As soon as we walked into the main room for the Culinary Extravaganza we encountered a table with a restaurant that I had not heard of. The restaurant was The Stand in Birmingham, Michigan and try as I could; I could not picture or recall anything about it. It turns out that the restaurant had not opened yet, but the owner/chef has another restaurant that I have not discussed yet, as he owns Cuisine, which is across the back entrance to the Fisher Theater where my Bride and I have seen many theatrical productions over the years. Not only was I excited about a new restaurant with a great heritage, they were serving a duck dish, and that is a great way for my taste buds to get started. They were offering Smoked Duck Ham in a Chicken Veloute with Veal Sweetbreads in a Black Truffle Crème. This was a sure fire hit for me, and a great reason to check out the restaurant once it opens.
The very next table to The Stand was Coach Insignia, restaurant that is in downtown Detroit, and another restaurant that I have not written about as of yet. Alas Coach Insignia did not offer any business cards or as I used to like to collect in the old days matchbooks (which is perhaps a reason that I have not written about these restaurants as of yet, because I lacked seeing a visual token of the evening). What are the odds, that the very next table was offering a duck dish also, well they were. They were serving Duck Confit with pickled cherries and candied rhubarb with a micro cress salad and a rosemary cracker.
After two dishes like that in a row, I had to proceed to a wine table in search of a glass of Pinot Noir, after all I am a creature of habit. The first table that I went to was serving a Rondineto Pinot Nero (Noir) 2009 from Abruzzo, Italy and it offered a fresh young Pinot Noir that was made to be consumed young, at least that is the thought I had when tasting it. My Bride tried a Monte Antico Toscana 2009 which was a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I tried some of hers, and I also thought that this was a wine to be consumed young, as it did not have that bold lusty taste of some of the “Super Tuscany” wines that I have enjoyed.
As we went back to another table with an offering of food, it was the Forest Grill. This is a restaurant that my Bride has gone to with her girlfriends, but I have not yet ventured there. I lament that the owner/chef had closed one of my favorite restaurants Five Lake Grills, which I have written about and a special Morel mushroom dinner that I had one night. The owner/chef is a consultant and I would presume an instructor at the Culinary School and one of his specialties (he has even wrote a book about it) is Charcuterie, a method of curing meats, sausages, pates and other types of smoked or dried cuts. They were serving a plate of Spalla, cured pork with a fennel and onion salad. I enjoyed the dish, but my Bride who eschews salt was not fond of the dish.
We then walked over to another table to enjoy some more wine. I had a glass of Domaine Roux Bourgogne 2010 another Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region done by a blender. It was a good Pinot Noir without the nuances that one expects from a Burgundy red wine, but I presume that it is an opening price wine and hence it was fine. While my Bride had a glass of Chateau Sainte Barbe 2010, which was a Bordeaux Superior wine this is a blend of the same varietals that one encounters in a California Meritage wine.
As you can see, I have only mentioned five tables from the session and there were still many more to encounter. The one curious factor that I found was that at the majority of the wine tables, the pouring was done by a volunteer and not by a member of the distributor. I was told that most of the distributors volunteered the wines, but not a spokesperson. Most of the volunteers though had a working knowledge of wines and could offer some insights into the wines on their respective tables. By the time I had left the event, I had pockets filled with menus, business cards and napkins with copious notes that I had taken at most of the tables.