Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank You Colleen Curran!

Colleen Curran mentioned my blog as a favorite here. Thank you for being a fan!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Singing the Praises of a Fat Canary

The day after Christmas, I made my annual trek to Williamsburg. My husband still works in the ‘burg, so I tag along with him once a year to check out some familiar haunts and to marvel at how much the place has grown since I lived there six years ago.

I always have to eat lunch at The Cheese Shop in Merchant’s Square. The smoked turkey sandwich on wheat with extra house (which I have raved about before) is probably the only thing I truly miss on a regular basis.

After work my hubby and I try to eat at a nice place, mainly, to check out new restaurants and make a few comparisons to our current city of Richmond. Back in the day there were few places that we frequented. Le Yaca treated us well on a consistent basis and The Trellis was generally satisfying. The Colonial Taverns were always so inconsistent that we hardly ever ate there and still have no real desire to do so. The Williamsburg Inn, though nice (especially with Hans Schadler as Executive Chef), was quite expensive.

Now, we still find it difficult locating a great place to eat. A few years ago we tried The Blue Talon and had such a horrific experience and such evil email responses from the chef and management when we complained that we will never go there again. No way, no how.

And this year, we had a cocktail at The Trellis before dinner. We were pretty much ignored, even though it was early and not busy. I felt like such a tourist…

But, in the end, Williamsburg pulled it together this year and delivered a superb dinner and fantastic service. Fat Canary had both of us singing her praises. In years’ past we could never get a reservation. The place was that popular. This year with a bit more planning and a perusal of Open Table, we were able to secure a table for two.

As we entered, a hostess graciously relieved us of our coats and seated us in a tall-ceilinged green tinged open area. We were presented with the menu, a wine list (printed that very day), and a reserve wine list. Because Fat Canary is connected with The Cheese Shop in Merchants Square, and, subsequently, the wine shop in the basement, the wine list had fairly reasonable prices for a location in the heart of the tourist area. It took us a while to make up our minds and Dan, our waiter, displayed a great patience. We finally selected a 2005 Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape for $46. We were well pleased.

Deciding what to eat turned out to be a chore, also. We wanted to try all of the appetizers, but, yet, we also wanted to order entrees. More patience exhibited by our waiter as we conversed and changed our minds several times. For starters we finally settled on House-made Mozzarella with Virginia Ham, Fennel, Artichoke, and Olive Salad ($12.95). The generous portion also sat upon pureed basil. Oh so heavenly! And we also ordered a special appetizer of the evening which featured rare tuna, flash-seared, encased in a thin wasabi crust ($14.95). Equally pleasing.

Other appetizer temptations included Carpaccio of Beef Tenderloin, Maine Lobster with Rosemary Grits, and Quail with Arugula. Next time we plan to go to the bar and just order appetizers!

For entrees we ordered Pan Seared Sea Scallops and Crispy Pork Belly, Farro, Brussels Sprouts, and Roasted Tomato ($22.50). The scallops were lightly seared and very sweet. We also had Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Green Beans, Oyster Mushroom and Leek Tart, Roquefort Butter ($34.95). Neither of us really like blue cheese (yes, you are allowed to boo me, if you must), so I asked if Chive Butter could be substituted. I had seen this compound butter used for another dish. Dan almost tripped over this request, but once he realized that I requested a butter that was being used he said it would not be an issue. And he was right. While the tart was too mushroomy for me, it turned out to be a good thing. The tenderloin was no small cut of meat and I wanted to savor every bite of medium rare yumminess. And all along the way Dan dropped by to refresh our wine glasses.

We could not resist peeking at the dessert menu and then ordering Profiteroles with Caramel Ice Cream drizzled with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce ($7.25). A tasty, yet fairly light dessert to end the evening.

We thoroughly enjoyed dining at Fat Canary and will sing her praises to all who are willing to listen. One more interesting morsel – The restaurant name does not refer to a bird, but alcohol. It references a poem by John Lyly from the Colonial era: “Oh for a bowl of fat Canary, rich Palermo, sparkling sherry…”

Fat Canary
410 Duke of Gloucester St.
Merchants Square
Williamsburg, VA

Fat Canary on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Welcome New Year's Announcement - A Smoke-Free Bistro Twenty Seven

I just discovered that Bistro Twenty Seven will officially become smoke-free on Jan. 1. Hats off to everyone at the corner of Broad and Adams for enabling all to enjoy their wonderful fare in an atmosphere that showcases the skills and aromas of the kitchen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Tripping Down Monument

Not as many festive Christmas lights are shining this year, but we found a few gems. Seasons Greetings to all!

Where in Richmond?

My hubby and I ate here last night. Do you recognize it?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Standing Rib Roast

Last year I attempted to make a standing rib roast. I was a virgin rib roaster and I still had my crappy old Sears Outlet stove. And little did I know, but I selected a pretty crappy recipe to follow, too. Needless to say, it sucked. The seasoning, not tasty; the meat, too rare. What an expensive disappointment.

I opted to cook a regular old turkey for Christmas this year.

And then The Fresh Market went ahead and featured Standing Rib Roasts for $7.99 a pound. I felt a faint tug in the direction of the meat counter. No, no, no. I only stopped in to pick up a couple of pork chops for dinner. Oh dear, one of the roasts appeared small, in fact, it was a one-rib rib roast. I broke down and purchased the thing.

I found a recipe for Rosemary Rib Roast in the Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining recipe book and prepared the roast thusly this past Sunday:

3 pound rib roast (3 inches thick), tied
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Let roast stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Slather the butter mixture all over the roast. Place the roast in a roasting pan, rib side up. Let the roast cook for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 1 hour. Take roast out of oven and loosely tent with foil. Let the roast rest for about 15 minutes. Slice thinly and serve.

I now understand the joys of a Standing Rib Roast. What beefy deliciousness. I really think the high heat at the beginning made all of the difference (and a more manageable piece of beef).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tiny Bubbles at Affordable Prices

Many many moons ago I graduated from drinking crap fizzy wine (think J. Roget) to champagne (Moet Red Star). What a huge eureka moment! I finally got it. And to this day I enjoy drinking the real stuff. Unfortunately, my champagne tastes have not been wedded to a champagne budget. So, while I enjoy proseccos, cremants, and cavas from various regions, I am always on the look out for French bubbly under $30.

About a month ago, we ran across Jeanmaire Cuvee Brut from Epernay at Trader Joe's for $18.99. We only purchased one bottle just to try it. And last night we finally opened the thing. Yeasty smells emanated from the bottle and had us salivating. The taste was a bit applely and not too acidic. We congratulated ourselves on our good fortune and drank it with a frisee salad with diced Surry sausage and fried eggs.

Now I need to make another trip to the Far West End.

Friday, December 05, 2008

All Dressed Up and Oh So Yummy

Thanksgiving memories. Although Christmas remains my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving ranks right up there because I get to cook dinner. Granted, I have to cook in another kitchen far, far away without my favorite pots and utensils, but I still get to indulge in preparing a feast. (If I could fix a prodigious feast at my house, Thanksgiving would surpass the Ho Ho Ho variety.)

This year the menu included:

Roasted Duck
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Fennel, Carrots, and Red Bell Peppers
Pear and Cranberry Pie

(I also cooked a turkey so we could have traditional turkey sandwiches and to make two huge pots of turkey soup.)

Last year, I had prepared roasted fennel and carrots. What a hit. This year the dish was expected. I was happy to oblige. What made a lasting impression this year turned out to be the dressing. I make my own, of course, but never use a recipe, and I’ve never fixed the same thing twice. This year bestowed upon me an even greater challenge. We travel to Knoxville for Thanksgiving every year and I usually make my way to The Fresh Market to pick up all of the items for all of the fixin’s. Not this year. The road from my mother-in-law’s house to the store had turned into a parking lot on Wed. afternoon. We settled on going to Kroger’s.

The dilemma in going to Kroger was the sausage and the bread for the dressing. I really detest the Johnson’s brand of Italianesque sausage. So I dewired my brain (and did this while all of suburbia mulled around in Kroger’s), and thought “Maybe breakfast sausage would do?” Three choices stood out – Jimmy Dean Sage, Tennessee Pride, and Mayo’s. The sage tube tempted me first but after reading that both Jimmy and the Pride contained MSG, I opted for Mayo’s from Lenoir City, TN. This tube was wrapped in cloth and then encased in plastic. I then mulled over bread options. Slim pickings, but the Hawaiian Sweet Bread won out. Both of these selections turned out to be quite excellent choices. Mayo’s sausage was smoked and smelled devilishly divine and the Hawaiian Sweet Bread had a texture akin to the colonial Sally Lunn variety.

Now, here is my attempt to recreate this recipe in a written form.

pjpink’s Thanksgiving Dressing

1 sweet onion, diced
1 pound smoked sausage, preferably Mayo’s from Lenoir City TN (Surry sausage may also work well)
1 round loaf of Hawaiian Sweet Bread, torn into pieces
2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and diced
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup chicken broth (approximately)
½ cup of Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Sauté the onion in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until tender and translucent. Add the sausage and cook until done, breaking up the sausage into tiny chunks as it cooks. When the sausage is just done, place the mixture in a bowl and set aside to cool. In a bowl large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients, add the torn bread pieces, pears, and cranberries. Add the cooled sausage mixture and the parsley. Pour in about half of the broth and begin mixing the ingredients with your hands. Add the rest of the broth as needed until all of the bread is moist and everything begins sticking together. Place the dressing into a 9” x 13” glass or ceramic baker. Bake for about 30 – 45 minutes. Serve whilst hot.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

a date with mommy and daddy

My husband and I met mommy and daddy gourmet at Tastebud's American Bistro for a lovely "blind date" dinner the weekend before Thanksgiving. mommy and me ordered the cassoulet (I still can't resist the duck confit!). daddy and hubby went for the burgers - cooked exactly to order. We also drooled as pizzas went past us to grace another table. This time, before the cassoulet I ordered an appetizer of the evening - roasted pear with warmed goat cheese and crispy proscuitto. Yummmmmy! It was a cold and blustery night. The roasted pear, the duck, along with the wonderful conversation made the night absolutely perfect. The "icing" of the evening came with the "to die for" sighs and moans from daddy gourmet as he devoured his bread pudding for dessert.

It was such a pleasure to meet and eat with another couple who enjoy food and wine as much as we do. (Let's do it again real soon!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2006 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc

Let me repeat: 2006 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc. I tasted this wine back in August at one of J. Emerson's monthly tastings. I bought a bottle and put it on my wine rack. A couple of weeks ago we finally opened the bottle and were thrilled! Dark fruit, but not jammy. Full bodied, but not barnyardy. A veritable delight at $17.95 per bottle. And the last time I went into J. Emerson, I purchased the last two on the shelf.

I hope they acquire some more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Know Chipotle's a Chain...

...but it's so damn good!

My hubby and I walk in for lunch and decide to split a Burrito Bowl (less messy option by far). My absolute favorite combination is:

Pinto Beans
Carnitas (fabulous braised pork)
Sauteed Peppers and Onions
Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa

Add an order of Chips and split an Iced Tea. Total: $9.60. Satisfying and extremely yummy to boot.

Chipotle. Being a chain is not always bad.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Vote For Tastebuds American Bistro

Yesterday was quite a day in more ways than one. Some of my descriptors include:

Exhausted – I am an election officer and spent about 19 hours manning the polls.

Excited – To see 80% of my precinct cast their votes. Hats off to the residents of Northside!

Inspired – As I welcomed and cheered many first-time voters who were enthusiastic and proud to exercise their democratic rights.

GratefulTastebuds American Bistro said yes to serving one more couple late in the evening.

Satisfied – To imbibe a delicious 2004 St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County for $30.

Overwhelmed – By a $13 entrée: Cassoulet...Duck Confit & House Made Pork Sausage Baked with Bread Crumb Topping served with Warm White Bean Salad. At last duck confit! And non-crunchy beans! What a FANTASTIC dish!

Surprised – To learn that Obama carried Virginia. (and very pleased!)

Hopeful – As our nation chooses to enter a new era.

Tastebuds on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Mea Culpa and A Nod to IWICC

We went to Six Burner for Restaurant Week. We had good food, but the menu that Six Burner posted and that Richmond.com published was apparently a "sample menu." No duck confit to be found. In fact, no meat to be seen in any of the first course dishes. My advice - DO NOT PUBLISH A SAMPLE MENU! Fairly simple. And Six Burner had no idea that Richmond.com had posted it.

I apologize for spreading the false expectation that Six Burner would be offering duck confit on the menu.

And I want to give praises to I Wish I Could Cook. The post on Richmond Restaurant Week was indeed insightful. The large group of women attended that night.

I made a pact with my husband - we either donate directly to the Central Virginia Foodbank or we choose a restaurant that we have never been to and we never, ever look at the supposed menus ahead of time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Richmond Restaurant Week - Where Will You Be Eating?

Richmond.com has the low down on all of the participating restaurants, plus menus for most of them.

I will be at Six Burner on Wednesday. They have duck confit. Yummmmm!

3 courses for $25.08 with $2.08 going to the Central Virginia Food Bank. Happening now through Nov. 2.

So...where are you eating?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dark Chocolate Caramel and Sea Salt Cordials


Available at For the Love of Chocolate in Carytown. $7.90 a pound.

For the Love of Chocolate
3136 W Cary St
Richmond, VA 23221
(804) 359-5645

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Iron Horse and Wine - A Friday Night Roundup

Friday night provided some nice wine experiences and dinner in Ashland.

Free tasting at Once Upon a Vine on MacArthur - The ever pleasant and very knowledgable Charlie Knight poured selections from White Hall Vineyards. Our favorite was the 2006 Petit Verdot. Virginia is producing some very good Petit Verdot. It may be worth a few road trips to try some more.

Next we drove to Ashland. Before dinner we visited The Caboose for a free wine tasting. The knock-our-socks-off choice here was 2006 Avieso Reserve Malbec Mendoza from Vinos de los Andes. The most hearty malbec I have ever tried.

On to dinner at Iron Horse Restaurant. The was the first time we had been.

Pros - Very good wine list with reds in all price categories from the high elegance of Chateau Gloria ($72) to the very drinkable Montebuena Rioja ($20). Great Fried Oyster appetizer -very sweet with just the right amount of breading. Large portion entrees (House-Brined Pork Chop and Brazilian Rubbed Rib Eye) ensured that no one left hungry and both meats were delicious. Reservations were made on Open Table. One other plus - watching the trains roll by.

Cons - Half of the establishment was a bar/pub with a live band later in the eveing, the other half was fine dining. We were not able to join the live band because that area allowed smoking. The noise from the bar echoed around the dining room, thus our table for two was not very intimate. The side dishes were less than par. My roasted red potatoes were raw and crunchy (inedible for me). Also, while the highest priced dish on the menu was $27 for a NY Strip, my Rib Eye special turned out to be a whopping $35 (discovered when the bill was presented). For this price, my potatoes should have been perfect. For dessert we shared a poached pear and pound cake, but we were not told that it would be accompanied by a raspberry sauce. I can't stand raspberry and had to send it back.

Best perk of the evening - Our wine. We selected a 2004 Provenance Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley for $40. A tasty bottle at a very good price.

If we lived in Ashland, we might frequent Iron Horse occasionally (sticking to the menu offerings where the prices are known), but given the uneveness of our experience, we would be hard-pressed to drive the extra miles from Richmond.

Ironhorse on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sat. Oct. 18 - Free Wine Tasting at J. Emerson

Free friendly reminder - J. Emerson located at 5716 Grove Ave. will host a free Bordeaux tasting from 5 - 7 PM on Oct. 18. The most excellent line up includes:

2006 Blanc de Valandraud No. 2, St. Emilion
2005 Lalande Couturier rouge, Bordeaux
2005 Ch. Fonguillon L'Enclos rouge, Montagne St. Emilion
2005 Bad Boy Rouge, Bordeaux
2003 3 de Valandraud rouge, St. Emilion
2001 Ch. Clement Pichon rouge, Haut Medoc

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Q in Town

On Friday evening we found ourselves on Midlothian Turnpike and headed over to The Wine Cellar for the weekly Friday night free tasting. On this night, budget-friendly wines were featured. We liked the Runaway Merlot from the Central Coast of California the best. Decent body and mouth-feel with a layer of dark fruit on top. And $10.95 was within our budget.

After the tasting Q Barbeque caught our eye. Open for only a week and still awaiting a nod from the ABC Board, we couldn’t resist. We walked up to the counter to place our order. If you want anything other than barbeque – go somewhere else. These folks seemed serious. Behind the counter sat two huge stainless steel smokers. Now we had to decide what to order. My husband selected the Pork Q-Plate ($7) that came with beans, slaw, and a roll. I could not decide between the beef brisket and the ribs, so I got a Q Combo with both and a side of hush puppies ($12). Chicken was also an option, but for us barbecued chicken is a last resort. Other sides (outside of the norm) included Mac and Cheese, Corn Pudding, and Greens.

Our seating options included a semi-circular bar facing a big screen TV, booths, and tables. We liked the bar concept and when Q receives its liquor license, I’m sure it will be popular. At each table were bottle of Sweet Sauce, Mild Sauce, Tabasco, and Pepper/Garlic Vinegar. When it comes to barbeque and sauce, everyone has a different opinion, but we were not enamored of the sauce – too thick and sweet. And my hubby thought the pork, even though smoked, had a slight sweetness to it as well. He liked the beans, but the slaw was too vinegary for him. The beef brisket arrived in chunks, not sliced, but was extremely tender and smoky and contained a good portion. The hush puppies contained just a hint of sweetness to ward off any bitter cornmeal harshness. On to the ribs – the combo had three meaty spare ribs already separated. Very smoked and falling off the bone. No wet sauce on these babies, but the rub had a bit of red pepper giving the smoky goodness an extra kick. No other sauce was necessary. By far the ribs were the stars of the meal with the brisket coming in second. Both meals contained plenty of food, in fact, my Combo was a bit much (but I appreciated being able to try a variety).

Rib only prices begin at $6 for three ribs, $12 for a half rack, and $18 for a full rack. We will be back for the ribs.

Q Barbeque
2077 Walmart Way
Midlothian, VA

Q Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shaker Apple Pie

When we were in the Berkshires we visited the Hancock Shaker Village. In the gift shop we purchased a bottle of Sabbathday Lake Shakers' Rose Water. This was prepared by The United Society in Maine which is one of , if not the only, active Shaker community. With the rose water came a few recipes. One for apple pie, which turned out to be delicious and a different taste sensation due to the roses.

Shaker Apple Pie

3 cups peeled sliced sour apples (I used a sweeter Honeycrisp variety)
2/3 cups maple or white sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Pastry for two 9 inch pie crusts (I used the Pilsbury rollup crust)

Slice apples into mixing bowl and add sugar, cream, and rose water. Mix thoroughly. Line the pie dish with pastry. Fill with apples and cover with pastry. Vent the top. Flute edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

The rose water permeated the apples and definitely gave the pie a floralness. I really liked it. The Shakers also suggest using rose water instead of vanilla; add a drop to coffee; or use in cookies, cakes, and ice cream.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vacationing in the Berkshires - Part 7

Last day. There were a number of things we considered, but it was very rainy in the morning, thus, we meandered up to Hilltop Orchards and Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond, MA for wine and cider tastings. The Johannisberg Riesling was decent and my hubby also liked the Shiraz, but the French style Cidre and the Johnny Mash Hard Cider were the true winners. We also picked up some Honeycrisp apples (over 20 varieties were available). If we had remained in town, the fresh-baked pies would have tempted us.

On our way back to Great Barrington we stopped by Hoffman Pottery

We lunched on Steak Frites at Cafe Adam.

Back in town we Main Street and Railroad Street for a little shopping. The most interesting shop was Karen Allen Fiber Arts (yes, that Karen Allen - we actually saw her in town a couple of days earlier waiting to go into Bizen!).

Before dinner we went back to Napa for a glass of wine at the bar. Both the host and our waitress from the other night warmly welcomed us back. For dinner we went to Castle Street Cafe for dinner and live jazz. We started with Antipasto of olives, fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, and roasted red and yellow peppers. For the main course a roasted Cornish game hen and meatloaf and mashers. Good food and good music, but crowded with lots of locals - almost everyone who entered knew everyone else. Very apt for this quaint, yet intriguing small town.

Vacationing in the Berkshires - Part 6

We traveled up to Williamstown today to check out The Clark Art Institute. Even though small, the place held an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings as well as a smattering of other gems.

The two main buildings displayed contrasts between dark and light, modern and traditional.

To the side a lily pad pond.

Up the hill a contemporary stone and glass structue featuring Homer and Sargeant paintings.

And then even further up the hill, a path leading to a stone bench

and then an idyllic descent through pasture and meadow.

The focus on both art and nature made this a great art museum.

We stopped in Lenox at Bistro Zinc for an early dinner. The Cassolet and Coq au Vin were excellent and traditional (think cooked white beans, house-made sausage, and chicken literally falling off the bone!).

All washed down with Artesa Elements.

We had dinner early to attend Shakespeare and Company's portrayal of Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost. The intimate indoor space recently opened and this was the second play to be performed in it. While not Shakespeare, a delightful romp. If you go, make sure to inquire about any discounts. Full price tickets are steep.

After the show we stopped by The Red Lion again, but headed to the basement to The Lion's Den for some spiked coffee and acoustic music and humor from James Mee. It was the first time that we had heard "New Hampshire" jokes (if you don't have anything nice to say, you must be talking about New Hampshire). A little amusement, good music, tasty coffee, and a real fire in the fireplace. A good ending to another wonderful day.

Vacationing in the Berkshires - Part 5

Over halfway through our trip. Today we wandered over to the Hancock Shaker Village outside of Pittsfield.

What a great place to visit. So peaceful in the Autumn with sheep and cows grazing and roosters crowing. Not to mention the round stone barn, the working gardens (heirloom seeds available in the gift shop), and a variety of other buildings to investigate. We spent much more time than anticipated and enjoyed every minute. The private non-profit museum did have a cafe for lunch (soup and sandwich fare) so we could spend as much time as we wanted amongst the restored structures. I highly recommend spending time here if you are in the area.
For dinner this evening we were back in Great Barrington at Pearl's Restaurant.

The space featured contemporary chrome and black tables and chairs with the booths wrapped up in brown sleek wood. All against a brick wall backdrop.

We began by sharing the Vietnamese Vegetable Spring Roll with a Yuzu Chili Dipping Sauce and a half bottle of St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc. The fried spring rolls featured mushrooms as well as carrots and other veggies with a dipping sauce more sweet than spicy. Hubby decided upon Watermelon Sake Glazed Tuna with Watermelon and Watercress Salad. He also ordered a side dish of mashed potatoes since the tuna did not indicate a starch. I ordered the Red Chile Miso Roasted Duck Breast with Wild Rice Waffle. My spouse's tuna was just right, bright red on the inside and just-seared on the edges. He also liked the watermelon. The dish also came with rice, so he really did not need the extra side dish. But I needed the mashed potatoes because I really did not like the wild rice waffle so it worked out. The duck had a saltiness due to the miso, but I did not detect the red chile. It was still good.

The best order of the night turned out to be the red wine - 2003 Chalk Hill Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County. Silky smooth, good fruit structure yet still holding forth some tannin to ensure a great food pairing. What a delight! And all for $52. We have since discovered how much of a fantastic bargain this wine and wine price turned out to be.