To say it was a pleasure to attend Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar’s Chef and Winemaker Dinner with Honig Wines is an understatement. It was unexpected, fun, delightful and you really do owe it to yourself to reserve a spot at a future wine event. Wine dinners are so awesome because you get a delicious tasting menu to accompany the featured wines provided by the winemaker (who will be there in person or at least represented). In this case, Michael Honig of Honig Vineyard, Napa Valley, shared with us 5 signature wines from his family vineyard and Chef Tim Grandinetti had a thoughtful tasting of small plates and entrees to show off these wines (and vice versa).
We gathered before the dinner in the bar where Sister Foodie and I got to chit chat with the chef, Mr. Honig and other “foodies” who were excited about this sampling. Chef Tim also invited several of his farmers who provide him with so many of the local foods on his menu and inspire that farm to table experience. It is such a casual and easy time with plenty of excitement in the air because we know what’s to come…”foodieliciousness!
The first course was Shrimp, Scallops, Clams, & Mussels en Papillote (see the little bag?) enhanced with Smoked Shallots, Roasted Garlic, & Herbs. It was paired with Honig’s signature Sauvignon Blanc, which is marvelous and beautifully displayed in an artistic bottle. I don’t have a picture of the bottle and I’d place an image right HERE if I knew I wouldn’t be subject to copyright issues.
Spring House’s mussels are awesome and the clams were plump and perfectly sweet. Add a little shrimp and scallop for good measure and you have a winner.
What is Chicken Mousseline? It probably doesn’t sound like something you’d want to order, but you should! Pureed meat with some type of egg or cream. It looks like a chicken loaf. This was very light and filled with flavor from the herbs. It was enhanced with Foie Gras and some candied pistachios and sat upon a beautiful speckled spinach from Shore Farm in Yadkinville. The citrus pistachio vinaigrette was very light and tangy. This course was served with Honig’s Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc. I preferred this more intense wine but both were wonderful.
Yellow Wolf Farm’s Rabbit
Goat Cheese Gnocchi (served on a “schmear” of carrot puree, because “rabbits like carrots” –quoting the chef)
Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
LOVED LOVED LOVED. I need not say more. There are a couple of local restaurants showing off their rabbit skills. Chef Tim has a wonderful rabbit story from his “Chopped” (Food Network) episode. I don’t want to say rabbit tastes like chicken. It kind of tastes like that with a bit of turkey or pork thrown in. Doesn’t matter! Chef Tim’s braised rabbit was awesome. It was paired with a smokey and chocolatey 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon which apparently is now hard to come by. The next day Spring House’s special was Deep Fried Rabbit. I bet you hate you missed it. I know I do.
Adam Musick’s Pork, served with a puree of NC sweet potatoes enhanced with honey and truffle oil. And look! Spring House’s own broccoli. Chef Tim grew it in their own garden.
Bartolucci Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
This pork was like home cooking and was tender and served with a beautiful cabernet and marsala reduction. The button mushrooms were perfect and the broccoli (a bit lonely) was sitting there so proud. I say lonely because I really love broccoli but it’s a tasting and we don’t need a cup of cruciferous veggies, though Dr. Sears would approve, I’m sure. The Bartolucci Cab was wonderful and bold and fruity and intense. And…hard to come by. This was a special occasion according to the winemaker. I WISH I had bought some there. I don’t know if it was an option, as they say it’s pretty much sold out, but I could drink it again. Very pleasant…it transported me to a mahogany-rich lounge.
And finally, what would a tasting be without dessert?
Pineapple Grits Cake
Shore Farm’s Pumpkin Ice Cream
Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
This dessert was not new to me as I enjoyed it as my birthday cake a few weeks ago on my very first visit to Spring House. The Pineapple Grit Cake is a MUST TRY at Spring House. It still has the texture of cake but with the complexity of grits so you get a heartier cake. It was served with Shore Farm’s pumpkin ice cream. I took 3 pictures of this dessert during our wine dinner but none of them ended up in my phone. Technology! So here’s what it looks like from my first visit. It was the SAME size as the normal portion….way more than a taste. It was served with a very intense Honig Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc in a beautiful slender bottle. This wine is delicious, but a little too sweet for me at dessert, at least. But some people will love it and I bet it is really good with something spicy. There’s a picture of it at the beginning of the post, but here it is again in case you are feeling lazy and don’t feel like scrolling.
Many of our local restaurants have lovely wine dinners like this. The cost varies from restaurant to restaurant…usually $50-75 per person. If you think about what you get with the multiple courses and the wine plus the wonderful attention to detail at each table, it’s very much worth it. It is fun and friendly, yet intimate and relaxing. You also will probably taste foods that you’d never dream of ordering, maybe not have the nerve to try. That’s why I think you OWE it to yourself to try a wine dinner. These are wonderful opportunities to get to know the owners and/or chef and find out what makes them tick and why they love to cook and what makes them crazy or sane. I love meeting the men and women behind the dream. Here’s Chef Tim and co-owner, Mr. Lynn Murphy…
Don’t they look they had fun?
Stay on the lookout for postings about special Happenings on Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar’s website and don’t forget, there are only a few more weeks left of the Big Eat where restaurants like Spring House offer 50% off signature entrees on Tuesdays.
450 North Spring Street, Winston-Salem, NC
For more information about Honig Wine (you might recognize their vineyard landscape on the interior of their Sauvignon Blanc)…www.honigwine.com. You can also find them by the bottle at Spring House or local retailers.
Thanks, Chef Tim for a wonderful and fun evening!