Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Watermelon rind, pink grapefruit, and cinnamon on the nose.
Watermelon rind, pink grapefruit, and cinnamon the palate.
Watermelon rind, pink grapefruit, and cinnamon on the finish.
Do you like watermelon rind, pink grapefruit, and cinnamon? If so, you may like this wine. It's tough to get too serious about a standard cheap rose, but that said, it's more than tasty enough to snag a bunch and get a party going, get a party going, because it's time to party, and you will party hard.
Wow, the song I just referenced is 10 years old. Getting old sucks.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I get some marzipan on the nose - something I don't see often, almond, orange, sugar - I dig it.
Right off the bat, this is easiest the best Korbel product I've had - orange marmalade, toast, rye. Dry overall and a not over the top, though somewhat thick mouthfeel.
Red apple and orange oranges on the finish.
Seventeen bones is asking a bit much, there are better wines at this pricepoint to be sure, but this really isn't bad at all. Depending on how important the organic this is to you, this may be a worthy product to look into.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Hype is a tricky thing....
Before Next even opened there was tons of hype. I signed up to their e-mail list almost a year before they opened. A year.
Is the Paris 1906 version of Next worth the hype? How could it?
We start with Hors d'Ouevres. This was paired with Vincent Carre Brut Champagne.
An interesting French white that smelled like sherry and tasted like a super light white sherry...or maybe a glass of some miscellaneous white wine with a spike of sherry? It was interesting in an academic way.
The woman next to us had a lovely perfume, I actually really liked it - I just wish she didn't feel compelled to squirt herself 19 times before walking in the building. To put a positive spin on it, since my jacket is still infused with her scent I can bring it to Nordstrom and ask a shopgirl what it is - get the Christmas gift for the wife done early.
Paired with Filet de Sole Daumont
Paired with Supremes de Poussin.
Paired with Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise
and Caneton Rouennais a la Presse
The palate cleanser was the Salade Irma (no wine with this) -
I have little to say because a quick google search and you'll find countless reviews written by people more knowledgeable and eloquent than I'd ever crank out. The chicken was a bit of a miss (purely a "to my taste" situation rather than a poor execution).
Dinner *seemed* incredibly rushed and quick, but we were still there for close to three hours, so it was anything but. Service was outstanding in every regard - friendly with great introductions to the food and wine, a few jokes here and there, all relaxed yet professional.
We took in a few drinks at The Aviary next door as well....
An amuse bouche of watermelon infused with something or another.
The Blueberry -
This guy got a "before" of the Ginger, so you can check that.--
The Dark and Stormy...classy! You drink this from a bottle in a paper bag, if memory serves it's dark rum and homemade ginger ale.
I also had an Old Fashioned encased in a ball of ice that was then smashed at the table...didn't get a photo, but this guy did. It was encased in a ball of ice that the serve smashes - the drink explodes, the liquid fills the glass, and the shards of "glass" are your ice. Pretty sweet.
The drinks are tasty, creative, and beautifully presented. They are also quite expensive - though really, it's not that unusual to see a $12 martini in any given Chicago restaurant - so it may be worth popping in and trying something genuinely unique if you're looking for a fancy night out.
Update 10/13/11 - Upon visiting The Aviary again last night, I've redacted my comments about poor service. Great, friendly staff all around.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
This is an "American" Pinot Noir, I believe the grapes are from Washington, and the retail is about eighteen bones. This is a newish label, it seems some of the newer wines have it, and if I may say so - I find it to be an improvement over the (already nice) older style. Kudos to the graphic department!
Earth, mocha, chocolate, and carob on the nose with an undercurrent of raspberry.
Raspberry tea, dark (like ultra mega 94% dark) chocolate, mocha, super ripe plum and blackberry.
Almost a green tea like finish with more of that mocha.
Simply put, most under $20 Pinot Noirs aren't worth your time, but I'd say this one is. Nicely played.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Watermelon of the natural and artificial sort on the nose.
More or less standard in the whole strawberry and watermelon thing, but it has a full bodied mouth feel almost oily in consistency....there is a type of candy that comes in a tube and has the consistency, more or less, as gel toothpaste - imagine sour watermelon gel candy in wine form - here you are. There's a bit more sweetness than I prefer in a rose, but the acid and that full bodied feel bring it all together into a sort of harmony.
A candy quality lingers.
I want to clarify - I keep using "candy" terms but this is not a blush wine by any means, it's a solid rose, firmly acidic, mildly tannic, full bodied, complex, but with a candy - a sour candy - dominating component. I can see some not caring for this....for me, it works.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
As I said, the online menu is different, so my descriptions will be lacking...
Mixed salad with poached egg. While I officially still hate eggs, things like this are helping me come around - not bad at all.
Tuna tartare with avocado. To me, this was great - Fran found the lime a bit too forward which threw it off...I liked the hint of ceviche quality it added to the dish.
Rack of lamb. I hate to oversell things, I hate to say "this is the best X I've ever had" (especially since the best fish I've ever had was consumed just a few days earlier) but I'm just going to come right out and say, this is the best lamb I've ever had. Ever. Anywhere. Lexington, Kentucky. Best lamb ever. We will likely be visiting this area again later this summer, I'm coming back to this restaurant exclusively for this dish.
Sea bass with a roasted tomato, potato, and something or another. Not a big fish fan, but this was solid...I'd also say it was oddly coursed after the lamb, but the flavors were quite bold, so it held up fine.
Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned
Bacon infused Buffalo Trace, vanilla maple syrup, bitters
cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeno, cabbage slaw
charred corn & avocado relish, wilted spinach, white cheddar omlette, garlic aioli, cuban kaiser
barbeque gastrique, crispy pickled vegetables, garlic buttered brioche bun
The biggest regret of the trip was coming here for lunch on our last day - we should have showed up the night we arrived in town and had dinner. Outstanding service, food, drinks, fair prices, quality everything - if you're going to Orlando and you like food, this is #1.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The pretzel bread gets much love, and rightfully so....
The beer cheese soup is excellent, but absurd for one person...potentially absurd for two people...hell, it's absurd for three people. It's thick, it's heavy, it's delicious, but don't expect to have much room, which is a shame since...
Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon with wild mushroom risotto, white truffle butter sauce and micro chervil. This is apparently the restaurant's signature dish and rightfully so.
Bison strip steak...tasty, but paled in comparison to the filet.
There you go. On the one hand, a good steak can be had almost anywhere, on the other, sometimes that's what you want. If that's the case, this place is solid. A nice wine list, with plenty of Canadian selections, is gravy on the poutine - I generally don't recommend steak places, but when they're done right, how can one not?
But, I digress.
The whole pate plate thing - very good, with duck liver as the highlight.
Filet de Saumon - Broiled salmon - but the menu online is not up to date so I can't give you much more beyond that...
The amuse bouche featured fish....sadly, that's all I can remember.
Escargot - crazy sized portion, I'd say about 12 snails in a thicky, creamy sauce. Delicious, but huge.
Venison medallions roasted, caramelized apple with cranberries, celery purée and patty pan squash, Grand Veneur sauce
Pork tenderlon stuffed with mushrooms, truffles pasta gratin, morel sauce
There you go. A solid meal by any standards - this is straight up, old school French though the portions suggest a German influence. The food and wine list make no apologies - this is a solid, French restaurant on par with what you should expect in any major metropolitan area. Not a cheap dinner, but a well crafted one, and certainly a value for the quality. Service was top notch, friendly, and not at all stuffy.
If Victoria and Albert's is out of your price range and you need a special occasion meal - hit this place up.
Friday, June 03, 2011
There are more difficult reservations to get than the chef's table at Victoria and Albert's, but one does have to plan far in advance if there is interest. I called in January 3 and asked "what is the earliest reservation I can make for the chef's table?" I was told May 24. Here you are. The reason why the chef's table is tough to get is because there is only one table and one seating - 5 pm - and that's it for the night.
The restaurant itself is not a terribly difficult reservation, they have a standard dining room with one menu and the Queen Victoria's Room which features the chef's table menu. It's all tasting menu based and they will certainly work with you based on allergies and dietary restrictions.
This is the only restaurant on Disney property that does not allow small children and a jacket is required for men. I had some reservations at first, but rest assured this is true fine dining, not Disney fine dining. (Though, one could argue that fine dining is inherently Disney dining, but that is an argument for another day.)