I don’t think I’ve ever talked about food on this blog (not even school lunch, a subject I get spittily exercised about), but it’s not often I have food like I did last night. Our friend Josh Dorf (an awesome sustainable food kinda guy who started Find the Farmer) kindly took us to a food and wine event at City Winery (a delightfully grown-up music and nosh space owned by his brother Michael) last night. The wine focus was on Albariño, a Spanish white wine I knew nada about. It is acidic and fruity (it can have apple/pear, stone fruit or citrus-y notes), thirst-quenchy and food-friendly. My go-to affordable summer wine is generally (cheapassedly fizzily drinkable) vinho verde, but Albariño is a little more complicated and a lot less embarrassing to serve to people with a vague clue about wine. So YAY.
At this event the wine guy was WR Tish; the food guy was Harold Dieterle (the winner of Top Chef’s first season and the chef at Perilla, which I stopped trying to get a non-10pm reservation at about a year ago but it’s obviously time to try again because MAN O MAN THAT GUY’S FOOD WAS SO FREAKING GOOD, but I’m getting ahead of myself and also this parenthetical is going on way too long). I didn’t eat everything b/c of my kosher mishegas, but I can report that my friends were making little rhapsodic sounds over the chilled calamari salad with olives and grilled bread. Ditto the Serrano-ham-wrapped dates filled with blue cheese and served with saba (cooked-down grape syrup, like balsamic but not aged or fermented). I did try the Montauk fluke tartar served on a spiced taro chip (paired with Laxas Albarino 2009); the chilled curry corn soup with rock shrimp and pickled ramps — I gave the shrimp to my husband and did a don’t-ask-don’t-tell on it having been commingling goyishly with my soup (which was served with Condes de Albarei Albarino 2009); the thai chili jam that went with grilled chicken satay (served with Brandal Albariño 2008) and the edamame falafel with lemon-tahini sauce (paired with Pazo de Señorans Albariño 2009).
The soup, the thai chili jam, and the edamame falafel with lemon tahini sauce were so good i was seriously plotzing. It dawned on me (I was a little drunk) that I could rank these dishes by how willing they made me to lose my dignity — they made me want to lick my fingers, lick the plate, lick my neighbors’ plates (in ascending loss-of-dignity score). Luckily, I wasn’t the only tipsy silly person at the table — Josh wound up showing Harold his phone with a text convo he’d been having with Leslie right across from him…she was demanding “GET US MORE DATES!” Harold laughed and announced, “I have to go now, this table will get violent if I don’t get you guys more dates!” and everyone in the tasting room cheered. He brought out giant plates of the Serrano ham-wrapped dates for all the tables. And everyone was totally silent, noshing devotionally. DANG.
In other news, Harold was very charming and very cute, and there was definitely a lady-fan contingent.
My favorite wine of the evening, by far, was the Santiago Ruiz Albariño 2009 — it was nuanced and thought-provoking (lots going on!) but still accessible (like a Rebecca Goldstein novel in liquid form) and crisply drinkable. It’s apparently blended with a bunch of other varietals, not a straight-up Albariño. Bonus: super-duper-cute label, a map of the vineyard apparently drawn by the vintner’s daughter. (Other super-cute label of the evening: Paco & Lola Albariño, but alas, I liked the wine a lot less.)
After I got home and started googling, I found this interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about the eye-opening number of female Albariño vintners. I love supporting women winemakers — I bought a case of Lini Lambrusco Rosso at Astor Wines, not just because it was affordable and unusual and super-yum, but because the winemaker has a vadge. I’m sisterly that way.
Great company (thanks, Josh! and thank you Kerry, Leslie, Matthew, Jonathan and Mike!), divine food, fun quaffery.
Thus concludes my inaugural foray into food-blogging. The next time I do this, it’ll be about the challenges to improving school lunch in NYC and it will be way more boring.