December 25, 2012

Meat 'n potatoes for Christmas

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Woke up late on Christmas Day, after staying up late at night trying frantically to make sure the ducks were still lined up.  Went to bed with my fingers crossed, but with hope levels like the receding tide.  Checked my email as soon as I opened my eyes and got some bad news.  My train won't be running on schedule, and arrival at final destination will be delayed for an uncertain amount of time.

A little depressed, I lazed in bed and moped around the apartment on this cold winter morning.  I have a delicious late lunch to look forward to, but my spirits were a little dampened.  I need to pick myself up and just get out of the house.

After pickup up the wine from the office, I arrived fairly late at Susan's.  Everyone sitting around the table has already gone through a round of food, so I put the wine down, hurried to my seat and was immediately served with the main event on my plate…

The slice of beef brisket was delicious.  The whole hunk was reportedly 6kg, although by the time I arrived the others had whittled it down.  The caramelized onions were wonderful and made the brisket even better.  The Brussels sprouts had a little kick that tasted like horseradish, and deliciously infused with the flavors of pancetta. I was given 2 chunks of potatoes, and they had such a deliciously crunchy exterior that I "peeled" them and savored the browned bits.

And yes… that is a little pile of kimchi on the plate.  It's a staple at this household, and I didn't find it out of place at all.

I need to cut down on my intake these days, so I restrained myself to only one slice of the brisket, while helping myself to more sprouts and delicious roasted sweet potatoes.  There were, of course, a lot more to come in the form of desserts!

A meal in this house just ain't complete these days without a whole pile of kouign amanns.  I was very restrained and only allowed myself two of these wonderful pastries.  One of these days I'd love to inhale a half dozen… until then I will keep dreaming about these… Sugar sugar sugar...

I don't remember having had our hostess' chouquettes before, but these were light and fluffy.  Tasty, but full of hot air.  Gimme more sugar!!

En fin, les financiers!  This batch was made with hazelnuts, and the fragrance just filled the air… especially while they were still baking in the oven.  I think I had three of these… maybe four… oh who's counting anyway?!

There were lots of us, and hence a lot of wine to go around.  Apparently quite a few bottles had been polished off prior to my arrival…

Cédric Bouchard Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine (vintage unknown) - lovely honey and apricot notes.  Very vibrant and lively on the palate.

2004 Batailley - classic nose, smooth on the palate but still got that concentration right at the finish.

1994 Chapoutier Ermitage L'Orée en magnum - first whiff showed slight dusty notes, leading me to suspect a corked bottle.  Sipping the wine confirmed that the wine was completely flat with no length.  Poured the entire magnum down the drain.  Disappointed with my so-called contribution.

1995 Vieux Château Certan en magnum - opened and decanted just prior to serving.  Smoke, brett, dried herbs and potpourri, cedar and sweet on the nose.  Not bad.  My contribution.

2006 Dolce - honey, tangerine and polyurethane.  A little sharp and pungent still.

We our bellies full, we migrated to the living room and spent the next couple of hours watching silly videos on YouTube… A very relaxing way to spend Christmas Day, I guess…  Many thanks to our hostess and host for taking this straggler in.

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