 D'Arenberg, The Dead Arm, Shiraz. Both excellent wines. Since this was a last minute invite for me I did not have time to go and get a bottle of wine. But there was more than enough.

Terry & CJ both ordered steaks and I had a house special of thinly sliced filet topped with eggplant, sauce and mozzarella. It was good but not outstanding. The vegetables on the plate were more raw that al dente. Part of the problem could have been that the restaurant is overwhelmed with reservations now. Everyone is trying to get their last meal before it closes next week.

I am not sure how long Villa Nova has been in business but I know it has to be 30 or 40 years. The age of the crowd that frequents the place is about 45 and above. Some of these people have been dining there since it opened. A true institute.

We had a good time listening to the music and people watching. Glad to have had a chance to visit Villa Nova before its death.

Seafood Palace with me & the boys

Wednesday March 20, 2013

Henry is just back from a 20 day cruise and we were having withdrawals because we had not had Chinese or awhile.. Just 3 boys and me. Great conversation tonight. We stayed later than we normally do because of the good vibes we had going.

Started out with an Oxtail and vegetable soup, Good flavors but I did only have one bowl because I have a tendency to fill up on soup and not have room for the other courses. It did not go to waste as Terry took a container home with him.

A plate of fried scallops was put down on the lazy susan. Along with hot mustard and a sweet sauce.
I put some on the plate and tried to mix the sauces but I didn't quite manage to mix enough. I got a good size taste of the mustard which just about made my eyes water. But, Steve on the other hand spread it across the scallop and popped it into his mouth. Boy did his eyes get big and water. It was the big laugh of the night. The scallops were good, cooked perfectly.

We had not had crab here at the Seafood Palace before so Henry ordered a whole crab with a ginger, scallion sauce. Messy eating but good. The sauce was really finger licking  good.

Beef with spinach was next so we could switch to the red wines. This beef is always good no matter what vegetable they stir fry it with.

By now I am starting to feel I should quit eating.

A new dish was ordered. Pork strips with stir fried green beans. A do like the way they cook these Chinese long beans. A lot of flavor.

Last dish was a pork with Chinese broccoli

A plate of sliced oranges and fortune cookies finished the night.

Steve brought a 2009 Clos Pepe BF Chardonnay and a 2005 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir. Henry brought a 2006 McKeon-Phllips Cabernet Franc Reserve. Terry opened a 2008 Saxum Heart Stone Syrah blend and I had a 2006 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. All outstanding wines. This is what happens with a very small group of us. The good wines come out of the cellar.

Nice to see Henry back, We had a great time, laughed, ate and drank. Terry had a great time. Nice to see him starting to come back. After the loss of Cora last year it has been a long year for him.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Oysters and Bubblies

Friday, March 8, 2013

Off the Vine wine store in San Pedro hosted an oyster tasting tonight paired with an assortment of bubblies. Smokey Bay Seafood Group supplied the oysters

This was a first for them and the disorganization showed. I am sure if they do another they will learn from their mistakes. I would give them another try if they decide to do another tasting like this.

There were suppose to be 3 varieties of oysters, but only 2 were served tonight. The Pacific Sinku and the Pearl Bay.  The Fanny Bays were not available to the supplier. You would think they would find another oyster that was available and substitute.  Both varieties were good. These are "farm" grown oysters which most are now days. They put the "seed" on a rope and hang them in the waters until  grown. Then the lines are pulled and harvested. Both of these oysters came from the Sykes Island in the Jervis Inlet in Canada. Oysters need cold water.

We were served 6 oysters and 6 bubblies. The intent was to have a oyster served with each pour. It did not work out this way. Apparently the oysters were not shucked ahead. We got there at  6 and it was close to 7 before we received our plate of oysters.  It was decided to plate all the oysters at the same time.  They should have put out baskets of bread or something to tide us over. We did buy a couple of small bags of chips to help out.

All the bubblies were inexpensive but a few of them were quite good.

NV Grand Imperila But - a little too sweet for me
NV Montevicor Cava - a little less sweet but dry.
NV Aimery Grand Cuvee 1531 - floral
NV Armeli Prosecco - best wine of the evening
NV Veuve du Vernay Brut Rose -
NV Roederer Rstate Brut Rose - ok but I was expecting better from Roederer.

The tasting was good aside from the "time" problem. What they should have done is shuck the oysters starting at 5:00 and had the plates ready at 6:00. The oysters were kept cold on rock salt and it should not have been a problem with keeping them cold. Don't wait until serving time to start your prep work.

We did receive an oyster knife to take home which was a nice little gift. Now I can shuck oysters properly and not worry about breaking one of my paring knives.

Onatria & La Maison Louie Jadot

Tuesday March 5, 2013

I will say this dinner was a big disappointment after last weeks dinner. Both food and wine.

More people attended this dinner than last week and the noise level was way up.making it very hard to have a conversation with anyone no matter how close they were seated to you. Five of us went tonight and I think most people will not be going back for another dinner..

A glass of 2011 "Steel" Bourgogne Blanc was poured and a herb coated flat bread started the meal. I wasn't a big fan of this wine.

We started out with Duck Prosciutto, arugula, fennel and an EVOO goat cheese emulsion. Simple dish, nice flavor altho I am not sure where the goat cheese was. You really could not taste it in the emulsion, but tasted good.. Wine served was a 2009 Chassange Montrachet. The wine was decent but nothing to get excited about.

Seared Diver Sea Scallops over grilled zucchini in a lemon chardonnay drizzle was put down in front of us. This was one of the better dishes of the evening. Fresh scallops, not frozen and cooked perfectly.. Paired with a 2010 Meursault "Goute d'Or" premier cru. Again a wine that didn't meet expectations. Maybe a little young.

Third dish was Parpardelle pasta with ragu of wild mushrooms and triple cream truffle burgundy sauce.. This dish was good but I think it needed a punch like shaved Parmesan on it.. Wine as a 2009 Couvent des Jacobins Bourgogne Rouge. This wine was not good at all and did not pair well with the dish. It had an off flavor.

Main course was Lightly Breaded pan fried lamb chops "perfumed" with an anise mustard reduction.. A small stalk of lavender was inserted in the dish. The chops were very thin. Mine was over cooked and Bob's was almost raw. Was not impressed with the breading on the meat. Took this dish home and it wasn't any better the next day. The paired wine was a 2009 Pommard. This was a good wine but needed aging.

Dessert was Bittersweet Chocolate covered Profiterolles. Simple dish, ok flavor was again nothing really great about it. Wine poured was a 2010 Nuits Saint Georges "Les Boudots" premier cru. Bestr wine of the evening but also the most expensive. It needs 5 to 6 years cellaring.

After last weeks meal this was a very big disappointment. I might go back and try another dinner to see what if any consistency is. I will probably have to go alone as I do not think my dining companions are apt to want to drive that distance for a mediocre dinner.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Franco's - CJ's Special Steak Dinner

Saturday, Ma\ch 2, 2013

CJ hosted dinner tonight at Franco's in Cypress. One of our favorite Italian restaurants. The menu was prearranged and the wine criteria was "Wines older than 5 years, No Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Chardonnay. Blends could not have more that 60% of the varietal." Champagnes & bubblies did not have to follow this criteria.

Interesting collection of wines showed up. Aside from the muscat and the bubblies all the wines were red. Since wines had to be 5 years or older my thought was 2007 and back. The 2012 vintage is in barrels and has not been bottled yet. But that is my own take on it.

NV Quady Electra Orange Muscat
NV Veuve Cliquot Champagne
2009 Clos Pepe Sparkling Rose of Pinot Noir

2000 Notarpanaro (Italian red blend)
2001 Reserve Brunello di Montalcino Il Poggione
2001 Cavallotto Reserve Bricco Bochis Barolo
2003 Battaglini Twin Pines Vineyard, Zinfandel
2004 Martin Weyrich "Il Vecchio" Nebbiolo
2004 Brunello di Montalcino Il Poggione
2005 Coro / Mendocino - Parducci red blend
2005 Chateauneuf du Pape , Pierres Dories
2006 Chrstopher Creek Russian River, 50% Zinfandel 50% Petite Syrah
2006 Meeker, Fossil, Sonoma County, 50% Cab, 25% Merlot, 25% Syrah
2007 Terrbianco - Campaccio - Tuscan
2008 Pine Ridge, Napa, Onyx
One person came in quite late and the name of the wine did not get onto the list

CJ had the menu prearranged and the only choice we had was how our steak was to be cooked, I had mine just this side of dead and Greg sitting next to me had his well done. Everyone else was in the middle.

Baskets of bread were set out. They have the best focaccia bread. I helped myself to two pieces and my the end of the meal I knew I should not have done that, very filling.

We started out with a Creamy Zucchini soup - this was really good. Next we had a risotto with spinach, Italian sausage and parmesan cheese. - also a good dish with a lot of flavor. On the plate  of risotto were Franco's Alioli garlic shrimp. Made for us special tonight. They used to be on the regular menu but were taken off some time back. I must have gotten a shrimp with a whole clove of garlic on it. My first bite was pure garlic. No Draucla for me tonight. My other three shrimp were much more subdued.

The Filet Mignon  steaks were then presented. Mine was cooked perfectly. Served with a sherry wine sauce, mushrooms, green beans provence, Italian style mashed potatoes, herb crusted goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Ate a few bites and the rest will be dinner for me tomorrow.

Dessert was cookies drizzled with chocolate. Very tasty.
For a dinner that started at 5:00 this went on until after 9;00 . A great time was had by everyone. When I left there still were at least 6 people at the table. For some reason this seemed to be a really relaxed and fun time. Wish all the dinners were at this level. I have been to some where you are straining to make conversation.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Golden Star ( Doung Son)

January 22, 2013

For some strange reason this dinner did not get posted in January. Found my notes with the others that I posted today. There were 5 of us tonight and it was a last minute decision. We went to the Golden Star which is the old Duong Son restaurant we used to frequent.

As usual Henry did all the ordering.

Vegetable & Pork soup
Roast duck two ways
Salt & Pepper Calamari
Baked oysters with chives
Chicken with salted fish rice noodles - new dish, quite interesting and good flavors.

Wines on my list show:
2007 Roar Rosellas Pinot Noir
2006 Seasmoke 10 Pinot Noir
2005 Angeli Blanc (white)
2011 Laetita Arroyo Grand Pinot Noir
2002 McKeon Phillips Chardonnay

Seems to me that there were two other wines but they did not make my list. But 6 weeks later I cannot remember what they were.

Just me and the boys at dinner. We can be informal and have a good time without worrying about "offending" someone. My type of event. Henry is on vacation to Argentina and Patagonia. Back soon so we can eat together again.

Onotria Wine Country Cuisine

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This is a new restaurant for me. Margie sent me an email from them so 4 of us decided to try it out. Onotria is in Costa Mesa so for me to drive from Torrance It was over an hour. Fortunately going home was much shorter It also is a block and half from my sisters business so that cost me extra money for a new pair of earrings.

Owners name is Massimo and a very personable person he is. Knows his food and his wine. The place has an extensive wine cellar.

Tonight's wines were from the House of Michele Chiarlo in Piedmont, Italy. Alberto Chiarlo, the winemaker was in attendance. This started out as a 9 wine, 5 course dinner and ended up with ten wines. $60 was the price which I felt was an absolute bargain. Food was very good and the wines were good also. The four of us were seated at the end of the long table so we ended up with extra pours of the last wine which was the most expensive at $138 per bottle.

First course was a Ahi Tuna Carpaggio with arugula a & lemon EVOO & ginger. Tuna was very good quality.

Next was Octopus with Canellini bean soup in a tomato broth. Most tender octopus I have ever eaten.

Third course was "Lasagna" layers of semolina pasta oven baked with spinach, seasonal greens, robiola,,fontina cheese in a truffled creamy tomato sauce. Beautiful flavor.

Main dish was slow roasted lamb in a chiodini mushroom, nebbiolo wine sauce. Good flavor BUT - a slice of my lamb should have never gotten out of the kitchen. It was grisly and you could not cut it Also to me the lamb was over cooked. I do not like meat overcooked. It becomes dry and looses flavor.

Dessert was a bittersweet chocolate gelato mocha with espresso poured over it. Good but I would have preferred just plain gelato.

Wines poured to tonight - and a clean glass for every wine.

2010 Gavi
2011 Arneis
2010 Barbera d;Asti Le Orme
2009 Barbera d'Asti La Court
2008 Barolo Tortoniano
2009 Bararesco Reyna
2007 Barolo Cerequio
2007 Barola Cannubi
2011 Nivole Moscato

And the surprise wine of the evening was a 2006 Barolo Cerequio Riserva, 50th Anniversay. Needless to say this was an excellent wine. But at $138 a bottle I passed. I will wait until Terry opens his and hope that I am there when he does.

We liked this place so much we are gooing back next week for a Burgundy wine dinner.

February Wino's Gathering

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today's was  the "wino's" monthly get together. Held at my house and my theme is always wines rated 93 to 100. Price is not important but quality is so by having a 93 and above you may not personally like the wine but it will be good.

The weather was good today. Sometimes we rain early in February but it came earlier in the week and I lucked out.

I served a pork loin roast which I had brined overnight in water,salt, maple syrup, brown sugar and spices. Gave a very good flavor to the meat. Loads of appetizers and side dishes.

William's birthday was yesterday so Patte had a cake with candles. He did manage to get all of them blown out.

A couple of the wines I especially liked were the 1995 Chateau Clerc, Milon Pauillac Bordeaux, 2006 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint George aux Perdrix Burgundy, 2008 Ramey, Napa, Cabernet Sauvigon and the 2007 AP Vin, Turner Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Amore Vino & The Depot

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tonight was another of Margie's "Fun Wine Activity" outings. We met at Amore Vino, a small wine bar in old town Torrance. I cannot find my list of wines we tasted. Six , I think with a nice plate of sliced cheeses, apples and dates. None of the wines were memorable and none I would be interested in buying. The wine bar obviously is set up for the "younger, hip" crowd.

Afterwards we drove a few blocks, actually Bill & Carolyn walked since their condo is across the street from the restaurant  The Depot. It is housed in an old train depot and the tracks are still there. Bill said a train comes by about once a week, Probably to keep the right away. I heard about the Depot but never eaten there. I definitely will go back.

We were seated in a back room that was relatively quiet. Which is good because we can get noisy. We all ordered off the menu. No family style dining tonight. I had the New York steak with a fig & Gorgonzola sauce. Excellent. Cooked perfectly. Several other steaks were ordered, 3 people had the "killer" meatloaf which they said was excellent. A couple of fish and chicken dishes. Everyone said they would come back, their food was good and we were all happy. Not the most expensive place nor inexpensive. My steak which came with spinach and sweet potato & zucchini french fries was $32. Considering the price of beef now it was reasonable to me. There was a very large basket of breads, rolls & biscuits on the table. All "homemade". All their sausages are "homemade".

The owner Michael Schaeffer cut Margie a deal. No corkage which is great for us. He came by  a few times to check on us. Service was good.

I took a 2001 Stolpman Angeli which is at its prime right now. Drinking beautifully. Everyone must have liked it as it was the first bottle emptied. Other wines were NV Domaine J Laurent Brut sparkling, 2007 Hanna Merlot, 2008 McKeon Phillips Leonardo ( excellent) , 2010 Domaine Faileley Clos Des Myglands Prmier Cru Burgundy (excellent), 2011 Dolia Vermentino, 2011 Longoria Albarino, 2008 Dusky Goose Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (also excellent) and a 2009 Stephen  ?? (can't read my own hand writing) Chardonnay.

A good evening. The restaurant was excellent and definitely worth going back to.

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.

Birthday at The Himalayan

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Coincidence that this dinner fell on my birthday. Not planned but worked out well.

 Everyone orders dish and we all share. Seems tonight was heavy into the meat. Tibetan Lamb, Rack of Lamb, Tandoori chicken, Chicken Chau Chau (noodles) and a lone Shrimp Tandoori. I ended up ordering Aloo Gobi and Kafta Mata both vegetable dishes. Needed something to break up the heavy meats.

Tonight's group was interesting. Not our usual suspects. Somehow I did not get a good flow about the evening. Seemed to me everyone was in their own zone.

A decent selection of wines.

2010 Beckman Purisima Syrah
2006 Roar SLH Pinot Noir (I brought this wine and was slightly disappointed in it)
2004 Tablas Creek Espirit de Beaucastel
2010 Tablas Creek Antitresis Chardonnay
2008 McKeon Phillips BPR Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Monte de Oro, Merlot, Temecula (not impressed)
NV Roeder Anderson Valley Sparkling (this was good)
NV Robert Moncuit Brut Champagne, France (this is becoming my house champagne I like it so well)

A nice evening but a little disjointed. Sometimes that happens. Food as usual was good The Himalayan is always a winner.