You know it had to end. You can't hold on to things forever. Even when they seem perfect. So yes, we revamped the wine flights and food pairings for Winter. Seasons change and things are suddenly not in season and don't taste as good even if you see them at the grocery store. E.g., eggplants. They seem to be available year round these days but they just don't taste well during Winter, Spring and early Summer. They just don't. So, we took the eggplant caprése off the menu.
The roasted turkey breast with cranberry orange relish also had to go. It was just too holiday-ee. It is not the holiday season anymore and none of us want to be reminded of the the few pounds we put on.
What did come on the menu, you ask? Well, let me tell you:
Espresso Stout Meatloaf: Designed for the 2016 Locus Strand Vineyard Syrah, this dish is a combination of ground pork and ground turkey and it is NOT your mother's meatloaf: We first saute onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers until they are softened. Then, we drench them in local espresso stout beer and reduce it all. You get all the flavors of the beer and none of the liquids. After we chill that, we add the pork and the turkey and then a plethora of ingredients including cheddar, rosemary, lemon zest, Aleppo pepper, parsley, chili powder, eggs, scallions among other things... The key to making it light feeling is to not over-mix or compact... You do that and you get dense weirdness. We don't like dense weirdness.
Cherry Cola BBQ Pulled Pork: People sometimes ask me, Ton, where do you get your mad inspirations? Well, sometimes it is magic but most of the times it is just a peer suggestion. One of our tasting room employees, Harry, who is a WSET level 3 sommelier and a Culinary Arts student, thought cherry cola flavor would go well with the 2016 Locus Sud. Lo and behold, the cherry cola BBQ pulled pork. We first braise the pork in cherry cola and spices for 9-12 hours. Then we reduce some of the braising liquid and make a cherry cola BBQ sauce out of it with ketchup, molasses, and yes more cherry cola. Savory and sweet goodness is what results.
Chicken and Apricot Roll: We needed something to replace the holiday-themed roasted turkey breast with cranberry orange relish bite. Our winemaker said, how about apricot flavors, and that is how I summoned the chicken and apricot
rolls. First few attempts to mix apricot with some cheddar and Dijon mustard in puff pastry resulted in good flavors but it didn't have the umami and the oomph I was looking for. Enter, grilled chicken. I experimented with pureeing them all and then chopping too... Both made it to the production batch. With some luck, you can run into both kinds and tell me which works better.
Until then, enjoy the new bites. We are already looking into what Spring should bring to the menu (think fresh, Springy things... although Springy things don't come into season around here until May so there may be some intermediate solutions... we shall see)