Vino Vino – Paella Night

Some dear friends invited me to join them for paella at Vino Vino on the occasion of Marc’s departure from the country.  We’ve posted about the amazing paella in at least one previous entry, so I will stick to sharing the wine and dessert.

We enjoyed a lovely bottle of r a pfaffl  “the dot” austrian pepper, ’11, stetten, austria  
gruner veltliner – dry citrus with fruity aromas and a lovely dry spice and pepper on the finish

Wine 1

For dessert we ordered the only “sweet” on the menu that I had not tried yet – the Almond Corn Cake with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream.

Vino Dessert 2

The ice cream was uniquely delicious (and pretty).  The corn cake was more of a cookie texture – a little dry to be labeled a “cake”.  It was also difficult to eat due to it’s hard texture.  I suggested they might go for a corn cookie ice cream sandwich – now that would be fun!

 

 

 

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Valentines in San Antonio

Feb. 14, 2013

The Texas Music Educators Convention convenes every February in San Antonio, Texas.  Many years we find ourselves there on Valentines Day as we did this past week.  After a little nudging, I talked my colleague into joining me for a nice dinner.  Since we were lucky enough to snag a room at the beautiful La Contessa Hotel, I made a reservation at Las Ramblas, the Riverwalk restaurant on the bottom floor of this elegant lodging.  Not thinking about V-Day being a busy one, I made my reservation late – therefore we had a very early seating.

Although our intentions were to share a few tapas and a salad, it turned out that the Valentine Special 4-course “couples” meal  was just too good to pass up.  I could shoot myself for not asking for a copy of the menu – I will try to remember as many details about the makings of this great dinner as possible.

FIRST COURSE – Seared Scallop with wilted greens, peanuts and banana.  Sounds a little crazy, but the combination of textures and flavors was a hit.  I thought the paired Spanish Cava (SEGURA VIDAS, ARIA, BRUT CAVA), was a good match, although my dining mate preferred the cava with the next course.

FIrst Course

SECOND COURSE: Strawberry Gazpacho with prosciutto, watercress and infused oil (I think the flavoring was cumin, but can not confirm).  It was not the prettiest presentation, but the dish was definitely inspired by the holiday and satisfying. Not at all sweet, as I anticipated.   I did find myself craving a hot soup as I neared the bottom of the bowl (like the butternut squash bisque on the regular menu).

Second Course

THIRD COURSE:  We were given a choice for the entrée.   My dining friend selected the Striped Bass with Roasted Cauliflower.  There also appeared to be some mushrooms in the mix (chanterelles?).

Third Course

I chose the Lamb Chops with assorted Harvest Vegetables.  The chops were huge!  One was cooked perfectly, the other was a little rare for my liking (for those of you that know me, that is a rarity), but I was so full after the first, there was no need to complain.  The selection of vegetables included turnips, carrots (orange and yellow) and mashed potatoes.  I selected the 2010 Erath Pinot Noir from Oregon to pair with my lamb.  I enjoyed this fruit forward, light red with a long finish.  It was a very unassuming drink, which encouraged the relaxed dining experience we were enjoying.

Fourth Course

FOURTH COURSE: Dessert!  A Nutella Cheesecake, embellished with cute little pink macaroons, whipped cream and cherries.  A home run!  The presentation was playful and the cheesecake featured the divine flavor of Nutella with good texture and no heaviness.  Chocolate type desserts are not usually my favorite (although that has never stopped me from eating them).  I give this one high marks.  In fact, I am already on the hunt for a recipe.

Dessert

To finish off the evening, the manager (who came by our table several times during the dinner)personally thanked us for dining with them and presented us each with a beautiful rose.  It was a fun surprise!  We have been impressed with the kindness that all of the employees of this hotel have brought forth during our stay at La Contessa.

Now off to meet some friends at a wine bar Marc told me about that is just around the corner.  Stay tuned for another blog soon!

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Zinc Bistro and Bar

Marc found a great little wine bar during one of his recent visits to San Antonio.  Since our hotel was so close, I had to stop in for a glass.  One of my colleagues that I have regularly dined with at TMEA happened to have plans for dinner, so we decided to meet for a drink afterwards at this wine bar that Marc recommended.  At first, we went to DRINK – right across the street from la Contessa.  When I asked for the wine list and the waitress pointed to the lovely selection of mini bottles of Yellow Tail, I knew we were in the wrong place.  Thank goodness the correct destination was just around the corner.

The place was packed on our arrival, but after a short wait we were able to get two chairs at the bar.  After scanning through a pretty extensive wine list, we picked out three possible reds, then asked for a recommendation.  The bartender did not hesitate to select the Montepulciano.

photo

2010 La Piuma Montepulciano d’Ambruzzo

I am so lousy at describing what wines taste like, but I can tell you that I really enjoyed this Italian Red.  There was a lot going on – and it was surprisingly satisfying as a stand alone drink (we were all stuffed from dinner).

We later moved to a table and were joined by two more friends.  It was a relaxing way to share conversation and to wind down from a very busy day of travel convention activity.  Zinc is really tiny (compared to Vino Vino, our usual hang out in Austin).  The atmosphere was fine except for the occasional aroma of cigars from the porch outside.

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