R&G Lounge -- Chowdown/Winedown Report
Last night, twenty one hounds gathered around two large tables at R&G Lounge to share a Cantonese feast and 22+ bottles of wine. We had a great turnout of both veteran chowdowners and newcomers, and an amazingly eclectic selection of wines.
For those that attended, please share your thoughts on the food, wine, and how they matched under this post. Wine scribes, please post the list of wines that were poured at your table. And I'm hoping somebody (Melanie?) can remember each dish we had and list those too.
I had a wonderful time, I hope everyone else did too!
Still a bit hungover and moving slowly, but I'll start off with the list of dishes:
Day's house soup - green turnip and carrot, complimentary
Salt and pepper Dungeness crab
Peking duck with steamed lotus buns
Crispy skinned deep-fried pig trotter with pickles and yellow plum sauce
Chicken stuffed with sticky rice
Filet mignon with XO sauce and sugar snap peas
Hearts of mustard greens with roasted garlic cloves
Steamed live shrimp with garlic sauce
Mock abalone in oyster sauce with gai lan
Steamed pork patty with salted fish (steamed white rice optional)
The price for the menu above was $30 per person, plus tax, tip and corkage. Additionally, the generous 'hounds in attendance contributed $230 in GoodWill to help keep the Chowhound site up and running. Thank you!
I've described most of these dishes a few times on this board. Would love to hear others' opinions.
It was great chowdown. My two favorite dishes were the crispy pig's trotter and the chicken stuffed with sticky rice. The trotter had a pure pork taste with great texture of succulent meat and crispy skin that was enhanced by the pickles. The chicken was like eating just the frosting on the cake since it was basically just chicken skin stuffed with sticky rice, sausage, dried black mushrooms, etc. that was perfectly seasoned. Who needs chicken meat anyway. ;) The prawns were also excellent and incredibly fresh, but given their quality I almost wished they were simply poached to show off their succulent sweet meat even more.
Some of the best pairings were the Crab with the Weinbach Riesling (Cuvee St. Catherine), the Valle Isarco Kerner with the heart of mustard greens, and the overall best pair IMO was the Vorberg with the pork and salted fish patty.
re: Victora Libin
I'm thrilled to see that so many of you liked the steamed pork with salted fish! Nick asked for more challenging dishes, so I tried to deliver with this one. I'll mention that I got major push back from our waiter, Gene, when I tried to order it. He protested twice, but I insisted and he finally relented on my third request. It used to be on the menu, but I couldn't find it this time and just asked for it.
The salted fish was well-aged, meaning that it had taken on some of the rotting, fermented aroma and a softer texture. It was a very good example.
re: Melanie Wong
I appreciate your stubborness! That dish was very different than any Chinese food I've ever had before.
That said (and I'm saying this for anyone reading along that might be nervous about trying this dish at R&G or anywhere else), the flavors weren't strange or foreign. I think even relatively timid diners who at least enjoy anchovies or Thai/Vietnamese fish sauce would probably enjoy this dish.
re: Joan Kureczka
Another brave soul! Another person at our table expressd her trepidation about trying it, and it was amusing for me to hear Jen Maiser urge her on that it was better than it smelled. (g) I used the analogy that most people like the taste of anchovies in caesar salad dressing...as long as they don't see them.
re: Melanie Wong
Yes ... the smell. I am not normally too squeamish about things, but Melanie knows I was having a hard time with the smell of this dish. And the main reason is because we used to go to Ensenada all the time when I was a kid, and this dish smelled exactly like the entire town of Ensenada -- which isn't exactly the most pleasant smell in my mind. (g)
When can we do this again? I had a great time, my thanks to Nick and Melanie for organizing the event. My favorite dish was the mustard greens and the crab butter. I thought the tokay and Jen's white wine from Austria were well matched to the food.
Hey all, want to say I had a great time last night - the food, the wine, the people, all were fantastic. Special thanks to Nick for organizing and to Melanie W for extraordinary insight in ordering the food and pairing the wines.
I don't often get a chance to sample so many different wines with so many different dishes, but I could get used to it! It was educational and fun to sample two or three different wines with each dish, comparing and contrasting the effect of the wine on the food and vice-versa.
My favorite pairing was the sparkling Vouvray with the salt and pepper crab. The Vourvray wasn't one of the suggested wines for the crab but I thought it worked very well. The bubbles enhanced the tongue-tingling effects of the salt, peppers, and garlic, helped keep the dish light in the mouth, and added a celebratory feel that complimented the grand presentation. The soup was good but the crab was truly a great way to kick off the meal!
I forgot my notes today but other faves included the Gruner with the salt crusted, sticky rice-stuffed chicken and the Rosenblum Zinfandel (Carley's vineyard) with the pecking duck, a pairing I didn't think I would like but did.
Thanks again to all, hope to see you next time!
It was my first chowdown and I will be back for more.
My favorites were the crab, chicken, filet of beef and the pig trotter.
The crab was so delicious, that I was bold enough to take the last piece from our table. Clean fresh crab meat inside with the contrast of a perfectly deep fried crispy batter on the out.
Then there was the deboned chicken coated in cornstarch? That was cornstarch.. Stuffed with probably the best sticky rice ever, short grain, chewy, sweet with shrimp, mushrooms and sausage, yum! I would do a drive by just for the chicken alone.
The filet of beef was so tender, with the slightly spicy/sweet XO sauce with snap peas that was lovely.
The pig trotter was excellent; I loved it with the yellow plum sauce.
Some really nice wines were being poured, the ones that stood out were the Vouvray I like this with the crab, the Veltliner went well with this food, the Tokay Pinot Gris was refreshing and I love this style of wine. Oh, I thought the Rosenblum Zin was an interesting choice and I loved it with the filet, dont remember the vineyard?
re: Lori SF
Some one mentioned "Tokay Pinot Gris".
Is this a white wine from a small plot in Alsace, France. The plot is very small compared to the huge vineyards in the US. I wonder how they could end up here in the State, since they cannot produce a high volume.
It's even difficult to find it in France, let alone San Francisco.
Where did you buy it? (Yes, I want it)
re: Lori SF
Assuming Melanie brought the bottle she said she would, this was the exact wine:
1994 Schoffit Tokay Pinot Gris "Cuvee Prestige"
Beautiful stuff. Wineaccess.com lists many bottles of Tokay Pinot Gris for sale, though I'm not sure if the exact same bottle is for sale.
I gotta say though, the 1997 Navarro Pinot Gris Vendage Tardive, which unfortunately I am now out of and so is the winery, was a darn good substitute. Melanie's was a better wine for sure, but the Navarro is definitely worth a try if you ever come across a bottle.
Should have edited my previous post before finalizing it.
I meant to say: I forgot the name of the winery that has a small plot with the right amount of sunshine and luck, that they produce a little every year.
Now that it makes more sense, I don't think there is an answer to my vague question.