A Brit, a Yank and a Kitchen

Sunday, May 7

Wine dinner at Cafe Margaux

Friday evening Dave and I went to a wine and menu tasting at a little place in old Cocoa Village called "Cafe Margeux" for one of their monthly wine tasting dinners. I'd never done anything like it before so I was totally stoked about the whole thing.

The entire time I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera... every course that was set in front of me, I'd groan under my breath... "Ugggghhh... why didnt I bring my camera??" So I'll do my best to describe all the yumminess in words... tho I know nothing compares to a picture!

The menu was as follows:

Crab & Corn Chowder with Fried Leeks paired with 2005 Ruffino Orvieto Classico
Now, I'm not sure if it was just because I was starving at this point... or that I love crab, almost as much as I love corn... but as humble a course as this was, it was by far my favorite!! The chowder was a rosey color, with big chunks of potato and crab... garnished with the green bits of leek, fried up like you would get those shoe string onions... very yummy. I've made it my self appointed mission to recreate this chowder. The description the restaurant gives the wine is as follows, it would be better than mine, since I'm pretty sure my pallete for wine isnt quite up to snuff yet... but I am getting better! "Crisp light lemon & pear flavors with a hint of minerality. A well balanced finish." .. I am no big fan of white wines, but I did actually enjoy this one... better than all the other whites we had that night.

Fennel & Watercress with Ratatouille
Tat Soy & Frisée with Pine Nuts
Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette paired with
2004 Ruffino "Lumina" Pinot Grigio

I agreed with Dave on this one... "wasn't too fussed with this one".. the frisee was pretty bitter... tho they said the Pinot Grigio took the bite away... I was still pretty hungry at this point and couldnt bring myself to take a sip of wine between each bite... hehehe... such an ameteur I know! But there were pine nuts... so it scored points for that! The whole thing was pretty much just jumbled together as salads do, on top of the Tat Soy which was sort of fanned out underneath. The restaurants description of the wine... "Light bodied straw gold in color with apple, pineapple, mango
& lemon zest flavors."

Soft Shell Crab with Spicy Cognac Sauce
Scallion Risotto paired with 2003 Ruffino "La Solatia" Chadonnay

Presentation on this one was okay... little scooped mound of Risotto with the crab set sort of askew against it. This one was really fantastic til we got to the body of the crab... the shell was pretty much inedible... sort of like trying to eat shrimp shells.... the legs and claws were perfect though, too bad. Also found the sauce to be more sweet than spicey.... The chardonnay was also WAY sweet for my taste... its too bad.. this was the course I was most looking forward to!

Sliced Pheasant with Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey
Sweet Potato & Chipollini Pancakes paired with
2000 Ruffino "Modus"

This course lifted my spirits after the two previous didnt quite do it for us! The pheasant was wonderfully tender, and the honey sauce was an interesting change... complimented the pancakes well I thought, the whole thing went together really well and all the flavors seemed new to me. Little orange potato cakes, surrounded by the red honey sauce.. with slices of pheasant fanned out along one side. Red wine also came into the picture at this point so that made things even better!

Veal Rib Chop Scented with Sage
Wild Mushroom Beggars Purse
Pinot Noir Reduction paired with 2001 Ruffino Chianti Classico "Riserva Gold"

As much as I hate to say it, this course was such a let down!! 2 veal chops, leaning against a really cute little wonton-like purse tied shut with a chive... presentation on this one was splendid. The flavors were nice, but the textures were off... the mushrooms for one, tasted like they were reconsituted dried mushrooms that hadnt quite been soaked long enough.. and the veal, undercooked even for my taste, and I like rare... this was jiggly... if you catch my drift! BUT... the wine saved the day for me in this one.. I am a sucker for Chianti, and this was a nice one... I was thrilled to find it being sold at an Italian specialty shop nearby this morning! Yay!

And last but definitely not least..
Bittersweet Chocolate Tarte
Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake paired with 2004 Robert Mondavi Moscato d’Oro

ooohhhhh...... this one was just sinful... a massive wedge of bittersweet sponge layered with chocolate mousse... so decadent Dave and I couldnt finish them... sadly the remaining halves still sit in the fridge! I'd never had Moscato before, it was very sweet, but I'm starting to think these people knew what they were doing, because the bitterness of the chocolate in the cake really worked with the super sweet wine. haha!

They did give us an after dinner liquor...Alexander "Platinum" Grappa
If you've never had Grappa before... I highly DONT suggest it... the only description that comes to mind is... hmmm... PAINT THINNER! Basically the stuff is made of all the junk wineries can't use in wine... the skin, leaves, seeds, and stems of grapes... tastes just as lovely as it sounds.. yes! I couldnt help but giggle listening to the other diners around us commenting on it... "This stuff is like lighter fluid.."... and "Don't knock over the candle.." were all I could hear within earshot. hehehe.

But even though every course didnt meet my probably too high expectations, I enjoyed the whole thing enough to want to do it again next month! =)


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