Wine, Food, and faraway places, three things I love, all under one roof. The Spanish Wine Dinner at the Lighthouse Grill (Harbor View Hotel) was the perfect way for a little getaway without even leaving home.
The Lighthouse Grill’s executive chef, Richard Doucette, created a menu that was as authentic to Spanish cuisine possible. How do I know? My date for the evening, Cameron, has a sister who’s married to a Spaniard, and she sent him a photo of it. He gave it a big thumbs up, and even said he was envious of a menu that reminded him of home.
The wine dinner series came about from a conversation between the Harbor View’s Elizabeth Rothwell and David Hall, a MS Walker wine representative. Why not host a series of dinners during the bleak Winter months that feature food and wines from amazing places? A brilliant idea!
My friend and I were so excited to be transported to another place with Dave & Richard’s help. When we walked in, we were impressed with the table set up. We joked, “X marks the spot” because of the elaborate set up of glasses that made up a very eye-catching X.
I myself am not a knowledgeable Spanish wine consumer. However, I definitely learned a thing or two from Dave. There were 5 courses and 5 wines. A funny side story, one of the Harbor View Hotel’s owners, is a Spanish wine connoisseur, having lived in Spain, and partnered with Dave on the selection of the wines.
Then, Richard crafted the menu around the wines selection, pairing each dish perfectly.
The 1st course was one of my favorites of the night, Pulpo A La Parrill. A dish of grilled octopus, squid ink polenta and warm spices and queso cheese. Yum, the flavors were rich yet light, and it was paired with a Spanish Albarino, Rias Baixas, D.O., Pazo De Senorans.
For the 2nd course, Marinados Mediterraneo Sardinas, you guessed it, sardines. Yikes! I have never eaten, nor wanted to ever eat a sardine, but when in “Spain”, you do what you have to. I tired it, and I will most likely not have one ever again if I can help it. I did love the Spanish olives that were part of the dish though.
Cameron really enjoyed it, commenting on its sweetness and deliciousness with such a simple preparation of the fish, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Richard came out during each meal to talk to us about the preparation, and it turns out these little fishes were imported from Spain, to create a true experience.
This dish was paired with the Bodegas Rafael Palacios ‘As Sortes Val do Bibei’ Godello. I was not familiar with the Godello grape variety which grows in Northwestern Spain. This grape thrives in dry conditions, and produces a flinty, light wine. The grape likes to grow in land rich with grey slate, almost rock, where the roots really have to work to find water.
Listening to Dave talk about each wine and Richard talk about each dish, was an experience on its own. There is so much love put into wines and cooking. If you closed your eyes, you could get a little lost in the romance of their words and descriptions.
The Tercero Curso (3rd course) was the one I was least excited about but ended up really enjoying. It was Cabeza De Jabali Frita – fried boar’s head, and I don’t mean the lunchmeat brand. Truly, fried brain.
These little fried morsels were scrumptious – salty and flavorful, not to mentioned accompanied by dilly beans! I pretended I was eating a fried risotto ball. Not only did I really like the dish, but the Rioja, Bodegas Benjamin Rothschild (yes the) and Vega Sicilia was the only red of the series and one of the best Tempranillo wines I have had (Tempranillo is a black grape which produces full-bodied red wines Spain). I must admit that this course was just so amazing, and that we might have had additional glasses of this fine Rioja.
Can you believe there was more? The 4th course, Gambas Al Ajillo A La Plancha, was grilled shrimp with a smokey, spicy house-made chorizo. This dish was so robust and full of flavor, and not to mention beautiful!
To balance out the spice and smoke, a Spanish Moscado was served. Not a fan of Moscado, though I did take a sip, way too sweet for me, I could appreciate how the flavor worked with the dish. I opted for a little more Rioja instead.
Last but not least, Postre, dessert! With a number of courses that transported you to another country, I wondered what dessert would be like.
Of course Richard did not disappoint. He made churros and caramelized cinnamon ice cream. I know you’re a little jealous right now, and yes those churros were simply amazing. I could eat them everyday. I think they need to be on the menu somewhere.
The final course was paired with a Sherry. Though the flavors complemented the cinnamon very well, sherry is not my bag. However, I did feel kinda cool sipping it, and if you don’t try it, you’ll never know.
Wow was this fun to write, traveling back to that meal and wine. The smells, the stories, the new experiences, all reasons I love wine dinners and our Island’s wine festivals. Muy Bueno Richard, Dave and of course the entire Lighthouse Grill team!
You leave knowing more and treated your palate to an elevated taste experience. New wines can now be added into my personal repertoire, which is always fun.
I also have to say that I was very impressed with Richard’s food. Having the ability to work with exotic foods and different flavors really allowed for him to shine. I have a whole new respect for this young, inspired chef.
Save the dates for the remaining two wine dinners, California Wines, Wednesday, April 19th, and Italian Wines, Wednesday, May 17th. How much do I want to go to the Italian wine dinner? I can only imagine the food, Molto Bene!!!!
Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about events like the wine series on Harbor View Hotel’s Facebook page. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.
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