Tuesday, July 29, 2008

an indulgent monday evening

We signed up for the Pride Vineyard mailing list. Usually wineries advertise how they are holding an event at the winery, but this time they held a tasting at the Ritz-Carlton in SF. Mostly to introduce their new wine maker who learned the ropes from Robert Foley. I immediately replied, which was a good thing, because it was immediately filled.

In order to make it to the city on time, we went to work early so we could leave early. We had a wonderful time and particularly liked their Cab Franc, the Viognier (I don't know how they get those flavors out of that grape, but they do, time and time again), and the reserve Merlot. All of those were quite wonderful. The Chardonnay and Merlot were not as good as when we tried it a year or two ago at the winery. And we have to say that the Reserve Merlot beat out their Reserve Cab Sauvignon. Fortunately, they also offered wonderful food to soak up the lovely vino we were drinking.

We also met another couple who actually lived on our side of the bay and hit it off with them much of the evening.

We could have stopped with the Pride wine tasting and ended our evening there. That in and of itself was plenty indulgent. It's fun saying, I went to the Ritz-Carlton for a winetasting. But, no, we had already made it an evening and had reservations at La Folie, a french restaurant 5 min from there to continue the fabulous drink and food.

We had the 3-course meal there. Rhett ordered an item called warm pig feet sweetbread, which you know we had to order. OMG! I can't describe it. All I know is that it fell apart with the touch of a fork, and just had astounding flavor and texture. I had a starter with three seafood tastes including one with uni, seaweed and keffir lime infused roe. This was quite good but on the delicate palate side. For dinner I had the salmon and Rhett had the halibut with the optional shredded truffles. And now we know why people kill for truffles. As an apertif, Rhett had an absinthe martini made of course with our favorite St. George Absinthe and Hangar One Vodka. I had a blueberry mojito which was good, but not quite what I had expected. Accompanying dinner, we had a Chablis Grand Cru 2002 from Burgundy, France, which was nice and crisp and paired well with the savory food.

I packed up half of my salmon so I could make it through dessert, a vanilla brioche in peach soup with buffalo mozzerella. But what I love about dining at restaurants like La Folie are the little extras they throw in, these small dishes that keep your mouth live waiting for the next thing: the poached egg, the taste of cherry and creme fraiche to cleanse the palate, and finally after dessert, the petit fours.

What I love about great food and wine is the adventure and excitement from something new and particularly like in an evening we had, the layer upon layer of flavors and textures. It's one thing to say, yeah I can taste the particular ingredients, it's another to say wow, taste how they blend and merge together to create something else. And grant it the mind comes out a bit relaxed and sleepy from the wine, but there is an added layer buzz on how the mind is engaged. It's the same sensations that I love when I travel and visit some place new. So being able to get that here, without leaving too far from home, makes living in the bay area that much more addicting.