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Dinner at Tallula

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from Amber and Sangeetha of Pfau Communications to join some local DC area food bloggers for dinner at Tallula. I was thrilled: I've heard of this Arlington restaurant for a while and have driven past it several times. I gratefully accepted the invitation and last Thursday had the pleasure of meeting Amber, Sangeetha, the other food bloggers and seeing my friend Lisa for dinner at Tallula.

Others in attending:
Tiffany McGettigan-
Ramona Padovano-
Lisa Shapiro-
Sarah Meyer Walsh-
Johnna Rowe-
Anita Hattiangadi-
Katie Test and Donna-

We had a private dining room all to ourselves. The room was lined with a wall full of wine bottles--it reminded me of the wineries I've visited in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the room was quite dark, and thus there will be no pictures of the food. Sorry.

After meeting everyone, we were treated to a pretty pink cocktail: Movie Star Cocktail. I could not figure out the flavor of it, but someone pointed out it had a hint of vanilla: a tasty way to start the night.

We then had a pleasure of meeting Tallula's chef Barry Koslow and wine director Juliana Santos, who together planned a wonderful four course tasting menu accompanied by wine for us.

After receiving a bread basket with butter, we were served an amuse bouche of goat. I don't think I have ever tried goat in my entire life. It reminded me of tongue, which my mom used to cook often when I was growing up. I was a fan.

The first course was Charred Spanish Octopus served with chick peas, pearl onions, sundried tomatoes & sherry vinaigrette paired with 2008 Stadt Krems Gruner Veltiner from Kremstal Australia.

The octopus was tender and smoky in flavor. Turns out, they cook their own chickpeas, instead of using canned ones, and I could really taste the difference! We were told that the wine goes well with Earthy vegetables.

The second course was Pacific Halibut with lentil & applewood smoked bacon crust, cauliflower & curried cider reduction paired with 2007 Domaine Bizkot Chardonnay from Burgundy France.

LOVED the halibut: it is such a mild flavored white fish. And of course, anything paired with bacon only becomes better! I thought the use of lentils and smoked bacon as a crust was very inventive and definitely helped to keep the fish moist. I wasn't a huge fan of cauliflower in this dish: it could have been cooked a bit more. The wine was white burgundy and had an oaky/toasty flavor. The next time you are making curry, pick up a bottle of this wine.

Note: the bottle on the left wasn't served to us during dinner--I just really liked the label.

The third course was Pan Roasted Duck Breast with hominy cake, crushed baby carrots, roasted peaches & anise duck jus paired with 2007 Vina Carles Carinera/Garnacha from Priorat Spain.

I must say that I don't like duck. I find it to be fatty and rather too strong in flavor, but I wasn't going to let it sit on my plate without trying it. Guess what? I was pleasantly surprised. The best part of this dish were the roasted peaches: their sweetness definitely was a good contrast to the gaminess of the duck.

I did not, however, like the wine. I guess I'm just not really a huge fan of red wines (unless it's a Shiraz). Juliana Santos informed us that this wine is full bodied and has notes of dark fruit and licorice. No wonder: I've never been a fan of licorice.

And then it was time for dessert!

The fourth course was Chocolate-Toffee Brownie Cake with pistachio ice cream paired with NV Fonseca 10 year Tawny Port from Douro Portugal.

This was a perfect dessert: it combined chocolate and pistachios! The dessert was rich, but not overwhelmingly so. And the ice cream was a refreshing counterpart.

I'm definitely not a port fan. I tried a few sips of it, but left the rest in the glass. It was interesting to find out that this port was a blend of several wines, the youngest one having to be at least 10 years old!

And then there were Nutella glazed doughnuts! These little doughnuts were a perfect way to finish this meal.

I had such a great time learning about Barry's cooking style, new wines, and tasting the wonderful food.

Thank you, Amber and Sangeetha for organizing such a fun evening!


Simones Kitchen said...

You don't like red wine... How can you not like red wine..? Haha... I love red wine (merlot being my favorite), although the licorice part is maybe not so great indeed in wine. Anyway, sounds like you had a wonderful dinner over there!

Unknown said...

That desert sounded heavenly. Pistachio ice cream is like one of my favorite things in the world! Whenever i go to a restaurant i look forward to desert the most, its my main event ;)

sj said...

Nice! sounds like a great time :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun time! Glad you liked the duck!