Food, in all it’s glorious wonders, is mostly the providence of Martha’s Blog – which I highly recommend you check out on a regular basis. Just because I normally don’t write about food, however, doesn’t mean it’s not on my mind at all times!
All the wonderful wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy this year were only part of the equation. For full appreciation and maximum enjoyment – wine needs to go with food. It’s actually a three-legged stool – with wine, food, and the friends-family-good company they are shared with all of equal importance in my book. When all three are in harmony, then you’ve got the makings of a truly extraordinary and memorable experience.
Looking back over the year, the one meal that really stands out was a special Oregon Bounty dinner that Le Pigeon chef Gabe Rucker put on for a private group of artisan farmers, purveyors, brewers and winemakers last June. Consistently one of my favorite restaurants on the planet – “The Pige”, as we call it, continues to dazzle with hedonistic delights. This meal was off-the-hook great. I don’t know which of the seven courses blew my mind the most. Maybe it was the hay-roasted Beef with Porcini mushrooms and Candy-Cap mushroom crème fraiche -
Or maybe the Chocolate truffle and salt-caramel tarte with hazelnut-espresso cream -
Or perhaps the Blue-cheese créme brulée with biscuit and Strawberry jam -
Other standouts of the year included several of the dishes from Véronique Drouhin’s Paulée in Beaune last month. Sea Scallops perfectly poached in butter over a bed of the most tasty sausage I’ve ever had was completely swoon-worthy – intensely flavorful and ridiculously delicious.
The Sea Bass Sashimi and Smoked Salmon with spicy Mango Gelée also rocked my world -
At this year’s La Paulée de Meursault I went nuts for the Lamb Shoulder cooked seven hours in its own juices, with Potatoes Confit in Goose fat. Oh my… (sorry, no photo – I ate it too fast!)
Closer to home, actually AT home, were some of the absolute best dishes and meals of the year. Martha & Pirrie’s garden in Carlton provided us some great pleasures of the table this year. Like these home-grown greens and potatoes with a nice grilled grass-fed hanger steak -
Or these gorgeous tomatoes & basil with mozzarella -
Back in Burgundy – it’s hard to beat the “great ingredients, simply & perfectly prepared” approach of the best French bistro cuisine – like this Duck Breast and Potatoes at La Ciboulette -
Here in Oregon, the dining scene around Portland and in Wine Country is more vibrant than ever. Some excellent newcomers in Wine Country this year – most notably Farm to Fork, Thistle, and Jory at The Allison, joining established faves Painted Lady, Tina’s, Dundee Bistro & Red Hills Provincial Dining. we are blessed to have these wonderful restaurants and talented chefs in our midst.
The list in Portland is practically endless – but in the past year we’ve especially enjoyed the aforementioned Le Pigeon, Paley’s Place, Laurelhurst Market, Urban Farmer, Park Kitchen, Beast, Sel Gris, Bunk Sandwiches and Metrovino – which is home to this outstanding Charcuterie plate -
OK – I am now officially hungry. Time to see what Martha has on the stove! Happy wine-ing & dining in 2010!