When Pretty Meets Tasty: Mid-week Dinner at Magpie Cafe
Pair long-awaited moments
With dreamy food and glorious wine
And thus discover torrents
Of a life that’s pure and fine.
Food supplies the sustenance
For interest and for energy
Flood of wine enriches substance
With passion, truth, and levity.
160702 | Sacramento
At Magpie Cafe, the art of blissful living through gastronomy manifests in every plate with elegance in appearance and substance. Although I knew1 that their presentation would be superb, I requested, nonetheless, that my plate be “extra pretty,” and it so it was; and it was extra delicious, too.
Since I became a born-again meat eater2 a little over a year ago, I have been in a perpetual search for the perfect pork chop. I think Magpie’s Berkshire T-Bone Pork Chop may have come close: The precise medium preparation of the perfect cut of pig maintains the meat’s succulence while subtle charring on just the right places makes the fat pop with hog-like excitement. The bed of creamy chile cheddar grits deliver not just the psychologically needed starch, but moreso the texture and silently assertive flavor that cradles the meat so delicately. Fresh fruit mostarda crowns this delicious dish with righteous sweetness and a smidge of tartness reminding us not only of the necessity of flavor complexity but also of the unparalleled and taste-obvious quality of farm-to-fork-to-tongue.
The other dish – Duck Confit Salad, poses with such photogenic ease, and upon encounters with the tongue she proves that she is not just pretty face. The duck is both crispy and juicy; perfectly seasoned and subtle on different strategic places. In some restaurants, the greens may come as an almost irrelevant plate extension, a glorified garnish, but here the local greens, roasted potatoes, snap peas, and bing cherries beautifully assert themselves. The marsala cherry vinaigrette bind this union of meat and greens in blissful matrimony. This dish, although not my own brought delight to my senses, as well; and I am so glad I shamelessly indulged in it, too.
Normally, in dining out with friends or family, I bring a bottle3 of my favorite wine/s from my wine travels, and I must admit, I am still in a constant struggle to psychologically reconcile with the imposition of a corkage fee4. As if inspired by a premonition, I brought a bottle of Borjon Winery’s 5 2013 Differente, a 50/50 blend of Barbera and Zinfandel. Its perky beginning zestfully accompanied a long-awaited conversation among friends, and as it aerated more, its vibrant fruit flavors became even more evident. It flows with such plush elegance and ease. It is the perfect blend of dark and perky, a non-alienating companion to our meals.
To state the undeniably obvious: It was a perfect evening with a dear friend made even more magnificent with the blessings of locally farmed food and wine.