Friday, May 18, 2007

A fashionably satisfying evening!

Last night another reason why I love my life. My friend Jake runs the marketing for Portland retail fashion icon Mario's. In our humble burg, if you want Armani, you go to Mario's. Prada, Zegna, Dolce & Gabbana? Ditto. So I get a call from Jake talking about his plans for their fall catalog. Jake is a big wine fan, and he wants to go with a wine theme this issue, so I hooked him up with two of our local wine icons, John Paul from Cameron Winery and David O'Reilly from Owen Roe.

Bright and brilliant Oregon Box Crab Salad with arugula and grapefruit!

We met for dinner and conversation at Castagna, as you know one of my favorite places to get my grub on. Owner/chef Kevin Gibson put together an incredible seven course tasting menu (corner left) to go with some crazy bottles of wine John and David brought. It was a fantastic evening listening to David and John talk about their experiences, philosophy, their commitment to sustainable, organic, non-manipulative winemaking practices. Oh, and the food rocked, and the wines were off the hook.

John Paul, larger than life!

Highlights for me? For wine all seven bottles opened were stunning. Among John's offerings was a superb bottle of his 2001 "Clos Electrique" Blanc, a dead ringer for a great white burgundy, and still so young, filled with character. Simply awesome. Among the Owen Roe offerings, David's '06 "DuBrul" Riesling, '05 "Kilmore" Pinot and a staggering '04 "Slide Mountain" Cab Franc blew us away. And of course Kevin's food was spot on. Not a weak moment from the lighter than air gougeres to the sensual semi-freddo. My palate was rocked by the box crab salad, his house cured meats (the lardo was insane!), and perfectly pillowy agnolotti that both John and I agreed were the equal to anything we've eaten in Italy. Then his savory, earthy squab breast with English peas and morels with John's '05 "Dundee Hills" Pinot and David's '05 "Kilmore" was one of those perfect wine and food moments that almost makes me weep. The lamb chop and pistachio-praline semi-freddo were equally incredible.

Agnolotti with spinach, speck, and parmesan in a heavenly broth!

A wildly satisfying night, and a huge reminder that I am so fortunate to be able to have these experiences. Wow!

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Add Castagna: If you've been putting off experiencing the sublime pleasure of eating in Castagna's dining room, through June 21st parties of four can save $20 off their tab (parties of more will save $5 off each diner's entrée). Just grab one of the postcards off the front table when you walk in and save $5 per person. This is a great offer, and a wonderful chance to take advantage of Kevin and Monique's classic seasonal cooking from the area's best local food purveyors! Call 503.231.7373 for reservations.

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