Restaurant: Phong Dinh [1, 2, 3, 4]
Location: 107 E Valley blvd, San Gabriel, Ca, 91776. (626) 307-8868
Date: December 18, 2016
My Hedonist club has hit up Phong Dinh several times before. This authentic Vietnamese/Chinese continues to serve up interesting stuff — plus they’re happy to take some of Yarom’s “do it yourself” meats, like both boar, deer, and pheasant he shot recently.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault. VM 90. The 2011 Meursault is quite beautiful, even if it shows some tightness from its recent bottling. White peach, pear and spice notes all wrap around an energetic frame. I very much like the way the 2011 opens up in the glass. The Comtes Lafon Meursault is now a blend of various parcels, mostly Clos de la Baronne, En la Barre, Luraules and Crotos.
Cold plate. A super epic cold plate with boar sausage (from a boar Yarom shot), jellyfish, shrimp and mustard/mayo, weird cold cuts, and other Chinese/Vietnamese delectables.
Fish sauce. You can’t have enough fish sauce!
There are various condiments. Mint and basil. Veggies.
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 all this together with the fish as you like and do your best to roll into a pancake. It’s scrumptious, absolutely delicious, but messy.
2003 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese. 92 points. Aromas and flavors of blueberry, blackberry and honey combine here with woodsmoke, black tea, nut oil and subtly stony nuances. The wine is rich and full, with its slight sense of heat enhancing the effect of distilled fruit concentration and smoky pungency. The finishing effect is long and noticeably sweet.
My attempt at a fish burrito didn’t stick together so well.
Someone else with a lot more experience rolled up this larval form.
2010 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde. VM 93. Deep ruby. Powerful aromas of dried cherry, blackberry and licorice, with a suave floral pastille nuance in the background. Densely packed bitter cherry and dark berry preserve flavors show a refreshingly bitter edge and pick up spicecake and dark chocolate qualities with air. Dusty tannins come in late and give shape to the finish, which clings with superb tenacity and a resonating floral quality. Shows the power and structure of this outstanding vintage to full effect but comes off as polished and, I daresay, approachable.
Goat chops. Amazing, tender, and tons of BBQ (char) flavor.
2014 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman. 88 points.
Snails in coconut 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 or noodles.
2005 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva. VM 92. Deep ruby. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red fruit preserves, vanilla, mocha and fresh flowers, with a hint of pipe tobacco coming up with air. Sappy and broad on entry, then more taut in the middle, with sweet cherry-vanilla and spicecake flavors given lift by juicy acidity. Closes smooth, spicy and long, with lingering smokiness and fine-grained tannins adding grip. A touch more lively than the excellent 2004 version of this wine and of equal quality, which makes it an outstanding value in old-school Rioja.
agavin: our bottle was a little funky.
Marinated pork. Raw. From the boar Yarom shot.
This raw pork was cooked by us table-side like at Totoraku.
From my cellar: 2002 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. VM 92. Medium-deep red. Superripe nose dominated by smoky, earthy soil tones. Silky on entry, then rich, succulent and deep, with very sweet red fruit and mineral flavors building impressively on the back half. Finishes ripely tannic and long. Like a few other Jadot ’02s, this shows terrific early sweetness but also has the structure to age. A very strong vintage for this cuvee
Roast pigeon or quail. Pigeon I think.
With crispy rice cakes.
Ginger lobster. Very much a Southern Chinese style dish.
2011 Mollydooker Cabernet Sauvignon Gigglepot. 91 points.
Overall, another epic Hedonist Asian adventure. Good food, great prices, fun wines, and a whole lot of us. What more could you ask for?
We headed over to Salju for dessert. This one was with mochi and mango.
My usual passion fruit, but this time with rainbow jelly.
And a black sesame.
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