Simplicity, creativity, modernity & tradition are how I would describe Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. While modernity & tradition may not seem to easily live side by side these chefs make it seem effortless. However, thats not to say that a lot of work goes into that beautiful plate set in front of me.
We started this most recent meal off with a glass of Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris 2008 Reserve Willamette Valley $16.99. This is a perfect example of what pinot gris can achieve in Oregon. Aromas of almond, pear, fruit blossom & minerals lead to medium bodied yet crisp refreshing palate.
Our first course was a bowl of spaghetti carbonara with fried sweetbreads. This warm hug of a dish was elevated with unctuous sweetbreads. The round texture yet bright nature of the Cooper Mountain Chardonnay 2009 Reserve Willamette Valley $18.99 matched up so delicously. This style of chardonnay is very old world with an emphasis on expressing location rather than oak or malo.
Second course was seared halibut with roasted pistachio puree & spring vegetables paired with Cooper Hill Pinot Noir 2009 Willamette Valley $18.99. The halibut was seared crisp but super tender & moist in the center. The pistachio puree brought out an earthiness in the pinot & they both just sang together in a delightfully savory way. The wines acidity cut through the richness of the puree & a supple fish.
Course three was Donnell Farms Hangar Steak over mustard green shoots paired with Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir Mountain Terroir 2008 Willamette Valley $35.99. I love love love hangar steak because of it's toothsomeness. It takes talent to coax this cut of meat into a tender beauty & A&M know how to do it. Pairing it with a spicy/bitter green shoot was a stroke of genius. The supple, luscious, earthy, elegant & sensual pinot noir was absolutely delightful. What Cooper Mountain is able to do with pinot noir is nothing short of beauty. When you match hauntingly sensual wine with exquisitely prepared food it's easy to have a lovely evening.
James Beard Foundation President Will Step Down - Susan Ungaro, who helped lead the culinary organization back from a financial scandal, plans to retire at the end of the year.
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