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Bite Magazine Review: Calistoga – Raise a glass to Californian cuisine

Delicious Californian wine.
Tasting delicious Californian wine.

My latest review for Bite Magazine is now available in the publication’s October edition (both online and in print). Under the spotlight this month is a great wine tasting and dining experience with a Californian theme, thanks to a visit to Calistoga (70 Rose Street Lane North, EH2 3DX). A taster of the review can be read below, with the full article being available for download from Bite’s website.

Calistoga – Raise a glass to Californian cuisine

Preconceptions aren’t good things. Take American cuisine and wine. It’s basically burgers, hot-dogs and sickly-sweet pink Zinfandel, isn’t it? A recent wine-tasting / dining experience at Calistoga – Edinburgh’s Californian-inspired restaurant – certainly exploded this myth.

Our evening started in the restaurant’s tasting room, where sommelier Alastair Henderson took us through the “Congressional” sampling of two red and white wines (£32pp including a 3 course dinner). Previously working in California’s viticulture industry, Henderson’s experience gives Calistoga exclusive access to some impressive wines, and he imparts real insight into how the Napa Valley’s geography and history influences these.

The 2011 vintage wines sampled were: Freemark Abbey Viognier – lightly scented and dry, but bursting with peach and vanilla flavours; Scott Family Estate Chardonnay – tastes of smokey pineapple and mango; Napa Cellars Pinot Noir – a cherry burst on the nose, luscious soft red berries in the mouth; and Gnarly Head Petite Sirah – scented with nuts and richly flavoured with coffee and raisins.

The Californian-inspired food (3 courses for £25pp) impressed too. I started with a flavoursome spicy chicken and sweet potato frittata, well complemented by a smokey BBQ sauce. The enthusiasm with which JML consumed his Manchego, feta and mozzarella flat bread with arugula (that’s Californian for rocket) pesto indicated how tasty this was.

Fab Flatiron and fries.
Fab Flatiron and fries.

Our mains were carnivorous. JML’s slow cooked pork shoulder was smashingly tender, without falling apart, and the accompanying chorizo mash and rosemary jus provided a great flavour balance to the meat. My chargrilled Buccleuch flat iron steak, with fries and a peppercorn sauce sounded uncomplicated. However, this American shoulder cut of beef was one of the best steaks I have sampled, smokey black outside with a meltingly moist pink interior…

Read the full review at:

Great strawberry cheesecake.
More on this tasty pud in the full review.

Calistoga on Urbanspoon Square Meal

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