To generate interest with local tastemakers, FoodDigger has hosted several wine dinners around L.A. County. On December 10, I attended a FoodDigger dinner at Shibucho with three of the site’s founders – Marshal, Brian and Will. On Wednesday night, several bloggers were invited to Giang Nan, one of the better Shanghai-style restaurants in the Shanghai-glutted San Gabriel Valley, where Fooddigger paired Spanish wines with Shanghainese classics. We experienced nine wines and 16 dishes during a memorable meal.
The roundtable featured several FoodDigger representatives, plus Javier of Teenage Glutster, Kevin of KevinEats, H.C. of L.A. and O.C. Foodventures, Andrea Hoffman (The Foodie Traveler) and Mike of Right Way to Eat!
We started with a bottle of rich Lustau Solera Reserva Fine Sherry Wine.
Our first bites: firm slices of cold pork designed for dipping in dishes of vinegar and ginger.
Cross sections of grass carp, bone and all, were soaked in a sweet marinade that created the impression of “smoke.” The cool fish was pretty good when I wasn’t dodging bones, though some sections were soggy.
Crisp stalks of celery were simple but fresh and satisfying.
Kevin brought a bottle of Heredad Brut Reserva Cava, saying, “I always like to start with bubbles.” I already drank the Sherry, but was happy to hit reboot for a Cava so crisp.
We shared baskets of fried yellow croaker. The fish wasn’t greasy at all, and came coated with thin, crisp batter flecked with seaweed. This was vastly superior to mushy fish & chips especially when dipped in salt.
We devoured a mound of minced snow cabbage, edamame and bean curd sheets. The dish was clumpy compared with the revelatory version I ate at Jai Yunin San Francisco and wasn’t a highlight.
We learned that Vinos Finos doesn’t release their wine until its at least 10 years old. We received pours from a bottle of 1996 Vinos Finos de Rioja – Viña Gravonia.
Tea smoked shrimp amounted to shrimp sautéed with tea leaves, and there weren’t many leaves at that, but it was still a pretty good dish, mainly because the shrimp were plump.
We received a plate of greens similar to ong choy, but with flat shoots. They were delicious. Simply sautéed Chinese vegetables can be excellent, especially knowing we’d see richer dishes toward the back-end of the meal.
Whole tilapia was blanketed in a brown sauce combining vinegar, sugar and soy. The flavor was simultaneously sweet, salty and sour. Unfortunately, the texture of the fish was too mushy.
We shared bottles of 1999 Vinos Finos de Rioja – Viña Bosconia – plus 2006 Don Olegario Albariño Rias Bavcas. The Albariño was probably my favorite wine of the night, a fairly sweet wine similar to Riesling, but dry enough to deliver balance.