I guess I have stretched my Birthday celebration as long as possible, because we went out to formally make a date-night of it. I think that I am worse than a little kid at times, but actually, it is my Bride that has been spoiling me all of this time. It started with the September Birthday party and then went on for several days at my birthday. Life is good. She made reservations at The Earle in Ann Arbor, which is definitely one of the Old-Guard restaurants in the city and they haven’t tried to become trendy or frou-frou and depending on the students of the university and their parent’s wallets. The Earle favors classic French and Italian dishes and is still located in the basement of the building, and yes, we still had our table in the French Room and I really think that we are the only people left in the world that like that room, but it is OK with us. Though they now have some tables street side, but call me old-fashioned, but having hordes of students and the occasional pan-handler walking past the tables is not my idea of a romantic evening, but all the tables were occupied on the street, when we left after dinner. Also, in the basement we also got a chance to listen to the music of another era, when people wined and dined and listened to Sinatra, Martin, Cole and others that could actually carry a tune and enunciate the words to the lyrics. In fact, since we were the only diners in the French Room, we even danced a bit.
It was kind of fun watching my Bride go up and she was taking photos and studying the old wine maps that were on the walls, as for me, I just like looking at all of the dead soldiers or great bottles of wine that were now empty and just adding to the décor of the room; of course I enjoy looking at wine labels. The wine list and the menu were still being read off our phones, and I guess that is why they are called smart phones, because I would never figure out how that works. We started off with an order of Roasted Garlic, crostini and with assorted sides. Then my Bride ordered her now favorite dish, that I first had there, but somehow, I knew she was going to get it again. She had Coquilles St. Jacques al crème de Xeres, or Sea Scallops sauteed with mushrooms and garlic, pan-sauced with Sherry and cream and sauteed Brussels Sprouts. I had their Steak au Poivre or Beef Tenderloin rolled in coarsely ground black pepper sauteed in a Brandy sauce with wild mushrooms, redskin potatoes and sauteed Brussels Sprouts. We finished the meal by sharing a bowl of House-made Vanilla Ice Cream with White Chocolate shavings and Grand Marnier.
Don’t ask me how it happened, but I forgot to photograph the wine, but I did have the bottle that I took home with us, as the bottle becomes a Muse to me, as I write these articles. One of the most basic tricks I try to tell people about wines, is to just remember areas and not to try to remember actual labels. Some labels and names become almost second nature, but I am sorry that I have to admit that I can not recite all the listed growths of the Medoc, though when I see the name, it usually will register with me. We are hardly wealthy, so one of the tricks I use, is to look for the Commune in the Medoc that is listed with the wine. If you can afford Chateau Latour, then you don’t have to remember Pauillac, but I am realistic. Since we were going to share our two entrée orders and have our own version of Surf & Turf, I was looking at the wines of the Bordeaux region and there was a listed from Saint-Julien, probably one of the least seen of the Communes, and there is no First Growths from there. Saint-Julien is located between Pauillac and Margaux, both Communes that have Growths, but Saint-Julien has eleven ranked chateaus, which account for seventy-five percent of the wine output from the there. I ordered a bottle of Chateau du Glana Saint-Julien Cru Bourgeois 2008. The estate was built in 1870 and was built across the road from Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou and originally had twelve acres. Over the years it has changed hands and increased its acreage. In 1961 it was purchased by Gabriel Meffre and now his family is running the estate and they now manage one-hundred-six acres. The wine is sixty-seven percent Cabernet Sauvignon, twenty-seven percent Merlot and six percent Cabernet Franc. Each plot is managed as a unit, with cold maceration in concrete first and then French Oak, of which forty percent is new for twelve months. The wine kept opening up at the table, and the next day, we had it as leftovers and it was still excellent. I guess my celebrating is done for the year, until we find other things to celebrate.
John, sounds like another wonderful Birthday! I love your writings. I hope to one day, when in Mi, visit this restaurant.
Pamela, thank you for your thoughtful words and kind sentiment – John