Friday, October 29, 2010

School's Out for Dinner

There was no baseball game on Tuesday night and we took advantage of the break to go to a winemaker dinner. We have visited Burrell School winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains and enjoyed both their wines and the excellent view. When I saw they were doing a winemaker dinner at the Red Crane, an Asian fusion restaurant 5 minutes from home, I thought it was worth investigating. The menu was appealing, the price reasonable and best of all there was no duck on the menu. It seems that most winemaker’s dinners have duck and I’ve never met a duck that I liked.

We were greeted at the restaurant with a glass of 2006 Teacher’s Pet Chardonnay while everyone got checked in and seated. The first course was a snow crab cake with papaya salsa, avocado and crisp pineapple chips. The crab cake was excellent and the pineapple chip was very unusual. I’d love to know how to make these. This course was paired with the “Teacher’s Pet” Chardonnay which is fruit-forward and citrusy with a hint of pineapple. It was perfect with the crab cake and it’s citrus accompaniments.

Next was brie-stuffed chicken breast served with roasted fingerling potatoes and a Thai basil pesto. This course was paired with 2006 “Principal’s Choice” Pinot Noir. I’m not sure I would have thought to select this pairing, but the silky smooth Pinot made a nice complement to the rich chicken and pesto.

The third course was filet mignon with roasted golden beets and a Li Hing Mui gastrique. I was not familiar with the sauce, but the chef explained it is a salted plum sauce, a little sweet, a little sour. This was served with the 2007 Estate Merlot “Honor Roll”. The rich juniper and cherry notes of the wine were excellent with the filet and the plum sauce.

And then dessert….by this time I’d eaten so much, I didn’t think I could eat another bite. But of course I did. And Larry ate two. Dark chocolate lava cake with balsamic vinegar ice cream served with 2006 “Probation” Late Harvest Zinfandel. Need I say more?

Chef Royce Mori of the Red Crane and Dave and Anne Moulton of Burrell School Winery created perfect pairings for this evening. For each course they explained their selection/creation process and described the flavor profiles that made the pairings successful. Details such as personalized, autographed menus made each guest feel special. We will definitely return to both the restaurant and the winery.

I'm still obsessed with baseball and it continues to impact my cooking, eating and blogging. I almost wish the Giants had lost in the playoffs so I wouldn't be tied to the World Series game schedule. And even though the Giants lead the series 2-0, I’m a nervous wreck. I hated Thursday's game when the Rangers walked in all those runs. My son was a pitcher, so I just can’t bear to see any pitcher suffer that experience, even if it’s my team scoring the runs. A brief break today and the Series continues...


  1. MMM!!! Judy, sounds like a wonderful meal! The fillet and the Lava cake look divine! And that Chicken Breast looks amazing too! What a fun night...

  2. Oh, man! I have heard of these late harvest Zinfandels coming out of CA! I need to find some. They sound like a killer pairing wine.


  3. Bummer- I love Red Crane, next time tell me so I can come too!