Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John Alan Wine Dinner at The Foundry on Melrose

What a pleasure it was attending John Alan Wine Dinner at the Foundry on Melrose. 5 courses of incredible Greenspan fare paired with wines from John Alan Winery in Paso Robles. Pardon my photos and video -- they were taken on my Blackberry.

Seared Scallops, garlic cream, pears and potato. John Alan, Viogner, Hidden Valley Ranch, Paso Robles 2007

Risotto of duck confit with blue cheese, dried cherries and mushrooms. John Alan, "Malcontent", Paso Robles, 2005

Breast of Duck with fresno chile and current mole, yellow corn, and fried masa. John Alan, "East Bank Cuvee", Paso Robles, 2006

Duo of beef with caraway and carrot puree, baby carrots, and golden raisins. John Alan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2006

Artisinal Cheeses with non traditional garnishes and raisin toast. John Alan, "Bonnr Terre Rouge", Paso Robles, 2006

Without a doubt, my favorite course was the breast of duck paired with the East Bank Cuvee. The hints of dried cherry in the wine paired perfectly with the currant mole.

The highlight of the evening was when Chef Eric Greenspan rushed from the kitchen into the private dining room shouting a description of the courses. Surprisingly, I don't watch Iron Chef so was unaware of what to expect. I'm just happy it was grasshopper-free. See video below:

The Birthday Binge of '09

During a time that I consider birthday season (my birthday falls in September) I was treated to a variety of exciting birthday dinners. I considered myself off duty and so have no pictures of all of the scrumptious things I devoured. Nonetheless, I wanted to sing the praises of a few establishments worthy of mentioning.

Lashers: I’ve lived in Long Beach for about 10 years and have heard tons of praise for Lashers but was a little skeptical because of the surrounding neighborhood which is a tad undesirable. My comments: Easily the best steak I’ve had all year (a really juicy Angus New York), a wonderful wine selection, and a great reminder of why I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (yes –a cliché!)

B & B Ristaurante : Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant located in the Venetian Hotel. The service was impeccable, and it was a treat sampling a grilled octopus appetizer and fennel dusted sweetbreads. My entrée was a fantastic lobster spaghettini (yep I played it a little safe), but the award for best birthday dessert goes to B&B’s exceptional berry tiramisu.
Fuego at the Maya: I’ve hesitated for months to review Feugo because it is my little neighborhood secret and I’m terrified that once it becomes even more popular, the food quality will plummet. I LOVE, ADORE, WORSHIP everything about the place from its awesome location overlooking the bay, to their perfectly crafted bloody marys and mojitos. They serve the most succulent lobster and I always order my beloved trio of guacamole.

I have to add that I had dinner at Asia de Cuba, my very favorite restaurant. ADC is consistently fabulous. The end.
And last but not least I the privilege of visiting the most creative, ingenious wine bar visited thus far in my search for the perfect red. The Hostile Grape at the M Resort in Las Vegas is a cut above most wine bars offering 1, 3 and 5 ounce pours of 160 wines. You purchase and load a tasting card and then proceed to the wine station of your choice. You then insert the card and wine is dispensed at whatever serving you require. This allows you to sample from amongst even highly rated, expensive wines. Brilliant! Imagine my surprise when Mosel offered me a pour of my favorite Opus One! Happy Birthday to me!
Above all, I am thankful for the love of friends and family -- those who took the time to worship me celebrate my 37th 25th birthday. Oh and thanks for the extra 10 pounds.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Le Chateau in Costa Mesa

My review of Le Chateau in Costa Mesa can be found here on Travel Costa Mesa's website. Enjoy!