Wine dinners explore the interplay of wine and food

Wine dinners , whether at home or at a restaurant, explore the interplay of wine and food (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / December 3, 2013)

For those who are fascinated by the interplay of wine and food and how certain dishes or flavors can play to a wine’s strengths, here are a few interesting wine dinners coming up soon:

Saint Martha, Koreatown

The jaunty new K-town wine bar is planning a special four-course prix fixe dinner on Tuesday for the Feast of Saint Martha, patron saint of cooks and servers and the inspiration for the 38-seat restaurant’s name. The menu from chef Nick Erven includes Littleneck clams with morcilla (blood) sausage, sunchoke and egg. The main event is pecan wood-smoked brisket with hoisin-chile sauce and root vegetables with brassicas with toasted brewer’s yeast, mushroom and egg served alongside. The sweet will be almond genoise with Rieger Farms peaches and wildflower honey ice cream. 

The dinner is $65 per person, not including tax or tip. For additional $27, GM and sommelier Mary Thompson will pair a wine with each course. A portion of the proceeds that night will go towards the neighborhood Koreatown Youth + Community Center. Reservations are recommended. Call the restaurant or visit SeatMe.com.

Saint Martha, 740 S. Western Ave. (between 7th and 8th), Los Angeles, (213) 387-2300, www.saintmartharestaurant.com.

S.Y. Kitchen Cucina Rustica, Santa Ynez

Also on Tuesday, the popular S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez is holding a Mediterranean-themed wine dinner to honor the wines of Demetria Estate in the Santa Ynez Valley. The estate, owned by John and Sandra Zahoudanis, produces biodynamic Rhone-style wines. The owners’ son and the winery’s general manager Alexis Zahoudanis and winemaker Harry Waye will be presenting the wines. 

Chef Luca Crestanelli has planned a four course menu to pair with the wines. The antipasto course is a gazpacho made with yellow heirloom tomatoes, served with Demetria Estate’s 2013 Grenache Rosé and zucchini flower with mozzarella di bufala and the 2012 Chardonnay. Then comes a pasta course, olive gnocchi with octopus and cherry tomatoes, with the 2012 Pinot Noir. Seared lamb filet with fresh mint and melon is matched with  the 2011 Pantheon Rhone Blend. Finally, a cheese course is served with 2011 North Slope Syrah.

The dinner is $90 per person, including tax, tip and wines. Reservations can be made by phone with credit card pre-payment.

S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, (805) 691-9794, www.sykitchen.com.

a/k/a {An American Bistro}

On Wednesday, the awkwardly named a/k/a bistro in Pasadena is planning a 5-course wine dinner featuring the wines of Sonoma’s Chalk Hill and the Central Coast's Lincourt Vineyards. The first course is warm, fresh-pulled mozzarella with the 2012 Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc. Next comes the 2012 Chalk Hill Chardonnay and 2010 Lincourt Chardonnay facing off against Maryland blue crab cakes with summer slaw. The 2012 Lincourt “Lindsay’s” Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills will be poured with a cioppino with Alaskan black cod as the main player. The 2012 Chalk Hill Proprietary Red gets its own course, too, sliced rare New York strip with a Cabernet demi-glace, rainbow potatoes and grilled asparagus. Mmm, and the final course is an apricot/peach clafoutis served with white peach ice cream.

Actually, they’re doing a second dinner on Thursday, July 31st, with the same two wineries and an entirely different menu starring grilled Duroc pork tenderloin and braised all-natural beef short ribs. Call the restaurant for details.

The cost is $65 per person, including tax, tip and wines. Reservations are essential

a/k/a {An American Bistro}, 41 Hugus Alley, Pasadena; (626) 564-8111; www.akabistro.com.  

Warren’s Blackboard, North Hollywood

Thursday, Aug. 7, is the date of a wine dinner at Warren’s Blackboard in North Hollywood showcasing Graef Wine. The wines are very small production, from Napa Valley, but also from Lake County and Solano County, which don’t get nearly as much exposure as the more famous wine country. Winemaker Andrew Graef will be there to talk diners through the wines and explain more about how his winery works.

Chef Warren Schwartz (Westside Tavern, Saddle Peak Lodge) has planned a 4-course menu that includes fried zucchini blossoms with ricotta paired with Graef’s 2013 Rosé of Syrah followed by grilled calamari with chorizo and haricot vert with the unbaked 2012 Chardonnay. The main course is a choice grilled California sea bass or pan-roasted New York steak served with the 2012 Syrah. He’s pouring Graef’s 2013 Viognier with the cheese course.

The cost is $75 including tax, tip and wines. Since the table seats just 20, call ASAP to reserve a spot (secured by a credit card).

Warren’s Blackboard, Beverly Garland Hotel, 4222 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood (323)850-5558; www.warrensblackboard.com. 

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