I have a bucket list. You totally should to. There are things in life I want to experience and after a bit of a health scare this week, I realized how much there is I really, really, REALLY want to experience! I’m fine, if you were wondering…false alarm (but my many thanks to the thorough doctor!) This blog, bucket list item as well, and though I’m not an in-demand famous blogger being invited to those places the cool kids gather (yet), I am loving it! I have something else on my bucket list too. I want to be a wine connoisseur. I want to be one of those people who can look the wine list over and tell you what is good and what is not and what you should order with your pasta.
There is one slight problem with this bucket list item though. I. Don’t. Even. Really. Like. Wine. (It’s gross)
I know there was a collective sigh among my wine-loving friends. I have tasted one, a Moscato I believe, that was tolerable but not something I would crave at the end of my work day. I just thought it was because there are so many types and I’d only tasted like, four of them. Enter Carrabbas and their monthly Wine Pairings Menu Dinner exclusively for the 12 gazillion of us that are on the email list. The gist of it is that you get this limited dinner menu and each course comes with a sampling of a wine that goes with that dish.
The theme Around the World offers a dish and/or wine from that region.
Our first course region was Germany.
The first course dish: Italian Harvest Salad (yeah, I didn’t get it either, but roll with me.) Beets, roasted carrots, arugula, crisp Pancetta, and goat cheese drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing was sweet with a sour after kick to it. I slid my beets to the side. Those are a no from me. Ew. It was a really fresh and tasty salad but the vinaigrette got a little overpowering towards the end.
The wine: Saint M. Riesling – I don’t like wine in general it seems but a dry wine is least of my favorites. This was a semi-dry. I was proud of myself for calling it before actually seeing it in writing though.
And here is where you find the reason for the latter part of my title: An Unfinished Blog. I’ll have lots of words but as per the usual with me….I forgot to take most of my photos.
It mostly looked like from Italianfoodforever.com
The second region was Oregon. Let’s see…country, country, country…Oregon. Uhm…okay.
The dish: Butternut Squash Ravioli.
I could not possibly type the word Yum enough times. This was, by far, my favorite offering! The description stated it was cooked in a browned butter sauce. This flavor came through but a drizzling of it on the plate would have made this divine!
The wine: Elouan Pinot Noir. One of the flavors they said you might note: Tobacco. Toe – Back – O. Ew. Another no from me. This was the worst for me. I tasted it twice because Andrew Zimmern advises you to do that. Thanks Andrew. Very bitter and highly acidic. Why do you people like this?
We travel to Italy for the third magical delight. Mr. C’s Chicken Involtini.
Baked chicken rolled with a stuffing of sausage, spinach, ricotta and Romano cheeses and topped with a Marsala wine sauce. Now THAT’s how I like my wine! The portion size of this dish was generous as was the wine sauce. This is a chicken dish I would order again. And here too, my incredibly lax blogging skills. I had cut into the chicken and heartily enjoyed several bites before realizing…oh crap! I need a photo!
The wine: Banfi Centine Super Tuscan. Bitter. Acidic. I don’t think this wine thing is going to work out for me.
Dessert course. Who are we kidding? We both know this is the whole reason I came.
Mini Chocolate Cannoli: Mini pastry shells dipped in chocolate and stuffed with chocolate ricotta. Yeah. There is nothing more to say. There is no way to mess that up. I was so excited, there is no photo at all for this dish. I scarfed those suckers down faster than you can even say cannoli.
In case you’ve lived under a rock however: this is cannoli.
The wine: Layer Cake Malbec. I had such hope for this one. I just knew that THIS would be the wine to make me love wine. I mean…that name alone…Layer Cake Malbec! It was described in my menu as Rich with fruit, mocha, chocolate, hints of spice and rich, always rich. It toyed with my emotions and made promises it failed to keep. Though not quite as bitter as the others I tried, it was still there and made worse once I tasted my gift from the angels dessert cannoli. Why would anyone drink this with dessert? Or at all?
Will I attend the Carrabbas Wine Pairings Dinner again? Absolutely! The food alone was reason enough to treat ourselves to a date night. I love that we went to a favorite restaurant and tried something new as well. I love new adventures! That is what fun is to me! The thing I found out after dinner which is a bonus is that you don’t HAVE to get the wine part. You pay for each individually so you can go all out wine pairings or just enjoy the meal without paying the full cost of both parts.
So, I have a choice to make. Should I keep wine connoisseur on my bucket list or change it to ice cream connoisseur…or cheese…possibly cheeses!
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