Wine & Veggies? Yes!

Put together a group of food & wine bloggers, a fun bistro/wine shop, and a vegetarian challenge and you have a guaranteed evening of fun!

The wine room at Pairings is a perfect spot to gather with new friends

The Fortify! Minnesota food bloggers group was the common link between the people in this fun evening.  Nicole Navratil, Nick Kolnik, and Allison Wagner organized the evening and posted an invitation on the Fortify! Facebook page.  Vegetarian dishes and wine pairings was something new for me, so Julie & I signed up.

We’re big fans of Pairings Food & Wine in Minnetonka and the evening was a perfect match for them.  Pairings is a two-sided business – a bistro on the west side and a nice wine shop on the east.  In the middle, they have a great room for a group of 10-15 people.  The room can be reserved for free with a very reasonable minimum spend on the wine & food.  Our evening was organized based on the fall food menu and wines available in the wine shop.  Nicole, Nick, and Allison did a great job of keeping within a budget that made the evening educational, fun, and  inexpensive.  Let’s get on to the veggie course and the wine pairings!

Harvest Quinoa Salad and Spinach Salad with Pfeffingen Dry Riesling

Harvest Quinoa Salad
Quinoa (keen-wah) with mixed greens, butternut squash, dried cherries, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple vinaigrette.

Spinach Salad
Local goat cheese, almonds, strawberries, red onion, and poppy seed dressing.

The Quinoa salad (Julie’s favorite) was unique and had a number of surprises for salad; the butternut squash and the quinoa in the salad was an unexpected treat.  Likewise, the spinach salad was very nice and a bit more familiar.  The Pfeffingen Dry Riesling was very nice: lean, dry, crisp and a wonderful light beginning to the dinner.

Harvest Quinoa salad

Spinach salad and Pfeffingen Dry Riesling

Pumpkin & Squash Ravioli & Zestos Malvar and Haden Fig Pinot Noir

Pumpkin & Squash Ravioli
With a creamy pumpkin seed pesto and crispy leeks

Being new to the group, I brought an extra bottle of wine as a treat – the Haden Fig Pinot Noir.  We had fun comparing the two wines when tasted with the ravioli.  Each one was nice in a different way.  The Zestos Malvar was nice and crisp and really offset the creaminess of the ravioli.  The Haden Fig Pinot Noir really accentuated the earthy aspects of the pumpkin & squash in the ravioli.

Pumpkin Ravioli with a Zestos Malvar and a Pinot Noir. Which one was best?

Fig Pizza & Tres Picos Borsau Garnacha

Fig Pizza
Figs, blue cheese, caramelized onion and arugula with a balsamic glaze

The Garnacha was pretty ripe, which isn’t usually my favorite.  However, when paired with the rich figs and blue cheese in the pizza it seemed just right.

I couldn’t wait to take a bite of the pizza

For most of the evening, the conversation was really buzzing, sometimes you could hardly hear yourself think!  However, with a group of bloggers, there will also be the moments when everyone is tweeting, posting, or otherwise connected.

The inevitable moment when you’re out with a group of bloggers.

Wines to pair with vegetarian dishes

Thanks to Nicholas Kolnik, Nicole Navratil, and Allison Wagner for organizing the event, and thanks to Pairings Food & Wine for being such wonderful hosts!

Nicole Navratil’s blog is Pepperoni is not a Vegetable

Nicholas Kolnik tweets at @NicholasKolnik

Allison Wagner’s blog is The Savvy Lush

Amanda Paa’s blog is Healthy Life, Happy Cook

Mellissa Solin’s blog is A Fit and Spicy Life

Pairings Food & Wine is also on Facebook

5 Responses to “Wine & Veggies? Yes!”
  1. Looks like a blast! You folks out there in Minnesota really know how to do the wine thing!

  2. Nicole Navratil says:

    Yay, what a fun post! I want to do it again! :). Thanks for sharing, Jeff.

  3. This was a blast. Pairings is a great host, the company was terrific, and the wine pairings couldn’t have worked much better. Great write-up!

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