The Clever Root

Winter / Spring 2016

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With 275 plates of composed salad spread before him, Dotolo explains the method: "is dish was inspired by the flavors and textures of fried pickles— '' "We have five minutes before these need to walk," Shook interrupts. Dotolo counters calmly: "ere's five minutes le, not five seconds." We loved this bright dish with J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. Vibrant aromas of Ruby Red grapefruit and fresh fig emanated from the glass; the wine's crisp acidity perfectly expressed the terroir of the northern St. Helena vineyard, characterized by loamy, well-drained soil and spotty sunlight. Heavy spring rains that year produced one of the warmest vintages in the past decade. Sextant 2012 Kamal Cabernet Sauvignon was bold enough to stand up to an American Wagyu New York strip steak prepared by Empire State South Executive Chef Hugh Acheson. e Bor- deaux blend's fragrant aromas of roses and sandalwood leading to Rainier cherries on the mid-palate, pronounced tannins and tangy plum rounding out an elegant finish. We also poured Eberle Estate Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. Well-balanced and intense with a long finish, the wine is aged for 18 months in 100 percent French oak barrels. Rich, dark fruit flavors of black cherry and herbaceous notes lead to a long finish. JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION'S TASTE AMERICA TOUR UNITES HEARTS AND WINES IN LOS ANGELES L ate last year, top chefs from around the city descended upon the Wilshire Ebell eatre in Los Angeles to show- case their best fare for nearly 300 guests. e mission of the event, a ten-city culinary tour dubbed Taste America, was to raise funds for the James Beard Foundation's programs, which include scholarships and educational opportu- nities. e theatre's loy ceilings and courtyard garden made for a gorgeous setting reflective of the artistic creations on guests' plates. Despite the room full of award-winners, the night's real showstoppers were the lineup of more than 50 wines poured, many of which hailed from the Paso Robles CAB Collective, a grass-roots organization that promotes classic Cabernet and red Bordeaux varietals from the Paso Robles AVA. Here, our favorite pairings on the plate and in the glass: OF THE TOWN BY BECKY TSADIK / PHOTOS BY DUSTIN DOWNING James Beard Award– winner Hugh Acheson, Empire State South in Atlanta, trims a Snake River Farms Ameri- can Wagyu New York strip from Idaho (top). Acheson explains that he is then going to grill and finish it in the oven, a method that yields a melty, tender steak, ac- companied by a vegeta- ble and legume medley of fried black-eyed peas, Brussels sprouts, carrots and turnips. République Pastry Chef and co-owner Margarita Mankze finished the night with a composed plate of peanut butter chocolate mousse, banana ice cream and hot chocolate. We toasted to an evening well spent with a glass (or three) of Rotari Brut, poured by Gruppo Mezzacorona and Prestige Wine Imports Market Manager John D'Alvia. Fresh, fragrant bubbles and balanced fruit were a refreshing finish in this sparkling wine made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes harvested from Trentino. Chefs Vinny Dotolo (right) and Jon Shook (left)—owners of Animal, Son of a Gun, Jon & Vinny's and Trois Mec—among other Los Angeles favorites, served a cucumber and cherry tomato salad with za'atar and pick- led ranch dressing. ■cr 3 4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t

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