Chugging along quite nicely.
It's just meatloaf and potatoes.
Except when it's not.
Food: Meatloaf, tomatoes Provençal and rosemary potatoes
Veal, beef and pork meatloaf with mustard seeds and white pepper, a Food & Wine recipe. I grew up with decent and often served meatloaf. This is fancy meatloaf and the only meatloaf we'll ever eat. Became the only meatloaf recipe about two years ago and felt like something important and settled.
Tomato Provençal. Grape tomatoes topped with bread crumbs, basil, lemon zest and anchovies, then baked. We came to the joy of tomato Provençal late, mostly because I dragged my feet over embracing such obvious anchovy-ness. I'm over that now because they and this is freakin' delicious. A perfect bridge between a protein and starch that makes me understand the basic French cooking philosophy a little more. Probably textbook in that sense and a perfect example, along with onions, of how one supplementary ingredient can add oodles of depth to a meal.
Potatoes pan roasted with lemon halves, rosemary, and garlic. Didn't squeeze the lemon juice into the pan, just rested them unsqueezed into the cooking process. Might be doing it this way from now on as a brightness that tasted like lemon juice crossed with lemon zest came through very subtly but beautifully (seemed integral to the pairing as well).
It's just meatloaf and potatoes but seemed like much more. We avoided this meal and got Indian the day before (see below) because we didn't want "meatloaf." Just as good as the Indian feast.
Wine: 2007 Domaine Des Tours Vin de Pays Vaucluse Reserve ($17 - WDC)
Grape: grenache, counoise, syrah, cinsault, merlot, dious
Appellation: Vaucluse, the large, mostly bulk wine-growing area east of CDP
Vintage (WS): 95 Drink or hold Ripe, rich, powerful reds thanks to long Indian summer at harvesttime. Grenache is heady and rich, so Mourvèdre and Cinsault key for balance. Best wines are classic hedonistic delights, though some are over-the-top
Tons of love for the Chateau Rayas second and third bottlings in this house but our first foray into the 2007 Domaine Des Tours world. Might be better than the 2006.
Medium weight with a texture extraordinarily similar to a pinot noir again. Tons of silky, bright red fruits (not quite distinguished yet) with an underlying fine earth and brush. Pretty tannins that stayed out of the way but this one was defined more by a pinot-like acid and texture again. You can immediately taste the craftsmanship in it with a silky, lilting texture and idiosyncratic development in the glass that tastes like the winemaker is trying to stretch the bounds of what grenache can do and searching for more ways to express it at the lower end of his bottlings. Tastes like he's being playful, drawing out the definition more from the acid than with the fruit.
The 2006 was hit and miss with different foods but it was unbelievable with a fig tart and made us buy a ton more. Finicky with more substantial, diverse offerings where the wine had to cast a wider net but the 2007 last night did just that.
Pairing: 92 Winner, winner, cheap meatloaf and wine dinner!
Solid with the meatloaf but beautifully funky, earthy nearly barnyardy with the tomato Provençal.
Might have been best with the potatoes. Something about how the touch of lemon coupled with the rosemary made everything in the wine fall into line. A great purity to it, turning the fruit in the wine into something more bright and nearly creamy followed by a brushy middle and a red fruit skin, mouthwatering finish. Felt like the acid from the lemon in the potatoes and the acid in the wine found a partner in each other and allowed everything else to come forward.
But it's tough. The funkiness brought out from the tomato Provençal made me want to replicate it immediately after a bite.
In the end, it was a meal flooded with different and changing flavors. The unexpectedness and joy of that turned meatloaf and potatoes into something so much more.
A quick note: Hema's Kitchen on Devon. Vegetable and lamb samosas, raita, two types of naan, chicken vindaloo and ghosh rogan tosh. Served with the same two wines we took last time: 2009 Crios torrontés ($11 - Binny's) and NV Albero Cava ($8 - Trader Joe's). Both worked so well last time we wanted to revisit it. Worked even better this time. The huge floral notes in the Crios shined what anything spicy or vegetal and the Cava worked great with anything doughy. It was a superlatively great back-and-forth that felt hedonistic.
Basically an $85 night out that beat many of the much more expensive meals we've had at other restaurants in the last year or two. This is great Indian food, something we're coming to understand that we capital 'L' love it. Avoided it for so long as we delved deeper into other cuisines but these are flavors that taste old to their very soul.
Hema's and Paprika taste like that's what we're going to be eating this year. The 2011 Semiramis in many ways.