Friday, September 4, 2009

Mansion team wins chef/sommelier bragging rights and a cool trip to Napa

Wine Guy Michael Flynn and Chef Eric Brandt from the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek take top honors in "Restaurant Week" Menu Contest.
Jim White has details on some great upcoming foodie events.

It don't mean a thing if ain't got that "sing", and the winning food and wine pairing menu in this year's "KRLD Restaurant Week" competition for chefs and sommeliers has that in abundance--figuratively and literally. The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek was chosen best menu in the 10th Annual Competition sponsored by the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of American Institute of Wine and Food. Executive Sous Chef Eric Brandt and Director of Wine and Beverages Michael Flynn conspired to construct the consummate culinary creation, which resulted in the honor bestowed by unnamed but highly regarded judges-- "Each considered a leader in their culinary field", according the the AIWF press release.

The metaphorical "sing", more like an opus in this case, is the beautiful mouth-feel of harmony created by the perfect, or near perfect, wine and food combination that chefs and foodies strive for at all turns. The literal "sing" was an inspired wine choice by Sommelier Flynn to accompany Pan-Seared Trout with Grilled Squash (offered in course two). Palates who chose this option were treated to an under-appreciated Austrian selection: "Singing" Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V, 2005 Vintage; with "pure, dry, citric lemon/lime flavors set against a savor note of white pepper and watercress.", according to menu tasting notes.

We were lucky enough to get in on the very end of the Mansion's three week Restaurant Week presentation, and can attest to the efficacy of this statement and add our personal kudos to the brain-trust at the Mansion for pushing the envelope with the wine and food pairings. Not one Chardonnay or Cabernet in sight! In a world of wonderful wine options, it's nice to see more of them offered on the restaurant scene. The complete Mansion menu for Restaurant Week is posted below. But first, let me congratulate the runners-up in the contest: Executive Chef Matt McCallister and Wine Director Brian Boomer of Stephan Pyles Restaurant. Described by AIWF as "an imaginative menu of food and wine featuring both familiar and exotic flavors of Texas." Third place was awarded to Hilton/Anatole’s Nana restaurant team of Executive Chef, Anthony Bombaci and Wine Director, Russell Burkett for their "superb" pairings. Again to the press release, "The unique culinary style of Chef Bombaci delivered European flavors with Italian- influenced dishes." Both of these teams received monetary prizes for the wine and food pairing. Wine guy Flynn and chef extraordinaire Brandt get an all-expense paid trip for a week to "The Disneyland" for Foodies: The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley where they will both utilize a special wine or food scholarship to enhance their professional skills. a votre santé!

Chef Eric Brandt, Jim White, Michael Flynn (L to R)

KRLD Restaurant Week

Wine and Food Pairing Menu 2009

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

First Course

Frisée and Grilled Texas Peach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Ginger-Mustard Vinaigrette and

Brazos Brie Crouton

*Domaine de Nizas Rosé, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2007 – a perennial on Wine Spectator’s top 100 lists, a dry Grenache with vivid berry fruit and a hint of white pepper on the finish.

Corn-Saffron Soup, Grilled Shrimp, Fresh Herbs and Chile Oil

*Max. Ferdinand Richter Riesling kabinett, Mulheimer Sonenlay, Mosel, 2007 – Just off-dry, with cool flavors of peach and apricot, herbs and slate.

Carpaccio of Venison, Green Tomato Marmalade and Pecorino

*Vietti Barbera d’Asti, “Tre Vigne”, Piemonte, 2006 – The ultimate in versatility with food, this soft, supple, savory red boasts juicy acidity.

Second Course

Braised Short Rib, Tomato-Thyme Compote and Balsamic Glazed Cippolini Onions

*Dow’s Vale do Bomfim, Douro, Portugal, 2006 – from the famous Port shipper, a blend of traditional, noble varieties giving a smoky richness, a hint of oak spice, and subtle minerality to act as a backdrop.

Pan-Seared Trout with Grilled Squash and Barley Salad, Tomato Oil

“Singing” Gruner Veltliner, Laurenz V, Austria, 2005 – Pure, dry, citric lemon/lime flavors set against a savory note of white pepper and watercress.

Marinated Organic Chicken with Corn and Shiitake Succotash

*Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina, Campania. 2007 – Cool, dry orange peel, honey and herb flavors, on a medium frame with just a hint of earth.


Peanut Butter Torte – Chocolate Ganache, Peanut Feuilletine, Malt Ice Cream

*Senorio de Barahonda, Bellum-El Remate, Monastrell 2001, Yecla, Spain – dried fruit flavors of dates and prunes, toffee, smoke and nutty oak.. Not too sweet.

Chef’s Trio of Ice Creams

*Vietti Moscato d’Asti “La Cascinetta”, Piemonte, 2006 – An ethereal perfume of honeysuckle, jasmine, and rose petals announces this lightly sparkling beauty. Frothy, delicate, and fun!

*Suggested Wine Pairings

Two 6 ounce glasses of wine and one 3 ounce glass of dessert wine $28

or $19 excluding dessert wine

Speaking of Austrian wines: you may know, we are hosting a dinner on September 15th featuring the delightful Hall Wines from Napa Valley at The Place at Perry's in Dallas. The equally delightful Kathryn Hall is our special guest for the dinner. She is the former Ambassador to Austria during the Clinton Administration. Of course, she hosted glittering dinners in Vienna during her tenure. As we were preparing for the dinner and talking with Kathryn about the wines she'll be serving, I couldn't help but inquire about the wines she served during her tenure in Austria. She laughed and said that while she would certainly have liked to introduce the various diplomats and heads of state she entertained to her, and husband Craig Hall's, fabulous Napa Valley selections, she thought this might be a little self-serving. She was the consummate diplomat and always made sure she was showcasing the best Austrian wines at her dinners. As evidenced by the Grüner Veltliner featured in the Mansion menu above, there are some great ones. Try them if you haven't. Maybe we can arrange to have some for you at Savor Dallas.

Certainly, the Halls have been invited to return to the Arts District Wine Stroll on March 5th, The Reserve Tasting and the International Grand Tasting (at the beautifully renovated Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Downtown Dallas) on Saturday March 6th. We hope she is "self serving" and serves us some of her wonderful Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (which will be featuring at our Perry's Dinner). More details on Savor Dallas at The early bird prize for wine signups this year goes to Michael David Winery from Lodi and Becker Vineyards from Texas. In all, over 400 varietals will be featured during the Savor Dallas weekend.

Have you heard about the "Chef's Wine Table Series" that they're doing at Dali in One Arts Plaza? This bi-monthly tasting feast happens on selected Sundays. Proprietor Paul Pinnell and Chef Joel Harloff put together a casual evening focused on one particular varietal of wine. There is a maximum seating of ten "special guests" who are encouraged to "bring their best cellar wine that compliments the theme of the evening". Paul assures that this is perfectly above board and legal in case anyone is concerned about the TABC. Of course, everyone shares the booty, and this goes with a four-course ala carte menu. The cost is $60 per person. Check it out for a cool way to wind down the weekend. Call Dali at 469-385-9360, or visit their website,

There may not be a "free" lunch", but apparently there IS a free dinner. At least at Robert Colombo's restaurants. Every Monday at Trece or Villa-O enjoy a 2- Course Mexican or Italian Meal, compliments of the house. Their way of saying thanks to valued guests. You must have a RESERVATION to take advantage of this. PLEASE CALL TRECE AT 214-780-1900 OR VILLA-O AT 214 -780-1880. Savvy restaurateur Colombo says it's been great for business, wine sales are up and the servers are happy. Not to mention the happy customers. Free is good!

Congratulations to Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, recently named as one of the winners of the 2009 Diners’ Choice Awards for the nation’s Top 50 Restaurants with a Scenic View by On a clear day you can't quite see "forever", but the revolving birds-eye view of the Texas prairie and downtown Dallas is pretty spectacular.

We love dives, and there's no better "dive" than a good bar. If you haven't been to the Windmill Lounge near Love Field in Dallas, belly up to the bar, stranger. It's Dallas' answer to "Cheers". Only here, Norm sings! Actually, DJ Brad leads the Thursday night Karaoke session, characterized as "raucous renderings" by co-proprietor Louise Owens. 5320 Maple Avenue (near Elliot's). 214.443.7818.

Safe Labor Day. Cheers!

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