Wines that you would like to read more about

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Village Tavern, near the Mall at Millenia

The Village Tavern, new to the Orlando area received it's first location near the Mall at Millenia off of Conroy Rd. Future Orlando locations in 2009 include Maitland and Oviedo.

Hubby and I enjoyed an early dinner this past Saturday after catching a matinee of Spamalot at the Bob Carr. (Side note, the musical was great and had a lot for Monty Python fans!) We booked our reservation online through, when we arrived the restaurant had plenty of seating but it was 5:15PM. The closer it got to the dinner hour, the more crowded it got. If you want a specific time, I'd shoot for the open table reservation just to cover your bases.

We started with the Steamed Mussel appetizer, which was recom- mended by our server as "the best seafood appetizer on the menu." She made a great recommendation and described the dish well. The broth was flavored with wine, garlic, shallot, herbs, tomatoes and green peppers. The mussels were nice sized, very tender and flavored nicely with the broth. The mussels are served with 4 pieces of toasted garlic/cheese bread. Hubby snagged one before I could get the 1st picture, I couldn't blame him the aroma of the bread and the mussels was very appetizing. The generous 1 LB portion was only $9.95. We were heathens and sopped up the wonderful broth with the bread; we'll be back for these wonderful mussels!

We hadn't eaten lunch so we each ordered the village tavern salad ($4.75 with entrees), mine without bacon. The salad was delivered while we were eating our mussels, next time I'd ask for the salads to be delivered after the apps. The spinach salad was slightly sweet with a poppy seed dressing, craisins, sugared walnuts and blue cheese. I made the mistake of not ordering the dressing on the side, the salad was drenched and really needed the salty of the bacon to cut through the sweet of the dressing and the craisins. It was a salad that my Hubby and I easily could have split, very nice sized but a lot to get through if you ordered a hearty appetizer...which we did. Live and learn! The salad comes with a nice apple spice muffin, which was too much sweet with our mussels and wine, but was very nicely flavored and moist. Try ordering the dressing on the side if you opt for the Tavern Salad.

Hubby ordered the Onion- Mushroom Burger with fries. ($8.95) Burger was served cooked to order with a very nice portion of grilled onions and mushrooms, which is hiding under the Cheddar cheese. Hubby said it was an outstanding burger, very flavorful and not dry. Fries were great, fresh with good flavor, crunch and served nice and warm.

I opted for the Grouper Hemming- way ($21.95)
which is a broiled piece of grouper served with a White wine sauce with lemon, tomatoes and capers over Angel Hair Pasta. The large piece of fresh tasting Grouper was tender and flaky, the light sauce was appropriately lemony but not overdone. I would go about 1/2 on the capers the next go around as they overpowered the delicate fish and sauce a bit.

Hubby and I ordered with our eyes and couldn't finish our entrees. We boxed up 1/2 of the burger and the Grouper with pasta. Everything reheated wonderfully for lunch on Sunday.

We ordered the King Estate Pinot Grigio from Oregon, $18 for the 1/2 bottle carafe. The wine was very fresh and acidic, not too fruity and little oak. It paired very nicely with everything we ordered, even Hubbies burger. I think I would go with the Pine Ridge Chenin/Viogner the next go around. The Pine Ridge offers a bit more finesse and is not as sharp, would be a nicer pairing with the Steamed Mussels.

There is 1/2 off wines by the glass on the bar and patio on Wednesday night. We might have to enjoy some mussels and wine very soon!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Paris Bistro Wine Dinner 3/25/2008

This was my first visit to Paris Bistro for one of their wine dinners. The wine dinners are held 1-2 times per month in the cooler months and 1 time per month during the summer months. Dinners start promptly at 7:00 PM, we left about 9:30PM.

Paris Bistro is located in Winter Park on Aloma Ave near the intersection of Semoran Blvd/SR436. (Full address and website are listed at the bottom)

We were greeted with a refreshing glass of Rose, on the fruity and sweeter side, the Kir de Bienevenue.

The restaurant was filled to capacity, the bulk of the attendees had attended a wine dinners at Paris Bistro. The price of the dinner was $45.oo per person for 4 courses and wine; a very nice evening.

The first course was an appetizer course that offered a crepe filled with a bechamel sauce with cheese, leek and ham. I forgot to snap a picture, but everyone was raving about how wonderful it was.

The wine served with the appetizer course was 2006 Viognier Domaine Luc (France), which paired very nicely with the crepes.

The wine had a nose of apricots with a slight minerality. It was a big, full bodied Viognier, showing good acid and a nice finish. Would be excellent paired with Salmon, Crab and grilled fish. Serve at 54 degrees to allow the wine to show the complex structure. The wine came out chilled and really opened up as it got closer to 54 degrees.

The second course was the salad course, a traditional Salad Nicoise. The salad was well dressed with a flavorful vinaigrette. The mixed greens were appointed with green beans, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, black olives, tuna and a very nice anchovy filet.

I tried the anchovy and found it salty, but not overly fishy. Very nice when eaten with the dressed tomatoes.

The 2004 Malbec Reserva, Bosca (Argentina) was paired with the Salad Nicoise. The Malbec spends 12 months in Oak. Dark, almost opaque red purple color. Intense dark fruits show on the first sip, however the wine is bright and young, showing a bit of green stems in the background. Nice mid-tannins on the finish. I would decant this wine 45 minute to allow it to open up, try again in 2 years. The pairing with the salad provided a nice contrast between the salty anchovy and rich tuna. Try with steak or antipasto meats.

The third course was the Veal Marengo, a slow cooked veal dish with tender chunks of veal simmered in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and tomatoes served with green beans and polenta. The veal was amazingly tender and flavorful. My husband cleared his plate and there was not a drop sauce left when they cleared our plates.

Served with the entree was the 2006 Tierra Del Fuego Carmenere Reserva (Chile). The Carmenere was dark and inky in color and showed dark fruits with a hint of green bell peppers on the nose. The first sip was fruit forward with toasted oak midway through, heavier tannins on the finish. A perfect BBQ or grilling wine that will hold it own next to rubs and sauces.

Since I do not eat meat and had notified them ahead of time, I was prepared a lovely fish with crab and spinach stuffing and white wine sauce, along with the green beans and polenta. AMAZING!

The fourth and final course was dessert, a Napoleon pastry. The crisp and flaky pastry was layered with rich pastry cream and topped with a fanned strawberry. Not too sweet and was complimented with the Vouvray Sparkling Brut NV (France) . The sparkling Vouvray is 100% CheninBlanc, very fine bubbles with subtle toasted nuts on the aroma. Yeasty and nice dryness, would pair with seafood, tapas and soft cheeses.

My husband and I left the meal comfortably full, but not at all over stuffed or feeling that the food was too rich or heavy. We'll be back for another dinner very soon!

Wines served throughout the night were available for sale after the dinner.

Paris Bistro
3586 Aloma Ave
Winter Park, FL 32765

The next wine dinner is scheduled for April 15, 2008. The details are pictured the the flyer or check the website.

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