When I entered the event space at the Andaz Hotel, I encountered a kitchen area decorated with dispersed wooden block tables adorned with fresh flowers and candles. This welcoming ambience set the tone for Clos du Bois wine maker Gary Sitton and Clos du Bois brand ambassador Katie Lee’s simple food prepared in an original and tasty manner paired with delicious wines.

First up were Deviled Eggs and Cornmeal Crusted Fried Oysters offered with Sauvignon Blanc. Although I can “do” deviled eggs, I could never make mine taste as good as the ones Katie Lee created. They were at once tangy and sweet. Since fried food is not my thing, I skipped the oysters. The 2010 vintage white wine hit the spot.

Butternut Squash Soup with Corn Bread Croutons and Mini Chicken Pot Pie paired with Chardonnay formed the centerpiece of the evening’s culinary experience. The soup was served in cute small white mini-mugs; the mini chicken pie was adorable. They both tasted good too. The 2010 vintage Chardonnay, which was a darker white wine than the Sauvignon Blanc, went well with the food.

Red wine followed next. Mini Hamburgers and Sausage Filled Mushrooms were presented with 2008 vintage Merlot. The continuing “mini” theme communicated that small is good in regard to taste.

The second red wine, 2009 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, was offered with Lamb Sliders and Fennel Orange Salad. The fennel salad was my favorite dish. It was elegantly served on small triangular white plates. There were a lot of those little dishes piling up on my wooden table!

Here is the recipe for the fennel salad:

  • 3 fennel bulbs, cored, trimmed, and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
  • ½ red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black peppers

In a large bowl, toss fennel fronds, onion and orange with olive oil and
lemon juice. Serve with salt and pepper.

It’s really good. Go for it.

– Marleen Barr

Images via LaForce + Stevens