Out Last Dinner
Well, the Burghs visit had to come to an end at some point. Our last supper together was a nice dinner out. We went to Margot Cafe. We were all there, old friends and new friends together to break bread and talk about what is new and what is old. I was so psyched because I got to dine with 4 old friends and 3 new friends, and everyone seemed to get along so well. We got lucky, we got to sit at our table upstairs where it was warmer, as the downstairs is a bit drafty. It is an old building with no insulation, and it seemed that during the Burgh's visit, they brought down some of that Pennsylvania winter wind and chill with them.
Let me tell you what I got to eat. I started with the handmade potato chips, as always, with and extra aoli to dip my chips in. This bowl of chips is big enough for a lot of people, but if I had my way, I would eat an entire bowl by myself. My second dish was a monk fish chowder made with cream, thyme, big chunks of potatoes and monk fish. It tasted great, and it was really filling. There was no reason why I needed to go further with my meal, but I did. It seems like braised pork belly is all the rage in every restaurant in Nashville, so I ordered the pork belly with beans and greens. It is so funny how pork belly is the new prime rib. For so many years, I have not been able to find one pork belly on any menu, except for really authentic Chinese restaurants where it was made into a clay pot stew with lotus root. Since there is not one truly authentic Chinese restaurant in Nashville, I had not seen pork belly on any menu until now. The question I have is, where did all the pork bellies go in years gone by, and where are all the pork bellies coming from now? All I know is that I cannot get one cut of pork belly from my pork supplier because they are too busy selling the pork bellies to the restaurants. Isn't there an old joke about pork belly commodities?
One reason why I wanted to post about this Margot Cafe dinner is not about the food, rather, it is about the wine. I brought the wine instead of us buying bottles at 100%+ mark up on the Margot menu. I brought Buehler Zinfandel 2006, made from 36 year old grape vines. Back in 2005, as we toured the Buehler Vineyard, the Wine Spectator rated the Buehler Zin as the #1 Best Value of the Year. The only problem is that there was only 1200 cases out there, and and Royal Caribbean bought out a ton of those cases, and when the Wine Spectator hit the streets, the lucky few flocked to their wine shop and bought the rest. There was not one bottle left at the vineyard, and we were unable to try or buy this treat. Buehler grows these grapes in a true European old world way. He puts stumps or poles next to the vine. He does not tie them, he just lets the vines be free form around the stumps and poles. The yield is less than with tie method, but it makes for happier grapes and a plant that devotes its growing power to fewer grapes, and makes a fuller wine. For this family, it is not about making more volume of wine, it is about the natural process and care of making wine. Buehler also does no irrigate. It is completely up to the weather to make the vines work or not work. Thank goodness, 2006 was much like 2005 in weather and harvest time. Harvest was pushed late into the end of 2006.
Buehler's thoughts about selling his wine is that he believes that he is fortunate and a wealthy man already with a great wife, great kids, great dogs, great home, and great friends. He believes he is fortunate to have his farm in Napa. He wants to make a living at making wine, but he doesn't see the need to grossly over price his wines just to make crazy amounts of profits. He wants to make his wines accessible to as many people as he can, and not just the super wealthy. Even with all the flurry of attention to Buehler's wine in the past couple of years, his Zin is still less than $20.
So, a days before, my Burgh friend and I went to the Green Hills Wine Shoppe to look for wines for the week. The Burghs know about Italian and French wines, and in contrast, I know what is white, rose, and red. I know Boone's Farm isn't any of the three. But, I do know that the Buehler Zin is yummo, and a great value, and in full agreement with the Wine Spectator said. I was actually looking for the Buehler Russian River Chard, another great value at less than $15, when I came across 3 cases of the Buehler Zin, and right there and then, I had to get a case of Zin, and with a case I got a discount too! Whee!
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