Happy 16th Anniversary!

“Each year on this day, I think about my world and how you make it a better place for me. I then resolve that I can’t love you more than I already do… And the following year I realize I am wrong. Thank you for your support and your love and being part of something to always look forward to. Happy sweet sixteen and here’s to many many more!”

To celebrate 16 years of marriage, Manish and I spent the night in a gorgeous B&B in Princeton, and had dinner at our favorite… elements. We participated in a special dinner as guests of Chefs Scott Anderson, Mike Ryan, and their team at elements with guest chefs Curtis Duffy, Alex Talbot, and John and Karen Shields. The textures, colors, and remarkable flavors of the meal were unmatched by any other we’ve experienced. The wine pairings by Justin Kuruvilla, wine director and sommelier were divine.  Here is the recap of our incredibly memorable meal…

Guest Chef Dinner at elements with Alex Talbot, John & Karen Shields, Curtis Duffy
Pansy custard, egg, yogurt with crispy crouton by team elements
Back Cove Oyster new spruce, spinach, an infusion of seaweeds, radish milk by chef John Shields
Cold broth of english pea recado negro, creamy ginger, compressed pineapple, black mint by chef Curtis Duffy
After the "coconut shell" was cracked open... Amazing.
Dried beets and sour strawberries concord grape kombucha, walnut, yogurt by chefs Alex Talbot & Aki Kamozawa
Chilled scallops toasted goats milk pudding, hibiscus tea, licorice flavored herbs by chef Curtis Duffy
"Tongue-katsu Oscar" soft shell crab, asparagus gribiche, almand by chefs Alex Talbot & Aki Kamozawa
100 day dry aged Wagyu dehydrated shrimp, shiitake mushroom, cured, elderflower 1 of 2 by team Elements
100 day dry aged Wagyu dehydrated shrimp, shiitake mushroom, cured, elderflower 2 of 2 by team elements
Alpine strawberry cashew, thai chili, tarragon, hyssop by team elements
Dried carrot sweet woodruff, white chocolate yogurt, tonka bean, muscavado sugar spread by chef Karen Shields
Final desert by team elements

Txikifest 2012

one of the first producers of txacoli that i tried back in 2007
an experienced txacoli pourer

Txacolina… or Txacoli… Incredibly refreshing, light, mineral, and slightly effervescent. The perfect warm weather wine. The Basque region’s reason for celebration.

The first time that I ever tried Txacoli (pronounced Chock-o-lee,) one of our suppliers at the shop had brought in a bottle for us to sample. “Hondurrabi Zuri and Hondurrabi Beltza,” was the response from our rep when asked what the grape varietal was of this unique wine with the silly name. Made of indigenous varietals found almost exclusively in the Basque region, Txacoli is a dry wine with high acid and low alcohol. The slight spritz of this libation is volumized by the elevated pouring technique performed by bartenders and servers that are familiar with this practice. Normally served in tumblers, Txacoli is fabulous as an apertif or served aside tapas, cheeses, meats, and fresh seafood.

spiced prawns with taro root
tarragon deviled egg with deep fried hama hama oyster
buckets of txacoli!

Txacoli was going to be front and center at “Txikifest 2012.” Txikifest is the annual NYC festival (2012 marked its 2nd year) that celebrates the newest vintage of Txacoli and is hosted by the fabulous tapas restaurant in Chelsea, Txikito. Many new releases of Txacoli were presented along side some of the most delicious bites from eateries all around Manhattan (and some even a bit farther away.) The festival took place in the back alley of Txikito and welcomed over 200 guests.  JB gave us the initial heads up on this May 6th event and we decided to attend with some fam and friends. We sampled so many different producers of Txacoli and paired them with the perfect Basque-inspired bites. The proper way to pour Txacoli is  to start a foot or so above so that the wine aerates by the time it hits the tumbler. It helps to use the little plastic pourers that aid in the aerating as well. It’s quite fun to watch.

Our etched souveneir glasses

We bought some raffle tickets (all proceeds from Txikifest went to Department of Neonatology at NYU Langone Medical Center) and came home winners! I won a lovely basket of cheeses, meats, vinegars, olive oils, chocolate, and wine. One would think after a day so beautiful, wine so refreshing, food so delicious, and gift (raffle) so generous, that the day was complete. Of course there was more!

The winners! Congrats P&J!!!!

The last few numbers were being called on the final raffle draw of the day – the trip for two to Spain! Up to the seventh digit, my ticket was a match… but then the last two numbers were called out… close but no cigar. The winner was my brother in law, Piyush! But it wasn’t until he came back to the “screaming crowd” with an envelope in his hand that he realized he had won THE TRIP! Several celebratory toasts and interviews later, we were all pouring txacoli like “experts” (some better than others) and decided to call it a day.

And yes, if all goes well, we will be joining the winners to Bilbao later this year.