Ah the joys of having time off from work. For the first time in some 6 years I have not worked less than 40 hours in a single week, so i’ve taken the time to catch up on some of favorite things, mainly the pleasures of cooking and sitting over a bottle of wine for hours with my wife and friends.
last week I met some friends for dinner at Mission Street Food, which is a charity restaurant that opens two nights a week in a Chinese restaurant on mission street. The chefs change everytime, meaning the menu is constantly rotating and I’ve been impressed before, and the concept is awesome, and the causes the proceeds go to are always worthy. So i feel extra bad saying that this night, where mushrooms were the main theme, was awful. i’m not quite sure what happened but every single dish was somehow off (and the wait staff was surly to the extreme, which i attribute to starting to take reservations, which seems to not fir the concept), either tasteless to the extreme, or overseasoned to the point where any mushroom flavor was obliterated. Much of it was an oily mess, and the “tempura” mushrooms were closer to “kentucky fried” given the thick greasy texture. The taste of oily fried mushrooms followed me around for days, sticking to the roof of my mouth and roiling my stomach.
With that said i wouldn’t stop anyone from eating at Mission Street Food unless the theme was “mushrooms” because, like i said, the chef is different everytime, and the charities are great. i’ll probably get a lot of shit for this post, but o well. i’ll be back to MSF soon.
Luckily we had several good bottles of wine, from an ’01 Huet sparkler drunk at room temperature (one of the few white wines that is rather nice this way, in my opinion) to a ’04 St. Bris Fie Gris from the domaine of Ghislaine and Jean-Hugues Goisot that was mineral and Burgundian to an extreme degree. Fie Gris, for those unfamiliar, is an almost extinct grape variety grown in the Loire Valley and the St. Bris appelation in Burgundy. It is definitely a wine to check out, especially this one since it exhibits quite a bit of the terroir that one usually associates with Chablis I would tell you more, but just read this article instead. For reds we drank a 2006 Chandon des Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses, and some other burgundy that escapes me at the moment. Some folks may scream “infanticide” at this one, but really, fuck ’em. This was gorgeous wine and i’m starting to think that Pernand-Vergelesses is where it’s at in Burgundy.
Later that week i met up with Jake Skakun of Cherries and Clay who is a recent addition to the Bay Area. Having found little in the south bay in the way of wine lists i care for, i took him to Cin-Cin in Los Gatos, which always has a few interesting things to drink. Much to my surprise there was a bottle of 2004 Domaine des Tours Cotes-du-Rhone blanc for only $24, which is a fucking steal and if you ever see such a deal take it. the wine is right on that precarious edge of being too rich, but the washed stone minerality really puts the wine in a nice place. i wish more Rhone whites were like this, instead of being fatty messes of oak and perfume. Next up was a 2006 Chandon des Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses. This was nice wine, but where the 2006 was showing some nervosity and freshness, this was definitely a wine for the long haul. It was much tighter and much heavier than the ’06 and needed a lot more air to get to a nice spot.
Musical interlude from The Fuck Buttons (some name, huh):
Even later that week I had dinner at Soif in Santa Cruz with co-blogger Chris Osborn, his lovely fiancee and Oakland cider producer Arjun Mendiratta. We discussed several things from the fact that it may not be such a good idea to call your wedding blog “Just Another Fucking Wedding Blog” and letting families see it to Richie Hawtin. We also drank some 2007 A et P de Villaine Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Les Clous. Really nice, precise clean wine. If anyone asks me to describe what “terroir” is to them i’m going to just make them buy a bunch of burgundies and report back to me. Going from the fie gris to this to a later aligote you start to realize that some things are essential to terroir instead of grape variety. It’s something that i already knew, but it is interesting when the fact it walks up and smacks you in the face.
Continuing this long and winding post i really love the exact moment that i know it’s fall. There is no other season i associate so strongly with a specific feeling than fall. Sure summer, spring, and winter all have their own uniqueness about them, but fall, well, feels like fall. It’s like everything is contracting and becoming simpler, the light, the landscape the air. It’s all very palpable, and despite this being my 29th fall it never ceases to amaze me when i wake one morning and realize that it is fall. Fall also means two of my favorite things pop up squash and apples, which are then promptly made into a soup. that soup is then served with a 2007 Maison William Fevre Chablis “Champs Royaux.” Like the soup, this was better after sitting for a while. Really blurry and unfocused on first opening, but tightening up and becoming revealing after about an hour.
IT’S A MYSTERY
Last night i was treated to something really special (actually four things). Going out to dinner with some friends recently returned from France proved rather fruitful because i got the chance to unburden them of several things that they had hauled back. We started out with a bottle of Alice and Olivia DeMoors recently released 2008 Aligato-O, which is (i believe) their sans soufre aligote (this was actually hauled all the way from Bi-Rite market). Reminds me alot of Thierry Puzelat’s Brin de Chevre. Nicely balanced between high acidity and a little bit of fleshiness. Again, terroir rules variety. Next up was a mystery magnum of sous-voile chardonnay from 1989. Holy shit is this wine good. there is still so much freshness and vivacity left in a bottle from 20 years ago.
After that we had another mystery bottle of savagnin from the Jura at Bar Jules. One day you’ll know this producer. he’s that good. And then a bottle emerged that has become something of an internet legend, cuvee 3.14 from Jean Foillard. This is headspinningly good stuff. There are a handful of winemakers whose wines greatness come from the margins of their wines. There’s something about wines from Jean Foillard (and Paolo Bea, Phillipe Pacalet, Overnoy/Houillon amongst others) that can’t really be described. It’s like an extra bit of purity around the edges of the wine, like seeing something amazing out of the corner of your eye. This wine had that quality. Try some if you can find it no matter. Next person who throws away loads of money on crap Burgundy who compalins about the prices of Cru Beaujolais gets a Louis Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman style dressdown.
Good lord i need to blog more. This is simply too much text.
Me and the winedigger will be in New York next week. Hit me up if you want to grab a drink somewhere that is the Ten Bells.
Reading A Wild Sheep Chase last of Murakami’s books is a good idea.
My neighbor is sculpting giant children in his studio. There are five colossal baby heads on the floor. Quite disconcerting walking by at night.
Congratulations to my good friend Robert Cogburn, whose latest game Uncharted 2 is a fantastic piece of work. Robert worked with me when we had to grind it out last year, and he deserves the success.