December 31, 2018 Lunch – PPI Chicken and Potato Casserole. Dinner prepared by Savor at Gruet
I actually had a busy day. I talked to clients until 11:00 when I finally ate a bowl of granola, yogurt, milk, and fruit salad.
I ate again at 1;30; heating a piece of Bobby Flay chicken from last night and some PPI Potato casserole for a warm meal.
I then worked until 4:30. After resting for about ½ hour we dressed in our Party finery. I wore a pair of grey pin striped suit pants, a grey shirt, a white Pringle’s sweater, and wore my wool dress overcoat.
Suzette was in black accessorized with Mexican silver jewelry.
We left for Gruet at 6:00 because we were told dinner would start at 6:00. When we arrived at 6;20 we were the last to arrive, took the last two chairs and were served just as the last persons were served the first course.
First course, was a soup course. I chunk of roasted pork belly that had been given a crust by acetylene torch on the miso smeared top and then garnished with radish slices, slices of scallion, a braised shishito pepper, and shaved bonito flakes, placed in a bowl of light Dashi pork broth in which floated two quail egg halves and an additional thin slice of radish. This was a very successful dish with a Japanese twist that started the meal with a lovely light soup course.
The Gruet family are specialists in making Blanc de Blanc champagne. As Laurent said, “This one was so good I put my name on it.”
It is hard to pick favorites with such a strong menu, but I loved the Japanese inspired soup. This was actually a combination of an appetizer and soup course. This meal used this and the dessert course to contract the classic French six course meal into four courses, which is highly sophisticated in its own right. This was the most creative and well executed meal prepared by Chef Stephen Ormsby of Savor catering I have tasted.
Second course – The second course was equally interesting, a deconstructed blini; lumps of wood smoked salmon garnished with lumpfish caviar served with two blinis, a slice of asparagus and two smoked raspberries on a plate smeared with crème fraiche. I constructed two blini by smearing the crème fraiche onto the blini and garnishing it with fish and caviar. Fun with food. This course was served with 2015 Vintage Blanc de Noirs. A rich 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay champagne aged in triage 36 months.
This was a fun way to eat fish course. A classic Russian offering except for the substitution of salmon for sturgeon.
Entrée – a tomato braised beef short rib served on a pile of mushroom risotto that was a little firmer and lumpier than creamy to my taste and garnished with fresh baby arugula tossed with truffle oil and shaved Parmesan cheese. I only ate about ¼ of this dish fearing its richness would cause me stomach discomfort later. Suzette did not eat all of her entrée and we requested that it be boxed to take home. The tomato sauce was very rich. With the addition of some Paprika it would have been a great Hungarian goulash. The short rib was so tender it tore apart easily with a fork. I liked this entrée very much.
It was served with Gruet’s 2014 Reserve merlot aged 23 months in oak, which produced a super smooth tasting wine.
Dessert – dessert turned out to be my favorite dish. A rich thick pistachio Infused tart crust filled with a ¾ inch filling of lemon flavored creamed goat cheese and drizzled with orange honey and topped with a red beet tuile. This was also a creative combination of a cheese course with dessert. This course was served with about two ounces of Cuvee Danielle Grand Rose Vintage 2014. This is a well balanced wine that combines 90% Chardonnay champagne aged en tirade three years with Pinot Noir aged in oak for 1 year. This Gruet’s most expensive wine at $39.00. I find myself liking this wine’s complexity and unusual balance between lightness of champagne and the heaviness of a still wine.
We were seated at a table with three other couples. I sat beside Lisette, an RN who moved to Albuquerque with her husband Ben 1 ½ years ago.
Ben makes wine and beer and is an engineer at Sandia. They were an interesting young couple. There was so much ambient sound in the room that I could not talk to the other two couples.
We arrived at 6:20 and dinner was completed about 8:30, so reasonably relaxed with lots of wine.
The cost of this dinner including all the wine was $90.00, which is a super bargain given the quality of the food. These days I suspect it is only possible with Winery support by providing the wine for free or at cost.
I hate wine dinners where the dinner must bear the cost of the wine. They are either too expensive or cut corners on food quality and invariably include the lowest cost, entry levels wines.