We celebrated Halloween in Sacramento last night by locking up our house in Land Park, snapping off the lights and heading downtown to Ella Dining Room and Bar, banishing the bowl of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and individually wrapped Twizzlers to the pantry. The question, seriously, is not really who will tear into the bag of Reese’s, it’s when. And how long it will take for the Twizzlers to vanish. I vote that my husband take all the candy to his office at the State, which would clearly help to light the fuse on any escalating situation through a sugar high.
I can picture my husband saying: “Do you really want to say that to the press? Here, have a Peanut Butter Cup, Mr. Peanutbutter.”
Fortunately for me I had already reviewed online the exceptional cabernet choices available at Ella prior to our arrival. You know, sometimes for balance you’ve got to have a little food with your wine. Since this was the last day of the month, it was also the last day of October Steak Month at Ella. It seemed only fitting to start with the grilled beef tongue, which is pictured above. This is the most incredible dish. I could have licked clean the plate with 3 more servings, it was that mouthwatering and delectable. Not at all the way my mother used to make it, and let me add that the only reason we ate beef tongue when I was a kid was because it was cheap in the 1950s.
What I did not expect was the spicy kick from the togarashi and the sweetness of the egg finish. I was still plucking the mustard shoots off my plate with my fingers and sucking them into my mouth as the server whisked away my plate. I paired this dish with a 21-year-old French Bordeaux, the 1994 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, from Pauillac. A super cumbersome name but awesome experience. This blend of merlot and cab truly soared, zinged, snapped, chopped and could no way be mistaken for a Napa Cabernet, with an exotic rich taste of earthiness and beautiful black fruit.
My husband chose the grilled romanesco, which is sort of a green, pointy vegetable, similar to cauliflower but a bit more root-ness in flavor, accentuated by a smidgeon of chili and a generous dollop of creamy, grilled Manchego cheese. This is the cheese of sheep, originating in a specific region of Spain, and yet another reason to look forward to our visit to Barcelona next summer. Incredible aged sheep cheese! We shared both of our first courses, including the roasted mushroom and chestnut soup that followed because we still needed to finish our entree, which proved impossible anyway.
We both ordered the 28-day dry aged grilled American buffalo ribeye because we honestly could not help ourselves. It was right there on the menu in front of our faces. Medium rare. The only thing that could have enhanced this dish was the 2012 Ghost Block Estate cab from Napa, and it did not disappoint. Fruity, bold and big flavors rounded it out. 14 ounces of beef proved to be a bit much for a woman who tries to limit her intake to 2 – 3 ounces, so we boxed it up to take home. Which was not tee-peed due to Halloween in Sacramento, thank goodness.
Depending on how hectic today evolves around my Sacramento real estate business, I might need to steal an hour to find the best online wine prices for that Bordeaux. After all, I acquired an extra hour last night due to the time change, right? See, much as I resist the time change to fall back and all, there is a silver lining.