Le Chat Noir

Have been in DC for many years and finally made it to Le Chat Noir.  I used to even live only about mile from it. It’s a French restaurant located between Friendship Heights and Tenleytown in NW.

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Went on a Saturday night.  Had reservations but it wasn’t too busy, the service was pretty slow, though. The menu has a good amount of selection, but of course I had to do some good picking because of being lactose intolerant.

Opted for a bottle of rose, for kicks, Le P’tit Rose. It was good, a bit sweet, a fun wine to try.

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While deciding on dinner, with the wine we enjoyed addictive bread.

Then, for the first course of dinner, I opted for a salad and my friend went for the Crèpe fourrée. Crèpe stuffed with crabmeat, bay scallops, mushrooms, Chablis cream sauce.  Apparently that was pretty darn good.

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Main course was a Bijoux de boeuf au poivre. Grilled beef tenderloin, grilled asparagus, gratin dauphinois, green peppercorn sauce (the asparagus is on the side).  It was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth.

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I opted for the Saint Jacques à la Bretonne. Sea scallops, truffle risotto, cremini mushrooms, white wine béchamel & gruyere cheese gratin.  They made some nice substitutions on the dairy and grilled the scallops, put it on a bed of lentil ‘crust’ with a side of pickled veggies.  All very nice.

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Very happy I finally checked this place out!

Pour Me Some White

Love my part time wine tasting gigs. Last weekend during one of them I had all whites.  Ironic because it was freezing cold outside because of the 15-20mph winds and mid-50 temps. But, I guess you can sip your pain away, right?

I was sharing the delights of:

La Marca Prosecco — one of my favorites. You cannot go wrong with this stuff. You can find it for $10-$15/bottle. Just crisp and and perfect bubbles with tiny hints of citrus. Need I say more?

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc — I love the SB from New Zealand.  Gimme some grapefruit! This one was a bit milder than my favorite.  Awesome notes of citrus all around with a nice finish. Low teens on the cost.

William Hill Chardonnay — if you like (traditional) oaked Chard, this one’s for you.  It’s from the North Coast of CA and has some definite tropical fruit notes in it while giving you that oaked, buttery taste. This one runs in the mid-teens per bottle.

Sip on, my friends.

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Southwest Has It Right

In the air, the drink cart comes down the aisle. I had one of the drink coupons that my awesome fitness class students give me because they don’t use them before they expire.  What more could I ask for from people who I get to workout?!?!

I was handed the napkin, then the drink (wine, duh). The tagline was far too perfect: Now for something really refreshing. Southwest Airlines, keep it coming. Now I just need to be sure I get more of those drink tickets. Cheers!

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Chilled, oops

Pulled out a bottle of white from my wine fridge for a dinner party I was having and poured myself a little bit to enjoy. Since my wine fridge is for both whites & reds, I keep it at 55 so I usually put the whites in the regular fridge for a bit longer.

I did that for a couple minutes then thought I’d just put in the freezer real quick so it would get done faster (vs putting it in ice water, blah blah).

So people got there and we were all into the reds. The next day I opened my freezer and oh, yeah, I put the Nobilo in there. Hello, slush. That was fun! I had a great time shaking it and seeing how long it would take a get some out and then having a very nice wine slushy. Very refreshing.

Nom Nom…tomatoes and eggplant

Found another recipe recently that I had to try from Food & WineMarinated Eggplant and Tomato Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella.  What sounded unique about it is that the eggplant is never cooked, it just marinates for a heck of a long time.  Hey, think about it as veggie ceviche, right?

Ingredients

1 pound small or medium Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick, slices scored on both sides at 1/4-inch intervals — I just picked up the first eggplant I saw
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 basil sprigs, plus basil leaves for garnish
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 ounces buffalo mozzarella, coarsely torn or chopped (I used a goat gouda)

Directions
-In a colander set over a large bowl, toss the eggplant slices with 1 1/2 teaspoons 
of salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. — I actually let that sit for a few hours while I was out

-Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, basil sprigs, oregano and crushed red pepper; season lightly with salt and black pepper.

-Squeeze all of the water from the eggplants and pat dry. Chop into bite-size pieces. Add to the marinade and let stand for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. — then once this was done I put it in the fridge overnight — was REALLY glad I actually read this recipe thoroughly several times

-Add the tomatoes to the eggplant mixture and toss to coat; discard the basil sprigs and garlic. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the mozzarella and basil leaves.

Make Ahead
The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

This was pretty good, quite unique. It also looks quite Chrismas-y.  I think it got even better the next day.  And actually, the next day, used it more as a bruschetta and also tossed it in salad. Can’t complain!

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Oh Ewe Cheese

Was on just a normal shopping trip the other day so had to stop at Trader Joe’s. That also meant I was required to stop by the sample and coffee counter.  They had a cheese sample out, so at first I didn’t think I could have some as the lactard.  Then I saw that it was goat cheese, cool. It was a new one — Chevre with Honey.   Just a little bit of sweet taste. I used to not like goat cheese but it has gotten so much better.  Ok, bad idea to try it… Effective work TJ’s… I left with one of the 8 oz. packages. We’ll see how long it takes me to get more.

Tartare…touché

I love seafood, and next to the ceviche, I love tuna tartare. I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I make it quite often. It’s so simple and so good. All you have to do is cube the tuna, then toss all the other ingredients with it. At the end, drizzle some lemon juice on top and garnish with the fennel fronds if you really want.

  • 1 lb tuna or yellowtail, cubed
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tiny capers
  • 1 T finely chopped shallot
  • 1 T finely chopped Sicilian green olives
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or 1 small chile pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 t pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)

Good places for the seafood is Costco, if you’re a member.  Also, if you can find the fish flash frozen, such as places like Trader Joe’s, it’s just as good. Enjoy!

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A New Halibut Ceviche

Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, and halibut is a great fish to use in it (oddly — and when I want to splurge). I have one recipe I love to use and then came across another I thought I would try — Halibut Ceviche with Tomato and Cucumber.

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Ingredients
Servings: 6

1 garlic clove, finely grated
¾ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila blanco (used the (gold) Cuervo I had)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
¼ small pineapple, cut into ½-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
6 ounces halibut fillet, skin, bones, and bloodline removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 avocado, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped mint
Kosher salt
*I don’t see cucumber anywhere in the ingredient list, even though it’s in the title of the recipe, so they either forgot it in the list or put it incorrectly in the title

Preparation

Mix garlic, lime juice, tequila, and agave nectar in a large bowl. Add pineapple, tomato, onion, radishes, jalapeño, and halibut and toss to coat. Fold in avocado, cilantro, and mint; season with salt.
Chill 10 minutes before serving.

It was good, but not great. There was something off about it.  Maybe the pineapple was the wrong texture?  Not saying I wouldn’t eat it, but not my favorite ceviche.  I think my favorite it the Green Ceviche.

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CO Wine

Wine is coming from many places now, and I recently tasted some from Colorado, Ten Bears Winery

The winery proper is located in Laporte, CO.  The sampling covered 7 wines; 2 whites, 3 red, 2 dessert wines and was $5.99.

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American Symphony (This lesser knows varietal is a hybrid of two old world grapes, Muscato of Alexandria and Grenache Gris.  It is a lovely, attractive white wine with amazing floral bouquet.  Lightly sweet with hints of Colorado wildflowers and dried peach on the nose followed by fresh apricots and citrus on the palate, finishing with lingering fruit and melon notes, a perfect pairing for a hot summer day.) $17.99/bottle

-Had light honey notes,  floral notes and sweetness

Cameron Pass White (Our Malvasia Bianca and Chardonnay blend is finished off-dry, producing a light to medium bodied, fruity white wine that is the perfect pair for sushi and seafood. Enjoy this wine chilled for a refreshing compliment to our Colorado summer days.) $15.99/bottle

-No nose, nearly clear, eww

American Pinot Noir (Our Pinot Noir is a Ten Bears Winery favorite that we can never seem to make enough of. It is a light bodied Pinot Noir aged on French Oak, for just the right amount of time, to impart delicate oak and tannins, which compliment the dried cherry fruit notes and cocoa, while keeping this noble red perfectly balanced.) $19.99

-Had the nose of Welch’s grape juice, cloudy, tiny chocolate taste at the end

Poudre River Red Table Wine (This light to medium bodied red blend of Alicante Bouschet, Colorado Merlot, Larimer County Marquette, and Zinfandel is a wine to pair with almost anything. Its complex and lively character displays black cherry, and raisin fruit notes, with delicate tannins, making it a smooth and easy drinking red wine. Enjoy at room temperature.) $14.99

-Cranberry nose, light, it’s definitely a simple table red

Grand Valley Cabernet (This full bodied classic Bordeaux style wine is balance to perfection with toasty notes of French Oak finishing with elegant and smooth tannins. Rich garnet and violet color!) $24.99

-Nice body, not chalky, good

Roaming Bear Seasonal (Raspberry/Huckleberry/Pomegranate) (We blended a medium, sweet Muscat of Alexandria, with Pinot Grigio and Barbera, then added natural flavoring to produce this playfully sweet and flavorful wine.) $15.99

-Very sweet, light,  this stuff reminded me of Boone’s

Nutty Laporte Dessert Wine (This is a vintage style port wine with hazelnut flavor added during its American oak aging. Its deep color and rich flavors of cordial cherries make for a deliciously warm finish to a nice evening. Grape varietals used in this port style dessert wine are Tinta Madiera, Touriga, Tinta Cao, and souza.) $18.99/375ml

-Nice!  Just like a port. Chocolate taste to it. Definitely my favorite one.

 

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Overall, a great time trying different wines — never knew CO made some. Not necessarily my favorites, but will never turn down a tasting. Cheers!