Sunday, June 03, 2012

Jim's birthday - 75!

the birthday was may 27, i made his favorite carrot cake... from scratch no less, which i faithfully do once a year.  any other cakes are the combined efforts of me and betty crocker.  so we invited neighbors - Don, Carol and Dave - to come by for BD cake and wine.  good cake, good conversation (even the part about the deity and atheism and other philosophical stuff).

 and today (june 2), i had told him i had a plan and he should be ready to leave home at 1:30.  the plan was to go to a couple of wine tastings over in the Carlton-Dundee area and he had it figured out by the time we were within 10 miles of the cluster of vineyards and wineries around Dundee.  on a whim i turned off at the sign to AnneAmie Winery... mainly because we know the vineyard manager, Jason Tosch, who went to school with ds Chris and spent a lot of time at our house.  Jim did most of the tasting as i was the designated driver... but i did have a few sips and really liked their "ice wine"...late harvest Muller Thurgau... sweet!!  the young man doing the pouring was charming.. and very knowledgeable about wine... calling himself a "wine nerd".  anyway, because we know Jason, the tasting fee was waived and a discount given on the wine we bought.  thank you, Jason!!  the winery is at the top of a hill and the view is spectacular!

next stop was Durrant Winery at Red Ridge, where they grow wine grapes and olive trees, have a nursery with very interesting plants and we bought another olive tree (now have 4), had an olive oil tasting... never would have imagined this, but there was an olive oil flavored with orange which was absolutely wonderful (we bought a bottle of that, and i think it would be great on salad or pasta)

the place was beautifully landscaped and we could see a small planting of olive trees off in the distance.

and then we went to the wine tasting room!  we were on Jim's 2nd tasting when a group of women came, obviously happy about where they were and what they were doing!  a bit toasty, in fact.  one of the "happiest", "talkiest" of the group asked Jim if they were being obnoxious and with his usual tact, he said "no, just loud... but it's probably the acoustics in the room"... and that set off more laughter and conversation.  at some point they learned that we were celebrating Jim's 75th birthday and that really got them going and social!  they gathered around and sang happy birthday and toasted him, asked which was his favorite wine of the tasting, insisted on buying him a birthday bottle of wine and we took lots of photos!~ they were a group of friends who were doing their wine tasting tour by bike... and this was their 4th or 5th stop.  they were pulling several baby carriages behind their bikes and filling them with wine purchases.  luckily, they were headed downhill to a house they'd rented for the weekend.

so... following a recommendation we got at the winery we went to a restaurant in Dundee.. "Paulee", a quite upscale dining experience!

 this is what came first... kind of a palette primer, i think.  a teeny tiny thin wafer with a teeny tiny dab of something fishy with a thin wafer of radish on top and a few flecks of chives or something green.  it was tasty.  i think we were supposed to use that teeny tiny spoon, but we ate it with our fingers...

and salads... Jim's was served upon a piece of slate and looked really interesting.  what looked like just a plain green strawberry was actually a pickled green strawberry... not plain at all.  and there were cucumbers and pork rinds (somehow that didn't seem to me to fit with the other bits on the plate).  also, a few little flower blossoms.  OK.

mine was greens with hazelnuts, shaved porcini and chevre cheese... nice.

and my entree was braised lamb... quite good.

it was a good dinner... and, um... interesting!!

in all, i think Jim had a birthday celebration to remember.  and i'm thinking.... hmmm, maybe we should play the birthday game again....

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