Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Night Out on 4/29/06

It's been quite some time since my wife and I last went to a fancy restaurant just the two of us. When she was 5 months pregnant, my beautiful wife was diagnosed with temporary gestational diabetes. This did not go well at all for her since she is as much a food epicurean as I am. So she had to say goodbye to Lady Godiva, farewell to pear tart tatin, and au revoir to monsieur soufflé. For the nine months after our Sophia was born, her routine breast feeding schedule virtually meant she also had to say auf wiederschauen to Joh Jos Prum and ta ta to Laurent Perrier!

Until last evening...

Last evening could be the beginning of a more "normal" life ahead, as far as dining out goes. We spent the evening dining at our favorite restaurant, Max on Ventura Boulevard, which is a mere 5 minutes away from home. By recommendations of some wine forum friends, particularly that of CMAC (short for call me a cab...don't ask) and Gambetti, I decided to bring along with us a bottle of 1996 Duval-Leroy Brut, Champagne, from our collection.

The wine was wonderful! It paired very well with the appetizer of crispy calamari with green papaya and chili-lime dressing. This delish dish was practically a mélange of Thai and Italian cuisine concepts on one plate.

1996 Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne
Purchased at The Wine Exchange

A golden liquid with very fine mousse and bubbles. Nose of quince, lillies, honeysuckle, and citrus. Mighty fine bubblies in the mouth with a well rounded feel. It's almost creamy. A quite mature bottle of 1996 Champagne, which by any account a young vintage Champagne. Medium finish. A very satisfying ready-to-drink 1996 Champagne. ===+/5 (good - very good)

What we had at Max:

Appetizer: crispy calamari with green papaya, shredded vegetables, roasted peanuts and chili-lime dressing ===/5 (good)

Soup: pureed criminy mushrooms topped with white truffle oil, parsley and garlic bread crumbs =====/5 (YUM!)

Entree: aged New York peppercorn beef steak with creamed spinach and potato au gratin ===+/5 (good - very good)

Entree: Buffalo steak topped with crisped crumbled rocquefort cheese, placed on top of baby vegies with rice risotto soaked in melted arugula cheese ====/5 (very good)

A glass of red wine: (vintage unknown) Chateau Souverain cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley. Just a simple quaffing red with ample fruits and oak, but not focused enough. Decent enough with the buffalo steak. ==/5 (average)

Desert: Pear tart tatin. A great closer to a fabulous relaxing dinner. ===+/5 (good - very good)

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