Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giuseppe Quintarelli Wine Dinner at Empire State South

Ok, let’s see, the top five wines in all the world:

You have to put a Romanée-Conti in there.  And at least one First Growth from Bordeaux (I’m going to go with Haut-Brion), maybe even two (I’ll also toss in Chateau Latour).  And because I’m a Burgundy man, I’ll want to add Comte de Vogüé Musigny in the mix, too.  So who gets that highly contested fifth slot?  Something from the hill of Hermitage?  An opulent Montrachet?  Or maybe Sauternes’ precious d’Yquem?  It isn’t an easy call, but I’ll go ahead and make it:

#5:  Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella

There is a decent chance you haven’t heard of this wine.  Amarone itself isn’t anywhere close as old as the other wines on the list (in fact, it wasn’t really properly named until the late 1960’s), and Giuseppe himself is still alive, so how storied could this wine really be?

A couple of times recently I’ve been asked whether I think that the world’s very expensive wines are really worth it.  Whether you can actually tell a big difference in the glass.  And what I often come back to is a matter of wine’s ability to show dynamic dimensions.  The few times I have been lucky enough to sit down Quintarelli’s top wines I have been astounded at its capability in this respect. Perhaps no other wine out there will show you as many looks, as many faces, as many twists and turns and unraveling expressions as that deep, inky thing.

This is a very special opportunity to explore a sampling of Giuseppe’s line-up, culminating in a pour of his masterpiece, the Amarone.  Giuseppe is now well into his eighties, and since the mid-2000s his talented daughter, Silvana, has been crafting the wines, so these reds are some of the last great wines of Italy’s Veneto, produced by the hands of the master himself.  I can’t wait to try them all.

-Steven Grubbs

Giuseppe Quintarelli:  one of the world’s greatest winemakers.
December 14th, 2011. 7 p.m.
Empire State South
$150 per person plus tax and gratuity

Marinated P.E.I. mussels, chili, preserved citrus, mizuna, pickled cippolini
Bianco Secco, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 2010

Gnocchi Romano alla carbonara:  mangalitsa guanciale, local egg yolk
Rosso “Ca del Merlo”, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 2000

Venison loin, sweet potato puree, Brussels, maitake, preserved cherries
Valpolicella, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 1999
Valpolicella, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 2000

Piave cheese with accompaniments
Amarone della Valpolicella, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 1998

Cenci with ricotta, warm honey, and cinnamon

Call ESS at 404-541-1105 for reservations. 

Celebrate New Year's Eve at Empire State South

Crudo:  smoked trout tartare
yogurt & meyer lemon truffle marinated bay scallop, pickled celery
red snapper, grapefruit, chili, black pepper
Mortadella: roasted sunchokes, frisee, boiled dressing, pickled satsumas
Ham hock & Dashi Consommé: local egg yolk, braised cabbage, black truffle
               Winter Greens Salad: grilled radicchio, cavelo nero, treviso, kale ,caper, anchovy vinaigrette, crisp bread,  shaved asher blue
Lobster: cauliflower puree, cauliflower chips, capers, meyer lemon
           Foie Terrine: riesling gelee, compressed apple, green strawberry preserve, toasted brioche
    Roulade of Crisp Sweetbreads: maple-sherry glaze, puy lentils, quince & winter squash
Local Carrots: brown butter cumin puree roasted in sorghum & cider vinegar
raw & pickled with carrot top vinaigrette
Farrotto: brussels, foraged mushrooms, crisp kale, pecans
  Roasted Pheasant Breast: braised leg stew, turnips n’ greens, chanterelle puree, pickled persimmon
            Painted Hills Eye of Rib Eye:  pommes anna, roasted broccoli, jerky salad with peanuts, green papaya,  scallion, soy jus
            Alaskan Halibut: razor clam & georgia shrimp stew, fennel broth, carrot, pickled ramp & fine herbs
Bourbon Baba: candied cranberries, buttered pecan ice cream
Gateau St. Honore: vanilla chiboust, bruleed grapefruit & tangerines
Bittersweet Absinthe Cremeux: pear sorbet, champagne pearls
Baked Alaska: passion fruit-yuzu 

UGA sturgeon caviar, crème fraiche, shallot, pickles, capers, lemon, johnny cakes  $120
oysters on the half shell: shigoku oyster  
6 ea.   $18.   12 ea.   $34.
Cheese Plate     $15
asher blue, sweet grass dairy, membrillo
mountaineer, meadow creek dairy, georgia honeycomb
harbison,  jasper hill farm, pickled mushrooms

$75 per person, 4 courses & $35 wine pairings (tax and gratuity not included)
wine pairs to be determined

Call Empire State South for Reservations at 404-541-1105

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Great Chocolate Milk In School Debate

I posted a twitter link to a story about the ban of chocolate milk in schools that aired on NPR this morning. From that, people asked my stance on the issue and here I will spell it out.

I am in favor of small steps to attack problems. My community has a massive issue with poverty stricken kids and the most popular meal at the cafeterias is Monday breakfast. It is often the first meal that the kids have had since Friday lunch. So in the interest of just getting them fed I have little problem with chocolate milk. This is a community that when we have food drives at the school they recommend that the food is in pop top cans so the kids can feed themselves on the weekend. That is possibly the saddest sentence I will ever write.

I am in favor of reduction in sugar levels in chocolate milk and a slow weening off of sugar-laced proteins. I am in favor of getting all corporate pressure off of the menu in schools. I think soft drinks have no place in the system. I also have a problem with juice, which is just sugar in another form. I am in favor of having kids drink more water and eat more vegetables. I am in favor, a huge proponent, of changing the diets of the families in need by matching food stamp funds at farmers markets through programs such as Wholesome Wave's Snap initiative. I am in favor of challenging kids to grow food to show them that it doesn't have to come in a pre-packaged form. I am in favor of slowly changing the diets of children in our community so that families make better use of their money when it comes to whats on their dinner plate.

But first and foremost, right at this moment, I am in favor of getting that kid something they want to eat so they don't pass out in first period. I am in favor of balancing that chocolate milk with a good meal of yogurt, fruit, granola and toast. Balance is a key word here. As we teach about better food things will change. For a start we should mandate a altering of the chocolate milk recipe to be lower in sugar, like the NPR piece talks about.

Progress can be made through small steps but completely banning chocolate milk right now is a step further on down the line. It's not progress, rather its a reaction that doesn't really address the issues. The issues are overall diets and true poverty in our communities.

Oh and I am a huge fan of Tony Geraci. He's making huge differences by changing things with a smile. He rocks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe: November 17 through November 23

Menu A

fried green tomatoes: pickled shrimp and boiled dressing
Gruner Veltliner, Ecker, Austria, 2009

blackened texas redfish: remoulade, dirty rice, mustard greens, radish and citrus salad
Vouvray, Francois Pinon, ‘Cuvee Tradition’, Loire Valley, France, 2009

marinated chevre: housemade baguette, fresh pear, roasted grapes and pecans

Menu B

crisped 5-spice pork belly: pomegranate gastrique, blood orange, cilantro, scallion
Riesling, Dr. F. Weins-Prüm, Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, 2009

braised beef short rib: whipped turnips, baby carrots, pearl onions, horseradish
Cab Franc/Syrah/Merlot, Puydeval, Languedoc, France, 2009

Chocolate mousse with candied chestnuts, whipped cream and pomegranate seeds

$25 food
$15 booze

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe : November 10 through November 16

Menu A

WG arugula and gin cured steelhead trout: buttermilk dressing, tiny croutons, pickled vegetables, crisp leeks
Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine de Guillemarine, Languedoc, France, 2010

roasted mahi mahi:  kohlrabi slaw, stewed field peas, mustard greens, hot sauce beurre blanc
Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc, Au Bon Climat, Santa Barbara, CA, 2009

phyllo and lemon diplomat tart with brûleéd banana, coconut sorbet and citrus salad

Menu B

whipped lardo crostinis: balsamic pearl onions, poached golden raisins, hot pickled peppers and carrots, crisp oregano
Riesling, Dr. F. Weins-Prüm, Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, 2009

pork loin alla porchetta: stuffed with garlic, sage, rosemary, and fennel with stewed white beans, braised lacinato kale, and gremolata
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Duca di Saragnano, Tuscany, Italy, 2007

seahive cheddar with Georgia apple and pecans, pickled cranberries and house-made baguette

$25 food
$15 booze

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family Style Christmas Eve Dinner at Empire State South

December 24th 6:00PM

We are having a family style, early evening meal at Empire State South this year! Throw aside those culinary worries and bring the kids and the parents!

warm winter salad:

roasted turnips, radishes, chiogga beets, nantes carrots, watercress, escarole and a roasted carrot vinaigrette with housemade farmer’s cheese with fresh sage

Family Style:

roasted leg of lamb, stewed turnip greens, lamb tessa, chile, preserved lemon
traditional mint sauce
crispy Lamb sweetbreads with confit orange and charred cippolinis
pommes dauphine
brussels sprouts gratin
Richard Olney’s Chestnut Puree with Celery

Les Fromages:

Asher Blue- Sweet Grass Dairy, with quince membrillo
Harbisen- Jasper Hill Farm, with cranberry mostarda
Wabash Canonball- Capriole, with pecan brittle

with pear-cranberry compote, salted caramel or bittersweet chocolate sauce

$60 per person

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe: November 3rd through November 9th

Menu A

carrot and mache salad: poached golden raisins, pickled cranberries, yogurt-ginger dressing
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Valle Reale, Italy, 2010

crisp flounder: mussels en escabeche, peppers stewed with garlic and tomato, sautéed greens, crisp fingerling potatoes
Verdejo, Martina Prieto, Rueda, Spain, 2010

grapefruit chess pie with whipped cream, poppy seed, and toasted cashews

Menu B

sautéed chanterelles: slow cooked egg, fried sage, tiny croutons, pecorino
Chardonnay, Verget, ‘Terroirs de Cote d’Or’, Burgundy, France, 2008

braised lamb shoulder: natural jus, stewed chickpeas, roasted garlic and caramelized pearl onions, arugula, anchovy relish
Priorato, Buil & Giné, ‘Giné-Giné’, Spain, 2008

apple and cranberry crisp with whipped cream, hazelnuts and lemon honey sorbet

$25 food
$15 booze
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