In Caso di NebbiaA Trip Through the Veneto, Friuli, and the Emilia-Romagna
Murano, L'Accademia and After a morning of shopping the next day, we decided we would go to Murano. More specifically, our wives decided they would go to Murano, and we were to go with them.
Massimo, from our locanda, arranged the visit by water taxi. As he greeted us at our locanda door I noticed the engaging little dog bustling around his feet, darting through the legs of all the passersby with great aplomb. Looking like a cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and a midget seal, he was quite the sight.
“You have a nice dog, Massimo.”
--Massimo, puzzled, looks down. “That’s not my dog, Signore.”
“Oh, but he acts as if he were your dog. Or rather, that you were his person, perhaps.”
--“He acts as he will, Signore. But he is not my dog,” says Massimo, with a curiously expressive flip of his hand off to one side, and a half-shrug.
“He must like you though, since he follows you around. And he appears to pay very close attention to you.”
--“Ah, yes. He came one day, and I happened to be going to a MacDonald’s, so I bought for him a hamburger. Since then he stays with me and accompanies me when I go to my meals. Sometimes, when it rains, he asks to come into my apartment. But he is not my dog, you see.”
“Yes, I see. He is not your dog. Quite obvious.”
--“Yes. Now we must go to the water taxi.” Massimo made a smirching kissy sound with his lips and waved his hand to the dog that was not his, who immediately trotted over to his side when Massimo strolled away.
When we reached the water taxi, Massimo called us over to the side and huddled with us, speaking privately. The dog that was not his pattered over to smell what may have been a dead fish or some such.
--“When you reach Murano, Signore, you must understand. We are Venetians, you see. We have either been occupied by or have dealt with the Romans, the Goths, the Turks, the Slavs, the Levantines and Arabs, the Austrians, the Germans, everyone. We have either conquered them, or they us, or both at different times. So we are traders. When the man at Murano makes you an offer, he will say ‘One thousand Euros for this.’ So you must say, ‘No, Five Hundred Euros, no more!’ Then you and he can discuss this for a while. But never accept what he first says. This is not an insult to us, you must know. This is the way we are. If you are so foolish as to take the first offer, we will of course accept the money, but you deprive us of the bargaining, which we expect. This, for us, is our way, and part of what invigorates us. The man at Murano will not feel badly if you bargain.”
We bought, of course, for it is almost impossible not to buy at Murano. Not for the haggling and the pressure to buy, but because the pieces are so beautiful and the artisan’s pride shows through certain pieces so clearly that you feel you are purchasing a small piece of their soul, and therefore acquiring a bargain even if it is not. And the maneuvering is fun.
The man at Murano, Ricardo, who was of the fifth generation of one of the four families who had established the Vetrerie, the glass factory, was delighted to be showing his glass to us, and delighted that we treasured it enough to buy it, and delighted to bargain with us, for then he could further respect us for being intelligent as well as appreciative of his art.
As we left Ricardo recommended two restaurants, gave us directions, told us the names of the owners, advised us on what to order and instructed us to tell the owner we were friends of his and should get “Ricardo’s price,” not the price for tourists! And this is the beauty of Venice, when the provider profits, and the buyer profits, and both are happy and content. Then you go to lunch.
Then across the lagoon and up the Grand Canal and back to San Marco, and the cathedral, and a walk to l’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim. Along the way we come to understand that Venice is, as much as any city has been, ever, a city of music. There are street musicians. There are cafes on the various piazzi who have trios and quartets and quintets and sestets, mostly based on strings, to entertain the languid patrons. There are various and sundry orchestras throughout the city on a nightly basis in the summer, celebrating music. The chiesi have their doors open in the evening so the music can spill out into the streets. When the hour strikes, the various belltowers carol out point and counterpoint, as if each was playing to and with the other in the soft air above the city.
The Guggenheim was overrated, although the walk through the city was not. Max Ernst may have been avant-garde, but he was also a terribly modest and limited painter, and Peggy liked the dark things for the most part. Perhaps that is why he was her second husband. Even the Kandinsky and the Klee were not of the vibrance that typified them. Only the Calder showed the exuberance and vitality inside the villa.
Ah, but on the outside, with the Picasso-like sculpture on the canal of the boy on the horse with arms spread and erection in full glory and the horse smirking as only a horse can, or the juxtaposition of the grand pallazzi, the Venetian seahorses and the pyramid of orange metal on the aged and pitted marble terrace with the sunlit water lapping just beneath, all under the celebrated Venetian Light.
A short break in the room, then inexorably out to the streets and alleys and canals and the endlessly milling people, the constant movement and babble, the flowing of colors and sounds and smells, feeling the amazing textures and contrasts of this place. The gruesome and tragic turn fascinating and romantic when you realize you have just stepped on the Ponti dei Sospiri and can see the smooth depression rubbed in the marble of the first step from the countless millions of feet that have stepped just there at that point. And how many of those feet were dragging and reluctant, you wonder, as people now take pictures of each other on this bridge of romance, emitting altogether different sighs. The fantastic and the mundane sit in equal glamour when a sleek black lacquered gondola glides by, with a young couple dazzled by the gondolier as his voice rings out like a clear chime while he effortlessly dips the paddle just so to swerve around a putrid garbage boat reeking of the effluvium of the stylish ristorante perched over the canal.
Restless, we move on past the grand palaces with their pitted facades and the mooring posts that seem so solid but oddly show their bottoms hollowed and eaten away to the spindly core when the boats pass and disturb the milky green water.
We stop at a canal-side ristorante to duck away from the pitter of rain and shelter under the canopy, again close to the throbbing Rialto, to sit and dine and watch the boat traffic go by, the clogged vaporetti, the polished and shiny water taxis, gleaming like wood-lacquered echoes of The Great Gatsby, the rusted work barges, the cigarette boats of the nouveaux riche and the stolid and dowdy boats of the old and tattily elegant rich.
But it is the worst of Venice we have ducked into, this tourist trap without soul or substance, with waiters shilling people off the streets and squabbling amongst each other to provide tasteless food for high prices for heedless people. We decide to order a glass of wine, as little as we can for the pleasure of watching the flow of spectacle, a pittance of Pinot Grigio, then we are off to a more hospitable place. We come across, in some conjunction of alleys somewhere, the Aquila Nera, purportedly founded in the 1500s and still possessing charisma in its little hidden corner of streets that don’t quite meet.
They have a good wine list, so we carefully peruse it and make our selection: A bottle of Refosco. The waiter returns shortly and tells us, “I am sorry, Sir, but the bottle of Refosco is missing.” We look at each other, but neither shows a quiver, and neither says a thing. Let us try this again: A bottle then of Marzemino, per favore. Again the waiter returns, this time visibly embarrassed, to tell us, “That bottle is also missing, Sir. Perhaps something else?” The next bottle, a Cabernet Franc, for we like the Francs of the Veneto and Friuli, is not missing, and so we have it. Perhaps for the next person it will join the other missing bottles from the good wine list of the Aquila Nera?
Finally, footsore and tired but not weary, we shuffle through the streets to our locanda and listen to the city quieten itself through the night, and think of all the things we did not see or feel in our time in Venice.
We are off the next day, on the vaporetto past the train station to the Piazzale Roma, with its link to terra firma, to the justly derided Mestre, and on to Padova and the Colli Euganei.
In Caso di Nebbia
Through the Veneto, Friuli, and the Emilia-Romagna
Part 1: Venice
Venice is a prostitute. A beautiful courtesan, to be sure, dressed in the finest attire, sophisticated, charming, beautiful and willing and eager to please, but still a prostitute. La Serenissima is what you wish her to be, but everything is a transaction; she is there, but you are passing through. She will beguile and amuse you, but when you are gone, she will just as eagerly entertain, and profit from, the next customer. After all, she has to live, and being La Serenissima she expects to live well, so you must provide for her.
When we arrived at the Ponte Rialto, amidst the crowds and chaos, still jet-lagged and thinking American, we knew a ‘period of adjustment’ was required, so we dumped our luggage in our locanda and launched ourselves into the waves and tides and eddies of people, finding the stream that moved sluggishly to the Piazza San Marco, where we camped on the edge of afternoon sunlight on the piazza at Café Florian. We idled over cicchetti and cappucini, listened to Florian’s string band, slowed our internal clocks to Venetian time and watched the passeggio as the angular interplay of light and shadow became our timekeeper.
When the restorative application of music, sun and shadow, espresso, olives and prosciutto had achieved their effect, helped by an additional infusion of Antinori Rosato Toscano, we languidly strolled to our friends’ hotel near the piazza, following the instruction of the carabinieri of “To the corner, and three canals over in that way, Signore.” Our friends were not there, but we did not care, for we knew eventually they would be, sometime, and it was of no matter when, as we were, after all was said, in Venice. And so would they be when they arrived. And eventually they did.
The four of us strolled. Aimlessly, as is possible in that way only in Venice. Or if not only, certainly in the best way, from shop to shop, each filled with glittering amusements for the eye and mind and wallet. Osterias, trattorias, cafes and ristorantes of every sort and description, and some that defy description, each a high water mark of one or more of the waves of cultures which have crested in Venice over the centuries and left their unique residue. An Austrian osteria mit wurst und schinkel am der pizza. A place of somewhat dubious Turkish delights. Here Istrian, there Vicentina, and there Padovana; here bigoli (dicke ‘Spaghetti’), there noodeln mit tomatensaft. A Greek taverna serving Spaghetti Bolognese alongside the dolmas and spanakopita. Pizza with octopus and cuttlefish next to the “Hawaiann Special, with Pineapple and Prosciutto.” And that was merely the first alley we walked down.
Eventually we decided to stop, and stepped into the first interesting place, the Osteria Verdi near the Rialto. Baccala alla Vicentina con Polenta was my dish, with my friends having langostini with shells split grilled heavily over a wood fire, and tagliatelle con funghi, with excellent and fresh green salads and radicchio rosso.
We attempted to order a Friulano Bianco off the list, but the owner, who spoke fluent New Jersey (which is occasionally close to American English, although a fully recognized alternate language in the Proto-Indo-European group), insisted we try the vino da calice, or carafe version of Friulano Bianco, his house white, instead. I pointed out that the bottled version on the list cost significantly more and by steering us to his house carafe he was depriving himself of money. He looked at me and shrugged, saying “This is better; you’ll see. If you don’t like it, you get it free from me.”
I shrugged as elegantly as he and said “Perché no, Signore?” The forever unnamed bianco was, but of course, excellent, and was to remain one of the most pleasant wines we tasted throughout our visit, for wine is not only the wine itself but also the circumstances surrounding it when you drink it. We finished our meal with some local cheeses and a rustic Raboso from the Veneto. The wine was nothing to rave about, unless one wanted to rave about a hearty red with the glorious crumbles of Grana Padano, both from the same place.
Tomorrow we had Murano to look forward to.
Yup- Verjus. Green Juice. The juice of unripe grapes: bright, non-alcoholic, not as acidic as vinegar; low in sugar; fresh and fruity; and a "secret ingredient" that makes otherwise "difficult-to-pair-with wine" food more wine friendly.
It's a classic alternative to vinegar used in marinades, salad dressings, pan sauces, and mustards; and comes in red (from red or a combination of red and white grapes, either fruity and soft, or bigger with earthy notes), and white (pictured here), which tends to be lighter and crisper.
Here in Oregon, Abacela Winery in the Umpqua Valley, and Montinore Vineyards in the Willamette Valley produce beautiful versions from fruit that is "green harvested", pruned while still unripe to decrease overall yield and improve ripening, sugar levels, and fruit concentration of the remaining clusters. If not made into Verjus, the green harvested fruit is dropped and left in the vineyard as compost.
Here are some recipes to try:
Mix one part of Verjus with 2 parts of sparkling water for a refreshing spritzer.
Try it in place of vinegar in a salad dressing, with 3 parts verjus to 1 part oil. Salads with vinaigrette are notoriously hard to pair with wine. Verjus is tart, but produces a softer but still flavorful dressing that pairs well with a fruity white wine. It works with wine because the acids in verjus are grape acids rather than the more pungent acetic acid found in vinegars.
The next time you poach chicken or salmon, try replacing some of the poaching liquid with verjus for a nice kick of flavor. Chicken breast poached this way makes a particularly delicious chicken salad.
Verjus can be used in place of wine to deglaze a pan, or in place of of vinegar or lemon juice in sauces.
Try it in a Buerre Blanc.
You will need:
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup verjus
1 pound cold unsalted butter, quartered and and cut into 1/2" pieces
kosher salt to taste
Combine the chopped shallot, wine and verjus in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until about 2 tablespoons remain.
Reduce the heat to low, and add the butter 2 pieces at a time, wisking as the butter melts and the sauce emulsifies. When you are ready to add the last two pieces of butter, take the pan off of the heat, wisk in the last of the butter, season to taste with salt, and serve immediatly over fish or seafood. Makes about 2 cups of sauce.
And as Julia would say, "Bon Appetit".
Do Americans drink more wine than the French and the Italians?
The surprising answer is, yes. Wine consumption per capita in France and Italy, the two largest wine producers, have been steadily declining. In fact, French wine consumption is at a 30 year low, according to Decanter
, and daily consumption of wine for the under 30 generation is the exception rather than the rule.
At the same time, overall consumption in the US is at an all time high. In 2012, wine lovers in the US drank more wine, and higher priced wine, than any country on earth according to research prepared for Vinexpo, the world's largest international wine and spirits trade show. That's a pretty impressive change.
As a matter of fact, we Yanks drink 13% of all of the wine produced in the world; and while we still consume more white than red, the trends show that by 2016, Americans will drink 18% more red than than we did in 2012.Look at the trends published in 2011 by Gallop:
For only the second time in our history, wine consumption in the US is equal to that of beer.
So who exactly is drinking all of that wine?
The US demographic that is driving the fastest growth in wine consumption appears to be the Millennial generation, according to WineBusiness.com
. While consumption is up across all generational groups, it is increasing the fastest among those born after 1980.
Unfortunately, the overall increase in US consumption has come at a time of lowered domestic production from two years of bad weather and when yields from Europe to Argentina have fallen to a 37 year low as a result of persistent drought and storms at harvest.
This will inevitably put pressure on prices, as will the growing demand from China. According to Decanter
, China will likely drive world wine prices over the next 5 years. As of 2011, China was already the 5th largest wine consuming country and its consumption is estimated to grow by another 40% between 2012 and 2016.
So what does it all mean, you ask?
More competition for high end wines and higher prices due to lower supply and higher demand, but more choices from emerging production areas. A great opportunity to escape your comfort zone and try something new !
The name itself is rather a mouthful, but when you get a mouth full of this Grüner Veltliner you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Yes, it’s a daunting prospect to walk into a wine shop and ask for a Franz Hirtzberger Honivogl-Grüner Veltliner Smaragd, Spitz/Donau-Wachau
, and by now it’s probably impossible to find a 2001 vintage, but this wine by this producer has an enviable track record of consistent quality so it’s worth looking for current vintages.
For those people mesmerized by things Teutonic and Österreich (Austria to you), let’s break down that daunting name into smaller bites. Franz Hirtzberger
is the name of the family that owns the vineyards and winery for five generations now. In the Austrian tradition, this isn’t a giant corporation churning out plonk but a closely held family-operated winery that grows its grapes and bottles them in single vineyard lots. Honivogl-Grüner Veltliner
: Honivogl is the vineyard. Grüner Veltliner is the grape that grows there. Grüner Veltliner is the national grape of Austria; it has the widest planting, the greatest volume, and is the signature variety of the country. And Hirtzberger makes some of the finest, in part because the Honivogl is a great location, facing just the right way on the slope and endowed with highly mineral soils to provide a certain taste expression. Smaragd
is a designation of style and ripeness. If you know German wines, think of it as a “Trocken Spâtlese”, a bone dry wine that was late-harvested, not for sweetness, because this wine is dry and authoritatively crisp, but for increased richness and intensity and flavor expression. Think ripe versus green fruit. Spitz/Donau-Wachau
is the general location…the village of Spitz, located in the Donau-Wachau Valley along the mighty Danube River, considered by many to be the prime region for Grüner Veltliner in all of Austria.
But how does the wine taste
, you ask? Exquisite, I answer.
One of the loveliest things about Grüner is its ability to be perfectly satisfying and delightful when young yet continue to develop---for thirty or more years!---and show constantly different facets as it ages, much like the fabled white Burgundies. Indeed, some experts stoutly maintain that the older a Grüner gets, the more it tastes like a Montrachet or Meursault.
The Hirtzberger Honivogl is poised in that long, slow transition from brilliant freshness to mature development; it retains the original acidity-driven intensity of a handful of fresh crushed green herbs mingled with citrus, but its 12 years of cellaring has developed a whisper of saline mingling with celery seed, a brisk snap of freshly ground white pepper, and a surprising appearance of…white peaches. Age has also altered the texture of the Honivogl from its original crisp and edgy bite to a softer, silkier mouth-coating richness.
Brash and aggressively charming when young; demure and discreetly charming when mature---what more could you ask of a wine?
If you can’t locate the 2001, you’ll have to resort to the traditional approach: buy a current vintage of the wine, put it in your wine rack or cellar, forget about it, and let it rest quietly for twelve, or fifteen, or twenty years. It’s worth the wait. If you can resist the temptation, of course.
Most of the rest of the world didn’t even discover the delights of the Albariño variety from the Rias Baixas area of Galicia in Spain until the 1890s. But once discovered it worked its way to international status.
Where the rest of Spain was working to redesign their whites from old, dusty, over-aged and oxidized dullards to bright and lively and engagingly fresh wines, the wines the Albariños of the Rias Baixas, just cross the border from Portugal, were already there.
Now there are plenty of Albariños to choose from. But the standard bearer for me, the undisputed ruler of them all, is the Albariño Cepas Vella by do Ferreira.
Do Ferreira makes a ‘regular release’ Albariño that is excellent and right in that frame of bright and refreshing citrus and saline enjoyment. The winery also produces a delightful Rebisaca, a blend of Albarino with other local varieties. But the epitome of Albariño is do Ferreira’s Cepas Vella release, their “Old Vines.”
And when they say old vines, they mean it! These vines are so old they are as thick as large tree trunks, trained to grow up and over in the European pergola trellis system, and visitors can walk under the arbor of these vines, looking up at them from underneath
The Cepas Vellas vines are over two hundred years old. Obviously, the yield is very low---these vines don’t bear that much fruit--- and the resulting wine is both limited and expensive. But the Cepas Vellas is intense and concentrated, with a blast of citrus freshness and a nervy, edgy minerality that delivers tremendous flavor impact yet leaves the palate cleansed and refreshed and yearning for more.
You’re going to like this special wine. It’s one of those buy-two-bottles-because-you’ll-need-a-second types of wine. Serve it as an aperitif or with a platter of fresh mollusks and shellfish…although it would serve more than admirably for a companion to a hearty pan of paella.
Chateau de Gicon, Chusclan, Rhone Valley
The Rhône Valley region makes some of the most appealing and lusciously drinkable wines in all of France. It can be a bit confusing selecting one, however, since the Rhône is a huge region encompassing a seemingly endless array of quaint little villages, each with its own vineyards. And let’s face it, you have better things to do with your time than try to memorize the best of hundreds and hundreds of little villages, right?
Add to that the sometimes bewildering assortment of varietal grape blends that are sometimes allowed, sometimes demanded, all according to the traditions of each village, and you have a situation that provides opportunities for the intrepid and adventurous wine drinker…or the distinct possibility of buying just another inconsequential and eminently forgettable wine.
Fear not: in the Rhone your chances are far better for good choices than bad. A good example of that is a wine you may never have heard of that happens to be a collaborative effort of several vintners from two separate villages banded together into a co-operative enterprise, the better to pool their resources and further establish the vinous identity of their villages.
The only negative to this collaborative spirit is the somewhat unhandy name that may be applied, in this instance the Vignerons de Laudun et Chusclan La Ferme de Gicon Rosé, Cotes du Rhône, 2011. Er…Let’s decipher that, okay? “The winemakers of the villages of Laudun and Chusclan offer a Rosé from the Gicon Farm Vineyards in the rolling hillsides of the Rhône Valley.”
What you won’t know, unless you read up a little, is that the rosé is a blend of approximately 80% Grenache, the dominant grape of the southern Rhône, and Cinsault, a lesser-known pungent and flavorful dark grape with wonderful rustic flavors. That means you get the fresh strawberry scents and flavors on top, with more dark and plummy flavors underneath---in other words, just what you want your springtime rosé to be.
This Ferme de Gicon (and when you visit the region, you can visit the ancient ruins of the castle of Gicon with the vines growing profusely beneath and watch the vignerons work the fields) has been tilled for centuries by the same families, always producing the same wine: an honest, sturdy, full-flavored and persistent rosé with vibrant pink/purple color, strong berry fruitiness, and a pleasing dry, tart acidity tangy in the mouth. It’s a versatile, all-purpose wine---and that’s exactly the way the locals drink it, all the time, with all their foods, because that’s what they make it for.
So if you’re noshing on fougasse, the lovely flavored bread of southern France rich with herbs and olive oil, or slurping up bouillabaisse or chewing on garlic sausages and smelly cheeses, or having something simple like a roast chicken or a fresh green salad, this wine will suit the occasion.
Plus, with this wine you can get all that pleasure for less than $10 (on average). That’s right: this is not only a taste good, it’s a feel good---if you feel good when you get a bargain for a sawbuck, that is. Hey, why not buy two? The first bottle will taste so good, you’ll probably want to have another on hand. Just in case. HH
Domaine de Gournier Rosé
Here’s a rosé of a different sort, a wine from a traditional region that both reaffirms some traditional practices and alters others. It’s from a property that traces its origins back 600 years before the modern era to the time of antiquity but is headed by a modern and forward-looking owner/winemaker.
Domaine de Gournier is located in the Costières de Nimes, a lovely sub-region placed at the crossroads of four greater regions--the mountainous Cèvennes to the north; the Rhône to the north-east, the Languedoc to the south-east, and Provence to the east--and it takes its cues at times from all four.
In vinous terms it “belongs” to the Rhône but is culturally and climatically part of the Provencal/Catalan/Occitan regions that rim the Mediterranean from Spain to Italy. The designation on the label identifies it as a Vin de Pays de Cèvennes---country wine from the hills of Cèvennes butted up against the great Massif Central mountain range.
The Provencal culture makes rosé a necessity; Rhône and Provence supply the traditional grapes of Syrah and Grenache and Mouvedre; and the Languedoc throws in the surprising “new” varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to the mix.
Although the mix of grapes is unusual---Cabernet and Merlot are abundant in the Languedoc, but not profuse in either the Rhône or Provence---the method of making the wine is traditional. The grapes are very lightly pressed in fermentation to extract light but vivid color elements, then fermented as white wine so the delicate aromas, flavors, fruit and acidity are maintained.
The traditional tones of the Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre give a comforting familiarity in this rosé; but the additions of Cabernet and Merlot add a firm body, a touch of tannins for structure and a pleasant bitterness on the finish, and deeper colors than usual. Since the wine is fermented in stainless steel, it’s fresh and lively and there’s no wood element in the way of the primary fruit flavors.
Domaine de Gournier Rosé is a sturdy little wine, fruit-laden but enhanced with light spices and some earthy flavors, and ideal for the light foods of summer but fully capable of holding up to richer fare as well, so don’t be afraid to serve it with either a chicken salad or with grilled meats---it will do well with both.
Domaine de Gournier has an interesting story that’s well told on their website. There’s ancient history and modern, complete with devastating floods and miraculous comebacks. It’s well worth reading.
Domaine de Gournier wines are a part of the impressive Robert Kacher Portfolio in the United States.
Had a remarkably good Willamette Valley Pinot Noir last night: WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir Terres Basses
If you like that big and bold, rich and deep, meaty style of Oregon Pinot Noir---and what’s not to like?---this is one for you. If you can find it, because it is popular and sold out.
WillaKenzie had a great year in Vintage 2008 and we can recommend any of their bottlings from that year, but the Terres Basses was particularly profound for its impressive depth of fruit and earthy, mushroomy core.
Match it with the food from Allium Bistro in West Linn
and you’ve got a double winner---especially if the food you’re matching it with is the Beef Bourguignon at Allium, a huge platter of rich, fork tender beef, mushrooms, carrots, pearl onions and rich gravy heaped on a mound of al dente pappardelle pasta
The side of Brussels sprouts---yes, I said Brussels sprouts!---was pretty darned good as well. Chef/Owner Pascal, who fortunately for us was in residence last night, is well-known for his cooking, one signature dish being his Brussels sprouts, sautéed cut side down in a skillet until the sprout begins to caramelize and get all crunchy. Simple, but one of the best versions of this humble veggie you’re every likely to have.
And for potato lovers, Allium does three different versions of their pommes frites. We had the simple sea salt, but for the gourmands there is a duck fat and rosemary---but I’ve been informed that is particularly addictive.
If you haven’t yet been to Allium Bistro, go. Book a reservation right now. One of the best places in town for down-home, locally-purveyed ingredients prepared with a French flair. And nicely priced as well.
I’d even go so far as to say that Allium’s “Neighborhood Dinners”, which sell out quickly, are one of the best values in town. More great food than you could possibly eat, with red or white wine included, a convivial atmosphere, all served family style, and only $38 per person! That’s a deal.
Good wine list too. So like I said, if you haven’t been, go. Even if you don’t live in West Linn, it’s conveniently right of I205, exit 6. Go past Five Guys hamburger joint, turn right on Willamette Drive and you’re there.