Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cooking Class at M5

CWG is back again. Well, kind of. I write this post from my desk at work. On Saturday. At 7 pm. Yes – the tail end of a giant technology project warrants such things…..and I have a break where I am waiting on something/someone else to finish so this seemed like a good time to squeeze in a posting.

I came into the office a little tipsy, if we’re being honest! My hubby and BFF Kiley and I did one of the Harper’s Restaurants cooking classes at M5 this morning. The theme was “Crossroads of the Mediterranean...Cooking & Cultures” and it was pretty freaking fab. Allow me to share the menu with you:

Chilled Ajo Blanco (white gazpacho)
Seared White Anchovy, shaved cucumber& Mache Salad
Slow Seared Sea Scallops
Braised artichokes, crispy Prosciutto & preserved lemon gremolata
Rosemary Marinated Veal Loin
Paprika spiced potatoes, piquillo peppers & gala apple-date butter
Hazelnut Galactoboureko
Hazelnut & Brown Sugar Custard Pie
with hazelnut praline & Frangelico syrup

I have to say each course was delicious in its own way. The white gazpacho was complex and unexpected. It was incredible rich and creamy and salty and earthy – it came in a tiny serving cup, which was appropriate because it was pretty intense. It was served with a beautiful citrus salad, composed of mache, grapes, and toasted almonds – it was good to have some acid to cut through the soup. James paired this with Undone Riesling. Oh! Did I mention my buddy James Corbin was the somellier for the day? It was such a pleasant surprise to see him there. I so enjoyed my first wine class on Tuesday (more about that in another post). So we learned that, in the world of wine, it’s almost a futile effort to pair wine with soups. I guess it’s the liquid on liquid thing. But this Riesling was GOOD – and I never say that. I usually can’t stand Riesling. But this one was crisp and citrusy and fruity – but not sticky sweet. I was very pleasantly surprised! Even my hubby liked it, and he’s a big ass red kind of guy.

Round two were the scallops, and I’ll just cut to the chase. Holy crap, they were good. I adore scallops, and these were seared with a garlic-herb rub, and the braised artichokes were perfect. I can’t say enough good things about this! My husband even said these were the best scallops he’s ever had. It was paired with Dopf and Irion Pinot Gris, which I thought was alright. It had a beautiful golden color, but we all found it to be a little sweet. Now, I have recently learned that fruity and sweet are two different things – one coming from acid, and the other coming from sugar. However, even with this knowledge, I'm still learning the difference because I would say that this wine was pretty sweet. Sweet AND fruity actually.

Round three: the veal loin. This one was pretty delicious, although the fact it was served fairly cold threw off the flavor. The dishes must have sat too long before serving, because the meat was room temperature, and the apple butter (while delicious) was pretty solid. That said, I did enjoy the dish – the piquillo peppers were a nice side. This dish was paired with Chateau Martinet, which was a bit of a Monster Baby. Monster Baby is a term that we use for red wines that are too young, and still a little too sharp and intense. We came up with it at a previous tasting at Nonna’s, where James poured a wine and declared “This one is a MONSTER. It’s a BABY. This wine needs more TIME. It’s 5 years old and it’s STILL a BABY.” Which cracked us up. So, now every time we have an overly tannic wine, we call it a Monster Baby. This wine was such an MB, that we actually found sediment in our glasses. Not complaining. I like a Monster Baby once in a while!

The dessert was interesting – it had a very strange texture, almost like apple oatmeal wrapped in puff pastry. It had a nice flavor, but it was a little goopy for a pie. I still ate my entire serving, plus some of hubby’s, because I was somewhat drunk by this point. Speaking of, this was paired with Garliardo Moscato, a slightly bubbly dessert wine. Surprisingly, all three of us really enjoyed it. It was sweet, but still crisp, and a nice end to the class. I have to say dessert wines are growing on me. I need to quit hating on the sweet wines!

All in all, I have concluded that these cooking classes are an amazing value. Think about it... you get a four course meal from a fabulous local restaurant, four glasses of wine, and a cooking demo and wine commentary. All for 35 bucks. And I especially enjoyed this one because M5 is an absolutely beautiful restaurant.

I'm deciding which class to take next. Check out the full list here.

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