Monday, September 26, 2011

When The Owners Are Away, The Dogs Will Drive Me Crazy.......

Fall is right around the corner !! You can feel it in the air, every morning it's crisp and cold, warm and sunny in the afternoon.....the perfect time of year. What could possibly disturb the serenity of living in the country, on a private lake, surrounded by rolling hills and farmland ?

Seven hours of the neighbor's dogs barking, that's what. Yes, seven full hours of bark bark bark bark bark with no hope of relief since the dog owners were not home and left the four-legged hooligans to torment us all day. What to do about it ? Hit the highway and cruise to the CITY for some peace and quiet. Well. some wine and cheese anyway.

Yes....yes....I will drive 30 miles one way for a nice pinot grigio or a fabulous piece of cheese. In order to escape the incessant barking, the Chef and I drove to the city to make a visit to the grandest of places in Des Moines to buy upscale food and drinks, Gateway Market. It's my favorite place, my idea of grocery shopping (yes.... I am a food snob, and I'm not embarrassed at all to say that).

So we make the trip, and after being relieved of a good sum of cash by the cashier (being a food snob ain't cheap !!) we headed home, driving into a gorgeous fall sunset. What did we get ?? The craziest combination of stuff !! A fabulous baguette, a pint basket of fresh figs (YUM !!!), a few beautiful organic peaches and apples, a nice assortment of sushi (more on that later), a selection of cheeses, a container full of those luscious olives I must must must have from the olive bar, an interesting "black" beer and a couple bottles of wine.

As I have said before, I'm not really a big fan of sweeter wines. I prefer the acidity and crispness of the less sweet whites and in general, I AVOID all things moscato. This Amberhill Secret Blend was almost passed over when I first looked at it. This is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and mostaco. First of all, I always say no to chardonnays. I absolutely detest the oak flavor most of them have. And moscato..... normally this would automatically be a veto. But the sauvignon blanc was calling to me. And it was a special that day for $ in gleeful abandon I snatched it up and put it in the cart. When I opened it and first tasted it, I was really glad I took the chance. It was very much like a riesling but with more bite (13.5% alcohol). It held up nicely when we were eating the different cheeses and complemented the sweet hot peppadews perfectly. The moscato lent a floraly note to the wine and the sauvignon blanc kept the sweetness way down. The chardonnay wasn't even an issue in this blend, it was unoaked and also kept the sweet down.

I was determined NOT to fall into my rut and get a pinot grigio again, so I turned my full attention to the sauvignon blanc selections and settled on SeaGlass. It was very bright and green and herby. Not overly acidic and not one bit sweet, it went perfectly with the sushi- nicely keeping the spicy mayo and wasabi in check. And again, with a higher alcohol (13.5%) it had a little kick. A big swirl of the glass brought a very herby and green fresh air aroma out of this beautiful wine.

Earlier in the summer I seethed with jealousy at another food blogger's post showing a full case of fresh figs. You just don't see fresh figs in many produce departments in Des Moines. But there at Gateway, nestled among the organic berries and veggies were a few pints of beautiful figs. I know the shelf said which kind they were, but I was so excited I didn't pay good enough attention, and now I don't know..... The figs were perfect with the cheese and bread and olives.

They also were a nice dessert bite after that sushi. Now......this is kind of a cute story. In the early days of our life, the Chef introduced me to sushi. He is a total NON food snob, which I think is funny, given his line of work. He is perfectly content to eat Chinese buffet and whatever sushi they have on the buffet, which usually are not the raw kinds. I like the kinds he had me try, but I really don't care for the flavor of seaweed, I absolutely HATE smoked salmon and he is a little icked out at the idea of eating the raw fish kinds. Well......the selection we brought home was just that- all but one piece had raw fish of some sort. I had never eaten true RAW fish before but I figured, I've eaten very rare tuna, I love steak tartare, surely I can handle this. Well, yes I did and he did not very well. He did try it, but he really didn't like the texture of the raw fish. He did alot of bargaining- cutting the pieces into smaller and smaller pieces and saying "that's your part" which usually meant he got a smidge of raw and I ate 9/10ths of that piece. All the while, I kept teasing him about being the sushi lover around here, and how he introduced me to it !! Well, I loved it. I wish I knew what kinds they were because the roll drizzled with spicy mayo was YUM. We definitely will be going to a REAL sushi restaurant very soon and really getting into what we like and don't like.

There was one more bottle of wine in the store that caught my eye, and if you know me personally, you will totally understand why.........

Time to break out the iPod and listen to a little Gaga !!!!

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