Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lunch at La Cave, Milan

A few months ago, a certain Mr. Giampero Sappa contacted me thru my blog, that he had stumbled upon surfing the web. He is the Sales Manager of a Winemaker called Mauro Sabaste, in the town of Alba in the Piedmont region. He was asking me if I knew any wine distributors in Manila, so I told him I would hook him up with the ones I know. I also mentioned that I was going to be in Milan. He immediately said that we should meet for lunch and he would bring some samples of the wines they produce.

We met in a Restaurant in downtown Milan called La Cave. A simple Restaurant that offers lunch for businessmen, fresh ingredients and a very nice and cozy place. We started with Giampero, who is an enologist, explaining to me how they produce the wine and where it is located.

For starters, we had a white 2008 Mauro Sebaste Roero Arneis. Roero is a DOCG located in the Roero hills north and east of Alba in southeastern Piedmont. Its made with 100% Roero. Very light wine and refreshing, was a good match to the first dish we had: Tuna and Swordfish Carpaccio with Salad.

For seconds, we had: Stinco di Vitello al forno con Patate (Roasted Veal Shin with Potatoes). The veal was quite tasty, although I found it a bit tough. For our wine, Giampero recommended we try the 2006 Mauro Sebaste Centrobricchi Langhe. This wine is 80% Barbera and 20% Nebbiolo. The vineyards are located in the Commune of Alba, La Morra, Monforte, Barolo and Roero, that is the reason of the name “Centobricchi” which means top of the hills.

As far as I can remember, I have never tried this type of wine and I really enjoyed it. The wine was not decanted but it was open for about 1 hour before we drank it. It was a well balanced wine with some tannins. Perfect match with our meat dish.

After our meal, we continued chatting about the wine industry and in particular over a cafe (that's how they call espresso in Italy). He also left me six bottles of samples of his wine, which I can't wait to try once I get back to Manila...

Grazie Mille Giampero !!! Ciao !!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trattoria Milanese, Milan

A trattoria is an Italian style eating place, less formal than a Ristorante, very primitive/simple menus and with wine normally served in carrafs or half bottles, or glasses. Food is normally served family style and tables are shared with other people you do now know from adam.

I decided on trying out Trattoria Milanese based on the reseached I did and the good reviews it had. Located in the commercial are of Milan, on a very narrow street, it's quite a popular location. We got there at around 7:30 PM (quire early for Italian standards) and obviously the place was not full. We were 2 and they seated us in a table for 4, sharing with 2 other people. As soon as we left thou around 9:15 Pm, the places was packed.

For appetizers, I decied to order Carciofini all Olio (Artichokes with Oilve Oil). The artichokes were pickled, with a coating of Olive oil, a little salt and Pepper. Very simple dish but fantastic crunchy artichokes with Olive Oil.

For second, although I did not want to eat so much, I had to order the Rissotto a La Milanese e Osso Buco. A very typical dish from Milan, Braised Veal Shank and Rissotto enhanced with Saffron Threads. With this I had a more then generous glass of D.O.C. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Medoro.

For Dessert, Baby Strawberries with Orange Juice, a very refreshing and light dessert.

Over all a very simple but great meal, Italian Style. Have tried other Restaurants and Milan which I will blog about very soon....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Best 50 Restaurants in the world

I just read a post from a fellow blogger here and decided to post this too. Below is a list of the top 50 Restaurants according to this site. El Bulli continues to be number 1 (4 years in a row) and Fat Duck 2nd place.

I have only been able to dine in 2 restaurants on this whole list: El Bulli and Celler de Can Roca(I've been to some others but they were branches of the original ones mentioned (Robuchon and Nobu). This year I plan to hit at least 4 more from the list (Fat Duck,Mugaritz, Arzak and Etxebarri)...wish me luck (and money) so I can achieve this....


1 El Bulli Spain
2 The Fat Duck UK
3 Noma Denmark Chef's Choice
4 Mugaritz Spain
5 El Celler de Can Roca
6 Per Se USA
7 Bras France
8 Arzak Spain
9 Pierre Gagnaire France
10 Alinea USA
11 L'Astrance France
12 The French Laundry USA
13 Osteria Francescana Italy
14 St John UK
15 Le Bernardin USA
16 L'Hôtel de Ville - Philippe Rochat Switzerland
17 Tetsuya's Australia
18 L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon France
19 Jean Georges USA
20 Les Créations de Narisawa Japan
21 Chez Dominique Finland
22 Ristorante Cracco Italy
23 Die Schwarzwaldstube Germany
24 D.O.M. Brazil
25 Vendôme Germany
26 Hof van Cleve Belgium
27 Masa USA
28 Gambero Rosso Italy
29 Oud Sluis Netherlands
30 Steirereck Austria
31 Momofuku Ssäm Bar USA
32 Oaxen Skärgårdskrog Sweden
33 Martin Berasategui Spain
34 Nobu London UK
35 Mirazur France
36 Hakkasan UK
37 Le Quartier Français South Africa
38 Colombe South Africa
39 Asador Etxebarri Spain
40 Le Chateaubriand France
41 Daniel USA
42 Combal.Zero Italy
43 Le Louis XV Monaco
44 Tantris Germany
45 Iggy's Singapore
46 Quay Australia
47 Les Ambassadeurs France
48 Dal Pescatore Italy
49 La Calandre Italy
50 Mathias Dahlgren Sweden

Sunday, April 19, 2009

6 hour Burgundy Lunch at Je Suis Gourmand..

This was the first of our Wine themed lunches, even before Pepato, but I am only posting it now a few weeks after. We were the usual suspects: Noel, Rene, Jojo, Jay, Laraine and myself. The theme was Burgundy so a special Menu was prepared by Marc Aubry that would match the wines that we brought. We started with some Bubbly that Rene brought: Sieur D'Arques Aimery Cremant de Limoux Grand Cuvee 1531 Brut. A fresh Bubbly fom LanguedociRousillon Region for France. I brought a Bottle of 2006 Domaine Rimbault Pouilly Fume, but we decided not to open it as we had too many wines already.

For starters, we had: Salad with Magret du Canard and Pan Seared Foie Gras. Slices of Magret with the Foie Gras was heavenly, and the lettuce and tomatoes gave it a good crisp and a sensation of lightness...(of course who am I kidding??)..... With this we had Jojo's bottle of 2004 Maison Leroy Bourgogne. It was typical Burgundy, with 100% Pinot Noir. It was quite light and was a good match to our salad.

The we had: Cream of Watercress and Frogs Legs Soup. The soup was very light even if it was a cream. The Frogs legs were already deboned so it was much easier to eat. With the Soup we did not have any wine, but I'm sure a nice white would have gone well with this dish.

For our Main course, March prepared: Duo of Roasted Veal Kidney and veal Loin. Equal amounts Veal Loin and Kidney were on our plate, with some Roesti. I enjoyed the Veal but did not eat much of the Kidney, since I had just had a Gout attack and was try to avoid another one...

With this we brought out the big guns: 2002 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu Premier Cru, 2001 Domaine Daniel Rion Clos Vougeot Grand Cru and toward the end we opened Jays Bottle, a 1999 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St Georges Premier Cru Les Damodes. I enjoyed N's wine (Clos Vougeot) since I tried it in a Dinner we had in Lemuria the week before, and wanted to enjoy it more. Definitely I enjoyed it specially with the Veal and Kidney.

For dessert, we had Strawberry Mille-Feuille, and with that we had 2 sweet wines: 1988 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey and a 2005 Peller Estates Oak Aged Icewine. Both were half bottles. It was my first time to try an Ice Wine, and comparing both of them, I would say the Ice wine was not as sweet as the Sauternes.

We stayed on for some espresso while Jojo and Laraine had to leave. We ended up staying til almost 6 PM with coffee and complimentary glasses of green Chartreuse. A very enjoyable lunch which I hope we can have again soon....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Italian Wine Lunch at Pepato

It was another on of those themed wine lunches, organized by Noel and Jojo(thank you very much guys). After our First Wine lunch in Je Suis Gourmand (Burgundy wines) J and N decided to have another one. The venue was Pepato and the wines: Italian. I do not have any Italian wines on stock so I did not know what to bring, finally I decided on a Prosecco which I thought was a good way to start our meal.

We started with the Bisol Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut 2005 and a 2005 Antinori Cervaro della Sala Umbria and a 2007 Brewer Cliffton Santa Rita Hills. With that we had: Buffalo Mozzarella-Black Squid Ink Crostone, Roasted Bone Marrow with Black Truffle Paste and Squash Flower-Oyster Mushroom-Apple Fritters. I particularly enjoyed very much the Squid Ink Crostone with the Antinori, which I think was a Chardonnay. The Roasted Bone Marrow was heart-clogging and delicious with the Truffle Paste and Bread......

For Main, N ordered for all of us: Spaghetti Pepato and Florentina Style Bistecca. The Spaghetti was a simple yet delicious dish: Spaghetti mixed with a little wine and 'tossed' inside a whole (hollow) wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. As they toss the Spaghetti, the cheese slowly melts and what is served to you is this creamy light and very simple yet tasty dish. The steak was excellent and paired very well with all the 'full bodied' Italian Reds we had. It came with a cream sauce and Truffle paste but it was good as is...with just a little salt.

As for our wines, we had a total of 4 Reds: N's wine: 2001 Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello Di Montalcino, a fruity full bodied wine which he decanted ro about 1.5 hours before serving. Laraines wine: 2001 Allegrini Amorone della Valipocella, also a full bodied rich wine (made partially of dried grapes). J's Wine: 2001 Grattamacco BOLGHERI Superiore - a Super Tuscan (Tuscan Red wine that does not adhere to traditional blending laws for the region), a 1988 Castello di Rampolla, an older Chianti , not as full bodied as the other reds and a 2003 Elio Perrone Barbera d'Asti Superiore Mongovone, from Piedmont. Another full bodied wine which I enjoyed with the Steak.

For dessert, a cheese platter with Jelly and Membrillo (Quince Paste) and double espressos....a great lunch which ended at 6:30 PM...and we already have the next one planned: a Burgundy-Pinot Noir showdown Dinner at Prince Albert.....Hmm...can't wait....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Special Anniversary Dinner @ Fireplace Grill Hyatt

It was our 8th year wedding anniversary and as we always do, we planned a special dinner like every year. This year we were craving for Steak since lately we have preferred to order Duck or Lamb over steak. Our last steak meal was some 6-8 months ago at Mortons in Macau. After consulting with several people we finally decided to try out Fireplace Grill at Hyatt. I've been hearing a lot of good comments about this place for the longest time. It's best known for the aged steaks.

We got there quite early and we were seated right in front of the kitchen. Christine Oro, who had catered a dinner for us, is the Chef, so she quickly came to our table to greet us and introduced us to the head Chef. I cannot remember his name but he was very nice. He explained how simple the concept of the Restaurant was: a simple open kitchen with an "open" fireplace where almost everything is done. They even bake their own bread. At he back of the grill, they have a small staging area where they prepare desserts and salads. All the rest is done in the open kitchen. The Chef, before leaving, told us to leave space for the 'Chocolate Soup' dessert...he said it would be worth the weight...

For starters, we had Steak Tartare, Oysters Rockefeller and Escargot. Of course, I could not resist not ordering the Tartare. It was served with a little salad and toast. Quite tasty and creamy, although it lacked a but of kick (maybe a little more Tabasco would have done the trick). R was craving for Oysters so she had the Oysters Rockefeller. Quite large oysters, with spinach and a thick layer of cheese...very tasty and quite enjoyable with my Sauvignon Blanc. Last we had the Escargot, Pernod Flambeed. This was probably my best starter. The escargot was flambeed with Pernod, a liqueur with a slight licorice flavor. This gave the escargot a sweetish hint which I loved.

For main, since we were quite full, we decided to share a steak. We chose the Certified Angus Beef Prime Chilled Ribeye. The steak was 12 oz (around 350 grams), served with roasted capsicum and a siding of roasted baby potatoes. I asked the steak to be rare to medium rare, and they served it to perfection. Pink inside, perfectly grilled on the outside, and no blood. That is how I like my steak. They offered us sauce, so we asked for Bearnaise and Red Wine, but the steak was just so tasty that I decided not to have it with anything. Definitely one of my favorite steaks for now....

For dessert, we had to have the 'Chocolate Soup' recommended by the Chef. It came in a huge soup bowl with 2 scoops of ice cream. It was decadent...a mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate, with the texture of a very soft Brownie/mousse. The chocolate was very hot so the Ice cream melted immediately. Definitely this dessert is worth the 'weight'....My only complain, the steep price of corkage (2 Pesos per Ml., so a bottle will set you back 1,500. I decided to just have wine by the glass since I was the only one drinking.

Well, what really made this dinner special, aside from us celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary, is the good news that R gave me during our dinner.....................