Yesterday was my final day on the West Coast and I jaunted from San Francisco down to LA early in the morning to see some friends/clients perform at the opera there. Afterwards I was graciously invited to join the principal members of the cast at a private dinner at PATINA (in the Disney Concert Hall next door where I dined just two months ago after the opera as well) hosted by the underwriters of the opera, who just happen to also own one of the foremost wine importing companies in the country, the Henry Wine Group!
We had some amazing hor's d'oevres served outside on the patio first while I quaffed on Chardonnay and E. Guigal Cote Rotie. The two favorites (of which I had many multiples) were a chunk of lobster in a cream sauce on a spoon and a Braised Short Rib in Coconut Foam, that I said would easily satisfy me as an entree.
We sat down to dinner and Mr. Henry boasted about the excellent wines (where he indicated were very inexpensive as well) and rightfully so. The FINCA ANTIGUA BLANCO 2005 from Spain is a refreshing cleansing wine made from the Viura grape that works with anything and was stupendous with the huge SHRIMP with GINGER-HERB BUTTER.
The FINCA ANTIGUA CRIANZA 2002 was an excellent wine for the big meat dish which was a monster portion of PRIME BEEF TENDERLOIN (cooked perfectly medium rare) and MERLOT BRAISED SHORT RIB (lucky us, we got the short ribs again!) with POMME BOULANGERE (potatoes and caramelized onions) & SWISS CHARD CREAM. It was a superb and way too huge portion that we all wolfed down.
Dessert was no less impressive with an ALMOND NOUGAT GLACE, CARAMELIZED BANANA "en croute" ALMOND PUREE & BANANA ICE CREAM. The bananas and almond creme were molded together inside an egg roll like pastry croute that was simply superb.
Alas, I am now headed back east and won't return to the wonderful cuisine of California until February.