Wine

Côtes du Coeur: 2010 International Fine Wine Auction & Celebrity Chef Dinner – Dallas

The 19th Annual Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner – benefiting the American Heart Association – was the third of the group’s events that I attended in a day and a half. 18 Dallas chefs and eight of the world’s only 170 Master Sommeliers came together to create an impressive event with some killer food and drink.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner01 

^ A selection of lots for the International Wine Auction.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner02 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner03 

^ Some of my favorites: Harlan Estate Red; ^ Montrachet Grand Cru.   

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner04 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner39 

^ Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lamb Gyro, Sliced Thin on Warm Flat Bread, Served with an Isreali and Bulgur Feta Salad & Tzatzki Sauce. Paired with 2006 Hill Family Estate Stewart Ranch Pinot Noir & 2006 O’Brien Estate Seduction.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner05 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner40 

^ Gerald Thompson, Rough Creek Lodge and Resort: Bourbon-Molasses Glazed “High Plains Bison” with Bosque County Cheese and Gulf Shrimp Grits. Paired with 2005 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon & 2008 Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner06 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner41 

^ Jeffrey Hobbs, Suze: Rise e Bisi: Toro Tuna with Risotto Style Bamboo Rice with Edemame and Tassione Farms Sungold Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Lungarotti Fiamme Rosso dell’Umbria IGT & 2007 Adi Napa Valley Rose of Syrah.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner07 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner42 

^ Anthony Bombaci, Nana Restaurant: Grilled Moroccan Flank Steak with Panzanella Salad. Paired with 2006 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Terra Valentine Amore.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner09 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner12 

^ Bruno Davaillon, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek: Braised Veal Cheeks with Organic White Grits Gratin and Anchovy Condiment. Paired with 2007 J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Torii Mor Chehalem Mountains Select Pinot Noir.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner13 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner14 

^ Marcus Strietzel, The Adolphus Hotel: Bacon and Wasabi Shrimp, Ginger Infused Risotto with Shitake Mushrooms and Black Vinegar Sauce. Paired with 2005 Domaine Paul Blanck Schlossburg Riesling & 2009 Dr. Loosen Riesling. “Dr.”

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner15 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner16 

^ Chef J Chastain (in for Scott Gottlich), Bijoux & The Second Floor: Slow Braised Shortrib Sandwiches with Profiteroles, Roasted Tomatoes and Watercress. Paired with Cain Cuvée NV6 & 2007 Tuck Beckstoffer 75 Wine Company “The Sum.”

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner18 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner17 

^ Chris Svalesen, Central Market: Official Cheese Sponsor with Graham’s Six Grapes Port.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner19 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner20 

^ Adam Rzeczkowski, Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton: Barbequed Texas Bob White Quail on ‘Iceberg Wedge’ with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dressing, Apple Smoked Bacon & Vine-Ripened Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Justin ISOSCELES & 2006 Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner21 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner22 

^ Jay Valley, eatZi’s: Creamy Lobster Polenta with Parmesan Tails & Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce. Paired with 2008 Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ‘La Pommeraie’, Sonoma, California & 2008 Morlet Family Vineyards La Proportion Dorée.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner24 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner23 

 ^ James Johnson, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse: Seared Dry Aged Strip Loin with Mousseline Potatoes in a Red Wine Sauce. Paired with 2007 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Robert Mondavi Winery, Pinot Noir Reserve.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner25 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner26 

^ From Charlie Palmer at the Joule: some of Chef Richard Blankenship’s wonderful charcuterie.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner27 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner28 

^ Blankenship (in for Palmer Exec. Chef Scott Romano) serves Roasted Garlic Pheasant Sausage with Salumi Braised White Beans with Red Wine Reduction. Paired with 2005 Alexander Valley CYRUS & California 2006 Coup de Foudre Napa Cuvee.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner29 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner30 

^ Jim Severson, Sevy’s: Seared Jumbo Scallop on a Bed of Creamed Corn with Lemon-Thyme Butter & Crispy Fennel. Paired with 2006 Coquerel Wines Terroir Coquerel & 2008 Morgan Metallico Chardonnay.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner31 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner32 

^ Kerry Simon, Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place: Sheepsmilk Ricotta Gnudi with Lamb Sausage and Locano Kale Ragu & Morel Butter. Paired with 2005 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon & 2006 Revana Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner33 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner34 

^ Event Lead Chef, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill offers: Garlic Roast Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Cauliflower Mashers and Organic Watercress.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner35 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner36 

^ Chamberlain’s dish paired with 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Winner Alfred Tesseron’s terrific 2000 Château Pontet-Canet. And 2006 Stewart Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner37 Cotes-du-Coeur-2010_Chef-Dinner38 

^ Kent Rathbun, Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen: Orange Glazed Duck, Kumquat Sweet and Sour Chinese Black Fried Rice. Paired with 2006 Panther Creek Cellars 20th Anniversary Pinot Noir & 2008 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. 

The event was quite excellent. Côtes du Coeur continues to do great work, having raised nearly $12 million for the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular research and heart-healthy education since being founded by Bob Hillert, M.D. in 1992. I look forward to their future events.

Côtes du Coeur: Château Pontet-Canet Luncheon at Dali Wine Bar Honoring Alfred Tesseron – Dallas

This was my first year attending any of the American Heart Association’s annual Côtes du Coeur fundraising events – and I did it up in a big way. Here is the first of three posts featuring events that took place in a 36 hour period. These people are serious!

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron-2

First up was a luncheon at Dali Wine Bar and Cellar honoring the 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Recipient Alfred Tesseron, co-owner of Château Pontet-Canet. His is one of the 61 wineries in the Bordeaux Wine Offical Classification of 1855, and the first to go somewhatbiodynamic.” He is also very cool.



 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron20  Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron13 

The exclusive attendees of the lunch dug into their private cellars and donated enough bottles of Pontet-Canet to allow for a vertical tasting of the 1995 and 1996 as well as the 2000 through 2006 vintages. What a treat.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron03 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron08

Dali’s talented chef, Joel Harloff, obliges with some truly wonderful pairings.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron-31 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron04

The 2005 decants as we enjoy passed Hors d’œuvre. ^ Veal Sweetbread and Wild Mushroom Tart w/ Veal Demi-Glace.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron01 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron07

^ Roasted Laughing Bird Shrimp (Belize) Skewers. Lunch guest and wine nut Tom Wesner is a patron of the Blanck Pinot Gris and brought along enough for all to enjoy.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron16 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron12

^ As the Bordeaux flows we start with Blueberry & Shiraz Braised Veal Cheeks with Caramelized Shallot Potato Croquette, Oregon Mushroom Ragout and Red Wine Gastrique Veal Sauce.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron17 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron14

^ Pan seared Duo of Duck Breast and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Wheat Berries, Petite Zucchini Saute and Fresh Thyme Duck Reduction.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron19 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron18

^ Grilled Center Cut Prime NY Strip with Roasted Velvet Piopinni Mushrooms, Humbolt Fog Whipped Potatoes and Red Wine Demi-Glace.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron21 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron22 

^ For afters – Marinated Fresh Berry Tart with Chocolate Mousse, Port Berry Sauce and Marble Chocolate Garnish. And a little Sauternes for good measure.

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron-52 Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron23

 

^ Tesseron loses the jacket and regales us with tales of buying the vineyard’s three new work horses over the internet. ^ Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell and chef Joel Harloff.

Hanging out afterwards, Alfred turned me on to a cool new iPhone app that I wasn’t aware of. Just what you’d expect from a third-generation Bordeaux winemaker.

Below: Joel’s crew. Undeterred by the often packed house, these guys bang out the goods from this tiny kitchen day in and day out. Great job!

Cotes-du-Coeur-Dali-Tesseron-41 

This is the kind of food Joel is making daily at Dali – get over there and check it out! And as far as the wine goes – Paul always has some stash of amazing White Burgundy – and they will open any bottle in the house if you buy two glasses. Nice! (well, almost any bottle…)

Dali Wine Bar & Cellar on Urbanspoon

Wine Chats @ The Mansion resume tonight.

Mobile post here:
Michael Flynn comments via Facebok that the “wine chat must go on!”
Here is a pic of the Mansion as the snow falls. It’s pretty magical!
I will try to be there! Thursdays at 6:15.

Wine Chats @ The Mansion resume tonight.

Chef Bruno Davaillon offers Weekly Tasting Menus @ The Mansion, Dallas

We stopped by the Mansion bar for a quick glass of wine the other night, to take the edge off a dodgy week.

Bruno_Mansion_Dallas_1 Bruno_Mansion_Dallas_2 

^ The Amber Bell: Bell Pepper Vodka, muddled Basil; ^ a snort of the Mansion Egg Nog – frickin' deelish.

 …hmmm, "Can we see the dinner menu… ya know…" Damn, Chef Bruno Davaillon has quietly introduced a Weekly Tasting to the dining room dinner menu:  

Bruno_Mansion_Dallas2
…we caved. It was very good, and Michael Flynn's wine pairings elegantly enhanced the experience, as usual. I took the night off – no pics.

I'm all about it… visions of Mix dance in my head… Stay tuned for future special menus from Bruno.

In the Kitchen: Chef Bruno Davaillon at The Mansion

Here we go:

Mansion_Bruno_A_02 

Bruno has arrived. We dined with some media types on Tuesday night, then returned with friends on Thursday. Between the two visits, we’ve sampled nearly the entire new menu – check it out below.

Mansion_Bruno_A_07 Mansion_Bruno_A_08 

But first, I want to give a big shout-out to my buddy Eric Brandt who, while retaining his title as Executive Sous Chef, has led the kitchen at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek with grace and skill for the past nine months. He is a class act.

Mansion_Bruno_A_18 

^Exec. Sous Chef Eric Brandt and ^Chef d’Cuisine Jason Maddy remain in the kitchen under Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon.

Mansion_Bruno_B_10 Mansion_Bruno_B_11 

Let’s start off with a bang! (No, that’s not for us…) But Bruno asks “How many at your table?” – and whips up 5 of these:

Mansion_Bruno_C_1 

^ Amuse Bouche: Hamachi with Green Apple Mustard, Daikon, Cucumber, Apple, Jalapeño Milk. It’s killer. “That’s going on the menu,” he says.

Mansion_Bruno_B_30 Mansion_Bruno_B_17 

^ Shrimp Cocktail – Horseradish Panna Cotta, Spicy Tomato Syrup; ^ Maine Lobster Salad – Tomato Confit, Caviar Cream.

Mansion_Bruno_B_23 Mansion_Bruno_B_21 

^ Components of the King Crab and Butternut Squash Soup (poured at table); and the accompanying King Crab Spring Rolls.

Mansion_BrunoA-13

Mansion_Bruno_B_13 Mansion_Bruno_B_03 

^ Potato Gnocchi – Artichoke Barigoule, Pancetta, Basil; ^ Wild Mushroom Risotto – Duck Confit, Aged Parmesan.

Mansion_Bruno_B_20

Mansion_Bruno_B_22

^ Eric Brandt’s Tartare of Spicy Ahi Tuna and Hamachi with Yuzu Vinaigrette and Jalapeño; ^ and his Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Roasted Texas Red Pear, Cornbread and Coriander Honey.

Mansion_Bruno_B_08 Mansion_Bruno_B_05 

^ Day Boat Scallops – Cauliflower Composition, Ice Wine Vinegar Emulsion; ^ Coriander and Chive Crusted Monkfish with Lobster Minestrone.

Mansion_Bruno_B_01 Mansion_Bruno_D_1

^ Eric’s Pan Seared Wild King Salmon – Horseradish Apples, Celery Root and Parsley; ^ and new, Chorizo Crusted Atlantic Halibut – Stuffed Piquillo Pepper and White Bean Puree.

Mansion_Bruno_A_10 

Mansion_Bruno_A_15 Mansion_Bruno_A_20 

Mansion_Bruno_B_06 Mansion_Bruno_B_09 

^ Duo of Prime Beef Ribeye and Brisket Short Rib – Potato Fondant and Gorgonzola Cream.

Mansion_Bruno_B_04 Mansion_Bruno_B_24 

^ Bison Tenderloin “au Poivre” – Autumn Vegetable Fricassee; ^ Roasted Veal Loin – Crispy Sweetbreads, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Fig Chutney.

Mansion_Bruno_B_36 Mansion_Bruno_A_12 

^ As I document the goings-on, Mansion Wine & Beverage Director and Sommelier Michael Flynn drops by with a spot of wine. Meanwhile my table-mates consume most of my delicious Lobster and Cavatelli Pasta – Pancetta, Peas and Mint (hence no photo).

Mansion_Bruno_B_26 Mansion_Bruno_B_25 

^ Bruno prepping the “Special”…

Mansion_Bruno_B_29 Mansion_Bruno_B_31 

^ Sous Vide of Pheasant Breast – “Sausage” of Pheasant Leg, Foie Gras and Pancetta, rolled in Pistachios. With sautéed Green Cabbage, White Grapes and Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Roasted Quince and Seckel Pear.

Mansion_Bruno_A_01 

Mansion_Bruno_B_33 Mansion_Bruno_D_2 

Bruno’s additions to the Dessert Menu: ^ Mansion “Candy Bar” with Lemon Thai Basil Sorbet; ^ Maple & Macadamia Nut Napoleon with poached Seckel Pear.

Mansion_Bruno_B_37 Mansion_Bruno_E_1 

^ Apple Seven Ways – I had this twice. That’s, like, 14 apples. (‘Apple Composition’: Apple Clafoutis, Poached Apple, Apple Sorbet, Compote of Granny Smith’s, Green Apple Foam, Crisp Apple Wheel, there’s another one in there, too…)

Mansion_Bruno_A_04 

^ Lingering after service.

So…? Well, it’s no secret that I am a fan of this place… and I am very excited about the food I enjoyed on these visits – as were my dining companions, as are the staff. Bruno – the man, and his food seem a perfect fit for this elegant and evolving institution. I hope to see you here. On this particular evening, I joined some friends at The Mansion’s Wine Chat, hosted by Michael Flynn each Thursday at 6:15:

Mansion_Wine_Chat_A_2 

It’s fun, educational, only $25 and you never know what Michael is going to break out – typically four or five wines are offered, on a theme. I famously missed the wines of Burgundy one week, and have yet to hear the end of it! Read more about Wine Chat here.

Mansion on Turtle Creek on Urbanspoon

In the Kitchen: 10th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner

It’s nice when in the course of helping a friend in need, you get to run around the kitchen at Stephan Pyles.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_P_2 

I’ve been damn-near fooded out this past 10 days (and just wait for this week) and was not planning to attend Pyles’ 10th Celebrity Chef Dinner benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. But one call from a sick friend later – I was wandering over from The Winspear to check out the festivities.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_20 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_01 

^Stars and Bubbles: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine. I like this stuff just fine.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_P_4 

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_21 Thomas “Coner” Seargeant1 

^ The chefs: Exec. Chef Matt McCallister – Stephan Pyles; Stephan Pyles; Coner Seargeant; Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach; Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu – Samar by Stephan Pyles; Exec. Chef Tracy Miller – Local; and Exec. Chef Jason Dady – Chef/Owner The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, San Antonio (et alii). Pic at right: Ninth Annual Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Cook-off winner, Thomas “Coner” Seargeant of the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. (Photo: Aimee Olson)

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_041 

^ Vijay Sadhu’s South Indian Crab Soup with Garam Masala, Coconut Curry and Mustard Seeds – paired with Montinore Estate, “Borealis” White Blend, Willamette Valley 2008.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_22 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_05 

^ Local’s Tracy Miller prepares Pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Scratch Texas Toast with Vanilla Bean steeped Eden Creek Gala Apple, Currant Sauternes Compote. Paired with Planeta, “Cometa,” Fiano, Sicily 2006.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_10 

^ (L) Jason Dady, (C) Stephan Pyles Exec. Sous Chef Bradford Hodgkins (R) Managing Director George Majdalani.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_07 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_08 

^ Jason Dady and his Sous Vide of Main Lobster Tail with Deconstructed “Chowder.” Paired with Mer Soleil, “Silver,” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands 2007.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_11 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_12 

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_13 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_16 

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_17 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_18 

^ Preparing Pyles’ & Matt McCallister’s Juniper-Scented Venison with Vanilla Compressed Honeycrisp Apples, Celeriac Tart Tatin, Cranberry “Air,” Cranberry Fruit Roll-Up. Paired with Justin, “Savant,” Cabernet Blend, Paso Robles 2006.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_09 Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_19 

^ More action; and the Flourless Chocolate “Intense” Torte with Citron Joconde, featuring Valrhona Taïnori Pure Origin Grand Cru Dark Chocolate (Dominican Republic) by Executive Chef/Chocolatier/Owner Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach. aired with Jam Jar, Shiraz, Western Cape 2009.

Stephan_Plyles_Dallas_P_5 

I love this room, particularly in the fall and winter. This was a great way to miss a Cowboys game. I thought the chefs and wine guys rocked this one out… and I’ll be back to sample more of Matt’s food.

First Look: Tesar’s, The Woodlands

Well, look who I found…

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar16

Heh… you guys must have been waiting for this one. Well here ya go. Some sexy pics of a sexy space and some sexy food. Those familiar with Tesar's passion for food, and seafood in particular, will find it as no surprise that there are exceptional plates coming out of this kitchen. Tesar's is literally surrounded by restaurants vying for diners, but it has little competition at it's level of the game, in my opinion. Haters – hate away… others, enjoy if in the area, or take a quick trip down there… I mean, it's not Houston. I can make it in 2 1/2 hrs (including speeding ticket!) *TheBrad does not condone exceeding the posted speed limit.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar24

^ Tesar's Modern Steak and Seafood in The Woodlands. John is doing his seductive take on seafood, and introducing both grass and grain fed, aged beef preparations – including "tastings" of beef. Read more about the restaurant's philosophy and menu here.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar18

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar23

I hung out one evening, during the soft launch… and enjoyed myself.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar_1

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar_2

^ The top tier of the incredibly fresh Shellfish Platter.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar_3

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar07

^ Seafood Salad Ceviche; Tesar's Chopped Salad.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar10

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar13

^ On fire and plate: Nebraska Kobe Boneless Shortrib, Potato Puree, Sauce Italian.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar08

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar14

^ Alaska Halibut, Melted Leeks, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Red Wine Reduction; Tesar's Foie Gras speared with Vanilla Bean.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar21

^ Afternoon light in the main dining room.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar12

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar11

If I hang out in the kitchen long enough, the crew bribes me to get out of the way – this time with a ridiculously Truffled Mac & Cheese. It worked…

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar17

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar15

…back in the bar: Here you can order from Tesar's Burger Bar Menu featuring half a dozen tantalizing options (check out "The Tail End": Sirloin mixed with braised Pig's Tail, Green Tomato Chutney, Jalapeño Mayonnaise, braised Collard Greens.) There's also an All Kobe Hot Dog.

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar25

Tesars_Woodlands_Ketchup1

^ Seen these fries before? Yep, but not with this accompaniment. That's right – Tesar condiments. And they are very good. The Wasabi Mustard on the Kobe Dog is rockin'. 

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar04

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar05

^ Desserts; and Tracy's Cupcakes!

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar01

^ I like this shot – it was a few weeks before the opening…

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar22

Tesars_Woodlands_John_Tesar20

…and it all came together quite nicely.

Tom Colicchio and David Ramey Pack the Crack House, Craft Dallas.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 08

Whatever… so Craft is in Victory Park, so Colicchio has ventures from coast-to-coast, so he's the co-host of a (pretty fun) reality show… the place is still quite good. My friends and I refer to it as "Crack," as in "they sprinkle crack on each dish as it is whisked from the kitchen to your table." Colicchio's philosophy of attempting to extract the essence of each ingredient seems to be generally adhered to at Craft Dallas. A favorite dish of mine is actually served at brunch on occasion: Hash of Shishito Peppers and Duck Confit – crack.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 09 Craft:Ramey Selects - 04

As it was my friend Michelle's birthday, her husband Jeff got a group of us together for a recent wine dinner featuring Colicchio and winemaker David Ramey in attendance. Tom joked to the packed house that it was great to actually see the restaurant full. I have to agree, it's a truly handsome room – one of my favorites in town – but it's usually a tad less booked than on this particular evening. We enjoyed the energy of the full room.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 01 Craft:Ramey Selects - 03 

^ Canapés w/ 2006 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 06 Craft:Ramey Selects - 05

^ Tai Snapper, Shellfish Ragout & Black Garlic w/ 2005 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 07 Craft:Ramey Selects - 10 

^ Pancetta-Wrapped Monkfish, Porcini & Spring Onions w/ 2005 Claret; Roasted & Braised Guinea Hen, Fava Bean Raviolini w/ 2005 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 12

Craft:Ramey Selects - 21 

^ Elysian Fields Lamb, Crispy Belly & Morels w/ 2005 Rodgers Creek Vineyard Syrah; Chocolate-Hazelnut Turnover, Brandied Cherries & Vanilla-Mint Ice Cream… and we drank ALLOT more wine.

Craft:Ramey Selects - 22 Craft:Ramey - 10 

^ Crack Packs.

I have eaten here a number of times and Jeff & Michelle are actually regulars. We are accustomed to excellent service and delicious food – during this event we got that, with a few caveats. There were some issues getting the food out in a timely fashion, and in general the dishes later in the meal seemed more on par with previous visits. Our group had a great time, our server knew our party and kept the excellent wine flowing, Michelle got to meet Tom, and Jeff and I enjoyed chatting with the very personable David Ramey (who does a rather nice job making wine).

Craft:Ramey Selects - 20 

^ There's Tom after service (far right).

Colicchio says he plans to do more of these dinners, and why not? He's a restaurateur who's presence can pack the house. I think they learned a few things this time around. Based on the winemaker's they pair with in future, I'll likely attend again. Meanwhile, I encourage jaded food lovers to dine here once in a while, and look for that Crack Hash at brunch. I certainly have no problem with celebrity chefs when their restaurants serve quality food. Now I'll pack this post, and go.

Craft on Urbanspoon

Dali exhibit at the Beard House – a preview:

Dali Beard House Preview - 020

Dali Wine Bar & Cellar Chef Joel Harloff and proprietor Paul Pinnell have been invited to prepare dinner at the James Beard House on June 8th. The menu will be matched with wines from Hall Napa Valley. Talking with Joel, who has previously cooked at the Beard House while chef at the Melrose, I was surprised to hear of the logistical challenges involved with pulling off a dinner at the House. It’s far more dramatic than I had imagined – for instance, the team only has access to the kitchen from 8am on the day of the event, causing visiting chefs to beg borrow and steal square footage from chef pals with nearby New York kitchens. Joel will be bringing a number of chef colleagues from around the country to help him prepare the meal for 75 Beard Foundation members, food journalists, friends and family. This past Sunday I attended a preview dinner at Dali, featuring most components of the meal that will be prepared on June 8th.

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3638

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3639 

^ Chef Joel Harloff and his “three guys” work wonders from the small, open kitchen at Dali.

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3641 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3642

^ Roasted Octopus with Capers, Smoked Paprika and Endive; Triple Cream Brie Meltaways (w/ Hall Napa Valley Savignon Blanc 2008).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3644 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3646 

^Citrus Marinated Crab Crostini; the menu.

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3643 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3640 

^ Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell welcomes the guests; the wines of Hall Vineyards, Napa (with excellent stand-in’s for the the unavailable Hall Darwin Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, and the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2005).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3647 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3649

^ Brazos Valley Texas Brie and Wild Mushroom Soup with Duck Confit and Fresh Thyme Crostini (Hall Napa Merlot 2005); Grilled Texas Quail with Fresh Herb Polenta and a Pomegranate-Syrah Reduction (Dierberg Syrah 2005).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3650 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3651

^ Porcini Braised Beef Short Ribs with Yukon Gold-Parsnip Puree, Petite Spinach, and a Cabernet Demi Glace (Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2005).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3652 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3653

^ Seared and Smoked Veal Tenderloin with Asiago Mashers, Roasted Garlic Washington State Mushrooms and a Fresh Blueberry Veal Sauce (La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon 2003).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3654 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3655 

^ Brazos Valley Texas Blue Cheese with Blackberry Sauce and Lavosh (Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005).

Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3657 Dali Pre Beard Dinner Selects - 3656 

^ Spiced Pecan-Apple Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise and Dried Apricot Compote (Château Cantegril Sauternes 2005).

Afterword, Chef Harloff chatted with guests and discussed refinements and adjustments he’d like to make for the event in NYC.  View the planned menu here.

Dali Wine Bar & Cellar on Urbanspoon

Friends with Benefits? …Scavenging Wine with a Somm Buddy

I could stand the temptation no longer, and headed down to the 40% off sale at the closing Sigel's location at Inwood and Lemmon. But I had a fiendish plan – drag Scott Barber along to guide me through the leavings. Actually he twisted my arm – he wanted to go play. His theory was to fill up the cart – then we'd cull through that. My instinct was to grab all the white burgundy in sight (and there were still some amazing selections,) but I let Scott find me some excellent bottles without breaking my dwindling bank. Here's what we came up with:

WinePano_1200

Some highlights: Vieux Château Certan – Pomerol – Bordeaux 1996; Produttori del Barbaresco - Barbaresco Riserva Paje 2001; Merriman Estate Pinot Noir '06, 2000 Jayer-Gilles Cotes de Nuits Villages; 2005 Domaine Bertrand Ambroise – Ladoix Les Gréchons Bourgogne Blanc; 2000 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc (Pessac-Léognan); Soter Brut Rose 2003; and a whole mess of other White Bordeaux, White Burgundy, and Sauvignon Blanc. It was a steal. To thank my partner in crime – we headed off to the Ginger Man for some Dogfish Head on tap. Excellent!

DFH TGM