This week feels like the calm before the storm here at Le Metro; we’re gearing up for our Aboveground dinner tomorrow night at Kitchen 4140 and also for the upcoming release of our patriotic July collection. As I take advantage of the rare lull and reflect on our first year, I thought it would be fun to also take a moment here on the blog to go back to the beginning.
When we sent out Le Metro Volume I in June 2013 it was immediately clear that something was missing from the content: food pairings! So we sought an outside-of-the-box way to approach this, and one that would also incorporate the sense of community that brought Tina, GUY, and I together in the first place.
We decided to recruit outside help from those wiser than ourselves, and to start locally with our friend Maurice DiMarino from the Cohn Restaurant Group. Maurice is a true gentleman, and he possesses one of the finest palates in Southern California. He’s also deeply dedicated to wine education; his blog Maurice’s Wine Cru is both informative and a hell of a lot of fun.
Thank you Maurice for all of your support, and for offering up culinary advice for Volume II: The Dark Side of Sancerre a year ago this July.
Aaron Epstein, Curator
AE: Tell me about that pivotal moment when you decided to dedicate your life to wine. (Come on, we’ve all got one…)
MD: Two things. One was related to food. I was a vegetarian for 6 years and I was working as a server at Foreign Cinema in SF. The Chef came out with duck l’Orange for the staff to try, I did and never went back to vegetarianism. I quickly learned that food and wine were one in the same. The second, was the first time I sold a bottle of Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-pape to a 2 top and they gave me a taste. Frickin delicious! And they left a $100 tip.
AE: What food(s) did you find most comforting as a child?
MD: Quesadillas, Beans and Rice.
AE: And what does “comfort food” mean to you today?
MD: Coming home to my wife cooking Brazilian Feijoada.
AE: Do you have a go-to “house wine” that you always have stocked at home?
MD: Several. Currently it is Sincero Ribera del Duero, Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandra Merlot, and there is always a Riesling in the fridge.
AE: When you’re planning a meal, do you generally develop it around the food, or the wine?
MD: I develop it around what I can find in the fridge and then go crazy. I always have wine at home so I usually drink something while cooking and once the dish is done, I go back and pull something that works with the food.
AE: Is there a dish that you’re famous for among your friends?
MD: I don’t like to do the same thing over again. However if you were to ask my wife, she would say I use a lot of Balsamic vinegar and for some reason Achiote always sneaks into the dish.
AE: How do you decide where to eat when you’re traveling?
MD: Ask the local restaurant people.
AE: What is your favorite place to shop for food?
MD: Costco, I have to feed a family of five and I always find something unique. However for cooking a special dinner I go to the nearby whole foods.
AE: Imagine yourself as a culinary ingredient or grape variety. What would you be, and why?
MD: Agave. It is my Mexican roots. Very versatile, can be used to sweeten, heal wounds and make Tequila. I can get along with anybody, I care for people and I like to have a good time.
AE: Would you consider your approach to food & wine pairing to be more scientific or intuitive?
MD: Both, I follow the basic rules, but I also like to break them. It is the only way to see if something works or not.