May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

The wines of Vinho Verde. Photo: Erin Conger.


Penang laksa (a noodle dish with a tamarind fish base). Photo courtesy of Aux Epices.


Chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices. Photo courtesy of Aux Epices.


The beautiful Aux Epices on Baxter Street. Photo courtesy of Aux Epices.

I am so excited to host my first tablehopper event in New York! Coming up on Tuesday June 7th is the second in my series of Asian family-style dinners featuring wines from Portugal’s Vinho Verde. I asked chefs to cook their soul food and favorite dishes they enjoy at home for these special events in New York and San Francisco. We’ll be at New York Vintners, known for hosting all kinds of wine tasting and food events at their great space in Tribeca.

Our chef for this event is Mei Chau (Aux Epices), who has a charming French-inspired Malaysian restaurant on the edge of Little Italy and Chinatown (you’ll want to move in). For our event, chef Mei will be cooking dishes from where she grew up, a small fishing village on the eastern shore of the Malay Peninsula. Prepare to taste dishes you won’t find on her restaurant’s menu (or many others for that matter!), and she will tell us the background of the dishes and Malaysian cuisine and ingredients too.

We’ll be pairing many refreshing and versatile wines from Portugal’s Vinho Verde, and sommelier Betsy Ross (recently at The Progress, San Francisco) will be sharing insight about the wines and region. (So excited to have SF in the house!)

Chef Mei’s menu includes an array of starters: Chwee Kuah (steamed rice pudding cakes topped with salty pickled turnip), Sotong Sumbat (stuffed squid with spiced potatoes and spicy sambal sauce), and Pulut Kuning (turmeric sticky rice with coconut pulled pork), paired with two wines from Vinho Verde.

Next, we’ll enjoy a laksam course, featuring homemade steamed rice noodle rolls topped with mixed herbs, bean sprouts, and julienned cucumber, served in a coconut milk and minced fish soup, with wines from Vinho Verde. (Mei is known for her many laksa dishes at Aux Epices.)

The main course is a double play, with Otak-Otak (steamed fish mousse in banana leaf with coconut milk, curry, lemongrass, galangal), served with purple rice, and Daging Masak Serai (slow-cooked lamb with lemongrass and spices), paired with two wines from Vinho Verde. And for dessert, the finale is Bingka Pandan, a custard cake of baked screw pine (pandan).

These unique dishes should be pretty unfamiliar to most, and Mei is going to be bringing the flavor. I can’t wait to learn more about these dishes, and Betsy will have plenty to teach us about Vinho Verde!

Vinho Verde wines are like no other in the world. Located in the northwestern part of Portugal, the lush green landscape lends itself to the production of young, refreshing wines that are extremely versatile partners for all kinds of food, which is why we wanted to show you how well they will pair with a multitude of dishes. Best known for white wines, Vinho Verde also produces reds, rosés, and sparklers—all of which offer one of the best wine values on the market. Get ready to discover something new!

Tickets are $80, and you can purchase them here. This is a sit-down dinner, and there won’t be a reception, so please arrive on time at 7pm!


Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle. Photo courtesy of Max Garrone.


Taking the Genuine Liquorette master class! @tablehopper photo via Instagram.

Fellow lovers of mezcal who happen to be in NYC, take a look at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle, happening Sunday June 5th and Monday June 6th! It will be at Casa Mezcal, and more than 60 mezcals will be poured, including some that haven’t been available in the U.S., plus some tastes of unique cocktails and bites from Casa Mezcal’s kitchen and Botanic Lab Bar. There will be informal guided tastings, lessons on cocktail-making at home, special guests, and more.

Tickets are $70-$130. June 5th: 3pm-7pm and June 6th: 5pm-9pm. And here’s a handy little one-minute video about mezcal from 86 Orchard St. at Broome, New York.

If you’re looking to really up your game in the cocktail-making department, don’t miss a Genuine Liquorette master class with Eben Freeman, the director of beverage for AvroKO Hospitality Group (including Saxon + Parole, Public, Madam Geneva). Classes are held on Monday evenings at Genuine Liquorette (underneath Genuine Superette—grab a burger before class).

I learned a LOT about how to set up a station, proper jigger and pouring technique (and stirring and shaking!), basic cocktail construction, and more. It’s three hours of some serious bartending knowledge getting dropped, and plenty of tasting too. Hic. Classes are $75, 7pm-10pm—grab a friend and have a blast. 191 Grand St. at Mulberry St., New York.

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