leave your inhibitions at the door
A couple months ago I went to an event at The Dream House that featured an Austrian menu with five courses, each with a paired Austrian wine. The events are a sidebar project for employees of Ann Arbor’s Black Pearl restaurant that allow them to experiment with different cuisines and techniques, unconstrained by a set menu. I thought they did a great job, considering that Austrian food doesn’t allow for a whole lot of playfulness.
The boys had another event a couple of weeks ago, this time it featured Argentinean food.
The Sicilian and I were able to coax our spouses out to humor our foodie obsessions for the evening. Dinner with me or the Sicilian is always a treat and by “treat” I mean that a lot of people want to stab us with salad forks by the third course. When I’m not bumming food off of others’ plates, I’m always holding up the process by constantly taking pictures. The Sicilian, on the other hand, analyzes everything and elevates food snobbery to new heights. So if you want to dine with either of us, pick your poison.
What We Ate
1st Course: Empanada with chorizo-mango picadillo, avocado chimichurri, tamarillo salsa
Wine Pairing: 2011 Torrontes, Coquena, Argentina
2nd Course: Red Snapper with corn-grapefruit gastrique
Wine Pairing: 2012 Malbec Rose, Crios de Susana Balbo, Argentina
3rd Course: Mendoza “Antipasti”
Matambre, House-smoked Provoleta, Mortadella, figs, pistachio
Wine Pairing: 2009 Malbec Reserve, Zolo, Argentina
4th Course: Argentine Asado: Rib, flank, tri-tip, crispy onions, chimichurri
Wine Pairing: 2010 Syrah “Laborde Double Select”, Luca, Argentina
Dessert: Orange sorbet with dulce le leche, candied ginger
Pairing: Yerba Mate
The first course and the snapper were excellent. The avocado chimichurri was stunning and empanada was perfectly executed. I really liked the snapper as well with the citrusy gastrique. The asado course was good, however I felt the rib may have been a little bit of a misstep. The presentation on-bone was beautiful, however I find beef rib is best cooked low and slow, otherwise it’s really tough. It was also pretty rare – like mooing rare – which I love but others may not.
But the silent assassin for several of us was the orange sorbet. It literally came out of nowhere and floored us. That mixture of flavors was outstanding and we really could’ve had a gallon of it.
Obviously, the first thing I’m going to do is figure the damn flash on my camera.
As for the event, I’m really looking forward to the next one. It’s Monday, November 11th and the theme for this is “Pacific Northwest.” I’m foreseeing a lot seafood and great wines ahead. Maybe for this one I’ll have to bust out some of my old early-90s era flannel shirts…
If you’re interested in attending a future event, check out their Facebook page.