Winter Fat

Okay, there comes a time, in the dark of January, where frankly you don’t give a damn about fat, diet, exercise etc. You want Meat! and Fat! and to be Warm!

Following this dictum, we strolled through a small blizzard to Carvers, the steak house in the Sheraton, some 3 blocks from the old homestead.

Jayce the Maitre d’Hotel, and sommelier did us proud. We went for showy tableside dining.
First course, Dog Point Sauv Blanc from NZ, with calamari putanesco. Great Sauv Blanc. Tremendous nose. Better than Kim Crawford, for less money.

Quite enjoyed the calamari too. We were both hungry, and the easiest way to not drink too much (hahahaha!) is to get some solid protein into your stomach ASAP. I found myself mopping up the remainder of the sauce with a piece of bread.

Sairey had a Pinot Grigio. Jayce was horrified that she might sully her lips with Santa Magherita, a nice wine but one all of us have had endless numbers of times. He raced downstairs and emerged with a Livio Felluga PG. It clearly met the test, as Sairey promptly swallowed two glasses.

Round 2 was the kind of formal service that is always entertaining. Tableside preparation of a Caesar Salad. At our request extra garlic was added.

There’s nothing like a great caesar, as the entire world can attest, but almost all of the products you eat are nothing more than commercial dressing dropped on romaine. The original is worth having once in a while just to remind yourself why it’s so good, and why you eat the not very good clones served elsewhere.

Course three was steak diane, again prepared by Jayce at the table. This is a dish that every home cook should master. It’s not really that hard (when in doubt add more butter), and it’s fabulous to watch a chef make for you.

There’s something about tableside service, that is just plain luxurious. It can make any commoner feel like a Roman Emporer. (Jayce actually refused to peel grapes and pop them into my mouth. Apparently there are limits.) He did however recommend the Hacienda Monasterio wine for us, and that not only soothed my disgruntlment, but turned Sairey into a cheerleader.

Ribera del Duro is the upper Douro, a region famous for tempranillo (in Spain. Tinto Horiz in Portugal.) and it makes an absolutely faboulous dry wine. Rich, tannic, flavourful, it is very hard to top. Frankly, I don’t know why people chase Bordeaux when Douro wines are available.

Alas they largely are NOT available, at least in Canada. And here is where Carver’s excels. They buy their own wine, ordering it in via various agents, and the wine list is unique in the province, and pretty close to unique in Western Canada. I have no hesitation in saying it is the best wine list in the province, and certainly in the top five lists on the prairies – including Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.

After we had downed our wine and steak – with baked potato. we’re always calorie concious. – we pondered Jayce’s recommendation of crepes suzette or cherries jubilee. Both of these preparations require more tableside service, but the truth was we were stuffed.

We settled instead on a half bottle of Chateau Guiraud sauternes, and splitting a chocolate pate. The sauternes was, of course, exceptional.

With that we staggered back out into the blizzard, knowing we had at least enough calories on board to make the walk home.

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