“We talk, drink wine, have the first course, talk, drink wine, second course, talk, drink wine, main course, drink wine, talk, dessert, and more wine. Did I mention wine?”- Walter on dinners he hosts for his friends.
If you survived the first installment and have come back for more, we shall proceed. We began the multi-course meal with, oddly enough, hot and sour soup. It was a cold night, so this most definitely hit the spot. Walter admitted it was a pre-made soup that he doctored up by adding some “heat”. It had a nice, warming bite, but was not overly spicy. Neither was it too salty. He made a good choice.
After that, it was time to open the first bottle of wine on the night which was breathing while eating the soup. This was a Chateau Vrai Caillou Bourdeaux Superieur. As you all know, I am not much of a red wine guy. But this had been chilled ever-so-slightly which, for me, made it a lot easier to drink. Walter said that most red wines should be chilled, despite that notion usually falling toward whites. “Room temperature”, he noted, is based on European room temperature, which is slightly colder than what we have in America. If you think of the older, larger European houses without the heating systems we have today, it makes sense.
Next came salad that was followed by a second bottle of wine (a light Macon Villages Chardonnay I brought along) which went with the meal described in the previous article: beef liver and onions. While it was absolutely delicious, there were a few other items which really made the meal complete. Homemade French Fries were served on the side—and no ketchup. Absolutely no ketchup allowed under any circumstances, or even kept in the home. “I don’t know if you plan on dipping your fries in Ketchup when you come over,” Walter wrote me a few days prior, “but if you do, stop at McDonald’s along the way and pick up a few packets.” Instead, a small dish of mayo was provided to dip the fries into. But this added richness was unnecessary because the star of the show was on its way.
Homemade garlic butter and fresh hot rolls. I love bread. I love butter. I love garlic. What was not to like about this trio? The butter was out of this world. I asked him for the recipe so I could make it for myself a few days later. It was as easy as letting two sticks of butter soften, adding a half a head of minced garlic, some chopped parsley, and mashing it all together with a fork. Letting it rest for a few days is key. Walter did his a week ahead of time, while when I made it, gave it four days. Spread it onto those hot rolls, and I was in heaven. Slather it on some carrots which he also served. Hell, even rub the fries in it for that matter. I had to tell him the simple addition of this garlic butter to the evening brought it all home.
Following the meal, there was cause to open a third bottle of wine, which we did not finish. This was Fado, a Portuguese Siria. After a heavy meal, this was another light wine that got us primed and ready for dessert, which was lemon meringue pie. Following this, I was so stuffed that I could not move. But there was more. I guess you could call it “post-dessert”. Walter had said we would be having Port and cheese for dessert, but he neglected to tell me there would actually be two desserts. So out with the pie, and into the living room for a Ruby port and some white cheddar. I had maybe one or two small slices before tapping out. My stomach could not hold anymore.
As I said the last time I wrote about a dinner Walter prepared, it was apparent that he had time in the restaurant business. Everything about this evening was perfect. From the conversation to the food and drinks. He laughs when I said I had to document his meals for social media and my blog, but I am glad I did. Dinner parties are getting to be passe, so this was a refreshing (and stuffing) change of pace.