Inspired by Halibut and the Farm Stand

August 13, 2010 1 comment

A welcoming sign

The early morning began crisp and clear.  And after a five mile run though what seemed tarragon scented breezes amidst the country roads of Mount Desert Island, bro-inlaw Mike and I cruised down the back streets to Beech Hill Farm.  Here the College of the North Atlantic provides a learning, working farm for students and their homework for sale at the farm stand.  When my family last vacationed here, our rental was but a 2 mile walk.  Now it takes us 5 minutes by car. Nevertheless the trees cleared as we entered the fields where fresh veggies and flowers spring to life.

Beech Hill Farm growing flowers

The car crunched its way into the parking lot and rested next to a bed of waist high flowers. Ordinarily, I like to study the produce varieties and visit with the clerk to understand the daily harvest. Time was short though my imagination was not.

Into the basket went two varieties of cucumbers strange enough in appearance to challenge conventional wisdom.  The first grew into a shepherds crook and presented a deep, thorny exterior that surprises on the initial grasp.  The second comes as an oversized horse pill near the size of a decent russet potato only shaded in pale yellow.  The dog eared lettuce was too exotic to pass up.  Carrots with their greens still attached, tangerine colored cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, and brown heirloom tomatoes also joined the basket.  A freshly baked peach pie from Little Notch Bakery and a small mysterious tub of cardamom ginger ice-cream screamed to be combined for desert, so out came the wallet.

Fresh veggies setting the context

At home we set the ingredients aside, collected our family and trucked down the road for another hike in Acadia National Park.  Today we set our sites on Parkman Mountain which features a challenging climb up one side a glorious views at the top.  The firetower on Beech Mountain looked down on us from a far just beyond Echo Lake.  Our plans for lunch centered on filling desires at The Docksider in Northeast Harbor.  After three hours up and down in the park we settled in with appetites that could swallow the bay.  Handmade, shaved onion rings were enjoyed with the sound argument that more calories were spent in those three hours that anything we’d eat that day.  Next came an array of sandwiches.  A bacon cheeseburger quickly vanished to my right as Primo unleashed the primal instinct.  My Hunney, Mike and Robin had no trouble with the fried Haddock sandwiches and Secondo quietly nibbled away on the grilled cheese. I saddled up to one of the last decent sized crab rolls made on the island.  It’s sweet, shredded meat delights the taste buds and well worth every penny.

The Pine Tree Market remains as is since we joined the summering crowd.  It keeps extremely busy and comes as one my favorite grocery stores: family owned; tightly packed with flavorful ingredients; local fair presides over the national brands; and small enough that two visits later you know on what shelf and on what isle everything is.  The young butcher and I held a contest over the weight in the tail end of Halibut filet in the case.  I suppose I emerged the victor when my guess of 2.25lbs was closer to 2.6lbs.  However don’t you want the butcher to be a better judge?  Anyway, our inspiration for the evening meal grew from the lovely dish at The Burning Tree only a couple nights ago.  Halibut with Green Peppercorn.

Halibut with green peppercorn sauce

So after an awaking glass of Hendricks gin with some slices from the crooked cuke, I set dinner into full motion.  The secret of getting cooperative volunteers is to begin cooking when the hunger begins to pitch.  Mike went to work on the charcoal grill. Robin assembled the salad with lettuce, tomatoes and those cucumbers.  My Hunney set the table.  Into the pan went whole carrots to slowly caramelize on medium heat.  Like the Lobster Mac’n Cheese, a blond roux formed in the bottom of one pot and milk with green peppercorns steeped next to it.  Once tender, rose wine deglazed the carrot pan and two tablespoons of Spiced Apple Syrup from McIntosh Farm (Madison, ME) rounded out the flavors.  The grill kissed the Halibut steak as it landed skin side up.  A few sizzling moments later and we’d flip the fish.  The peppercorn sauce came together with left over Brandy and mascarpone, seasoned with a few dashes of Tabasco.

Carrots glazed with spiced apple syrup

We sat moments later on the porch, candles lit with a gentle breeze from the evening washing away any memory of the summer heat in Texas.  We uncorked a bottle of rose called Sophia , a product of the Coppola family vineyard.  The wine not only fitted the meal with crisp, sustaining notes of apple.  It also reminded us of the Italian hunting dog of the same name we met at the pond on this same trip. Yes, this was a day in paradise seasoned with local flavors.  What sustains the memory of the dinner is the company that brought us together. Thanks Mike and Robin for sharing your summer get-away.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Lobstah Mac

August 11, 2010 4 comments

Table setting before dinner is served

I declare Savuer magazine one of the ultimate magazine for foodies.  Since it debuted, the editors showcased luscious picture after glorious article on treasures near and far.  Want to know the food festival schedules in the US? Turn to Saveur.  Ready to try something absolutely inspiring and delicious?  Turn to Saveur.  It is on this day that our hosts and family nudged an idea from the May 2010 edition of the periodical.  And since we find ourselves surrounded by lobster traps on all sides of Mount Desert Island, I succumbed to unfolding the recipe for dinner: Lobster Mac n’ Cheese.  Yes, ultra comfort food meats ultra luxury.  However, let’s not forget that in colonial times, the Pilgrims of Massachusetts considered lobster befitting only to prisoners.  Or maybe that’s just a telling difference between the varieties off the North shore of Cape Cod versus the perfect specimen from Maine.  Regardless, we filled the basket at the grocers in Bar Harbor with the necessary ingredients except the lobster.  No right thinking person would hand over hard-earned currency for shell fish in the shadow of lobster pots.  Instead, I found myself headed off island to Pectic Seafood in Trenton, ME.  Originally their store sat on Hall Quarry road but stone’s throw from Echo Lake just North of Southwest Harbor. With the increased traffic in the store, the family fishmonger moved to a bigger shop.

Lobster Mac out of the oven

As I studied the recipe, I noticed some immediate inconsistencies with our palate, so purists buckle up.  Even before testing the recipe, I decided alterations were necessary.  The match was obvious.  8 oz of lobster meat for 8-10 people means a shot glass of succulent for each serving. Unacceptable.  So for the four of us we doubled the protein and halved the carbohydrates.  Essentially, put a pot of water to boil to soften dried elbow pasta of your fancy and get busy with a blond rouge on the stove.  That’s the simple combination of equal parts of butter and flour in a pan over medium heat until the color gets to the shade of peanuts.  Like any good balsamella, add heated milk, just enough nutmeg, rich white cheeses (fontina and ) to form a viscous pot of love.  Since lobster stock or lobster base appeared out of reach we tipped a jar of clam juice to the mix.  Brandy and Tobasco set up the necessary dimension to the sauce.  Combine the mess together with fresh chives reserving a handful of the lobster for the garnish.  Into the oven to thicken and crisp.

Robin tossed local lettuces with hunks of heirloom tomatoes and her own special balsamic vinegar. At a candlelight table, we savored the meal with C.M.S, a delectable 2008 white blend from Columbia Valley Washington.  A new find for us, the vintner combines chardonnay, marsanne, and sauvignon blanc (hence the name) for an interesting multi-dimensional blend.  The chardonnay matched the weight of the dish and the sav blanc poke through with crisp notes of acidity. The evening broke with spoonfuls of local made blueberry pie softened with Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream.  Despite an easy day of window shopping my eyelids fell quickly, so off to slumber I climbed the stairs. We had a full day of hiking ahead. Thank you, Saveur, for tempting our palate.  We took the bait.

Categories: Gatherings, Travel

Burning Tree Burns Bright

August 11, 2010 1 comment

The Burning Tree restaurant in Otter Creek

Sunday meals should always occur as family gatherings.  And two our great enjoyment, My Hunney and I sat down with her sister Robin and husband The Reverend Mike at The Burning Tee located in Otter Creek, Mount Desert Island, Maine.  We followed Mike and Robin to the island on holiday more than 10 years ago and have returned many times since.  We can retell many stories about long hikes with clear views of Somes Sound, sneaking off to the Cranberry Islands, picking fresh blueberries in the Acadia National Park and emptying bottles and bottles of scrumptious wine.  This trip always represents our major reset button.  No internet access, no television and only two bars of mobile signal if you careen off the front porch, telescoping your arm as a primitive antenna.  The days fill with climbing the hills of the park, picking through produce at the farm stand, shuffling through magazines on the cooling porch, diving into novels and entering the cocktail hour as the first part to an evening of culinary delights.

On this day, we headed counter clockwise on the island loop to the Eastern side of the island. The Burning Tree represents one of those places you talk about years after dining there.  With a clear mission for stuffed squash blossoms, now an off the menu item, we arrived at sunset.  The restaurant itself shows its humble beginnings as a single family dwelling turned cozy restaurant.  Not more than 12 or so odd sized tables fit into the romantically lit rooms.  While Primo and Secondo enjoyed hamburgers at the Colonels on the other side of the island, we opened the evening with cocktails and two remarkable appetizers.  First the squash blossoms.  Inside of these delicate pockets make from zucchini flowers, sat creamy smooth goat cheese.  The ensemble is then tempura fried and served with a tomato relish.  It took several nose twitching conversations to make out the seductive spice.  Cloves flavors mixed with the natural sweet of the tomato flirted on our tongues like an early desert. Crunch, cream, sweet every bite glided down our throats.  And sips of Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay refreshing the palate in between.

Crunchy appeteasers

At the same time we enjoyed croquettes of scallop and shrimp. These dark brown balls had the appearance of oversized falafel and indeed matched the texture: hard candy like shell with mashed potato softness underneath.  However that is where the comparison ends. Shredded local scallop meat studded with small bits of shrimp formed the heavenly interior.  And we all debated the crust.  Could it be panko crumbs or just the familiar flour-egg wash-flour routine?  No matter.  Sometimes best not to ask the magician to reveal the secret.  The tell-tale vinegar signature of Tabasco laced the mayonnaise sauce paired with this.  Thankfully two orders were placed lest we surgically divided the remaining piece amongst us four.

The entrees of Halibut with Green Peppercorn Sauce, the Trout Almandine with Caper-Lemon Buerre Blanc, Crab cakes with hand-made Tartar Sauce, and Swordfish with Oven-roasted Tomatoes from the garden arrived soon after.  We left The Burning Tree completely satiated, impervious to temptation for desert.

And I now connect my love for macaroons with the texture they provide.  The croquets from this evening and the Scotch Egg with adorns the salad of Frisee with Truffle oil from that French bistro in Boston, the fried ball of risotto with boiled ham from the food stand in Naples, all arrive in the mouth in a similar fashion.  Now the question remains: how can I leverage this for something else?  Maybe it could be an evening of mystery with multiple choices all lying anonymously on a platter.  The possibilities are endless…

Categories: Travel

Fish Meet Fruit

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Big Eye Tuna special

Austin loves it’s sushi mecca, Uchi.  Not surprising that owner Tyson Cole opened another local further North called Uchiko.  The Austin American Statesmen can tell you the full story. Despite our passion for sushi, My Hunney and I have neither explored Uchi nor Uchiko.  Until this evening.  With Primo and Secondo tucked away at their cousins, My Hunney and I delved into the more experimental Uchiko.  The waitstaff all greeted us with enthusiasm and interest.  Where did we want to go?  Since we were on a date and enticed by alchemic flavors and textures, we trusted the Amanda to put a couple of appetizers in front of us.  The first sampling stood out as the most notable in the evening.

Cheff Paul Qui, brings sushi to a new level by pairing big eye tuna with seedless watermelon, seasoned with cilantro paste, big hunks of sea salt and Serrano oil.  It’s called Akami Te and yes, this combination works. The texture and sweet of the watermelon with the tuna (pink on pink) amazes the eyes and stomach.  The cilantro and spice add color dimension and enrich the dish appropriately. The salt plays foil to the sweet.  In culinary terms, this is the triple lindy perfectly executed.  Flavors, textures, colors harmonize. And while many dishes lay ahead, inspiration of fish with fruit overwhelmed the creative center of my brain.

Next up was fresh, raw sea scallops, tomatillo and almond-like tuile perched on top.  The next waiter in the rotation suggested scooping up each bite by removing the savory cookie and sliding underneath.  I tried three variations of eating, the last most successful.  Following instructions, I slide the cracker underneath and popped into my mouth with mollusk on top. Next came the cracker on top, tomatillo carrying the load to the palate.  In both cases, I missed the daring elegance of the scallop.  It played second fiddle to the other ingredients until I hit the jackpot combination.  With original instructions in mind, I used the firm form of the twill to lift the appetizer, only this time flopping all ingredients on the tongue.  Any proper sushi joint will inform it’s guest to put fish to tongue first and in this case, such instruction makes a critical case for tasting per the chef’s palette.  On this final bite, the depth of the scallop flavors rushed to the primal cortex of the brain signaling the eyes to roll back.  The tomatillo, like the grainy fruit from the first app surrounded the raw fish with imperious as the almond cracker broke it’s gentle crust.  Now that was what the chef intended!

And while I could wrestle with other flavorings of lemon and fresh Sardines or mackerel that could defend it’s honor in front of beef, I will leave you with this thought.  That night my palate left surprised and my imagination unleashed.  Where could fish go next?  What flavors, textures and colors await the perfect protein?  The boundaries have ever been dissolved.

Categories: Uncategorized

Sketching Flavors

August 8, 2010 1 comment

The Girl and the Fig

When on the road, I like to take note of how the chefs approach flavor combinations. A couple months ago My Hunney and I landed in Sonoma for a second cousin’s wedding. Surely, California weather, acres of vineyards and the breeze moving through Olive trees only serves to nudge me further in a good mood.  It’s a time when sunshine emanates from irrestible smiles.  The worries of the world remain tucked deep deep into the shadows and the surge of adventure is on the tip of the tongue. And so was that weekend.  We traversed many a restaurant, dug into creative menus, augered over what to select.  Let me offer just a few palate pleasers.

The Girl and the Fig sits catercorner off the main square in the city of Sonoma.  The simple typeface of the name and deep colors of the building arrested my attention that morning while I ran past, iPod on full blast.  Scanning the board next to the door, I recognized a place that would surely delight My Hunney.  So off we went for lunch later that day for a cheeseboard, a glass of the local white and conversation uninterrupted by restless children.  True to it’s name the Girl and the Fig concocts fig recipes with no boundaries.  The fig confit arrived on the tongue with a sweet sophistication to balance a camabert style goat cheese.  The cheesemaking style cooled the natural  tangyness and when paired with the caramelized fruit, angels could be heard blowing gently on trumpets overhead.  Thankfully My Hunney kept the camera off, because I am certain that my eyes rolled back more once.  And let’s not forget the perfectly crusty, miniature baguette, artisan hams and olives. It measured as one of the more notable items in the flavor sketch pad.  And I think the sensation only builds when the diners are invited to assemble their own perfect bite.  That’s the fun. The chef lays out a palette of tastes from her culinary labarotory. And as I shuffled through the small shop, the gears between the ears spun madly. What could go into such a jam?  What did she put?  What could I change? Could a hint of the southwest sneak into the dance? Would it be possible to dress up food from the garden of Eden in a sombrero? Why not try blending some chili paste from pasillas in the way that vitners ground a good bottle of red with earthy syrah?  Ah I couldn’t wait to get back to my kitchen studio to try.

View of Arrowood Vineyards

That same day we dashed over to Arrowood Vineyards to walk through their tastings.  Just to ground your knowledge, Arrowood bottled a Chardonnay in 1994 which sat on our table in Cafe Annie in Houston (now RDG / Bar Annie). I was on bended knee that evening, with a velvet box from Nacol and Co. broke open to reveal something sparkly to convince My Hunney to be a bride. So with clear purpose we saddled up to the tasting bar this trip. Instead of getting acquainted with the normal line up, Arrowood offered a selection of reserve cabs and some mesmerizing white varietals.  We signed the membership paperwork instantly, and slipped into a glass of 2008 Côte de Lune Blanc Saralee’s Vineyard.  The layers of tropical fruit and honeysuckle took us back to a wedding in Hawaii. So goes the power of good food: it floats memories up to the surface as needed. But that’s another story.

Our Cali trip ended after some shopping around Fillmore street.  The sky changed to an imposing gray and my hands kept the upper portion of  the blazer closed to the wind.  We found an early Mother’s day gift to wrap around My Hunney’s wrist and I was feeling bullet proof.  One more holiday tyranny slain: finding the ideal token of love and appreciation.  We slid down the hill to Pizzeria Delfina.  It earned several points hours prior as we drained their cash register of quarters to feed the meter.  At the time, the place was nearly empty as the lunch crowd had not awoke.  Upon our return, we found a two-top opportunistically near all the important sites.  Certainly pizza would fill our bellies and our eyes soaked up the sites.  A cook shucking oyster after oyster, a menu chalked onto the board, crisp white aprons taught around the servers as they sailed from station to station.  Now our turn.  We opted for two pizzas off the American palate.  No red sauces. My Hunney and I exchanged glances as we descended the menu.  We knew that sharing meant twice the fun, so we agreed on two pies: one with arugula (auto 100 points for My Hunney) and cured olives.  The second a ham and leek combo with a cream sauce.  Both came as specials.  My Hunney, Primo, Secondo and Aunt Mare dined on similar pizza in the Alsace.  Somehow the mellow mouthfeel of cream baked onto a canvas of pizza dough studded with onion and spring ham never tires.  In fact it only served to inspire.  No where to put that wood burning brick oven back in Austin?  Who to invite?  If you comment, I’ll be happy to put you closer to some of my own pizza inventions!

Pizzeria Delfina scores big!

Categories: Travel

Hiding the Caramel

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Years ago, My Hunney and I became addicted to Rum and soda.  We took an entire vanilla bean and soaked it into a bottle of Bicardi Anejo Rum waited a month, then poured into a rocks glass  with club soda and a healthy wedge of lemon.  What gave way was a heady aroma of cream soda without the cloyingly sweet finish. Quite the refreshing finish to a stroll around the neighborhood in the Houston heat. What occurs to me now, is how mysterious flavors find themselves expressed in different elements.

Flash forward to “guys’ weekend.”  When it came to the Saturday evening cocktail.  Paul scanned the selection of  possibilities in the liquor cabinet.  We usually pick our poison first and then find the mixer.  That day the Appleton Rum from Jamaica spoke to him. I quickly suggested a pairing of Pelligrino Lemon Soda.  Our son, “Secondo,” drinks the soda by the case load and I love just about anything Italian, so there’s usually some on hand.  The Italians posses remarkable sense of restraint when it comes to sweets, so the combination with the rum comes across not at all unlike the first cocktail. Clearly different, but the flavor elements are unmistakable.  Same notes; different song.

Now, you may ask, what about this blog?!  Let’s level set.  The caramel flavor emanated in both cases from the rum.  The lemon flavor added a new dimension and the bubbles add the necessary effervescence to complete the experience. Now follow me to last Saturday.  Normally, I look forward to the weekend to dabble with dinner.  However we ran short on time as other son, “Primo,” desperately needed a “look see” in Target.  Despite the limited evening to dine, a handful of limes lay on hand and a recent blog by my friend Matt provided an expose on Austin’s own Tacos and Tecquila.  Sure the restaurant introduced some mind bending thoughts on a pantheon of tequilas.  By Matt’s entry, I’m sure that Austin cabs get plenty of biz.

So as I combined both thoughts (caramel and tequila) I landed in some interesting places.  Surely rum has caramel almost built it because it originates from sugar cane.  So the Appleton and the Bicardi Anejo arrived properly seasoned. However, what would happen if we re-invented simple syrup?  Simple syrup is formed by equal parts of granulated sugar and boiled water. Why not add some brown sugar?  Brown sugar brings down the house in any oatmeal cookie recipe and gingerbread is terminal without it.  So into the microwave went 2 cups of water.  3 minutes later, I added equal parts of granulated sugar(1c) and dark brown sugar (1c).  It’s what I had… Okay.  Now onto the other parts of the cocktail.  Matt extoled the virtues of the fresh squeezing barkeep at Taco and Tequilas.  So with an ignorant eye, I pressed several limes into a measuring cup.  Now what to do.  Vexed by the choices, I took both paths. Sorry Robert Frost.  Americans have learned to have their Krispie Kremes and beer.  Or was that “cake and eat it, too?”

Anyway, intrigued by the aromas, we turned to tequila first.  The very aroma of the agave dirivative suggests a citrus explosion.  It begs for lime in the way that a BMW begs for 150+KM / hr (over 120 mph) when driven on ANY road.  If you have any doubt, just sit the cupped seats headed north on the A9 out of Munich. But alas, I digress.  Tequila suggests lime, salt and some sweet. If tequila were dropped from an airplane onto an indegenous tribe in the South Pacific, no doubt margaritas would emerge. Nonetheless, we tried a simple combination of equal parts tequila, lime juice, and the caramel simple syrup. Poured over ice, it did not quite satisfy. The Orange Curacao lay nearby.  That wasn’t the missing puzzle piece. Yes, orange flavor often dignifies a cocktail like a margarita (hence the triple sec) or a bloody mary (thank you, Paul for that). We went another direction: the way of the barbeque. Into the shaker went a slice of fresh jalapeno (watch the seeds). And something else Mexicans learned long ago: how salt improves beverages and keeps the flies away.

Reaching into the pantry, I found the small satchell of the Chihuahua smoked salt.  It awakens the concept of a flavor combination that many Texan rib joints evoke: smoky, sweet, spicy.  And considering the use of brown sugar in many dry rubs, I knew that I couldn’t be that far off.  Starting to seem like a convergence of Tex Mex and Tex BBQ. Into the glass went a drop or two of Curacao and two pinches of smoked salt. Aaaahhh.

Now for the second round…and more to My Hunney’s flavor palate.  Many months ago Wine Spectator editor published an interesting article about the resurgence of the hand-made daiquiri.  Since then we have enjoyed our fair share of the citrus, light rum and simple syrup combination. Chance tonight came to update the cocktail with the caramel syrup concoction.  Since we rely on Don Q Cristal rum as the house staple, a “repasado” style rum (clear, white), with caramel qualities only subtly appearant. So adding a caramel simple syrup made entire sense.  Again, into the shaker came equal parts of liquor, lime juice, syrup and a few dashes of Orange Curacao (NO salt!).  A few muscle flexing shakes later and into a lowball with ice, My Hunney was smiling wide and long.  Victory.  That’s when you know success lays at your feet.  When the delight of the ones you love comes from creativity and passion.

I invite you to explore hiding the caramel or finding it at least.  What can you make?  What delights you?  If you respond, I’ll send the exact recipe and suggest a few other ideas.  Just in time for the heady spice season of Autumn. Pumpkin pie in a glass?  It might just be possible.

Categories: Uncategorized

Flavors First

July 21, 2010 6 comments

 

Scrumptous appetizers

Sometimes a meal with close friends needs to rely on the simplicity of ingredients rather than culinary parlour tricks.  The obvious choice for this dude weekend was red wine, red meat and eyebrow-raising stories.  No turning back. Surely philosophy, science and art are on the discussion menu. But as for the flavor palette, we dug intothe purity of ingredients.  We began with appeteasers sourced from quality producers.   Impossibly creamy goat cheese, densely pink prosciutto from Parma, cheese from sheep who clearly grazed the mountains of Spain, black mission figs and coin sized crackers on which any possible flavor combination would sled onto the tounge.  True to the concept of Palette2Palate, everyone combined the flavors and textures to their immediate impulse.  Pair the salty richness of the leathery ham with the tender sweet of the fig?  Add a cracker this time?  Experiment with a goat cheese tower?  All fine. Like any well refined painting, the elements were compatible and complimentary.  Enjoy as a group or solo.  A bottle of Chalk Hill 2008 chardonnay brought clarity and purpose to the food showing not a bit of oak as intentended. Rather it exuded the sincerity of crisp fruit grown hillside over St. Helena in Napa Valley.  The tablescape was paired with white lillies and a prickly purple flowers to honor the  missing wife who humbly enables our two son’s passion out in California for this weekend.

Nevertheless, this meal was a celebration of long time friends who seldom gather in one place.  Grass fed ribeye steaks lay salted in repose with a sheen of extra virgin olive oil from Sicily.  Sweet potatoes were transforming into a gooey, sweet custard in the oven and peeled asparagus waited their turn.  The culmination was plated late into the evening, but long before the origins of the universe were discovered.  Paul decanted his 1973 Chatau Longueville Bordeaux into the chrystal vessel and we sat down to feast.  The grilled meat with built in sauce unfolded bite to bite. First a crispy end with packed with carbon and an oyster center.  Perfectly salted.  Then a scoop of buttered sweet potatoes.  A sip from the glass revealed how the wine was carefully dis-robing it’s flavor complex. At first tight apricot flavor and tawny color pervaded.  Slowly the wine matured in the glass with new flavors quickly blossoming. Tar and cocoa grounded the sharp fruit flavors bringing balance to the meal.  We ended with a 1983 Quinta do Infatado port.  Again this late bottle vintage arrived on the tongue with tawnyness, sweetness and a  damp musk beffiting the scholarly conversation. It was a grand evening on both flavors and friendship.

Categories: Gatherings