Thursday, December 28, 2006

christmas at the tropps

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Another long and boring blog entry involving me stuffing
my face and getting wasted.

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my friend jim and his wife helen was nice enough to invite me to their house for christmas dinner on the 24th, despite the fact that they actually have known me for a while. Having attending the labor day BBQ couple of years ago at their house, and through numerous conversation with jim at work, I know these guys don't fuck around when it comes to food and wine.

We started with champagne that had a splash of armanagac liqueur in it, and exchange greetings and all that crap (eight of us, all really nice people with the exception of me, of course). Once we sat down, the meal started with a mixed green salad. What impressed me about the salad was not the fact that it had edible flowers or italian ham in it, it was that the greens was perfectly dressed, right amount of dressing, each leaf nicely coated, and balanced amount of oil and acidity (I did see chez pains cook book on a shelf). Too often, in restaurants or home kitchens, you see perfectly nice lettuce drowning in god knows what. We had a bottle of pleasant Muscat with the salad.

Next was haddock filets poached in a shell fish broth with shrimps and crab meat. The flavor of the dish was really clean, everything in it tasted fresh. It was a good example of when you have nice ingredient, you just don't need or want to fuck with it too much. With this, we had a 87 chablis (Raveneau, I think) chaplet that was pretty incredible. I thought the mineral quality was not excessive, and the wine was quite aromatic behind the nutty smell on the nose. The wine was delicately balanced, and I appreciate it more as I think about it more. It was unforgettable.

Jim had wanted to serve squab, but the dude he thought he would get it from ran out of it. So he roasted new zealand rack of lamb with bacon, served it with french beans and potato gratin (the gratin was textbook, I have attempted to do this at home several times in the past, always fucked it up in varying degree). With the lamb, we had a what jim called 'parallel' tasting of st. julien. It was 94 Leoville-las cases, and 94 Leoville Barton. Both wines were quite elegant yet intense, still with noticeable but fine tannin, both were also still extremely dark purple. The Barton tasted more savory, while the las cases had lots more dark fruit character, I can probably on and on, but I know most people don't really care what I have to say about these wines (they can just read parker, or better yet, drink it and taste for themselves), but I really enjoyed every bit of it.

Before the cheeses were served, we finished both of the 94's. So jim opened a bottle of 82 La Lagune. After tasting it, he said this is probably the first 82 he has tasted that is ready, and he was right, the tannin has faded, and yet the currant-black berry flavor still huge. This wine was more fruit forward than the 94's, more ripe and powerful in comparison. It was a wonderful wine to enjoy with the stilton, asiago, buchron (a creamy goat, it may not have been the right name) and a vermont white cheddar we had.

I don't usually eat sweets, but helen's home made profiteroles were pretty great, we also had some store bought hazelnut tart or something like that that someone brought to the party.

Thanks again to jim and helen for letting me be part of their holiday celebration, and thanks for all the great food, wines and good times.

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