Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Week - A Gourmet experience

Hi Everyone - I hope all had a terrific Thanksgiving! I did, and it was a gourmet experience all the way. In fact, all week was a big giant lovely fest of wine and food and people that love wine and food, so things were very good indeed.

I took lots of pictures from things done this week, and want to post them and write about them, and will do so in a separate post, but in this one, I will focus on what we actually did on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving day was spent at our friends' house in Irvine, self-proclaimed "foodie friends" who love a good time and an 8-hour enjoyment of food and wine without excessive wine talk, more talk about food, so it was very wonderful and nice. This year's celebration also involved toasting a recent wedding, so there were more bubbles being poured than usual. There was a Gloria Ferrer California sparkling wine that was particularly refreshing in a fruity sense, and perfect for the 2pm start time, followed by a Cremant de Limoux poured from a giant magnum - it had a darker color and richer, almost more oaky feel about it - followed by one of the greats - 1999 vintage Billiot, a Champagne that never lets anyone down. The wine is full of richness and succulent fruit and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes it oh so elegant and full in the mouth that it demands love.

All the sparklers were perfectly paired with an assortment of caviars and roes, which were such a pleasant and fun afternoon snack, especially with the well prepared roasted, cooled and sliced red potatoes on which we placed the little eggs.

Later on came the onslaught of appetizers that would precede the turkey dinner - one of the participants who is an excellent chef and used to own a restaurant in Hawaii made a terrific swordfish dish, which I did not take a picture of (I must have been too busy wolfing it down - it was really delicious). This was paired with 2007 Byron Pinot Noir, which I thought was only okay in my book.... not really my style of Pinot Noir. It had a heaviness to it that reminds me of California Pinot Noirs that I do not like (I will be posting later on about California Pinot Noirs I do like, so stay tuned!)

And just like last year, there was a special turkey bread made from sourdough that graced our table. I didn't partake though, since I didn't want to fill up on bread.... pretty though.

I did, however, partake in these delicious, hot-from-the-oven corn muffins with a bit of cheddar on top. The fresh corn in the muffins went really well with the fresh corn in the corn chowder.

My contribution in terms of wine were my favorite 2007 Cotes du Rhone, La Cabotte, and 2008 Monchhof Urzig Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett.

Both of these wines were for the turkey course, and they went really well! Of course! I would choose those two wines again in a heart beat. Everyone waxed poetically about how good the Riesling was. I'm glad I brought that because there was no still white wine besides it at the dinner.

And this is how that course looked like. Here, first, is the homemade chutney, which replaced cranberry sauce.

And the turkey course was beautiful, replete with spiral-cut ham, fluffy mashed potatoes, tasty gravy, stuffing, and green beans. Classic.

Following this parade of food were a few desserts, one which I made that could have turned out better than it did, but oh well!
It was a wonderful setting. 80 degree weather and everyone wearing their summer best for the first few hours of the party, followed by people bring out their hats and jackets and blankets when the sun went down around 4:30 pm. That's southern California folks.
Conversation topics ranged from the silly economy, work, Gary Danko (a restaurant I really want to go to in San Francisco), relationships, Christmas holiday plans and other things I don't remember.
We were ready to go by about 9:30 pm, which was good because the next day, we were headed up to the beautiful Santa Rita Hills wine country.


Samantha Dugan said...

Looks like a lovely dinner and vintage Billiot!! Yum.

Jenelli said...

Great post! Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I had to go back and read this one...