Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vitello Tonnato with 2012 Ponzi Arneis and 2013 Bastianich Rosato di Refosco

We had to pick something up downtown today, and figured a Purple Pig lunch was in order, since we were already down there.

The Pig does so much right. Oodles of well-made flavors, great wine list, nice atmosphere. It's a fine restaurant that feels like a mini-vacation.

But after we had this dinner, Purple Pig didn't feel necessary. We had our mini-vacation right here on the plate, with a busload of flavors done oh-so well and six layers of flavors in each bite that kept changing, moving and surprising.

Great food at home. It's what's Good.

Vitello tonnato (Saveur), with olive oil-poached tuna (Sur la Table) instead of a can. It's a pain in the ass, but utterly worth the effort, according to Mrs. Ney. Veal prep followed to the letter and turned out gorgeous. Bittman herbed-up red potatoes tossed in a mustard vinaigrette. Asparagus tossed with the tiniest bit of the same vinaigrette and thrown under the broiler. Carrot and celery garnish. Parsley over everything. And the surprise of the night, deep-fried lemon slices to top (thank you, Ms Clark). A bite of these with some veal and tuna sauce was so gosh darn superlative, I have no words.

Spring's here, windows are open, fresh air in the apartment, shorts and skirts, gloves and hats put away, and then great food like this. All that crap.

And the wines didn't detract, serving more as a funky counter overall than bringing the pairing love, but we didn't care. The 2012 Ponzi Arneis ($30 - Winery) is still kicking, but barely, offering a well water mixed with older fruit note. Still some acid, still nominally solid. We needed an arneis for this meal, we had one, so we drank it. Downright funky, even a bit strange then strangely good, with a veal-tuna bite. It got lost with the fried lemon rind, but rounded out rather nicely with the potatoes, which were the food pairing winner of the night as the 2013 Bastianich Rosato di Refosco ($15 - Whole Foods) excelled with them as well. The Bastianich, a house fav for specific meals, brought a spicy, floral, slightly funky garden dirt quality, and had a more fully developed personality than the Ponzi. More life here. Both weren't great with the food, but both offered just enough angles and cuts to the meal to leave us mostly satisfied.

It's been a weird year. Meals like these make it less weird. For that, we're thankful.

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