Wine Snob Dinner: California Dreamin’

Each year, Paul and I offer what we call a “Wine Snob Dinner” at a fundraiser called OUTbid benefitting the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. The highest bidder receives an intimate dinner for 4 with wine pairings. Paul selects a flight of wines from a country or wine region and we create a menu of courses to pair with each wine. In past years, we’ve featured wines from Spain, France and Italy. This year, it’s California.

We particularly love the fact that the same group of friends comes back each year to our table for this dinner. We’re humbled that they return to OUTbid each year to support MGLCC and outbid everyone else for this feast.

Here’s what we had:


Sherried Onion and Almond Soup with Saffron
The soup course was the star attraction for this meal and comes from The Ultimate Soup Bible (2005).  The ground almonds gave the soup a creamy base for this savory saffron pureé (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️). Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2012, Calistoga, Napa

Here’s a peak into how it was made:


Grilled Radicchio with Golden Raisin Vinaigrette

A bittersweet salad wedge grilled stove-top on cast iron. I’m sorry I missed photographing this colorful salad (⭐️⭐️⭐️). Grgich Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Rutherford, Napa


Uova da Ravioli

This older photo from a previous preparation of this dish captures the soft yolk breaking free of the pasta. A neighbor and friend provided us fresh eggs from her coop for this decadent pleasure (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️).  Kistler Chardonnay 2013, St. Helena, Sonoma


Pork Loin with Cumin and Sweet Potato Soufflé
I roasted the pork in a cumin, cayenne, paprika and nutmeg spice rub (⭐️⭐️⭐️). The sweet potato recipes comes from The New York Times Cookbook, Revised Edition (1990). Our dinner party took a break after the pasta course so these dishes kept warm in the oven. The soufflés in individual ramkins fell before we could serve them, but were still flavorful (⭐️⭐️). Failla Keifer Ranch Pinot Noir 2012, Russian River Valley, Napa


Herbed Rack of Lamb with Port Fig Sauce and Herbed Orzo with Toasted Pine Nuts
This juicy, herb-crusted lamb was seared on the stove and finished in the oven (⭐️⭐️⭐️) and paired with orzo with fresh mint and toasted pine nuts (⭐️⭐️⭐️). Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2006, St. Helena, Napa and Sonoma


Chocolate Mousse

This silky chocolate mousse topped with raspberries marinated in Grand Marnier is a favorite dessert recipe which was particularly creamy this time. Fresh eggs make all the difference. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️). Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon, Stagecoach Vineyard, Atlas Peak 2012, Napa

Paul once again proved a skillful sommelier. We agreed the Alpha Omega was our favorite. Once open, the Cab improved with time. Our wines matched each course making this another successful and fun “Wine Snob Dinner.”

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