Big storms rumbled in from the southwest and it poured buckets of rain in the morning yesterday. Since we had a dinner date for Thursday night and Mrs. Dr. Phil had to get to the downtown campus early, I drove her there. Also, no breakfast for me, as I had to stop by the Campustown lab in Allendale to get blood drawn for a cholesterol test. It could've been done any morning, but as you'll see, I didn't want to do it after Thursday morning. (grin)
The rain slowed on the way back from downtown G.R., but picked up to a roar at the lab. Only had to walk less than 20 feet and still got quite wet. For once, the lab didn't have the order from the doctor's office. And when the lab called over, they sent the wrong lab form -- one that I might have needed if my spring break GI illness had come back. (grin) Eventually they got it right and I gave a blood sample, not stool. (big grin) End result -- I got up at 6:30am, left home at 8, got to the lab at 9, finally had breakfast at home around 10:15am. Poor baby! (sarcastic grin)
Another In An Irregular Series Of Reports
I'm probably inconsistent about blogging about the absolutely wonderful GVSU Food Services' Classic Pairings special dinners, and I completely forgot last night to take some pictures as I did in February for the Route 66 dinner. But we had such a lovely and leisurely meal last night. Oh yum!
May 13th, 2010
Meadows Club House
Tostones and Shrimp Mango Mojo
Plantain Chips with Garlic Sauce
Picadillo Hash with Avacado
Roast Pork Croguetas, Black Bean Puree, Yellow Rice Radish and Mango
Citrus Snapper, Arroz Amarillo, Black Beans and Sofrito
Cordero en Salsa de Vino Rojo (Lamb) with Corn Cake
Banana Custard Empanada with Dulce Gelato
Coconut Rum Flan
Figs and Cheese
They didn't have a printed list of the wines, but they were extraordinary -- I took notes as they talked about the wines, but surely didn't get all the spellings right. Hook & Ladder red and whites by a retired SF firefighter with the appetizers. A Michigan white, Left Foot Charlie Riesling. An Orello Maloc Pinot Grigio which had a lovely pear finish. A Dry Creek Valley Quivira Red Grenache. A DOCG Querceto Chianti Classico Reservo '04 (rated as one of the top 100 wines). And a Chenin Blanc dessert wine, which a little went very nicely with the three desserts.
As for the food, I've had some Cuban or Cuban-inspired dishes before, but never this much range and it really was something different in total than I'd expected. Chef Paul talked about the basic Cuban type food groups, so of course we had to have pork, fish, fried, black beans and yellow rice, in variations forms and recombinations. They'd had kumquats amongst the fruit in the appetizers, but they also did a candied kumquat reduction on the croguetas. At my grandparents' Florida house in 1965, I saw kumquats on a tree, but my grandmother insisted that nobody eats them. Since then I've been delighted to run across kumquats from time to time -- you pop the whole little tiny orange thing in your mouth and eat it rind and all. Bitter and sweet. Chef Paul told me that he describes the candied kumquats as being like natural Sour Patch Kids. (grin)
The Meadows is the GVSU golf course and club house. Last year they had a dinner at The Meadows and arranged one really long table in the small dining room. It didn't work well for conversations. This year they set up diagonal tables of eight and not only had more seats but it really worked as a nice layout as you were closer to more people on the adjacent tables. Hats off to the wonderful people at the GVSU Food Service who put these on, with the servers making sure all the right glasses were changed, the right silver placed and all the food served and wine poured in a timely fashion. Amy, who joined the staff in the Fall, once again served as the perfect hostess. And with all the glass windows overlooking the golf course, it was a lovely evening with the setting sun after so much rain earlier in the day.
The regular wine distributor guy who does the pairings and explains the wines and their history, just had a baby girl, so another gentleman came in to pinch hit. He was also very knowledgeable. After dinner, a side conversation with some of the other guests may result in "Someone" organizing a Japanese saki pairings dinner. I know that there are a lot of different sakis out there, but typically you just don't get to sample many in most restaurants. To have a saki pairings dinner, with both sakis to taste and perhaps in the food as well, sounds very exciting. And I do mean "taste", as I officially do not drink alcohol, but recognize its importance as a solvent to blend flavors in dining, and so sample small amounts of wines with a meal.
For the 2010-11 academic year, which will be GVSU's 50th Anniversary as well, the GVSU Aramark people are considering having the four Classic Pairings dinners be about tributes, rather than regions. So we might get a Tribute to Pork, to Julia Child (oh YES!), a Valentine's chocolate dinner and Summer Preserves -- a little jar of something preserved with each course. Chef Paul and I were talking afterward and talked about the latest episodes of Bravo's Top Chef Masters -- Chef Paul very much likes pork and duck, as do I, so he thought he might be able to "come up with a pork and duck dish for me" at the Tribute to Pork dinner. Okay, twist my arm... Whatever they decide to do, we'll buy the series and plan on enjoying each and every one of them.
Well done, good people.