Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Hawthornes Experience A Five-Course Wine-Paired Dinner At The Saltbox Café.

The other afternoon, the Mr. Hawthorne and I stopped in at The Saltbox Café on Colington Road for lunch.  I had a wonderful hamburger, cooked perfectly medium rare, and fries, extra crisp as asked, which I ate of off for two more meals.  Mr. H. had the exceptionally lightly fried flounder, which he loves. 

We found out that they had a THING going on Sunday afternoon - a five-course meal with wine pairings for $40.   ROSIE is ON this.  I made three rezzies and asked Middle Hawthorne to be our Designated Driver.  I was the Designated Drinker.  Tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Chris Martin, the district manager of the coastal division of Tryon Distributing, was there to introduce each wine, all of which were from Spain.

 Mr. Hawthorne's shirt matches the chairs. Yay!

We arrived to a packed house at the appointed hour, 5:30, and were served our first wine for the walk-in welcoming, a 2009 Marques de Gelida Brut Cava.  This met Rosie's approval.

Whenever I go to a restaurant, Taste of the Beach, or whatever event, I carry a small notebook.  Tonight was no exception.  I make notes.  I'm sitting in low light and I can't see what I'm writing.  Yes, yet another effect of my advanced years.

At each presentation of wine throughout the courses, Mr. Martin gave us a little information.  I'm looking at my scribbled notes and I read, "Moor influence in Spain - cinnamon, spices, cumin, cardamon."  Then, I read, "Cava - made in traditional method. 2nd fermentation in bottle for 2 1/2 years!  Right up there with what they do with champagne."

I really should use my little recorder.  But the instructions are not user-friendly. 

Anyhoos, back to the Cava.  It was a lovely bubbly and I can't describe wines.  Actually, most wine descriptions I read sound like something on a resumé, but I digest.

The appetizers consisted of stuffed blue cheese olives, marinated kalamata olives, smoked tilefish on crostini, and pickled eggplant.  I must recreate that eggplant.  So very good!

Amanda and Randolph, here's a small issue you need to look into.
We had two tables pushed together and covered with cloth.
I went to move a wine glass and almost knocked the glass over because I set it on the continental divide of the two tables and the tables were different heights. 

Everyone seems to be having a wonderful time.
It's loud and there's a lot of laughter.

Chef Randolph Sprinkle came out to do the rounds.
I loved his pants.  From
Note to self:  "Self, get some chef pants!"

Our first course - Paella, consisting of a peppery fresh heads- and tails-on (for the best flavor) Wanchese shrimp, saffron rice, and Andalusian sausage.  Loved the paella.  The shrimp was just a tad overcooked.  At least mine was.  Still good!

This was served with a 2013 Valdecuevas Verdejo.  Mr. Martin might have described this wine, according to my notes, which are getting suspect, as "acidic, herbal, floral." 

Our second course and I am in heaven.
It's panko fried oysters, with a roasted garlic, lemon zest aioli/remoulade.
Chefs Sprinkle & Sprinkle, please let me know when you start putting fried oysters on your lunch menu.
We will be there!

This was served with a 2012 La Cana Alberino, which I really don't remember since I was honing in on the oysters.  You know how I love my oysters!

Here's our third course - smoked duck breast over a white bean purée with asparagus tips and a balsamic reduction.  My notes said, "smoked pastrami" might have been in this.  Should I believe my notes?

The wine was a 2012 Borasao Tres Picos Garnacha,
My notes go downhill.
I have ...something illegible... and then,  "Produces fresher flavors - black tea, animal note, blackberry."

Animal note????  What is "animal note?" 

Fun, relaxed ambiance.
Gotta get me some chef pants!

Our fourth course - from my notes - "ground lamb empanada with apricots, dried figs, cinnamon, finished with a lamb stock reduction."

The wine was a 2013 Telmo Rodriguez Almevedre Monostrell.
My notes have dissolved into a hot mess.
I can't decipher all the words.

Guess what happened right before the dessert course?!
Youngest Hawthorne arrived back in town.
He couldn't get into the house and showed up at Saltbox Café for the key.
He got the last course.

Our fifth course, and dessert, was Cinnamon Sugar Churros with Chili Chocolate Fondue.
In my notes, I had "Slightly sweet.  10%.  unidentifiable jibberish.  Vehicle for spiced chocolate ganache."

The wine was a 2013 Jorge Ordonez Special Selection Malaga.
My notes are disintegrating. 

Chefs Sprinkle and Wolf/Sprinkle have created a wonderful restaurant on Colington Road and the Hawthornes enjoyed our 5-course meal.  Perhaps I might have enjoyed the wine too much.

Please, Chefs, let us know when your next Wine and Dine will be!


Marilyn said...

Love your description of the dinner! I've had dinners like that. Wine might have been involved as well.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I was there to enjoy, Mar, and I certainly did!