Friday, June 10, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #48

Taking a trip to Tuscany in a few months. Six days in the countryside, two days in Florence. Wine, good food, quiet, pool, and a villa that has only three other rooms, so that's our speed.

Should be quite good.

And I don't know how, but we nabbed two tickets for $650 each! Went up to $1150 two days later. Big score.

We've hit a bit of a cheap wine wall lately. So taking a wine break with weekday meals that aren't going to be food-wine Good has been the play.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $137 for food and $64 for wine = $201

Total food and wine cost for the month: $385 for food and $394 for wine = $779

Sunday: Anne Burrell Chicken Milanese with 2015 Bokisch Verdelho Vista Luna Vineyard Lodi and 2015 La Val Albariño Rías Baixas

Food Details: The usual Anne Burrell chicken Milanese. Harvesttime chicken breasts, breaded and fried. Michael Symon pickled red onions, nut-pecorino-parsley blend. Arugula and pomegranate seed salad. Top the chicken breast with all the other goodness and eat.

Did We Like It? We liked all the other goodness, but the chicken breasts didn't make the cut. A bit rubbery. Cheap chicken runs that risk. Damn fine meal though, when we only ate the really thin parts of the chicken.

How Was The Wine? Toughie. The La Val...I know the Orballo label from La Val is their international label, but wasn't sure if this La Val label is merely the same thing in its original label for $4 less. It's not. It misses on the salinity and confident acid that's offered by the Orballo. A fine albariño, but it doesn't offer the confidence, sparkle and presence the Orballo does. We wavered back and forth on the Bokisch, initially liking its red grapefruit-like acid and flavor, then wondering if it should be giving more than it was, finally ending on liking its versatility enough with the food for only $14. More levels and changes than the La Val, which was simply a lemon-lime spritz with a few salty sea notes thrown in at the end.

And The Pairing? I'm glad I didn't buy the case of the La Val like I initially wanted to. It never ingratiated itself to the food. No pivot or adjustment. The Bokisch did, giving a nutty note at times with the food, turning more quiet and subtle in others. It always was making an effort. When we order another case from Bokisch, which will happen, this one may be a thrown-in at the end to round out the case.

Cost: $13 for food, $30 for wine = $43 

Saturday: Orecchiette, Sausage and Rapini with 2015 Rosa dell'Olmo Gavi Piedmont

Food Details: The standard orecchiette with sausage and rapini business. It's a house classic.

Did We Like It? Great sausage-flavor mingle here. The spices in the sausage bounced around, looking for something to pick up on and run with. It did, often. Good batch. 

How Was The Wine? Dry, crisp, lightly floral, peaches, medium-bodied, a lil nutty. The first 2015 of this Trader Joe's gavi for us. A little less broad as when this wine has showed best, but we'll be happy with it, as we'll be having it with this food another five times through the end of the year. It's a classic as well.

And The Pairing? As I said, a little less broad and a little less perky than previous drinkings, but it had enough to offer with the food to find the fundamental coziness that these two have with each other. 

Cost: $8 for food, $8 for wine = $16   

Friday: Chicken and Rice with 2015 Barbadillo Palomino Fino Cádiz

Food Details: Leftover chicken from Jeremiah Tower chicken on Sunday. Zucchini, celery, carrots, onions cooked up in the cast-iron; pan deglazed with fino sherry; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; white rice.

Did We Like It? The sherry with the chicken was resplendent! Real barn burner. Basic bowl of food that turned into a Big Bowl of Happy. Not one complaint. 

How Was The Wine? Trader Joe's palomino in not-sherry form. We love how the label says it's "fruity." Nope. This is categorically not fruity. This is dry, clean, savory as hell, light, refreshing, dry, and dry. It's a blank slate. Add food that likes it and things happen.

And The Pairing? Sherry grape with sherry in the food. That helped it along big time. No complaints here either. 

Cost: $3 for food, $6 for wine = $9

Thursday: Mango Curry, Raita and Naan with 2015 Lila Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

Food Details: Mango curry, from 660 Curries, adding ginger, using ataulfo mangoes. Black mustard seed raita. Naan.

Did We Like It? Solid curry dinner! More than moderate depth, perfect heat hit, round and balanced all-around. We were happy with this.

How Was The Wine? It was delicious with haloumi and heirloom tomatoes, and excelled with piri-piri chicken as well five weeks ago. Since then, not so much. Different batch? The grapefruit-mint-acid balance has disappeared.

And The Pairing? Here, it was dull, with a faint tinge of dumpster juice.

Cost: $12 for food, $6 for wine = $18  

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Potato Salad

Food Details: Quick and easy dinner. Baked BBQ chicken breasts. Easy-peasy. Mayo. Arugula. On rolls. Potato salad on the side.

Did We Like It? Fine and good sandwiches. More than just "it fed a hole." Potato salad upset our stomaches. No idea why.

No wine.

Good place to take a break.

Cost: $10

Tuesday: Jeremiah Tower Chicken and Watercress Salad with 2013 Domaine des Herbauges Val de Loire Grolleau Gris

Food Details: (recipe) No washing, and no sauce made with pan juice. Pan juice is too dippin' delicious by itself with bread. Added Vidalia onions and sage this time. Watercress and arugula salad with walnut oil. More beautifully ripe heirloom tomatoes. Whole Foods ciabatta buns.

Did We Like It? This is our third time eating this chicken and every time, we say we'd eat this damn thing twice a week. It's Frenchy, yet firmly planted in the Chez Panisse world with its subtle, unique pop and taste-length. Each version has been slightly different and each one has been perfect.

How Was The Wine? Less oily and more fruity this time. Smoky-fruity. Lighter. A breeziness to it. Flinty, almost.

And The Pairing? This is the second time we've had this wine with this chicken. Very different expression this time and very delicious. Whole Foods has been doing some nice things with a few select wines lately. This is right at the top. Grolleau gris grape, which was new to us, and it's the ideal wine with this chicken. Tastes like Leisure. Might be one of the pairings of the year.

Cost: $26 for food, $14 for wine = $40          

Monday: Dinner With The Fam

Food Details: Ottolenghi sage-lemon almonds to start. Trader Joe's dolmas with a yogurt and Fustini's pomegranate balsamic dip. Lamb-beef kofta with roasted cauliflower, arugula and pomegranate seeds as the entrée with an heirloom tomato and Vidalia onion salad. Pita. Gluten-free nut-poppyseed chocolate cake for dessert, with the gluten-free-ness for Mrs. Fam.

Did We Like It? The kofta went a little over. So did the cauliflower, but this might have been one of the best versions yet of this fairly new house favorite. All the spice and cream and acid and juice and pop came together, forming into something quite elevated. Beautiful heirloom tomatoes. And the Fam loved it, which helped, because we weren't sure that was going to be the case.

Cost: $65

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