Our weekend plans!

Like all of Seattle, we have our fingers crossed for a sunny Memorial Day weekend. But we’re not about to let a few drops of rain put a damper on our fun, not with all the delicious red wines, sausages, cheese, and fun condiments we have on hand! There are innumerable possibilities, but I think I know what I’ll be having: Fabrique Delices’ Basque Sausage with Piment d’Espelette, served with a dollop of L’Epicurian’s Sweet Onion Confit. And I may have to make another batch of “Basque Fries” (hand-cut potatoes fried in Duck Fat, sprinkled with Fleur de Sel and Piment d’Espelette. They are insanely good.). For last minute inspiration and additions to your holiday menu, come on over and explore the possibilities; we’ll be open on Memorial Day from 11am-5pm.

Wine @ PG

Everyone knows that red meat goes with red wine, but with so many unique and delightful reds on our shelves, I decided to do some of the thinking for you. Here’s a six-pack of hearty reds that will complement your Memorial Day grilling!

2007 La Bastide Blanche Bandol ($25.99)

Think outside the Cabernet-and-Steak box: Mourvèdre is where it’s at! In Bandol, an AOC deep in Provence, the Mourvèdre grape achieves the perfect balance of robust elegance, becoming the sublime partner for juicy grilled meats. This unfiltered wine shows rich, dark plum, fig, and blackberry meld into a finish hinting of bittersweet chocolate. Notes of tobacco and very firm tannins support the ripe fruit, and a taut acidity holds it all together. A focused, pure wine showing great balance. La Bastide Blanche farms and vinifies biodynamically and keeps the vine yields low to ensure their uncompromising character.

2007 Domaine de Nidolères “La Pierroune” Côtes-du-Roussillon ($16.99)

The vineyards of this domaine have been cultivated by the same family for eight generations, and their winemaking upholds the traditions of the region between Pérpignan and the Spanish border. The blend of 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Carignan is hand-harvested and sees no oak. This is a rich, smooth wine with persistent tannins. Notes of kirsch and plum leading into a flinty, elegant finish. Delicious with D’Artagnan’s Venison and Pork Sausage with Cherries.

2007 Chateau de Vaugelas “Le Prieuré” Corbières ($11.99)

This 400-year old estate is located in the hills of Lagrasse, known as the best growing zone in the Corbières appellation. Winemaking is headed by George Pauli, who also makes wine for a classified growth Chateau in St. Julien. Neither terroir nor talent is lacking! A blend of Grenache, Syrah, old-vine Carignan, and a touch of Mourvèdre, the wine is quite elegant and well-structured, while maintaining the rustic appeal of the region. It spends one year maturing in oak barrels (30% new), and it is full-bodied and velvety on the palate. Black fruit, licorice, and spice create a nice depth with the fleshy tannins and the kiss of smoke. The finish is long and pleasurable.

2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99)

“A brilliant blockbuster … Composed of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, all from a vineyard planted in 1961, this amazing wine possesses an inky/ruby/purple color in addition to a sweet perfume of black and blue fruits, kirsch, lavender, licorice, spice box, and earth. Transcending its appellation and price point, this is a superb wine that should drink beautifully for 10-15+ years.” 93 points Wine Spectator

2006 Domaine Lapalu “La Patache” Médoc ($14.99)

La Patache is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) based blend harvested from a selection of the Lapalu family’s estate vineyards. By carefully choosing and blending fruit from different parcels of land, the Lapalu team created a lively, juicy Bordeaux that is approachable in its youth while maintaining its ability to develop. It is deep ruby, aromatic with strong notes of cassis and plum supported by dusty tannins and softer notes of vanilla. Delicious!

2002 Domaine Moureou Chapelle L’Enclos Madiran ($19.99)

Madiran is a tiny appellation in Southwest France, where Tannat is the primary grape grown. Winemaker Patrick Ducourneau pioneered the micro-oxygenation technique, a winemaking process that tames Tannat’s pugnacious tannins. The L’Enclos spends one year in 400L oak barrels, followed by another year in vats. A strident red wine with rich, balanced fruit and structured tannins. An unbeatable companion to lamb.

And because I can’t resist mentioning a rosé, I have to tell you about the 2009 Abel Clement Grenache Rosé. This medium bodied, fruit forward rosé is incredibly fresh, with wild strawberries, lovely floral hints and slightest pepper on the finish. Under screwcap, it’s perfect for patios and picnics. We’ve crowned this our Summer Swiller. And we scored a great deal on it, so we can give it to you for $7.99!

Fun @ PG

These are a few of our favorite things!

Give some love with a rub.

Even if you’re a brats-and-burgers kind of griller, your ketchup and mustard doesn’t have to be boring! Dulcet makes Peppery Moroccan (try it on lamb burgers), Mild Indian Curry, and Sweet Orange Chili Ketchup ($4.99/14oz). It’s hard to pick just one mustard from our plethora of Dijons, but we do love the spicy kick of Pommery Fireman’s Mustard ($19.99/8.8oz) with grilled sausages or steak frites, and the Fallot Blackcurrant Dijon Mustard ($4.99/7.2oz) in marinades for pork.

The secret to grilled meats is the salt; rubbing and finishing with right touch of seasoning makes all the difference. The classic Sel du Boucher ($18.49/17.6oz) is a fantastic all-purpose coarse sea salt rub with thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and sage. Esprit du Sel’s Fennel and Garlic Grey Sea Salt ($11.99/6.3oz) is wonderful for fish, and Dulcet Creole Spice Rub ($6.49/2.5oz) works well on fish, poultry, and meats.

Cheese @ PG

When it comes to outdoor grilling, the meat, wine, and sides are the most popular guests at the party. Cheese may not even be invited. Most cheese is  so sensitive and picky, always complaining about the heat and hogging all the space under the umbrella, as if it’s simply going to melt in the sun. But there are some more easygoing cheeses, who not only don’t mind the heat, they’d actually really nothing more than to join the meat and veggies on the grill. Here are some ideas for your Memorial Day grill-fests (and beyond) so that you can still fulfill your cheese quota (what, you don’t have one of those?).

For your classic hamburgers:

Blue cheese means business. Bleu d’Auverge has a sharp, clean taste with hints of melted butter and a bright touch of spiciness. It’s creamy yet crumbly, making it perfect for topping your beef patties. If you like the sharp flavor of cheddar on your burgers, but want to try something different, I’d suggest Mimolette Vielle. This orange cheese packs a wallop of savory nuttiness. It’s quite dense, so leave it out for a bit before you slice it. You could also go with the tried-and-true Comté, which melts beautifully and would be amazing with some caramelized onions from the grill.

For the true cheese lover, who can’t let all the summer fruit and vegetables have all the fun, try this gem of a recipe suggested by one of our regulars. Our Le Pommier Camembert is the perfect consistency for grilling, and some consider it the best pasteurized Camembert on the U.S. market.

Camembert Au “B.B.Q”

Ingredients: One hot grill

One wheel of Camembert cheese

Remove paper wrapping from cheese; transfer cheese back into wooden box. Make a well into the center of the warm charcoals; arrange boxed cheese into the center of the well and cover the box with warm charcoals. Watch carefully, so it doesn’t get overly melted. It is ready when cheese just pushes up the top of the box, after approximately 10 minutes. Remove the top of the box, remove cheese crust with the tip of a knife and enjoy, dipping in bits of baguette.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Bistro Laurent Tourondel

For fair-weather fun in foul times, we love the Bistro Laurent Tourondel cookbook. With impeccable technique and classic sauces, this book will help you create the hearty, convivial atmosphere and deep, homey taste of outdoor grilling in the warmth of your kitchen. With recipes like Tapenade-Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Braised Short Ribs with Garlic-Thyme Brown Butter, you won’t even miss the sunshine!

Thanks for reading! See you soon.

Abi & Rachel

and

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden, Owners