In honor of Palm Springs Restaurant Week, Escena offered a four-course prix fixe menu, with a wine pairing option available. First up was a chilled tomato gazpacho with scallops, which the restaurant paired with a Ruffino Pinot Grigio. The soup was peppery and delicious, and the acidity of ripe tomatoes matched well with that same characteristic I always enjoy in this wine.
My lust for truffles has been pretty well documented lately, and quite frankly I have become somewhat of an embarassment to the people dining with me, even at the mere mention of them. I was giddily enthralled with a mini crab cake that came to me perched atop a roasted corn and truffle vinaigrette, a beautifully pink shrimp acting as garnish. The dish was matched with a Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc full of melon, pineapple and pear. I count New Zealand Sauv Blancs among my favorite whites, and the minerality of the wine was a great fit for the sweet crabmeat and earthy truffle flavor. At this point, I just really like using the word truffle.
Pull apart, melt-in-your-mouth braised short ribs with herbed polenta and haricot vert was paired with an unusually earthy Pinot Noir from Gainey Vineyard. Boasting flavors of deep, dark cherry and cola, this one also has aromas of pine, the kind I encounter on my frequent drives up to Idyllwild. Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, I found myself with a serious case of Pinot Envy. It was a bold pairing and it worked like a charm, much like the rest of the evening's matchups. I will return to Escena Grill, and soon. The upshot is, I'll be able to find it with my eyes closed this time.
Special thanks to Elise Routh and the staff at Escena Grill:
On Monday, I'll take you to beautiful Walla Walla, Washington, site of the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers' Conference (no, I'm not making this up and yes, I know you're jealous-I would be too!) There, I will meet 300 of my closest blogger friends, get an in-depth look at industry trends and indulge in three days worth of delicious wine and food. See you back here Monday!