Thursday, March 24, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #37

We need a little Pok Pok in our life.

And Le Bernardin.

And Prune.

And Momofuku.

And The Breslin.

And other New York things.

So we're going to make that happen.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $90 for food and $186 for wine = $276

Sunday: Jeremiah Tower Chicken with 2014 Dominque Lucas Les Vins du Léman Quintessence Chasselas

Food Details: Easter dinner before our New York trip! Same prep as the rather revolutionary first eating of this Jeremiah Tower chicken recipe a month ago. One alteration (from those alterations) was the addition of fried chicken spice, just for funnsies. Doesn't need that, as it doesn't allow the viscous chicken juices to expand into a savory chicken bomb in your mouth like before. Watercress-arugula salad with white wine vinegar and a wee touch of walnut oil. Toasted mini-ciabatta, buttered. Top the bread with the above ingredients. Eat.

Did We Like It? It was a fine-arse chicken, juicy as all get-out. Loved the chicken itself, but the fried chicken spice clipped the loveliness and Chez Panisse-ness that we found the first time we had this meal. Lesson learned. Great food, though. The original wine pick for the night didn't reach the heights of the grolleau gris on the first time around with this JT chicken dinner, unfortunately.

How Was The Wine? A bit too delicate here. It's Dominque Lucas's entry-level wine. Pretty, light, somewhat ethereal, but missed on having a full-blown presence from beginning to end. It needed a strand that ran through it and a couple of changes to reach true-blue goodness and it just didn't have it.

And The Pairing? We opened a cheap bottle of Albero Cava and found bubbles and fried chicken spice are, of course, not too shabby together, even if it's in a stranger form than the typical...that.

Cost: $18 for food, $27 for wine = $45

Saturday: Mexican Rice with 2014 La Granja Blanco Rioja

Food Details: Bayless recipe here. Jalapeño chicken sausages, rice, onions, chile, garlic, cilantro, chicken on the recipe. Sour cream and hot sauce on top.

Did We Like It? We'll probably put Mexican rice to bed for a few months. But a nice, big bowl of food.

How Was The Wine? House white. Spanish verdejo-viura from Trader Joe's. It's $5 and suffices for meals like this.

And The Pairing? Fine.

Cost: $8 for food, $5 for wine = $13

Friday: Pick-n-Choose with 2015 Espiral Vinho Rosé Vinho Verde

Food Details: Roast beef, salami, ale cheddar with mustard, pickled onions, pepper mayo, arugula and ciabattini. Bread plus everything else as an open-faced mini-sammy. Eat. Repeat. Enjoy.

Did We Like It? Always. It's an easy-peasy dinner that brings the satisfaction.

How Was The Wine? When you're having dinner after work, want to have a bit of wine, but want to make sure the annoyance of work doesn't force you to have more wine than you really should/want/need, drink wine that isn't...the best. Spiral fits that mold. Light berry-strawberry and lil spritz. And that's about it.

And The Pairing? Wine. With food.

Cost: $20 for food, $5 for wine = $25

Thursday: Meatloaf and Pierogi

Food Details: Wine break. Food & Wine meatloaf with mustard seeds and white pepper. Onion-potato pierogi with asparagus. One of the better meatloaf batches in a good long while. Happy.

No wine

Cost: $8

Wednesday: Squid Ink Pasta, Shrimp and Fava with 2014 Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli Basque

Food Details: Sepia spaghetti, shrimp, favas, chorizo, charred scallions, fresno peppers, preserved lemon, garlic, dill, mint. On a plate, then in our mouth.

Did We Like It? Both of us were thinking before dinner, "Fine...that'll do." And then we ate it. PERFECT pasta, perfectly cooked, great texture and nice, light hit of squidy flavor without tasting like you're eating sea garbage. First fava of the spring for us, which always marks food spring and that's a good thing. Flavors galore, all of them welcome, wanted and waxed over while taking in two more episodes of Come Dine With Me UK. Good Dinner! And the wine helped.

How Was The Wine? Delicious, because it tastes like Spain. It's been a couple of years since we had a bottle of Txomin Etxaniz. Missed it. It's always had a classy txakoli shine and it did here. Something about the balance and back-and-forth between the spritz, herbs and light green-yellow fruit, then a nice pause, and a finish that tastes like driving on a Basque backroad with the sea air just starting to enter the car vent.

And The Pairing? Not superlative, but a pairing where EVERYTHING on the plate and in the glass was oh-so delicious and nothing in each was getting in the way with the other. Very happy.

Cost: $12 for food, $20 for wine = $32      

Tuesday: Rabbit Croquetas and Snap Pea-Radish Salad with NV Mumm Rosé Napa

Food Details: Jose Andres' croquetas, substituting freezer rabbit for chicken (and fried in rabbit oil), and almond milk for dairy in the béchamel. Melissa Clark snap peas and radish salad with ricotta salata.

Did We Like It? Loved the rabbit croquetas. Loved the stink out of them. Not so much the salad. It came off rather ordinary, missing a broadness and pop.

How Was The Wine? Opened a bottle of Halcyon Sparkling Rosé of Cabernet Franc Templeton Gap to start and got NOTHIN'. I was somewhat excited about this one and it tasted like lightly-flavored sparkling water. Had no anima, no personality, nothing to say. I strained to get to "sun-baked earth, chalk and white chocolate from Reeses eggs" just to be an wine-descriptor idiot. But overall, nothing to see here for us. We figured the dill in the salad (added) would help. Nope. So a bottle of Mumm rosé, that was only marginally better.

And The Pairing? Meh.

Cost: $12 for food, $53 for wine = $65    

Monday: Fish Cakes, Carrot-top Pesto and Roasted Potatoes with 2012 Ponzi Chardonnay Willamette Valley

Food Details: Fish cakes, recipe from New Book of Middle Eastern Food, page 180 (using cod, serrano, lemon zest, and basil--no spices). Roasted potatoes, carrots, onions, all separately roasted. Halved grape tomatoes and lemon slices, roasted. Ms Bloomfield's carrot top pesto. Lemon squeezes.

Did We Like It? We did. Fresh and bright fish cakes, delicious with the superlatively great carrot-top pesto. Surprisingly wonderful potatoes with perfect crisp on the outside and creaminess on the inside. An all-around good meal that Mrs. Ney didn't even want while making it. And a big wine shocker.

How Was The Wine? This Ponzi chardonnay has been sitting in the house since we got it from their wine club three years ago. Forgot it was in the house, really. This food was a good opportunity to drink a wine we typically don't gravitate towards. Unoaked. Very pretty secondary flavors showed nicely here, with an Asian herb leaf note being a big thread throughout. Shiny citrus notes. Shorter finish but we didn't care. This had a nice balance and strut. Big fan.

And The Pairing? When we drink Ponzi in any form, we taste that Ponzi acid that brings us back to the first time we had Ponzi. It's a happy memory in the glass nearly every time. The pairing here tasted like a breezy fish cake lunch where time stops a bit, and lunch becomes a true pause in the day. Very satisfied.

Cost: $12 for food, $30 for wine = $42

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