Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday Night Delight

I was ready for an outing. And what better place to go than our favorite café and wine bar, GC’s Tasting Café in Menlo Park. Often their special tasting events are held on Thursday, but this week it was Friday. Perfect timing for me. The tasting event menu consisted of their favorite California red blends. Five generous pours of wines priced in the $23 to $45 range, for only $15. A couple of the wines on the list, we know well and already have, such as the TFW Lexington Meritage and the Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains red. But the others were quite nice as well, especially the Justin Savant, which we had not tried before.

GC's Café is a bustling, friendly, family-owned and run place, great to meet friends for a glass of wine or light meal. No quiet romantic corners here. We’ve tried the cheese fondues and several sandwiches and salads, and all were delicious. The owners and staff are friendly and always helpful with suggestions. It was quite busy last night, but Kathy greeted me with a hug since I've been absent for about a month, Larry always has a few minutes to chat about the wines and Theresa prepared our table. We’ve been going there since long before they became “famous” after their good review in the newspaper. I’ve said before that I credit (blame) Ken Wornick at La Honda Winery for my new-found taste for red wines. But GC’s Café shares that responsibility equally since that’s where I met Ken and his wines. Nights like last night tend to add to my collection as well. They have an excellent selection of local and imported wines.

To go with our red wine tasting we ordered a 3 piece California cheese flight. We asked Gerard (whom I think of as The Cheese Master, which I'm sure he would prefer to The Cheese Whiz) to select the cheeses to go with the event wines. The pairings were perfect. The Cow Girl Creamery Red Hawk was almost stinkier than I could manage, but if I didn’t breathe too deeply, the taste is reasonably mild and it really did pair well with the full-bodied Justin Savant and Ridge wines. I looked back at my tasting notes from previous events and found they had once paired it with a Frog’s Leap Merlot. I had noted then that we liked the combination, but the cheese was too stinky to serve to people who eat at our house! Along with the cheeses, you get small plates of fruit, marcona almonds, fig spread, butter, quince paste and a basket of bread and crackers. We cleaned our plates with a sigh of delight.

You can check out GC's Tasting Café’s website at to see their menu and more. Better yet, maybe I’ll see you at next week’s Spanish wine and cheese pairing event.

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