Another wonderful food event at Hills Market. The premise of the dinner, was to provide courses inspired by each of the five 2008 Oscar Nominees for Best Picture. Jill Moorhead (Hills Market Marketing Director), who had patiently watched each movie looking for food references, admitted how hard it had been as none of this years nominations really seemed to feature food. Certainly there was no Babette’s Feast for inspiration. I was prepared for the thought that had been put into the food menu, but was amazed by the care taken with the wine selections. Each of the four wines paired with the meal also had some movie connection.
The evening featured the excellent company and expert insights of three film critics from WCBE 90.5 FM: John DeSando, co-host for “It’s Movie Time” and “Cinema Classics”, Johnny DiLoretto, co-host for “Cinema Classics” and entertainment reporter at Fox 28 TV, Kristin Dreyer Kramer, co-host for “It’s Movie Time” and editor-in-chief of NightsAndWeekends.com and Clay Lowe, WCBE and nightsandweekends.com contributor and owner of the most amazing laugh I have ever heard.
We started off with a delicate and delicious sparkling wine: Francis Coppola “Sofia” Blanc de Blancs, 2007, (California). Sofia Blanc de Blancs began as a gift from a father to his daughter – I think the movie link here is obvious!
The first course was a mildly spiced and okra-laden turkey Gumbo, inspired by “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, which I enjoyed more than the movie.
German cabbage salad, inspired by “The Reader” (the only movie of the set I hadn’t seen). The cabbage salad was served with the best sauerkraut balls I have ever had (albeit not a large sample) with the added touch of bacon (or ham?) which lifted them way above the typical bar offering. The wine pairing was a crisp fruity Sicilian white, Donnafugata Anthilia, 2006. Donnafugata translates as “Donna the fugitive” and is taken from the film “Il Gattopardo” (The leopard) with Burt Lancaster.
Open faced chicken curry chapati with banana, inspired by “Slumdog Millionaire” and paired with Kame Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, (Sonoma Valley). The chicken curry was my favorite dish of the evening and was essentially a well executed Coronation Chicken (a popular English dish – no wonder I liked it!). Slumdog Millionaire was also my favorite movie. The chapati was probably my least favorite item and was neither chapati-like, nor easily edible, but there was no shortage of food. The wine-movie connection was that Robert Kamen, the owner of the vineyard was also the screenwriter of films such as “Taps”, “The Karate Kid”, “The fifth element” and “A walk in the clouds”.
Next was a mini bacon and avocado burger with caramelized onion, inspired by “Frost/Nixon” and paired with MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, 2007, (Central Coast). Sadly, Details has spoiled me for other sliders, but I remembered the burger scene from the movie. The movie-wine connection here is that the ranch was owned by Hollywood actor Fred MacMurray (I didn’t recognize the name, but certainly recognized his face and a lot of the movie titles when I looked him up).
“Twinkie Defense” dessert, inspired by “Milk” – a cream filled angel-food-cake-esque creation at once both very chewy and very light.
It was a lot of fun, with the added bonus of prizes and take home movie tickets and posters. I’m still waiting for Clay to friend me on facebook, and incase you are wondering…… John correctly predicted that Slumdog Millionaire would win best picture.