Friday, August 05, 2005

Whine Porn

These are the instructions I received for a new-release dinner for a winery with Pebble Beach connections:

Tapas should be served with the PJ (Champagne), to be very simple and elegant. The Champange nor the food should interefer with the conversation flow.

We should serve creative seafood app's with the Foxy White -Flavor Profile: (orange blossom and candied spice. spiced baked pears drenched in lemon sorbet, with smokey nuances with a clean crisp finish). I would like to incorporate almonds with one. I would like fresh herbs such as tarrogon, clentro ,Sage, Basil, chives or even mint and maybe a little spice. I think one of the shooters he showed me would fit beautifully. I would like to see 3, one each per person. These tapas should be bold.

We should serve the 2003 Foxy Red flavor profile: ( cherry pie and dried cranberrys, with bright fresh raspberry and silky blueberrys balanced with smooth velvety oak and soft tannins), slightly chilled and we should be seated at this time. We would suggest that you go wild with dried herbs and some dried spices( Orgeno, Thyme) black pepper and garlic, with a pork or portobella mushroom dish. He want to do a sorbet with the Foxy Red, we will serve it after this course.

The Concerto - Profile: (spicy sage tea and dried currant aromas with subtle flavors of violets and raspberries. medium leaning to light bodied with very soft tannins). The dish we serve with this wine should act as a pettle stool more so then a partner. Very clean flavors. Grilled or roaster veggies.

The Cabernet Franc - profile: (full balanced teeming with lavender, clove and violets. Soft mouthfeel with refined tannins hinting of green tea and cashew. Smooth round texture with flavors of of rich chocolate. Elegant. I would like to have lamb chops maranated in pamogrante juice olive oil, garlic and lot's rosemary served on top of cassulet with duck confee.

Raymond, a top cheese guy out of S.F. will pair and provide at wholesale the cheese and port. He is one of the top food people in the world and will use the basque influence, etc.

I scarily no wear to stare……Ooops, I mean: I scarcely know where to start!

Brendan said it best from Prague: “Learn how to spell CONFIT and while you are at it.... give the fresh herbs a break….. especially the ones that involve a bong!!"

Clentro? Female sexual organ, still elusive to the Christian right?

Pettle stool? Nashville musical instrument? Rose poop?

Soft mouthfeel? Hollywood and Vine? Golden retriever?

Lamb on top of duck? Protein porn?

Our response:

Perrier Jouet: Asiago scallion bruschetti; Carmel Valley oak-smoked salmon; Endive with Stilton and candied pecans.

Foxy White: Pan-roasted local halibut, mango, apple, mint spoons; pear, prawn, tarragon bruschetti; Mesquite grilled breast of chicken, sesame sorrel rolls

Foxy Red: Venison tartare spoons, pomegranate, rose pepper poivrade; Confit of duck with tamarind coulis; Oysters Laura England (porcini cream, arugula, asiago)

Raspberry White Peach Sorbet……Martini glasses, passed

Concerto: Confit of Monterey salmon with grilled summer vegetables; basil, Meyer lemon; Basque sheep cheese (ours….smuggled personally)

Cabernet Franc: Roast Cashew crusted New Zealand lamb; mint beurre blanc; Israeli couscous as a risotto with fennel and heirloom carrots

The result…….I brought The RayDiator to battle with Candace the Marketing Clentro….It was Godzilla vs. Mothra…..there was a death struggle at the cheese course. Ray insulted the pregnant wife of the winery owner somehow…….I had a cast of thousands to serve…..All was good. We worked our balls off, and came up with four or five new, good dishes. I mean, the staff liked them…..fuck the guests for a bunch of clueless wankers……What else is new?

At the end of the night, more than slightly blitzed on stolen champagne (Gosset, not PJ…supplied by Southern Wines…..the Karl Rove of the wine business)….. I was chatting with the winemaker. He hates the idea of organic, unfiltered or bio-dynamic wines......Because:

Turns out these wines RETAIL FOR $10 per bottle!!!! Silky blueberries? Cherry pie? Spicy sage tea with currant aromas? For TEN BUCKS?

I think there is a secret wine-description website. Soft core wine-porn, pay-per-play……"Chocolate box with a gentle velvet thrusting of cigar……latex undertones….with a whiff of musk…….. "


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dear Old Durney

Dear Old Durney…

Wow…..last night we were slammed, for The Cachagua Store. I think we did a hundred…..on folding tables by the Budweiser cooler: two hot-side guys, a pizza/foccacia guy and a salad guy. It seemed stressful somehow. I must be getting old.

A highlight was the Hellacious Vineyard crew. I could tell they were in the bar because I got an order for a vegan dish, along with an order for foie gras with a bottle of Auslese. One of the enduring problems of the chef-run restaurant is that you have only a vague idea of who is in your place….and we have a sort-of redneck display kitchen…..we can sort of see out. We insist that the girls write guests’ names on each, but in this case the waitress was Chrissie Handles….subject of the next post….oh, well! Failing written information, the cooks have to read the tickets like Roman priests read the smoky entrails of sheep and chickens…

Rich the Winemaker is a vegan, and the Good Witch of the Hellacious operation. And, one of his twenty-something hose-draggers is among five guys in Monterey County who know that the foie should have a Sauternes or Auslese. Rich makes great organic wines just up the street from us at the old Durney Vineyard. Like great chefs, he experiments, and he usually hits a home run.

The way these things work, Uncle Terry Durney had just been in the day before for Brunch……The Durney Vineyard story is one of the great “Don’t Do This!!” economic morality tales of the last century. I will try to make this quick.

I. Bill Weinstein is a go-getter Hayward college kid. Hooks up with Mr. Durney Senior who owns the license for the Carnation logo. Not a bad deal. Mr. Durney has no heirs….so Bill is The Man. Mr. Durney Senior is a Catholic…Bill converts….and inherits. (Hey, it worked for SPAIN in 1492!!)
II. Mr. Durney2 takes the ball and runs. Marries Hollywood screenwriter Dorothy Kingsley (Pal Joey)….joins Knights of Malta, Knights of St. Johns…..forget the Knights of Columbus…too low-rent. Pebble Beach…golf….shotgunning pheasants and peasants in Scotland with Purdeys… farm in Angola…..vineyard in Carmel Valley with a private chapel….the whole deal….
III. Many stories: see below.
IV. Bill dies. The Vineyard is appraised at $17 million. There are three or four heirs. One of them, David I-am-an-Asshole, has actual experience in the wine business, runs a hugely successful local p.r. firm and wants to run the winery. The other siblings want to be cashed out. David cannot swing it on his own, but can guarantee lifetime cashflows……Other siblings say: “Fuck you, sell the bitch for the $17M…..gimme my share.” Everyone fights…the winery market is dead….So…..
V. CockBoy Heller buys it for $1.7 million…..the lawyers get paid and everyone in the Durney family moves from Pebble Beach mansions to crappy condos in Carmel and start looking for work……

Durney Story 1: Prince Phillip and the Gun Dog

The culmination of Mr. Durney2’s rabid lifetime social climbing is an accepted invitation from Prince Phillip, wife of the queen of jolly old, to come visit the vineyard on a tour of California. All hands on deck!

Mr. Durney2 uncharacteristically cracks open the bank account and buys a $10,000 gun dog to go along with his Purdey shotguns. The dog is from the best, oldest, smartest line of gun dogs in England….transplanted to Santa Monica or wherever. The dog is trained to a fare-thee-well….or should I say, Mr. Durney2 is trained to a fare-thee-well to communicate with a dog that may have been smarter than everyone else in the family. The dog, or Mr. Durney2 as the case may be, is trained to a lure….a hunk of rope with some pheasant feathers tied on, and some scent…..kind of like New Jersey guys in clubs in New York….

The great day arrives, and everyone schlepps out to Cachagua to the vineyard. (The import of this may be lost on you if you are not familiar with our valley. Check out the April post: "The Land That Time Forgot"). Anyway, it is a beautiful spring day. The limos arrive. Champagne flows…..truffles and foie gras…..confit of pheasant...our smoked salmon. The limo drivers scarf all the truffles….thinking they are chocolate. Ahh, Cachagua!

Finally, the big moment arrives: The Gun Dog is produced, and admired by all around. Prince Phillip knows his grand dad. Mr. Durney produces the lure, gives it a lusty spin and heaves it mightily over the hedge by the side of the Chapel. Dog disappears. Anxious moments as we all await the return……

And here he comes! Racing proudly, head high, prancing back to his new owner and the Prince…….carrying a toilet seat!

Cut to: caterer actually falling to the ground with laughter…….