Don’t be Sorry

Romangia Rosso, 2009

“In the vineyards and cellars we not have used synthetic chemicals in addition to sulfur. We have no added yeast, enzymes and all other aids winemaking. Not filtered. Not clarified. No Barriques. Give time to rest after shipping. Leave in to oxigenate in the glass. Probable remainings and CO2 are natural. Every bottle can be different. Ingredients: grape, sulfphites. Sorry but we dont’t follow the market, we produce wines thet we like, wines from our culture. They are what they are and not what you want them to be.”

Product of Italy
Entirely produced and bottled by Societa Agricola Badde Nigolosu SRL Sennori Italia

BOTW–Ovila Saison

Ovila Abbey Saison

For centuries, the monastic tradition has followed the Rule of St. Benedict–Ora et Labora (prayer and work.) This Saison farmhouse ale is in honor of the noble labor in which the monks engage. Hazy blonde in color, these rustic ales are designed to be complex and contemplative but also refreshign and drinkable after a day in the fields. With earthy and spice aromas this Saison has notes of green grass, and a faint citrus tang. The body is light and layered with fruit and spice accents and a dry, peppery, and refreshing finish. Released June 2011.

Sliced tomatoes, Basil, and vinaigrette.

Cap of the Saison. A very, very enjoyable beer. You’ll often catch me enjoying a small one of these when I’m off the clock after Savoy Night at Alembic Bar.

Steak rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices.

Heat that cast iron skillet up hot and sear the first side.

If you don’t set off the fire alarm, you’re doing it wrong.

Roasted potatoes, coming out of the oven.

After searing, we rest.

Tomatoes with Basil and Arugula in a Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Joseph Swan 2006 Zeigler Vineyard Zinfandel

According to winemaker Rod Berglund: “Noticeably sweeter with aromas of fresh blackberry cobbler. In the mouth it is a big wine with the richness and acidity of a light port. The fruit is bright and focused, and, like the Stellwagen, it has excellent balance. Great by itself, with cheese or with dessert. I can’t wait until the wild blackberries ripen as I am going to pick a bunch and make a blackberry cobbler to try with it. Yum!”

Cast Iron Seared Ribeyes, Braised Russian Kale, and oven roasted fingerling potatoes.

Who can resist a St. George Single Malt Whiskey Flavored Gelato Bar?

WOTW–Wild Hog 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir


Pumpkin Bolani with early girl tomatoes.

Pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables and braised russian kale.

Wild Hog 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

2007 Wild Hog Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir

From our own organic vineyard. This vintage is a bigger, more fruit driven wine than the 2006. Smooth,round mouth feel. Fruit, fruit, fruit. It’s bright and big. Delicious and big. A great vintage.

WOTW–Gypsy Boots

Romano Beans Roasted with Maitake Mushrooms, Garlic and Herbs.

Steelhead, ready to be topped with sauteed aromatic vegetables.

“I am trying to be patient with your shenanigans.”

Lighting the Candle.

When the beans and mushrooms were roasting, I added some Early Girl tomatoes from Two Dog Farms on top of them. Then I tossed them both with Frisee, sort of a vegetarian variation on the normal warm french salad. I was on the fence about adding cheese, but a poached egg would have been really nice. Still, a very tasty salad.

Souvenir from our last trip to New Orleans.

Michele was taken in by Winfred Wong’s glowing writeup of this wine on the BevMo shelf and the back label. “One travels the world over in search of what one needs and returns home to find it…the Sonoma Coast.” As much as I appreciate the sentiment, and as much as I do like the Sonoma Coast, Gypsy Boots’ Pinot Noir was really not very good. Barely above “plonk” level. At least it was not expensive.

“No, really, I am being very, very patient with your goofiness, and I would like some fish, please.”

Steelhead braised with aromatic vegetables, quinoa pilaf.


It’s funny, a lot of my friends got the Momofuku cookbook and the first thing they tried to make was the ridiculously complicated Ramen recipe.

To me, though, the first thing that stood out was the Bo Ssäm.

All you do is order a pork shoulder from your favorite butcher, say Avedano’s Holly Park Market. Make a sugar and salt rub for a pork shoulder.

Let it sit in your fridge for a day or two. I will warn you, the smell of the semi cured pork shoulder will draw neighborhood dogs. Ignore their pleading eyes and throw it in the oven at 300F.

Get the rest of your dinner in order, like a Plum Frangiapani tart from Mission Pie.

Baste the roasts every hour. Really, who needs air fresheners when you can slow roast a pork shoulder?

And something like 6 hours later, you have a delicious dinner. This was about half way.

Discussing exactly how much longer for the roast. Seemed pretty tender to the fork.

Have some friends over who know how to shuck oysters.

Get set up…

Have them teach you how to shuck.

Though you have to be careful not to stab yourself.

Get rolling on the shucking…

Have some friends over who make beer. My favorite comment of the evening: “You have no idea how hot it is watching my Jewish wife learn to shuck oysters.”

Heck, it never hurts to have a scientist around to remind you about the potential dangers of eating raw shellfish…

Unfortunately, after this things got a little greasy and somehow none of the rest of the photos turned out. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.


Spatchcocked Chicken, rubbed with Sage and Spring Onions.

Started Roasting some small yellow potatoes with a couple Rosemary Sprigs. When the potatoes started showing some color, I removed the Rosemary sprigs. Put the chicken on top and roasted until done.

Side dish is a spicy succotash of corn, chard leaves, chard stems, and onions. Made a pan gravy with the drippings.

Served with a bottle of Navarro Vineyard‘s delicious table wine, Navarrouge.


First, just a reminder that Sunday, August 28, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Friends gave us a bunch of really awesome Meyer Lemons. What better to do than to turn them into Lemon Merengue Pie?

Stillwater Autumnal

This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish.

I hadn’t researched a lot about Stillwater, aside from trying a couple of their bottles when I saw them in liquor stores. Interestingly, turns out, the brewer is a “Gypsy Brewer”. He rents overflow capacity from breweries and then visits and brews collaborative brews with them.

‘Gypsy Brewer’ Spreads Craft Beer Gospel (on npr)

We’d tried their sage spiked Saison Cellar Door before, but I think we liked Autumnal even more. It was pleasing and easy to drink.

Risking life, limb and fingertips running some amazing patty pan squash through the ceramic mandolin.

Balsamic vinaigrette, marjoram, arugula, and small tomatoes.

On the plate!

Roasted a pork tenderloin on top of a winter squash with onions and potatoes.

Got advice on this wine from one of the wine guys at K&L Wines. 29 Songs is a big ass Northern California Syrah, juicy and delicious. The wine guy suggested it, “wasn’t exactly a food wine,” but we enjoyed it with our dinner anyway.

Unfortunately, the lemon meringue pie didn’t turn out quite as well as I was hoping. For some reason the custard didn’t quite set. On the other hand, the Meringue was awesome. Ah well, nothing wrong with Lemon flavored version of, “œufs à la neige” in a pie crust! Great dinner anyway!


The Bruery Mischief

Mischief is a Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale. This wickedly good golden ale is fiendishly dry-hopped with American hops to add a layer of complexity and mystery to its fruity, dry Belgian-style character. Citrus and resin diabolically combine with ripe melon, pear and slight peppery spice in a precariously effervescent mixture. Enjoy it, but you’ll want to keep an eye out.

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 35

Of the hopped Belgian-style ales we’ve tried lately, Mischief stood out for its subtle use of hops and not too sweet character. While not as dry as the Thiriez Extra, this is a pleasant American take on the Belgian style. I’d definitely buy this one again.

Chopped squash.

Israeli Couscous!

Asparagus for roasting.

“Will any of that Pancetta fall on the floor perchance?” Monty asks.

Sauteing the veggies for the Couscous dish.

This dinner was a little schizo: Jerk seasoned roast pork tenderloin. Israeli Couscous with pancetta and kabocha squash. Roast asparagus with tarragon and lemon.

Seems unlikely, but somehow it worked. The Joseph Swann Zinfandel even worked as a pairing. Strange.

BOTW–Ovila Dubbel

First, just a reminder that Sunday, June 26, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Purple Potatoes and Garlic roasted with Rosemary.

Ovila Dubbel.

Sierra Nevada is producing this beer in association with the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA, about 20 Miles from Chico. They are planning on releasing three, all called Ovila. The first is this Dubbel. It is quite tasty, a fairly traditional Belgian in style, not a modern reinterpretation. Glad to see Sierra Nevada producing so many new and interesting experiments, along with their regular offerings. Later this year they will release a Saison and a Quadrupel.

Ovila Abbey Ales: Sierra Nevada Update

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these beers will go toward the restoration of the historic Ovila chapter house building on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California, just a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. This medieval chapter house was begun in 1190 near the village of Trillo, Spain. Monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey, dismantled it stone-by-stone, and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking reconstruction of the historic abbey.

Mrs. Flannestad got a little obsessed with Blueberries this week and purchased a whole lot, so she made a Blueberry Buckle with some of them.

Five Dot Ribeyes, ready for grilling.

Fresh Porcini Mushrooms sauteed with shallots and deglazed with Sherry.

First Flip.

First Turn.


One more Flip.

Monty would like some steak, please.

Grilled Ribeyes, Roasted Potatoes, and braised greens.

Buckle for dessert.


Over the years we’ve tried a few Hopped American Beers in an Belgian style and even a few Belgian Beers inspired by American Ales. I believe this is the first hopped French Saison we’ve run across, though the inspiration is more English than American.

It appears to be imported into the US by Shelton Brothers, who have a page about it on their website, Thiriez EXTRA:

This particular beer is an interesting joint effort with an English brewery. It uses one hop varietal, a rather unusual hop grown in Kent called ‘Bramling Cross.’ The malt is from 2-row spring barley grown in France. (The English brewer is brewing to the same recipe, with the same ingredients, for sale in the U.K., under the French name.) The result has certain characteristics of an English bitter: it’s not too strong, very dry, and eminently drinkable.

And the brewery Thiriez itself has this to say about the beer:

Initialement nommée “les Frères de la Bière”, elle est le fruit d’un partenariat avec un brasseur anglais, John Davidson de la Swale Brewery, dans le cadre d’un projet Interreg.
Blonde, légère en alcool, un houblon aromatique du Kent, utilisé très généreusement lui confère son caractère unique..

“Dès l’attaque, l’amertume est là, puissante, enrobante,bien associée au malt. Structure moelleuse, bien maltée et sans lourdeur. Du houblon à l’état nature envahit le palais. Les amateurs vont en raffoler”

Bière Magazine mars-avril 2006

Exportée au USA sous le nom de Thiriez EXTRA

Quite a head on that one! I apologize to the beer geeks in the audience. Well the gentlemen at the shop did warn me to have a glass ready when I opened the bottle. Definitely one of those which would need to be poured very, very carefully to get the appropriate 3/4 inch head.

In any case, this is another selection from Healthy Spirits, I was in the mood for a Saison last Friday afternoon, and this was their recommendation. To quote, “My favorite Saison nobody is buying.” I totally agree with just about everything the Shelton Bros website has to say about this beer, pleasant, interesting character, not too strong. The sort of beer, in an ideal world, you could drink all afternoon while watching the grass grow or weeding the garden in France or Belgium.

Oven braised Steelhead filet baked on top of lemon slices, with fresh tarragon.

Mrs. Flannestad purchased a large amount of Blueberries at the Alemany Farmers’ Market, with the hopes of making a Clafoutis. We found a recipe for Blueberry and Nectarine Clafoutis on epicurious, and she made it with peaches. Delicious.

Monty is (n)ever patient.

Merry Edwards 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The wine is a mirror, clearly reflecting a pure fruit focus, characteristic of this vintage. Luminescent ruby in color, its attractive aroma is perfumed with a mouthwatering medley of cola, red raspberries, plums and blueberries. Exotic Indian spices, a touch of earth and vanilla bean add complex accents. This elegant Pinot shows an invitingly rich entry. The refined mid-palate is soft, round and supple followed by a finish that offers balanced, restrained tannins. Appealing now, this wine will surprise you with its development – the cool area parentage ensures subtle integration of flavors with increased depth and body over time.

An all right wine. Definitely fruit forward. It was just too big for the Steelhead prepration I had decided on. Rose or a hearty white might have been more appropriate.

Red Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots, Spring Onions, and Pine Nuts. Tomatero Farms Lacinto Kale with caramelized onions. I had an idea with the kale to cut the kale stems and caramelize them with the onions. I always like roasted brassicas, and this turned out similar and quite delicious.