Friday, October 2, 2009

30-Sep-2009 JD's Bday dinner@Prosecco

Took JD to Prosecco in Toluca Lake for dinner last night. Ordered an aperitif of NV Prosecco di Valdobiaddene (crisp, fresh, refreshing - $9/glass) while decanting our bottle of 2001 Lancaster Estate Red Wine - 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot – Yum! Aromas of wild berries, cassis, and violets. Ripe black cherry and chocolate flavors, toasted oak nuances, and supple tannins. Paired beautifully with my vegan split pea soup and JD’s arugula salad with shaved parmesan and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and was exceptional with the main dish. We both ordered one of the specials: Beef medallions in a Gorgonzola Merlot (I think) sauce, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Forgot to tell Brian the waiter that I didn’t want cooked carrots, so I had fewer edible veggies than expected, but everything was delicious. The steak was perfect – cooked rare, and tender. I controlled myself and took half of the steak home. Because I had called ahead to notify them that it was JD’s birthday, Brian brought us a plate of panna cotta covered in raspberry sauce. Scrumptious, and paired especially well with the last bit of the Lancaster red. JD was happy. I was happy that JD was happy. A winning evening all around! Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. An Italian expression which literally means "cooked cream", it generally refers to a creamy, set dessert from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte. It is eaten all over Italy where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. Earlier recipes for the dish used boiled fish bones in place of gelatin; however, sugar, a main ingredient, would not have been widely available as it was an expensive imported commodity. After years this treat evolved into what is now a gelatin dessert, flavored with vanilla and topped with fruit or spices, and served chilled.

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