Continued from: Vineyard tour and first afternoon at IPNC’s 25th anniversary 2011
La Grande Fete dinner was inspired by the classic French cuisine of Burgundy, interpreted by local chefs.
But the big feature of the Fete is the wine. Each table has wine industry guests to present and serve wine from their libraries. In addition, each table has a maitre d’hotel who brings over more bottles for us all to sample. Our maitre d’hotel was Josh Wiesenfeld from Paley’s Place and I think we got the cream of the crop. The wine never stopped coming.
General tip #3: Just say yes to wine. It was troubling to only enjoy a few sips before the next amazing wine arrived, demanding space in the glass. But to pace yourself, you need to pour out what remained and say yes to the next wine.
Lesson for next year – I will tour the Fete and sit in the section of the chef I most want to have create my meal. There were four sections, each catered by a different team of fantastic chefs. While all of the meals were amazing, I was envious that I didn’t end up in the section catered by Vitaly Paley and Ben Bettinger. There is a menu on each plate at each table, and next time I’ll do a little spying before deciding where to sit. I’m not encumbered with an entourage that has to sit together, so I have a wider range of choice.
I ended up in a section with the menu produced by Philippe Boulot and Phil Oswalt of the Multnomah Athletic Club and Michael Stanton of the Heathman. We had a wonderful Dartois of Nicky Farms natural rabbit, with Tim Gilmore’s greens, creamy dijon vinaigrette and sauce Perigourdine. It was a wonderful, elegant dish of rabbit inside a crust with a tasty sauce. So much for my skills as a food writer. We all loved it.
The second course was a wild salmon quenelle (sausage) with crawfish hash and sauce Nantua. Few of us liked it at all. Third course was a Silvies Valley Ranch beef Bourguignon, confit short ribe and New York au poivre with chanterelles, heirloom carrots and glaze cippolini. Delicious. The finish was an Oregon berry soup with Calvados creme fraiche.
Dinner is from 8 pm until 11 pm. The courses were well-spaced. The wine never stopped.
I was happy that my bed was just three blocks away down a quiet college street. The dorms and apartments were amazingly quiet. I had feared that the party would continue there, but apparently any late nights were done back in air conditioned hotel rooms instead.
Next: Saturday at IPNC