Creating a new bistro menu might be one of my favorite aspects of the job. From the initial dish ideas to the food and wine pairings, there is a lot more involved than one might think. The whole process takes around two months, beginning with Chef Oz creating his mouthwatering initial dish ideas. With visual aids and in-depth descriptions, the PPW management team sits down for a brainstorming session. We pull-out the dry erase board, a bottle of wine (we wish) and lock ourselves in the conference room for a few hours. So the selection process begins, our goal is to narrow down the menu to give a good variety of options. This is hard! Let the hand-raising and hair-pulling commence as we each fight for our favorite “sounding” dishes or fight to kick off our least favorite ones. Keep in mind most of us eat this food every day, so this is a matter of our daily well-being. As we tweak, add and scratch-off selections we eventually come to an agreement, leaving our final selections afloat. This is when I get very excited, knowing that the next step is the tasting process!
We all look forward to this magical day of food and wine, it’s hard to even sleep the night before from bubbling with anticipation of the delectable entrees to come. It was finally here, the first day of spring, our tasting day! 3:30pm couldn’t come fast enough; we walk into the tasting room with our notepads and palette cleansers. Up first was the Endive Salad consisting of chicken chipotle salad, celery, almonds and grapes. It was a homerun, everyone loved it! Knowing immediately that we all love the dish we move forward with the wine pairing portion. We break down each dish’s components and contemplate which wines might give us that perfect pairing we’re all anticipating. We all shout out wine ideas, pass around bottles: eat, taste, and eat; and so it continues until we find it. Find that one perfect wine that brings out all the perfect flavors of the dish and naturally enhances the wines characteristics and aromas. For this dish it was the Custom White; Mmm Mmm Mmm! This process continues for hours, tasting everything from appetizers and tapas to salads and entrees. I know, I know, I love my job!
My personal favorite ended up being the Burrata topped with confit tomatoes and pesto paired with Abbinato, Perfecto! A few of the other manager’s absolute favorites ended up being the Drunken goat cheese souffle’ with red wine caramel, cornichons, onion marmalade and baguette; Pair that with a little chardonnay and let’s get the party started! Michelle, our wine club manager, couldn’t get enough of the mussels and Rachel, the tasting room manager, was all about the Shrimp and Crab Cake with Corn Relish (our new take on shrimp cakes). Cindi, PPW’s owner, was pleasantly surprised by the tomato and crab bruschetta with grilled bread, ricotta cheese, basil and lemon garlic emulsion!
Thank you Chef Oz for this amazing new Spring/Summer Bistro Menu! It is delicious and we can’t wait for you all to taste for yourselves beginning on Friday, March 28th, 2014!