Friday, October 30, 2015

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #16

Royals are better.

And I can't wait until Halloween is over. It's a silly holiday, though Mrs. Ney's costume for work, Red Flags, is awesome.

A celebratory week of solid restaurant chicken, a couple of greatest hits, and one of the best dinners we've had in a good long while.

Rabbit. Stupid rabbit. You're delicious. And grilled radicchio with rabbit? Gee whiz.

Best rabbit we've ever had.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $142 for food and $137 for wine = $279

Total food and wine cost for the month: $688 for food and $716 for wine = $1404

Sunday: Ham and Mortadella Sandwiches with 2014 Innovacíon Rosé Mendoza

Food Details: Ham, mortadella and red pepper sandwiches on ciabatta, baked. Olive oil chips. It's sandwich and chips!

Did We Like It? Fine and good. Fine. And. Good. Ending your waiting tables week with a big plate of sandwich and chips with rosé works every freakin' time.

How Was The Wine? Last bottle of the $8, one-liter rosé goodness. We drank probably 8-10 bottles of this pinked-up malbec-syrah blend this year. It was good to us. Fading now, as it's getting a little muddled in flavor, but still happy $8 pink.

And The Pairing? It's ham sandwich, chips and pink. What's not to like?

Cost: $15 for food, $8 for wine = $23    

Saturday: Taco Salad with 2014 La Granja Blanco Rioja

Food Details: Put all the following ingredients in the biggest bowl you have and mix: Ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, chopped romaine, crushed tortilla chips, shredded white cheddar, kumatoes, onions, leftover jalapeño crema from Fish Taco Tuesday (limed up), cubed avocado and cilantro...

Did We Like It? ...Bring your bowl to the couch, lean back, put the bowl on your stomach, put your favorite TV entertainment on the tele, move your beverages to the edge of the coffee table so you don't have to move too much; eat, drink and enjoy Halloween the way you do.

How Was The Wine? It's taco salad. $5 Trader Joe's Spanish white will suffice. Nothing gets in the way.

And The Pairing? See above. Just enjoy the Big Bowl of Taco Salad with some wine that's good enough.

Cost: $12 for food, $5 for wine = $17

Friday: Boxing Day Sausage Rolls and Arugula

Food Details: Sausage Rolls (here, via NYT Cooking) with an arugula and pomegranate seed salad.

Did We Like It? Fine, easy-peasy, substantial and satisfying food.

How Was The Wine? No wine. We needed a break.

Cost: $8

Thursday: Rabbit Confit, Grilled Radicchio and Celery Root-Chestnut Purée with Pouillon Rose de Maceration Brut Champagne

Source: Rabbit from Michael Psilakis, via Leite's Culinaria

Food Details: D'Artagnan rabbit with rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, shallot, garlic, bay, mustard seed, fennel seed and lavender. Radicchio, grilled, cored, coarsely chopped; with rabbit oil, orange juice, whole-grain mustard dressing. Celery root and chestnuts sauteed in 2 tbsp butter; cooked in almond milk, pureed; finished with a drizzle of rabbit oil. Rabbit drizzled with more rabbit oil at the table. Radicchio and rabbit spritzed with orange.

Did We Like It? Je-Sus! Best rabbit we've ever had! Best radicchio we've ever had! Tasted like if we gave this to an Alsatian grandmother, she'd begrudgingly nod in approval. So savory and crunchy and bitter and creamy and slightly sweet, with perfect acid, perfect rabbit skin and meat, all of it...just perfect. We couldn't get better rabbit dish out in the world, period. Best meal in months!

How Was The Wine? 100% pinot noir, given the saignée treatment. Not floral, not deep, not a lot of stuff, but everything it gets right, IT GETS RIGHT. Pretty fruit, pretty mouthfeel, lilting acid, Champagne doing what Champagne does: make you happy that it exists in the world.

And The Pairing? Like Wednesday, we could have gone in a lot of directions, but in the end the sparkling nature of the wine brought a bounce and lift that kept the entire meal buoyant and a sheer joy, something a still wine might not have done here. Golly, we eat well. This was Exhibit A.

Cost: $40 for food, $44 for wine = $84

Wednesday: Lamb Kofta, Charred Shallots, Labneh and Ancient Grains Bread with 2013 Broc Cellars Grenache Mendocino

Source: Ottolenghi kofta and Melissa Clark charred shallots

Food Details: First time making kofta with lamb. It's usually been goat. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, parsley, nuts, onion, garlic, all the kofta goodness. Big splotch of labneh on the plate, charred shallots on top of labneh, kofta on the side. Ancient grains bread instead of pita. Inland cress salad with mint. Spritz of lemon on things.

Did We Like It? We had to get back on this horse after the sweetness of the tomatoes in the last version of this meal, with goat leg, brought out some food hate. That was confirmed when we had a bite of this. A piece of Ancient Grain bread, a lil dollop of labneh, some charred shallots, maybe some inland cress, sometimes some kofta. Eat. Beautiful savory combinations that offers space and time to taste and savor everything, instead of sweetness muddying the waters. Can't recommend this more highly.

How Was The Wine? Broc being Broc, again. Our first Broc grenache, with low alcohol (12.5 - nice place for grenache), lovely floral frame, happy red fruits of raspberry and darker currant, sometimes a bit of licorice, sometimes a bit of chocolate. Light body, sunny acid, bright disposition. Liked it very much.

And The Pairing? No complaints in the least. Everything liked each other. We could have gone in a few directions here with the pairing but this one brought a completeness to the meal that never made us think of other options.

Cost: $20 for food, $30 for wine = $50 

Tuesday: Fish Tacos with Purple Corn Sangria

Source: From Duncan Gott of Gott's Roadside. Recipe taken directly from here. Purple corn sangria (Bobby Flay) here.

Food Details: Mahi mahi marinade = shallot, garlic, jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cilantro and cumin and then grill the fish. Make some cabbage slaw. Bought guacamole this time, because the avocados weren't ready, and mixed it with tomatoes and cilantro. Jalapeño crema. Hot sauce. Charred tortillas.

Did We Like It? Any celebration week in this house must have fish tacos, because they're the best fish tacos on Earth. This batch was one of the better batches made. Complete balance in flavor. Loved-loved-loved it.

How Was The Beverage? And one of the better batches of purple corn sangria made in this house. Oodles of depth, made possible by a more significant reduction in the purple corn-pineapple rind juice.

And The Pairing? Classic. It tastes classic when made this perfectly.

Cost: $17 for food, $18 for wine = $35

Monday: Nando's with 2014 Cara Viva Rosé Lisbon

Food Details: Full chicken platter for two with two sides of fries and four sides of peri-peri mayo.

Did We Like It? Got $60? Don't wanna cook? Want a tableful of chicken and fried potato sticks with tons of mayo to dip? We do. Often. And Nando's does that pretty darn well. This is nothing earth-shattering, just solid bird and good fries when you want that.

How Was The Wine? Had the Cara Viva branco last time. It's nice for $16. Rosé this time, same price, same label. It's their house label, and it tastes like Portugal. Fresh dirt, nice fruit. Again, nothing earth-shattering here, simply a drinkable rosé that doesn't get devoured by the spiciness of the peri-peri.

And The Pairing? See above. Eat, sip, eat again, sip again. The solid acid in the wine cuts nicely, the food is good, and you get about a third of the way through the meal and say, "This'll do. This'll totally do."

Cost: $30 for food, $32 for wine = $62

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