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(Another) Year in the Vineyard, Week #12 with Wes Hagen

Year in the Vineyard, by Wes Hagen VM/WM Clos Pepe Week #12: May 28- June 3, 2010 Budi-Licious Cuisine, The White Horse, the Green Tractor, Fruit and Frogs   My day has started a bit slowly.  My normal 6:30 – 7:00 am cup of coffee was delayed until 8:15 today, a fairly rare occurrence.  Last night was our friend Michelle Abiad’s (soon to be Jeremy Ball’s wife)birthday dinner celebration at the Ballard Inn—a restaurant where she worked for many years as a server.  Chef Budi Kazali made this a special homecoming for her.  We threw ourselves upon his mercy for the evening, and he came up with a six course tasting menu (not counting amuse or 2 desserts) that knocked us into a culinary and wine-infused fugue. It was one of those dinners that seems like a dream the next morning.  Dishes like a black cod topped with a fried cod liver were gloriously balanced between flavor, richness and texture.  The seared foie gras with port-soaked cherries alongside apple-smoked bacon-wrapped quail was a revelation with a 1998 Clos de Vougeot