Friday Night is Bread Night!
Ah, the dilemma…what to do about Friday nights? We have been open Fridays from 4-7pm since late summer,and the jury is still out about whether to keep doing it. On the one hand it is generally sparsely attended. On the other, sparse attendance sometimes contributes to an easy, salon-like, conversational warmth. We also like Fridays because usually Ryan is behind the bar, and we get to schmooze at our favorite wine shop with many of our favorite friends. On Saturdays when it’s busy that just isn’t possible. The upshot is that we keep trying different things for Fridays.
Last week was the debut of fresh bread from Janice’s wood-fired outdoor oven. It was crunchy, it was complex, mostly rye, with raisins and seeds and nuts, and it was great with the charcuterie and manchego cheese. This week we expect to continue the Great Bread Experiment; don’t know what the bread will be, but it will be fresh, and there will be other tasty morsels and wines to go with it. Down the road we hope to have loaves to sell; for now, it’s Friday night samples. Oh, and by the way….it’s REALLY good!!
The New Chocolate Tempering Machine
I know, I know…it’s cruel to mention the C-word (“Chocolate!”) on an occasion when we are not offering Pat’s delectable truffles, medallions, or, as last week, nut clusters in deep, dark chocolate. They were an experiment resulting from the convolution of two disparate events: the arrival of a new, more sophisticated chocolate tempering machine (better temperature control!), and our discovery in Spain of the delicious Marcona almonds, aka “the Queen of Almonds.” They are shorter, rounder, softer, and sweeter than the California variety. Those we had (and loved!) in Spain were roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Hard to improve upon, but I can honestly say that embedding them in delicious high-quality chocolate is, for lack of a better term, an Inspiration. OMD- they are soooo good! I can’t speak for Pat, but hopefully there will be another experiment soon, and an opportunity for you to pre-order. (Let’s all hope so, and I will continue to lobby on our collective behalf…!)
Back in the seventies and eighties, Bellingham was home to a world-class flamenco dance team, Teo and Isabel Morca. Not only did I see them perform numerous times, but as it turned out, I also happened to be taking some dance classes at Western (I was on the faculty then) and had the opportunity to participate in a Master class with them. Flamenco, it turns out, is a complex art form combining dance, guitar, percussion, and voice into a layered, textured, formal, and yet emotive, passionate, and very physical expression of life, love, rhythm, and movement. So it was with some excitement that before our trip to Spain we had booked tickets to Gran Gala Flamenco in Barcelona at the Palau Musica Catalana. It was a little hard to find video and sound segments that convey the set of experiences of both the passion of flamenco and the classic architecture of the 100-year old Palau, but the links below are our best shot. As it turns out the best photos of the Palau seem to be taken by Japanese tourists…no we don’t know them, but we do appreciate their pictures, because ours didn’t come out very well! And the various videos below are not exactly the performance we saw, but they are the same troupe in the same theater, about a week later. Enjoy!
Flamenco #2 (not at Palau, but same troupe)
This week’s tasting:
Muga Rosado ’11 Spain $11
Pale and refreshing, with a lovely bouquet of cherry blossom, strawberry, and rhubarb. Crisp, vibrant, dry, and well-balanced.
Campo Viejo Tempranillo ’10 Spain $10
Supple and fresh, this light red offers cherry, berry, and herbal flavors over modest tannins. Crisp and refreshing, “joven” (young) style. with only four months in oak.
Can Blau “Blau” ’09 Spain 90pts $11
40% Carinena, 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha aged for 12 months in French oak. Wood smoke, spice box, incense, lavender, black cherry and plum aromas are followed by a mouth-filling, round, dense wine with outstanding grip and length. It over-delivers in a big way. Drink it over the next 6-8 years.
Browne Family Cabernet ’08 Washington $28
Inviting bing cherry, cocoa, and leather aromas are followed by a silky palate of vanilla, clove, Damson plum, and fleur de sel, finishing with hints of cedar. Classic Washington cab.