Friday, December 20th, 2013
Many thanks go out to Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell of Bedrock Wine Co. for bringing some killer wines to our producer dinners that we held last week in Abajo, our cellar dining room. For me, the highlight was the pairing of Bedrock’s Evangelho Heritage Red (composed of roughly 40% Carignane, 38% Mourvedre, with the remainder Zinfandel, Palomino, Alicante, and Mission), with a version of Chiles en Nogada, a classic fall dish. It is traditionally eaten on September 16, Mexican Independence Day (Grito de Dolores), because the dish contains the three colors of the Mexican flag: red, white and green.
This is a complex dish, featuring batter-fried chiles stuffed with a sweet and savory mixture of ground pork and beef stewed with tomato, dried fruit and baking spices. To add to the “baroque” nature of this dish, it is topped with a creamy nut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and parsley. The dish itself is a study in contrasts, savory and sweet, hot and cool, creamy and piquant. The Evangelho brings similar complexity to the table, with pomegranate and spice notes to complement, and great acidity to cut through the richness of the picadillo and creamy sauce. More evidence that Mexican food and great wines can make wonderful partners!
Chiles en Nogada
Bedrock’s Morgan Twain-Peterson holds court
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
This New Year’s Eve, Comal will once again clear out the tables, turn up the volume on our Meyer sound system and transform into a swingin’ dancehall. Doors will open at 9pm and longtime Bay Area DJ Jose Ruiz (KPFA, KPOO), who has an ongoing residency at Comal on Thursday nights, will spin his infectious mix of Latin and funk into the wee hours. Last year’s event sold out and was a spirited affair to say the least!
Chef Matt Gandin and his team will keep a steady stream of antojitos (little snacks) flowing throughout the night – expect some familiar items from Comal’s menu along with a few wild cards, with an emphasis on Oaxacan-style street snacks like quesadillas, de eses and flautas.
Matt Campbell, Comal’s lead bartender and one of the SF Chronicle’s 2013 Bar Stars, will be twisting up an original NYE cocktail for the occasion. This, along with Comal’s current list of craft cocktails, draft beer, wine and extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, will be on offer.
Tickets are $40 and are on sale at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/421561. All food offerings are included in ticket purchase.
Please make special note: BART is open until 3am on NYE and Comal is less than a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Also, Comal’s large beer garden is uncovered, so use of this space is weather dependent. Additional tickets may be released December 30th if weather permits the use of the beer garden for the occasion.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Morgan Twain-Peterson founded Sonoma’s Bedrock Wine Co. in 2007 in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. Since then, they have moved to more spacious digs, but their ethos remains the same: “To dream big but keep production low.” The son of Ravenswood Winery founder Joel Peterson, Morgan made his first batch of wine at the age of five and has never looked back.
Bedrock makes over twenty different wines, ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay to Rosé, Zinfandel and a number of blends featuring a dizzying array of little-known heirloom varietals. As Peterson said in a recent interview with Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat, “My goal with Bedrock has always been to make delicious wines of place, usually sourced from very unique vineyards.”
On Tuesday, December 10th, Comal will welcome Twain-Peterson for a special dinner showcasing a broad selection of Bedrock wines paired with dishes by Comal’s executive chef Matt Gandin. Dinner guests will have the opportunity to engage in lively conversation with Peterson and learn firsthand about his winemaking approach.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series of wine producer dinners (previous dinners include Wind Gap Wines, Arnot-Roberts Wines and Donkey & Goat Wines) held in Comal’s private dining room, Abajo. All previous events have sold out in advance.
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, December 10th at 6:30 PM
PRICE: Tickets are $100 inclusive of food, wine and gratuity
RESERVATIONS: Space is limited – to purchase tickets, click here
ADDRESS: Comal is located at 2020 Shattuck Avenue (at University Avenue) in Berkeley
Chilled Dungeness crab cocktel avocado, ruby grapefruit
2012 Ode to Lulu Rosé, California
Sunchoke soup hoja santa, green apple salsa
2012 Campagni Portis Heritage White, Sonoma Valley
Chile relleno en nogada walnut sauce, pomegranates
2012 Evangelho Heritage Red, Contra Costa County
Beef brisket tamale mole coloradito
2012 The Bedrock Heritage Wine, Sonoma Valley
Flan traditional candied kumquats
2011 Monte Rosso Botrytized Semillon, Sonoma Valley
Bedrock Wine Co. Objectives:
- To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
- To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
- To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
- To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
- To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
- To dream big but keep production low!
Monday, November 11th, 2013
With strawberry season on the wane, the beloved SPF 2020 cocktail has been retired (at least for now) – in its place comes a cocktail that is very much of this autumn season, La Catrina. Named after Mexico’s iconic grand dame of death (see this recent blog entry for more info), La Catrina features peak of season pomegranates and “botanical rum” crafted in our kitchen by Matthew Campbell.
The pomegranates are juiced, then cut with amaranth syrup (earthy micro amaranth greens steeped in hot water, then cold emulsified 1:1 with sugar) and crème de violette. The result is a fruit component that is equal parts bright (tart), earthy and floral.
The “botanical rum” is Matusalem rum infused with local redwood branches (yes, local redwood branches), coriander, bay leaf, black pepper, cumin, ancho chile & prunes to create a gin of sorts. Matthew sheds some light on the inspiration behind this unusual brew:
Walking to work these past weeks, watching the shadows get longer and feeling the first chill, I was reminded of fall childhood walks to school through Piedmont Park, smelling the damp forest floor. Foraging in Wildcat Canyon last week, the scent of young redwood branches finally locked with the morning walks I was remembering. Amaranth provides the earthy-grassy counterpoint to the redwood’s more pronounced piney-ness. With the tart finish from the pomegranate juice it’s my closest approximation to tromping around the East Bay hills in autumn, eating miner’s lettuce and building forts – activities that occupied most of my afternoons as a boy.
The botanical rum and the pomegranate juice blend are mixed, shaken hard on pellet ice, then double-strained into a chilled rocks glass primed with one finger of soda and Kold Draft cubes – topped with a dash of orange bitters.
As John Steinbeck said, “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
JP (with input from MC)
Saturday, November 9th, 2013
Click here to read the full article in Serious Eats.