Happy New Year!
My apologies for not posting in over a week–the holiday period for me is always a blur of friends, food and various wines. This year was no exception and fortunately I remembered to write things down and even took some pictures. So, before I get back to some more serious posting, a montage of sorts:
(Above: Tacos al pastor at El Castillito on Church Street. Tamales are the traditional Christmas food among the Mexican-American community in California, but we were short on time and couldn’t get to the Mission to track down Virginia, the Tamale Lady. So instead we settled for the killer al pastor tacos at El Castillito, which are among the best in San Francisco.)
We had friends over for an orphans’ Christmas, which included an excellent southern Italian fish stew (good recipe here at the Chronicle) and, of course, some awesome wines: a fresh 2006 Verdicchio di Matelica from Colle Stefano (made from organic grapes); the amazingly structured 2006 Clos des Briords Muscadet from Marc Olliver (I liked this vintage so much I bought a couple magnums to age); and the truly delicious Pierre-Marie Chermette 2006 Cuvee Traditionelle Beaujolais–made from a selection of older vines. We also watched two of the best ever Christmas movies, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Die Hard”. Ho-Ho-Ho.
We celebrated Christmas Day over in the East Bay, cooking up a storm in the process.
(Above, the standing rib roast after I had seasoned it two days before. When cooked, it was juicy and bloody rare. Yum!)
(Above, the Roman winter green, puntarelle. After having a killer rendition of this classic Roman specialty at Pizzaiolo in Oakland, we had to give this one a go. Simon’s mom scored it at Monterey Market in Berkeley; it’s also starting to turn up in restaurants all over the Bay Area, so keep an eye out for it. Oh, that bottle of Brachetto d’Acqui was just sitting there–it’s not really something you’d want to pair with puntarelle. Ouch!)
(Above, a lemon tart that Simon made. He’s a dessert god, and among the many awesome things he baked for the holidays was this refreshing and delicious lemon tart.)
(Above, the Christmas wines. Both the 1996 Cascina Morassino Barbaresco and the 1997 Chateau Leoville Poyferre St. Julien were showing great and paired well with the prime rib; the 1998 Violot Guillemard 1er cru Pommard smelled lovely and floral, but felt thin on the palate. Shame. But oh well, we drank it all anyway.)
Lastly, my New Year’s Champagne of choice was Marc Hebrart’s Cuvee de Reserve Premier Cru Brut from Mareuil-sur-Ay. There are many grower-Champagnes that I really like, and this one has jumped pretty high up the list. Really, really good stuff. Check it out!