Last night we once again gathered around the table together for a Community Table Dinner hosted by Foodbuzz and Black Box Wines at the stylish Spruce restaurant in San Francisco. Black Box, a wine company breaking the conventions of how a great wine is presented, partnered with Foodbuzz to pair their great varietal wines with the fresh and creative cuisine at Spruce.
The night started in the foyer of Spruce, enjoying house made charcuterie, Merlot and Reisling from Black Box Wines, catching up with old faces and getting acquainted with new ones.
Once we were ready for dinner, we were led into the beautifully appointed banquet room, where we heard a few words about the delicious wines we were about to drink and the dishes they would be paired with. Then, it was on to the good part: The food.
With camera flashes popping, this beet and pear salad with aged goat's milk cheese and walnut vinaigrette was placed in front of us. The flavors of the salad were perfectly balanced and paired nicely with a 2008 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Next came a dish of roasted halibut with fennel, chanterelle mushrooms, and a fennel fumet. (Sorry, all my photos of this dish were pretty abysmal.) The best part about this dish were the chanterelles piled onto sauteed spinach, all nestled into a beautiful bright green fennel sauce. The halibut was paired with two whites, a 2008 Monterey County Chardonnay, and a 2008 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay. Both paired well with the dish, but the standout was the Napa Valley Reserve.
The highlight of the meal was the grilled bavette steak with duck fat potatoes and bordelaise. The steak was grilled to a perfect medium-rare, juicy and flavorful and absolutely mouthwatering. But it was the duck fat potatoes that made everyone rave. Crisp skin and soft interior, these potatoes were completely different from any fry you might be used to. The flavor of the duck fat was so light and buttery, we were all in heaven. Not willing to take a back seat to the dish, the 2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon was dark and peppery and a highlight of the wines for the night.
The dinner wrapped up with a Farmstead cheese plate paired with a 2007 Central Coast Shiraz. The cheese was good, but a little underwhelming after the previous dishes we had just enjoyed.
It was another great dinner with a great group of folks talking, drinking wine, and doing what we all know how to do best: Eat. It was a blast to sit and eat with food blogger friends, the folks from Foodbuzz, and of course our new friends at Black Box Wines. Thanks to Kiersten, Chef John, Marc, Jesse, Rebecca, Bridget and the rest of our table for making it such a great night.
For a few more looks at our dinner at Spruce, check out Jesse's phenomenal photos at Beer and Nosh and Chef John's witty recap (and a picture of my belt buckle) at Food Wishes Video Recipes.