April 3, 2015

A very Good Friday

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It's the first day of the long weekend, and I had the privilege of being the "plus one" (and brought along a "plus two"...) of my friend as he hosted a winemaker over lunch.  I had briefly met Etienne de Montille on our MNSC trip to Burgundy a few years ago, and was very happy to make his acquaintance again today.  We were having dim sum at Seventh Son (家全七福) today, and having done a very poor coordination on wines with my generous host, I brought along a very casual bottle.  It's a decision I would soon regret...

We ordered a round of dim sum and quickly went back to the wines on hand.  This was definitely a mistake and I should have known better.  Since this place is just like Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), it means that the kitchen will just send out every single dim sum item in the space of 5 minutes... and you'll end up with 10 plates in front of you that you can't finish without things getting cold.  I had long ago learned to order dim sum in multiple rounds at Fook Lam Moon, but I was totally distracted today...  So we had to send a couple of items back while I grumbled about this service issue.

Puff pastry with barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒酥)

Spring rolls with shredded chicken (雞絲炸春卷)

Steamed prawn dumplings (七福鮮蝦餃) - apparently Etienne's favorite dim sum item.  These were pretty good.

Beef shank marinated in fenjiu (汾酒牛展) - supposedly marinated in fenjiu (汾酒) from Shanxi, but I couldn't really taste the alcohol...

Crispy pork belly (脆皮燒腩仔) - pretty good, as expected.

Steamed barbecued pork buns (蠔皇叉燒包)

Steam riceflour rolls with prawns (滑爽鮮蝦腸)

Deep-fried chicken barbecued kidney in egg custard (雞子戈炸) - at first we didn't tell Etienne what this was made with, and he seemed to really enjoy it... enough that we ordered a second plate.  When we finally told him the interesting ingredient, he wasn't the least bit fazed.  But of course he wouldn't be, since it's part of French cuisine and referred to as "les amourettes".  As a Burgundian winemaker, he wanted to make sure that we understood the difference between "Les Amoureuses" (which we drink) and les amourettes (which we eat).

Deep-fried taro puffs with chicken (雞粒荔芋角)

Pan-fried radish pudding (香煎蘿蔔糕) - FAIL.  While the flavors were fine, these were simply too wet, and fell apart in between my chopsticks too easily.

Deep-fried prawn toasts (窩貼明蝦) - surprisingly Etienne wasn't a fan, but these have absorbed a ton of oil during the frying process...

Steamed pork dumplings (蟹皇蒸燒賣)

Stir-fried lobster (炒龍蝦球) - flavors are a little milder with this version, where the black beans and capsicums were replaced by onions.  The lobster was very tasty.

Crispy chicken (當紅炸子雞) - even Etienne thought this was pretty tasty.

The chicken, which was likely to have been raised locally due to the on-and-off ban on live chicken imports from mainland China, led to a discussion on sustainable/organic farming locally in Hong Kong.  Our visitor could not fathom the Hong Kong government's lack of support for local farms, since it's something that the government of his country strongly supports.  Well... we all know that the Hong Kong government only really cares about big business... and that means catering to the interests of real estate developers.

Stir-fried kailan (清炒芥藍) - only the peeled stems here.

After we finished our wines, we had a little bit of dessert to finish off...

Walnut cookies (核桃酥) - pretty good but a little off the normal standard.

Black sesame rolls (芝麻卷) - I wanted to show Etienne this classic dessert, which has been nicknamed "film (菲林)" for obvious reasons.  Something tells me Etienne enjoyed eating these...

Well, we were lunching with a winemaker, so of course we were drinking...  Guess who brought the cheapie bottle?

Paul Déthune Blanc de Noirs - pretty fragrant nose, caramelized, and nutty.  Kinda round on the palate, with a slightly acidic finish.

2008 de Montille Corton-Charlemagne - very buttery, with marmalade notes and a little flinty.  Very ripe and round on the palate, but with a dry finish.  Very enjoyable.

1993 Domaine Leroy Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Boudots - nose of sweet grass, with a little leather and floral notes.  Dry on the palate.  The second pour delivered a nose that was so open and beautiful, which was ripe and sweet and almost jammy.

1990 Montrose - I was certainly not expecting to drink this wine again so soon.  Nose of animal and leather.  Almost a little stinky and savory, with some coffee notes.  Very lovely, but probably needed a little more decanting time.

Many thanks to our host for a very enjoyable lunch, and I had a lot of fun engaging in discussion with Etienne.  I hope to have the opportunity to see him again soon.

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