Thursday, July 20, 2006

7/20/2006 4:30pm
Yeah, this 90+ degree weather is a bit harsh, but there is as always a silver lining. Because nothing puts the chill on an evening like some great rosé wine, especially when it's paired with some killer chow. Luckily my pals Monique and The Handsome One who have Castagna restaurant over on SE Hawthorne understand the simplicity of this equation and have instituted a series of rosé dinners over the next few weeks, featuring different rosés from various Euro wine regions, and pairing foods from these areas to match the pale pink deliciousness filling our glasses with refreshment and our heads with thoughts of a Mediterranean nature. Last night was the kickoff dinner, focusing on Spain. And it was, as expected from one of the two best restaurants in Portland, outstanding. Three courses paired with one white and two rosados.
I was joined at table by my friend and confidant DOR, plus my sister Kathleen sporting her newly broken toe, bro-in-law Dave, and nephew Brendan. I got there a bit early and was treated to my favorite cocktail, a beautifully balanced negroni, by Monique who wanted to try out this fancy-schmancy new sweet vermouth she stocked their bar with. Quite good, but then again when your drinking future is in the hands of the queen of cocktails and one of the nicest bartenders ever, the lovely Suzanne, then how bad can anything be?!
Here's a peek at the menu of the night's delights.....
If you can't see the above, click on the image to enlarge it!

We settled in, and were treated to a first course of four different tapas plates, all supremely delicious and taking my mind and stomach right back to Spain. Everything was so simple, yet so satisfying, exactly the way truly good food should be.
DOR showing off some way too good Mejillones con Azafran

We moved on through a few glasses of chilled grape juice, onto our stunning lamb chop entrée with an exceptionally intense romesco sauce that had us swooning...crazy good!!
the lovely Kathleen and her even more lovely lamb chops and romesco ...yummmm!

DOR doing his best "oh my fucking god this lamb is so good" expression!

We were having so much fun, enjoying Monique's hospitality and The Handsome One's stellar edible creations, plus the waitstaff at Castagna and their adjoining café are probably the nicest in town (right up there with the crew at Three Doors Down...btw: the other best restaurant in PDX!). Later on Dawn, DOR's vivacious wife, joined us, and then my friend Wendy put in an appearance just in time to help finish the last glass of Mesoneros de Castilla Rosado. A most fulfilling night, with good friends, family, and of course awesome food. Talk about your holy trinities!!

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