Monday, December 05, 2005
Executive Chef Peter Carroll
The Casino – Holiday Party Holiday Party in Chicago’s Casino
Members of the Chicago Bailliage who gambled on a great year-end dinner at the Casino Club on December 5, 2005, were not disappointed. Located on Chicago’s Gold Coast, the Casino Club is actually an elegant private dining club, almost a century old, with not a gaming table in sight. After mingling and sipping champagne with the hors d’oeuvres, the members settled into the beautifully decorated dining room where Chevalier Hilton Weinberg wished members and guests a “healthy, happy, harmonious holiday season.”
His words were prophetic. Luxury prevailed as avocado mousse with red and black caviar was paired happily with Champagne Brut Rosé André Clouet (Bouzy) N.V. Next foie gras with caramelized pears drizzled with port wine was matched harmoniously with a sweet Riesling, Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr 2000. And what better for one’s health than to taste a rare Max Ferdinand Richter, Brauneberger Juffer Riesling-Kabinett, 2004 that greatly enhanced the flavors of the Coquilles Saint Jacques with spinach and a Champagne beurre blanc. Chevalier Weinberg’s wishes were already coming to fruition.
The baby veal medallions with wild mushrooms and truffles called for a grand wine, and the Chateau Pichon-Lalande Comtesse (Pauillac) 1985 was just the vintage needed for this pairing. Vice-Chargé de Missions/Caviste Bruce W. Foudree gave wonderful tasting comments on the wines. How we swirled and sniffed to discover his notes of “leather” and “iodine” in the Grand Cru!
The cheese course featured four French and American cheeses at perfect stages of ripeness, accompanied by a hearty Chateau Figeac (St.-Emilion) 1985. A fig paste pyramid completed the presentation with a welcome burst of flavor. Finally, pears poached in bourbon and served with ginger ice cream and a sauce of caramel and Armagnac made a lovely holiday dessert. The lively spirit of this dinner was reflected in the “big spirit” of the accompanying Armagnac, Domaine Le Basque (Bas-Armagnac) 1966, the biggest Armagnac Caviste Bruce Foudree had ever tasted. These special wines from our cellar were decanted two hours ahead of time to insure their perfection for this most festive dinner.
Throughout the evening, a pianist serenaded the diners with familiar holiday and show tunes. The oval dining room bathed in Christmas lights, with evergreens twined around its stately columns added glamour. Even the waiters’ black-lapelled red tuxedo jackets signaled holiday celebration.
We thanked the Casino for having put together such a winning night.