Archive for malbec

Cochon– lafille’s Culinary Kryptonite

Posted in Eat, Entrees, Photos, Restaurants, Reviews with tags , , , , , on 9 February, 2010 by la fille

Monsieur D just celebrated his birthday, so that was the perfect excuse to treat him to a fancy dinner while he was in town. Cochon was on the shortlist, but after sending a request for suggestions into the aether that is Twitter the answer was clear and I made a reservation.

Now, when it comes to ordering from a menu, I usually pride myself on being a terrific food-chooser. Upon trying the dishes of my dining partners, I inevitably say, “That’s good, but I like mine better,” which is always what you want to be able to say.

For some reason, though, my food choosing skillz vanish when I walk into Cochon.  I acknowledge that it’s a terrific restaurant– I love the concept, and lord knows I LOVE meat (har dee har).

Both times I’ve eaten there, however, I’ve CHOSEN POORLY.

To give Monsieur D an idea of the kinds of things Cochon produces, we started off with the boucherie plate, consisting of homemade bologna, tasso, head cheese, pork rillettes, pickled tomatoes, baby toasts, and creole mustard. Everything tasted delightful, but we were both mainly enamored of the head cheese.

Last time I dined at Cochon, it was springtime and they were running a crawfish special, which I ordered for my entree. While tasty, I later wished I’d just gone with some pig, and vowed to do so on my next visit.

Guess what? I didn’t.

I ordered the rabbit and dumplings, while my companion went with the smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad. Now, to be perfectly clear, there was NOTHING WRONG WITH MY MEAL. It just wasn’t my style– being raised on super-simple chicken and dumplings, I’ve never been a fan of the type that contains carrots, celery, and other sundry additions, which is what they serve at Cochon.

The presentation is lovely, coming out in hot cast-iron, but once again, too much going on for my tastes.

Monsieur D’s brisket, on the other hand, tasted like melty, savory heaven in my mouth and I may or may not have contemplated incapacitating my friend in some manner so as to have the dish for myself. So tender that I hardly believed it was cow, with a mouthwatering sauce that was intensely flavorful, but which allowed the quality of the meat to shine through as well. The horseradish tater salad wasn’t anything to sniff at, either.

Cochon’s got a nice beverage selection, and we got a bottle of Dona Paula malbec, which is a nice, inexpensive red that Monsieur D likes but can’t get in his neck of the woods.

The service was just the way it should be– attentive yet unobtrusive– and when I called to say we were running a bit late, the hostess was accommodating and pleasant. (We ended up being on time for the reservation, which of course made her even more accommodating and pleasant.)

So– super interesting concept, great menu and beverage list, good service, nice atmosphere, tasty food…Cochon gets a lot of attention, but it’s definitely warranted.

Most importantly, the birthday gentleman had a stellar time.

Cochon

930 Tchoupitoulas St

504.588.2123

cochonrestaurant.com

South American Wine Tasting

Posted in Imbibe, Tastings, Wine with tags , , , , on 28 May, 2009 by la fille

A couple of weeks ago, Brother O’Mara and I went to a South American tasting at Martin Wine hosted by the knowledgeable and gracious Andrew Dike. He took a trip to Chile and Argentina last year and not only led us through the wines of the region, but showed us some beautiful photos and made us all jealous that we didn’t go along.

Here’s the rundown, with notes:

2008 Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc (Chile, $9.99)

Creamy nose with strong tropical/melon/pineapple aromas. Bright, acidic, and green on the tongue; sweetening a lot upon warming up; creamy finish.

2006 Cono Sur Vision Chardonnay (Chile, $13.99)

cono_chard_vision

Nutty and floral nose, brisk and minerally; apple; full but with low oak for a Chardonnay.

2007 Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir (Chile, $13.99)

pinot-noir

Toasty, hot nose, with a hint of metallic aroma. Tastes of jammy red fruit with a long finish; slightly hot. Not very well-balanced.

2007 Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir (Chile, $50.00)

ocio-02-b

Dusty, brambly nose with definite dark fruits; very complex compared with the Vision, soft and creamy, full with currants and black cherry. Intense fruit, mild tannins and some oak on the finish. Huge, ripe mouthfeel.

2007 La Posta Malbec Paulucci Vineyard (Argentina, $15.99)

96699l

Civet and red cherry on the nose, also perfumey and oddly floral; taste of red fruit, particularly strawberry, young-tasting, floppy, and fatty with no bones–no complexity or structure to back up the initial taste.

2007 Dona Paula Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina, $13.99)

dona_paula_cab

Big and dirty, thick, meaty nose; bitter chocolate entrance, savory taste with a huge mouthfeel and an oaky, hot, tannic finish.

2007 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina, $18.99)

97439l

Creamy nose with hints of graphite and red fruit; round and rich purple fruits (cassis and plum) on tongue; tannic, bitter oak on finish

2007 Tikal Amorio Malbec (Argentina, $18.99)

amorio_tikal_malbec_2006(this is the 2006 label, not 2007)

Floral and red fruit aromas, subtle but full; well-balanced with good tannins.

Overall, neither of us found anything we HAD to have, although if we had, we could have done so since most everything we tasted was moderately priced. As an aside, we LOVE the Dona Paula Shiraz-Malbec — it’s become a daily drinker in our house — so it was nice to try the cabernet as well.

Foodwise, they served La Yerbera, a goat’s milk cheese covered in almonds from Spain and Campo Montalban, a Spanish mixed-milk cheese.