Reviews of the Round Table
The majority of the time.
friends. This week, a change in venue! 30/30 Wines heads into NYC to meet up with local friend/mentor/aunt-by-choice/chef extraordinaire, Melanie, to learn how to cook a
mediterranean meal in minutes. Well, 120 minutes.
Character Profile: Melanie
(Not a) Pro Tip: While cooking with Mel, I recently noticed I was criminally underusing anchovies in my cooking. Whether it's salads, roasted vegetables, or sauces, they're oh so strange, but oh so good.
When I storm the kitchen, or "cook," as some call it, I frequently rely on recipes from other 'real' chefs. For this reason, cooking with Melanie is always quite refreshing. Her cooking style is best described as adventurous nonchalance coupled with irksome modesty. Together, we've cooked beef heart eight different ways, and carved pigs. Noshed on pig's ears, and made beef tongue stew. If I want to cook against the grain, she's the person I turn to. Theres never a recipe to be found, and never a worry to be had.
Saffron Rice with Almonds and Dates - It wasn't an easy decision here, as the heavy Moroccan flavors of the chicken tagine we made (above left) was fantastic. But gold medal and full marks have to go to that golden rice alongside it. A man is only as good as his word, and it appears I'm going to have to eat mine, friends. Saffron threads are freakin' amazing. Sure, they're more expensive than the all queen's jewels combined, but they seem to add an other-worldly freshness to dishes. It was as though the rice had been stuffed with lilacs and roses. For now, let's put them in the "Treat Yo Self," category of spices. The added slivered almonds and sliced dates gave this dish a crunch and a punch which ensured no leftovers were to be found.
Wine of the Night:
The Montes Alpha Syrah 2012 - This wine had us all won over. The stand out favorite. I grabbed a syrah because I wanted something bold to stand up against the commanding Moroccan flavors we would be messing around with.
Tasting the Alpha is like being wrapped in a quilt on Christmas. It blankets the mouth with broad, spicy flavors. One individual commented that beneath the surface, it has a bit of a toffee characteristic, almost akin to caramel. Warm and enveloping, it was the perfect accompaniment to the eclectic music - ranging from Gnarls Barkley to Nina Simone - and the intense food offerings.
- The Wine: The Montes Alpha Syrah 2012.
- The Price: $15-$19 - Depends on where you're situated, friend.
- The Characteristics: The Alpha is everyone's teddy bear. Big and bold upfront, but in truth, it just wants to be loved. Perfect for accompanying rubbed meats, cigars, and, of course, moroccan flavors. Plus the winery is Certified GAF (Green As Fuuu....dge?). Check out their entire website devoted to sustainability here.
- The Rating: 2 - We really loved this wine. Seriously. Half my notes from the night are different descriptions and rambling superlatives about it. That said, it's not exactly an everyday sipper you need to buy bushels of. Grab a bottle, and when the time comes, pop it and sip.