Sunday, July 20, 2008

(Busy) Oenophile at Large: Aquaknox and Kyma

Apologies to those of you who have been waiting two whole weeks since my last post! Life has been crazy busy. As I mentioned in my profile, I'm an aspiring writer, and I actually had an agent take interest in my fantasy novel. She requested the entire manuscript, so I had to do some final revisions and get that off to her last week. In other exciting news, Hubby and I are now godparents! Our friends Logic Boy and Grammar Girl had their baby last week, an adorable little girl who is partially named after yours truly, and we're very excited. The new parents are going to have their work cut out for them, and not because of the kid. When we went to see them in the hospital, the in-laws and out-laws were in full advice mode, as we witnessed when Grammar Girl mentioned that their dog had stopped eating out of his bowl. Everyone had an opinion except us, and I admit, I couldn't resist noting that their dogs are much more finicky than our cats. Hubby is enjoying his new title of "Godfather," and I'm relieved that he's only tried to make me one offer I couldn't refuse (don't worry, it was a bribe, not a threat).

Even with all the excitement, I still had some good opportunities to explore some fine dining in our fair city. On July 10, I went to a dinner at Aquaknox. It's so hard to review restaurants when I go to these industry-sponsored dinners because we only get access to a limited menu, so please keep that in mind. The Salad Course was a Butter Lettuce and Herb Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, which the server described as "effervescent." It was good, but I'm not sure it warranted any long adjectives. I chose the Seared Day Boat Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Mushroom Pancetta Fricassee. The scallops were large and tender, and the whole dish worked well. Dessert was a chocolate lava cake-type thing. It was good, but I had to satisfy myself with the middle, which is the best part anyway, because I had a wine tasting to get to.
Score card:
Atmosphere: Everything is very modern and blue. The wine case is interesting. The restaurant is on the second floor of the building and a little maze-like.
Food: Very Good
Wine list: Unknown (not available online)
Wait staff: Good, at least the two we had for our group
Desserts: What I had was good; I've heard from others that the pastry chef is excellent
Vegetarian friendly? Not really, it's a seafood restaurant
Kid friendly? No
Would I go back? Yes

By the time I made it to JavaMonkey's "Big Ass Whites" tasting, I had already been drinking white wine all night and just couldn't take anymore. Granted, the Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay (Sonoma County) that I had been drinking to that point at Aquaknox was good, only mildly oaked and buttery but still fruity enough to be interesting. I just went with a glass of a current favorite, the Campos Reales Tempranillo.

Last Thursday, after meeting our new god-daughter, we went to Kyma to celebrate. While we waited at the bar, Hubby got a plain martini, and I got the Dionysus, which has flavors of grape and cranberry. He's always been one of my favorite Greek gods for a reason. We started with the Spanakopita, which was excellent. I had the Watermelon Salad, which is chunks of watermelon and feta with mint, basil, and chives topped with a watermelon sorbet. It was different, but light and flavorful with a good balance of salty and sweet. For dinner, I had the Grouper "lefkathitiki" which was, thankfully, much easier to eat than it was to spell. The fish was fresh, and the broth and leeks with clams and escargots was a good accompaniment. And now I can say that I've eaten snails! The wine list is mostly Greek wines, which I know very little about, so at the waiter's recommendation, we got a bottle of Koutsogiannopoulos, which is a white from the island of Santorini. Its citrus and acid character was good on its own and really good with the food, almost like it was made specifically for Greek food. Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake and banana wrapped in phyllo along with a small scoop of ice cream. By that time, I was stuffed, so I didn't finish the banana.
Score card:
Atmosphere: A little noisy, but nice
Food: Excellent
Wine list: Mostly Greek, but a nice variety
Wait staff: Very good; he disappeared occasionally, but they seemed a little short-staffed. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine list and didn't laugh at my attempts to pronounce the Greek words
Desserts: Very Good
Vegetarian friendly? Not really, again, it's a seafood-focused restaurant
Kid friendly? No, although there were some older ones there
Would I go back? Yes, and I'm going to try to get Hubby to do the appetizer sampler next time

This week, JavaMonkey will try to convince us that Rose wine is drinkable. Also, I'll be pouring wine at the Sherlock's tasting next Saturday, the 26th. Come and say hi!

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