A Weekend for Tony
Even though it's been a week since we heard the news of Chef Anthony Bourdain's death, we're still really sad about the entire ordeal. The news permeated our entire weekend, along with the consciousness of many of our friends. Not wanting to sit and mope, we decided we'd dedicate our culinary weekend to the Chef known by many simply as "Tony."
But what would Tony Bourdain really want to eat if he were still with us? While he always sung the praises of foie-gras, most of the time his tastes were a bit simpler. A runny egg. A great burger. Pho cooked just the right way. A nice glass of liquor after dinner. Good wine that never needed to be first-growth quality to satisfy. Yes, the simple and delicious would be our guide for last weekend. Because, if Chef Bourdain exemplified anything, it was that the real everyday world could be, and often was, a beautiful place to live.
We decided to go a little bigger on Friday night, in honor of the time Cameron ate at Chef Bourdain's Les Halles in Washington D.C. We started with seared crabcakes, then decided to go with a giant wagyu ribeye sous-vided with enormous amounts of herb butter. After 2 1/2 hours in the sous-vide at 130 degrees, we seared it and topped it with white truffle butter to serve. To accompany, we picked green beans and fresh alba clamshell mushrooms, and cooked both in the herb butter and juices remaining after we were finished sous-videing the ribeye. We paired these dishes with a bottle of Pommery Apanage Brut champagne, and a bottle of 2014 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Napa Valley Red Wine. Everything was absolutely delicious, and even though the wines weren't collector-worthy per-se (under $50 / bottle), they were unpretentious, tasty, and everything paired just perfectly!
Saturday saw pool time in our future, but not before we made ourselves lunch. And for that, we decided burgers were just the thing. Accompanied by watermelon/tomato caprese salad with aged balsamic of course. And wine. We chose a Chateau des Vingtinieres 2017 rose to go with lunch. Not fancy, but definitely fresh and tasty. And, the acidity broke through the richness of the black truffle wagyu hamburger patty. After lunch, it was off to the pool we're members of to catch up on reading, get a tan, and drink more rose. This time, two bottles of Ferret rose to be exact. Because you don't want to get dehydrated when you're out in the sun, two bottles is an absolute must! You have to look out for your health.
After the sun set, we decided to try a couple of additional drinks, and some bar nibbles, at the new lobby bar/restaurant located in the Hotel Crescent Court--Beau Nash. To accompany the cheese and charcuterie plate, Cameron decided to try their smoked Balvenie 14 year Carribean Cask scotch. Impressive setup, and presentation for sure! And, smoked for free by the dubious-looking bartender, who said she generally only smokes Manhattan's. Don't worry--we took Uber to the pool, and Uber back home!
Sunday finally rolled around, and we decided to sit on our 2nd floor terrace and relax a bit in the early-morning breeze. And, of course, we had a few wine leftovers we could sip while we were enjoying the sunshine. After a bit of sun and wine, and a quick consultation regarding lunch, we decided we'd go with something light and fresh--lobster rolls (one of our favorite things when in Rhode Island).
Now, the first thing to remember when making lobster rolls is that butter is everyone's friend. You just can't have too much of it soaking into your lobster roll's bun. If you skimp on the butter, your lobster may well have died in vain my friend. Use LOTS of butter! In this case, we melted about 2/3 of a stick in a hot pan, then toasted the buns we planned to use right in the pan (meaning they soaked up all the butter). Delish! After chopping up lobster claws and tails, and adding a little mayo and seasoning, we were ready to go. Super easy lunch! We paired the same with Domaine de La Rosiere Vin de Savoie rose and Elouan Rose from Oregon (which we'd never tried before). Both tasty and great choices. Can you say "weekend of rose?"
We enjoyed the lobster rolls and rose so much, we actually decided to just veg out inside and binge watch several hours of old "No Reservations" and "Parts Unknown" episodes for most of the afternoon (while finishing both bottles of wine). Because it's the weekend, and why not? Then, eventually, we decided we probably should prep for a light dinner. Which meant it was time to make the mussels we had purchased.
Now, we'll admit we've never made mussels before. That said, how hard can they be to make? We washed them, discarded 2-3 that weren't looking so spry, and put coconut milk, lemongrass, and a few other Thai seasonings and spices into a pot, and brought the same to a boil once we got the taste we were looking for. Then we dumped the mussels in for a very few minutes, and we were done! Easy, peasy. Paired with some non-vintage Pommery champagne, and they were divine! Those, and some shrimp cocktail were great starters to a simple and lazy Sunday dinner.
For our entree, we went local, stuffing a pork tenderloin with Texas hill country peaches, and sous-videing the same for a few hours at 140 degrees. We forgot to take a picture, but trust us--it was delicious! We paired it with one of the two meager bottles of Texas hill country wine we have in our collection--Fall Creek Vineyards 2014 Tempranillo. It was a bit thinner than the tempranillos we generally enjoy from Spain, but it was still tasty, and paired really well with the fruity pork tenderloin. Hey, what grows together goes together, right?
So, all in all, we didn't really get anything accomplished the entire weekend, but did enjoy some of the delicious simple things in life. A good lobster roll. Mussels. A tasty burger. Rare steak. And plenty of wine to go with. We think Tony Bourdain would have nodded in approval at what was consumed. Because, sometimes, the best parts of life happen when you slow down, look around you, and appreciate the simple beauty common things present. We had a great weekend. We thought of Tony Bourdain. And we appreciated all the things he showed us over the last 18 years.