Articles from: September 2010

“The Art Of Wine & Food Tasting Series: Wines That Go Both Ways”—Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, August 26, 2010

Art of Wine & Food

Art of Wine & Food

If wine can be considered an art form, then it makes perfect sense that the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale would play host to an event billed as “The Art Of Wine & Food Tasting Series: Wines That Go Both Ways.”   This is an ongoing monthly event with this particular one focusing on wines that transition from the summer to fall.   The tasting/pairing event offers patrons the opportunity to sample wine and food in an austere environment like MOA Fort Lauderdale.

Host Stephanie Miskew, a South Florida food and wine blogger, offered three wines to pair with delicious food prepared by local chef John Paul Kline. The 50 or so in attendance began the night with a 2008 Morgan “Metallico” (not the heavy metal band’s own private stock) un-oaked Chardonnay, paired with a deconstructed lobster bisque. The Morgan is comparable to a French Chablis (according to the wine maker) and is a lighter Chard than

Deconstructed Lobster Bisque

Deconstructed Lobster Bisque

a lot of the notorious “butter bombs” that have become a staple of California Chards. There were hints of floral, grassiness on the nose; the taste, crisp and aromatic, with noticeable green apple and pear on the palate. The lobster bisque was sweet and spicy, and proved to be a nice accompaniment to the light, un-oaked Chardonnay.

The next wine on the menu was a 2007 Benziger “Sangiacomo Vineyard” Carneros Chardonnay, paired with a green apple chicken curry and tomato eggplant chutney. The Benziger had a sweet aroma, with some pineapple notes and a hint of citrus. It was a sharp contrast to the Morgan Chard, though given our food pairing, the Benziger paired remarkably well with the spicy sweet curry in the chicken and chutney. Though I preferred the Morgan in terms of taste, the Benziger was a good choice for this particular food item. It

Green Apple Chicken Curry w/Eggplant Chutney

should be noted that between pairings, one of the hosts made his way through the tables offering patrons additional pours of each wine sampled, though despite our best efforts to get his attention, extra pours never came. Damn.

Our final wine sampling of the night was the 2006 Bearboat Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, paired with a chilled duck crostini with mushroom duxelles and black plum. The Russian River Valley produces some incredible Chardonnays, and given its cool climate and favorable terroir, is also the perfect location for growing Pinot Noir grapes. The Bearboat had strong hints of blackberry, cassis and dark cherries. The taste was clean and elegant, slightly more tannic than some Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted, but finished with a velvet feel on the tongue. This is a great Pinot Noir value ($22 retail) that should not be

Duck Crostini

Duck Crostini w/Mushroom Duxelle

overlooked. The crostini, with a generous slice of duck and topped with mushrooms duxelle, was by far the best appetizer of the three we sampled that night, and paired very well with the Bearboat Pinot Noir.

Overall we were pleased with the event, though for the $30 per person charge I feel like there should have been one or two more wine and food pairings, though it didn’t tarnish the event in any way. Still, a few extra wine pours would have been nice.

Mojo Restaurant, Ft. Lauderdale

A few months back we noticed a sign announcing the coming of a new restaurant in late summer.  After doing a little research we found the website and local restaurant news about Mojo that piqued our interest and we made a plan to try it out.  Described as “New American Eclectic cuisine,” Mojo is the latest incarnation of eateries to open at this location, which include the former George and Dragon Pub, 4140 and Jeff’s Beach House Grill…just to name a few.

Pulling into the parking lot we noticed only a few cars in the parking lot, though this may have been due to the inclement weather in our area that night. We walked in and were sat immediately. I appreciate getting a table right away just as much as anyone…but was this a good sign? Mojo’s décor is bright and cheerful (white walls, white furniture, a far cry from the brooding wood and brass we remember from the George & Dragon Pub), sporting an elegant beach resort motif – a carryover from the previous tenant. This may all change as Mojo gains popularity amongst Fort Lauderdale foodies, but only time will tell. We ordered the Tuna Tartare and wontons appetizer for the table. It was a generous portion served charmingly in a martini glass. Our server was quite accommodating and brought out three more wontons when asked. Speaking of service, although very enthusiastic, our server was obviously new and there were a few missteps for this level of dining.  For drinks our server suggested a pitcher of house Sangria, which was fruity and delicious. Mojo’s drink menu features interesting martinis, several domestic and imported beers, as well as a wine list featuring an eclectic mix of Old World and New World reds and whites. After sangria I ordered a glass of the 2009 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand), which was crisp and refreshing and proved to be a great pairing with my entrée.

We each ordered different entrees in which to sample and taste. I had the free range “Mili,” which is a panko and parmesan crusted chicken breast pan seared and served with chimichurri sauce and an arugula salad. It was delicious, and the portion size was perfect. Another in our party had the jumbo lump crab cakes. The seasoning and preparation brought out the flavors of the crabmeat, unlike many restaurants that simply over-season to mask the taste of inferior crabmeat. The only disappointment in the night was the scallop appetizer special.  The scallops were nicely prepared and served in a light watermelon broth.  However, they were on the cool side by the time we received them and the broth seemed to overwhelm the scallops.  It wasn’t bad, just not as stellar as everything else we had that evening.  The other annoyance of the night was the Mojo house salad with the addition of shrimp for an extra $6.  The salad arrived and only included three shrimp (we later learned the chef will prepare as many shrimp as you’d like, but additional shrimp would raise the price of the salad). We all enjoyed what was perhaps the best entrée of the night: the pan roasted duck breast, which was served medium rare (per the chef’s recommendation) and came with sautéed red sauerkraut and apples, cauliflower – goat cheese puree and raspberry butter. After dinner our server suggested some positively decadent dessert choices, but, with all of us well sated from a delicious dinner, we simply didn’t have room. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. Mojo is a delightful restaurant, and with the onset of fall and winter (i.e. tourist season), opened at just the right time to enjoy what they hope to be an infusion of new customers seeking a great meal. Though, looking back, we all didn’t mind walking in that evening and getting sat immediately.

Mojo Restaurant
4140 N. Federal Hwy.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
(954) 568-4443

http://www.mojofl.com

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