Here’s one of me and Heather. Excuse the horrible hair… I worked all day with a hat on and had no time to make it look better!
Before the even started we each had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Aren’t the glasses awesome?
When the even was ready to start we made our way to the upstairs private room. One wall was lined with awesome bottles of wine. This pic is only part of the wall!
We were presented with menus for the 5 course dinner and some tasty, crusty ciabatta bread to snack on. I was lucky enough to land a seat next to the chef’s wife, Amelia. She was so fun to chat with 🙂
The coolest part about this dinner was that the chef and wine maker were both in attendance and presented each course and explained the connection or contrast between the wine and the food. Chef Jonathan Sawyer really did an excellent job of complimenting the food and wine combination in some courses and really challenging the connection in other courses. Needless to say, it worked well both ways and made for a delicious evening.
Course 1: Au Bon Climat Pinot Blanc served with Potato Roasted Monk Fish with herb salad
The wine was really nice and light, it went very well with the fish. The fish was tasty also. I like the textural difference between the fish and the crispy potato. What really made the dish was the inclusion of the herb salad. A bite with potato, fish, and herbs was quite tasty.
Before the second course we were presented with a bowl of these little roasted peppers. They were SO good! I love spice.
Course 2: Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay served with Corn Roasted Pork with spicy soubise & fresno chilies
The wine was just ok, but honestly I don’t like Chardonnay. I’m not sure if it was just my plate, but my pork was pretty tough and a little fatty for my taste. However, the roasted corn and soubise TOTALLY won me over. The corn may have been my favorite part of the night, just not the dish in it’s entirety.
Course 3: Santa Barbara Pinot Noir served with Ratatouille with zucchini flower, chevre de provencal, tomato broth, and fresh herbs de provence
I don’t remember the wine very much, possibly because the next course also had a Pinot Noir that I distinctly remember and will explain later. As for the ratatouille… the breaded and fried squash blossom was delicious, the broth was tasty, but the filling was not for me. Knowing that I don’t like goat cheese (chevre), I still tried it anyway. It only confirmed my dislike. Any goat cheese lover would have gobbled this down in seconds, especially with the compliment of shaved truffles on top. Why can’t I just like goat cheese??? Seriously…
Course 4: Isabelle Pinot Noir served with Fatted Calf with poached cherry, proper polenta, & filbert
This Pinot Noir was great! It was slightly peppery and smoky and really complimented the beef. I also learned what “fatted calf” was. Since Greenhouse Tavern is a green restaurant the chef/owner really believes in humane treatment of animals. We all know that veal isn’t usually from a very well treated animal, so a fatted calf is older than a veal, but still not a fully matured cow. Either way, this dish was my absolute favorite of the night – and I’m not even a big beef eater. The cherry sauce, the toasted hazelnuts, and the wine just really complimented and accented the flavor of the beef. All night I ate about 1/2 of each course because I didn’t want to fill up and not be able to taste the later courses. That being said, this is what my 4th course plate looked like after I had my way with it.
*Note: the piece in the back is a piece of fat, had it been meat it would clearly have been consumed.
Course 5: Dogfish Head Red and White (beer) served with Pinot Noir Granita
The beer was awesome! I believe that there was some kind of wine in it at some point in the fermentation? I can’t remember the details though. The granita was tasty, but come on… I’m a dessert fanatic and a granita just doesn’t cut it for my sweet tooth (and needless to say I went home and destroyed a few baked goods hanging out in my kitchen). The granita was really refreshing, and for a non-sweet tooth it would be the perfect ending of a meal.
I had such an AWESOME time and I want to go to more of this type of dinner. It was really cool to step outside my food box and try some new stuff. Joe was shocked that the beef course was my favorite! Speaking of Joe, he has been wanting to go to The Greenhouse Tavern for months now, so after this dinner tonight I will definitely be up for going sometime in the very near future. It just so happens to be around the corner from the Bodies Exhibit in Cleveland, which we are dying to go to!
Have you ever been to one of these tasting events? If so, were you also surprised that you liked something you would not have initially been drawn to?