Friday, July 17, 2009
On occasion, I suffer from bouts of irrational exuberance and poor judgement calls. Which is the case with this wine. A 3$ bottle of Burgundy? I've got to try that...actually, I wish that I hadn't. This is possibly the worst wine that I've ever had. Stay away from it at all costs. You would be better off drinking Listerine. It tastes better. Nose of funky, unripe strawberry. Oak and non-descript red fruits in the mouth, along with unbalanced, stinging acidity. Absolutely terrible. Plonk. Stay away at all costs. This wine will haunt me for years to come. F
In other news, I had to go to Minneapolis this week for work. Since I ended up having a lot of time to kill due to flights, I got to check out the city, which seems all right. It's bigger than I thought that it would be, and the weirdest thing is that so much of the city is inside. Due to the cold winters, a lot of the buildings are connected by sky bridges...which if you ask me, is kind of strange. It also has the effect of "hiding" a lot of the city. Even though everyone seemed to be outside because it was so nice, I felt like I missed a lot of it. Just like LA, there's a lot that you might miss out on if you're not a local.
I got to go to a couple of good restaurants, which were both good. The first, 112 Eatery, is owned by chef Isaac Becker, who has won a couple of James Beard Awards for Best Chef. Great atmosphere; I didn't feel uncomfortable in jeans, sitting at the bar reading a book. I had a few dishes: scallops with oyster mushrooms and truffle oil (perfectly cooked), Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with a Chipotle Cream Sauce, Asparagus with a crawfish sauce, and a Butterscotch Budino. The food was flawless, and well done, if perhaps a little "dated." I guess that food in general is never really new, just riffs on old ideas, but still, scallops and truffle oil are very 2004. They were tasty though, so I'm not complaining. I think I'm just jaded. Amusingly enough, the bartender recommended the Butterscotch Budino to me...but had never heard of Mozza, which at least for me, is the contemporary birthplace of the budino. Given that the menu calls it "Nancy Silverton Butterscotch Budino," chef must have had this in mind too. Good, but not as good as the Mozza one, and missing the key--the rosemary cookies. Also had a very pedestrian and not too great Rioja (2007 Viña Herminia), which was missing all the snap, acids, and earthiness of a great example...it was flabby and one-dimensional. The glass of Montes Malbec was better. Nice and peppery. Overall, a good restaurant, and let's face it--for 93$ with tax, tip, food, etc, it's a bargain. In LA, I'm guessing the same caliber would have been about 20-30% more.
The second restaurant that I went to was the Chambers Kitchen, where the menu was created by Jean-George. Minneapolis also has a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, called 20.21. Who knew that Minneapolis was the newest destination for celebrity chefs? Anyways, the Chambers was a cool space, if perhaps trying too hard to be cool. Lots of throbbing house beats, white leather, you get the picture...anyways...the food was excellent. Joshua Nudd is the actual chef (come on, let's be honest, it's says Jean-George, but you don't really think he's there do you?). I had a warm beet salad with hazelnuts, lemon, and yogurt, and roasted salmon with a pea puree, fennel, and a yuzu butter sauce.
The salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious. Same with the beet salad. The cooking was refined and elegant. The plating of both dishes was great. Had a very nice glass of 2008 Willamette Valley Riesling by Dr. Bergstrom too. Definitely less expensive than LA. Great bread, nice macaroons to end the meal and a bargain at only 48$. Of course, since I was there on work, I got to expense it (same with 112), so it was basically free (I guess I did have to spend two days in Minneapolis).
Lastly, I came across these products in Target, and well, I don't know why they would name them like this. I just had completely different thoughts.