By Lisa Paredes
As Magnolia Park and Burbank anticipate the late-September opening of Luna Vine Wine Bar, owner Shannan VerGow co-hosted an inaugural wine dinner at neighboring Romancing the Bean with the cafe’s owner Kerry Krull on August 23 and 24. Ms. VerGow, General Manager Nick Caballero and Executive Chef Wesley Pumphrey created the menu and the wine pairings. The 30 person event nearly sold out the Friday seating, while the Saturday dinner was completely booked. This review focuses on the Saturday, August 24, event.
Cheese, Olives & Gruner Veltliner On this hot summer evening, the wine dinner began on a high note with a crisp white 2012 Markowitsch Gruner Veltliner from Austria. The obligatory cheese plate included a mild and aromatic Taleggio, the rich and smooth French blue La Fourme d’Ambert and creamy Queso Cabra al Vino (goat cheese soaked in wine prior to aging), served with French baguette, fresh figs and grapes and a fig preserve.
Bright green olives, stuffed with sausage and fried in a light breading, were dipped in a vibrant green garlic aioli for a delightful and deliciously tasty surprise in the first course.
Cataloupe Soup, Beet Salad and Liver Mousse The delicate flavors of the chilled cantaloupe and mint soup were brought out by the 3-Brooms Sauvignon Blanc (2011) from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. While the consistency of the soup may not have been ideal for everyone, its refreshing coolness was welcome.
A light salad of buffalo mozzarella with heirloom beets and tomato, drizzled with a balsamic reduction and a splash of pesto, was perfectly matched with a delicious Rose, a 2012 Westwood 3-part Rose, from the Sonoma Coast.
The fourth offering, a chicken liver mousse with Marsala gelatina, was served with toasted baguette. Gentle, yet rich, the mousse brought out the best in a 2009 Arbois Poulsard from Jura, France. On its own, the Poulsard tastes like an underage Pinot Noir. With the liver mousse, the flavors come alive, and combine for a lovely experience.
Short Rib & Shiraz The main entree of braised short rib Barolo beef with au jus, served with roasted baby root vegetables on top of a creamy pecorino cheese polenta, melted in the mouth. Cheesy and smooth, the polenta had a terrific texture and was an excellent foil for the plate. The expertly prepared short rib was perfectly paired with an exciting Shiraz from the Strathbogie Range of Australia, a 2009 Stone Dweller. The Shiraz tasted of minerals and deep red fruit, and while delicious on its own, tasted with the entree, was glorious.
Black Magic As if the meal could get any better, dessert was the definition of decadent. A rich, dark chocolate tart topped with Italian Mascarpone and sweet red raspberries was joined by Carole Shelton’s Black Magic, a late harvest California Zinfandel. Deep purple in color and sweet but not cloying, the Black Magic was drinkable enough on its own. Paired with the dark chocolate tart, the Zinfandel provided the fireworks for a grand finale to a spectacular dinner.
Mr. Pumphrey procured the cheeses and created the Chicken Liver Mousse, Braised Short Rib and Chocolate Tart, while Romancing the Bean Chef Dawn Bassett prepared the Beet Salad and Cantaloupe Soup. At a reasonable $55 per plate, including tax and gratuity, the family-style dinner provided plenty of food and drink for every palate.
If this meal is any indication of the level of food and wine to come at Luna Vine Wine Bar, Magnolia Park is in for a real treat. Like this dinner, the focus at the soon-to-debut Wine Bar will be on pairing food with a specific wine. The food offerings will be tapas style, in addition to a lunch menu with artisan salads and sandwiches. I spoke with Ms. VerGow, who is studying towards certification as a Wine Specialist and Educator and eventually as a Sommelier, about Luna Vine’s partnership with Romancing the Bean in presenting this Wine Dinner.
“I have been a customer of Kerry’s for many years and she has been incredibly supportive of us coming into the neighborhood. We both have a passion for food and wine and believe in supporting female entrepreneurship,” explains Ms. VerGow. “Once we saw how the neighbors were responding to our smaller offerings at Ladies’ Night, we thought it would be fun to give this a try. We are very excited to be part of the evolution of Magnolia Park into a real retail and dining, walking promenade.”
Luna Vine Wine Bar’s doors will open this autumn at 3206 W. Magnolia Blvd. in the Magnolia Park district of Burbank. The next wine dinner is being planned for early October. Luna Vine’s Inaugural Wine Dinner rates a Tops In Town from myBurbank for being amazing all the way around. Cheers!
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)
Luna Vine’s Inaugural Wine Dinner receives: Tops In Town