I'm writing this fresh off of what was one of the better nights of dining that my wife and I have had in a while. I was lucky enough to get us seats at the new "Dorm Room Dinner" series at 33 wine bar in Lafayette Square. For the uninformed, this is a series of dinners where guest chefs from around the city prepare a 5-course meal for 2 seatings of about 20 people each. This doesn't sound too off the wall, until you learn that they can only use cooking implements that would be allowed in a dorm room....such as a microwave, hot plates, and a toaster oven. The guest chef last night was Kevin Willmann, from Erato in Edwardsville, IL. Simply put, I was blown away by what this dude could do. Last month, it was Josh Galliano from Monarch, who also knocked it over the fence. Josh's menu was very pork-centric, while Kevin's was more seafood-driven. My favorite dish was sauteed cajun-style prawns with local sweet corn and tasso. They were ridiculous, and I look forward to going across the river to visit his restaurant. I'm sure others will wax in a much more poetic fashion at stlbites.com.
I think what made the night so fun was that all the elements were there- great food, great wine, really interesting company at our table, and seeing a lot of the people that I like, enjoying themselves. My wife even told me that, for the first time in a while, she didn't think about her job, my job, or anything else. We just relaxed and had fun...oh, and saw a huge possum walk across the back fence of the outside patio.
The wines we drank:
2001 Domaine Zind Humbrecht "Rotenberg" Pinot Gris-
If you were to give this wine to a soccer mom from Maplewood, and tell her it was the same grape that is in the pinot grigio she slugs down at Olive Garden, she might spit it out on you. This is rich, extracted, minerally, and flat out delicious. DZH has been around for a long time, and create wines that are almost obnoxious in their body weight and spicyness.
2007 Heaven and Earth Pinot Noir Boheme Vineyard-
Well, James Laube sure liked it (he's a critic from Spectator), as he gave it 97 points! This was a delicious bottle of high-octane (14.5% alcohol) pinot noir. It was really interesting that, upon opening, it had a grilled meat note that gave way to cherry cola notes and fresh berries. We were fortunate to get a bottle, as there were only 292 cases made. Good choice, Jeff!
2003 Mitolo GAM Shiraz-
I like drinking older shiraz, as it shows that the wine really can age. This one was dark, brooding, with velvety tannins and a iron fist of a finish. We probably should have drank (drinken, drunk, I don't know the word to use here...) it with food, but the beautiful night called for it alone. Many appologies to the couple sitting next to us that we offended with our rather candid comments about what was evidently their favorite wine (not the wine we were drinking- our group didn't care for another wine that we were talking about, and the table next to us tried to defend it.) Oh well, can't win them all.
Until tomorrow, Cheers! and don't fry bacon in the nude.