Monday, May 31, 2004

Sunday Dinner

On a three-day weekend, the middle night calls for a nice dinner. I have all day to work on it, and there's a day afterwards to recover. Melissa eagerly agreed to my suggestion of a Sunday dinner. She's very amenable.

We started with a simple salad of mixed greens, blanched and salted almonds, ricotta cheese (left over from the beignet filling), and dried cranberries. The whole thing was dressed in a tomato vinaigrette. Fairly straightforward, but it worked nicely and helped deal with the "mixed greens" bag we got from our produce box.

I planned the the main course more carefully. I decided to cook a duck breast, so that was the starting point. A citrus sauce seemed promising since duck and citrus work nicely together, but citrus can overpower wines so I decided to go for something a little earthier and less over-the-top acidic. I started with a basic tomato sauce, which I made with garlic, diced tomatoes, and fresh oregano. After I reduced the liquid a bit, I ran the whole sauce through a food mill, which produces a silky purée. It was still a bit coarse for what I wanted, so I pushed this purée through a fine-mesh strainer (the goo left on top of the strainer went into the tomato vinaigrette on the salad). That left me with a flavorful tomato/garlic/oregano juice.

I planned to just ladle it over the plate, but I figured that would leave me with a sea of red, so I decided to add some color in the form of pesto. I actually made a "pesto oil" by making some pesto and then taking a small portion of that and diluting it in oil.

Finally, the side. My original idea was mashed potatoes, piped into a mound with the duck breast fanned out against it. But it seemed silly to buy any vegetables when we still had vegetables in our produce box, including some beets and the rest of the cabbage I used the other night. I roasted the beets and braised the cabbage to make a small "salad" which allowed me to prop up the duck breast. Melissa argues that this "eastern European-Italian fusion" thing didn't quite work. I'm inclined to agree with her. The tomato sauce and pesto was phenomenal with the duck, but the beet was an odd note.

Our wine was the 2002 Les Vigneaux Cabernet Franc from Andrew Rich in Oregon. Our wine club featured this bottle in a recent shipment. It had a nice fruitiness, as well as that brambliness that I dislike in the Cabernet family (Cabernet Franc is one of Cabernet Sauvignon's ancestors). It had a great level of acidity, however, and a nice long finish which let the fruit and acidity linger. It worked well with the food, the brambliness I don't like nonetheless playing off the herbal and vegetal flavors in the food. Again, though, the beet didn't quite work with the wine.

Definitely a dish I'd repeat, though without the roasted beets.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Cooking Out of the Box - Recent Experiments

Our produce box contained cherries this week, and I decided to make cherry & goat cheese beignets, an idea adapted from Art Culinaire. Their version is "sour cherry and goat cheese beignets", and clearly a dessert item. I made mine savory by modifying the filling somewhat.

The beignet dough in their recipe is analogous to pie dough, but features cream cheese and a bit of butter, not butter and shortening or whatever you put in your pie dough (yes, true lard is the best, but also hard to find). It also has baking powder to give the dough some lift. To assemble, roll the dough into two rectangles. On one, pipe the goat-cheese mixture (goat cheese + ricotta + salt to taste) into little mounds. Top each mound with some cherries, which have been cooked down in a bit of sugar and vanilla. Brush beaten egg onto the other rectangle, lay it on top of the dough/cheese/cherry assembly, and then cut in between the goat cheese piles. Press to seal, and you're ready to deep-fry.

One can not live on beignets alone (though one is occasionally tempted to try), so I also served some monkfish, which I seasoned with salt and lemon, wrapped in cabbage leaves (also from the produce box), and then steamed. I had hoped that the cabbage leaves would cling to the fish, making pseudo sushi rolls when I cut through it, but that didn't happen, so I just laid the leaves on the plate as a bed for the monkfish. I topped the monkfish with a sage beurre blanc sauce, which used the sage from a "mixed-herb" packet in the box.

For dessert, we had vanilla ice cream topped with produce box peaches.

All in all, a satisfactory way to use up some of our produce box shipment. I feel like we're getting more into the swing of things, planning dinners for the few nights after the box so that we use up as much of the ingredients as possible. Some still goes to waste, but that amount is getting smaller.

To accompany dinner, we drank Tablas Creek's 2003 Rosé. The winery only makes a small amount of this Rhone-variety rosé, and it's always well-liked, a perfect wine for the summer. My tasting notes mention the deep color, the aromas of strawberries, flowers, and tomatoes, and the searing acidity which hangs around for much of the long finish.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Two years ago, Roxanne Klein opened a restaurant in Larkspur. This wouldn't have excited much comment, even with Chef Klein's multimillionaire husband Michael Klein footing the bill. But because Roxanne is a high-end restaurant serving vegan raw food, it caught the attention even of jaded Bay Area foodies.

The raw food movement's claims smack of pseudoscience, complete with vast lists of health benefits from allowing the food's "wild" enzymes to break down the food so your body doesn't have to. Whatever; how is the food? The novelty attracted lots of press, but writers also raved about their meals. I was never sure how much was hype and how much was truth (after all, The French Laundry is super-hyped and phenomenal). We decided to take our vegetarian friends Hans and Mark so we could all celebrate their wedding in February and the prestigious fellowship Mark won recently. Mark has dabbled some with raw food, and has been preparing dishes from the Raw (un)cookbook we gave them for Christmas.

Even with the advance research, none of us knew what to expect as we pulled up to the simple wooden structure. Would we be served plate after plate of crudités? How much variety would there be? Could there be, really? As we drove there we discussed the items that we wouldn't see. No bread. No dairy. No grains. No coffee. (though, see dessert) And of course, nothing cooked beyond 118° Fahrenheit.

We sat down in the elegant but not formal dining room, and perused the list of aperitifs: various New Age-y drinks with names like "Unwind" and ingredients like ginseng and fruit juices. I was surprised none of them offered wheatgrass shots. Hans ordered the Unwind, Mark the Diamond Mind. Melissa and I each got the Orange Jewel. The Orange Jewel tasted like an elegant liquid orange creamsicle. We all enjoyed the flavors and the texture and found the aperitifs refreshing.

While we enjoyed the aperitifs, I perused the wine selection. Roxanne's extensive wine list leans towards lighter and food-friendly wines. There is a section of Cabernet Sauvignon, which strikes me as inappropriate. I can't imagine drinking such a heavy wine with such lightweight food. The wine list pairs well with the restaurant's philosophy as well and highlights wine from producers who make an effort to be organic. I chose a 1998 Salomon Spatlese Riesling to start, which prompted the sommelier to have an amiable chat with me about Salomon's wines. He asked if I had tasted older vintages of Salomon before (I had, once), and told me that the wine I ordered was one of Michael Klein's favorites. The wine had passed into that more mature phase of riesling where the wine acquires petrol aromas and becomes more unctuous. Heavenly, and the slight sweetness complemented the cuisine nicely. For our red wine, we consulted with the sommelier, and he suggested three wines which were particularly good at that moment and met our criteria (light, no oak) and price range. We chose the 2002 Failla Pinot Noir, which was everything a Pinot Noir should be: cherries and flowers and earth and balance. Truly a stunning wine which captivated all of us as we drank it. (Failla is partly owned by Ehren Jordan, Larry Turley's wine maker).

We decided to do the chef's tasting menu, which required that everyone at the table had to want it. This is not uncommon, but it annoys me, perhaps because I have lost the opportunity to try some tasting menus because not everyone at the table agreed. We didn't need to work hard (at all, really) to convince Hans and Mark.

The kitchen sent out an amuse-bouche, a watermelon granita (think snow cone for a textural image). Hans quipped that they start you with something cold so that you'll find later dishes relatively warm. The texture of the granita was very even, with ice that was just the right level of coarseness. The watermelon flavor was well-balanced, neither subtle nor overpowering.

The first course was "almond cheese with pistachio, fennel and kumquat marmalade". The nut "cheese" Roxanne's makes is a staple ingredient, and a time-consuming chore if you want to prepare it from her book. This was a simple log of it, and the texture was reminiscent of a smooth young goat cheese, though of course it had a pronounced almond flavor. It had been rolled in fennel seed and crushed pistachios, which complemented the flavor nicely and added a nice textural contrast. The kumquat marmalade was the tiniest little quenelle I've ever seen, a perfect peaked oval with a base the size of a dime. It was sharply acidic and intensely flavored, which offset the slight sweetness of the cheese. The dish was served with two "crackers" which seemed to be compressed and dehydrated flax seed (dehydrators are used in abundance at the restaurant).

After this was their "bento box", four small treats served on four square plates set into a larger chaser ("our fine china bento box," said our server). The lower right was a small bowl of a miso soup with wakame, a type of seaweed. The upper right was just a few leaves of Kaisou, a delicate seaweed ("sea vegetable" said our server, perhaps worried about frightening us with the truth), accompanied by a cilantro sauce (a purée, one imagines) and herb shoyu (soy sauce). The upper left was "sushi rolls" featuring chopped parsnips and other vegetables. I heard her say the kitchen uses chopped parsnips to emulate the texture of rice, but that didn't really register until I ate a roll. These were tiny, tiny cubes. They felt even smaller than a brunoise. Sharp knives in that kitchen. Finally, the bento box featured a daikon radish "ravioli" filled with more nut cheese that was also used in the accompanying sauce. This was the bite that really stood out for us on this plate: paper-thin slices of daikon radish pressed together with liquid "cheese" in the middle.

The next course showcased the extremely fresh produce Roxanne's hunts down or grows at the gardens at the nearby Klein household. The "heirloom tomato carpaccio" featured three razor-thin slices of tomato (cut by hand we later learned, not by mandoline as I guessed). One tomato had a pesto of some form on top, and that was used to anchor a small Early Girl tomato. They cheated slightly on the last; they blanched this small tomato to help peel it. The sommelier assisted with service to some degree and sprinkled our plates with olive oil. The olive oil comes from 400-year-old trees. It is sold to just five restaurants in the country, we were informed. It was intensely flavorful, with loads of peppery spice. The tomatoes had a sharp acidity, though they did not conflict with the Pinot Noir we had moved to by this point (of course, Pinot Noir has its own acidity which is why I opted for it). The flavor was intense, unadulterated tomato. With tomatoes like this, I had to agree that cooking them in any way would have been a shame. That is the basis for caprese salads, after all.

The marinated portabella mushroom with creamed corn, green garlic, and celery hearts was perhaps my favorite dish. The thin strips of mushrooms were warm, heated in a marinade that was presumably at the restaurant's maximum of 118. The corn's sweetness offered a nice counterpoint to the spicy earthiness of the marinated portabella, and the single celery heart was a burst of celery flavor.

Before the "main course", the menu featured a palate cleanser of four leaves of Little Gem lettuce, each nestling some avocado, grapefruit, and "Thai herbs": basil and one other I didn't recognize. A wonderful change, but neither Melissa nor I tried to drink our wine with it. She skipped it altogether, and I drank water between bites and sips of wine. We were worried that the grapefruit's tartness would overpower the wine.

Our server told us that our entrée would be "cannelloni" with "shells" of thin strips of zucchini and a stuffing of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. The plate was garnished with a tiny sprig of garden spinach. I don't know why they differentiate this plate as the entrée. It was not a more intensely-flavored dish than its predecessors. It wasn't any weightier. It would make more sense to not affix any label at all.

The two desserts made for a tricky wine pairing. The first was "First of summer" berries with vanilla bean cream (I don't remember what the base for the cream was). The second was a chocolate brownie sundae with fresh bananas and candied nuts. The wine director suggested a Banyuls, which at least didn't clash with the berries but of course went marvelously with the chocolate.

If you know how chocolate is made, that last dessert might give you pause. To make chocolate, you start by roasting cacao beans at temperatures far and above 118. Our friend Mark said the Raw book has some chocolate recipes which are prefaced with the simple sentiment that chocolate isn't raw, but it's damn good. I guess there are limits on what the Kleins will give up (I also remember quotes by Roxanne herself saying that sometimes she eats a steak).

Both desserts were quite good, continuing the trend of simple, pure flavors integrated into a synergistic whole that defined our meal.

I asked if we could tour the kitchen, and the wait staff graciously agreed (though the downstairs, where one finds the bank of dehydrators, was too busy on a weekend night). The kitchen was an interesting experience. No heat (a single high-end hot plate does the minimal heating for the whole kitchen). No stoves. Just a line of chefs assembling ingredients on plates. Melissa also noticed that there weren't the normal cooking smells one finds in a kitchen. We chatted a bit with the chef de cuisine, a CIA graduate. I asked him how he had adjusted from his CIA training ("you mean at the anti-CIA that is Roxanne's" he asked). He offered a predictable response: "it's challenging. it's different. you learn a lot about ingredients."

All in all, I summarized our meal as "interesting, very good, and surprisingly varied". The flavors were often intense, but well balanced, with elements that complemented each other nicely. Each plate's features harmonized nicely. I recommended it to some co-workers who have been interested for some time. It's a restaurant I'd go back to, though I'm not about to switch over to a raw lifestyle.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

IMBB 4: California Risotto

Pim's suggestion of a rice dish for "Is My Blog Burning?"'s fourth incarnation coincided nicely with the latest issue of Art Culinaire. Among their many scrumptious recipes, they have an idea for risotto wrapped in prosciutto. Yum.

Risotto has a special place in Melissa's and my relationship. When we first started dating, it was my signature dish, and she loved it. I made it a lot. I have lots of good dishes now, but I still consider my risotto one of my best. Wrapping it in prosciutto (line a bowl with prosciutto; spoon in risotto; fold in edges of prosciutto) was a nice addition to a dish that embodies for us comfort and warmth. It adds fat and salt and, in theory, a nice presentation.

With of lot of mental leaps, I decided I wanted to do the California incarnation of the classic Risotto al Barolo, risotto in which a portion of the broth is replaced by Piedmont's king of wines, Barolo. Those of you who know Barolo will know that this is only cost-effective in Piedmont itself. My California incarnation substituted Zinfandel for the Barolo, and the phenomenal Capricious aged goat cheese from Northern California. I had plans to make my own duck breast prosciutto, but had to default to Prosciutto di Parma for lack of time. Next time, perhaps.

Some of you may be thinking: wouldn't that make for a very red risotto? Wrapped in a reddish ham product? Well, yes. This is, like so many things, obvious in retrospect. Melissa thought the presentation looked like brains oozing out of the prosciutto shell. Flavorwise, though, it worked nicely. You may also be thinking: oh, cooking with wine. That should burn off all the alcohol. This is more of a fallacy than one might think. Rather, it takes a long time to burn off the alcohol. Especially when you're keeping your risotto at a slow simmer. And this was an Amador County Zinfandel, notorious for their high alcohol content (even within the universe of Zinfandel, a notoriously high-alcohol wine). That made the dish fairly boozy. Still good, just boozy.

Though the star was the risotto, I also served up some leftover lamb chops and some steamed chard to go with it.

With so much Zinfandel on the plate, the wine was an obvious choice. Normally one is supposed to drink the same wine that was used in the dish, but I opened up a more intense Zin to complement the whole dish. In particular, the 1999 Gnarly Vines Zinfandel from Louis M. Martini's Monte Rosso vineyard, which I discovered while working on an article about old vine wines. A delicious wine, with a lot of character and depth and structure.

Melissa and I slept well that night, afloat on beds of rice and wine. Thanks, Pim, for a great idea.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Seared Ahi Tuna with Turnips and Snap Peas in Lemongrass-Ginger Fumet

What's the best way to minimize yield from the expensive organic turnips in your produce box? Use a small scoop to make little balls from them!

Given that I try to maximize the yield of the veggies we get in our produce box, this may seem an odd decision. But when I saw the turnips, I was instantly reminded of Tom's Vegetables Round & Pointy at his winter party. Turnip, meet melon baller.

Once I decided on this preparation, the rest of this Saturday night dinner came together. If you're going to have round things on a plate, for visual contrast you want something square (or I do, anyway). And what more trite squares can you imagine than ahi tuna? My butcher/fishmonger even sells it pre-cubed, though I bought a steak and chopped it myself.

The ahi tuna suggested an Asian direction—as Asian as a mostly French cook gets—and so I decided to make a "sauce" of fumet (fish stock) infused with ginger and lemongrass, which I ladled into the bowls around the ingredients. Not a soup, just a bowl with broth in the bottom. I blanched and shocked the turnip orbs, along with the sugar snap peas (a last-minute addition to provide color and yet another different shape), and then reheated them in butter just before service.

A lot of should'ves with this dish. Should've seasoned the tuna more before searing. Should've seared it less. Should've heated the bowls. Most heartbreaking, should've bought some bread to soak up the yummy broth. But overall, a nice combination that I'll probably re-use for an opener at some point.

We drank the last bottle of our 2002 Griffin Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. The bracing acidity we remember has mellowed and the grapefruit and pineapple in the nose have softened to include banana notes. Not a wine meant to age, it was perhaps slightly past its zenith (at least when I liked it best), so it was good to drink it when we did.

Monday, May 17, 2004

New York Magazine

Kelly Maloni, editor of New York Magazine, sent me this e-mail:

This week's issue of New York Magazine is all about food. Thought you might be interested in these articles, all of which are live now on

Independently, Melissa sent me a link to the interview with Thomas Keller in that magazine.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Embracing my Inner Grasshopper

When Clotilde gets produce in her weekly shipment, she becomes (charmingly, of course) an ant and makes jam for the winter months.

Melissa and I are grasshoppers.

I saw last week that we would be getting strawberries and cherries in our next produce shipment and my thoughts turned to cobbler. We live in California; there will be cherries aplenty for a couple months at least. Time enough for jam. When Melissa picked up our produce box, I realized that even a fleeting thought of doing jam this time instead of cobbler was futile. We had enough fruit for two individual-sized cobblers.

For the crust, I made a butter cookie dough, a tactic suggested by the good folks at Cook's Illustrated. This always sounds better than the physical reality, as the crust becomes quite sweet. One can (and should) adjust the sugar mixed with the fruit, but that is easier to say then do when you are faced with some indeterminate amount of strawberries and cherries. In truth, the fruit could have used much less sugar. Be that as it may, it was still quite edible, especially served still warm with vanilla ice cream on top.

New AOC Regulations?

Noticed this article on Wine Spectator's site. Basically, a French official has proposed changes to the AOC system France has used for some time, which has in turn served as the model for many other European wine systems.

What I find interesting is that they fear the current system is "driving confused and distrustful consumers away from French wines". I think what's driving people away is that lots of other regions have increased their quality, and while France still has the greatest concentration of great wines in the world (or so I would argue), helped along by the limestone-rich soil in much of the country, other regions produce great wine as well. I think France is seeing this cut into their market, and are looking up to shake up their system to recapture the lost consumers.

I know a number of American wine makers who are grateful that the U.S. hasn't adopted similar appelation rules. They find them too restrictive, which is probably true. Perhaps the new system will give French vignerons some flexibility to try new things.

Friday, May 07, 2004


Any list of the ten nicest restaurants in Oakland probably contains Citron on College Avenue, just down the street from the BART station at Rockridge. A year and some change ago, Melissa and I took our friend Suzy to Citron's next-door neighbor and sister restaurant, A Cote, but we've never eaten at Citron itself. We decided to spend our one-year anniversary trying a new restaurant, and booked our reservation.

Citron is clearly set up to look like a classic Parisian bistro, complete with Art Nouveau flourishes. Warm wooden tones from the walls and trim contrast with the white tablecloths on the tables. The atmosphere is simultaneously elegant and casual--you'll see people in evening gowns and others in jeans. Judging from the conversations flowing around our back-corner table, it's a popular place for birthdays and anniversaries.

The menu, which changes regularly, offers numerous temptations that reflect the restaurant's French-Mediterranean theme. However, Melissa and I both decided to try the 5-course "chef's menu." This is quite reasonably priced and we figured it would give us a good sense of the restaurant's style. The menu also offers a wine pairing option, which we decided to try.

Some thoughts on the wine list. The wine list is ample, and for the most part reflects the restaurant's emphasis. Some sections seemed out of place. Much as I love German wines and the way they pair with food, it seemed an odd addition given the focus of the restaurant. But this is minor: while there was an Austria/Germany section with five or six wines, there were also larger sections each for Alsace, the Loire, the Rhone and so forth. Clearly they're keeping the French focus as well as they can. A notable list of California and Australian wines completed the list, though these seemed like they were included less to pair with the cuisine then to appeal to the appetites of California wine drinkers (though, see below).

The meal started with an amuse-bouche, which always makes me happy. I love these little bites of flavor, in this case a beet salad with a meyer lemon curd.

The first course was a composed salad of asparagus, favas, and baby carrots with green aioli, which was accompanied by Cantina Bolzano's 2002 Müller Thurgau from the Alto Adige region of Italy (near Switzerland on the eastern side of the country; German is almost more common than Italian). This dish set the tone for the whole meal. The composed salad was artfully but not lavishly presented, and featured a medley of vegetables that had been cooked to a just-perfect state, and had obviously been cooked separately as each demanded. Well seasoned, and a nice combination of flavors, with the green and orange carrots making a lovely visual combination.

This wine pairing also foreshadowed things to come. None of the wine and food pairings were mind-blowing, but instead demonstrated a very solid understanding of how wine and food pairings should work. In truth, the magical combinations one reads about in the press are rarer than many food and wine writers would have you believe. The wine director at Citron is clearly someone who knows what s/he is doing and the combinations were almost more stunning for the obvious thought process which worked so solidly in each case. That kind of consistency from dish to dish is tough. It's also obvious that the chef and the person choosing the wine had collaborated quite a bit, or at least knew each other well enough to make it work. The wine had light grassy notes and, as befits an opener wine, a sprightly acidity. It was not pungently flavorful, obviously so that the subtle flavors of the vegetables would not be overpowered. It was served at the right temperature: refreshing, not frozen.

Our second course was Les Coquilles St. Jacques au Gratin, or a Day Boat Scallop Gratin, which was served with a silver-dollar-sized English Pea Soufflé. Melissa reminded me that this is a Loire Valley dish, which made us feel warm and fuzzy, since we spent part of our honeymoon in that region. The pea soufflé was not as puffy as I would've hoped, but I can't conceive of the impossibility of getting a risen soufflé to the table in a restaurant; I have a hard enough time at home. You've got about five minutes after a soufflé comes out of the oven before it falls. They had obviously used a bit more flour than normal to give it a bit more structure; I could tell from the mouth feel. The flavor went well with the day scallops.

The wine pairing for this was a regional pairing, showcasing a 2002 Quincy from Jean-Claude Roux. Quincy is nearby Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé and like them uses the Sauvignon Blanc for its wines. I didn't take careful notes, so I'm afraid you won't find much in the way of descriptors for this review. But, again, it complemented the food very well.

The main course was a pork osso bucco with crispy polenta, spring onions, and swiss chard (maybe that's what I should be doing with all the chard we get in our produce box). The polentas struck me as an idea worth copying. They had refrigerated the polenta and then deep-fried the diamonds they made. It's virtually all made well before service, with a last-minute plunge into hot oil to give them a crispy exterior which contrasted with the soft interior while at the same time warming them up. The pork was wonderfully tender and flavorful. Though this was easily the heaviest dish, they kept the portions modest for each course, so that we still had plenty of room for the last two courses.

The wine they paired with this was a 2002 Magnet Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Very typical (meant in the good way) Pinot Noir, with a nice acidity but enough weight to stand up to the pork. Again a very balanced pairing.

I was stunned when they described our cheese course; Melissa and I only knew one of the five cheeses on the plate. We consider ourselves very knowledgeable on the subject, so this is an unusual occurrence. Clearly we're falling behind. I was worried about the number of cheeses on the plate; I consider four a max on cheese plates. But I needn't have worried; they gave us just a bite or two of each cheese, so we would appreciate each one and move on to the next. They had a nice selection of almonds, apples, and such to contrast the cheeses.

They chose not to pair a wine with this course, which made sense; there was a range of flavors in the cheeses, so a single wine would've been tough. The message was clear: take a break from the meal, enjoy some tasty bites, let your stomach settle before dessert.

Dessert came out with "Happy Anniversary" piped in chocolate on the plate; Melissa let them know it was our anniversary when we made the reservation. It was a nice touch for them to remember, showing that they really do pay attention to these things and want their guests to feel special. The rest of the dessert was a gingerbread parfait with a caramel semifreddo and coffee cream. Now, I don't like coffee, much to everyone's dismay. I don't even like the flavor. But I didn't mind this dessert one bit. The gingerbread was wonderfully light, and reminded me that I need to make gingerbread more often.

The wine was the 2001 Francis Tannahill "Passito" Gewurtraminer from Washington (so says the menu, anyway). When I looked it up online, I discovered that it hails from Oregon. I was looking it up because I assumed it's fortified (it isn't). It had that fortified-wine flavor profile, so I was surprised to learn it's made by drying grapes. Anyway, it was quite a nice dessert wine.

Melissa called our meal at Citron one of the best she had eaten in a while. I have a hard time arguing with that; the food was quite good, the portions modest but filling, and the pairing of flavors, within the dish and from dish to glass, was all spot on. It wasn't even that expensive; the 5-course menu was $46 and the wine pairing was $21. I mean, it's not an every night kind of place, but I think we'll definitely eat dinner there more often.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


As you all know, this blog is about food and wine. But every now and then, I make room for something else. This is one of those times.

Congratulations to our friends Tim and Mitch, who are the proud (and exhausted) new parents of Calvin Gabriel Olmstead Holmes. He's clearly destined to be someone who takes his time to appreciate the pleasures of life, given the time it took for him to be delivered.

All our best to the new parents.