Holy shit! Here we are at the end of February and it dawned on me that I haven’t done my EDS January post. January and most of February was no joke in Lawyerland! It’s like they were trying to make me earn my paycheck or something! But extreme lawyering aside, we managed to squeeze in some good eats and drinks. The sights, not so much. Read on for Eat.Drink.See January 2020.
Vitello Tonnato at Café Fresco, Houston, TX
So I would have never ordered this is a million years on my own. I would have read the description and just gone right on by to the bruschetta, prosciutto, calamari or whatever other familiar appetizer I knew. Well thank goodness for eating with Italian food and wine experts who take the liberty of ordering and exposing you to something new! Vitello Tonnato (“veal with tuna sauce”) is a Piedmontese dish that consists of cold, sliced veal with a creamy mayonnaise-ish sauce. The sauce is made with eggs, tuna, anchovy, and capers. And I don’t even like anchovies! It is typically served cold or at room temperature and is popular during the summer. None of us at dinner had ever heard of this dish and we all loved it. It was just such a unique combo of meat and fish and creamy deliciousness. Hard to describe, but I will certainly order this the next time I see it on a menu!
Roast Duck Curry at Songkran Thai Kitchen, Houston, TX
Every time I eat Thai food and it’s so damn good, I always ask myself why we don’t have it more often. And so I was faced with the question once again. You can’t ever miss me with crispy skin duck. In this instance it came in a pineapple red curry sauce with tomatoes and had just enough heat (I asked for the lowest level). #DontJudgeMe. The curry was so fragrant and was quite rich and comforting with amazing flavors. Even more fabulous with an off-dry Riesling. Time to work more Thai food into the rotation.
Mesquite Smoked Kurobata Pork Belly at Killen’s Steakhouse, Pearland, TX
I’m still amused at the whole pork belly thing. As a kid, people ate fatty cuts of meat ‘cause it was cheap. It was what they could afford. Today, fatty cuts such as pork belly are a delicacy and are not so cheap anymore. I’ve had my share of fatty, gross pork belly (ratio of fat to flesh off, no crispy exterior, etc.) but in those instances when it’s done right, it is decadent stuff. This smoked version with a cherry-habanero glaze was off the charts! The smoke and the sweet with the crispy skin was just an amazing bite. We had a large group at dinner at it was literally feast or famine! Thing 2 tried to eat it all! He’s 7!
Fried Gulf Shrimp at State Fare Kitchen & Bar, Houston, TX
So let me start by saying that I’m not a big fan of fried shrimp. I love shrimp cooked pretty much any way other than fried. But when Mr. Corkscrew ordered these and insisted that I try one, I wasn’t that excited because it’s just a fried shrimp, right? Wrong. I don’t know what kind of batter they use, but these were seriously some of the best friend shrimp I have ever had. So light and flaky and so well-seasoned. Worthy of a do-over.
2017 Weingut Knoll Reid Kellerberg “Smaragd” Riesling, Austria (~$60)
That’s a mouthful, but let’s break it down. ‘Weingut’ means winery, so this is from the Knoll winery. ‘Reid’ refers to a vineyard designation and this one comes from the famed Kellerberg vineyard in Austria. ‘Smaragd’ refers to a classification. Austria’s Wachau has a 3-tier classification system – Steinfeder (less than 11.5% alc.), Federspiel (11.5–12.5% alc.), and Smaragd. Smaragd wines are the highest level and most sought-after wines of the Wachau. They have a minimum of 12.5% abv and are made from grapes with the highest level of ripeness and concentration of sugars. But these are not sweet wines. Rather, they have a richness to them and are great food wines. And if you don’t know what ‘Riesling’ is, we can’t be friends. Just kidding! All told, this one a was beauty. So much so that when I ordered it at the restaurant, the Somm literally ran out to my table and said to me “I had to see who was here!” He was shocked and thrilled that someone had ordered this non-mainstream, yet excellent quality wine. Just lil’ ole me. Such a gorgeous balance between ripeness and juicy acidity.
2016 Kistler Vineyards Laguna Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA (~$130)
I was fortunate to enjoy this bottle wine a group of wonderful wine friends over dinner. We were all eagerly anticipating opening it and it really lived up to our expectations. Kistler wines can be a bit of a unicorn as it is, but a single vineyard wine such as this is even more rare. This was so elegant and silky that it was damn near ethereal. We had six different wines at dinner and this was by far the standout of the evening. Dark cherry, earth, mushroom with great acidity and quite the lengthy finish. Such a treat!
NV Weingut Juris Brut Rose Sekt, Burgenland, Austria (~$18)
So another Austrian wine entry on my list. I bought this 2015 Juris Sekt on a trip to Burgenland a couple of years ago. It is crafted of 100% St. Laurent and the minute it touched my lips, I knew that I would be bringing some home! This one is full of wild berries and has a roundness in the mouth indicative of strawberries and cream. With how fruit forward it is, I’m surprised that it only has 3g/L of residual sugar. Just a beautiful wine all around which makes me sad that this is my last bottle. Now the point in including this particular wine, is to encourage you to try some Austrian Sekt whenever you see it. For a deeper dive on Austrian Sekt, check out my article here.
So yeah, I saw a lot of tax law in January. So far, February has been better.
See ya’ll (and hopefully in a more timely manner) next month!