Thursday, July 10, 2008

Artisan Cuisine of Baja California

by Carlos Travesi Bosch and Steve Dryden

Chabert’s Wine Dinner Moved to August 15th

Chabert’s Restaurant located in the historic mansion at the Rosarito Hotel has moved their monthly wine dinner to August 15th. Normally, the dinners are held on the first Friday of each month, but with the Grand Opening of the new Hotel/Condo project during the first week of August Laura Torres felt it would be best to move the dinner event to another date. Chabert’s Restaurant has a kitchen that continually provides gourmet cuisine at reasonable prices.

Their Artisan August wine dinner will feature handmade wine from local artisan winemakers in Guadalupe Valley. The event will be hosted by Laura Torres and will feature wine that hasn’t been presented at Chabert’s in the past. According to Laura Torres, “our wine dinner events are about unmatched flavor and an innate sense of occasion that make for the perfect culmination to an unforgettable evening.” On Friday September 5th, Chabert’s will feature the premium wines of San Rafael Winery, owned by the Hussong family. This will be their first visit to Chabert’s and lucky guests will discover their amazing wine and the culinary wizards in the kitchen have something special in mind to match with these wines.

This summer I attended the Mussel Festival in Ensenada and was exposed to premium mussels grown on a farm near La Bufadora. These gourmet mussels are from the Mediterranean region and have a consistent size with plump and tender meat. So, over the past several months I’ve been experimenting with mussel recipes and will share this one with our readers. I’ve included another new discovery from Olivarera Baja Mar, a Mexican company that makes gourmet olive oils from olives in Mexicali and from orchards south of Ensenada. This particular oil is flavored with real, whole tangerines that are crushed into the oil during the processing. I often pair this meal with a rare Sauvignon Blanc from Three Women winery.

Mussels, Smoked Marlin,Tangerine Olive Oil and Oregano

1/4 cup of tangerine olive oil
four ounces of smoked marlin - cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 garlic cloves, thin slices
2 pounds of mussels
2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
ground pepper
one cup of Sauvignon Blanc from Three Women winery

Works best with a large soup pot, add and heat the olive oil, add the smoked marlin and cook over medium heat until the garlic is tender. Now, add the mussels and the wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook with medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the mussels open. Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano and pepper. Place the mussels and the broth into warm bowels and serve. Serves four people and takes about thirty minutes to prepare and cook. You’ll probably need two bottles of the Sauvignon Blanc to fully appreciate this meal and the wine.

Carlos Travesi Bosch is chef and owner of Capricho’s Wine Bar and Gourmet Cafe, located directly across from the original Hussong’s cantina. Steve Dryden is the wine writer for the Baja Times.