A plentiful pickle (-d) party permeating every pore of the pretty protein on the plate!
"Don't practice your alliteration on me!"
If I was prone to year-end listy-type things, I'd say the hanger steak with a fried egg on top at Lola in Cleveland last April would be up there. Like in the top 10. Maybe between #3 and #8. It's #5. I've decided.
Last August, Mrs. Ney mimicked it to great effect using skirt.
That time, we ate it with an Australian shiraz that felt like it was nearing its demise but still brought the fruit.
That's what we probably should have heeded this time. More fruit.
Food: Lola-style hanger steak with yuca fries and an arugula-parsley salad
Recipe here. Yep. From a Michael Symon appearance on the Rachel Ray Show.
Good, not great hanger steak but fine stuff. A sinewy mess on a couple pieces but great hanger gnarly flavor on most. Marinated in coriander, salt, sugar and chili powder and left to sit overnight. The coriander comes through quite beautifully.
Topped with the aforementioned pickled party. Onions and peppers pickled and put on top of the meat with homemade Worcestershire sauce. Both the pickled elements and the Worcestershire sauce once again brought a pretty and cheek-sticking low-level and very pretty acid. Always present and always welcome, something that can't be said for most pickling stuff out in the world. And the Worcestershire sauce could be drunk by itself, it's that good. Balsamic/crapload of herbs base but flavored with the half-bottle left of the Thackrey, it came out something freakin' delicious.
Yuca fries = top five favorite food in this house. Another nomination for the list. Even though we've had them for years, for 2010, it's #3. Garlic mayo for dipping.
Arugula-parsley salad to finish.
Getting a bite of the pickled elements (especially the pickled serrano), a piece of meat doused in Worcestershire and a bit of parsley made for everything we wanted and craved from the meal. Great stuff to finish out the year (I suddenly seem obsessed with year-end crap!)
Wine: 2007 Pingus PSI ($35 - Binny's)
Sisseck's third bottling. Blah, blah, blah.
100% tempranillo. Last had this one at Mado in February. Mado is, alas, no more for the most part. Robert Leavitt left to open his own butcher and larder named Butcher & Larder, looking to open in Logan Square within the next week. But I digress.
Opened for a half hour before drinking. Deep red in the glass. More fruit this time on the nose, showing smoky sweet plums and leather that followed to the tongue. Less wild this time. More settled in its flavors and progression, but a more singular fruit profile with the plum dominating and maybe a blackberry edge. Buttered toast and a wee hint of vanilla. Subtle earthy, fine dark dirt, raw menthol tobacco and charcoal finish. And a very dry finish with tannins still bucking everywhere but something that settled down to a reasonable level rather quickly.
Best thing I can say is that this vintage has a place and we'll be following it. Not near the top of the list after drinking it twice this year and seeing where it went (and is probably going to go) but I'd be interested enough to find out what it's like in two years. Missed that blackberry/cherry note that I thought would keep the fruit diversified, though. A long decant may have helped things but my interest may still have dropped 5% in this vintage with this showing.
Pairing: 84 Nothing remarkable in the least but enough there to keep us from opening something else
More fruit, please. The pickling elements needed something bigger and more in-your-face, Look At ME! personality. It hollowed out the core of the wine and beat it up for the most part. This was a biggish meal and the PSI needed something more subtle, earthy and mild, like a good Spanish feast to accentuate its pretty secondary flavors.
This didn't have that. This wanted a Robin Williams-type personality in the form of a ready-to-go Australian shiraz or some very recent fruity garbage blend like the Owen Roe Abbott's Table with all its zinfandel and blaufrankish sweet fruit, which we should have drunk but I nixed.
Now we know.