Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Honeymoon: Recipe, Newberg OR

Wednesday May 1, Newberg OR

Though I swore we wouldn't go to Recipe because I emailed them about a tasting some weeks ago and received nary a response, we ended up walking in anyway because nearly everybody we met urged us to reconsider. We didn't have any firm plans for dinner Wednesday evening and even though I was up for doing something light, Ann really wanted to go to Recipe, so we did.

And after we were seated and asked if they could do an impromptu tasting, it became clear that Sherry Simmons from Willakenzie had already called and let them know my displeasure about not having my email returned. When she and we were discussing places to eat, Recipe was the first place she recommended and I explained to her why I wasn't considering eating there. Apparently she picked up the phone and let them know about it. It turns out that Recipe chef Paul Bachand was the chef for Willakenzie in the past and there seems to be still a pretty tight connection: Willakenzie's wines are well represented on Recipe's list. I'm not sure how we all connected the dots, but the dots were connected.

Paul's business partner and sommelier Dustin Wyant came to the table and apologized for the miscommunication which was quickly accepted and we moved on with life. In chatting with him, I found out that he's also a UVa grad. That just goes to show that there is more than one of us in the foodservice world. Anyway, we put ourselves in his hands when faced with the vast list of local Pinots and asked him to pick something good for us. He chose a 2001 Willakenzie, a bottling of the 114 clone. How nice is it to have some older, ready to drink vintages on a wine list?

Delicious and Ready to Drink
Once we had the wine on the table, the dishes started appearing. Photos first; comments at the end.

Golden and Chioggia Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Crema and Banyuls Reduction

Gnocchi with Truffle Butter, Dungeness Crab Gratin, Grana Padano Broth

King Salmon, Buttered Savoy Cabbage, Orzo, Avgolemono, Walnut Aillade

Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon, White Beans, Fennel Butter, Pear-Hazelnut Jam

Leg of Lamb, Yogurt Spaetzle, Braised Radish, Lamb Jus


Everything was very good. The gnocchi were perfectly executed; light and expertly cooked. Primo. The salmon was desperate for some salt. Aillade is a synonym for aïoli that I have not encountered before. The bacon around the pork tenderloin was incredibly smoky and the pork was cooked perfectly. The pear-hazelnut jam was too sweet for me and too sweet for the dish which didn't have any acidity to play against the sweetness of the jam. Yeah, and that's about it. Nicely executed dishes, but with the exception of the incredible gnocchi, nothing got me excited. It was a good dinner and well crafted, but didn't excite us in the way that dinner at Thistle did.

We spent a few minutes talking shop with Paul after dinner and discussing where to eat the following evening. Ann was torn between Jory at the Allison Inn or The Painted Lady, both in Newberg. Paul was adamant that we would like The Painted Lady better and called to book us a table the following evening. We thanked him for a nice evening and drove back up to our beds on top of Chehalem Ridge.

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