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cinaesthesia | Feb 20, 200409:07 PM     3

And grub and gobble I did indeed. Ok so I stopped by Mortons for a glass of the old red, red, groovy. They had Beringer Private Reserve cabernet for $14.95 a glass and I'm thinking this is a bargain considering they are getting $9 for Columbia Crest. So I ordered it, and its fabulous and comes in a Riedel Bordeaux glass. What do they get 3-4 pours per bottle? I went to look it up on the net but couldn't but couldn't find the '98. All of the other vintages were at least $100 retail. Very elegant, the nose is spectacular and the fruit soooo ripe! Cassis and cedar with velvety tannin. Vou-lump-chewoous! I can't imagine cellaring this. On to Le Pichet. Passtise for openers then on to the Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris, corked, new bottle, Ok nothing grand, but the #*%+&! salad of frisee, panchetta, vinaigrette with a poached egg on top was out of this world. Pears and candied walnuts also grand with the gris. 3rd course, three Moonlight Bay oysters, three Goose Point oysters, and a pan fried sausage of their own creation...get this RARE! This lil' devil was so juicy and tender, when you cut into it, it was like little pieces of filet mignon inside. I washed that all down with an inocuous muscadet, crisp and fruity and perfect with the darling bi-valves and the succulent sausage. Bread, unsalted butter. 4rth course: Cassulet of Burgundian snails swimming in the most magnificent garlic, cream broth, mushrooms, and haricot blanc that I swear were the size of brazil nuts, tender but never mushy, all topped off with a big stinky slab of aged goat cheese that couldn't resist oozing and festering itself all throughout this culinary tour de force. Wine for this was a bit tricky but before the dish arrived I had discussed this problem with Patrick, the four star barkeep. I was thinking Sancerre, but really wanted something red, and he recommended an earthy little Minervois, which I opted for. When the dish arrived I could tell instantly that they were far from compatable and ordered a glass of something as rich as the presentation in front of me....Romieu-Lacoste. This was daring, but just too overblown and shall I say.... decadent? No, No this would not do. What this needed was a dry Oloroso or at least the olive tinged finesse and structure of La Gitana. Finally Patrick produced some plonkish white Rhone Marsanne/Roussanish concoction with absolutely no nose, but austere, and iron back-boned enough to stand firmly on both legs allowing the buttery slugs no quarter. Truely one of those unique pairings I will not soon regret. Pondering the Minervois, I wrapped my tastebuds around a single chocolate madeline and pleaded with Patrick for another portion of pears and candied walnuts to sop up the Sauternes. The woman seated next to me was smacking on about her walnut mustard encrusted filet of calves liver and I enquired to her liking. "You don't see liver on the menu very often, so if they are willing to take the chance, they must believe it to be outstanding." she replied, offering me a generous mouthful. And it was divine. Crispy-crunchy on the outside and tender as a baby's bottom inward. The tart and pungent beige butter acting as the profound foil to the gamey and rustic flavors of that favored organ. With that I savored another bolt of the bold brother of Barsac. Offering her carnivorous majesty a glass of the same, she declined, preferring to polish the climactic moment with a saintly snifter of Calvados. I exhaled a blue plume of Gitane from my sated gullet and felt like weeping.

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