I've been thinking a lot about my grandmother lately. She passed away near my birthday 12 years ago. A lot of times when I'm cooking a really great dish, tasting a wonderful wine or sampling some outstanding food I'll think about her. I'll think "what would she think of this dish I just cooked? Will she like it? Will she want to add something to tweak it in some way? Will she be proud of what I just made?" I'll wonder if she'll think I made the right choice with the food/wine pairing. I wonder if she would be proud of me & what I've done with my life. Sometimes I'll just wish that she could be there to enjoy it with me. Whatever it may be. I wish that I could go back to Spain, Bolivia & Peru with her to have her show me through her neighborhoods & show me her favorite restaurants. Then I would reciprocate by taking her around Memphis, San Francisco, New York & all my favorite places in various wine countries. But I would settle for just one thing. I wish I could cook just one last meal for her. We would start with a vintage grower Champagne like Benoit Lahaye or Chartogne Taillet. First course would be a simple platter of aged Manchego, Jamon Serrano, Marcona Almonds & manzanilla olives. Next I would prepare her a grapefruit & avocado salad & I'd pair that with Cantina del Taburno Falanghina 2007. Then we would have my seafood stew with fennel, pernod, grouper, cod, scallops & shrimp & crispy garlic croutons. We would drink Domaine des Baumard Savennieres with this course. Then I would serve her lamb shanks braised in red wine, garlic, onions & oregano over truffled parmiggiano mashed potatoes...or maybe risotto. I would pour a 1997 Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino & a 1998 Torre Muga with this dish so I could give her a little bit of Italy & a little bit of Spain. For dessert we would have some of my homemade bacon chocolate truffles with a McCrea Ciel du Cheval Syrah 2002. And then we would have cheese, glorious glorious cheese. Sottobosco al Tartufo, Humboldt Fog, Point Reyes Blue, Fromager d'Affinois, Cabrales, with quince paste & fig bread. With the cheese we would drink Cabernet Franc Icewine from Magnotta & a #10 TBA from Alois Kracher. After all that deliciousness we would polish off the leftover wine & talk until the sun came up. I miss you Ta!