Sunday, January 04, 2009

Three Latest and Best

Christmas Eve: OK, folks, let me say, there's just not much better than a group of excellent friends, fantastic wines, and food prepared with care and attention. From the trout rillettes with olives and spiced nuts (with pomegranate seeds, natch) to the rich roasted red pepper soup, from the elegant green beans with chestnuts in a maple syrup-Scotch whiskey sauce to the noble prime rib and finishing with a gorgeous almond pear tart. And not to leave out the wines (since this is the closest these Burg hounds will get to a Bordeaux dinner) which included our rock star 95 Cristal, the 94 Tudal and Rafanelli Cabs, and 91 Phelps Insignia. O holy night, indeed.

Bin 36: Popped up to Chicago for a few days of R&R and couldn't miss a trek to Bin 36, still one of my favorite stops for supper, especially when I'm on my own. The best of the night? The NV Szigeti sparkling Gruner Veltliner from the Bubbles flight-- fantastic in such a clean style. (The bottle I brought home didn't break the bank, either.) Paired with the "Sin City" cheese flight, these sparklers were perfect. A Petillant demi-sec Vouvray was paired with a Pierre Robert so rich, I fell in love instantly. Like *marriage* material. With a supper of pork belly and apples, the 2006 Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Mosel-Saar-Ruwer was the star of the Riesling flight. I love how Bin 36 gives you take-home notes since I usually add my own. (Next to the 2007 Fitz-Ritter Pfalz Gewurtz Spatlese? "Pig Candy.")

New Year's Eve at L'explorateur: I was hoping for a different format than the seated, endless dinner of two-bite courses, but even still, Neal Brown's two-bite dishes are worth waiting for. We passed a lovely New Year's Eve at L'explorateur with fabulous wines, terrific friends, and my favorite escargot ravioli -- with the snails encased in huge pillows of pasta swimming in garlic and butter sauce. Lots of winter notes with apple, celery, and fennel joined simple pleasures like simple pork tacos. A delicious end -- and beginning to the year.

4 comments:

The Urbanophile said...

One of the owners of Bin 36 is a friend of mine. I'll be sure to pass along your compliments.

braingirl said...

Please do, Aaron. I'm a huge fan.

Reservations at said...

I'm not sure if you intend you blog to be critical of local restaurants or not.

With this in mind, I too was at L'explorateur on NYE as well (the later seating). The pacing of the meal was abysmal - embarrassingly bad.

I love L'explorateur's food - I think it is exceptional. I didn't like having to wait 30-40 minutes, and sometimes more, between one and two bite dishes. This is the 2nd meal that I've had at L'ex where the pacing was terrible.

I would like to see one of the city's better locally owned restaurants be as good as other national and international restaurants - and it saddens me when they have continually fallen short in one main area; i.e. the pacing of the meal.

braingirl said...
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