June 7, 2017

Wines in the hood

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Rice wanted to get together and open a few bottles, and chose to book a table for the three of us at Neighborhood.  I guess he's also become quite a fan of The Man in White T-Shirt over the years, and it's nice to come and enjoy the solid, unpretentious food in a convivial setting.  I did tell the boss ahead of time that we were coming, and let him decide what to send our way.

30 mo. culatello "Massimo Spigaroli" - WOW!  I've had culatello here before, but this was seriously FUCKING GOOD!

So... not only was this aged longer at 30 months, but it also came from black pigs. The flavors were so deep they also tasted like the pork's been fermented, kinda like Chinese fermented tofu (豆腐乳).  I'd be happy just munching on a couple of plates of this over a bottle.

Yellowfin tuna (belly?) confit - not sure I've ever had tuna confit before, but this was pretty interesting.  Love the mayo on the side with piment d'espelette.

Blonde cattle carpaccio / burrata / Fukuoka fruit tomatoes - I love that one always gets different types of beef here, and tonight the carpaccio came from Blonde d'Aquitaine.  The burrata was nice, but it was the incredibly ripe and sweet fruit tomatoes (フルーツトマト) from Koganemaru Farms (小金丸農園) that stole the show.  Together with some shredded basil, a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper, they made for quite a few delicious mouthfuls.

Black truffle chicken wings - always a crowd favorite here.  Who doesn't like chicken wings?  And it didn't matter at all that the truffle wasn't the top-quality stuff, because it was already adding enough fragrance in one's mouth.

Spanish Rubia Gallega chuleta steak - YES!!! I got a call during the day from Shirley, who asked whether I wanted to reserve my favorite beef.  Duh...

This was obviously waaaay too big for the three of us, but nevermind that!  I really love the taste of these Galician cattle, all of which are more than 10 years old.  This particular piece has been dry-aged for 60 days, which was just enough to start giving off some of those wonderful blue cheese flavors... although I really would prefer the stuff that we used to get at On Lot 10 which had been aged up to 120 days.  Nevertheless, this was still delicious.  I enjoyed both pieces from the edges - which were a little more cooked - as well as pieces from the center.  Just love the texture of this beef - the muscle fibers are fairly silky and smooth, but when one bites down on the thick chunks, the meat itself resists and fights back a little - delivering springiness.  The fat, of course, was where the cheesy flavors showed strongest.  And let's not forget all the little bits of bone marrow scattered throughout the pan...

Mashed potatoes

We had easily half a pan of beef leftover, so technically we had more than enough food.  But being the greedy bastard that I am, I couldn't help but ask for a couple of more dishes from the menu...

Toyama firefly squid / green peas / egg - I was surprised to see this on the menu, and was informed that it's the very end of firefly squid season.  So I quickly ordered up a plate.  Wow!  Love the flavors of the squid as much as ever, and getting the egg in there is always a good idea.  The peas were very fresh and delicious, with lots of crunch, but I suspect some of them may have been a little undercooked and had a little too much crunch.  The piment d'espelette, chives, and chervil all contributed a little to the symphony of flavors, but the ingredient which surprised was little bits of wild boar - done just like those bacon bits.  Those added both a little oomph in terms of flavors but also texture.

The Man in White T-Shirt suggested that we spoon a little mashed potatoes in with the dish, and while I agreed that it worked well by adding some thickness and body, I was pretty happy to taste the undiluted flavors of the dish.

Fukuoka fruit tomatoes / Cantabrian anchovies - given how much we loved the tomatoes earlier, we decided to get this.  The Cantabrian anchovies brought some acidity in addition to the minerality, the tomatoes were ripe and sweet, and the balsamico kinda tried to bridge the two as it delivered both sweetness and acidity.

There was a big party in the private room next to us, so The Man in White T-Shirt instructed his staff to be VERY stingy tonight when it came time to giving me canelés... while a certain bitch in a short, holey dress from the private party just casually walked by the pile of canelés on the bar counter and stole one.

We ended up drinking a little too much tonight... but thankfully The Man in White T-Shirt was happy to help us out, as usual...

2012 Philippe Bornard Côtes du Jura Les Marnes - I was ever so grateful that this bottle of natural wine didn't turn out to be bong water... Toasty nose with a little sweetness.  Kinda soft on the palate.  Later on there were some Chinese medicinal herbs in the nose, and a little coriander seed.  Nose was beautiful some 2½ hours later, showing a big nose of toast which faded rather quickly in glass.  Palate still left me wanting.
2002 Krug - always beautiful.  Nice and smooth on the palate, with a caramelized and toasty nose.  Lovely yeasty nose some two hours later.

2004 Anne Gros Clos-Vougeot Le Grand Maupertui - I expected to be disappointed this evening, but I wasn't expecting this to be the bottle to deliver that disappointment.  Not much on the nose.  Improved a little with the second pour, but this was completely underwhelming.

2004 Prince Florent de Merode Corton les Renardes - nice fruit here but it wasn't too ripe and jammy, a little smoky.  Much nicer than the Anne Gros.  No wonder DRC took a lease out on this vineyard.

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