So, I went to Rockport, TX last week to get some isolation and get caught up on some wine reading. While you might not thing going to the coast (shore for those of you in Jersey) doesn’t seem like a place to go study in isolation, I can assure you it is. The condo I stay in has no internet connection. And the cell service there is spotty. And it’s not a carrier thing, it’s literally a lack of cell towers north of Fulton which is actually where I was. I do mean north of Fulton, I was actually in the county.
So what was this studying? Pretty much finishing The Complete Bordeaux by Stephen Brook. That and starting some flashcards on my iPad. I pretty much finished the book. I got to page 643 out of 710 before I came back to San Antonio. And I didn’t read every single page. But what I did read was all the main information and then the entries for all the top chateaux. That alone was a few hundred pages alone. Made me want to go back there. But enough about the book, I didn’t stay in the cave 24/7. I did go and have dinner in a few places. So I’ll talk about them here.
First night I headed to Bellino’s. It’s pretty much become a tradition for me to go on my first night there. They have a pretty decent food menu and the wine menu has a good selection of Italian wine. Tonight they had a special that sounded good. It was some Italian sausage and spaghetti with marinara sauce. I decided to pair it with one of the wines on their menu but they were out. This was the second time in a row that my first choice of wine was not available there. I went with my backup choice, though to call it a backup isn’t really fair. Let’s just call it a second choice. It was the 2010 Banfi Rosso di Montalcino. And in actuality, I was going to get this first, but thought another wine would be better.
The food was good. I had heard one of the servers describe it to another table and say that the sausage wasn’t spicy. Well I’d agree, but it wasn’t not spicy. Definitely a mild sausage which is fine. Very tasty. The spaghetti was cooked well and the sauce also tasted good. It was a bit watery, but that was probably from the pasta not being completely drained. Very minor and really didn’t detract from the meal. The wine had good fruit, but very high acidity. It wasn’t a bad pairing, but it really needed to calm down a bit. All in all a good pairing. I ended with tiramisu. It’s kind of hard for me pass that up. After dinner I brought home the wine to have later.
Night number two. I really didn’t know where to go so I drove around and just stopped once I decided. I went to Moondogs. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy that night. I entered and was greeted very pleasantly by the host. She let me know I could pick any table I wanted. Grabbed a table and checked out the menu. I decided on just a chicken fried steak. I have a weakness for them. I wanted to try their bbq nachos, but my server let me know that even the small one was a good-sized portion. It came out and was also pretty good. Not the best I’ve had, but definitely not the worst. I would have it again if I went back. This time I didn’t have any wine. I went with beer. Here they really didn’t have a stellar selection of beer, just the normal selections. I ended up ordering a Blue Moon. Not a beer I typically order, but it’s nice every once-in-a-while.
Third night I decided to check out Glow. This was a restaurant I’ve seen the past couple times I’ve been down there, but decided not to go there. Basically because the menu online didn’t really have much that I thought I would like. While I’m not as bad as I used to be, I’m still a pretty picky eater. The menu on this night had at least two things I thought I would like. Glow has been around for almost two years and it’s one of a few places in the Rockport area that has an upscale menu. I ordered a pepper crusted tenderloin. It also had some potatoes and spinach with it. Two items I like. It came out perfectly cooked. It was also served already sliced. I believe this is called chef cut as I’ve only had this style a couple times. Great flavor and the pepper crusting wasn’t overwhelming.
The wine I ordered was the 2011 William Chris Wines Artist Blend. This was one of the main reasons I came to Glow. I had gone to William Chris this past December. While doing their interview we talked about Rockport and that their wine was on the menu at Glow. They are picky as to what restaurants carry their wine. Glow is one of the places they like to eat and that’s why it’s on the list. Another wine with good fruit. Some good dark fruits on it and a bit of earthiness. It’s a blend of Merlot, Mourvedre, Syrah,Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon. An unusual blend, but it works. For dessert I had bread pudding paired with one of the brandies they have.
I do have to say that first, get a reservation here. There’s seating for about 40 people. I knew this ahead of time from reading reviews. I made my reservation for a seat at the bar since it’s just me. Glad I did. There was a 20-top at 7:00 that took up half the place and the other tables were mostly sat. I got there just in time too. The 20-top was a surprise birthday party and I got there before the guest of honor did. They only had two servers/bartenders to take care of the whole place. Since I had gotten my order in before the big top, I had no issues with the food timing. However, these two were definitely running. They also had a busser helping out. They did an awesome job taking care of everyone and keeping their cool.
The next night I was joined by the neighbors downstairs. They’ve been living in the complex for a long time and are super nice. They’ve been friends of my parents since they got the place. I let them choose the restaurant. They picked a place called Crab-N. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere near Aransas Pass. A seafood place of course, but as usual there’s a few items for a guy like me who doesn’t like seafood. We all pretty much ordered a pasta dish with different proteins. Mine was the chicken with a lemon butter sauce. Pretty good, but I would have liked the sauce to have more flavor to it.
I chose their only Sauvignon Blanc on the menu to pair with dinner. It was the Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc. Unfortunately I didn’t get the vintage, but it’s most likely a 2011, maybe a 2010. One of the main reasons I chose it was due to the seafood dishes my guests had. For me a chardonnay would have probably been better. They also drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc, so I knew this should be a good choice. I was pleased with it. Good citrus aromas and great acidity.
The only issue with this particular dinner was the service was pretty slow. The place was full when we got there at 7:00. My guests tried to call to make a reservation but the person who answered the phone said they didn’t take them and then for some reason thought they wouldn’t be busy. On a Saturday night? Busy at 7:00? No never in the history of restaurants is it busy at 7:00 on a Saturday. A case of someone thinking that how busy you are a 4:00 determines how busy you’ll be when most people eat dinner. Not sure how many servers they had on the floor, but it looked like they were a bit overwhelmed. Not a big deal for someone like me, but it was noticeable.
My last night in town I really didn’t know where to go. Some of the places are only open during the day on a Sunday. I just got into the car and started driving. I ended up at a place called Latitude. I’ve been here before and know the food is good. Parking lot is pretty empty at 7:00 but yet the dining room was on a wait. So that means they only had 1-2 servers on the floor. I decided to go to the bar which is actually where I prefer to eat anyway. Since I already had a pepper tenderloin earlier that week, I decided to go with a Beef Burgundy.
For the wine I ordered an Oregon Pinot Noir. For the second time this week I get told they were out. They bring out a Russian River Pinot Noir because it was close to the price of the wine I had ordered. Unfortunately I prefer pinots from Oregon and not California. They then tell me what other wines they are out of. I decided to get the 2011 King Estate Pinot Noir. Apparently this is not unusual here with wine. From what I get told, they order wine and it doesn’t come.
The Beef Burgundy arrives and it’s got a nice brown sauce with mushrooms, onions, and carrots. I forget that this is a dish with mushrooms, yet another food I don’t like, but it’s no big deal to pick them out. The tenderloin tips are nice and tender and tasty. The Pinot Noir has a good smoky aroma and good sour cherry on the palate. Figured a dish with the name Burgundy in it might be something to pair a Pinot Noir 🙂
I decline dessert as I’m pretty full. I take the rest of the wine home (by the way Texas is a state where you can order a bottle of wine and as long as it’s recorked, you can take it out of the restaurant). I reopen it when I get back to the condo while watching TV and having one of those generic swiss rolls. The pinot eventually gets this really nice tobacco on the nose.
Well, that’s my culinary adventures while down in Rockport. It’s a small town (along with Fulton) on the coast of Texas. Popular among Texans and lots of piers to fish off of. However, most of the piers are private or part of a hotel or condo complex. Many of the restaurants allow you to bring your own fish to have them cook. Not much as far as nightlife, but there are a few bars.
I don’t know when I’ll return to Rockport. While it’s only a 3 hour drive, it’s not a place I would go to just to spend the night. With the kind of schedule I have I wouldn’t be able to spend more than one night normally. Plus I’m not a fisherman, and I’m not as fanatical about hanging out at the beach like I used to. However, if I had to make the choice about being at the beach or in the mountains, I’d pick the beach every time.
Speaking of the beach, be sure to look for my episode on beach wine next week. I did hit the beach with some wines that would be good for hanging out with friends at the beach, or any kind of outdoor event.
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