Gilmore’s… Adieu

There’s been a lot of hubbub about the closing of Gilmore’s in West Chester this week. The restaurant was once considered the class of the western suburbs by many diners, so its closing is probably the Main Line equivalent of Le Bec Fin closing (and yes, Peter Gilmore worked at LBF for many years). The thing that so many others seem to be afraid to say, however, is that it was past due. Gilmore’s was a dinosaur from another era, and was no longer a relevant player in the local restaurant scene.

Reading between the lines of Peter Gilmore’s comments after the news came out, it’s obvious that the restaurant’s financial results back up this assertion. Though they had a reputation for being a tough reservation, sellouts were far less common over the past few years. Gilmore tried gimmicks like adding small plates, and offering a discounted mid-week prix fix menu to get more people in the door, but nothing could save the business.

Continue reading Gilmore’s… Adieu

The Great Pesto Challenge

pesto

Pesto. It’s one of the great summer treats. Fresh, pungent basil from the garden, mixed with garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and a liberal amount of EVOO. Traditionally, of course, it’s used as a pasta sauce, but it also works great on grilled chicken or fish, swirled in dipping oil for bread, as a sandwich spread, and surely many other creative methods.

Nowadays, of course, one doesn’t need a herb garden to get pesto. It’s available in the supermarket year-round, both in the uninspiring jarred form as well as a somewhat better fresh format. In addition, we’re lucky enough to be blessed with quite a few excellent Italian specialty stores in this area, that almost always offer up their own fresh versions. Pondering this one day, I wondered: who makes the best? A taste test was the obvious and inevitable result.

Continue reading The Great Pesto Challenge

PLCB Pick: Terranoble Carmenere Gran Reserva 2009

terranoble-carmenere-gran-riserva-2009

I love wines with great stories. Does a great story change what is in the glass? No, of course not. But it can change how you perceive what’s in the glass, just how who you are with, where you are, or what you are celebrating can change your perceptions.

The story of Carmenere is a particularly interesting one. One of the “original six” Bordeaux grapes (from Médoc specifically, considered by some to be a Cab clone), it all but died out after the double-whammy of the European Phylloxera plague in 1867 and a susceptibility to coulure, a condition where grapes fail to thrive after a particularly rainy, wet season.

In fact, the grape was widely considered to be extinct until the 1990s, when it was discovered in Chile. It turns out that cuttings of the plant were imported to to Chile in the 1800s, but it was mistaken for Merlot. In 1994, however, a French oenologist found otherwise, showing conclusively that it was indeed Carmenere.

Now, Chile has embraced the grape as its very own, especially considering the fact that other big wines in Chile: Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc. are not indigenous to the country.Though Carmenere is grown in small quantities in Italy, the US and France, Chile is leading the way with this particular varietal.

Continue reading PLCB Pick: Terranoble Carmenere Gran Reserva 2009

Local Farmers Markets

east-goshen-farmers-market-tomatoes

The big news on the Farmers Market front this spring was the announcement that a new, year-round, indoor market will be opening sometime soon in the former Borders Bookstore in Rosemont. Building owner Steve Bajus expects 25 to 30 vendors, open Thursday-Saturday, plus some additional vendors that’ll be open six days a week. For more details, check out coverage on Patch and in Main Line Media News. If you’re interested in joining the market, more info is available at Bajus’ site.

The developers suggest that a fall opening is possible for the Rosemont Farmer’s Market, but keep in mind that “possible” in developer-speak typically means “improbable”. (I’d bet on early 2013.)

In the meantime, here’s a listing of currently open local Farmers Markets:

Continue reading Local Farmers Markets

Local Cookbooks: Lamb Shanks with Herbes de Provence

lamb-shank

Local Cookbooks is a feature at MLD where we share a recipe from a cookbook with local ties. Have a cookbook we should consider? Let us know.

Although Corked & Forked by Keith Wallace lists this recipe under the “Winter” section (not surprising as it is, after all, braised meat), we thought it’d make an interesting late-spring alternative to lamb roast (a popular choice at Easter, no?) Though it is certainly a hearty dish, the sauce is outstanding and this is one of my favorite cuts of lamb when slow-cooked to perfection.

To go with this recipe, Wallace suggests a Pinot Noir from the Eola-Amity Hills region of Oregon, which he calls “one of the greatest wines produced in America”. Interestingly enough, this is the pairing that Wallace gets most excited about in the entire book (each recipe has a pairing), calling it “so beautiful that your tongue may sprout wings and fly to heaven”. We tried 2008 Stangeland Pinot Noir Vermeer Vineyard, the only Eola-Amity Pinot we could find at nearby state stores, but unfortunately it was sub-par (the winemaker was quite heavy-handed with the oak), so there were no tongue wings for us.

Continue reading Local Cookbooks: Lamb Shanks with Herbes de Provence