FOOD, WINE & FRIENDS PAGE 252
We gathered on a cool San Francisco evening in February at The Blue Plate
restaurant for some American "comfort cuisine" to share with young
Julien Combier from the Northern Rhone Valley in France.
We were joined by famous Bay Area wine sales reps JJ Clifton and Tom Switzer,
along with importer Charles Neal.
Tom immediately ordered a bottle of Talley Chardonnay from the Arroyo Grande
appellation in California's Central Coast.
This was spot-on! Dry, nicely oaked...good flavors...a great start!
We had some bottles in our wine bags...so we were in for an interesting evening
of wine and food.
How about a Grilled Cheese Sandwich...With Mortadella (enhanced with
The menu described this as "grilled black truffle mortadella house-made
american cheese, medjool date mostarda, grilled bread."
The Mortadella was off the charts (good!)!!!
Tom Switzer and JJ Clifton...comparing notes.
Lucas and Julien, in rapt attention listening to importer Charles Neal.
Pan-roasted Mussels, Port wine, Spanish chorizo, Nepitella (a sort of
mint/oregano-like herb) and burnt orange.
Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs
Roasted beet salad pea leaves, grapefruit, fennel vinaigrette and ricotta
Tom brought a brow-bagged bottle...I guessed it as "Some Old California Red
It turned out to be a 1992 Hess Collection Cabernet, still
hanging in there, though not really made with the idea someone would cellar it
for 21 years!
Dungeness crab and Ricotta ravioli with brown butter jus, preserved kumquat,
green onion and potato skins...
Another bottle of red was making its way around the table in a brown bag...
It was an Ojai Vineyard 2002 Santa Barbara Syrah from the Thompson
Vineyard...very good! Mildly spicy and still quite a bit of tannin.
We then opened an interesting bottle...
...and it met with Julien's approval:
2008 Oliver Twist Syrah from Canada's Okanagan Valley.
I detected a note of cinnamon spice in the wine.
JJ was busy with the 2007 Pinson Chablis...a Grand Cru from the Les Clos site...
Tom "The Schnoz" Switzer.
The Blue Plate crew took a moment to join us in tasting some vin rouge...
They were delighted by a taste of Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage...
The Kitchen Crew was busy putting the finishing touches on a few of our plates.
Someone ordered Blue Plate's famous Fried Chicken.
JJ suggested ordering a bottle of Scherrer's Syrah and we had it decanted...this
was quite good!
I ordered their Pork Chop but without the Feta Cheese topping.
Short Rib Stroganoff with Semolina Porridge, Baby Carrots, Brussels Sprouts and
a Grilled Mushroom Chimichurri.
Blue Plate Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Blue Lake Green Beans...this is
seriously "Cuisine Americaine"!
It seemed the consensus for Wine of the Night went to this bottle:
2011 NEYERS Sonoma Coast Syrah "Cuvee d'Honneur."
It was a magnificent Syrah and tips its chapeau to Northern Rhone Syrahs.
Monsieur Charles Neal.
The famous Tom Sniffzer.
Key Lime Pie...this proved irresistible to our French visitors!
And at this point we were filled to the brim and needed to
make tracks for home.
It was great seeing everyone at such a lovely venue.
If you've not been to The
Blue Plate in San Francisco, do check it out!
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