It’s been three nights since I indulged in a very memorable meal. A meal I will soon not forget.
I am also happy to report I can finally button my pants again. Thank you very much to the 7,887 sit ups I did in order achieve that goal. Eating well can have its…setbacks.
Anyway, last Thursday night the Wildboar and I, along with a few other couples, were lucky enough to attend a very special winemaker’s dinner at Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn.
We had no idea this meal would end up being one of the most exquisite pairing of food and wine’s we have experienced in a very a long time.
My only regret……I did not have my camera. Well, I did. It was in the car. But the setting was too intimate, too dramatic, too special for me to click away with my macro lens in a plate of food. It would have been irreverent to the serenity of the moment. However, and I’m sure even my fellow diners would agree, I wish I had pictures of the spectacular food we were served. It would have been worth the few flashes.
I don’t think I can do the food justice in description. I can try but I didn’t ask enough questions. There were so many layers of flavors and nuances swirling around, it was hard to stop indulging and really think about every ounce of flavor I was ingesting.
Between the lively conversation from our host, Wayne and our new found friends from Chicago, Buffalo and Portland, not to mention the panoramic view….the experience of place, food and wine were surreal.
It would be hard to not describe this experience without mentioning the very special chef who cooked us this amazing meal, Jack Czarnecky, of the Joel Palmer House. Jack is “Joel Palmer” as he has owned and been the executive chef at the Joel Palmer House for years and years before turning the reigns over to his son last year. He is a decorated chef with a James Beard Award of Excellence with many other accolades bestowed upon him.
The night began with passed appetizers, one resembling the picture you see at the top of the page. When I bit into the marionberry drizzled with balsamic vinegar and wrapped in prosciutto, I was in heaven. How could something so simple, taste so elegant. The next day I ran to the farm stand to purchase marionberries so I could replicate this stunning Willamette Wrap at home.
Also passed were a Mini Salad Nelson, asparagus, a medley of sweet pepper and corn, drizzled with truffle oil on puff pastry and Salmon Tartare with red onions on toast points. All delicious but the Willamette Wrap was by far my favorite.
We sat down to a beautifully adorned table with a panoramic view of the Oregon wine country. Fresh bread and truffle oil was waiting for us to dig in and enjoy.
Before we knew it our glasses were filled with Youngberg’s Pinto Gris. Wayne blends a small percentage of Gewurztraminer with his Pinto Gris, giving a lively quality I had yet to experience with this wine. I loved it.
As we were sipping away, Porcini Vichyssoise, appeared before us. (However, I believe shitake mushrooms were used as well.) To just call it vichyssoise seems too simpleton. It was mycological magic, the texture and taste amazing. I wanted to sop up the small amounts left in my bowl with bread. Don’t worry, I refrained.
Soon to follow was a Mousse of Sweet Dayton Corn with Red Pepper Sauce and Morels. There are no words for this. I wish I could show you how beautiful it was. It is imprinted on my brain forever.
The show-stopper of the night was simply called Beef Andy Warhol. OMG. I have eaten at many, many fancy restaurants but I have never, ever tasted meat so tender and incredible in flavor. It was a roast tenderloin surrounded with a ragout of lobster mushrooms and spicy Chinese sausage all covered with rice noodles to resemble Andy Warhol’s hair. It was brilliant. Brilliant. I will never forget it. Ever.
As we applauded our chef as he made it out from the kitchen, we were served a fresh raspberry tart and truffles surrounded with a liqueur cream. Again there are no words. This meal was incredible, elegant and classy.
We of course tasted through Youngberg’s Pinot Noirs, both the Natasha and Jordan Block current releases as well as older library offerings and special blends of the past. They were all amazing examples of the incredible Pinot Noirs found in the Oregon wine country.
These little rolls are bites of heaven.
I happen to have some Cotija cheese in the fridge and topped each wrap with a shaving. It was a fantastic addition but is not necessary to enjoy these.
A very easy pre-meal snack.
Adapted from Jack Czarnecky
Marionberries, blackberries, boysenberries or strawberries
Aged balsamic vinegar
Prosciutto, thinly sliced.
Cotija cheese, optional
Place a berry at the end of a slice of prosciutto. Drizzle the berry with best quality balsamic vinegar and roll the berry up into the prosciutto. Top with a slice of Cotija cheese if desired.
The higher quality balsamic vinegar and prosciutto used in this dish, the better the results. Sweeter berries will also make a difference.