I've blathered on about Indie Café in Rogers Park enough here. It's great food, fresh and clean, BYO, great staff and always a spectacular time.
Wine pairings at Indie, though, have been a bit dicey.
Nothing ever hit all the right notes. Japanese and Thai, especially dishes with a little heat, need a bit of sugar and acid to cut through the spice while still revealing the wine's flavors and simultaneously allowing the food to shine. We've done that in the past but nothing ever wowed us.
Last night, Dr. Loosen Riesling was the answer.
Food: Indie Café
Nam Sod - Spicy ground chicken salad special
Salmon Special Appetizer
Spicy Tuna Maki
Spicy Blu Crab
Mexico City - tuna and whitefish maki
Green Tea Ice Cream
I've run out of adjectives to describe the wonderful combination of goodness and cheapness for Indie. Great stuff for the 40th time will have to do. With two cups of coffee and a special Ginger Dragon Drink, the bill was $65. C'mon!
Wine: 2009 Orin Swift Veladora ($22 - Binny's) and the 2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling ($12 - Trader Joe's!)
The Orin Swift is mostly sauvignon blanc with a bit of muscat and semillon. There was a hope that the muscat would help. It didn't.
Typical California sauvignon blanc, a little big with a cornucopia of tropical fruits (a bit too much, actually) and some grapefruit with a lot of grass. Not too bad by itself. Pleasant enough. Brought half the bottle home and drank it later. All pineapple juice.
The Loosen Bros. QbA Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Dr. Loosen Riesling (freakin' German wine labels!) was #62 on the WS Top 100 and is available at Trader Joe's (Lakeview one at least). We cracked it pretty quick after realizing the ordinary nature of the Orin Swift.
Shimmering and sprite-like in the mouth, a touch of lime and background apricot-mango-something flavors. Deft touch of sugar, letting it alternate between off-dry-like and a straight-up bargain riesling with its standard sugar. Light on its feet but the strength to let its personality come through.
Great little wine. Simply great wine for $12.
Pairing: 91 We found a wine for Indie!
We opened the Orin Swift first and started with the salmon special appetizer. It worked. Good stuff together. The crab rangoon followed by the spicy tuna app put the Orin Swift to bed, though. Terrible finish.
After cracking the Dr. Loosen and trying it without food immediately on our palate, we knew it was going to work. Just had that nice lift to it, jumping all over the place while keeping its core goodness and retaining its center. We were shocked how well it did, though.
With the food, it was just right. Held up to the spice, played with the tuna and crab in great ways and, most importantly, worked great with the soy sauce, something that has been impossible to make happen at Indie for us.
It enhanced the food by cleansing the palate but left the good essences of the food around to linger while bringing the right touch of fruit and sugar to make everything wash down in great ways and not be too heavy.
We found a good wine for Indie. It's $12. You can eat like a king for $60. So...under $100 for a great night out (if you take out the Orin Swift).
That's something that's becoming increasingly rare in the city.