Friday, October 1, 2010

September Post

Wow...I just realized that it's almost been a month since I last blogged. I guess I was definitely busy with holidays and traveling (found a new love for mimosas) and so I have a few classes to write about at once here. I would say that I hope next month would be better but I highly doubt it. hehe

My friends and I are enjoying taking over Ernesto's (http://www.ernestoswinebar.com) wine and food pairings once a month there. There were nine of us and luckily we all arrived at different times so there was no waiting in the food or drink lines. Angie, aka STLWinegirl (http://www.stlwinegirl.com/), served two whites and two reds with the 2nd white aimed at the special dish for the night prepared by Chef Cassy, who was able to find locally grown pears!

On one half of a pear, Chef Cassy gave a healthy dollup of goat cheese and secured it with a wrapping of prosciutto. I loved the combination of the sweet pear with the savory goat cheese doing without the piggy, but it did add a third salty flavor.

Since attendance was sparse and the cheese table was somewhat limited, I went ahead and ordered the shrimp sliders on the appetizer menu. These were delicious, especially thanks to the layer of goat cheese on top, and it even paired well with the wine.

This Monday event was followed up by Whole Foods' (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/) seafood class the very next day with a "shrimp" theme. Michael kicked off the class with a "shrimp pizza" of his own before Chef Matt took over. This was one of the best courses along with the Spicy Thai Peanut Shrimp and Asian Slaw. My buddy Curt even made the slaw for me at a later date he liked it so much. The other courses were a beer boiled shrimp cocktail and shrimp etoufee, which was good but hard to find the shrimp in it and it's quite spicy. Each course was served with white wine except for a token one.

Since the rare Whole Foods seafood class (once every 2-3 months) coincided with Angie's class at Provisions (http://www.provisionsmarket.com), also with a seafood theme, I only made it to one in September. At least it was one of the best ones: Chef Scott's Top 5! You know we all had HIGH expectations since Angie polled several people to find out their favorites.

I would talk about the pairings but Provisions classes are all about the food and this one was no different. By far, the best meal...probably the best I've ever had from Chef Scott...was the Salmon Wellington. The puff pastry just melted in my mouth soaked in a hollindaise sauce. The salmon was light and it came with a stuffed mushroom spread on top. Out of this world. It was paired with a Chardonney, but since it wasn't oak-y or buttery, I was able to guess it was French! (I don't think I'm quite ready to take the sommlier class but it is pretty fun playing "guess the country".)

Seriously, the best pairing was the first one (because I love the light stuff) with a gewurtraimner matched up with spicy cajun rice and andouille sausage. Chef Scott loves his cajun! Angie (and I agree) always prefers light, sweet wines to offset spicy foods like Thai or Indian.

And of course I always learn something from Angie's classes. This time, the five grapes of the Bordeaux region are the following: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

My next favorite was dessert...Chef Scott's French Toast paired with a Petite Syrah. The Syrah was fairly dry without being overbearing, and that matched up well with the super sweet syrup and strawberry flavors.

Here is the full lineup:

Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage
Gewurtraimner

Salmon Wellington with Mushroom Pate
French Chardonney

Grilled Canneloni with Chicken, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Lirac (Granche/Syrah)

Muffaletta Sandwich with Roast Beef, Tapenade, Swiss Cheese
Red Zinfandel

Loaded French Toast
Petite Syrah

Next month is more of the same thing, which is a GOOD thing. Angie is kicking off a new cheese series at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton with country themes of Spain, France (November), and Italy (December). (First Thursday of every month, which is October 7th.)

SIP.City's theme in October is "Women in Wine", which will take place October 11th and butts up against Angie's "Ocktoberfest" class where she will pair a beer and a wine with each course and let YOU decide which is best. Unfortunately, I will have to miss since Whole Foods is dusting off its cheese classes on October 12th.

So plenty of activities for you to come and join!