Restaurant: Phong Dinh [1, 2]
Location: 2643 San Gabriel Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770. (626) 307-8868
Date: May 19, 2013
The parade of culinary adventures with my Hedonist club continues as we hit the San Gabriel Valley again, this time for some authentic Vietnamese.
The interior is nothing to write home about.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine Collotte Bourgogne Rosé Marsannay. This is one of my go-to roses, as it’s all Pinot Noir from Burgundy. A wonderful sunny weather wine, it paired very nicely with the sweet and sour tones of the food. There were a few rose-haters as usual, but this really is a great wine, bright and full of strawberry flavors.
1990 Poniatowski Vouvray Moelleux Aigle Blanc. Medium golden color. Rich with glyceral palate feel, pear-like fruit, not too sweet, adequate acidity, and just a touch of sherry on the finish. Holding up very well and a real bargain although it lacks the complexity and zingy acidity that the best wines of this vintage possess. Far from dull though.
There are various condiments. Mint and basil.
And these rice paper “pancakes” that are softened in hot water. Not pictured are two kinds of fish sauce and thin rice noodles (you can see them below).
You put this together as you like and do your best to roll into a pancake. It’s scrumptious, absolutely delicious, but messy.
2009 Domaine de la Denante St. Véran.
Crispy squab. Very tasty, almost sweet.
From my cellar: 2005 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Pèzerolles. Burghound 91-93. This is an extremely stylish wine that combines both elegance and purity with precise, supple and rich flavors underpinned by obvious minerality, all wrapped in penetrating and transparent finish. I very much like this and while it’s not overly dense, the purity and transparency are impressive.
Our leader, Yarom, shot up some pheasant the day before and brought it in for cooking.
But tasty enough cooked up in wine sauce almost like a coq au vin! So pheasant au vin!
Someone even found a bit of leftover buckshot!
2006 Flowers Pinot Noir Frances Thompson Vineyard. Burghound 86. An interesting nose of fresh red berry fruit with nuances of cinnamon and clove introduces rich, round, supple and attractively intense flavors that display an unusually sharp acid tang on the short finish. Perhaps this will round out but I have my doubts.
2008 Flowers Pinot Noir Andreen-Gale Cuvée Sonoma Coast. Better than the older bottle, with a bit of a bacony vibe.
Sweet and sour crab. Really first class crab. The sauce was fabulous and it was very tender.
Cabbage Chinese style. Pretty tasty too, even for a vegetable.
2003 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir. 92 points. Extremely smooth, with resolved tannins on the palate. Tart, but not too tart cherry flavors. Certainly characteristics of the Sonoma Coast, but not with a ton of minerality. That smoothness sets it apart from some of the stonier Sonoma Coast wines that I’m used to (and like). Very hearty. I also picked up brighter, lighter fruits as I drank more: strawberries and raspberries.
Snails in curry. This spicy coconut curry cream sauce was amazing. You had to suck the meat out of the snails, which was cool, and there was plenty of sauce to drip over rice.
2008 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva. 85 points. Ruby, medium body, balanced much better than typical Spanish red in that price range. Medium dry without a trace of the catchy sweetness which is so appealing to less sophisticated wine drinkers. Reminiscent of Cotes-du-Rhone. Goes well with any food except for very delicate fish and sea food. Will never overwhelm, but rather complement most meats.
Crispy deep fried quail. Really tasty.
2005 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 95+. The 2005 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape, this estate’s strongest vintage since 1998, has put on serious weight since last year. Dense ruby/purple-colored with an exquisite perfume of black raspberries, kirsch, ground pepper, and incense, this full-bodied, powerful, concentrated wine reveals fabulous purity as well as a finish that lasts over 45 seconds. Purchasers of this beauty will need patience.
French style beef. Tender and oh so good.
2006 Glaetzer Amon Ra. Parker 94. Deep garnet, the 2006 Amon-Ra opens with a really earthy, meaty and gamey nose scented of slightly burnt toast, tar, licorice and after a few minutes a little menthol. Full and rich, the palate has dried mulberries and spice flavors alongside very crisp acid, medium levels of chewy tannins before finishing long.
Pork curry. This had a cumin and turmeric thing going on and was delicious.
Coconut gelatin dessert. Cool and refreshing.
There was also a dessert Gewürztraminer that I forgot to photo. Bummer, it was very nice.
Overall, Phong Dinh was really great. Nearly every dish was excellent and some of them (like the fish, quail, and snails) were through the roof delicious.
Afterward, some of us sobered up nearby over a cheap (but good) foot massage and this amazing “Mango Snow Drift.” It’s mango, mango ice cream, and shaved ice drenched in sweetened condensed milk! Such is the Hedonist life!
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