Food, Wine & Friends Page 209
On a warm, sunny Sunday we gathered to celebrate Alexia's
In the kitchen we found a leg of lamb ready for the oven in a roasting pan.
Out in the backyard was a table with some nibbles to pair with
Sandy prepared a "Bagna Fredda," a dip of garlic, anchovies, more
garlic, olive oil and a bit of garlic.
Did we mention this has some garlic in it?
You dip raw vegetables into the "bagna" or bath...
Henry poured some Alfred Gratien "Blanc de Blancs"
Champagne, a grand cru bubbly which lived up to its lofty status.
The Champagne was steely dry and crisp...very fine.
Sandy and Lucy.
Alexia and Bob.
Jonathan baked some terrific breads...
...as he often does!
Paul Obester has a sip of the richer bottling of Alfred Gratien, a 1999 Vintage
Did we mention there's garlic and anchovies in the Bagna?
Sandy also had a nice little plate of Tuscan Kale...
People made there way around the table, ready to jump into the
Back in the kitchen, some Squash Blossoms were awaiting their
own "hot bath."
We found Bob beating some egg whites to make a batter for the
One feature of Bob's kitchen are the numerous antiquities to
(apart from Bob)...
The salt container was estimated to be circa 1965 vintage by local
Bob dipped the blossoms into his batter and placed them into the hot pan of oil.
Bob then went to pick some "flowers"...
Do you notice the resemblance between Chef Magoo and Mister
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...
...Bob was working on Crab Cakes...
The 2009 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre was corked, so we opened a Pascal Jolivet 2009
"Clos du Roy." Perfectly standard, crisp, light and dry.
The 2010 Alphonse Mellot was lean and tangy, a nicely stony bottling of
Nice, fresh crab, too!
Glasses were hoisted in Bob's direction...
...and in Alexia's.
Bob had sabotaged Alexia's chair with a noise-making rubber
chicken which would chirp when she sat down...
Of course, Alexia doesn't weigh much, so almost nobody heard anything.
When Bob went into the kitchen, we placed the chirping chicken on his chair...
...and it was heard by all.
Back in the kitchen, Bob, who's full of beans, had a pot of haricots verts on
Bob grows these little beans and there's an element of San
Bruno "terroir" to the flavor of these that's most particular.
Bob's "floor show" continued with this lovely bit of kitchen
Bob's Infamous Leg of Lamb was nicely roasted.
We opened both bottles of 1978 Bordeaux...
The Whirling Dervish was busy at the stove one moment...
...and the cutting board the next.
At the table, the two Bordeaux wines were being tasted and evaluated...
Henry! assisted Bob in plating the food and serving...
Alexia was floored by the massive serving of Haricots Verts...
I was busy tasting the Bordeaux...
The 1978 Grand Puy Lacoste had a slightly metallic tone to it...The Domaine de
Chevalier was a bit more balanced. Both were lovely old Bordeaux showing
their age but still quite good.
Jonathan and Sandy...
Ellen is not a fan of red meat, so Bob prepared a nice bit of chicken for her.
Paul Pours Some Pinot...
Alexia brought a couple of nicely aged Pinot Noirs to serve after her 1978
Both the Dehlinger and the ZD showed bright cherry fruit and were rather
Alexia also brought a nice array of cheeses.
Jonathan's breads were a delight, as usual.
Cascina Gilli makes a wonderfully fizzy Malvasia and it was perfect with Bob's
homegrown berry pie.
Lucy was impressed that Bob served a particularly good, old vintage of Evian
Many "spring" waters come from glaciers and this vintage was,
apparently, still a bit frozen.
Jonathan and Lucy grow some unbelievably sweet strawberries.
These have a fantastic aroma and the flavor must be
tasted...they are so sweet!
Bob, who spilled his waters apparently, pours the 1950 Porto Rocha, a Colheita
bottling from Alexia's "vintage."
Then it was time for some birthday gifts...
Placemats on which to serve the spun salad!
Bob offers a gift-wrap box which is unmistakably
Bob then brought out some high-proofs...
What a lovely way to celebrate Alexia's birthday!
Thanks to Bob and everyone for pitching in!
Happy Birthday Alexia!
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