Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sampling Piperade's Basque Classics

Alex, Cass and I had a very nice dinner last night at Gerald Hirigoyen’s Piperade. I have never had a bad dish there, and whenever I go I wonder why I don’t go more frequently, especially in the evening when the warm colors of the dining room really stand out.

We started off with glasses of sparkling Cava and some appetizers to share – a mushroom pie, some thinly sliced Serrano ham, and piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese and raisins. All very tasty, especially the peppers.

For our main courses, Cass had the sautéed calamari in an ink sauce (the Basque name is “txipiroa”) – one of the restaurant’s daily “Basque classics” – Alex opted for the duck breast and I chose the grilled lamb chops with sausage, all pictured below.

The lamb was especially good with what seemed to me to be a North African flavor profile including citrus and cumin, reminiscent of the
goat shanks I made a few months back (which included a rub of cinnamon, thyme, lemon peel, coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper).

For our wine, we had a 2001
Beronia Gran Riserva Rioja recommended by our waitress, Mirian.

It had a interesting flavor profile and went very well with all of our dishes. Here’s a tasting note for the wine that seemed right on to me, especially regarding the vanilla notes (and the lamb pairing!).

A blend of 88% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano and 4% Mazuelo. Bright red. Attractive aromas of candied cherry, plum and cedar, with vanilla and clove notes. Sweet, open-knit and nicely focused, offering palate-staining red and dark berry flavors and mounting vanilla and cocoa qualities. A musky herbal quality lingers on the long, sweet, sappy finish. There's a decadent quality to this wine that calls for lamb or a piece of dry-aged steak."- Stephen Tanzer

We have to get back to Piperade again soon.

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