Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mmmm M!

Two or three items of epicurian interest to report/recommend:

1. For the most part, I prefer to buy and pair local wines when I cook and stock my rack, especially aince I cook so may locally flavored dishes. However, I'm not above enjoying wine from ther sources, and my Sister-in-Law gave us a great wine for Christmas -- as much as this pains me to say, an excellent California wine: Campus Oaks 2003 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, from Gnekow Family Wineries. It's a full-bodied red, but it's not as acidic and dry as a lot of big reds I've tried -- it's softer than a Cab or Merlot, but fuller than a Pinot. It has a lot of fruit and berrie accents, and is incredibly smooth and mellow -- The SIL paired it with prime rib on Christmas Eve, and that worked well, but we had our bottle by itself, without food, and that worked well -- it's not sweet, but it was vaguely reminiscent of Port, and I imagine it would go well with a dessert, especially chocolate.

2. For my local readers, the new Market of Choice in South Eugene is open and amazing -- the architecture is very Northwest, it's clean, well-stocked, and the staff is friendly. If you decide to grab a nosh from the Deli, I highly recommend the Cheese Steward's Pannini: Thin-sliced Black Forest Ham, Gruyere, Brie, and smoked Gouda on a perfect bread -- the crust so crisp it shatters when you bite into it, and an interior so light you swear it'll float away.

3. While I was there, I tried a sample of some Bela brand Portuguese sardines packed in a tomato sauce -- delicioso! The salt of the sardines offsets the acid of the tomato nicely, and the mild seafood taste is nowhere nearly as fishy as you'd fear. they were served on saltines, but I think a water cracker or toasted baguette slices would be better, since the sardines don't really need the extra salt. I'm also thinking they would be great in a salad, though I haven't give much thought to what kind.

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