And I need to remind you all that our theme at PoP this month is Happiness. Which is one of my favorite themes, as I have found happiness in so much of my life. I certainly don't have to look far to feel good. I have such a fun family and group of friends. A beautiful home and neighborhood; wonderful craft-room filled with goodies to help me create to my heart's content; and really, good health.
Which brings me to the update about my skin. I no longer need to hide my neck in public, as the redness and swelling have gone way, way down thanks to the Prednisone. Hallelujah! The itching is virtually gone now, too, so I expect a complete recovery shortly. Thank goodness! That certainly makes me happy!
And now for the update about our wine dinner at Kai. You can skip ahead to my card details if you are not a foodie. Otherwise...
Well, the winery being represented at the dinner was Sand Reckoner from Willcox, Arizona. Don't know if I have mentioned lately how delicious the wines are that are being bottled in southeastern Arizona. Just amazing. We really love several of the vintners there. And this one is really top-notch!
So, at 6:30 p.m., there was a private reception with hors d'oeuvres to munch along with a yummy rose wine--made with Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Syrah. What a fabulous blend! It went with all three little bites that were so different: a roasted fig seated in a cloud of goat cheese, a crispy fiddlehead fern served with a spicy chili dip, and a wafer with a lovely caviar mix on it. I was so surprised that this one wine would pair with all three, but it did so beautifully! And I would have had more wine, but I needed to pace myself!!! This was to be a three hour eating adventure, doncha know.
At 7:00 p.m. we were seated in the main dining room. John and Carol and Bob and Connie were joining us for dinner as they did last July at Kai's wine dinner. However, John had forgotten to bring his slacks along, and there is business casual dress required. He had to drive all the way back to Fountain Hills (a considerable distance) to retrieve his pants. He missed the reception, but managed to make it just in time for the first course. Carol was seated with the rest of us, though, so she was able to partake in the items John missed.
The first thing they did was bring around a bread tray and give us three different scrumptious breads to try. The recipes were based upon native American breads, and were soooo good, as they always are. They were served with a fab olive oil.
Then they brought around a little dish to stimulate your appetite. (Yeah, as if mine ever needs additional stimulation!) It was a corn soup shooter--the glass was rimmed with frozen corn bits--and a darling little wrapped bite that had some fruit and who-knows-what-else-but-it-was-yummy in it.
OK, then there was more bread delivered, yes, thank you very much. And more olive oil because I had used up all of mine as you can see from the above photo! And then the wine started to flow again. This time we were given a 2013 Malvasia Bianca, which I could drink any time, anywhere. So yummy! And we were served the first course, which was an outstanding soft-shell crab flown in that day, (bet their claws got tired flapping all the way to Arizona). They were cooked to perfection, crisp exterior and tender inside. There was a "fermented soot", which was corn smut (a native American delicacy), mixed with what I forget, a peach and elderflower vinaigrette, and summer harvested garden bites. Oh, save me, I died and went to Heaven. I ate every bit of everything on that platter, including all the decorative drips and drabs. And, of course, the entire course paired perfectly with the Malvasia Bianca.
Our second course was preceded by a pouring of 2012 "2". This is a Sangiovese-Syrah blend, and I do love blended wines--especially good red ones. This one is sooo good! And Chef Joshua made a fabulous pairing with Braised Kurobata Pork Cheeks. These cooked slowly for many, many hours and were seasoned beautifully. There were wild ramps, soprasada, and fall spiced plum preserve served with the cheeks. Again, I totally cleaned my dish. And oohed and aahed over the brilliant combination of food and wine!
Then we had a palate cleanser between the second and third courses. It was a refreshing limeade, served with a sprig of lavender. Delightful!
On to the big guns. OK, the next pouring was a fantastic, bold Syrah, 2012 "7". Had bigger body than the blend, which stands to reason. But it matched perfectly with the bold main course. Now, I have to preface this course with the statement that I was a wee bit horrified when I saw what it was. Growing up in northwestern Montana, I had tasted venison as a child and found it to be absolutely yucky. It had such a gamey taste to it; it was tough and just not something I thought I would ever eat again. So, of course, we were to be served venison.
Well, this is not your mama's venison. Or your papa's. This was AWESOME! I was totally surprised, but completely thrilled with the entire course! There were cherry-smoked tenderloin medallions, served with vanilla gnocchi, wild mushrooms, black currant compote, truffle jus, and bull's blood puree. Hilarious note: Carol took one look at the bull's blood puree on the menu and said, "Nope, not going to eat it. Can't." So she gave her meat to John. And the funny part about this is that the "bull's blood" was actually a beet puree. And Carol dearly loves beets. So the rest of us had a good laugh on her for that one!! I am not a beet lover, but it tasted perfectly delicious underneath the rest of the goodness on my plate. BTW, tenderloin meant just that with this venison. There was not only NO gamey taste, but you could virtually cut the pieces with your fork, it was so tender! So scrumptious. I can no longer say I hate venison. Just has to be raised and prepared correctly!
So, now it is time for the dessert course. And I am all about dessert. Always. In all ways. Well, we were poured a glass of port, 2011 "11" Red Dessert Wine. And it is made with Zinfandel and fortified with a neutral grape spirit--wine alcohol, basically, I guess you could say. I loved it. Gary thought it was too sweet--he is not real big on dessert wines. I could have had the wine by itself for dessert, but then I would have missed out on the fabulous concoction that was presented to us. It was a Dark Chocolate Custard, with bitter cocoa sable, caramelized white chocolate, whipped white chocolate ganache, hazelnut, wattle seed micro-sponge cake, and confit cherries. Oh, my heavens. So much goodness on a plate!
I finished off my gorging with a lovely cup of coffee. What a stellar meal! Really enjoyed having it with good friends and my sugar daddy, Gary! Another year, another success! (But what else would you expect at a 5-star, 5-diamond restaurant, right?)
So, now that I have made myself hungry all over again, I guess I'd best finish the true reason for this blog post...
This is the midway reminder, once again, for our June challenge #27, Happiness. I was given a really cute image to color, Bear Guitar, by Sentimental Susan. I printed him on X-Press It BC, and colored him with my Copics:
Bear: E21, E23
Guitar: E21, E23, E25
Not many markers, for me, that's for sure! I found a wonderful quote about music and happiness, and then used a couple of die cuts on my CAS design, made with Memory Box Treble Clef and Musical Interlude dies. And that's it for this edition.
Please check out the wonderful inspiration by my talented teammates and then share a little of your happiness with us! Here are the deets you need to know:
The sponsors and prizes for this challenge are:
There will also be:
Have a wonderful week!