When we heard about the first wine dinner at the Kitchen at Commonplace Books, we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve enjoyed coming for breakfast and shopping in the bookstore but had never been for dinner. The special dinner was billed as a preview of the wines that will be available at The Market at Commonplace, an upcoming marketplace from the Commonplace team, set to open a few doors down. Chef Chris Castro pairs four dishes to go with wines selected by sommelier Eric Berumen. To say we were excited about this would be an extreme understatement.
When we arrived, the bar and dining area were as cozy and welcoming as ever. Chef Chris and his crew were hard at work preparing some of the upcoming courses. The aromas coming from behind the bar had us salivating before we even sat down.
Ben Nockels, owner of Commonplace Books, welcomed us and introduced everyone involved in putting the dinner together. The wines were provided by Provisions, a local distributor of organic and sustainable wines. We keep seeing them around the city and every wine we have tasted from them has been sublime.
The first course was Caña de Oveja cheese with sous vide beets, paired with a rosé of Pinot Noir. We had never heard of that cheese before, but were immediately glad that we had been introduced. The earthy and savory flavors of the dish paired very nicely with the fruit and acid of the rosé. Speaking of that rosé, Jeff from Provisions may have introduced us to our new favorite pink wine of the year. The 2018 Teutonic ‘Laurel Vd.’ Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Chehalem Mountains. The winemaker fell in love with with wine through German Reisling and makes his wines in the German style. This rosé is elegant and perfect with food. Buy it if you see it!
Chef Chris told us that he was excited to cook Mexican dishes that were family favorites from his childhood. This was apparent with the second course, a Mexican shrimp cocktail paired with Albariño.
This was not like any other shrimp cocktail I had ever had before. The base of the cocktail was full of flavor, packed with shrimp and fresh citrus. We were all practically licking the bottom of our cups to not let any drop go to waste. The crispness of the 2016 Do Ferreiro Albariño made it the perfect compliment to this dish. This Albariño is another perfect summer wine.
The third course was a chicken and roasted potatoes with housemade molé. Chef Chris admitted that chicken and potato molé was not very common or traditional, but he had played with the idea when making vegetarian molé for his wife. This dish completely blew us away. We had a very tasty molé dish during our day trip to Tulum, but this was on a completely other level.
The dish had so many layers of flavor and each taste seemed to reveal something new from savory to sweetness to spice to everything in between. This was easily the best molé I’ve ever had and all future molés I have from now on will be held to this standard. The 2016 Anne-Sophie Dubois ‘L’Alchimiste’ Beaujolais wine pairing tied it all together and made this the powerhouse highlight of the entire meal.
The final course of the night was a buñuelo made with fried tortilla dough, housemade vanilla ice cream and bay leaf brown sugar syrup, paired with sparkling wine from the Loire Valley. The buñuelo was delightfully crispy and sweet from the bay leaf syrup. And as the rep from Provisions, Jeff, shared with us, “if you are having a dinner party and want to know what wines to start and end with, always go with bubbles.” We couldn’t agree more, as the Thierry Germain Saumur ‘Bulles de Roche’ made for the perfect ending to the meal.
After dinner, everyone was hanging around and talking to fellow diners and those that had helped to put the dinner together. Ben came around to pour some whiskey and other digestifs to the lingering guests as it seemed like no one wanted to leave. He mentioned in his opening remarks that he set out to create a gathering place that was open to all, and with this dinner it was clearer than ever seeing that vision come to life.
Stay on the look out for future wine dinners at the Kitchen at Commonplace. They told us that they will be looking to do them about once every two weeks. The cost for this wine dinner was $65 per person, but prices may vary.