saltwater sommelier

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Wine Spectators Grand Tour…

In Albe's Blog, Sommelier Corner on May 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

New York City has a lot to offer when it comes to great food and wine, a home to many of the world’s finest restaurants, deep in cellared wines while rich in Celebrity chef status. Never a day goes by in the Big Apple without a new restaurant opening or a gala wine and food tasting somewhere, to fill your cravings of gourmet goodies and wonderful wines. With all the big city has to offer, the Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour, one night event may just be the place to enjoy the world’s absolute best wines along with a surprisingly perfect food pairing. An evening filled with an outstanding list of vineyards from the world over, pouring way more wine than you can sample in one night, paired with a global tasting of gourmet fair, was just what I was looking for.
Held on Tuesday May 4th at 7 pm in the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan this grand event turned out to be a wine and food lover’s dream.  The night started with a row of Spanish and Italian vintners pouring some of the best wines of the night. Tenuta Sette Ponti, Ornellaia, Vinedos de Paganos, and Bodegas El Nido all hit the mark. This was simply just an impulse tasting as they were the closest wines to the entrance as we arrived. Knowing the staff was close by with the chef’s creations ready for the taking, we headed off for the white wines and Champagne to ease into the first course. Enjoying a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne with the blackened salmon lollipops, and the Provenance Vineyards, Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc with the Striped Bass Ceviche, made my mouth burst with flavor. Chile was well represented with its Chardonnay from Maycas del Limari, especially if you enjoyed it along with the truffle infused, asparagus risotto. Crisp French wines always seem to pair well with fresh artisanal cheeses. When I sipped the 2007 William Fevre   Premier Cru Chablis while enjoying a silver tea spoon filled with the creamiest Blue Cheese ever, drizzled with a honeycomb of fresh local honey, I knew I was in heaven.

Enough of the easing into this, next stop let’s start trying a few of the bigger Cabernets and Bordeaux’s that I love so much.  Where else can you drink Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Lagrange and Chateau Palmer all before the second course.  As for Big California Cabernets the west coast showed their colors well while pouring some of Napa and Sonoma’s best. Joseph Phelps Insignia, Caymus Special Select and Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon tasted divine along with the, Spanish manchego tarts, the seared Atlantic Salmon and the block of Parmigianino Regiano cheesed served with a smear of Quince jam.

There were another 100 plus wines that were ready if you could handle it along with 20 or more culinary treats for the pairing, but I was slowing down.  Until something caught my eye, never one to let a good opportunity go by, I threw myself back in, and came up with the star of the evening. Just imagine the tenderest, richest Burgundy soaked short ribs, dusted with a hint of cinnamon paired with the Bordeaux that always makes me appreciate my love of French wines, a perfect Chateau Margaux. That’s right a touch of cinnamon not cumin. Cumin makes the soul turn inwards, where cinnamon, now that makes the eyes open wide. It’s all in the way the food and the wines make you feel, in the way the flavor combinations make you think. What could be better than taking a little extra time to really think about what you taste?  Sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy life. We ended the evening with a coffee and a few classic Portos, from Portugal. Quinta do Noval and Ramos Pinto showed well along with a Dow’s Port and a Vintage Croft Quinta da Roeda.

I left out all the Pinot Noirs, the Malbecs, the Shiraz, the Brunello’s and all the rest, we just can’t enjoy anymore then we have already. When the event comes around again next year, you are just going to have to see for yourself.  What I think will happen is that you’ll tell me I was right, that food and wine will never be the same.  But most of all you’ll have enjoyed one beautiful night in New York City.

Albe Galotta

Honoring Mothers…

In The Mount Veeder Blog on May 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Mother’s Day was an absolutely lovely affair. Given the unexpected drop in temperature and strong winds, I had the company of many people and the rest of the restaurant was quite busy too. Flowers, chocolates, and cookies were scattered about the restaurant, the latter two as little nibbles that children readily enjoyed, and the whole place had calm, warm feel to it. A pianist graced the air with wonderful songs, and the happy chatter of families joined it.

One of my favorite things was seeing families arrive with babies. They varied in age, but no matter how old they were, they were absolutely adorable. Some young children also came in. I was very impressed with all of their behavior. The children, young and old alike, let their parents enjoy the meal in relative peace. And the politely chirped pleases and thank yous were darling. There are few things more charming than well behaved children, and on Mother’s Day, it seemed like an extra gift.

The day itself began with a mimosa and the specialty Bloody Mary. As the ticket came up behind the bar, more people arrived, and a flourish of activity began. The lobster and artichoke heart bisque was a huge hit. So much so that a second batch was made in the afternoon, and it almost ran out! I heard whispers at the end of the night that it had been very popular with the servers as well. The other specialty soup, the lump crab and potato leek, was also very well received.

But my favorite moment was when desserts arrived. There were so many to choose from: pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, banana cream pie, bread pudding, chocolate mousse with a touch of amaretto and kahlua, warm strawberry crumble, carrot cake, and chocolate peanut butter torte. They looked fabulous and smelled delicious. I overheard one mother   talk about the chocolate mousse. Though not typically a fan of alcohol flavoring, she adored the additions to the house chocolate mousse. The server happened to be a huge fan of that dessert as well and shared a secret: if you drink a ruby red port, like the Sandeman Ruby Porto, with the chocolate mousse, it tastes like raspberries.

As the day came to an end, many smiles adorned the faces of those departing. Hopefully next year will be as enjoyable as this year was.

A string of Events…

In The Mount Veeder Blog, Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 1:02 am

It was muddy and messy. Shouts of glee and hope filled the air. And the horses did their best not to disappoint. The Kentucky Derby was, as usual, a fun filled affair. Lots of people joined me in the lounge where complimentary baked stuffed mushrooms and gently fried rice balls were served. The wide screen television provided a clear view of the racetrack as the bartenders mixed up mint juleps and served race inspired food like the brisket sandwich. As the shouts of joy and disappointment faded, I realized that the Kentucky Derby was just the beginning of the week’s festivities.

Monday night is the first lobster night of the summer. The meal includes whipped butter with warm bread, salad or soup, a steamed lobster with drawn butter, and dessert. The salad comes with our homemade Italian balsamic dressing on the side. Connecticut clam chowder is available daily. It is very creamy with a bit of a spicy kick and has plenty of clams and bacon. Desserts vary and have included bread pudding, chocolate mousse, and special creations by the chefs.

On Sunday, a special Mother’s Day menu will be available. Coffee, fresh orange juice, milk, mimosas, and the Saltwater Grille Bloody Mary will be served. Goat cheese hash browns with apple chutney, and breakfast sausages with apples, cinnamon and sugar will be available as sides. The entrees will include fresh fruit salad, baby arugula salad, and hash browns. The choices include seafood crepes Florentine, baked eggs strada, lobster rolls, shrimp and avocado salad, hot crab melts, vegetarian frittata, crab frittata, chicken Waldorf salad, and quiche Lorraine. Shrimp, scallops, spinach, and roasted peppers will snuggle in the crepes and be topped with a light Béchamel sauce. The eggs strada will be flavored by basil, cheddar, and tomato. The lobster roll will be hot or cold. If it is hot, the lobster is sautéed in butter and if it is cold, the lobster is mixed with a bit of mayo. The shrimp and avocado has a sprinkling of feta cheese, some chickpeas, citrus vinaigrette, and mixed greens.

The hot crab melts are open-faced and have Fontina cheese, roasted red peppers, and basil puree. Avocado, fried onions, tomato, and feta are mixed among the eggs in the vegetarian frittata. The crab frittata adds crab to the mixture. The chicken Waldorf salad features endive salad, walnuts, Gorgonzola, apples, croutons, and a grain mustard vinaigrette. The quiche Lorraine has Swiss cheese and apple wood smoked bacon.

Dinner will feature many house specialties like oysters, the Saltwater lemon sole, and lobster dinners. There are also a few new items: the chicken Saltimbocca has prosciutto, eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and roasted garlic sauce in a bed of angel hair pasta. Shrimp and lobster chardonnay is another special creation. It will have a lemon dill chardonnay cream sauce with roasted red peppers and mushrooms.

I am very excited about everything that is going on. Hopefully some people will join me in the lounge, but with the weather improving daily, I’m sure the patio will be very busy. Here’s to a happy week.