Friday, June 19, 2009

Dinner at the A&W Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Last night, nephew Chris in town, so Phyl and Ron took us all out to dinner at this amazing Chinese seafood restaurant in Northridge. We brought the wine, of course. 2007 Denner 'Theresa' – 80% Roussanne/20% Viognier – Nose of tropical fruit and banana; bright acidity, very crisp, the finish seemed to drop off and suddenly reappear with a bit of vanilla, and 2005 Demetria 'Papou' - another white blend with Marsanne, Viognier, and Roussanne; don't have the percentages. Both wines really wonderful with the lobster in the house sauce, crab in black bean sauce, sauteed green beans, barbecued pork, egg rolls, and steamed rice. The Papou even complemented the fortune cookie at the end! Yum!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting Started

Tonight I acted as the primary educator at a private event for LearnAboutWine. Ian Blackburn was working at another event, and I got to teach a small group of lawyers about wine and food.

Was really nervous about the Surfas wine event all day. Left work at 3:30, got home, read the funnies, and hit the road. Traffic wasn’t too bad until we got near our goal, but we still got there at 5:15. Marya was already there, working with Brandi and David on the food stuff. Amazing cheeses and chocolates. We spoke to John, the manager, about how many tables to set up, and JD and John and Marya got that all set up while I pulled the wines from the front of the store and opened them.

Marya and I set up a Bellini station at the entrance, so that as guests arrived and signed in, they were handed Bellinis. The Bellinis were comprised of a NV Trevisiol Prosecco and white grape puree. I was unimpressed, but the guests seemed happy to be drinking. Did I mention they were all lawyers? David, the fromaggier, served a wonderful rosemary-coated cheese to go with the Bellinis. Then, John gave them a tour of the store while we set up the next wine station, where we served a lovely 2006 Monmousseau Vouvray Chenin Blanc accompanied by a triple-cream Delice de Bourgogne cheese drizzled with truffle honey. Yum!

There was another small walkabout, and then we herded the guests into the test kitchen, where I did my best to get them to pay attention to me while I was talking about wine. They paid more attention to David when he spoke about the food, but he was a full head – maybe more – taller than me, and male to boot. He did a great job with the food pairings, as the wines, for the most part, were unexceptional and the food made the wines seem better than they were. I did enjoy the Clos de Los Siete from Argentina, a wine designed by Michel Rolland. Basically a Bordeaux-style blend, but with Syrah in the mix to give it a little added kick. Delish!

As Ian had predicted the group was small and not entirely interested in anything but hanging out. As Marya noted to Ian: "The guests enjoyed the tour and asked a lot of questions especially in the knife section. They were a bit rowdy once we got them to the test kitchen and it was difficult to get them under control to actually pay attention to the presentation. Everyone had a Bellini to start. They definitely enjoyed the wine; were happy with the wine prices and made some purchases. The pairings were delicious went over well. The presentation of the pairings was really lovely as we passed trays of individual portions of the cheese & chocolate on little plates and spoons. We had enough portions prepared so that the guests were offered a second if they desired."

It was exhausting. Even though we got out of there by 9 p.m., traffic in Hollyweird was impossible, and we didn’t get home until 10 p.m. And then I couldn’t sleep. Too wound up.