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Food, Wine & Friends  Page 178

I met Nathalie and Charles for an impromptu dinner at Perbacco, a Piemontese-themed restaurant on California Street in The City.

The place was jam-packed during the holiday season...

They brought us some homemade grissini to start...

The wine list is impressive and there are numerous wines from Piemonte.  You can order a glass, quarter liter or half liter of a number of wines.
We opted for a half liter of Casalone's Monemvasia.

This is some sort of Malvasia that traces its roots back to ancient Greece.
This is curious, because the wine does have a resiny character which made us think of Retsina!


We began with a couple of antipasti...
This is a delightful plate of Vitello Tonnato.


Truffled Lardo Crostini with Carne Cruda.


The Tajarin with meat sauce (left) were a bit like stringy Chinese noodles, curiously...
The Angolotti del Plin (right) had a brown spice character dominating the flavors...nutmeg?

We had a half liter pour of Vietti's Perbacco...this was quite a soft rendition of Nebbiolo.  Modern winemaking, to be sure.  Medium bodied and berries/cherry notes with a faint whiff of a woodsy note.


Otto File Polenta with Fennel and a Slice of Milk Braised Pork Shoulder.
The fennel was more toothsome and had more texture than the soft, mushy Pork.

We brought a nice bottle of a 1997 Montaribaldi Barbaresco.
This was deftly decanted and the wine was quite young, still!  It had a nice cocoa note on the nose with some leathery Nebbiolo fragrances.  There was still a fair bit of tannin present...a delightful wine.

We were stuffed by this point and the server brought some "Brutti Ma Buoni" cookies...meringue hazelnut cookies.





Wednesday night I searched for a parking place near 30th & Church Streets in The City as I booked a table at La Ciccia.

The evening began with a flute of Ruggeri's nice, fresh and fairly dry Prosecco.


Chef Massimo sent us some Crostini with Porcini and Ricotta along with some house-made pickled Vegetables...The Porcini character was delightfully intense.

My amica brought a bottle of 1993 Lake's Folly Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia's Hunter Valley...this was still quite alive and a lovely bottle of wine.  It was refreshing, actually, to taste a wine of relatively "low" alcohol (it was 12.2%)...
This had a perfume more reminiscent of "Old World" Cabernets...it was a throw-back wine...dusty, mildly herbal notes on the nose.  There was a touch of red fruit on the nose and palate...it will be knocked by many tasters for being "light" or thin, but it was a nice red to start a meal.  



Inzalaredda de Mari cun Ollu e Limoni 
A Seafood "salad" with a lemony "dressing" was served warm...the tiny calamaretti were tender as could be!  Some thinly sliced vegetables gave a bit of contrasting textures...really nice!

Torre dei Beati Pecorino from the 2008 vintage was a hit with both the seafood "salad" and the Spicy Octopus Stew...

Prupisceddu in Umidu
There's a fiery quality to the stew, having a bit of pepperoncini to give it some heat.  Also outstanding!


Pasta Longa cun Cocciula, Cozzasa e Zaffaranu
The pasta was stellar!  Beautifully cooked just to 'al dente' and with seafood and saffron...


The pasta was stellar!  Beautifully cooked just to 'al dente' and with seafood and saffron...


Beautiful!
And the pasta was nice, as well...


Rigatoni with a Wild Boar 'sugo' was also quite toothsome and delicious.

We produced a bottle of 1986 Aldo Conterno Barolo from our cellar bag and Lorella decanted this and brought this cool bottle to room temperature...

Our server had cautioned us -- "You know, you've ordered a lot of food!"  But we explained we had rolled up our sleeves and we were hungry!

The main plates arrived...


Lamb Stew...Peccora in Cappotto?
Whatever you call it, this was good.


Fettinasa de Proccu a sa Sapa
Pork with grape must as a sauce...very flavorful and delicious.

The Barolo warmed nicely and it showed a fantastically complex fragrance with anise as the leading feature on the nose and palate.  The wine was medium-bodied and the tannins had softened nicely.  It probably has another 5-12 years of life ahead of it, but the wine is on a plateau, it seemed.

We were the last to depart...chatting with Massimiliano and Lorella about wine and food, friends and family.

At one point the conversation veered down a cheesy road and we learned about a particularly curious formaggio from Sardinia.

Here's a link to a Gordon Ramsey video about this weird cheese...


Click on Gordon to see the video...

 



This was another wonderful dining experience!




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