Weekend Eats & Sips

bar at lucques

This past weekend was full of pleasant bites and sips. It was nice to splurge after such a long long time of un-splurging. I'm pretty good with keeping my spending in check but also a spurty type (you can probably tell from my kitchenware purchases). But once in a while it's ok to to actually go out and eat something delicious. Or even many things.


Aftering catering in the early afternoon and kickin back for a few hours, I headed over to AOC for a late dinner to meet a friend who was back in town. A friend who was also 40 minutes late! But I fared pretty well for those 40 minutes, nibbling on the complementary baguette, harissa and cured olives, and staring at the 50 bottles or so of wine in front of me.

I started with a glass of Domaine des Vieux Pruniers Sancerre, produced by Christian Thirot-Fournier. I didn't get a look at the bottle but I did drink it with immense satisfaction. Sancerre is an AOC designated white wine from the Loire Valley and named after the town Sancerre. It is produced in 15 villages and typically made with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes [answers.com]. I'm not really wine-adept so I'll go with an easy scale: Swoon, Good, Bad & Ugly. This was Good.

{still waiting for friend}

At my rate of drinking and waiting I could have gotten drunk by the time she got to the restaurant. So I moved on to a red, Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas (Rhone) to go with my order of Chicken Liver Crostini. The chicken liver is processed to a spreadable texture then topped with crispy pancetta and frisee. This was really delicious and perfect with the red. Good to both!

{waiting... finally she made it!}

Then we ordered Panko-d Favas with Bottarga Aioli, Steamed Fingerlings with Creme Fraiche, and Squash Blossoms. The favas were perfect for nibbling although I couldn't really taste the bottarga and didn't know what it was supposed to taste like either. Bottarga, an Italian delicacy, is basically dried salted fish roe, usually tuna. Maybe Surfas carries this.

You can't go wrong with steamed fingerling potatoes. Especially with creme fraiche and chives all over it. Yum, I've made this dish at home and it is serious good eating. So the squash blossoms were my first! These blossoms are really beautiful and even when they are deep-fried. The golden, crunchy light batter still shows the flattering silhouette of the flowers.

A slice of aged goat cheese entertained our buds before delving into dessert. We shared a Bittersweet Chocolate Tart while I sipped on my last drink of the night, a sparkling wine from the Loire valley. This tinted bubbly was a bit too sweet for my taste. I shoulda asked, durr.

It was a pleasant night of light grazing and sipping but I'm sad I missed out on some of the Winter dishes however. See that's what happens when I keep putting off restaurant dining. The menu changes! Poo.


a bubbly to tease palate... prosecco

A small group converged for my friend E's birthday to be celebrated at Silverlake Wine Co's Sunday wine tasting. The tasting focused on wines of the Piedmont region in Italy.

1. Fantinel Prosecco NV
2. Renzo Castella Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba 2004
Chicken Liver Crostini w/English Pea Puree
3. M. Marengo "Valmaggiore" Nebbiolo D'Alba 2003
Lentil Cake with Cured Boar & Red Wine Aioli
4. Silvio Giamello "Vicenziana" Barbaresco 2001
Black Rice w/Roasted Flank
5. Braida Moscato d'Asti 2005
Strawberry Mousse

moscato w/many letters on its sleeve

I really enjoyed the Prosecco, which isn't a Piedmont wine but just a starter for the night, in addition to the reds. The accompanying bites were good and the chef (didn't get his name) worked well in that little tiny space behind the bar. But the chicken liver crostini of course was up for comparison since I had AOC's the night before. AOC won. I enjoyed the black rice and the cured boar.

Boy and I separated from the group after the tasting for a previously scheduled Sunday Supper at Lucques. We got there a bit early and so started on a bottle of Joseph Swan Pinot Noir. A definite Swoon with delicious aroma, flavor and color. I didn't realize the bottle was totally turned the wrong direction when taking the picture though! Oops.


The menu for 2006.05.21 read as such:
*james birch's wild asparagus with jamón serrano, cornbread and whole grain mustard
*sautéed petrale sole with first-of-the-season corn, fava beans, squash blossoms and crushed morel butter
*grilled niman ranch culotte steak with potato salad, grilled spring onions and rouquefort
*warm banana cakes with caramel sauce and buttermilk ice cream

The starter was great! Crusty on the corners cornbread, salty strips of serrano ham, delicious spring asparagus, and whole grain mustard mixed with tangy creme fraiche. So frickin good. I got the sole which was also good but not better than the culotte steak which Boy got. I resisted getting the beef dish since I had been loading up on the meats and fats lately. But the abundance of vegetables in the sole dish pleased me much though.

I left Lucques very full and imbibed from the whole day and fell straight asleep as soon as I hit the couch. I probably won't drink so much wine next time because I felt a headache coming on. A generous half bottle and under please. But I was good and drank lots and lots of water before going to sleep. All in all, a nice weekend.


briana said...

Oh, yum. Quite the *Suzanne Goin Weekend* you had...

justinsloe said...

the girl from Seoul got sole

as James Brown would say, "I got soul and I'm super bad!"

yoony said...

i'm not from seoul and "seoul" is two syllables - seo + ool. but i am super bad.

justinsloe said...

true, but I'm a silly man