Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wine Dinner at Gilead Cafe

I can't say enough about the wonderful cusine Chef Jamie Kennedy is doing these days at Gilead Cafe, so I find reasons to go there often. This time it was a special menu for a group of friends who plan a dinner around  "mystery" wines. All the wines are masked and we try to guess what they are and what the vintage is while the hors d'ouvres are passed. We then enjoy all those wines (as we choose) with the courses that follow.

The wines were Dominus '86; Cain 5 '86 (which was corked); Elevation 1147 (David Arthur) '97; Mt. Eden Vineyard Old Vines '92; Chateau Lynch Bages '85, Beringer Private Reserve '97; Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve '90; Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino '97; Harlan Estates '99.

The hors d'oevres we enjoyed while we "tasted' the wines: a very flavourful, flaky crust tourtiere strudel; swiss chard arancini and croatian style, mildly flavoured lamb cavapcici sausages.

We began with simmered manilla clams with wild leeks. Then, a crisp brioche with soubise (onion sauce) with fresh earthy tasting morels followed. The morels were a wonderful complement for the onion sauce.

We were then served a very enjoyable creative dish, a "farmers" dish of "juicy" pork burger with acidulated vegetables. I was advised that the "secret ingredient" in the burger was geletin from the pig's foot. Now, this is more like nose to tail eating. And, what a juicy burger it was! The beets were a particularly flattering complement that brought out the rich taste of the pork burger. I just loved this dish.

It would be hard to out-do this last dish, but then we received Chef Kennedy's navarin and roast of lamb. Such an enticingly delicious and appetizing picture on the plate. Very tender and nicely flavoured lamb, spring vegetables: peas, fiddleheads, baby ramps as well as potato, turnip and carrot.

Next, a selection of Ontario and Quebec cheeses with wild rice crackers and quince jelly.

Finally a lovely, seasonal, refreshing rhubarb panna cotta was the perfect finish to this meal.

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