Dinner With Grace & Friends

Dinner with Grace and Marie, Hosted by yours truly, accompanied by Mark Buckley and Robert Dupuy ~ Friends, food and wine!  What Napa is all about…..

Living in the gorgeous Napa Valley, having friends over and celebrating life is just one of the many enjoyments we share at our home. Last week was no stranger to this when we hosted Grace Hoffman aka @cellarmistress and her lovely friend Marie Baillargeon. Now Napa Valley Premiere weekend is not one of the faint of heart so graciously they fit us into their busy schedule and I was given the perfect excuse to splurge on few wines to share and spend some quality time in my kitchen (which any of you that know me, is my favorite place to be).

Now my day job is a really awesome gig and one which I love whole heartedly, how many people get to say that about their full time job? The treat of working for an importer with a portfolio of over 250 wines is just another perk. So when I developed my menu for “Dinner with Grace”, I looked through our catalog of wines and made a few choices that sounded amazing and definitely worth sharing. I chilled the wines, purchased the items I needed at the grocery store and settled into the kitchen to create what I hoped would be the perfect meal.

Now getting into the creative flow, requires what else? A little bubbly to celebrate the moment or in my case, just because…. So, before the guests arrived, we opened the Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’ Alsace Brut while preparing the appetizers. Yes, just because….

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The appetizer I chose was my “Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Brussel Sprouts with a Honey Soy Sauce Glaze”. Not to toot my own horn but these were absolutely perfect! A little carmalized, a hint of spice and sweetness and literally melted in your mouth, one to do over for certain.

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Now the guests have arrived and the appetizers are on the table so of course, wine must be opened. I started with the 2008 Gustave Lorentz Riesling Reserve which met with rave reviews and paired perfectly with the sprouts. This wine is delightful with aromas of mangoes and papayas and a slight touch of cinnamon followed by a tropical, floral finish and slight minerality. It is quite delicious.

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Next we moved on to the salad and dinner which we chose to eat on the back patio. Yes, it is February in Napa and we are eating outside. Another treat for our out of town guest from chilly Iowa. My salad is one that my friends and family request whenever they are having dinner so of course, I had to create my “everything but the kitchen sink”

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The next bottle of wine I featured was the lovely Simonsig Chenin Blanc from South Africa which is also quite lovely. Starting with a vibrant straw color and aromas of pineapple and pears, this has a crisp yet silky finish that paired perfectly with the salad I created.

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My featured entrée was one of my favorites to make and a recipe inspired from a local restaurant from my hometown of Calistoga. I have played with the creation of my own dish over the years to enhance, replicate and add my personal touch to try to give it my own special touch and flare. Bosko’s, a lovely little Italian bistro is my favorite spot when visiting home and their Piacere’ dish is my favorite on the menu. It is a shrimp scampi dish with some heat and kick to it and of course a rich cream sauce so this is not an everyday dish, one for the special occasion given the effect it could have on your waistline. But for a treat, it was the perfect dish for our guests.

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Dessert was a little less creative taking a spice cake, whipped cream and shaved chocolate with vanilla bean ice cream and diving in with a spoon, fork, shovel or whatever utensil is handy. Grace brought wines to contribute to the evening and she was gracious enough to bring the Garnet Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir from Monterey County is a newly designed label. This wine is young but is showing so nicely it will develop quite well over time and the winemaker, Allison Crowe, is a wonderful friend and always happy to enjoy her lovely vino!

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All in all, this was a delightful evening, perfectly paired with good friends, delicious wines and yummy food. What more can one ask for in this life?

Until next time…. Cheers!

2 Responses to “Dinner With Grace & Friends”

  1. I am hungry all over again. Thanks Tristan!

  2. I do not get tired of spending time outside in Napa during February. It’s a great time of year in the Valley, and way warmer than where I grew up.

    Alison dropped off some of her new Monterey Pinot recently, and I thought it was very drinkable for a fresh young wine. Have you tried Carneros and Rodgers Creek offerings? Those are some of my favorite Pinots, and the prices are great.

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