Location: Downtown LA
Date: July 11, 2015
Cuisine: Modern Filipino
Rating: Really fabulous flavors
Liz Lee of Sage Society put together this special popup dinner at the apartment of chef Charles Olalia.
His downtown apartment plays host to the dinner for 13.
The menu is essentially Filipino comfort food reinvented through Charles’ fine dining experiences.
It should be noted that this was a BYOB event with most people bring roughly 2 bottles. They were loosely organized by course. Liz brought a whole bunch of great champagnes like…
NV Robert Moncuit Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 91. Pale gold. Pungent, mineral-laced aromas of pear, honey, lemon pith and white flowers. Densely packed orchard and citrus fruit flavors are enlivened by chalky minerality and a hint of ginger. Refreshingly bitter and precise on the finish, with the mineral note strongly repeating.
Amuse of toast with onion jelly and green onion. A nice crunch and sweet onion flavors.
2009 Bochet-Lemoine Champagne. A bit richer than the first one.
2005 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. VM 95. The 2005 Dom Pérignon opens with the classic Dom Pérignon bouquet. Warm toasty notes meld into expressive fruit in a supple, silky Champagne endowed with stunning depth, nuance and complexity. Sweet floral notes add lift as the wine opens up in the glass. Overall, the 2005 is a relatively delicate, gracious DP, but what it lacks in depth it more than makes up with persistence and its open, totally inviting personality. Today it’s hard to see the 2005 making old bones, but it is a gorgeous wine to drink while the 2004 ages. In 2005, the release is scheduled to last about six months, which means production is down around 50% over normal levels. All I can say is the 2005 is fabulous, especially in a vintage that required considerable sorting to eliminate rampant rot in the Pinots.
Duck egg with uni. Yum! Plays up both these ingredients.
The pandesal or salt bread. The outside is a bit salty but the inside nice and sweet.
And it is served with this sweet distillate of coconut milk, basically a coconut caramel.
Coco jam. Really fabulous with the bread.
1999 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Cuvée Creation. VM 93. A big, explosive wine, the 1999 Brut Cuvée Création is gorgeous today. Perhaps it is the extra time in bottle or the magnum format, but the 1999 has really come along nicely over the last few years. Yellow stone fruits, licorice, flowers and spices are all framed by French oak in a voluptuous, full-bodied Champagne that should drink well for the better part of the next decade. Disgorged: December 2012.
2005 Domaine Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos St. Jean. Burghound 93. Chez Niellon, among his 1ers I almost always find the best in class to be either the Clos Truffiàre or the Champs Gain but much to my surprise, in 2005 that distinction goes to this wine. The nose is wonderfully complex and broad with ripe but reserved floral, citrus and menthol hints introducing rich, full and intensely mineral-driven flavors that coat the mouth on the explosive finish. This is an exceptionally impressive effort that will age beautifully on its impeccable balance.
agavin: I wouldn’t have thought this was a white Burg. It had a golden premoxy color, but didn’t taste premoxed — more like a mature Cal Chard.
2003 E. Guigal Ermitage Blanc Ex-Voto. VM 96. Medium gold. Incredibly complex bouquet of yellow plum, dried apricot, peach, floral honey, yellow Chartreuse, blonde tobacco and anise (among other things). Deeply concentrated and almost surreal in its expression of honeyed, ripe and dried fruits; its sappy, clinging texture; and its powerful impression of extract. The endless finish is surprisingly bright, with no tiring or cloying qualities. This should be served in homeopathic doses, such is its intensity and depth of flavor.
agavin: very gold and complex. I continue to have mixed opinions about these white hermitages. I have a moderate collection of them, but they might be too intense and hot for my taste.
Summer tomato salad. Salted egg, scallions, rice crisp. According to fellow Foodie Club founder and Filipino Erick, this is traditionally a condiment eaten with rice and salted with the salted egg. Here it is served as a salad. The vinegar and salted egg helped really compensate for the sweetness of the tomatoes to give it a very nice balance.
1989 Château-Grillet (Neyret-Gachet) Château-Grillet. 93 points. A bit closed in the beginning, the wine opened up with time in decanter. Intense mineral nose of flint, stone, white pepper, some beeswax, stone fruit. Very clear and impressive depth. In the mouth the wine is medium + body with some fatness in the beginning. The acidity is high giving perfect contrast to the fatness. Lively, vibrant with intense aromas in the mouth. Length is long with mineral, salivating finish. My first old Château Grillet and this wine really need patience in contrast with many other Viognier from Condrieu.
agavin: our bottle had a touch of cork.
2013 Caro’s Ridge Chardonnay Cavalleri. Hot hot cal chard. Not my thing at all.
Avocado Ravioli. Fried anchovies, black rice, lemon aioli. I really liked the salty/fishy crunch of the anchovies. I could munch on them as a snack food.
From my cellar: 1999 Louis Jadot Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 91. Big, powerful and rich aromatics of honey, oak spice and limestone merging into intense, medium weight flavors and a penetrating, relatively fine finish. While not especially big or complex by the standards of classic Bâtard, it is quite intense with beautifully textured, luxuriant, almost opulent flavors.
agavin: 93-94 points. Rounded, as seems typical for 99. Honied almost. Drinking very nicely.
2003 Henri Boillot Chevalier-Montrachet. Burghound 93. The nose is ultra elegant and pure with virtually no trace of oak yet curiously, the crystalline and mineral-driven flavors presently display more than a trace of wood toast. That niggle aside, this is an explosive effort with near perfect balance and huge length. This is my favorite of all the Boillot ’03s, not because it is necessarily qualitatively superior but in terms of sheer class it has no equal.
agavin: More minerality than the Batard. Very very nice.
Longsilog. Creamed rice, soft cooked egg, caramelized longganisa. This redefined Filipino breakfast food was pretty awesome (and I’m sure the original greasier version is too). The sausage was both spicy and sweet and paired awesomely with the rice and eggs. A 9 or 10 by my book.
2011 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs. VM 95. Savory aromas of cling peach, wild herbs and lemon peel. Luscious passion fruit and saline minerality form infinite layers on the palate. Densely packed, elegant and spicy on the dazzling finish, this is without doubt one of the three best dry rieslings of the vintage. Hats off!
agavin: Awesome. 95 points. Laced with grapefruit peel.
1997 Marcassin Chardonnay E Block Hudson Vineyard. 94 points. Golden color;fresh baked bread, light vanilla,nutmeg bouquet;subtle tangerine,lime flavors,complex, creme brulee flavors become stronger with time; unlike younger Marcassin’s this has very lively crisp acid in the finish- very Burgundian in it’s light touch instead of usual Calif heaviness; no hotness on the finish, just slowly fades to brioche.
Another Liz champy: NV Krug Champagne Brut Rosé. Burghound 94. Medium rosé hue. A restrained and highly complex nose, that is not especially fruity, displays a moderate yeast character along with slightly exotic aromas of mandarin orange and Asian tea, all wrapped in an enveloping array of beguiling rose petal scents. There is very good richness with a relatively soft supporting mousse that adds to the impression of richness to the superbly complex and highly textured flavors, indeed one could aptly describe this as more wine that Champagne. As such this is indeed a sumptuous Krug rosé and as such, while this could be drunk now with much pleasure or held for further development; it is going to be extremely difficult to stay away from! In short this is stunningly good and should only serve to add to the mystique of this cuvée. I should note that while I am not always wowed by the Krug Rosé this latest incarnation is strikingly good.
agavin: really nice, and a great pair.
Santa Barbara Prawns. Glass noodles, shrimp roe. Another perfect dish. The prawns were moist and succulent with yummy roe and prawn guts. All this soaked down into the glass noodles. They were baked perfectly such that a crispy layer formed at the bottom of the pan and could be scrapped off to enjoy.
F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Reserve Dürnsteiner Kellerberg. Missed the vintage, but it was very good.
2001 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Clos Windsbuhl. VM 90. Highly aromatic nose combines candied apple, mint, lime and a suggestion of banana chips. Dense, rich and chewy, with spiced apple and light resiny flavors over a firm mineral spine. Gives a softer, less adamantly dry impression than the Clos Hauserer but finishes with palate-cleansing freshness.
Steamed Black Cod. Lumpia Vegetables, soy garlic sauce. Super tender fish served over a mixture of the vegetables usually used in lumpia, Filipino spring rolls. Very nice.
From my cellar: 1996 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fontenys. agavin 91. Nice lively ruby in the glass, the nose had notes of black pepper, roasted meats and lots of cherry – the palate was dense with a real iron/meat character to it, alongside some evident tannins- a fairly big wine.
2002 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Petite Chapelle. Burghound 89. Gorgeous crushed red fruit aromas lead to slightly dilute if seductive flavors underpinned by relatively fine tannins and a dusty finish. There is very good intensity here and if the flavors add weight, my score may be conservative.
What Filipino dinner would be complete without some suckling pig? In this case just the belly!
Lechon Cebu. Lemongrass, On Choi, Liver jus. Look at those fatty slabs. Served over rice and smothered in the rich liver sauce this was pretty incredible, although about 80% of the way through my slab I hit a wall of intense fullness. The skin was BBQed to that perfect crisp too.
1993 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. Burghound 92. Earthy, deep and wonderfully fresh fruit leads to dense, solidly tannnic, beautifully delineated and focused, rich flavors of exceptional purity and length. While the finish is firm, it is by no means hard and there is excellent buffering sève all underpinned by vibrant acidity. There is plenty of wine here but this is a wine for the patient and it should live for years to come.
2010 Caro’s Ridge Malbec. Rounded, big, hot, young Malbec. Not really a pairing for anything we were eating, but would have been a nice grilled meat wine.
Bulalo. Braised mushrooms, bok choi, bone marrow broth. For a bone marrow soup dish this was surprisingly “light” and incredibly tasty simple broth.
2011 Saracco Moscato d’Asti. VM 90. Saracco’s 2011 Moscato d’Asti wraps around the palate with serious depth and richness. Green apples, pears and white flowers flow through to the expressive, nuanced finish. Like most wines of the vintage, the 2011 is richer than normal, but there is no shortage of personality or pure class here.
agavin: I loved this frothy blend of fruit and aromatics. Really quiet nice.
1998 Müller-Catoir Mußbacher Eselshaut Riesling Eiswein. variously 94-98. Lemon candy and pear drops in the nose. Juicy and elegant in the mouth, featuring pear nectar and peach preserve, with just a faint sharpness to the acids. Finishes with peach, vanilla and mineral salts.
agavin: a much more classic intense sweet wine, very different from the Moscato.
Iced Buko. Macapuno, sweet red bean, micro greens. Basically a coconut sorbet popsicle served over sweet candied red beans. Pretty awesome actually.
The chef and his lovely wife.
Family members helped out.
Overall, this was a really fabulous meal (as always when Liz Lee is involved). Certainly the best Filipino food I’ve had. Charles really took it to the next level with better ingredients and presentation than the usual buffet action I’m used to. That being said, I’ve never been to the Filipines itself where I’m sure there is much excellent eating to be had. But even independent of these relative judgments this was just a very good, very lively meal.
We had a fun time with the wine too. At Liz’s request Charles toned down certain of the wine phobic ingredients (garlic and vinegar) to pair better with our exotic mix.