January 20, 2017

Cult Burgundian evening

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Champagne Princess is in town, stopping by for a few days on her way to her true homeland.  She wanted to get together with Rice and I at Neighborhood, so I found myself back there after a 2-week absence.  I did check ahead with the Man in White T-shirt, and made sure to reserve something specific ahead of time.

Dutch Pacific oysters - pretty crunchy and briny.  This particular seemed malnourished, so the kitchen sent us another one that was fatty and huge.

Heirloom tomato terrine / burrata cream - the kitchen sent us this crowd favorite, and I really do love the seven different types of heirloom tomatoes which have been compressed to make this.  The basil was very, very fragrant, and the balsamic provided a nice finishing touch along with the cracked pepper.

Hokkaido scallops / caramelized sunchoke - this was pretty nice.  The scallops were mi-cuit, and the Jerusalem artichokes were tastier than I thought they would be.  Of course, some black truffle shavings don't hurt...

Yellow chanterelle / frittata - the kitchen clearly thought we hadn't ordered enough food, because they sent us another dish.  These chanterelles were definitely very tasty, and there seemed to be no better companion than runny eggs!

Fried chicken wings - these were sooo, sooo good!  The skin was still moist and had absorbed all the flavors of the marinade.  Came with black truffle shavings and Chinese black olives (欖角).  Definitely finger-lickin' good.

60 day dry aged "Rubia Gallega" beef ribeye - THIS was the main event.  It's been a long time since I last had me some Rubia Gallega, and I'm glad we got the ribeye.  I've really, really missed this beef.  As was the case before, this came from an animal that had led a long life - in this case more than 16 years old.

I took two piece closer to the middle, so they were fairly rare.  I loooove the flavors from these old cows, which were so much more complex than your usual beef.  But this ribeye was only dry aged for 60 days, so while the process tenderized the meat and concentrated the flavors, it didn't quite get to the blue cheese-like stage that I used to love about these.  Still, I was very, very happy.

The mashed potatoes, however, were a little too healthy.  Just not enough butter here...

Roast giant grouper head - this was the surprise that was in store for us.  I've only had the head of a giant grouper (龍躉) once before, and back then it also came from a 70-catty fish.  Last time, though, there were 12 of us sharing half a head, and this time the 5 of us got ourselves a quarter...

The four of us who love this stuff dug in greedily, trimming bits and pieces here and there away from the bony head.  LOTS of collagen here, and the flavors can get a little "fishy".  But the sauce was simply awesome - as always.  With tomato, basil, and garnished with some black olives, this was something we could not let go easily.  We asked for extra portions of bread so that we could soak up as much sauce as possible.

I think Rice was happy... he took the eye of the grouper.

Baked Mont d'Or - the ladies asked for this, as it is the right season for Vacherin-Mont d'Or.  Of course it's better with black truffle shavings on top!  Soooo good to scoop spoonfuls of liquid, gooey cheese into the mouth...

We didn't need any dessert after the cheese, so we just had the usual canelés.

Us winos ended up opening all 5 bottles that we brought, and there were a few unusual and interesting bottles tonight.

Someone is allergic to sulfur, so a filter was brought out and used on one of the glasses of the chardonnay...

2005 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Ashley's Vineyard - pretty powerful nose, with some toasty notes.  Ripe, hot and alcoholic on the palate.  Later on I definitely noticed the pungent sulfur.

2008 Movia Lunar 8. - unfiltered and very, very cloudy.  Really, really sweet nose showing very ripe honeydew melons, with a hint of pear
2007 Egly-Ouriet Cuvée des Grands Côtes Vieilles Vignes - opened for 1 hour prior to serving.  Lovely nose showing floral and leather notes, with exotic spices as well as some toasty notes later.  Very fragrant and elegant wine.

2011 Egly-Ouriet Cuvée des Grands Côtes Vieilles Vignes - opened for 1 hour prior to serving.  Much more toasty on the nose, with sweet fruit.  After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the nose really opened up and became a little softer.

2009 Bernard Van Berg Les Gamets - made from Gamay vines planted in 1957, with a production of just 269 bottles.  Opened more than 2 hours prior to serving.  Intense nose of toasty oak, with lots of grilled meats as well as animal notes.  Pretty smooth on the palate.  A very nice wine, if somewhat lacking in complexity. Reminiscent of a good Morgon.

1988 Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon - really ripe, with straw, a little savory and almost like black truffles, along with salted plum and Chinese licorice.

It was a lot of fun to get together and drink some of these "educational" bottles which were eye-opening.  Too bad the Man in White T-Shirt had another, more important engagement tonight...

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