Thursday, March 3, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #34


1. Good to see a Hollywood awards show get it right for Best Picture and reward restraint.

2. The Third Man is just as good on the fifth viewing as the first.

3. Rossellini is one of my blindspots. Rome, Open City is a damn good film with the story told through masterful camera work more than anything. But..

4. Germany, Year Zero is better. Utterly raw and gutting.

5. The new Apple TV is a beautiful piece of equipment. For the remote alone!

5. Mrs. Ney came home this week with a great haul of natural wines, including a fantastic ribolla gialla below.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $111 for food and $111 for wine = $222

Sunday: Big Greek Salad with 2014 Poggio Anima 'Gabriel' Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGT

Food Details: Calabrese salami, cucumber, Greek sheep feta, sliced black olives, grape tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red pepper, scallions, dill, arugula. Ciabattini with Kerrygold butter.

Did We Like It? That'll work. All the Greekiness one would want from a weekday Big Salad. Mrs. Ney missed out on the cucumber, as it wasn't in the house.

How Was The Wine? Tasted like a nondescript Italian white table wine more than pecorino, but enough sunny acid and verve to compliment the salad. Nothing more to see here.

And The Pairing? See above.

Cost: $12 for food, $13 for wine = $25  

Saturday: Red Beans and Rice with 2013 VinTJ's Gewürztraminer Mendocino County

Food Details: Cook's Illustrated red beans and rice with andouille sausage, red beans, onions, bell pepper, garlic, paprika, cayenne, scallions, etc.; over brown rice.

Did We Like It? Deliciously balanced red beans and rice with a bouncy vacillation between its spice, veg, rice and meat and beans.

How Was The Wine? Trader Joe's cheap gewürztraminer, nothing special, but nice gewürz fruit with decent acid. Some watery gaps and its 2013-ness is showing, though it didn't detract from its price-to-quality ratio. At $7, that's a sliding scale.

And The Pairing? Respectable countering the spice. Not much less to see here.

Cost: $7 for food, $7 for wine = $14

Friday: Jeremiah Tower's Roast Chicken, Watercress and Ciabbatini with 2013 Domaine des Herbauges Val de Loire Grolleau Gris

Food Details: Our new chicken! Jeremiah Tower recipe with a couple of alterations: no washing, not making an actual sauce with the juices, and seasoning it a day early, letting it stand in the fridge. Simple lemon, head of garlic, rosemary, olive oil, s/p on/with the chicken, roasted at 375 (covered Dutch oven) for 60 minutes, 425 for 25 minutes uncovered. Pan juices poured into a dish to drizzle (instead of sauce). Inland cress and 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? So. Ridiculously. Delicious. Frenchy chicken in the sense that it begins as the typical, more quiet, milder roast chicken, only to have its full-blown chicken-ness show up a few seconds later. A chicken juice explosion in the bestest sense. This will be our replacement chicken for a while, as our high-heat, 500-degree roast chicken over the last year blasts the entire house (and the oven) with chicken smoke and juice, making for chickeny clothes and jackets and an oven that looks like someone exploded a barrel of tar into it.

Big key here: the tiny drizzle of walnut oil on the salad and buying watercress (sometimes a difficult find) make this meal utterly perfect. It becomes transportive, as if you're in Lyon (which I've never been) and you get a tip on the best lunch in town. It's a perfect bite. And with this wine...gee-whiz.

How Was The Wine? By itself, it's fine. WITH this food, it's like that rare moment when I wait on a couple and feel like they really like each other, after 20 years of marriage, and they seem to like each other more everyday. A tiny vein of delicate oil runs through its texture with a smoked orange peel/peach skin note. Lower acid, which is perfect here; and the walnut oil on the watercress and white pepper on the chicken amp up its background herby notes. Both of us loved the snot out of it. A great meal.

And The Pairing? See above.

Cost: $18 for food, $14 for wine = $32    

Thursday: French Vegetable Tart with 2013 Globerati Gascogne Blanc

Food Details: Tart shell filled with charred asparagus, onions, tomatoes, Bulgarian sheep feta, dill and tarragon; baked. Herb salad.

Did We Like It? Fine Frenchy tart and salad. Bistro food. No complaints.

How Was The Wine? Grapefruity with a lil punch. Southwestern France table white wine done moderately well. No complaints. 70% colombard 30% gris manseng.

And The Pairing? No...well..complaints.

Cost: $7 for food, $6 for wine = $13

Wednesday: Yakitori-marinated Hanger Steak, Steak Mock Frites and Kale Salad with NV Marietta Cellars Christo #2 Sonoma-Mendocino Counties Rhone Blend

Food Details: Freezer yakitori (Saveur), garlic, rosemary and evoo marinade for hanger steak, seared medium-rare. Sam Sifton faux pommes frites. Melissa Clark Tuscan kale salad.

Did We Like It? Meat and potatoes done well. Paired with Supersizers from Channel 4. Hosts Sue Perkins and Giles Coren pick a (mostly) British era and spend a week eating like the people from that era ate. It's a rip-roaring good time.

How Was The Wine? Started with a bottle of 2010 Abacela Tinta Amarela Umpqua but it was too soft for this meal. It'll pop up again this week. So a Christo (syrah, grenache, petite sirah and viognier), because it's besties with meat and potatoes, though the #2 in the past has left us wanting. #1 was pure joy in the bottle and the #2 was a shadow of that in the past for us, but much better here. It gave more blackberry, smoke and bark with a nice dryness and presence this time. Didn't reach the heights of the #1 and the #3 is out, so we'll plow through the rest of our #2s and move on.

And The Pairing? Meat, potatoes and Christo. Big place in our world. Good here. Not the best, but nice.

Cost: $17 for food, $17 for wine = $34

Tuesday: Psilakis Rabbit, Bloomfield Carrots and Risotto Milanese with 2011 Primosic Ribolla Gialla Friuli Venezia Giulia

Food Details: Michael Psilakis rabbit (recipe) with April Bloomfield roasted carrots and carrot top pesto (recipe) and Anne Burrell risotto Milanese (recipe)

Did We Like It? There was a lot of swearing. This. Was. Delicious. Tasted like the one thing we miss by not going to really high-end (northern) Italian restaurants: a great rabbit meal that would probably cost $45 but completely satisfy every part of your food being (unlike most everything else in really high-end Italian restos - we don't love it). Succulent rabbit that I wanted to put in between my cheek and gums and leave it there. Incredible carrot top pesto and carrots. Solid risotto with nice ooze backing it all up. We loved this plate of stupid-great food.

How Was The Wine? Natural ribolla gialla from Venezia. Decanted an hour. Hay, and white flowers that have been sitting in the sunny window for an afternoon (that's an early candidate for the dumbest wine description of the year). Nuts, light lemon-smoked orange fruit. Even a lil chickeny. Delicate acid. Pleasing texture. All in balance. Rather beautiful. Maybe a buy-again. Didn't dig deep into us, but admired everything it gave.

And The Pairing? Tasted like a great sommelier recommendation that he or she found in their testings and trials, and it turned into their go-to rec with the rabbit on the menu. Graceful, original and memorable.

Cost: $30 for food, $34 for wine = $64    

Monday: Shrimp, Chorizo and Broiled Feta Spread with Tesouro Da Sé Espumante Método Classico Reserva Dão

Food Details: Spanishy-Greeky spread of shrimp and chorizo sizzled up together, broiled feta and arugula salad with Pugliese bread to dip, top and drag.

Did We Like It? A mighty fine spread of flavors we enjoy. Chorizo oil was freakin' delicious and the creamy feta perfect.

How Was The Wine? Differing opinions here. A rarity, that. We usually fall into a fairly similar camp. Mrs. Ney loved this malvasia-cercial-bical blend done in the Champagne method from the Dão, liking its "melon formerly wrapped in prosciutto" notes and pretty finish. I was less enamored. At about $20, we'll buy it again. It has malvasia in it, which is a "buy it!"wine in our house no matter what-where-how it is-from-made.

And The Pairing? Nice space, nice gas, nice lift; it dug in and like its frolic.

Cost: $24 for food, $20 for wine = $44

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