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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Charles Krug, Peter Jr. Mondavi Wine Dinner

Last week, my parents invited erv and I to the Lafayette Park Hotel's Duck Club where Charles Krug Winery was having a winemakers dinner with Peter Mondavi Jr. to host the festivities. Erv and I were under the impression that this would be a large group, but when we got there, we found out there were just 20 of us there to meet and hob nob with Peter Jr. and each other.

As soon as we arrived, we were given glasses of Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2005. The wine was actually quite yummy. They made it after the New Zealand style, and it really was nice as the heat of the afternoon was burning off. We spoke with Peter Jr. about our nuptials next year in Geyserville, and the heat in the Valley while the Duck Club staff passed appetizers of foie gras, smoked salmon and caviar, and ceviche around.

Our first course was a Lobster Martini. No actual alcohol (thankfully... as we were going to have waaay too much wine throughout the dinner as it was). It was lobster and seaweed in a tomato consomme.

The consomme really was like essence of tomato. It was interesting, but definitely not something I'd seek out again...

We moved on to an Asparagus and Morel Mushroom Salad, with a Vin Blanc Vinaigrette to go with our Chardonnay, grown in Carneros, 2004.

This dish was actually quite good. The wrapped prociutto and salty parmesean strip really lifted the dish up to yummy standards! Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the Chardonnay. This isn't that unusual... I'm not a huge white wine fan.

We moved on to a dish of Ginger Soy Glazed Black Cod, Braised Baby Bok Choy, with a Miso Consomme. This was paired with the 2004 Pinot Noir from the Carneros region. Despite the lore that only white wine goes with seafood, this was an outstanding pairing on the part of the chef. Actually, the fish was phenomenol overall, but I thought the pinot wasn't one of the better ones I've tried. It did complement the dish though.

We cleansed our palate with a Rhubarb Mint Sorbet, which was way too minty/rhubarby... the texture was this weird thick kind of grainy substance. ick.

The next course was a Tamarind Braised Angus Beef Short Ribs, with Potato and Turnip Puree and whole grain mustard sauce paired with the 2002 Generations, "Red Blend" grown in the Napa Valley. I didn't actually eat this course, as I don't eat beef. I happily ate a second serving of the tasty cod though! The Generations wine is modeled after a Bordeaux blend, and this was my second favorite wine of the night. I have had better Bordeaux blends, but this was still good. I think, had I eaten the beef, it would indeed have gone well.

We started out our desserts with a humboldt fog cheesecake (cheese by the Cow Girl Creamery), with Pineapple Tartine, and Candied Walnuts. My dad took one bite of this and yelped in disgust. It was sort of a misnomer. You think cheesecake and you take a really big first bite. The cheese is not sweet and a bit pungent. It was okay with the pineapple and candied walnuts, but still it was difficult to finish.

The saving grace of dessert was the last course. The Duck Club Pastry chef must be praised. This was absolutely amazing... a Treasure of Basil and Strawberries with White Chocolate Basil Mousse and Strawberry Gelee on a Red Peppercorn Sable Disc. It was so tasty. What an interesting combination of flavors! It was delightful! So delightful, that we all were halfway through scarfing it down before we remembered to take a photo!

They served it with their Zinfandel Port from the Napa Valley. Peter Mondavi Jr. didn't know too much about ports, unfortunately, and couldn't answer my questions as to how it was processed differently from the ports of Portugal. I didn't like it that much. They mixed different vintages together to get young sweet flavors with a more complex older vintage. Unfortunately, I just didn't feel like it came together well, and it was a little cloyingly sweet.

One of my favorite parts of the dinner was when ervan asked Peter Jr. about the labor union strikes going on in the Mondavi winery. Peter Jr. absolutely clammed up. It would have been interesting to hear his side of the story, but apparently, he just wasn't interested in speaking on it.

My parents, Peter Mondavi Jr., and erv and me

PretTea Package

Tara from Alaska sent me a wonderful tea swap package TWICE! The first one got lost in handling, so being the excellent swapper that she is, she happily put together a new one!

I loved opening up the package and smelling delicious flavors of cinnamon! In fact, the wonderful smell was emanating from some Samovar Tea from The Kobuk in Alaska. Talk about surprising. I've never had tea like this before. It's black tea infused with cinnamon oil, clove, lemon, and orange peel! It's a sweet delicacy that I can tell will be absolutely wonderful in the Seattle winter on a wet day! (I do admit I tried the tea as soon as I popped open the package. It's really quite neat, but it definitely seems like something to savor in cold weather).

Seriously though, the most wonderful thing about the package was that Tara included lots of neat stuff from Alaska! Besides the neat Kobuk tea, I also received a package of Alaska Wild Teas "Tea for two" blueberry herbal tea, Black Bear Bar (a yummy dark chocolate made by the Chocolate Moose Candy Company), a lovely set of dish towels, two wonderful squishy balls of Bazic Wool in a beautiful sage color to make wrist warmers, and some yummy ginger biscuits!

Thank you Tara!! I absolutely love everything!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

cauliflower rocks!

Yum! I forget if I mentioned that cauliflower has become my new brussel sprout (as in, I've rediscovered it and fallen in love--don't worry ervy it may be just a crush).

I love to cut it into smaller sections and cook it with butter and onion and a bit of white wine til it's cooked, but still firm. Awww, it's DELISH!

Recently, I've loved playing with colorful cauliflower. I've seen purple and orange, and it makes me just want a bouquet of it all on my plate!

for the "sew I knit" along

The sewing project for "sew i knit" this month was to sew a top.

I finally finished my pattern. I chose Simplicity 5057, pattern D.

A tank top really doesn't take too much fabric, so I used an old vintage pillowcase I'd found thrifting.

It's been a while since I'd worked from a pattern, mostly I deconstruct and reconstruct clothes to my liking, or I just wing it. But I dutifully cut out the pattern.

I ended up getting fed up trying to turn the ribbon ties inside out after sewing them up, so I left them out. I also think that despite cutting the pattern to specifications, the lower back panel should have been longer, so I ended up sewing on a ruffle to compensate. I'm not sure how I like it or if I'll take it off. Right now, I think it adds a little bit of girly girl to it.

Overall I think I'd try the pattern again with a few modifications.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

chemo caps

I just found out today that one of my aunties has lung cancer. She has never smoked, but apparently lung cancer is also known as Asian women's cancer? At least that is what the doctor told her. She will be going through chemo treatment, so I am planning to knit her a couple chemo caps out of baby soft cotton and perhaps chenille? Is chenille a good yarn for these caps?

I'm looking at these patterns currently:

very cute, I'm thinking of doing this one in chenille

and then one of these three in cotton for summer wearing:


In happier news, Evan and I are closer to finding the location of our wedding/reception. We've narrowed it down to two choices. One is a beautiful private estate in Sonoma that nestled in the middle of lush grape vines! The other is a local historical mansion located at a country club near my parents' house surrounded by the Berkeley hills. Both are gorgeous locations, and we have a hold on the July 7th date (7/7/07) at each. So we should decide after this weekend with more budget analyses. Pictures to come!