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Room Temperature Appetizer Pairing w/ Wine (NOT CHEESE or FRUIT) [moved from Wine board]

I am looking for a room temperature appetizer to pair with white and/or red wines while feeding 25 people. I have to pre-order the appetizer from a local store in San Francisco and transport it to a hotel in downtown for a VIP wine reception. I will not have an oven to reheat. All ideas are welcome.

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  1. Sausages or ham can endure no refrigeration nicely... Riesling matches a wide variety very well and is a delicious wine by itself. If you can stretch your "no cheese" requirement just a tad, have them make little appetizer stickers with sausage/ham and emmental cheese, that's a heavenly match with riesling...

    In reds, Beaujolais also matches sausage and ham pretty well.

    14 Replies
    1. re: TombstoneShadow

      Thank you for the recs. I will also serve cheese blocks and some fruit. However, I just wanted a unique rec for something other than the norm cheese and fruit. :)

      1. re: travelinggirl

        Trav: If you have either a target appetizer idea (something more specific than "room temp app") or a target varietal(s) of wine (more specific than "reds and whites") you'll get alot more ideas I'm sure. Do you have any targets in mind?

        Alternatively you might put the pressure on your vendor. Is there a wine shop in your area that also has a deli section (such as a dean & deluca?)... they could definitely be a source of ideas.

        1. re: TombstoneShadow

          Hi Tomb: We haven't selected the wines at this time. However, I am still in fact collecting mode. Dean and Deluca - DUH I didn't think about them. Good call. The Chow Moderator pulled my original post from the wine board.

          1. re: travelinggirl

            Trav: Looks like you're getting alot of good recs now. Here's somethign to remember: your guests will appreciate the fact that you went to the effort to put together some MATCHING pairings.

            Depending on the nature of your event and your relationship with the attendees, you might present these as "tasting experiments"... ask them for their feedback on the pairings they liked the most and those they weren't so keen on. I always like trying something out even if I don't end up loving it, it's an opportunity to learn.

            For example, if this were a re-curring business or social event series with clients or friends who love wine & food pairings, we'd say bravo to TravGirl for hosting it and look forward to the next one regardless.

            1. re: TombstoneShadow

              I LOVE LOVE your idea of "tasting experiments"! Fabulous! Since these are VIP clients and are familiar with wine, they would get a kick out of this. Thank you for taking the time to think this through w/ me.

              1. re: travelinggirl

                For VIP clients then I'd definitely include a sumptuous mosel riesling among the wine selection. Even if they don't like any of the pairings they are almost certain to love this wine....

                Ask your purveyor for recommendations, personally I'd shoot for the great 2009 vintage where excellent kabinett and spatlese should be available in your area in the $30's: a true gem vintage that's easy on the wallet. If no 2009's are available I'd skip 2010 and go for a 2011. You can showcase this as "being young but from a very promising vintage". Your VIP clients will appreciate the opportunity to taste this vintage relatively early if they haven't already. Going backwards you're less likely to find some of the superb 2007's on the shelf, but they would be a great option also if available at your wineshop.

                IMO, you won't get such comparable and predictable quality in other varietals for this price. Also riesling is extremely food-friendly and very enjoyable by itself... a great white wine for this type of event.

                Also these VIP social mixers tend to benefit from a sparkler. A very reliable and food-friendly choice is Moscato d'Asti: delicious by itself, pairs easily with a wide range of food, is kind of "exotic" in that you don't see it at every event, and wallet-friendly too.

                1. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Hi Tomb: Here are the wine selections we will need the pairings for.

                  2005 Frazier Memento Cab, 2005 Del Dotto Cabernet, Missouri Oak, 2006 Paloma Merlot, 2005 Shafer Relentless & 2010 Lewis Cellars Chardonnay Sonoma. I hope this helps.

                  1. re: travelinggirl

                    Hi Trav: your best bet is to talk appetizer selections over with your local gourmet delis... I see others listing Arlequin, Bi-Rite, Fatted Calf...

                    What I'd be looking for:
                    For your cabs: something with chilled roast beef, little gourmet mini- sandwiches or tapas
                    For your syrah: ditto with turkey and/or pork
                    For chardonnay: almost anything seafood: chilled shrimp or crab, smoked fish dip, asparagus spears, artichoke dip

                    I know you said no cheese, but if you're flexible on that plain chevre is very good with all 3 varietals you have there; parmesan is the cabernet cheese (also very nice with syrah).

                    Talk it over with your deli vendor... you will be able to put out a really nice spread that will give your guests a wide range of pairings to sample!

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Trav: just taking the Arlequin catering menu for example:
                      http://www.arlequincafe.com/pdf/Arleq...

                      Here's some pairings I'd consider:
                      For Cabs: Arlequin meatballs
                      For Syrah: Zoe's turkey & swiss
                      For Chardonnay: Linguini w/ shrimp & clams, Smoked chicken salad sandwiches, Penne pasta primavera

                      From Bi-Rite http://www.biritemarket.com/catering/...

                      For Cab: Grilled beef sirloin sticks, peppered beef sirloin,
                      For Syrah: roasted free-range turkey and swiss (ask for gruyere instead of swiss if poss),
                      Chardonnay: Potato cups w/ crab, Laura Chenel goat cheese w/ grilled veggies, House-smoked salmon mousse, classic crab cakes, roast salmon salad sandwiches

                      There's other stuff that looks tempting, but when you get into "curries" and "moles" and 'vinegarettes" you get into dicey area where you can clash with the wines. The above are what look most clash-proof to me on a cursory look.

                      1. re: TombstoneShadow

                        IMO, all these items sound boring to SF Bay Area palates and VIP guests. Or they can't be served at room temp, or aren't of great enough intensity to pair with the wines, especially the Relentless Syrah from Shafer, which is more like an Cab in intensity.

                        Were it me, I'd pay extra for the SF hotel to make the appetizer, to save the time and trouble of picking it up and transporting it.

                        ETA: You've since added to your post and included other menu items, but I'm not sure those work either.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Trav: try them and let your palate decide what is "boring". There's a reason these items are on the menu.

                          Better to get a basic food that doesn't clash with your wines than something too overdone.

                          Peppered sirloin and cabernet boring? Smoked salmon mousse and chardonnay boring? I don't think so... those are absolutely classic pairings.

                          Now, boring as in not particularly novel, overly-classic, somewhat predictable... okay there's some truth to that...

                          1. re: TombstoneShadow

                            I was referring to these Arlequin items you chose [before you edited your post]:
                            "For Cabs: Arlequin meatballs
                            For Syrah: Zoe's turkey & swiss
                            For Chardonnay: Linguini w/ shrimp & clams, Smoked chicken salad sandwiches, Penne pasta primavera"

                            I don't think these pairings work, Mike/Tombstone.
                            I don't they're appropriate choices for these specific wines (I know the wines, except for the Lewis Chard) or for a VIP event.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              Trav: By now you might be confused... one person says these pairings will work great, the other says they won't work... welcome to the wine world.

                              The good news is you have some really good recommendations on this thread. I'm 100% confident if you take all the reccos everyone has provided here to your wine vendor / deli vendor / hotel caterer, whatever... they will be able to sort through them and come up with some nice pairings for you.

                              Please report back on how your event goes!

                    2. re: travelinggirl

                      The Shafer Relentless Syrah is a big wine, and will require food with a fair amount of intensity, as will the Paloma Merlot and the Del Dotto Cab (we call them Del Blotto). I love Lewis but haven't had their Chard.

                      SF drinkers/diners are not as meat-centric as those in other parts of the country (Tombstone is from the Midwest), so I'd urge you to also include vegetarian items that also are of enough flavor intensity to equal the intensity of the wines.

                      I'd work with a retail-based caterer on this, or the hotel directly. We're lucky to have an amazing number of ethnicities to draw upon when sourcing food in SF, but be careful to not offer items with spicy heat -- they'll kill the flavor of your wines.

      2. Arlequin To Go and Bi-Rite are good for high-end takeout of that sort. Both (but particularly Arlequin) could do the wine as well if you need that.

        Delessio is a step down but still very good.

        http://www.arlequincafe.com/catering.php
        http://www.biritemarket.com/catering/
        https://www.delessiosf.com/our_weddin...

        5 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I agree (SHOCKER) that Arlequin catering is a great option. they have catering available

          Places like 4505 and such can offer great Charcutterie items

          1. re: smatbrat

            Fatted Calf has Charcuterie items also.

            1. re: smatbrat

              Arlequin is a great rec it is very close to the hotel and the catering menu looks good, as well as appropriately priced. Side note: is Rainbow Grocery a regular grocery store or more like a Whole Foods?

              1. re: travelinggirl

                Rainbow Grocery is closer to Whole Foods than it is to a regular grocery store, but it's vegetarian and run by a collective. Kind of a giant upscale hippie health food store, though with many hard-to-find gourmet items and ingredients.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Robert: Thank you for the clarification. I did not realize it was vegetarian. I am glad I asked.

          2. A friend catered apps from Evvia, an upscale Greek restaurant in Palo Alto, for a business event & was very happy with them. They have a sister rest., Kokkari, in the Financial District in SF who may be able to help in a similar manner. I am sure they can help with your exact needs including wine pairing. Love their food. I suggest this only in case you end up transporting yourself and need something close to hotel.

            Bi-Rite as Robert suggested is also a great idea.

            If you need something more economical, there's a Whole Foods on 4th Street.

            BTW, there is no Dean & Deluca in SF.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ceekskat

              Ceekskat: I think Greek food is too outside the box for this particular event. However, I am a fan of Greek food and I tired to hit Kokkari the last time I was in San Francisco (in April), but I ran out of time. Kokkari will remain on the list for my next visit.