Michael Perlis Discovers: Wine dinner at a|k|a An American Bistro

Last time, I wrote about the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association winetasting event that was held on August 29th at a|k|a An American Bistro in Pasadena.

After the event, two wine dinners were held, one at a|k|a and one at Bistro 45.

We attended the dinner at a|k|a Bistro. The menu is below, with my comments in brackets. Please note that I’m not going to comment about the food, as it was all fantastic, just my thoughts about the pairings.

1st Course:

Gewurztraminer, Bedford, Los Alamos 2009

Caulifower & Fennel Soup

With crispy Nicoise olives

[Admittedly, I am not a huge Gewurztraminer fan, but when paired with the soup, it went very well.]

2nd Course

Roussanne, Zaca Mesa, Santa Barbara 2007

Viognier, Jaffurs, Santa Barbara 2007

Viognier Poached Bosc Pear

With Haricots Vert and golden beets…truffle vinaigrette

[I thought both wines went very well with this dish, but the Viognier pairing really sang for me.]

3rd Course

Chardonnay, Babcock “Top Cream”, Santa Rita Hills 2010

Seared Diver Boat Scallop

With caramelized apple ratatouille and cucumber “gazpacho”

[Not much to say here, just a great pairing.]

4th Course

Lagrein, Mosby, Central Coast 2005

Sagrantino, Mosby, Central Coast 2006

Grilled Prairie Fresh Pork Tenderloin

Served with arugula and Marble potatoes, Rainier Cherry compote and Sagrantino Demi

[During the tasting, I preferred the Sagrantino, but I found the Lagrein to match better with the food, although both were terrific.]

5th Course

Syrah, Dragonette Cellars, Santa Barbara 2008

Syrah, Zaca Mesa, Santa Barbara 2008

Braised Colorado Lamb Sirloin

Dusted with cocoa and served over lemon/garlic risotto…honey yogurt

[Both Syrahs were outstanding with the lamb. In addition, this is where I shared the open bottle of Mourvedre that Larry Schaffer of Tercero handed me at the end of the tasting. This was also a great match with the lamb.]

6th Course

Late Harvest Riesling, Santa Barbara Winery, Santa Barbara 2009

Bruleed Mission Figs and White Peaches

Served with a Riesling custard

[I probably would have found the Riesling too sweet on its own, but with the dessert it was perfect!]

Executive Chef James Lambrinos

As you can see from the above menu, we were served a total of nine[!] wines. [Actually ten if you count the Tercero Mourvedre.] Service for both the food and the wine was excellent, even though the restaurant was packed for this event. And a fresh glass was properly provided for each wine.

Admittedly, I very often drink whatever I feel like drinking and eat whatever I feel like eating. Usually, I am fine with that, and sometimes the pairing turns into something exceptional. But, at this kind of event, when the food and wine are both excellent, and so much thought went into the pairings, one can really appreciate how wine and food can complement each other so well.

My wife Karen and I had the great pleasure of being joined at our table by our friends Vanessa Lindstrom, David Chun, Cathy DeLeon, Mike McCall and Dina McCall.

Late into the dinner, I think during the 5th course, our table was visited by David Wilson of http://www.grapeencountersradio.com/. To hear some of the comments, check out his website. The a|k|a coverage happens at the end of Episode 110.

Unfortunately, the evening had to end. As we said our goodbyes to our friends and to our host Robert Simon, I felt that I had truly enjoyed one of the best meals I had ever had. The people, food and wine had all greatly contributed to what the late Robert Mondavi long ago referred to as our “gracious way of life”.

Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at mcpfinancial@aol.com or michaelthezinfan@aol.com.