Roasted Chicken with Hazelnuts and Honey - Straight outta Yotam Ottolenghi's self-titled cookbook "Ottolenghi." Ottolenghi is an Israeli-born Londonite whose Middle Eastern inspired books are filled with some fiendishly good recipes. And while of his dishes sometimes require deep pantries (not to mention pockets), this one is quite manageable if you're willing to forgo pleasantries like rose water (hard to find) and saffron threads (the self-proclaimed "most expensive spice in the world." SPARE ME). Let's not mince words though, this dish is seriously good. The hazelnuts provided some sweet crunch on top of the chicken which is given hours to absorb the cinnamon and ginger infused marinade. Plus it was scrumptious alongside our first wine of the meal:
The Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2013.
This wine is 100% Garnacha (Grenache), from the Aragon (no relation to Aragorn, the King of Gondor, sadly). One friend noted that this wine became more enjoyable as we began eating dinner, elaborating further: "It tastes better with garlic." Then again, what the hell doesn't? Anyways, this wine has a dense, dark color. It also has a sturdy build, meaning that it's best suited to be drank with nourishment. When I asked another friend to describe it, he responded in kind: "This is too complicated for my tongue...but I think that it's the perfect wine to have with cake." True to his comment, besides the dominant fruit, it's got an, almost vanilla-y flavor that lends itself well to rich foods and "Golden Years," by David Bowie.
"Listen, if it was a wet t-shirt contest, O'Malley has this in the bag. Have you seen that man walk out of the ocean?"
"The only O'Malley I care for is Thomas O'Malley from the Aristocats."
"If you're hooking up with someone you met on the subway they have at least $2.75 to their name."
"It's better to get drunk off red wine than anything else."
The Indaba Merlot 2013 (Pictured at Top). We drank this while finishing the meal and it was definitely the crowd favorite. I mean this wine is smoother than Trump's toupee. It's worth noting that wines have all different sorts of "lengths," which denotes the amount of time in which its flavor lingers in your mouth. The Indaba's is rather short lived, but it certainly makes up for it with deep, chewy red fruit that tastes straight off the vines from the "Cape Floral Kingdom" region of South Africa where its grown. Now that's a name for a wine region (I'm looking at you, "Napa Valley").
You can read more about Indaba's wines and their sustainable practices here. Pairs well with David Bowie's "Changes," and impassioned discussions on Bernie's chances of winning Iowa.
Before the end of the meal, I asked each of my friends (who are all in their early to mid-twenties and earning relatively average just-out-of-college salaries), to give me a general price range for how much money they would pay for each wine. This was, for me, one of the best parts of the meal, because it reinforced the entire purpose of this blog:
Willing to pay: $22-25 – $18-24 – $20 – $18-20 – $15-19
Actual Price: $14
The Rating: 3 - If you're willing to shell out a few extra bucks, definitely try this juice. Great for a romantic meal with the missus (or mister), or for conversations with friends about meeting the missus on a Subway.
Willing to pay: $14.50 – $13 – $15 – $14-15 – $15
Actual Price: $8
The Rating: 1 - What easier way to impress some hip Brooklyn-based friends than with a couple bottles of sustainably produced South African Wine from the friggin' Cape Floral Kingdom?