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 JoshÂ DorfÂ (an awesomeÂ sustainable food kinda guy who startedÂ Find the Farmer) kindly took us to a food and wine eventÂ atÂ City Winery (a delightfully grown-up music and nosh space owned by his brother Michael) last night. The wine focus was onÂ AlbariÃ±o, a Spanish white wine I knewÂ nadaÂ about. It is acidic and fruity (it can have apple/pear, stone fruit or citrus-y notes), thirst-quenchyÂ and food-friendly. My go-to affordable summer wine is generally (cheapassedlyÂ fizzilyÂ drinkable)Â vinhoÂ verde, butÂ AlbariÃ±o 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 wasÂ WR Tish; the food guy wasÂ HaroldÂ DieterleÂ (the winner of Top Chef’s first season and the chef atÂ 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 FOODÂ WAS SO FREAKING GOOD, but I’m getting ahead of myself and also this parenthetical is going on way too long). IÂ didn’t eat everything b/c of myÂ kosherÂ mishegas, but I can report thatÂ my friendsÂ were making little rhapsodic sounds over the chilled calamari salad withÂ olivesÂ and grilled bread. Ditto the Serrano-ham-wrappedÂ dates filled with blue cheese and served withÂ sabaÂ (cooked-down grapeÂ syrup, like balsamic but not aged or fermented). I did try theÂ Montauk flukeÂ tartar served on a spiced taro chip (paired withÂ LaxasÂ AlbarinoÂ 2009);Â the chilled curry corn soup with rock shrimp and pickled ramps — I gave theÂ shrimp to my husband and did a don’t-ask-don’t-tell on it having beenÂ comminglingÂ goyishlyÂ with my soup (which was served withÂ CondesÂ deÂ Albarei Albarino 2009); theÂ thaiÂ chili jam that went with grilled chicken satayÂ (served withÂ BrandalÂ AlbariÃ±o 2008) and theÂ edamameÂ falafelÂ withÂ lemon-tahiniÂ sauce (paired withÂ PazoÂ deÂ SeÃ±orans AlbariÃ±o 2009).
The soup, the thai chili jam, and the edamame falafel with lemon tahiniÂ 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 HaroldÂ 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 andÂ announced, “I have to go now, this table will get violent if IÂ don’t get you guys more dates!” and everyone in the tasting room cheered. He brought outÂ 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,Â and there was definitely aÂ lady-fan contingent.
My favorite wine of the evening, by far, was theÂ Santiago Ruiz AlbariÃ±o 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 AlbariÃ±o. Bonus: super-duper-cute label, a map of the vineyard apparently drawn by the vintner’s daughter. (Other super-cute label of the evening:Â Paco & Lola AlbariÃ±o, 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 AlbariÃ±o vintners. I love supporting women winemakers — I bought a case ofÂ Lini Lambrusco Rosso at Astor Wines, not just because it was affordable and unusual and super-yum, but becauseÂ 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.