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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
I enjoy creating original wine-pairing recipes that are healthful and delicious. I work for Touring & Tasting a Santa Barbara based wine club and national magazine as Food Editor. However, I am not paid for this blog and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I received my Personal Chef Skills Competency Award from the SBCC's School Of Culinary Arts. In 2012, I started Inside Wine - Santa Barbara with pal Lila Brown which features wine tastings with winery owners and winemakers. I also serve on the Board of the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts group, which had Julia Child as one of the founding members and funds scholarships for SBCC culinary students in her name.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pino-terroir-ist or Pino-terrorist?

The wine/food pairing of Pinot Noir and salmon is as classic as steak and Cabernet Sauvignon. I hadn't seen a teriyaki-cooked salmon makizushi recipe before, but came up with this sushi recipe with salmon pan-cooked in a ginger teriyaki sauce. Eat it warm with the salmon meltingly tender, or chill for a picnic--the salmon will firm up. Either way, this salmon makizushi recipe pairs delectably with your 2008 Acacia "Lone Tree Vineyard" Pinot Noir. If you don't have an Asian market in your neighborhood, most chain groceries now carry Japanese cooking ingredients. You will need a makisu (Japanese bamboo sushi mat--which costs about $3).

7 Tbsp. sake' (Japanese rice wine-drier than below)
7 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese cooking wine-sweeter than above)
7 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
In a large frying pan, heat the ingredients to a boil and reduce by half (the width of a frying pan helps speed evaporation). You can bottle this to use later in the week, or turn off the heat and use the teriyaki sauce in the recipe below.
2 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain rice (Japanese preferred)
6" piece of konbu (giant kelp)
2 Tbsp. sake'
4 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar + 1/2 cup in small bowl to moisten hands
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
Cooking the rice: Wash the rice by putting into the rice cooker insert or pot (if you are using a standard pot for cooking) and filling it with water. Swish the rice around the water for a minute, then carefully pour off the water without losing any rice grains. (It's not necessary to drain all the water). Repeat 6 times--this is the Japanese tradition--to wash the rice 7 times. If you don't have the patience for this, wash the rice until the water is no longer opaque. Strain the rice, put in your rice cooker or pot and add 2 1/2 cups of water.  Add the washed piece of kelp and cook in rice cooker, or on the stove: bring to a boil, covered with a lid. If the lid is lightweight, use and inverted coffee cup on top to keep the lid tightly sealed. Let boil for a minute, then turn  down heat to lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes. Don't open the lid and let the steam escape! Turn off the heat and let sit on the stove for 15 minutes before using.

Flavoring the rice: Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt together. You may need to heat the mixture slightly so the salt and sugar will dissolve completely. Next, taste it! This is the part that is important--take the time to really taste the balance of the flavors. You are looking for the perfect balance of sweet, tart and salty. Adjust as needed.
 Coating the rice with sugar/vinegar mixture: When you add the vinegar/sugar liquid to the rice, you need to use a fan and to work fast. Your goal is to coat each individual grain of rice with the vinegar dressing without breaking up the individual grains. Set up an electric fan towards your container with the speed on medium. Air moving across the hot rice will help evaporate moisture from the hot rice and keep it from getting mushy. If you have a hangiri tub, the process will be easy as the rice will not stick to it. If you don't, use a shallow wood or plastic container (not metal as the rice will stick). With a flat, wooden spoon or rice paddle, spread the rice across the bottom of your container and quickly mix the dressing into the rice using horizontal, cutting strokes (you may not have to use all the dressing--if you use too much, the rice will become mushy). Try to spread out the rice as you go so the maximum surface area is exposed to the air from the fan. If done properly, the rice will be fluffy, have a nice texture and will be glossy from the vinegar/sugar dressing.  The process of  doing this will take about 10 minutes.

Teriyaki and sushi ingredients above
6 sheets roasted nori (Japanese seaweed sheets)
1/2 lb. salmon (an 8" cut will fit the 8x9" nori)
around 1/8 cup black sesame seeds
Heat the teriyaki sauce over low heat in the frying pan. Cut the salmon into three strips lengthwise and carefully cook in the sauce, turning frequently with a spatula so the fish is cooked through and sauce has coated all sides. Turn off heat. With water, wet the short edge of one nori sheet and tack it to the short end of another--repeat so you have three double-long sheets of nori. Wrap your makisu with several sheets of plastic wrap. Then, place a double-length nori on your sushi mat (the mat goes round side down--so the flat part of the mat faces up). Dip your fingers in the bowl of vinegar and use them to pick up clumps of rice to press into the first four inches of the nori sheet so you have a rectangle of rice that spreads across the width of the nori on just the first four inches. Place one of the salmon strips in the middle of the rectangle, then roll up the mat until the leading edge meets the counter--you should then have your makizushi roll inside the mat. Gently press the mat into the roll to compact it. When you peel the mat away, your makizushi roll will be left with a "tail" of empty nori--wet just the end of the nori and roll the makizushi all the way--the water will seal the end of the nori to the makizushi. Repeat to make the other two makizushi. With a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into 1" slices--wetting the knife with vinegar will help to keep the rice from sticking to the blade. Also, cleaning the knife in between cuts will help make clean slices. Plate the makizushi and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. This salmon recipe is tasty paired with the 2008 Acacia "Lone Tree Vineyard" Pinot Noir.
Makes 3 makizushi rolls, about 6 servings.

Let's appreciate for Pinocabulary! (I liked the idea of Pinoteers)
Pinot noir has been called the "heartbreak grape"--fussy, sensitive to weather conditions, prone to myriad diseases, and sometimes producing a wine that is mushy and thin. But, when it is great, Pinot lives up to the dictionary definition: "remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness;  eminent, distinguished; chief or preeminent over others;  markedly superior in character or quality; especially : NOBLE: " It's the last part that intrigues me the most of Pinotphiles--the spiritual way they talk of the experience of drinking Pinot and the rhapsodic, almost dreamy quality that comes over their visage when they talk about their wine. Matt Kramer wrote "Pinot is a form of madness for both producer and drinker alike. Both persist because a great Pinot Noir brings you as close to God as any wine can." Remember Miles in "Sideways"?
Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?
Miles Raymond: Sure.
Maya: Why are you so in to Pinot?
Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]
Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.
Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]
Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.

Is it the love needed to grow these grapes that puts soul into the wine?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not just the catchword--but the reality of hope

2 sheets of puff pastry
1 red onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
8 oz. goat cheese
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the puff pastry into rounds using a 3-4" cookie cutter or a teacup as a template and a sharp knife to cut the pastry. Put half of the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut a circle out of the second half of the rounds using a smaller cookie cutter or by hand, so there the outer circle of pastry--a ring--is around 1" wide. (bake the inside rounds and use separately in lieu of crackers for soft cheese or spreads) Place the rings on top of the first rounds. The top ring will rise to form the edge of each tart. Beat the egg and brush lightly on the top ring.
Cut the onion in half, then slice the halved into very thin slices. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions and cook over low until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Do not let the onions brown or crisp. Add the sugar and stir until mixed, continue cooking another 10 minutes or so until the onions caramelize (turn brown from the sugar, not from crisping). Place the onion mixture into the middle of the tarts and divide the goat cheese equally between them to place on top. Since goat cheese is soft, the cheese will be in dollops rather than slices. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with your 2008 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay or 2009 Shannon Ridge Chardonnay.

Conveniently, you can find ready-made puff pastry in the freezer section or make your own (expect a mess, but the real butter will make your tarts extra rich). Here's a recipe from Emeril Legasse: Fast French Puff Pastry. The secret to flaky pastry is to keep all the ingredients well chilled. I put my metal mixing bowl in the freezer prior to using and some pastry chefs freeze the butter sticks and grate them. The small grated pieces of butter mix in quickly to the flour without melting. If you try this, let us know about the result in the "Comments" link below the post.

Newly crowned British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen is enjoying his £850,000 ($1.3 million) win by flying via private jet and buying the tractor he dreamed of as a kid raised on a farm in South Africa. He was awed by a phone call from Greg Norman: "He said I am the first person to get him to watch a full round of golf on television. He watched my first shot (on Sunday) to my last and couldn't leave the couch." I had the same experience. I rarely watch even snippets of tournaments, but after seeing a bit of the second day at St. Andrews, I had to tune in for the final round and watch Oosthuizen's smooth swing as he landed one perfect shot after another. I loved Oosthuizen's shy smile and humility as he showed us how the game ought to be played. No swearing or throwing of clubs like the arrogant has-been, Tiger Woods.
I liked that his caddie Zack Rasego is black  (Rasego commented after the game: "When he hugged me, that meant the world to me. It meant he looked at me not just as a worker, but as a partner.").  Then, Oosthuizen acknowledged Nelson Mandela at the beginning of his acceptance speech, and an expansive feeling of hope for the world came over me. Remember South Africa of the 1980s? The situation was dire: atrocities were committed, segregation pushed to the extreme in apartheid, hatred and violence flared on both sides. It seemed impossible that peace and stability would ever return to that country. The South African team of Oosthuizen and Rasego symbolizes hope--because real change is possible! These days, it feels like we have a heavy burden of worry:  terrorists, housing crisis, oil spill, global can be depressing and debilitating to contemplate current affairs because each problem seems unsolvable. But, in looking back through history, there are many examples of miraculous transformations. I remember the civil rights movement here in the US when I was a child, marches with my parents, hearing about riots and killings. At the time, it was impossible to conceive of conservative society changing because racism had roots that reached back centuries, yet I have witnessed an African American President in my lifetime! When I was in first grade, we had "alarm drills" in case of nuclear attack from the USSR, we were instructed to curl up under our desks and cover our heads with our arms (in retrospect, the naiveté is ludicrous--wood desks would protect us from an A-bomb?). The shadow of the Cold War loomed over us. Fear gripped the American population as the only two possible outcomes were all-out nuclear war or endless detente. Then in 1991, the USSR crumbled and the monumental menace disappeared; today many teenagers have even never heard of it.

These matters were on my mind as I shared a bottle of the Brian Carter Solesce from a previous Touring & Tasting sale, and Cowgirl Creamery "St. Pat" cheese with friends. We were mulling over the outsourcing of jobs to developing countries and the possibility China will dominate the world economy in the future. One friend was ready to write the USA off as a lost cause, but I think that's the equivalent of cowering under a desk waiting for the bomb to fall and not believing in the possibility of a positive outcome. In October 2007, it did look like the end of our country. Newspapers ran headlines about the end of our banking system. Now, three years later, problems continue, but the banking system didn't break apart, Wall Street isn't gone, the country is struggling but the world and our country didn't come to an end! Sometimes we need to get our mind out of the fear of the future and keep it in the enjoyment of the day--which brings us back to the Solesce and St. Pat (a delectable wine and cheese pairing). Much has been written about the decline of American production, but we had in our hands two great examples of what America does right--world class wine and world class cheese! Of course we need to be serious and face up to crucial financial and political issues, but we need not live in a state of anxiety over a future that one can never predict. My credo: take a deep breath, connect with the joy of living today, and enjoy the many blessings of life--which includes great wine made right here in this resilient and amazing country of ours.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bringing the Outback In ... and Tasty Wine and Cheese Pairings

An Australian damper loaf is like an Irish soda bread; this bush tucker recipe probably was brought to the "Land of Oz" by Irish immigrants. If you have wattle seed--a native "bush tucker" ingredient--you can add it for an authentic Outback flavor. If not, this is a satisfyingly dense, fine-textured rye that pairs well with cheese and wine. I obtained my wattle seed with the book "Rainforest To Table" -- their online store for ordering bush herbs and spices is Some other bush tucker sources I found online are: which has some tantalizing treats to explore, like Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup and the "locals only" Finger Lime Curd that sounds good enough to endure a 14 hour flight to sample: "Our most Addictive product! Be warned, one jar will not be enough... Finger Lime flesh is in tiny balls like caviar. These balls are suspended through the curd like tiny balls of flavour. When you bite them they pop and you get  a little lime burst! Not for export, short shelf life product." (darn--I didn't get to taste Finger Lime on my trip) -- and for the Andrew Zimmern wannabes, with edible bugs such as Buffalo Dung Beetles, Giant Mole Crickets and the world's hottest pepper--they'll wrap your items up in a Bush Tucker Gift Hamper! A comprehensive site with bushfood links and member forum is:
"Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
A flask of wine, a book of verse - and thou..."

1/2 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup water
3 cups white flour
2 cups rye flour
2 Tbsp. potato flour
1 Tbsp. wattle seed *optional
3 tsp. salt
Allow enough time for the bread to rise twice. If you bake the bread before it has completely risen the second time, it will not be light and airy.
Warm the milk slightly in the microwave or in a pot--do not bring to a boil. In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar and yeast to proof the yeast (make sure it rises). If the yeast begins to grow, then add the oil and 1/2 cup of the water and mix well. Into a large mixing bowl, sift in the white flour, rye flour and potato flour and whisk together until well mixed. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the liquid. Using your hands or wooden spoon, start mixing in the liquid until the dough just comes together, adding the rest of the flour in small amounts only if needed. The dough will be stiff and just barely moistened through. Knead the dough until smooth and shiny for 10-20 minutes. The longer you knead, the better the bread. Clean the large mixing bowl, film it with a light coating of oil and put the dough ball in, covered with a clean, moist cloth towel (the bowl should be big enough that the dough won't touch the towel even after it has risen). Set in a warm place to rise until double in bulk. Knead again for a few seconds to get the air out and divide it into two pieces. Place on a lightly oiled/floured baking sheet or in two separate bread tins. Cover with moist towel and let rise until double in bulk. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-30 minutes, until the bread makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.

Pair your damper loaf with one of the fine red wines in this week's CloseOut Wine Sale. The cheese will depend on the wine selected. There is a lot to consider for great wine and cheese matching, but the guidelines below should give you a good start.
Our cheese and wine pairing suggestions:
2005 Mueller Syrah Block Eleven Syrah -- English cheddar, dry cheddar, creamy washed-rind cheeses
2003 Arroyo Robles Cabernet Sauvignon -- sharp cheddar, pecorino, parmesan reggiano
2007 Viridian Pinot Noir -- Camembert, Colby, Monterey Jack, goat cheese
2007 Russell Creek Sangiovese -- Fontina, Mozzarella, Ricotta
2007 Cru Pinot Noir, Montage Vineyard -- Brie, Camembert, goat cheese
2006 Tamayo Contra Costa Syrah --smoked cheddar, Camembert, creamy washed-rind cheeses

It was a Big Boss Birthday at Touring & Tasting yesterday and I had fun creating my own bush tucker recipe with my bush tucker herbs and spices for the lunch celebration: a couscous dish with grilled vegetables and fig chutney. It pairs well with the 2006 Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, damper loaf, mild cheeses, Nicoise olives and a crudite' plate.
Bush Tucker Couscous Vegetables With Fig Chutney:
Fig Chutney:
2 cans Kadota figs (or use fresh if you're lucky enough to find them!)
1 cup sugar
juice of 1/4 lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
1/2 packet of pectin
Put everything into a saucepan (you'll need to add water if you were fortunate to have fresh figs) and simmer for half an hour, stirring often, or until the jam is thickened.
Couscous With Grilled Vegetables:
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups dry couscous
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Bush Tomato
1/2 Tbsp. Salt Bush
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Tasmanian Mountain pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 zucchini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. Sea Parsley
1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
about 1 tsp. Australian sea salt
Bring the broth, butter, Bush Tomato and Salt Bush to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit covered while you grill the vegetables. Mix the oil, chili, and Tasmanian Mountain pepper in a big mixing bowl. Cut the tops and bottoms off the bell peppers, cut out the pulp and seed, then cut the pepper into 1" strips (save the tops and bottoms for another dish). Slice the zucchini into 1/2" slices. Put the vegetables into the oil mixture and let marinate for 15 minutes. Then grill the vegetables until charred and softened. You can also saute' them in the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (like a cast iron skillet). Sprinkle with the lemon and some salt to taste and stir. Fluff the couscous with a fork and put the couscous, the vegetables the Sea Parsley and the fresh parsley into a serving bowl and mix. Season with a bit more salt to taste. Serve with the fig chutney--the interesting, woody, earthy flavors of the couscous/vegetable dish is complemented with the sweetness of the chutney. This recipe will pair well with a Pinot -- like the smoky, Willamette Valley 2007 Viridian Pinot Noir.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tasmanian Salmon and Australian Bush Foods

This week's recipe is reminiscent of a plate I had in Australia of smoked Tasmanian salmon sitting al fresco near the beach of Cairns.
8 oz. smoked salmon (or lox)
4 slices fresh Mozzarella
2 cups baby greens
2 quarters of a lemon
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 stalk of celery
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. fines herbes
salt to taste

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper and fines herbs together in a small bowl, then add salt to your taste. Cut the salmon into eight pieces. Place two of the slices of mozzarella on each plate, then curl the salmon pieces up and place each on a corner of each plate. Mound half the greens on each plate on top of the mozzarella. Julienne the bell pepper and celery and place on the greens. Garnish each plate with a quarter of lemon and serve with the vinaigrette, some chewy bread like foccaccia, and a nice glass of the 2006 Camellia Cellars First Kiss.

The French word terroir comes from the word terre which means "land" and refers to the specific flavors that derive from a wine's geographic place of origin. In my travels to Australia, I developed a better appreciation for this term, as not only the wine, but many foods, and definitely the herb and spices, have a unique overtone that make them specifically Australian. This overtone drifts in the air and lingers on the palate after foods that are sensitive to the land--like wine and honey. Ok, so this is my opinion, not an established fact or opinion of a sommelier, but I tasted a woody, earthy, slightly bitter flavor in many of the Australian wines and foods that I haven't tasted anywhere else--particularly in the Swan Bay Pinot Noir and Chapel Hill Shiraz. At a farmer's market in Sydney, I bought a rainforest cookbook (Rainforest To Table) with samples of bush tucker herbs and spices--sea parsley, wattleseed,  bush tomato, salt bush, lemon myrtle Tasmanian mountain pepper and native pepperberry. The flavor/smell that I'm talking about is like the wattle (acacia) and their native pepperberry mixed together with red clay.
We had a lovely evening at Ochre in Cairns--a gourmet bush tucker restaurant--which uses these herbs and spices along with local dairy products, fresh local seafood and game such as kangaroo. Sparkling strand lights made the restaurant festive; and they had opened the floor to ceiling windows to let the warm marine air in. We began with a Wattle Damper Loaf with the wattle's overtones of coffee, chocolate and hazelnut, accompanied by peanut oil and local (somewhat bitter) dukka. Tempura-fried Bugs were next, no, not insects, but the Moreton Bay bugs--a crustacean that looks like a lobster without a head. These had an unusual flavor, not sweet like our Maine lobster, but strong and not entirely to my liking. They were accompanied with two dipping sauces--one soy sauce based and the other a lemon myrtle/chili combination , with a crispy piece of wonton and a bitter, earthy salad with green papaya strips. I'm afraid I hid the uneaten portion of my bugs under the wonton. I'll never be a professional food critic even if I had the writing chops, because unlike Anthony Bourdain, I have finicky food preferences and am not likely to enjoy everything new or exotic. Anyway, as a foodie (maybe this is the nice term for someone absolutely food-obsessed) I'm more interested in making each of my three meals a day a wonderful experience for me than in racking up points for the widest range of things I've eaten.
Anyway, the next course was sublime--a grilled barramundi with fig tart.  Barramundi--a tropical freshwater perch--quickly became my favorite fish in Australia. My daughter's crocodile wonton soup was Thai inspired with a tom yung gai style broth--the crocodile was white and flaky, more like fish than red meat. We ended with the quangdong brulee--the quangdong is an endemic fruit high in vitamin C that tastes like a woody, sharp plum but with a tougher texture. I paired the meal with a glass of the 2008 Robert Channon Verdelho, an award-winning Queensland wine.
The Verdelho varietal is used in Portugal to produce Madeira wine, but is also grown in Australia. I found it aromatic with honeysuckle, but different to my palate than our California whites--Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, etc. , with a bit of oiliness that I didn't love. It was definitely one of the most interesting meals I've had, and recommend you try Ochre if you are visiting the Great Barrier Reef and would like to taste authentic bush tucker recipes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rolling out of Tetsuya's after a 3 1/2 hour meal...

 TripAdvisor is a great resource for finding good accommodations and restaurants, particularly overseas where one can't rely on local blogs and restaurant reviews online (or can't read them if they are in a language one doesn't know). The TripAdvisor reviews for Tetsuya's in Sydney range from rapturous to denigrating--but Tetsuya's has been on Restaurant magazine's Top 50 world restaurants for eight years, so it has to be on a foodie's list of must-try eateries. Charlie Trotter eloquently praised Chef Tetsuya: "Tetsuya is part of an elite group of international chefs that has influenced other chefs through their personal styles and unique approaches to food. His culinary philosophy centres on pure, clean flavours that are decisive, yet completely refined. His amazing technique, Asian heritage, sincere humility, worldwide travels and insatiable curiosity combine to create incredible, soulful dishes that exude passion in every bite." The restaurant feels more like a modern art museum than a dining establishment--refined but not warm. The service, however, was impeccable on the day we ate at Tetsuya's: it began with the waiter asking if we had any food allergies or dislikes (I wish every place catered to their clientele to this degree!) and the ten course degustation menu was adapted for my preference for seafood/no meat and no sweet dessert. (My daughter, on the other hand, had the set menu complete with THREE dessert courses). I wanted the chance to sample Aussie wines, so asked for the wine pairings. Here was the menu for our glorious experience:

amuse bouche:  
Warm Chestnut Soup

Served in a tiny teacup, this satisfying soup was a delight, rich with chestnut flavor and with a lovely, creamy mouth-feel. We wanted to retain each spoonful in our mouths as long as possible and scrape up every bit with the tiny teaspoon.

first course:  
Sashimi Of Kingfish with Blackbean and Orange

The Kingfish was marinated in a sesame oil and soy sauce dressing with very finely sliced green onion, the freshness of the fish not masked but enhanced by the sauce.

The two items above served with a chilled glass of light, fragrant Tamanohikari Sake.
second course:
New Zealand Scampi Tails With Goat Curd and Soft Tofu

The scampi was raw, its delicate flavor making interesting combinations with that of the curd and silken tofu.
served with the aromatic 2002 Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillion


third course:
Confit Petuna Ocean Trout With Konbu, Celery and Apple

Chef Tetsuya's signature dish; tender trout crusted with the finest brunoise possible of konbu; the apple was julienned and cooked like a vegetable but with a controlled amount of apple tartness to offset the rich trout.
served with the 2009 Massena 'The Surly Muse' Viognier--the wine I liked the best of the meal; it was not the usual Viognier but lively and minerally acidic with flavors and aromas of peach and lychee.
fourth course:  
Grilled Fillet of Barramundi With Braised Wood Ear and Chestnut Mushrooms

Barramundi became my favorite fish in Australia. It's a saltwater perch (family Latidae) with a texture like mahi-mahi and a skin that crisps nicely on the grill. A self-serve salad of baby greens with balsalmic vinegrette was added to the table at this point.
served with the 2009 Mountadam Pinot Gris

fifth course:  
Potato and Goat Curd Tortellini With Basil Vinagrette (vegetarian)
Braised Oxtail with Sea Cucumber and Porcini (standard menu)

A perfect portion of rich pasta bites with a herbed, slightly tart dressing; my teen actually liked the gelatinous sea cucumber with the beefy oxtail.
served with the 2004 Torbreck Grenache

sixth course:  Yellow Bellied Flounder With Smoked Mustard (vegetarian)
Twice-Cooked De-Boned Spatchcock With Manjimup Truffle and Barley Risotto (standard)

The crunchy mustard seed sauce was a nice contrast with the preceding soft-textured dishes; the fish skin was cracklingly crisp. Manjimup is a town near Perth which has a climate similar to French truffle growing areas. Besides being a truffle producing region, Pink Lady apples were developed here.
served with 2008 Tapanappa 'Foggy Hill Vineyard' Pinot Noir
seventh course: 
Grilled Fillet of Snapper With Wasabi and Sea Urchin Butter (vegetarian)
Grass Fed Tasmanian Angus Beef With Swiss Browns and Porcini (standard)

The sea urchin butter was out of this world! The report on the beef and mushrooms were that they were outstanding as well.

eighth course: 
Cheese Plate with Comte, Livarot, Valdeon and Edith Ash Cheeses (me)
Pear Sorbet With Bread and Butter Pudding (standard)

The Edith Ash is a local goat's milk cheese with surface white mold and an inner runny layer--fabulous! The Livarot is such a pungent cheese with a "barnyard" odor--maybe not such a good choice with a subtly flavored meal.
ninth course:
Cannelini Beans With Marscapone and Soy Caramel

Sounds like an unlikely combination, but it worked well--who knew beans could be so good in a dessert?

tenth course: Macaron With Creme Anglaise
Light and citrusy, perfect finish.

The only detraction for me in this amazing meal at Tetsuya's, was that I was not bowled over by the Aussie wine. But, I am spoiled by living in Santa Barbara with terrific local wines, plus I work for a wine company where I can buy wine at a discount from the finest wineries, including Paso Robles, Sonoma and Napa. I think our US wines, in the same price category as the ones served with this meal, are clearly superior--sorry Australia! Well, except for the Massena Viognier, I think our wines are better--but the availability of quality seafood across the spectrum of restaurants is better in Australia, so we have something to learn from them (see post on Aussie seafood).
We were replete by the time the last course arrived; I asked for a doggie bag to take home the delectable cheese. The waiter was astonished--during the course of our time in Australia we discovered that diners do not take home food--but found a container for us. At the coat check, we were met with more astonishment at the sight of the container. I felt like we'd been caught lifting their silverware! We were educated later in our journey that Australian laws forbid taking home food served and not consumed, for food safety reasons. If you want "take away" of freshly prepared, never served food, you usually have to pay extra for the convenience.