Now that summer is almost over, restaurateurs are kicking into higher gear with special dinners designed around wine or spirits. Here are three where you can eat well and learn something about tequila or Napa Valley wines or single malt Scotch at the same time.
On Friday, Fuego at Hotel Maya has joined with Tequila 1921 to offer free 20-minute tequila tastings and seminars from 6 to 9:45 p.m. Those who want to further their tequila education can sign up for a four-course prix-fixe dinner with tequila pairings for $55 before or after the tastings and seminar. Executive chef Victor Juarez plans to start with a tropical ceviche made with mahi-mahi, chipotle, coconut, cucumber and ginger paired with 1921 Bianco. Then comes grilled lamb chop with chimichurri and 1921 Reposado. Fire roasted poblano chili with quinoa and squash is paired 1921 Anejo, and with the molten chocolate cake, he’s pouring 1921 Crème. For reservations, call (562) 481-3910 or visit http://www.facebook.com/fuegolongbeach.
On Thursday, Trattoria Neapolis in Pasadena celebrates a change of staff, including new chef, new pastry chef, new general manager and new head bartender with a Frog’s Leap Winery dinner at 6:30 p.m. Chef Clinton McCann will be pairing his five-course menu with wines from the two decade-old Napa Valley winery. Pan-roasted day boat scallop with parsnip pear velouté with Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc starts things off. The Chardonnay will be poured with pumpkin ravioli in browned butter sauce and a Tuscan seafood stew with saffron rouille will go with the 2012 Zinfandel. For the main course, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon should hold its own against wood oven-roasted sirloin in Barolo sauce. Dessert is a dark chocolate torte with sour cherries paired with the 2012 Petite Sirah. The price is a reasonable $79 per person, not including tax and tip. For reservations, call (626) 792-3000.
The following Thursday, Sept. 25, the venerable Tam O'Shanter is hosting Glenmorangie Distillery for a tasting and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Single malt Scotch with dinner? Why not? Chef Mark Kalenderian and in-house whiskey expert John Maraffi have put their heads together for the menu. First course: charred octopus with grilled lemon aioli, olives and potatoes with Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or. Then comes a BLT with bacon-crusted Gouda and heirloom tomato chutney with 12-year-old Lastanta. Next up: grilled duck with citrus gremolata and duck skin cracklings and 10-year-old the Original. Finally, the 18-year-old Extremely Rare is paired with a cardamom cookie sundae with cappuccino ice cream and hot fudge. Kind of fun, no? The cost is $75 per person, not including tax and tip. For reservations, call (323) 664-0228.