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Food, Wine & Friends  Page 144

It was a great pleasure to be able to invite Simone Daubin to dinner here in Burlingame.
She and her late husband, Andre Daubin, ran the little restaurant in Montreal-du-Gers called Chez Simone.

Today her son, the famous chef Bernard Daubin, runs the place and people from all over France know this little culinary Gascogne outpost.

One of the highlights of the evening was having Simone's grand-daughters Juliette and Rosalie helping with the service and ice cream preparation.

Here's Juliette filling the ice cream maker with the base for our "Killa' Vanilla" ice cream.

With the Roederer Estate 2000 L'Ermitage Brut, we had various little nibbles and I made a Rosti with a nice smoked salmon.

The young ladies took care of pouring the white wine, a Grgich Hills 2006 Napa Valley "Fume Blanc" for our first course...

Juliette and Rosalie.


Green and yellow pasta with white asparagus and green...and some bay scallops.  I had a bit of basil in the mix, but I found this dish a bit bland when I sat down...

I brought out a little jar of "Truffle Salt" and sprinkled some on the pasta...

...and this made a world of difference.
A little jar costs $20, or so, but I highly recommend having it on the table.  It "made" this dish successful.


A toast!

Meanwhile, Juliette was enthralled by the "monk" water pitcher...

Following the pasta we had a little palate cleanser...a Muscat "ice".


The main plate featured a hearty polenta, braised okra with portabella mushrooms and Drunken Shortribs.

The polenta is from a little farm near Monferrato in Italy's Piemonte.  The heirloom variety of corn is then delivered to an old mill in the Langhe region where it's ground for polenta production.


Okra and Portabellas.


Braised short ribs with parsnips, carrots and mushrooms.


Nathalie Daubin-Neal.

We had two 1995 Napa Valley Cabernets...

Chateau Montelena's was wonderfully berryish, with nice blackcurrant fruit all the way through.  It's a youthful wine, but beautifully balanced.
Forman's 1995 showed a more leathery, meaty, earthy element.  It's a bit more developed and is probably better suited to lamb.


Charles and Rosalie.


Nathalie, meanwhile, showed her daughters how to set themselves on fire.

I still had more work in the kitchen...

And I had help from Juliette and Rosalie...


Fresh local blueberries with raspberries and peaches...
And Juliette's and Rosalie's and Gerald's Vanilla Ice cream.


Topaz, a sweet wine from a tiny winery in Napa, was exceptional with dessert.


Rosalie "The Shovel" Neal.


Juliette "The Super-Duper Scooper" Neal.


And so we concluded a nice evening of vittles and vino with Chef Simone.


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