Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An amazing birthday dinner

Dave is celebrating a "significant" birthday this month. I'm spending most of the week cooking many things that he enjoys, but on Sunday we decided to go out to dinner. But not any dinner -- Chef Celinda at 94 Stewart (and her sous chef Jeff) planned and prepared this one especially for us. She seems to have had a pretty good time taking the budget I gave her and putting together a five-course meal with paired wines.

We started off with figs with an ale-washed cheese and balsamic. The wine, which was quite sweet, paired really well with it, even with the balsamic.

I think my favorite course may have been the "soup" -- a red and yellow tomato gazpacho with Dungeness crab and fresh horseradish. It was both beautiful and tasty. The Graves we had, which tasted of a lot of wood initially, harmonized perfectly with it, and the play between the tangyness of the tomato, the spice of jalapeno, and the sweetness of the crab was just plain fun.

Next we had two different meat courses -- veal medallions with poached pear and wild muchroom risotto, and moulard duck breast rubbed with pistachio and spices. The risotto was subtly scented with allspice, and it all went with a 2001 Chatea Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Merlot. With the duck (which you can see was cooked perfectly) we had an Australian Shiraz.

Finally, we closed with a dense vanilla cheesecake topped with a Colheita port caramel sauce, and a glass of the same 1980 port alongside it. Overall, we had a great time and a great meal, and I think Chef had about as much fun as we did.

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