The ride to The Obester's By The Sea was gorgeous, this sunny
Sunday in March of 2004 setting records for being a day straight out of the
Once inside, we found Paul and Sandy busy buzzing around the kitchen putting the
finishes touches on a magnificent menu.
Paul had fired up the pizza oven around noon and it was now around 500+ degrees,
so he rolled out some dough and got busier.
The dough featured some herbs, too, making it unusually flavorful.
And into the oven it goes....
Paul then whacked it into pieces and explained to Claudia and Alexia the topping
of a tomato & cheese blend, not to mention roasted garlic.
A magnum of Bruno Paillard's non-vintage Brut Champagne, disgorged in 2000, was
splendiferous! The wine was very bubbly, quite dry and nicely toasty
(added complexity from it having some time "on the cork" as they say).
Paul cranked out a bunch more pizzas!
This one was mushroom brie topped with chanterelles.
Alexia shows off the work of our would-be Napolitano Pizzaiolo!
Sandy then got busy with her home-made Gnocchi!
These were sauced with a pan of baby fava beans and pancetta.
Birthday Boy Bob Gorman enjoys a sip of Isole e Olena's outstanding 2001 Chardonnay.
Dr. Marjorie Martin, the birthday girl, enjoys a taste of the 2001 Colterenzio
The Colterenzio was huge, a deep, buttery, creamy and big. The Isole e
Olena features a smoky element and comes across the palate slightly more austere
(by comparison). Both were outstanding.
Chef Sandy Obester finally has a moment to savor her "fruits" of her
Meanwhile, Henry can't decide between the two wines.
He does, eventually, though.
Back in the kitchen, Paul and Sandy have the stove top fully engaged!
Sweetbreads are a "side" dish along with Orzo.
The star of this show is Paul's Gourmet Magazine-inspired veal roast!
Paul seared the meat on the stovetop before roasting it in the oven.
Claudia was gracious enough to help serve.
Paul brought out two stellar wines for the roast:
HEITZ "MARTHA'S VINEYARD"
I don't know what the main plates were at Gary Danko's restaurant on this
evening, but they would have had trouble in topping this!
The sweetbreads were sheer perfection! The veal was roasted perfectly and
the orzo and grilled leeks were outstanding.
The Heitz displayed textbook "Martha's Vineyard" aromas and
flavors. The 1975 vintage had been over-shadowed by the bigger, fatter
1974s. But our experience has been the 1975s aged more gracefully and this
wine is a classic example of that. Still having plenty of lovely fruit and
the Heitz' nose, this was delicious.
Chteau Margaux was in a down period in 1975. The estate was sold a
couple of years later, its renaissance beginning in 1978. Yet this 1975
was still a good, if not great, example of Bordeaux. It showed the
leathery, mildly tobacco-like notes of well-aged Bordeaux.
Alexia dives into the plate and the conversation.
For the cheese course, Paul assembled a nice array of different
selections. We had two vintages of Domaine de la Romane-Conti
The older bottle had dropped a bit of color and you could see a fair bit of
sediment had collected in it. You never know until you open the bottle, of
course, as to the condition of the wine.
We periodically have customers who bring back bottles of wine with some
scuzziness on the cork.
A moist towel or napkin will remove this "crud."
The you can set about un-corking the wine.
The cork, old and fragile, came out in stages.
Cliff helped Marjorie with the cheese selection and we all enjoyed the
The 1976 was superb! It displayed the sort of Oriental spice notes one
finds in many DRC wines. There was a note of anise and some earthiness,
along with a bit of sweet woodsy tones.
Though the wine was color poor, it made up for it in fragrances and flavors.
The 1995 is a youngster, blossoming in the glass with what precious little time
we allowed it. It displays darker cherry fruit notes and a wonderful sweet
vanillin oak character. The tannins are modest and perfect for the
Dessert was next...
Sandy's Genoise cake topped with candied kumquats accompanied by a 1990 Chteau
Suduiraut Sauternes. This was a magnificent combination!
The Sauternes had lots of honeyed, apricot-like notes and was very rich.
Alongside the candied kumquats, it soared to great heights.
Marjorie enjoyed the Sauternes.
"Why I was only seventy-something back in 1990! Those were the
A few birthday cards and gifts got opened as midnight drew near.
Claudia sang opera as Henry and Paul were enthralled.
We then all climbed into the chariots and made our way back over the hill (and
you can interpret that any way you like).
Many thanks to Paul and Sandy for such great hospitality!
Much appreciated by all.
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