Friday, August 15, 2008

Protein Overdose

Last night, Doug & I went to dinner with the Luces. We do this on a regular basis, & we usually go to one of our favorite places, Veritas. However, there are so many excellent restaurants in St. Louis, & we've developed a sort of wish list of places to go. Once we scheduled the date, we decided the place.....

Bacana Brazil. I'm sure you won't be surprised that this choice was inspired by a bottle of wine - I mean, think about it... Bacana is a Churrascaria, or a Brazilian steakhouse, & Lucy had been chomping at the bit to go & share one of their finds from their recent trip to Paso Robles, CA. What better place to drink some wonderful red wine in a place that has men dressed like gauchos serving you unlimited meat on swords?

(Ok, they're actually skewers, but swords just add a bit more drama, don't you think?)

Anytime we dine with the Luces, wine is always a consideration (unless it's Veritas, of course - it's silly & perhaps insulting to bring your own bottle to a high quality wine store). After checking Bacana's wine list, which is very good & for the most part reasonable, we decided to keep it simple & bring a tried & true rose', the Crios Rose' of Malbec.

We chose this wine for several reasons... it's an excellent value, rose' is a superb match for almost any food, & it's from Argentina. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb for pairing food & wine is to choose a wine from the country (or even region, in some cases) of the cuisine. You know, Spanish wine with Spanish food, French with French, & so on & so on. The reason this works is that many European countries view wine much differently than Americans. Wine is served at all meals, & very rarely without food - it just doesn't make sense to them - so the winemakers obviously must make wine that works well with the food it will be served with. It's either that or the poorhouse.

We opened the bottle & enjoyed a bit before we headed to the salad bar & side dishes. Mmmmm... always a winner (for that matter, any Crios wine, or any other wine made by Argentina's first female winemaker Susana Balbo is a great choice). Yummy stuff, & we would've been delighted to sit & drink it the whole night, but the smells wafting from the kitchen made us get up & begin the feast.


Once seated, we flipped our card to "Yes", & within moments, the meat started coming. Sirloin, top sirloin, shoulder, leg, & ribs of beef, garlic steak, lamb, shrimp, salmon....pretty much anything that was once alive. I hate to put it so crudely, but it's true. And it was delightful...and practically impossible to turn any of it away.

As always, the Luces' wine selection was incredible. They chose the Opolo Vineyards 2004 Rhapsody, a tantalizing blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Petit Verdot. If I'd been the one to name this wine, I probably would've called it "Rapture", because that's what it was. One whiff, & I was in love. One sip, & I was over the moon. It was just...luscious. With the meat, it was tremendous!

The food just kept coming, & eventually, we had to take a break, so we flipped to "No".


It was then that Mr. Luce declared that we were meat drunk. Bingo! I couldn't have said it better myself, & that was the catchphrase of the night. In fact, Doug & I were still saying it this morning. (Good one, Mr. Luce!) It actually reminded me of this shark show I saw a couple of years ago...there was a dead whale, & a bunch of great whites were having a party. After they'd had their fill, they were just floating underwater in a daze, like they were drunk. (See, I told you I was obsessed with shark documentaries!) So yeah - meat drunk!

After salivating over things coming from the kitchen, we flipped back to "Yes", & discovered the most wonderful thing - roasted pineapple! It was coated with what had to be brown sugar & cinnamon, & then put on the rotisserie. Unbelievable!!! We were also besotted with the Brazilian steak & the bacon-wrapped chicken breasts. Let's face it, anything with bacon around it has got to be good. All of that meat meant we had to have more wine (had to, yes - go ahead & judge), so I picked something from the list, hoping my intuition would be good.

It was! The Miner Vineyards 2003 Aia, a lovely blend of Cab, Cab Franc, & Merlot, was outstanding. A totally different experience from the Rhapsody, which is always interesting to me because it shares 3 varietals. To me, this one wasn't as heady & intriguing as the Rhapsody, but it had an incredible finish, with some spice. Yum. We were happy.


Don't you just love cellphones with cameras?

Just when we thought we'd assaulted our digestive systems enough, our waitress came around & asked if there was anything else she could have brought to us. Holy shit. Doug & Mr. Luce asked for more of the bacon-wrapped chicken & the pineapple, so we were in for a few more bites. But no, that wasn't enough! Our waitress returned with the freakin' dessert tray, & it had chocolate flan.

Have mercy.

Lucy & I probably could've walked away from anything but flan, so we ended our evening with the 4 of us happily sharing the chocolate flan. We figured we'd already gone so far on the road to excess, we might as well take it the rest of the way!

Today, Doug & I are still a bit meat drunk. Or perhaps we have a meat hangover. Yeah, I think that's it. I can't even imagine myself having red meat anytime soon, & I'm still quite full. They say it's never good to skip breakfast, but whoever "they" are can shove it this morning.


LucyinStLou said...

Meat hangover...that's perfect! Oh my I feel like I need to take a long walk over lunch. Today, it's salad for lunch for me. By the way, your camara phone takes great photos. Considering the low light, glare from the windows, and dark table cloth, I am amazed that everything looks so good. Mr. Luce & I had a great time. We're thrilled that you liked the Opolo. I think its our new fav.

Claire said...

I SHOULD take a long walk over lunch, I think I'll just stay where I'm at. It's 11:53, & I'm still not hungry!

We had a great time, too, & for cryin' out loud, the Opolo was so very, very wonderful.

Mo said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening with good friends and good wine. Doesn't get any better.

Hope you recover from your meat hangover.

Thom said...

I have to be honest, when I saw that title, I was a bit worried. But as usual, it is all just good writing. Meat drunk... oh, you just KNOW I am going to use that one!

Claire said...

Mo, it was a great night, & I've recovered quite well, thank you. I just didn't eat until dinner!

Oh, Thom...I didn't even think of that, but I'm glad YOU did because it made me laugh! And by all means, use "meat drunk" with abandon!

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Mmmmmm... meat coma...

Danny said...

When I traveled in Brazil, I got to experience Churrasco first hand. While on assignment there we ate at a local one every flookin day for lunch. For the equivalent of about $5 American we ate so much meat I didn't function properly for weeks. It got to the point that I would only eat off the salad bar some days and I think it sort of insulted the proprietor. I didn't eat any beef literally for about 3 weeks after getting stateside again. The Crios Malbec rose' is bangin'. It is one of my non-French favorites.

Steve and Stepher said...

Oh to get meat drunk via men dressed like gauchos serving meat on swords. Steve would be in HEAVEN. As a longtime veggie - me - well, not so much. ;-) I have that "don't eat anything that had a face" rule while Steve seems to gravitate to once-living-critters.

It does sound like a wonderful evening w/friends and really, what's better than THAT?

Rhonda said...

Mmmm, meat. I haven't been to Bacana-- how does it compare to Cafe Brasil? I just rounded up a $25 GC to Cafe Brasil, so I have some juicy meat in my future too.

Claire said...

Danny, it cracks me up when you say "bangin'".

Rhonda, I've never been to Cafe Brasil, but I've heard good things. Juicy meat is GOOD. I'd die if I were vegetarian, or God help me, vegan.

Alexandre P. said...

I know what you are talking about. I live in Brazil and it is pretty common to me, it hurts!