Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ad Hoc's Pork and Peay

After walking a moderately strenuous 3.5 miles in dry, hot heat without drinking enough water, and in a warm outfit; I was in no condition to enjoy Pork and Peay wines at Ad Hoc.  I'd looked forward to it, and was sad that I missed the special treat.  My husband however, stayed alone and thoroughly enjoyed the evening (especially after hearing the Lakers won the NBA Championship!)

Appetizers started from the head and jowls of the pig.  Ad Hoc created assorted salami (charcuterie), pickled vegetables and stuffed chicken legs.  This was served with a 2009 Rose wine (grapes bought from Cep Vineyards and made by Peay Vineyards).
Salad of endive and watercress came with crisp pig ear lardons and a sea urchin crostini with pork back fat.  Peay Roussane/Marsanne 2007.  Hubby loved the pig ear and the urchin.
"Heart and Soul" was pig heart pastrami and petrale sole.  Two chardonnays were served:  Peay Vineyards Estate 2007 and Peay Hirsch Vineyard 2006.  The heart was marinated in brine for 2 days, and then cooked sous vide (vacuum sealed in plastic and gently cooked in a water bath) for 24 hours.  Part of this dish was brought back for me to try the next day.  The heart tasted like good pastrami.  Hubby thought this was the best fish he's ever had, and really enjoyed the pig heart.
Pork feet (removed from the hoof) came out with smoked wild mushrooms, green and yellow beans, Ranch Gordo yellow eye beans.  Two pinot noirs:  Peay Vineyards Estate 2004 and Peay Scallop Shelf Estate 2006.
For the main course a stuffed pork chop with yellow corn, black rice and crisp belly.  Peay Vineyards La Bruma Estate syrah 2007 and PV Les Titans Estate syrah 2007 accompanied the main.  When I tasted this the next day, it tasted like it was stuffed with liver--the pork chop meat was divine.
Dessert of waffles with crisp candied bacon and buttermilk sorbet ended the meal sweetly.  (Photo is greatly cropped because it would not upload otherwise.)

My husband loved the meal and felt the wines a treat.  Peay Vineyards is at Sea Ranch on the Mendocino Coast. 

Animal innards (offal) are not really my thing, so I would have loved half the meal.  I at least taste the offal and give it a chance; after all it's better for the planet not to waste.  Hear it's the mark of a great chef:  turning offal into something delicious.  Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel would commentate well on the meal.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Restaurant Alex @ the Wynn

Our second day of relaxing was much like the first, though we both went to the pool and we both gambled together.  I met the couples he met the day before at the pool.  Two male cousins from Venezuela had their outrageously beautiful girlfriends with them.  All the guys at the pool stared at the girlfriends.  The two males dealt in diamonds and were in town for a gem convention.

We ordered the 1.5 pound pastrami sandwich from Zoozacrackers deli at 3 pm, which made our 6 pm Alex reservations impossible.  The dinner reservations were moved back to 8:30 pm.  It was the perfect time for us to go.
The long meal began with an amuse bouche assortment from the chef:  pork with corn, risotto ball, cauliflower soup, prawn and "cheese and cracker."
A stuffed tomato appeared to whet my appetite.
A prawn appetizer was ordered, which featured a perfectly cooked prawn.
My main course was lamb with peas, lettuce and pasta balls.  I put the darker triangle on my fork, thinking it was a vegetable, and ate it.  Immediately I thought, this is not a vegetable, it's lamb offal.  When questioned further, the chef told the server the triangle was in fact lamb tongue.  I knew what the second item was:  sweetbread--i.e. thymus glands (which immediately went to my husband, who's not nearly as squeamish as I am about offal).  The lamb dish was delicious (though I enjoy vegetables much more than animal innards).  Ecologically it's better to consume, and not waste, the whole animal.
I loved the way the palate cleanser came in Bodum cups that made the custards look like they were floating.  My husband's was tropical tapioca and coconut, while mine was berry-based.
The cherries have been so nice in Northern California, that this dessert on the menu appealed to me.  I let the chocolate melt on my tongue, then tried the crisp pistachio on sugar with the pistachio ice cream.  The quartered cherries went in my mouth piece-by-piece.  Finally a layer of pistachio cake, layered with tempered chocolate and pistachio cream went down bite-by-bite.
Petit fours and freshly baked brown-butter Madelines were to be enjoyed as long as we wished.  We were sent home with a peach "Alex" box of macaroons.

Hearing Alex was the best restaurant at the Wynn, we wished to try it while we were there.  Restaurant Alex delighted our senses and added to our very pleasant time in Las Vegas.