Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Disappointing Dining Series

I don't like to post about disappointing experiences, but I rave about the Winter Dining Series at the CIA and this is the first time I was disappointed.  Paul and I usually attend at least 2 dinners each winter. What we really enjoy is the lecture before dinner in the Danny Kaye theatre. This is where we meet the winemaker, owner or sometimes even the distributor and they lecture to us on the wine, the region, the terrior.  We get to taste a few selections that may or may not be poured with dinner.  Dinner usually has at least 3 - 4 wines paired with it.

It's a good thing the CIA called to confirm dinner because she told me it began at 6:30 in the Escoffier Restaurant.  Hmm...I thought, no lecture.  Nope.

We arrived and got seated and were poured a glass of Blanc de Blancs, Cremant d'Alsace, Lucien Albrect, NV.  It's made from 100% Pinot Blanc.  I must say, it was very good and went well with the Escargot.  Yes, I did eat the Escargot.  If my cell phone hadn't died, I would have a picture for you.  This is the first time I've eaten Escargot and just like the waiter said, the taste / texture was like mussels.  Will I order them again, not sure, it's a mind over matter issue with me.

The next course was Salmon in bacon batter.  Very good, but no wine pairing.  A Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc would have went well here.  Then the main course...Boeuf Bourguignon served with a skimpy pour (maybe 2 ounces) of 2007 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Burgundy Pinot Noir.  It wasn't like they were pouring $50 wine here.  $20 max retail.

I was disappointed that there was no lecture, because it's always interesting listening about the region, the terrior and the wine.  I was disappointed that there was only 2 wine pairings. I thought for sure there would be a Riesling from Alsace.  But the real disappointment was with dessert!  Crepes with poached pears.  When  I've had crepes they have always been warm.  These crepes were cold and doughy.  It looked like they rolled out and cut a circle for the crepe, filled it, rolled the crepe like a burrito and made it look pretty.  I'm telling you it was raw pie dough.  After two bites and dissection of a piece I put it aside.  Then I moved to my tea...I had ordered Chamomile Tea.  When I was in the American Bounty last month, the tea came in a tea pot brewing with the loose flowering tea leaves.  In the Escoffier Restaurant I received a wrinkled packet of Lipton Chamomile Tea.  It looked like it was taken from the waiters pocket.  A nice sachet of Harney and Sons Tea would have matched the quality of the restaurant. I would have expected a Lipton tea bag from the Apple Pie Bakery, but not the Escoffier Room.

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with this dinner.  It really takes something away from the experience when you don't have the lecture too.
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