Sunday, February 10, 2013

Epicuria 2013 Recap.

On Thursday, January 31st, the hubbs and I joined thousands of other food and wine saavy fans deep in the heart of the city to indulge in Epicuria, the Zinfandel Advocate & Producers annual pairing event held at the San Francisco Concourse.  Not only did this event offer a spectacular sampling of beloved Zinfandel wines, but it also showcased small bites from renowned restaurants all over the bay area.  Needless to say, the event was a smash hit-- as anyone could tell from the crowds of people.  I tried my best to keep a list of whatever it was I was enjoying, although photography was difficult due to the sheer size of the mob and the lack of a spare hand.  I did manage to jot a few fun notes on pairings, so I'll include them and their accompanying restaurants info.  These were all tasted in order and with great enthusiasm on my behalf...

Duck confit crepe with organic watercress, Comte, and dried cherry powder prepared by one of our favorites Twenty Five Lusk... "Located in the burgeoning China Basin neighborhood of San Francisco’s SOMA district, Twenty Five Lusk is a modern restaurant and lounge featuring seasonally driven New American cuisine, a dynamic wine program, and expertly crafted cocktails. The design weaves a modern aesthetic through a historic brick and timber warehouse originally built in 1917 as a meat packing and smokehouse facility.  Paired with Dashe Cellars 2010 Florence Vineyards Zinfandel...  "Michael and Anne Dashe create wines that capture the complexity and character of top vineyards throughout Sonoma County and beyond. By using cooler-climate fruit, low-yielding vines, native-yeast fermentation, and minimal handling, Dashe Cellars makes distinctive, sensuous wines that let the vineyards shine through."

Lamb sausage with butter beans, herbs and fennel from A16...  "Pizza fans and wine aficionados alike visit A16 in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood with similar intentions: to enjoy the flavors of Italy’s soulful south."  This savory bit was paired with D-Cubed Cellars beautiful 2011 Zinfandel Rose...  According to Owner Duane Dappen, "The 2011 Zinfandel Rose is a bright almost hibiscus colored wine. It has aromas of cranberries, strawberries and hints of toast and spice. This medium light bodied wine has flavors of cranberries, and spice and should pair nicely with summer fare. It finishes with cranberries and a nice acidity."

Mongolian pork sliders 
from the well-loved Mustard's Grill in Yountville...  "After 29 years of feeding Napa Valley and its visitors, Mustards Grill is still the hub of the food and wine community where winemakers lunch with truckers and chefs come to dine on their night off. Alternately known as the fancy rib joint with way too many wines, Mustards is still the place to go for a heaping plate of honest American fare with worldly sophistication, washed down with a glass of the valley's finest."  Together with Peachy Canyon Winery's 2011 Old Bailey Zinfandel, this was probably one of the more popular pairings...  "Peachy Canyon Winery is a small family owned winery in the beautiful wine country of Westside Paso Robles on the Central Coast of California; near Hearst Castle and Big Sur. Peachy Canyon Winery specializes in estate Zinfandel and has been family owned and operated by the Beckett Family since 1988."

Shrimp cocktail with house-made sauce from Swan Oyster Depot...  "Turning 98 years old in 2010, Swan Oyster Depot is a classic San Francisco dining experience you shouldn't miss. Opened in 1912, this tiny hole in the wall, run by the city's friendliest servers, is little more than a narrow fish market that decided to slap down some bar stools. There are only 20 or so stools here, jammed cheek-by-jowl along a long marble bar. Most patrons come for a quick cup of chowder or a plate of oysters on the half-shell with an Anchor Steam beer. The menu is limited to fresh Dungeness crab, shrimp, oyster, clam cocktails, a few types of smoked fish, Maine lobster, and Boston-style clam chowder, all of which are exceedingly fresh."

House made chorizo sausage on lavosh with Piquillo peppers from the Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge in downtown SF...  "A sophisticated urban space, including a lively bar, lounge, and dining room, the Fifth Floor offers a variety of experiences for everyone from a casual date to a romantic rendezvous, or just a tasty night out on the town.  Specializing in modern American dishes with a Mediterranean flair."  This pairing was one of my personal favorites, accompanied by Charter Oak Winery's 2010 Monte Rosso Old Vine Zinfandel...  "Combines power and elegance, blackberry & cherry pie, licorice flavors, hot brick, black raspberry, complex flavors.  Nicely focused, anise, tar nose; smoked pepper flavors, tasty black fruit, dried berry palate and solid structure."

Thai curry pulled pork on a jalapeno raft with pepper aioli by San Francisco's Le Truc...  "Le Truc is redefining "street food" - it is one of the first gourmet "kitchen on wheels" run by culinary professionals. Imagine healthy, carefully sourced, artfully prepared food, served out of the side of a full-sized school bus."  This tasty bite was paired with Ridge Vineyards 2005 Lytton Springs Zinfandel...  "In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted on the eastern half of the vineyard at the turn of the century, and purchased both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard in the early 1990s, (In the 1870s, under "Captain" William Litton's ownership, the two were part of one property; spelling evolved into "Lytton" by 1903.) The vineyard is planted to zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals."

Ricotta-black truffle pansotti with Parmesan broth & shaved black truffle presented by North Beach gem Rose Pistola...  "We believe that food is truly a universal language, which crosses barriers of culture and ethnicity to bring people together in their desire to see, to explore, and to experiment with new flavors and styles."  Authentic Italian cuisine done well, paired with the Storybook Mountain Vineyards 2009 Antaeus...  "Storybook Mountain has established a world-wide reputation for the consistently high quality of its wines. The Zinfandel tradition began at Storybook Mountain in the early 1880s when its red clay-loam hillsides in the Mayacamas Range were first planted to this varietal. Here, an ideal match of terroir and grape allows Zinfandel to show its true potential."

For dessert, dark chocolate espresso truffles by Roseville's Truffle Gateau...  "Handmade fresh every week near Northern California wine country, these award-winning Truffle Gateaux are handcrafted with only the finest fresh ingredients, starting with 100% pure dark and milk Belgian chocolate. This original confection is like a soft cheese in texture, and designed to be paired as an appetizer with all types of wines and cheeses.  Paired in over 600 wineries in California and Oregon, the Truffle Gateaux are recommended by many award-winning winemakers as the only chocolate to pair with wines."  We sipped on Artezin 2004 Zinfandel and made our way to the exit doors, stopping only for one last bite at Sonoma Cake Creations to sample their delicious mini cheesecakes with Zinfandel sauces... "Using fresh local ingredients whenever possible, they pride themselves on creating cakes and custom desserts that are not only pleasing to the eye but to your taste buds as well."  A lovely way to finish our evening.

Cupcakes from Sonoma Cake Creations
Epicuria was definitely well worth attending and we enjoyed ourselves immensely- I would highly recommend grabbing a ticket next year, so you too can join in the pairing fun.  Eat, drink, and be merry!  Thanks go out to the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers for throwing an intriguing, educational event full of new Zin and food-lover discoveries...  We'll see you in 2014!



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