Thursday, December 01, 2005

drink duel

November 30

6:10 P.M. The same publicists who threw last night's party at Paris Commune were responsible for tonight's opening party for Mint, a new, hip-looking Indian restaurant in Midtown East. Nonetheless, food was relatively easy to come by, and I sampled samosas, grilled vegetables and other assorted goodies. The owners promise to offer dishes from all over the Subcontinent once the restaurant opens tomorrow, instead of the usual chicken tikka masala and lamb korma.
I talked to some fellow journalists, including Sara Bonisteel who told me she'd been promoted to Editor-in-Chief of the New York Resident — a reminder always to be nice to people because you never know where they're going to end up. Then again, Sara's a gem; why be mean to her?

7:00 P.M. I missed the hors d'oeuvre but had a fun dinner at Oscar's at the Waldorf-Astoria. The occasion was a dual pairing of wine and beer. In fact, it was set up as more of a duel-pairing and called "Beer is from Mars, wine is from Venus." The male owner of a Pennsylvania microbrewery would tout the qualities of the beers he selected to go with each dish, and a visiting female sommelier extolled the virtues of her wine selection. Then the guests tasted them and voted.
Apparently the brewmeister and sommelier have been doing this little road show for awhile, and tonight was the first time that beer had won. The room was kind of stacked by beer aficionados, but even so, I was a little surprised that in New York, which really is a cocktail-and-wine city, beer would win out when it didn't in other communities.
The pairing was particularly fun because often the wine would be selected to counterbalance a particular flavor in the dish while the beer picked for that same dish would be intended to complement a flavor, or vice-versa. Both are common pairing techniques and it was interesting to see them attempted simultaneously by two very different beverages. For example, the Riesling that was paired with the poached cabrales-stuffed pear was intended to offset the cheese, whereas the heady, aged beer was meant to mimic the overall earthiness of the dish.

What I ate and drank:

Poached cabrales-stuffed Seckel pear and spiced pecans
Dogfish Head Pangaea
Stonehaven “Winemaker’s Selection” Riesling, 2005, South Australia,

Winter squash ravioli with duck confit, sage-brown butter and bittersweet chocolate
Indian Brown Ale
Banfi “Centine” Tuscan Sangiovese Blend, 2004

Braised beef short ribs with roasted cipollini onions and baby root vegetables over soft herbed polenta
Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra,
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004, Puente Alto, Maipo, Chile

Chocolate brownie à la mode with ginger crème anglaise and chocolate ice-cream
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (23% alcohol by volume!)
Banfi “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui, 2004, Piedmont, Italy

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