Sunday, April 27, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
2006 St. James Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
2006 St. James Vineyards Chardonnay
2005 St. James Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Judd's Hill Pinot Noir
2005 Judd's Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
First Course – A Cheese Selection paired with Andeluna Torrentes 2006 and Colonia las Liebres Bonarda 2006.
Second Course – Mixed Green Salad with Blue Cheese , Candied Walnuts, and Grilled Flank Steak paired with Sophania Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and Gouguenheim Malbec 2006.
Third Course – Chocolate Pate paired with Catena Malbec 2006.
Seth Torrence from The Country Vintner will be representing the wines. To make reservations call 358-4501 or email Bin 22 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend (I am saving money for an upcoming vacation to Chicago), but this should be a wonderful wine tasting at a fantastic price. The Gouguenheim Malbec alone is worth the price of admission. This is probably the best Argentinean wine I have ever had.
Fresh Mozzarella Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar
Roasted Red Peppers
Cured Meat Assortment from Belmont Butchery – Proscuitto, Tuscano, and Soppressata
Cheese Assortment from River City Cellars – Zamorano, Aged Gouda, and Red Dragon
2007 Domaine Bellevue Touraine Rose
2005 Georges Duboeuf Prestige Morgon
Romaine, Green Leaf, and Radicchio Salad with Cashews and pjpink’s Famous Salad Dressing
Chicken Breasts with Garlic Tarragon Sauce
Salmon Marinated in Pineapple and Lemon and Roasted with Cumin, Chili Powder, and Cinnamon
Fennel and Carrots Sautéed in Chicken Broth and Butter
Potatoes with Fresh Parsley and Butter
2002 Charles Schleret Riesling, Vin D’Alsace
2006 Adelsheim Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Rustic Apple and Dried Cherry Pie Prepared with Pear Nectar and Cointreau
Quady Electra Orange Muscat
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
…That lust propelled us to try again. For our 2nd trip we arrived about 8 PM. The early show had left and the light night crowd had not found the place, yet. All to our advantage since we were seated in a comfy corner replete with plush maroon cushions. On this trip not only did I admire the over the top décor (the interior is vastly different from the chili pepper lights and Corona beer mobiles that La Casita sported), I also noticed the Persian-type rugs gracing the floor. Our waitress (who gave immaculate service throughout the evening) immediately appeared with a basket of regular and toasted pita triangles, homemade yogurt flavored with lemon and a hint of mint, marinated cucumbers, and a sampling of green and black olives. This abundance of welcoming bounty set the tone for the rest of our meal – full in-your-face intense flavor.
As we nibbled we perused the small wine list. Over half of the offerings were Lebanese. And, yes, there is decent wine from Lebanon. For this evening we chose Chateau Ksara Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bekaa Valley. Very tasty and more similar to a Bordeaux style than a California style. If you go, take a chance on it or another Lebanese offering. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
We decided to share a starter and a salad before digging into our entrees. We had a tough time choosing a starter. Lots of options and most salivatingly tempting. We finally opted for the Fatayer Kishik - Baked pastries filled with a mix of seasoned aged dried cheese and onions. We received two round pastries, a little heavier than puff pastry topped with what looked like a red seasoning (we assumed it was the cheese and onions). Somewhat different than what we expected. And while the seasoning was intense, this was not our favorite. No matter. Next, we ordered Tabouli - A traditional Lebanese salad prepared with fresh parsley, tomatoes, diced onions, crushed wheat, fresh squeezed Lemon juice, olive oil and spices. I’ve had tabouli before – lots of couscous, a few sprigs of parsley, some chopped up tomatoes and onions, and the spices of the moment. Why call it a salad? Not this time. This salad had a right to be listed at the top of the salad offerings. On a bed of lettuce a mound of fresh chopped parsley sat, tossed with diced tomatoes and onions and just a touch of crushed wheat. What a fresh taste along with the fresh squeezed lemon and vinegar and spices. Somewhat different than we expected, but, in this case, head and shoulders beyond our taste expectations. I’m trying to figure out how I can make a bastardized version at home using roasted red peppers.
On to the entrees. Hubby decided to try the Chicken Taouk - Tender white chicken breast meat, marinated and skewered with, tomatoes and onions, and green peppers served with rice pilaf and green beans. Basically, chicken kebabs. He liked the fact that the meal arrived already deskewered. Much easier to eat and less risk of any tasty morsels skittering across the Persian-style floor coverings. The edges of the onions and peppers were slightly charred, but did not impart any burnt taste. The restaurant also used sweet onions which is our onion of choice at home. The chicken was accompanied by an extremely intense garlic paste. When I tried it all by its lonesome, the stuff burned going down. Whew. But it was exactly what the chicken cried out for (in small quantities). I decided to get the Chicken Shawarma - Sliced then grilled marinated chicken breast, served with rice pilaf green beans and tahini sauce. My chicken was jammed packed with Lebanese spices (I’m not sure what they were). And while I did not really like the tahini sauce, I did enjoy my chicken with the garlic paste. My dish definitely had more of an intense flavor, but both were wonderful. The rice pilaf and green beans were decent, but the flavorful chicken stole the show.
We were very pleased with this 2nd visit and definitely enjoyed the new flavor sensations.