Ally
Thursday night was all about the "Big O" for me...yep, olive oil (um...hello...this is a food blog, people!). The nice folks at Star Fine Foods graciously invited several of Sacramento's top food bloggers to partake in a delicious six-course Greek meal featuring their new Star California Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the Greek Village Inn. The new Star olive oil is a blend of first cold-pressed Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki olives grown in the Central Valley. The first five courses of the evening were also paired with delicious wines from Sean Minor Wines and the last course with a serving of yummy ouzo. Somehow I made it through all six courses and was still able to waddle out of there. The food was great, the olive oil (or as the Greek poet, Homer, called it "liquid gold") was tasty, the dinner guests engaging and the service super friendly. In fact, the Greek Village Inn made such a positive impression on me that when I got home I mentioned to Mr. S. that I would love to take him there on a non-event night, I think he would love it (the guy totally digs Greek food). I myself would really like to check out what kind of magic, chef Matthew Martinez cooks up on a regular night. In the meantime here's the rundown on tonight's special Star-centric menu:



- Grilled Artichoke, rubbed with Star Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, served with Star Capers and Lemon Thyme Remoulade

The remoulade (similar to a thick aioli) was absolutely delicious. While I was eating it I was trying to figure out how I could replicate it at home so I could whip up a batch to eat with some grilled asparagus.

The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that was served with the dish, was full-bodied and had a nice fruity taste that paired well with it.



- Spicy Imported Dodonis Greek Feta dip with Star Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil served with grilled Pita Bread

Mr. S. would have gone bananas over this dish! The feta dip had a spicy kick that just jumped your tongue right off the bat but then settled down into a nice simmer within seconds. It exuded some heat but nothing crazy. Coupled with the warm, doughy pita bread...it was one of my favorite dishes.

Phtinithe  Nobilis, Restina was being described I was intrigued but I think ended up being my least favorite of the wines served during the course of the evening. It had a sharp, acidic taste and in a way reminded me of what I imagine diluted Pine Sol would taste like. One sip was enough for me.


- Imported Kefalograviera Cheese Saganaki sauteed in Star California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, flambeed table side

This dish made me wish I had remembered to pack my camera (rather than just my cellphone). Our lovely servers flambeed the cheese in a flash, Vegas-style, taking care not to singe anyone's eyebrows. The aroma was heavenly! Luckily I had packed several Lactaid pills so I got to try a piece. I liked the chewy texture and the saltiness of the cheese but most of all I think I really liked saying, "Saganaki!!" (Try it, it's fun!) If I could have followed it with a fist pump it would have been even better, but I just met these nice people and was trying to make a sane impression...maybe next time....


I skipped the wine pairing on this course.
  


- Traditional Horiatiki Salata with Heirloom Tomatoes and Imported Dodonis Feta Cheese, Kalamata Olives tossed with Star California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Aesthetically this dish was gorgeous, lots of color and it was the perfect palate cleanser. Most of the guests were pretty jazzed about the fresh heirloom tomatoes drizzled in olive oil; unfortunately, I'm not much of a tomato girl so I only took a bite or two of kalamata olive, cucumber and feta. What I did taste, tasted great. I'm sure if I loved tomatoes, I would have been all over this.

The Central Coast Chardonnay that was paired with this course was okay...it was soft and slightly oaky, a good choice to couple with a palate cleanser course.
  

- New Zealand Roasted Lamb Shank basted with Star California Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Roasted Lemon Potatoes

Wow! When the server set my plate in front in front of me I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped a bit, the lamb shank was quite a daunting sight...especially since I had just eaten four other courses! I kept looking for Fred Flinstone to pop out and yell, "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" In all honesty, I thought both the lamb and potatoes were good but a little on the dry side. Being that it was an event showcasing olive oil, I would have liked to have seen both roasted items be a bit more moist.

The last wine, Sean Minor's 2008 Napa Valley Merlot, was hands down my favorite. It paired well with the lamb and had the best flavor of the evening's wines. The merlot was smooth, had nice berry undertones and was a bit jammy (which I love) without being overly heavy.



- Grilled Fresh Fruit, marinated in Star California Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Brandy, served in a Meringue Cup

A nice, light dessert to round out the meal....and about all I could fit in my waistband at this point.

Oh, and that ouzo sure packed a wallop! Thank goodness we were all hanging out for awhile, socializing and sobering up...between the wine and ouzo I had a slight buzz (I'm sure I was quite the chatterbox to my poor seatmates).


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