Paggi House - Monday Wine Dinner
my birthday was this past Tuesday, and seeing as i had to close that night, hubby took me out to dinner on Monday night. i did a little searching around to see if there were any Monday night specials and decided on the Paggi House's Monday Wine Dinner. this was our first trip to Paggi House, it was beautiful. i cannot wait to check out the happy hour everyone raves about. i want to go ahead and get my two little gripes of the night out of the way. one, it took a loooong time for the app to arrive and it was quite awhile in between courses. i just told hubs to pretend it was a European thing, but it would have been nice to get the courses WITH the wines that they were paired with. we found ourselves "saving" our mini-pours of wine for when the food arrived and it was a teeny bit annoying. the other even smaller gripe is that i checked out the menu online and decided ahead of time (like i tend to do) what i wanted. when we arrived, nothing i had decided on was on the wine dinner menu except for dessert. no matter, it all sounded delicious, i was just really looking forward to trying the Creamy Lobster. oh well.
so we started with a couple drinks, i was really curious about the Lychee martini. our server asked me if i was really into sweet drinks b/c it was pretty sweet. i decided to save the lychee for next time and got the French 75 instead - i'm a sucker for sparkling and was intrigued by the gin paired with it.
when we were placing our food order, i asked if she wanted the whole lineup or do it as we go. she said either way, but it usually was easier to do all at once. I started with the mussels with a tomatoey-chorizo sauce. the chorizo was more of a subte flavoring element rather than a physical part of the sauce, but it was good. smokey, and the mussels were tender, good for sopping with bread of course. i THINK it was paired with Riesling. for hub's app, we both agreed to give sweetbreads another shot. the single other time we've tried them was the fried version at Bess Bistro (hubby had no idea what they were, i had never had them and really wanted to see what they were like). Bess' sweetbreads were oily and tough. they reminded me of these crappy fried gizzards we had at a soul food restaurant in Midland one time. Paggi's sweetbreads were the opposite. they were sauteed rather than fried and they were downright silky. slight liver-ish flavor, seeing as they're organ meat. i''ve been converted back to a sweetbreads fan. guess the preparation of them is pretty key. those were paired with a light red that i didn't catch the name of.
for entree, he had a potato crusted salmon wjth mushrooms and a supposed horseradish demi. i don't have much memory of his entree other than good but unremarkable. they were these salmon medallions rather than fillet. my grouper, on the other was this huge chunk of fish. i loved it. it came in a pool of bacon scented chowder that had these lovely little pieces of clam (?). and there were caramelized cubes of mushroom and/or potato (i can't remember! i just know i loved them) that were so tasty. the salmon was paired with chardonnay, the grouper with chenin blanc.
and last, dessert was german chocolate tartlet paired with port and apple claufouti paired with sauternes. the tartlet itself was fine, i can never find fault in anything with chocolate. but the accompanying quenelle of caramel ice cream sprinkled with smoked salt stole the show. i know sweet and salty is the new (old) rage right now, but this was 100x better than any snicker bar. the smokiness of the salt and the sweet and creaminess of the ice cream was heavenly. the apple clafouti was also tasty, although it took a few doughy bites to come across apple. here, the star was the lemongrass creme anglaise sprinkled with toffee bits. i would have been happy with a cup of just that.
really glad we finally tried this place. the wines were all delicious, i rarely order dessert wines so it was nice to try the two. we sat on the bar patio which was lovely. it was a wee bit chilly, but the heater was too much. the only patio complaint i'd have is that the bathrooms are back there, and the friggin rest-stop-fluorescent lighting pierced the ambience every time someone had to take a leak. wish they had an ante-room. or softer lights inside.
AND after dinner, based on the staff's rec, we hit up House Wine across Lamar for a glass of prosecco. really like that place too. they even threw in a complimenary birthday truffle. sweet! =)
setting is comfy old house with couch-ful rooms. i think it'd be a good place to bring a board game while you drank and nibbled on a cheese plate. there was a front porch which had a group of 7-8 ppl, one of whom was playing a guitar. there was also an outside patio area, but it was dark so i don't recall much about it. i don't see any beer on the menu (http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu...) but i THOUGHT i remembered seeing some bottles. sunday they have 1/2 priced glasses of any wine opened the previous night, really want to check that out.