dine out diet, week three

Has it only been three weeks? Somehow, it feels much longer. On Tuesday, I attended the Goats do Roam South African wine tasting at Braai, in the west 50s, and met the sincere and likeable Charles Back, the winemaker (see more photos here). I am excited to announce I have found my new inexpensive, but really good, easy drinking wine. Whether in Rose, White or Red, they were all splendid, and sell for under $10 a bottle. Yes! At the tasting we also sampled some South African tapas. Photo left shows a Peppardew stufffed with goat cheese, which came from the vineyards’ very own goats (hence the wine’s name). The small pepper, about the size of a cherry tomato, was extremely tangy, tasted like it was pickled. Diane, Charles Back’s wife, explained that these native South African peppers naturally taste that way, and were matched with the Rose. With the White wine, we recieved a selection of tapas. Braii’d Brie, under the orange triangle, was set on greens and had an orange-honey sauce. Pan-seared baby prawns came with a blue cheese sambal. Bite-sized samosas are to the right of the prawn. Way in the back is a Biltong Bruschetta, made with dried, salted beef and stewed tomato sauce. Due to my no-meat pledge, I had to pass on this, but did share what I could not partake. I did try a Chicken Liver, though, which was quite good (seen in bread basket). Does a liver count as cheating? I say, no! Friday night was my best restaurant pick of the three weeks. I had been meaning to check out Giano, in the east village, since it opened. The food was excellent, as was the amount of attention we received from owner Matteo. The generous mound of Arugula Salad with apple, orange, fennel and walnuts in the lightest citrus dressing was the perfect start. The Salmon had a delicious sauce made with Sambuca, tarragon, and splash of orange juice, which really transformed the dish. The plain spinach accompaniment was a perfect foil for the richness of the fish. See more photos of the space, and what my friends ate here. Delicioso!

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