Writing a post after 10 pm is not the way to get a ton of readers. Heck, writing an online piece doesn’t carry the same weight that writing a column for the local newspaper does. That said, I should do this more often, write a piece just because, small, for you and, as much as I love you, more importantly, for me.
Tonight I attended the second Chef’s Wine Dinner at Crush in Ukiah, and it was fantastic. Again.
Owner Doug and Manager Dave are terrific, but they allow their staff the opportunity to shine and that is their genius.
Chef Jesse banged out some scallops that were, in a word, perfect. Want two words? Way perfect.
Chef Zack served up some little puff pastry and magic bacon things, I don’t know what they were, other than orgasmic, but I could have eaten another hundred, I’m sure.
For the second Chef’s Wine Dinner in a row, oysters were served as an appetizer. Feel free to serve them again at the third Chef’s Wine Dinner. They are great!
The rabbit was so good. If only more people would think of cute bunnies, I could have had more of the very popular and oh so yummy rabbit.
There was veal tartare with tuna in a mini cannelloni and an Insalata Nichoise, but there just wasn’t enough of the Nueske pork wrapped veal sweetbreads with porcini tortellini on our end of the table. Oh, what a dish!
Did I forget to mention the lobster creamed corn, or the lamb with saffron and breadcrumbs? Yeah, I ate those too.
Dessert was a homemade 100 proof lemoncello and vanilla Semifreddo.
I go on about the food, but I love food. I am not on a diet. If there is any good in being fat, then it is not having to be moderate in enjoyment of great food.
No Chef’s Wine Dinner at Crush is possible without wine. This time, the wine came from Charlie and Martha Barra’s Barra of Mendocino and Girasole labels.
The Barra wines spend time in expensive French oak. I had the Chardonnay with scallops and lobster corn. Note: all corn should be lobster corn, let’s pass a law.
I had a Barra Cabernet Sauvignon with the lamb, rabbit, and a ratatouille that didn’t suffer for being a vegetable only dish. This growing boy loves his proteins.
The Girasole line runs to stainless steel and neutral oak. I enjoyed the Pinot Blanc with the oysters and Insalata Nicoise, and the Pinot Noir with the veal tartare and veal sweetbreads.
Charlie and Martha poured their Muscat Canelli with the dessert.
The best food and wine pairing of the night, by a mile, was the Girasole Pinot Noir with the bacon in puff pastry appetizer things. I do not know what they were, but they weren’t regular bacon. Imagine God made a pig pregnant, you can call the pig Mary if you want, but you do not have to if it makes you uncomfortable. Anyway imagine that a chef does magic chef things to God bacon, and sticks it in little bread bites, and that is what I ate, washing it down with gorgeous Pinot Noir.
I sat between Martha and Frank. Martha is Martha Barra. Frank is the father who brought his daughter, granddaughter, wife and friends to the dinner for his daughter’s birthday. She was 60, but she looked much younger. Good on you, young looking birthday girl!
Owen Smith, winemaker for Barra was at the dinner. It is always good to see Owen. Also attending was superstar marketer Gracia Brown. Gracia helped Crush, along with Martha and the Barra team, almost double the seats sold for this Chef’s Wine Dinner. Gracia and I last sat at the kid’s table at the Mendocino County Wine Competition awards dinner, and that is probably where I belong most often. Tonight, I mostly behaved and sat with the adults.
Some patrons told me that they read my words in the restroom, and I was surprised because I did not remember putting my phone number on the stall wall, but it turned out that the Crush crew posted my newspaper column reviewing their first Chef’s Wine Dinner for folks to read. Works for me.
Anyway, another spectacular evening. Happy diners, many new to a Chef’s Wine Dinner, eating, drinking laughing, talking, just plain having a great night. Before I wrap this post, kudos as well to the hostess and servers too. Everyone worked together to make tonight work for all.
I definitely love living where I do, and doing what I do, allowing me to share with you some of the best of it.