Wednesday, September 21, 2011

'Opening Night' Tastings Offer Tempting Sips and Bites of the Season to Come

In terms of pure decadent enjoyment, there is no place quite like Fleming's Steakhouse in Rancho Mirage. I recently enjoyed their “Opening Night” to remember, an event that featured 20 different wines from the new Fleming’s 100 Wines-by-the-Glass List.
Also debuting was the restaurant's new small plates menu, and Ahi Tuna Skewers with wasabi aioli, sweet tomato vinaigrette, and homemade wonton chips was sublime with a glass of 2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. The char on the fish matched really well with the steely citrus in the wine, which also had a fresh grassy taste.

One of my favorites was the Vina Leyda, a raspberry-inflected Chilean Pinot that reminded me of the coveted Tootsie Roll pops I chomped on as a kid.
But there was no chocolate surprise at the center of this Tootsie Roll (that was to come later). Instead, I found myself devouring Chef David Burke's creamy, crunchy, and severely addictive polenta fries with this wine.
One of the best pairings I've enjoyed in a while was an inky, herbal, and dark-fruited '08 Meritage from Beringer. This is a bold, slap you in the face wine, and it needed the dish to match.
Enter the New Zealand Petite Lamb Chops with pistachio-mint pesto, and a secret "F17" sauce. I was on the verge of sticking the bottle and the extra chops in my purse, but thought better of it. I would like to be invited back.
Just when I thought I could eat no more, out came a ridiculous finale: Chef Dave's Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Chocolate Souffle.
This life-altering combo of savory and sweet, placed on the table as it oozed with everything bad for you, is not on the regular menu, but they'll whip it up at your request. I paired it with a smoky, blackberry-like Columbia Valley Syrah from Milbrandt, which Chef went Lady Gaga over.
On the way out the door, my friend Cheri and I had just one request...a souffle to go and more polenta fries, please!
Special thanks to:
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage
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