Thursday, April 27, 2006

Quick Post: Ponzi Tasting Room and the Dundee Bistro

When I realized I wasn't going to get a chance to meet Luisa or Dick Ponzi, I was disappointed, but thought I'd at least swing by the Ponzi tasting room to check out the current lineup. Plus I was super hungry, and had been told that the adjoining Dundee Bistro was not to be missed.

A quick power tasting before lunch allowed me to try the lineup of the least bombastic Pinots I've had to date. Vinted at the more traditional 13.5%, they were of a much more agreeable style to me than some of the ones whose alcohol shoved up against the 15% mark. My favorite of the bunch was the 2004 Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, an unfined and unfiltered little number with a lot of the smoky signature of the Valley. I thought she was a sexy thing, but the $35 price tag threw me a little bit. Still, good stuff for the Pinot lover in you.

Okay, after several sips, I needed chow, and off I was next door to the Dundee Bistro. I was offered a seat at the Chef's counter and couldn't resist. I love restaurants, and I love watching the dynamic. The Chef's counter is a front row seat for watching how well a restaurant functions between front and back of house. First thing I noticed was a jovial rapport between Chef Jason Smith and his waitstaff, who traded good-natured jabs while remaining attentive to the window.

My lunch was the Muscovy Duck leg, roasted with little fingerling potatoes and served with creamed leeks and sugar snap peas. If I just had to bitch (which I do), it would be that the duck itself was pretty salty and that the leek sauce was kinda thin and broken, both of which are boo-boos that I find all the time. These are not the most heinous of oversights, but enough to make an otherwise special dish mediocre. It was not enough to dismiss them entirely, however, and there were several other dishes on the lunch menu that I hope to try sometime when I'm back that way again.

Alright, that was a quick post. My next is a don't miss---James Cahill of Soter Vineyards and the wondiferous green grass at his part of the world. Stay tuned.

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