Archive for Culinary Institute of America

THE SILVERSPOON – BYOB

Posted in The Silverspoon with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by ballymote

 Along with my wine-drinking buddies, Gerry and John, we have scoured Philly’s Main Line for interesting BYOB’s for our monthly wine dinners. We are not quite sure how we missed the Silverspoon all this time but we are certainly glad we found it last Thursday night. It’s not like The Silverspoon is hiding, or that it’s location requires guide dogs and a new GPS. It’s located in the Eagle Village Shoppes on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, PA.

 On Thursday last, we were among several tables for our 6:00 P.M. seating. The restaurant has a pleasant, homey feel and our waitress, Caroline, welcomed us and provided us each with three wine glasses prior to opening our wines for the evening.

 As usual, we had some nice wines to enjoy with our meal. The very dark bottle on the left belonged to John. He has a tendency to bring very heavy, dark bottles because, apparently, someone told him that they LOOK expensive. This particular dark, heavy bottle was the 2006, Ehlers, “1886″ , Napa Valley, Cabernet. This one scores well on Cellar-Tracker (almost a 93 average) and was the heaviest wine of the evening showing great color and dark flavors that mellowed a bit as dinner progressed. Gerry brought the 2005, E. Guigal, Chateauneuf du Pape with its classic Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre combo that was drinking quite well with our meal. My contribution was the 2009, EnRoute, “Les Pommiers”, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir. Nice flavors on this one with evidence of tart cherries and baking spices with a nicely balanced smooth finish. The EnRoute Pinot Noir is made by the folks who make the excellent Far Niente wines. This one went especially well with each of my dishes.

 I almost feel a bit silly in raving over a $4.00 “starter” that was simply Sweet Potato Chips with a smoky blue cheese dip. These little tempting morsels of goodness were absolutely perfection on a plate. The chips looked so delicate and yet they held together well enough to absorb the “dip” which was out of this world. I seriously considered ordering a repeat and I have thought about this treat every day since we have been there. What a pleasant way to begin a meal!

    Gerry began with a Mushroom Bisque, seasoned croutons and an orange-fennel oil. He thought the soup was great. John had a dish of the marinated mixed olives. I have a picture of it but, seriously, it’s just a dish of mixed olives so use your imagination.

 If you thought I went slightly ga ga over the sweet potato chips (and maybe I did), you will find it hard to believe that my salad was, quite possibly, the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. That is an amazing compliment coming from me who was totally convinced that there were few things better on this earth than a fresh chunk of iceberg lettuce, with just the right amount of Maytag Blue Cheese dressing and smothered with tangy bacon bits and ripe tomatoes.

 This one at The Silverspoon was baby arugula, honey roasted pears, goat cheese and herb vinaigrette. Wow, I savored each fantastic bite of this salad. My entree had not even made an appearance and I knew I could go home happy from this dining experience.

 My entree was good. I know that sounds like faint praise after my starter and my salad but it would have been nearly impossible to surpass those two items. Had they not been so superlative, this sentence might have started  “my entree was really good.” I ordered the Hazelnut-crusted trout, red bliss potatoes, haricot verts, sherry pommery mustard sauce. The fish was tender and flaky, the mustard sauce a great enhancer of the fish and the potatoes and green beans good. If I might throw in a very minor complaint, I would have preferred a few more red bliss potatoes on the dish. I ran out of what was there long before my trout disappeared. John gave me some of his garlic fries which was a help.

 This would be where his garlic fries that he shared with me came from. It’s the Tender Baby Filet of Beef with port wine shallot and smoked blue cheese butter with exotic mushrooms and house-cut garlic fries. For some reason, John didn’t use the port wine shallot sauce or the smoked blue cheese butter through the first half of his meal. I think he was trying to “eat healthy”. When he gave in to temptation and added those items to his filet, I think he really enjoyed the second half of his meal. I know the fries were delicious.

 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Gerry was devouring his entree, the Lamb Crepenette (I heard Caroline describing what this was but it was lost on me), with green onion pureed potatoes and haricot verts. Gerry thoroughly enjoyed his dinner choice.

                Although none of us needed it, we ended our meal with a dessert, an espresso flavored Pot de Creme. It was rich and flavorful and left us with little room to breathe. All three of us were absolutely thrilled with our discovery of The Silverspoon. The menu is interesting and diverse and Chef Tim Courtney, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, should be rightfully proud of what he creates each evening at this excellent Main Line BYOB.

WINERY VISIT #4 – MAYO FAMILY WINES RESERVE TASTING ROOM

Posted in Food and Wine Lists, Info on Wine, Mayo Family Wines Reserve Tasting Room, Napa/Sonoma Winery Visits Oct 2010 with tags , , , , on October 14, 2010 by ballymote

The Mayo Family Wines Reserve Tasting Room in Kenwood offers a unique seven course wine and food pairing. Do not confuse this with their regular wine tasting room in Glen Ellen. The Mayo Family wines aren’t in the same class with our first three visits but our group was looking forward to this pairing and we arrived at the Sonoma location eager to enjoy our 1:00 P.M. appointment.

The cost for the Food and Wine pairing is $35.00 per person and the fee is waived if a certain amount of wine is purchased. Each course is prepared by Chef Max Porter-Elliott.

Max is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and his skills at matching food and wine are evident in the pairings. We started with Crab Salad, Whole Grain Mustard with Pumpkin Seed Brittle, this was matched with a  2006 Brut, Laurel Hill Vineyard, Sonoma and the match was spot on. Course #2 was Marin French Cheese Cous Cous Pearls San Andreas Gratin paired with a tangy 2007 Voignier, Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley. It was scrumptious. This was followed with AllSpice Apple Butter Sweet Potato Pork Dumpling accompanied by a 2008 Grenache, Judge Family Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. Many of our group chose this as their favorite pairing. The tasting proceeds at a comfortable pace and Chef Max entertains us with stories of his past life back on the East Coast. The 4th course is an O’Neil Farms Squash Truffle Ravioli Sherry Apple with a 2008 Zinfandel, Ricci Vineyard, Russian River Valley. The majority of us thought this zinfandel was the best of the wines served.

Next up we enjoyed the Smoked Pumpkin Soup, Chili Oil, Star Anise and Creme Fraiche served with the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Delaney Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. The next course was the Fruit Foie Preserve Fig Honey Compote which was paired with a wine which just recently was awarded Best of Class at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair, the 2007 Meritage, Los Chamizal Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. This was an excellent wine. Max shared with us that the final course was actually created by his girlfriend, so naturally, all of us declared this one to be our favorite just to see how he would handle the situation. We concluded with Cardomom Spiced Brioche Pears Pomogranate alongside a 2008 Gewurstraminer, Kunde Ranch, Sonoma Valley.

It was a nice substitute for a lunch-time burger and Max proved to be not only a very good chef but a personable guy who also gave us a great dinner recommendation in Sonoma. A very enjoyable visit and I would certainly recommend the experience to anyone planning a trip to Napa/Sonoma.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers