Friday, March 24, 2017

"When Worlds Collide." At The Saltbox Café.

Welcome to the latest Saltbox Café's six-course wine dinner.
" When Worlds Collide," is the theme tonight.
The menu is the creation of Chefs Amanda and Randolph Sprinkle.
Our servers are April and Mike.
And Kerry and Joey of Tryon Wine Distributors 
were on hand to present the wines.


Tonight is a comparison dinner.
Each course will be paired with two wines -
an Old World Wine and a New World Wine.

What is Old World and New World?
The Old World wines come from the "Old Country,"
essentially traditional European vineyards -
Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Austria.
New World, in wine-growing history,
 pertains to North America, South America, South Africa, 
New Zealand, Australia.

Kerry:  Our first wine is Sauvignon Blanc.  Our Old World wine is Pascal Jolivet's Attitude Sauvignon Blanc which comes from Sancerre in the Loire Valley.  The region is famous for its soil which is very chalky and calcerous.  The minerality really comes through in this wine.  It has great acidity and zip.  Great citrus tones.

Our New World wine is from Chile by Casa Silva, a winery that has been producing for about a century, so it's an older New World wine.  This Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Colchagua Valley, not too far from the ocean.  This has an herbaceous character.  One thing you'll notice tonight is that Old World wines tend to have a bit more alcohol content,  maybe not as quite as fruit-expressive, but they can be a little more "depthful."  It will be fun to compare.

Randolph:  With this first course, we went very light - all vegetarian.  We did a roasted beet poké.  Poké is a Hawaiian dish made with tuna, chopped very fine, and seasoned usually with Asian flavors of ginger and sesame oil.  We used roasted beets on top of wasabi avocado mash.  Little dots of roasted pepper and garlic are around the outside and it's finished with rainbow micro-greens.

Kerry:  Course number two - another white wine.  This time we're looking at Chardonnays for comparison.  Your Old World, or classic, wine is by Olivier Leflaive, the producer.  This is from the town of Puligny, in Burgundy, which is the heart of where Chardonnay originated from.  This is "Les Setilles" Bourgogne Blanc which is 100% Chardonnay.  Les Setilles translates to "family garden."  This is a classic example of Chardonnay. Older French oak barrels are used so it's very subtle.  Chardonnay is a very impressionable grape varietal.  You have a nice balance of fruit and mineral.

Our New World Chardonnay is from California.  This is by Clos du Val Winery in Napa Vinery.  Clos du Val is one of the pioneers in Napa Valley.  Clos du Val Winery was at the famous 1976 Paris tasting where Napa Valley made a name for itself by winning several categories, not only in Chardonnay, but also in red wines.  This Chardonnay definitely comes across as California style-  more oak-influenced by the warmer climate, a little toastier component from the oak -  apple, pineapple - really a fun comparison to show how different a Chardonnay can be.

Randolph:  You guys are in luck.  Today we got our first tilefish, in what will be a probably short season.  It's simply prepared - seared on top of creamed spinach.  Now the creamed spinach is not "creamed spinach."  It's got mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, roasted garlic, and finished with pistachio nuts.

Kerry:  Now we're on to our first red wine.  This is a Pinot Noir comparison.  Our Old World wine is Gachot-Monot, the producer.  This comes from the Cote de Nuits-Villages appellation in northern Burgundy.  This is a winery that has vineyards in famous sites - Chambolle-Musigny and Nuits St. Georges - famous areas in northern Burgundy for Pinot Noir.  You'll notice cherry in this Pinot Noir.  It's really expressive on the nose.  Quite beautiful and elegant.

Now we go over to North America, about the same latitude, and we come to Oregon, the Willamette Valley.  Jim Maresh, a young winemaker, claimed the Arterberry family winery and retooled it and it's now Arterberry Maresh.  He's making some beautiful Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs out of the Dundee Hills area of Oregon.  This is very rich.

Randolph:  We decided to pair this with a Char Sui duck.  It's marinated with hoisin and five-spice powder for 24 hours, then roasted.  We put it over black bean noodles.  There's sweetness in the duck and saltiness in the noodles.



Kerry:  On to our second red wine of the evening.  This comparison is Malbec.  Malbec has become quite popular in France, originating in southwest France.  A perfect area to compare is the appellation of its origin, which is Cahors, a famous area just southwest of Bordeaux where the grape varietal originated.  In fact they used to refer to these wines as the "black wines of Cahors" because they were so deep, dark, and dense.  Malbec is used in Bordeaux as a blending grape and made its way through missionary work down to South America.  The producer is Clos La Coutale.  This is aged in two-year old French barrels from the finest chateaux in Bordeaux.

Our New World wine is an Argentinian wine, Finca Decero Malbec from the Mendoza region. This is a single vineyard Malbec, meaning it comes from one small vineyard.  It's very concentrated in flavor.  3500 feet elevation.  Rich and aged in French oak

Randolph:  With the Malbec, generally speaking, you're looking for a fairly heavy piece of meat to go with it.  We found a local producer - Brasstown Farms outside of Ashville- for grass-fed, completely organic, free-range, North Carolina beef. The meat is grilled and put on top of a tamarind sauce mixed with roasted garlic, and asparagus.


Kerry:  From the old world side, we have a wine from Spain.  Carignan is a grape varietal grown widely in southern France and Spain.  It's used a lot in blending, but it's really quite versatile.  Peppery and dark fruit tones come through.  This is from Priorat, by Ferrer Bobet, widely considered the best producer in Priorat.  Mr. Ferrar and Mr. Bobet are really quite eccentric in their own right.  I actually had some time to spend with Mr. Bobet.  He's a self-taught classical guitarist.  Very passionate.  He and his partner, Mr. Ferrar, opened a cafe/winebar in Madrid called  "Multiple Master Sommeliers.  This is Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, and a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon in there. Priorat is very high up, very rocky, and these are very old Carignan vines.  The nose isn't as expressive but it's an unbelievably beautiful red.

On the other side, the New World Carignan blend, we have Garcia and Schwaderer Facundo blend.  It's Carignan, but instead of the Syrah and Grenache blended in, it has more Bordeaux varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.  It has a little more acidity than the Priorat.  This may be one of the exceptions where an Old World region may be a little warmer than the New World region and I think that's why you get the acidity here.

Randolph:  With these two wines we went with a braised lamb shank.  Braised with sun-dried tomatoes and aromatic vegetables.  We pulled it apart and put it over cheese grits along with roasted brussel sprouts.

Kerry:  We're going to finish with some awesome bubbly.  Our Old World bubbly comes from the Alpine region of France, up in Savoie.  This is Lambert de Seysell, a really unique dry brut made from native grapes in the Savoie region.  Made in the traditional méthode champenoise

The New World offering for dessert is from way down under - from Tasmania.  This is a sparkling rosé - Jansz, named after a Dutch explorer.  This is a traditional style bubbly made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. 


Randolph:  Amanda made a wonderful mango creme brulee with a whipped cream made out of coconut milk.  No dairy involved.  It's served with a ginger cookie.

Now, for the behind-the-scenes!!!!:





Joey, Randolph, Amanda, Kerry.


As always, the Saltbox Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen!
Happy Kitchen = Happy Food!

And now you know.
 My secret for getting the "perfect shot."

















 For our previous wine dinners, please click on the links.
March 7, 2016.  War of the Rosés.
February 16, 2017, Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere.
February 7, 2017, Eberle Vineyards, California.
February 2, 2017.  Holy Trinity!  Taking it down to New Orleans.
January 5, 2017, we Played With Pinot. 
 December 19, 2016 we enjoyed Christmas in Paris.
December 14, 2016, we savored Holiday Reds.
  December 1, 2016, we experienced a Night In Italy.
  November 14, 2016, we enjoyed a Taste of Northern Italy.


November 3, 2016, we got to Fall In Love With Wine.
October 2016, we traveled the Loire Region in France. 
October 2016, we experienced Madrid
September 2016, we enjoyed South Africa
April 20, 2016, we explored the vineyards of Oregon.
March 29, 2016, we visited the Pacific Northwest.
March 9, 2016, we had a lovely visit to Chile.
In February 2016, we visited Italy.
Also in  February 2016, we took a road trip to California.
 In December 2015, we visited France.
 Also in December 2015, we enjoyed a Réveillon Feast.
  And again in December 2015, we visited Japan.
October 2015, we visited Germany.
  March 2015, we visited Italy.
  February 2015, we visited Chocolate. (Why yes, Chocolate is a country.)
  December 2014, we visited Paris.
 November 2014, we visited Argentina.
 October 2014, we visited Spain.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Huitres De Jour.



The Hawthornes continue their love affair with oysters.

Today's oysters on the half shell will be featuring
the following toppings:
(clockwise from top left)
minced parsley
minced fennel and celery
minced apple in lime juice with a pinch of sugar
thinly sliced scallions
2 types of cheeses:
grated Melkbus which has truffle bits in it

Melted, unsalted butter infused with star anise
Crumbled Ritz crackers 

 I purchased both cheeses at Trio Wine Beer and Cheese
in Kitty Hawk. 


First, I melted unsalted butter with star anise in it
over low, low, heat for about 5 minutes
to infuse the butter with the anise flavor.

Pour a spoonful of butter on the oysters,
then add a pinch of toppings.


Add the crumbled Ritz and cheese on top
along with another spoonful of the butter.

450° 
Broil about 6-7 minutes, until lightly browned.

















I left the peel on the apple for that red pop.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2017

War Of The Rosés At The Saltbox Café

 
Welcome to the Saltbox Café's wine/dinner series.
 March 7, 2017, it's War of the Rosés.

Menu is the creation of Chefs Amanda and Randolph Sprinkle.
Our servers tonight are Lindsey and Mike.
Jen and Steve of Empire Wine Distributing presented our wines.


And it's Chef Randolph's birthday.
 
Happy Birthday, Randolph!

Course One
Poached egg with brown butter hollandaise and a touch of truffle.
Paired with Cloud Chaser, France.







Course Two
Thai shrimp cake with pickled ginger vinaigrette.
Paired with Sokol Blosser Estate Cuvée, Oregon.





Lindsey, Mike, and Mason.

Chefs Amanda and Randolph.
Aren't they pretty?!





Course Three
Open faced Baha pork taco with roasted tomatillo sauce
and jicama slaw.
Paired with Sidebar, California.






Course Four
Seared salmon with crispy capers
 and smoked salmon cream sauce.
Paired with Alta Vista, Argentina.




 

Course Five
Confit of chicken over gnocchi and brussel sprouts.
Paired with Tentuta Guada Al Tasso, Italy.



 




 
Course Six
Pepper smoked pound cake
 with fresh strawberry jam and Chantilly cream.
Paired with De Casta Torres, Spain.


Behind the scenes:

Sometimes Amanda and Randolph 
spontaneously break into song while they're cooking.


 





Steve and Jen of Empire Wine.




  
Chefs Randolph and Amanda.
Jen and Steve of Empire Wine.

Tonight's Saltbox Crew:
Mason, Mike, Chefs Sprinkles, Jen and Steve of Empire Wine.








My favorite picture of the evening.
The Lovely Lindsey.














 
Happy chefs make happy food!

For our previous wine dinners, please click on the links.

February 16, 2017, Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere.
February 7, 2017, Eberle Vineyards, California.
February 2, 2017.  Holy Trinity!  Taking it down to New Orleans.
January 5, 2017, we Played With Pinot. 
 December 19, 2016 we enjoyed Christmas in Paris.
December 14, 2016, we savored Holiday Reds.
  December 1, 2016, we experienced a Night In Italy.
  November 14, 2016, we enjoyed a Taste of Northern Italy.

November 3, 2016, we got to Fall In Love With Wine.
October 2016, we traveled the Loire Region in France. 
October 2016, we experienced Madrid
September 2016, we enjoyed South Africa
April 20, 2016, we explored the vineyards of Oregon.
March 29, 2016, we visited the Pacific Northwest.
March 9, 2016, we had a lovely visit to Chile.
In February 2016, we visited Italy.
Also in  February 2016, we took a road trip to California.
 In December 2015, we visited France.
 Also in December 2015, we enjoyed a Réveillon Feast.
  And again in December 2015, we visited Japan.
October 2015, we visited Germany.
  March 2015, we visited Italy.
  February 2015, we visited Chocolate. (Why yes, Chocolate is a country.)
  December 2014, we visited Paris.
 November 2014, we visited Argentina.
 October 2014, we visited Spain.