Saturday, May 14, 2011

'The "P" In "Pride" Stands For "Pride"

This is certainly shaping up to be a Long Weekend of Fine Dining!

On Thursday, my recently-graduated sister achieved employment at a local grocery store. Not the most high-falutin' job, but it's beer and pizza money and that's what matters. To celebrate, the Boyfriend and I decided to invite the B's over and cook a big dinner. Planked salmon, grilled asparagus, baked sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli. The Youngest B provided us with a salted caramel chocolate cake, which was crazy good, and we imbibed copious amounts of Domaine Bellevue Rose that I reviewed last week. Fantastic.

Last night they reciprocated, stating that they wanted to make it back onto the blog (really) and served us a selection of interesting wines along with lemon chicken, fried rice, a type of slaw, and a creamy, pesto-y soup. Mrs. B takes great delight in making people guess what they're eating, and it took several guesses to realize that the slaw was made from broccoli stalks. I normally HATE slaw, nasty, mayonnaise-covered slimy cabbage that it is. But this was crisp and fresh and full of tart dried cherries and blueberries. Crazy good. The soup, it turns out, was a (not quite) vegan cauliflower and pesto soup. No cream, no butter, just cauliflower, pesto, and some toasted pine nuts for garnish. Wonderful.

Mrs. B is the one to introduce me to the joys of dry rose wine, and she loves it even more than I do. For this event, we were treated to the wonderfully named Barnyard Griffin 2010 Rose of Sangiovese. This wine poured a beautiful, deep magenta-pink. It was considerably fuller bodied and sweeter than the Domaine Bellevue, but where the latter is strawberries, the Barnyard Griffin is all sweet cherries. I worried that the intensity of the cherry flavor and the body of the wine would result in a cough-syrupy mess as the wine warmed, but my fears were unfounded. It was certainly sweeter than I usually go for, but it finished clean and bright, without any of the cloyingness that some people associate with pink wine. It is a fabulous pre-dinner drink.

With dinner we had several bottles of riff pinot grigio terra alpina 2009. The bottle doesn't capitalize so I don't see any reason why I should either. This wine smells a bit yeasty and minerally, and it is just a bit prickly on the mouth, but smooth flavored with just a hint of citrus on top of the slate and earth that kept it from being stodgy. I liked it considerably better when I was eating salty food as opposed to just sipping it on its own, but it's a lovely white.

Eventually the Children (I'm 24 but I'm still Children when I go to the B's house) were banished to the basement while the Adults played bridge or something. However, since the Children are now all (except for Youngest B) above the age of 21, Oldest B brought a bottle of Nocello down with him. I was not familiar with Nocello, but anything that comes in a fancy bottle with a figurine on top can't be all bad!

Nocello, as I found out, is a walnut liqueur from Italy. I am generally suspicious of nut liqueurs because I hate amaretto. The intensity of almond liqueurs sets off a part of my brain saying "WHOOP WHOOP THIS IS NOT FOOD WHOOP WHOOP PROBABLY ARSENIC" which is a really retarded response to have when you are not living in ancient Rome. Nocello sets of no such alarms. It is glazed walnuts. Sweet-sweet but nutty and and delightful. I couldn't drink much more than a sip because I was driving, but this was superb.

As I write this, my family is buzzing about in preparation to go to Charlottesville to see my cousin's play. He is an extremely talented singer, and this show should be excellent!

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