Monday, January 30, 2017

arts & eats part 1

so it has been a busy few days and this will take at least two posts to cover because I want to give everything it's due space and details-

since I have the photos ready to go on last night's wine and food I am going to start with that and then I will fill in the days before in another post - that would be the Saturday night concert with Al Stewart and Sunday's fabulous ballet performance by the Sarasota Ballet- but first we eat as MFK Fisher says... so off we go to Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood....

Bern's is mecca to wine lovers- at one point their cellar had over a million bottles - they told us last night 1.2 million and also told us it is down to a more manageable 600,000 bottles now - LOL we have less than 1/100 of that and can't keep track of them I have no clue how the somms there do it...

But anyway- our somm there for the last goodly number of years has been Brad Dixon (his cousin went to kindergarten with Phil's mom and the cousin worked in Phil's grandfather's store- LOL- small world - we are talking Belleville IL and we met Brad here in Tampa) and he really knows how to to work the cellar.  Phil gets in touch with him and then he and Brad work out a plan before we go because there is absolutely NO WAY you could go and make your way through the entire list to decide on the spot what to order.

So last night we had worked a list ahead of time with hopes that some of our prior favorites were still available and two of the wines we drank were prior WOE (wine of the evening) winners then we had three others including one that was an open choice for Brad and a wild card for us - and OMG it won WOE hands down against some really tough competition.

so off we go- and I will add the spoiler at the beginning - here are my happy campers in the dessert room after the meal - and the wines - which I should mention were also shared by good friends from TPA CBGB of wine trip to Argentina (first blog posts in 2010) and wine trip in Burgundy (blog posts in May 2014)

We started with two whites - a Chablis and a Puligny - Montrachet

by this time we had the cheese toasts - which I laugh at every time because they are like wheat thins that they melt cheese on - a la 1950s  and now we are on to our mini french onion soups which were marvelously retro and very tasty...

then the reds started arriving - the first was a former WOE winner and still showing fabulously from 1983 the Cru Beaujolais St Amour from Devillaine -

 then the wild card and winner of Wine of the Evening WOE the Grancey from Latour vintage 1970! (before I graduated from high school by a couple of years- and the Bordeaux guys always say burgundy isn't long lived---HA!)

then another WOE from prior visits - the 1975 Cahors still showing vigor - I think that may be a characteristic of the grape blend... Malbec (which they call something else in Cahors) and Merlot...

 the food arrived (not shown loaded baked potatoes) but here is the rest- we shared a large Chateaubriand for five and had plenty to take home for lunch-

in the dessert room I chose the cappuccino creme (a deconstructed tiramisu) and Phil and Mike had other things they liked - Mike's had raspberries and chocolate and Phil's some kind of hot fudge and nut ice cream or something- I was too busy polishing off my own dessert to notice LOL

Mike had a couple of ports and Phil and I had Madeiras from our birth year 1954- and speaking of 1954 here is a throw back to that time - in each of the pods in the dessert room they have a sound system to choose your own background music- LOL

so in recap here were the wines (we drank them right to left)

and if you got this far on the post I will let you in on a secret - the wines - all five bottles cost a vast sum of just under $280 total  (I defy you to find another high end steakhouse in America where you can drink five fabulous bottles of wine for less than 56 per bottle on average!) Now we know these old value wines will not last forever, but we have now been going here for similar wine dinners since February of 2011.  Each year, sometimes twice a year,  along with our somm, we have been able to scour the list for value wines and have been amply rewarded for the effort put into planning the visit.

It was great fun for all but since CBGB have joined in on nearly every one of the events over the years - it was fun for all of us to see Mike's eyes get wide and hear his comments on the wines as they arrived- that is how we got to the photo from the end of the night -

Next I will circle back to the concert Saturday night and the Ballet on Sunday--- so stay tuned as I always say... more fun coming up!

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