Dinner and Drinks at Tavern

Restaurant: Tavern [12, 3, 4]

Location: 11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049. (310) 806-6464

Date: March 10, 2011

Cuisine: Market driven Californian

Rating: Good for dinner too!

 

Every couple of months I get together with a group of friends who all have kids the same age for a “Dad’s night out.” Last time we went to Father’s Office, this time we chose Tavern in Brentwood. I’m generally there either for Brunch or for an early dinner so I was pleasantly surprised to see how jammed the bar was.

The cocktail menu. The bar was hopping big time at 8-9pm on a thursday. Mostly 30 something women too. A pack of cougars were on the prowl too.

“WildRover, Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Fresh Basil & Tangerine.” This was a hell of a good cocktail. Like a whiskey sour with basil.

We pounded through 2 bottles of this pleasant CnDP, which Parker gives a 93. “The finest tradition cuvee yet made, the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre aged in foudre and concrete tanks) possesses a deep ruby/purple-tinged color as well as a bouquet of black currants, black cherries, garrigue, pepper, and lavender. It is a full-bodied, ripe, exceptionally elegant, pure wine to drink now or cellar for 12-15 years.”

Tonight’s dinner menu. Never exactly the same twice.

“Salmon crudo with cerignola olives, cucumber, and meyer lemon.”

“Endive salad with Schaner farm’s citrus, green olives and fennel.”

“Cauliflower soup with truffle butter and marcona almonds.” This was a bit blander than I had hoped. Maybe it didn’t have enough creme, or salt. Still pleasant enough.

“Wild mushroom and leek tart with aged goat cheese and herb salad.”

“The devil’s chicken with braised leeks, onionsand mustard breadcrumbs.” Captain Picard, owner of L’Idiot says, “you can’t afford the duck, you’ll have the chicken!”

“Braised lamb shank with saffron rice, merguez, peppers and pinenuts.” This was a damn good dish. The meat fell off the bone (which could be gnawed viking style at leisure). The rice is Persian, and the whole dish had a vaguely Persian thing going on.

“Niman ranch rib-eye with potato-bacon gratin,red wine butter and arugula.”

The desserts du jour.

“Chocolate and coconut coupe, chocolate ice cream, coconut sherbet and graham crackers.” This tasted like its component ingredients, and that wasn’t a bad thing. Rich and refreshing at the same time.

““Snickers Bar, salted peanut caramel and vanilla ice cream.” Very nice dessert. Inside the hard dark chocolate shell was a kind of peanut and carmel mouse.”

As you can see Tavern ain’t no slouch at dinner time either. The dishes are inventive, rich, made with good ingredients, and tasty. You can find some of my brunch reviews HERE, HERE, or HERE.

Thanksgiving – Pork Insanity

On our third night of ThanksGavin craziness, after Wednesday, and the incomparable thursday, we move into our traditional Friday evening at my cousin Abbe’s. This year Abbe settled on roast pork sandwiches — a meal with deep South Philadelphia roots.

We begin with the pork roasts going into the over, basted in white wine. They came pre spiced from Fiorella’s on Christian Street in the Philly Italian market. They only do pork (specializing in sausage) and have been in biz since the 19th century.

Broccoli Rabe sauteed in garlic.

Roasted long-hots. Serious peppers.

Parker 93 points, “The 2008 Vico made from 100% Mencia with 30% whole clusters and aged for 9 months in seasoned French oak. Opaque purple-colored, it offers up a slightly reticent bouquet of damp earth, mineral, incense, black cherry, and black raspberry. Dense and loaded on the palate, the flavors are already complex and mouth-filling. Impeccably balanced and with a 45-second finish, it has the stuffing to blossom for another 2-3 years but can be approached now. It is a great value.”

A very nice super tuscan.

The 2001 Beaucastel, RP 96! “Beaucastel has been on a terrific qualitative roll over the last four vintages, and the 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape (which Francois Perrin feels is similar to the 1990, although I don’t see that as of yet) is a 15,000-case blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and the balance split among the other permitted varietals of the appellation. This inky/ruby/purple-colored cuvee offers a classic Beaucastel bouquet of new saddle leather, cigar smoke, roasted herbs, black truffles, underbrush, and blackberry as well as cherry fruit. It is a superb, earthy expression of this Mourvedre-dominated cuvee. Full-bodied and powerful, it will undoubtedly close down over the next several years, not to re-emerge for 7-8 years. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025.”

The Merlot was great too, tasting more like a Pomerol than a Cal Merlot.

Chef/Host Abbe chops grilled artichokes (from Claudio’s in the Philly Italian Market).

Our token white, “2009 Dönnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spatlese Even the “off-vintages”, if there are any, for Donnhoff’s most renowned wines get high scores, and are of the finest quality and greatest longevity. Niederhauser Hermannshohle is one of two famous single vineyards which Dönnhoff farms, and the 2009 delivers a wallop, serving up a subtle olfactory treat of blood orange, pear, stone fruit, and talcum powder. In the mouth, incredible concentration comes to fore, as vivid flavors of orange pulp, blueberry, and wild cherry balance racy acidity, luscious mineral notes and a creamy, almost decadent, mouthfeel! A succulent, loaded offering that promises to delight for several years to come…that is, if you can possibly resist drinking it now!”

The heart stopping cheese selection. Camembert, Epposises, quince paste.

More options.

The bread.

And Thursday night’s Tapenade.

The wine keeps on rolling. A 2005 by Raul Perez, spectacular. And the Hall, “The dense purple-colored 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain reveals abundant aromas of cassis interwoven with hints of bay leaf, licorice, and underbrush. Moderately high tannins give pause, but the sweetness of the fruit as well as the level of glycerin and concentration bode well assuming the tannins fall away at a reasonable pace.”

Some folk don’t like the other white meat, so panko crusted pan fried flounder was on the menu for them.

The pork roasts emerge!

Cousin Matt invested in a meat slicer just for the occasion.

The pork was intended to be assembled into sandwiches. Here is salad, artichokes, and provolone fresh from Philly’s Italian market.

Chef Abbe presides over the fish, the broccoli rabe, the “juice” and rolls.

A fish sandwich.

My pork sandwich, with the spicy peppers, cheese, artichoke, broccoli rabe, etc. Pork is soaked in the juice (gravy) ala French dip style.

Mom levers her special “Apple Drapple” Cake out of the pan.

Lo and behold, a second pecan pie!

The Apple Drapple, dressed for my son’s second birthday.

 

ThanksGavin Calendar:

Wednesday night dinner

Thursday night Thanksgiving Feast

Friday night pork roast (this post)

Saturday Deli Brunch

Thanksgiving Proper

Thursday night has finally arrives and with it the serious consumption of traditional Thanksgiving fare. Last night we whet our whistles, CLICK TO SEE, and you’ve seen the echos of the past, but here is the real thing. Blow by blow.

When I arrived my father had already cracked this. The order was wrong but the wine was right. “A profound effort, the 2000 Figeac‘s opaque purple color is accompanied by a terrific bouquet of camphor, graphite, black currants, licorice, and smoked herbs. With well-balanced, powerful tannin, concentration, and pinpoint precision, finesse, and purity, this expressive effort will drink well between 2004-2018.”

A few appetizers. Bear in mind that EVERYTHING is made from scratch. Homemade guacamole (like mine, but not spicy — I make a special shotgun guac with Jalapenos, cyranos, and haberneros).Tapanade with olives, vegetables, garlic and olives. Olives, bread etc.

Flowers from Robertson’s, overpriced but lovely.

The room.

The next two wines. A 2002 Bonnes Mares (yum) and a nice CNDP. “Three separate tastings of this wine left me with the impression that there is a lot more to them than meets the palate. One of the finest estates of the appellation, Clos des Papes tends to produce wines that require 4-5 years of bottle age before they reveal themselves. That may be the case with the 1998, but I am still calling it relatively conservatively, especially when compared with other efforts. The color is very evolved, and not darkly saturated. The bouquet is top-notch, offering attractive cedar, dried herb, black cherry and raspberry scents that are intense yet delicate. Similar flavors emerge on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, with a restrained, elegant style, particularly for this vintage, Clos des Papes’ 1998 tastes as if it emerged from a different year because it was not exhibiting the power, unctuosity, and jamminess possessed by many 1998s. However, there is a lot to the wine, all of which may be revealed with further age.”

My father carries in one of the two turkeys. Multi hour BBQ.

Pounding through the wine. Parker gives this 92, one of my favorite Rhone wineries, “That may explain the open-knit, complex notes of tree bark, black cherries, licorice, seaweed, pepper, and floral notes in the 1998 Beaucastel. The wine is medium to full-bodied, has nice, sweet tannins, and is surprisingly open and approachable. This wine has reached the beginning of its plateau of maturity, where it should last for at least a decade or more. Atypically forward for a wine from Beaucastel, my recollection is that the actual percentage of Grenache, which never exceeds the Mourvedre in their final blend, was much higher in 1998 than in other years.”

The stuffing.

bread.

One of the two cranberry sauces. This is the “relish.”

Mom carves as well as cooks.

Turkey number two. You never know.

Sweet potato.

Brussel spouts, made fresh and not bitter in the least. My cousin-in-law made this one.

The gravy.

Roasted beets.

The turkey plate.

Corn soufflé. One of the few things not made by my mother and aunt.

Chugging through more wine. The 1994 Lagrande: “In comparison to the more open-knit, flattering style of the 1993, the 1994 is a backward, less precocious, more tannic wine that needs another 5-7 years of cellaring. It is a wine that recalls the style of the more tannic vintages of the sixties and seventies. The healthy dark ruby/purple color is followed by copious quantities of smoky, toasty, new oak. There is an impression of ripe fruit, but, for now, the wine’s personality remains dominated by excruciatingly strong tannin. Give this wine 5-6 years of cellaring, as patience is definitely a requirement for purchasing the 1994 Lagrange. It should last for 15-20 years.”

Also a Shiraz from my dad’s cellars. We had some cork issues but it came out okay.

Salad, because you need something to wash it down.

The second cranberry, the jelly (homemade of course).

The full spread.

And the official 2010 plate!

Mom presents the pecan pie.

Snickerdoodles made fresh by cousin Abbe, Grandmom D’s brownies and blondies made by cousin Matt.

The chocolatt cake and whipped cream.

The world’s best pecan pie!

This lovely PX returns from last night for yet another round. Motor oil soaked in sugar!

My dessert plate.

Full. Full. Full!

And last but not least: the Chefs!  My mother on the right, my aunt on the left.

 

ThanksGavin Calendar:

Wednesday night dinner

Thursday night Thanksgiving Feast

Friday night pork roast

Saturday Deli Brunch