June 28, 2015

Days without smell: MNSC wine dinner

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It's the third day I haven't been able to smell much of anything, and I'm joining the MNSC boys for dinner.  I already gave them a heads up that my olfactory receptors have been knocked offline, and it would be pointless for me to participate in the regular tasting format.  I did want to try the wines, since I knew that Dr. Poon was bringing out some good stuff as usual, but asked for half pours since any wine was technically wasted on me...  But since I could still taste, albeit with somewhat diminished capacity, I still showed up to dinner at The Pawn.

House-made ricotta, olive oil, dried herbs, aged balsamic - something familiar to start us off.  Not surprisingly the herbs didn't taste as fragrant to me tonight, but I could still tell there were rosemary and thyme.  I took down a nice slice of bread with this.

There was also the usual charcuterie board: ibérico shoulder, grape chutney, pickle, grilled toast, home-cured meats - duck breast, salami, pancetta, pork rillettes.  Plus the duck liver parfait that I love so much.  I must have been pretty hungry, because I had trouble stopping.  I wanted to devour 3 slices of bread with the rillettes and parfait...  And that lardo...

Rabbit with nasturtium and sorrel - medallions of rabbit loin, and also what seemed like rabbit terrine with aspic.  With sorrel ice and sorrel emulsion.  You've also got a couple of pieces of caramelized hazelnut crisps with chicken liver parfait inside.  Although the dish was cold and I wasn't expecting cold rabbit, I found the dish pretty enjoyable.

Sea bass, dried black olive, courgette - the sea bass was well-executed but under-seasoned.  Served with sliced courgettes, courgette mash, black olive purée and nasturtium.

Suckling piglet belly, poached pineapple, confit squid - now having this dish for the third time, and yeah, me likey the pork belly.  The fresh and poached pineapple as well as the confit squid added both texture contrast and flavor balance, but somehow the dish fell a little short.  Maybe the crackling just wasn't crispy and crunchy enough.  Maybe there wasn't enough fat underneath.  In any case, while the dish was tasty, it wasn't nearly as satisfying as it should have been.

I was too full to have dessert, even though my sweet tooth was definitely tempted.

But let's look at the lineup of wines Dr. Poon generously prepared for us... none of which I was able to smell.

1964 Dom Pérignon - not a lot of bubbles left.  A little marmalade, and a little hot and ripe on the palate.

First flight: opened and decanted about an hour prior to serving.
1990 La Mission Haut-Brion

1990 Lafite-Rothshild

Second flight:
1988 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvée William

1988 Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque

1988 Domaine Leroy Romanée-St.-Vivant

Third flight:
1989 Rayas

1989 Guigal Côte-Rôtie Hommage à Etienne Guigal

1989 Rousseau Chambertin

An incredible lineup of wines, thanks to Dr. Poon's generosity. How I wish I had been able to get some pleasure out of tasting these... instead of feeling miserable.  Oh well...

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