May 4, 2010

Once more before the move

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A couple of friends were in town on business, and asked me to join them at Tim's Kitchen (桃花源) for dinner.  They were only able to book the first seating, so we were under a little time pressure to finish and move on.  The restaurant is moving to a bigger location next month, so hopefully there won't be a seating issue with their 6,000-ft space...

I brought a bottle of 1999 Beringer Chardonnay Sbragia Limited Release since we would be starting with some seafood dishes.  I bought the wine at the winery years ago, and it has now turned a deep golden hue. As I expected, the wine has gone through much oxidation, and  the nose was sweet with honey, grass, marmalade and apricot notes.  Kinda disappointed at first.  Palate was ripe but dry, with a long finish.  After an hour, the sweet corn notes that I love it wasn't a total loss after all.

Stir-fried giant glass prawn (玻璃蝦球) - better than what I had some time ago.  Reasonably tender.  As was the case last time, I really liked the sliver of Yunnan ham (金華火腿) which has been pan-fried.

Crab claw poached with winter melon (冬瓜蟹拑) - this signature dish is still one of my favorites.  The poached crab claw was very, very tender and succulent.  The subtle flavors of the winter melon didn't overpower the flavors of the crab meat.  It was gone in no time and I was left wanting more.

Double-boiled soup with pork and whelk (豬蹍螺頭湯) - very nice...there wasn't a lot of Chinese yam so the aftertaste wasn't too sweet.  People seemed to enjoy eating the whelk and it disappeared in no time.

Stir-fried tripe with mixed vegetables (七彩炒肚尖) - one of my favorites here... I always enjoy the bite that tripe gives.  One of my friends commented that this was interesting to eat because every mouthful was different, depending on the combination of ingredients - more crunchy with pine nuts, more chewy with tripe, a little sweeter with sweet pickles...

I've been meaning to open the 1997 Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz for some time, and I wasn't disappointed.  The wine was still very concentrated, with mint, minerals and a little smoke in the nose on top of lots of fruit.  Reasonably smooth on the palate with a finish that was a little spicy.  You could cellar this wine for years to come.

Braised goose web with fish maw (花膠扣鵝掌) - fish maw's not one of my favorite things, but this was OK...well I just treat it as collagen...  The goose web, though, was still very good.

Pan-fried crispy chicken (炸子雞) - not the best in town but very good nonetheless.

Curry fried rice with crab meat (蟹肉咖喱炒飯) - we ordered this because it was a little unusual.  It's always nice to have crab meat with your fried rice, and they did it pretty well here...but the curry powder completely destroyed my palate, and there was very little point in drinking wine once this happened...

We needed to clear the table for the 8:30 seating, so we moved on to Sevva for drinks.  I ordered a bottle of 2006 Cloudy Bay Te Koko, one of my preferred Sauvignon Blancs.  It was pretty good, with classic nose of muscat and flint.  It was surprisingly a little tart on the palate, and pretty ripe.  I think that this wine was a little less complex than the previous vintages I've had, but still enjoyable to drink.

Always good to catch up with friends from out of town.  Next time I'll need to bring out some better wines!

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