Jake and I, my sister and sisters-in-law, Sharon, Kathi and Teresa, indulged ourselves by attending the Adobe Road Winery Dinner at Rocks on the River. I have long believed a delicious dinner in the company of fellow wine lovers makes for a fun and interesting evening and Tuesday night was no exception.
We walked the seven blocks to the restaurant arriving just in time for the serving of the first course which was deftly set in front of us by a rather handsome young man in untraditional waiter garb – jeans and collared shirt – while a traditionally garbed waiter (black pants white shirt) poured our first glass of the evening. Seared sea scallops over spring vegetable dumplings in a shellfish broth and topped with crispy prosciutto was balanced brilliantly with Adobe Road’s 2009 Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc. This is nothing like an Australian or New Zealand Sauv Blanc with its bright citrus and grass hints, but was smoother, more velvety -attributed perhaps to the 6-month aging in old chardonnay oak barrels – whatever the reason – you will find it on the Azalea Inn and Gardens in-room wine list for your delight and enjoyment.
It tuned out that the young unconventionally dressed waiter was actually the 33-year-old winemaker for Adobe Road Winery, Michael Scorsone who also happens to be a graduate of one of American’s top culinary schools, The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York! Michael shared the story of Adobe Road Winery – owned by renowned sportscar racer and entrepreneur Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra – and the passion each member of the team brings to the wine.
Michael chose the 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir as the partner for the second course of peppercorn crusted Atlantic Tuna with caramelized fennel stromboli and a baby Forelle pear.
Seated to my left I was delighted to find two wine greats of Savannah, Diane Rousakis of Ultimate Wine Distributors (who hold the key to Adobe Road) and Tim Rutherford, reknowned foodie and wine aficionado while across the table was Claude Auerbach of FORM. The right end of the table was held down by Paul Ganem of Johnnie Ganem fame and his gal pal Judy. Our chatter was briefly interrupted by the arrival of the third course of crispy house cured pork over a bed of Anson Mills grits with spring mushrooms. Michael offered the characteristics of the Knights Valley “Bavarian Lion Vineyard” Cabernet Franc 2006 earth tones and cranberry on the nose while the palate is teased with a sort of cigar box base with nutmeg tendencies. I for one cannot discern fully these subtle nuances of noses and palate overtures but my sides note reads “Wow!”
Now with two courses remaining, I wondered if Michael would continue to tantalize my tastebuds and keep his scorecard at a perfect 10! The pairing of Adobe Road Winery’s Knights Valley “Bavarian Lion Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 with Chef Jonathan Massey’s peppercorn roasted filet with creamy local ramps and crispy potatoes delivered the ultimate compliment of the evening and earned a “Double WOW!” of excitement from my family of dinner companions. There is no wonder that this wine earned a well-deserved 91 from Wine Spectator. I believe I heard Paul Ganem sharing with those seated closest to him that this wine could be found on the shelves of his store – or there will be until I get to the store!
Finally, as with all good things, the evening was coming to an end, and there was but one final wine and one more course. Chef Massey assembled a Black Mission Fig bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and a sticky pecan sauce to accompany the Russian River “Bacigalupi Vineyard” Petite Syrah, served up in a mini-cast iron skillet.
Where would you go for the Best Pizza in Savannah? You know, I’ve never been a huge fan of pizza. As a kid, when everyone else claimed their favorite food to be pizza, I talked of my love for…broccoli. I know. I’m a weirdo.
But Vinnie Van Go Go’s has made me a believer. Located conveniently in the heart of City Market, Vinnie’s is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Savannah. Whenever Kolin and I have visitors, we make it a point to let them experience the best pizza in town. If you couple this with some great beers on tap and the best people watching vantage points from the sidewalk tables… well you have a Saturday night made for socializing.
I always order the white pizza with pepperoni and banana peppers. Kol prefers the pesto pizza. Teresa (the “boss”) prefers lots of fresh veggies (spinach, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes) and can do without the meat, while Jake (Mr. Boss) likes his loaded with spicy Italian sausage garlic and extra cheese. But you honestly can’t go wrong, whatever you decide. Oh, before I forget, they also make delish Calzone stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, garlic, and herbs, served with a side of marinara sauce.
While the food is great, one of my favorite things about Vinnie’s is getting to see them prepare the pies. I sit in awe as they spin the dough; I could watch it for hours! Of course, there is a small side of me that wants to see the pie fall, flat, on the spinner’s upturn face.
Whether you order a whole pie or snag a single slice (which is so big you can share it with a friend), head to City Market, or have it delivered; just make sure to add Vinnie Van Go Go’s to your itinerary!
This week in Savannah is known as Oglethorpe’s Feast, more commonly called Restaurant Week.
From January 28th through February 6th (I know, that’s 10 days, but we’re not known for our math skills), 11 upscale restaurants are offering a 3-course meal for only $30!
While we try to stay away from chain restaurants, Kolin and I decided to try the Chart House during this Feast. This place was so fancy, they even put our name on the menu (I apologize for the quality of the pictures; I only had my cell phone)!
We started with bread and butter along with some tasty appetizers:
I am a HUGE fan of fried green tomatoes and hadn’t had a bad one in Savannah…but these fried green tomatoes had way too much going on to be enjoyable; the taste of cilantro overpowered the tomato.
The ceasar salad was smothered in homemade dressing and tasted delicious.
The clam chowder went down smooth with its creamy texture and light flavors.
Then it was time for the entrees:
Kolin ordered the spare ribs with mashed potatoes. The ribs were cooked perfectly with a tasty Cabernet demi. The potatoes, however, were dry and lacked flavor.
I chose the parmesan-crusted Hemingway snapper, topped with jumbo lump crab meat and drizzled in lemon shallot butter. Seem like a mouthful? It was. The flavors were to rich to enjoy, but the rice that came on the side was fantastic.
Dessert finished off the meal:
Kol enjoyed the Southern classic pecan pie while I chose the rich mud pie:
The meal had its ups-and-downs and taught us to stick to our guns when it came to only eating at local restaurants.
Frontier Ruckus is an indy-folk-rock band that sounds like The Avett Brothers meet Neil Young with a female background vocalist.
www.wagatailpresents.com for more information and to secure tickets.