Saturday, May 12, 2007

Savory Tastes Cafe, Part 4

(Originally posted on 12/27/06)

Savory Tastes Cafe held a special Spanish Tapas Wine Dinner. This was a phenomenal dinner, with exceptional food and drink.

We began with a glass of the Casteller Cava, a sparkling wine that is made like Champagne. This is a slightly sweet and fruity wine, without the yeasty flavor of many Champagnes. It is sure to please most people, even those who generally do not like Champagne.

The Amuse Bouche was the Cabrales Blue Cheese and Pear Tart. The usual sharp flavor of the blue cheese had been toned down so this was a milder tart, and very tasty. It was paired with a Pedro Romero Manzanilla "Aurora," a mild Sherry with a slight nutty flavor.

The 1st Course included two dishes. The Trucha Con Jamon, Trout with Ham, was delicious! Tender fish with the salty ham made for an excellent pairing. I could have eaten a plateful. The Rape Con Romesco, Monkfish with Romesco Sauce, was also very good. Both appetizers were decent sized pieces though you still longed for more due to their excellent taste.

The 2nd Course also included two dishes. The Gazpacho Sevillano, a Gazpacho soup, was tasty with an interesting broth. I was less keen on the Cojondongo, the Gazpacho Salad, but only because I am not a big veggie fan. The others with me though very much enjoyed it. This course was paired with the Falset Marca, an exceptional red wine that was very aromatic, fruity on the palate and overall a sumptuous wine. Highly recommended!

The 3rd Course once again had two dishes. The first were the Pimento De PiQuillo Rellenos De Carne, Veal Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, which included tender pieces of veal. The Patatas Bravas, Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce, was a simple dish but excelled as eveything was cooked perfectly and the seasonings were just right. The wine pairing was a Vinos Pinol Sacra Natura that complimented the dishes well.

The 4th Course had two dishes, as if I had to mention that again. The first was phenomenal, the Carre De Cordero Con Pistachos, Lamb Chops with Pistachio Pesto. This had to be my favorite dish of the evening. The lamb was incredibly tender with a unique and flavorful seasoning. It could not have tasted any better and everyone in my group raved about it. The second dish, the Pechuga De Pato Con Prunes y Olives, Duck Breast with Prunes and Olives, was delicious too, though the lamb may have overshadowed it. On its own, the duck definitely would have been a winner.

Finally, for dessert, there was the Turron De Chocolate, Chocolate Nougat, which was a rich and decadent chocolate dessert. It was paired with Pedro Romero,"Vina el Alamo" Moscatel, a sweet wine that paired well with the luscious chocolate.

Overall, this was one of my most favorite wine dinners at Savory Tastes. The food was exceptional, the variety was exciting, the wines were great. the wines, they chose Spanish wines that were generally off the beaten path. They did not stick with the standard Riojas. This was a bold and ultimately exciting choice. And I am avidly seeking the Falset Marca! Chef Bell deserves kudos for this exceptional feast!

(Originally posted on 2/15/07)

Despite the weather, we made it to Savory Tastes last night for a Valentine's Day dinner. The restaurant filled up so the weather obviously was not a major impediment to everyone else either. Savory Tastes had their new winter menu, which had only been in place for a week. As we persued the menu, we received a glass of complimentary champagne and my wife received a rose. Much of the menu was new, with a few prior dishes retained. There were many interesting dishes on the menu.

We started off with the veal involtini as an appetizer. This is three pieces of tender veal, wrapped with prosciutto and cheese, in a veal jus with grilled peppers. Very delicious! We also had a bowl of crab and carrot soup. This was like a carrot puree filled with lots of sweet crab meat. It was spiced just right and tasted very good. For entrees, my wife had the Red Trout, a skin-on piece of tender and flavorful fish. It was quite a good-sized piece as well. It came with some asparagus and a bowl of some chipotle spiced potato chips. The chips were warm and out of this world. I could have eaten a bowl of those for my meal. The chipotle spices were very subtle so the chips were not overly spicy. I had the ribeye with lobster-mashed potatoes and asparagus. The ribeye was tender and juicy, and the potatoes were a delight.

With our meal, we had a bottle of a 2004 Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel. This was an excellent wine, full bodied with a alot of spice. It also had a nice long finish. It definitely went well with the ribeye. For dessert, we split a warm pear and almond tart. This was also very good and the almonds really added a nice flavor to the pears.

Service was excellent, as usual. No complaints. Overall, another excellent meal at Savory Tastes cafe!

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