Friday, August 13, 2021

Anniversary Dinner at Hemingway's Bistro Oak Park

Anniversary Dinner at Hemingway's Bistro Oak Park 

For our anniversary celebration dinner we dined at Hemingway's Bistro Oak Park, one of our favorite eateries. 

Hemmingway's Bistro' menu combines classic French dishes with the fresh Midwest ingredients crafted by Chef Ala, a certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation with 25 years of professional cooking experience. 

In 1999, Ala was the opening Executive Chef of the Historic Allerton Hotel in Chicago after their 80 million dollar renovation. Ala has also ran Le Meriden Hotel and Chez Paul Restuarant in Chicago.

In Boston, Ala was the Chef of The Colonnade Hotel and Brasserie Jo. In Florida, he was at Boca Raton Resort and Club and spent seven years in the Caribbean working at resorts in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Ala features daily specials of fresh seafood, typically East-coast seafood flown in daily from Boston, a daily Souffle, Pate or Foie Gras, and each weekend, their signature Beef Wellington. 

They have a thoughtful, carefully selected winelist with a nice offering of WBTG - Wines By The Glass. They also have an appropriate corkage policy and we typically bring a bottle from our cellar to accompany a winelist selection.

I pulled from our cellar a couple of special bottles from which to choose based on our entree selections, but in the end we opted to select a couple of WBTG - wines by the glass, from the winelist, allowing us to each select different wines to accompany our entree selections.  

We opened with Roederer Brut Premier Champagne

Linda had their signature Baked Brie in puff pastry with Apricot preserves, wildflower honey and almonds, which she paired with a Russian River Valley Chardonnay

I started with their delectable Foie Gras on a bed of turnips with peaches, balsamic and honey glaze. I paired the Foie Gras with a Bourgogne Marsannay from Louis Latour

With my Foie Gras I had this Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2017
This is from Marsannay, the village which marks the northern gateway to the Côte d'Or on leaving Dijon, the capital of Burgundy and home to the Ducs de Bourgogne. This village marks the beginning of the Route des Grands Crus which follows the N6 highway through the Côte d'Or.

Wines from Marsannay are generally lively and robust; characteristics that come from the rich iron soil. Marsannay received its Appellation Contrôlée as recently as 1987 in recognition of the consistently high quality of its wine.

Winemaker notes for this release: "Our Marsannay is sturdy and robust due to the rich iron-based soil. The wine has an intense bouquet of red fruit and a silky palate with a distinct gamey character and great tannic appeal."

Reviewers notes for this label: James Suckling gave it 91 points, Wine Spectator 90/100 and a 'Top Value', the Burgundy Report, Bill Nanson (UK), cited "Delicious".

This was an ideal complement to the Foie Gras, 

RM 90 points. 


Our entree selections were the daily fish special, Striped Sea Bass in a Meuniere sauce for Linda, and I had the Duck A L'orange, served on a bed of braised cabbage in Gran Marnier sauce and pommes dauphine. 

After tasting the Burgundian Chardonnay with its clean clear crisp acidity, Linda opted for the Russian River Valley Sonoma Chardonnay for its bigger, bolder, fuller body with a more buttery flavor profile, more suited to the white wine butter Meuniere sauce.

Lake Sonoma Winery Sonoma County Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2018
Winemaker Notes: Aromas of tangerine, pear, tropical fruit and creamy oak. Flavors of white peach, Charentais melon, crème brulee with a lengthy orange citrus and vanilla bean coated finish.
Wine pundit Wilson Wong of gave this 89 points noting its aromas and flavors of dried peach and savory spices.
45% of this Russian River Chardonnay was barrel fermented in 30% French oak (15% neutral barrels), with the remainder fermented in stainless steel. 75% of the juice went through a softening malolactic fermentation during its one year of ageing.
Gold colored, medium bodied, notes of pear, pineapple, butter, and vanilla with accents of peach, pear, and mandarin orange.

RM 88 points. 
My wine selection for the main course was another Pinot Noir, this time an Oregon Willamette Valley from Roots Vineyards. 

Roots Wine Company Klee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2019

This is a mainstay of the carefully selected Hemingway's WBTG feature offerings. I've had several vintages releases of this label at Hemmingway's over the years, either with their pate', the Foie Gras, or tonight, with the Duck. 

This is from producer winemaker and winegrower Chris Berg, born in Racine, Wisc., and raised in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Illinois. After graduating from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, with a bachelor's in English, he followed his parents, Chuck and Dian Berg, to Oregon from Illinois to work with them in their manufacturing company in Tualatin, Ore. There Chris soon set upon planting a small vineyard.

In 1999, the Bergs planted seven acres of mostly Pinot Noir on the 20-acre property near Yamhill in the Yamhill-Carlton District of the Willamette Valley. Chuck and Dian built a small house on the vineyard, and Chris lived in Portland with his wife, Hilary. They closed the doors of the manufacturing business in 2000, and the Bergs found themselves full-time in the winery business. 

Chris and Hilary moved to the vineyard from Portland in 2001 and in 2002, picked their first harvest of three tons, which were produced 72 cases of Pinot Noir. 

Today, Roots produces approximately 5,000 cases annually, the flagship estate Pinot Noir, as well as eight single vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs, sourced mostly from neighboring vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. They also produce a Grenache, Pinot Gris, Melon de Bourgogne, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and a Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling named after their son, Theo. Roots' reserve Pinot Noir label, Racine, honors the town in which Chris was born. (The name means "root" in French).

Roots' second label, Klee (named after artist Paul Klee), makes up the largest portion of the case production. 3400 cases were produced of this release. 

This label, akin to an artists series label, pays homage to one of winemaker/owner Chris Berg’s favorite artists, named for the famous Bauhaus artist Paul Klee. 

The artwork on the label is an adaptation of a painting called Solution “ee”. of the Birthday Assignment, 1924. Berg likens this wine to the Bauhaus school where art is for the people, this wine is for the people! 

In homage to one of Chris' favorite artists,
the artwork is their own adaptation of a Klee painting. 

This Pinot Noir is sourced from 14 family-owned vineyards located in the North Willamette Valley, west of Portland, about 40% located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and coming mostly from sedimentary and alluvial soil. 



Garnet colored, medium bodied, this was bright and vibrant with fruit forward notes spicy ripe black cherry, black raspberry, and plum, with hints of cedar, fresh-crushed herbs, and earthiness. 

RM 89 points.

Roots Wine Company 

We finished the evening with the classic Hemingway's Souffle, tonight's feature raspberry, which we enjoyed with a shared glass of Sambucca!