I recently attended a Slow Food Katy Trail event at the Wine Cellar and Bistro, Saturday Feb. 7, at 7pm. Alan McClure of Patric Chocolate served and explained his creations, while Sarah Cyr, owner and sommelier poured paired wine selections. First impressions: holy crap, Craig and Sarah are super nice. They are a married couple, who co-own a classy restaurant, and who are clearly qualified to be an executive chef and sommelier, respectively.
I’m immediately let into the kitchen, though smaller than I would have guessed; it’s simple, efficient and clean.
There are two other cooks working, Michael White and Andy Burris, and it looks like they’re all pretty close. Andy’s been there two years, Michael three.
I like these guys. A lot. They’re chill, composed, and love to cook. I told Craig I would see him again, and I mean it, I’m gonna try and do another assignment on him. The guy had kangaroo on the menu for a while. I asked him where he got it from, he said someone imports it up in Michigan? Maybe it was Minnesota. I was too in awe to write it down like a good journalist. He mentioned he’s got a garden going, to you know, try and be sustainable while also having the freshest, most seasonal ingredients. Cool stuff. Another reason living in an apartment has its downsides.
Just about the nicest woman you’ll ever meet. She knows a ton about wine, and picked out some winners. Her general strategy was that the wine should always be a bit sweeter than the food you were eating, so when Alan went from 100% pure cacao in the hot chocolate discs, down to the 70%, the wine also got sweeter. We had reds and sparklings reds and whites. Sarah is going to get me the list, and when I have it, I’ll update the information, but they were all quite phenomenal.
I don’t know wine as well as beer, but let me put it this way. The general consensus was the event was satisfying. I couldn’t agree more. I actually skipped dinner, and several pieces of chocolate, less than your average candy bar, and maybe a glass of wine total, left me full well until 10pm.
Basically, Alan said he is not a chocolatier– he made sure to distance himself from making confections. He makes chocolate. Before the tasting we got a bit of background on the process of roasting and fermenting the cacao, which segued nicely in the tasting of cacao nibs. After that, he went into detail about how chocolate is then sweetened, arriving at 75% and 70% bars.
The effort he puts into this is clearly fueled by a passion for excellence. And it shows. I will say hands down, it was the most interesting chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It had so much depth, so many stories inside, from the astringent, almost acidic, to the citrus and berry notes, to the way it melted in your mouth the more cocoa butter was used. Pretty amazing stuff.
If you are ever looking for a classy place to go out, Craig and Sarah will treat you better than right. I highly, highly recommend The Wine Cellar and Bistro. I left with a massive smile on my face. There is so much I left out about the evening, but this is not a magazine, it’s a blog. I hope I can write more about Craig and Sarah soon.
Sarah got back to me with the names of the wines and port she served. They were–
- Simon Hackett Grenache
- Mionetto Il Prosecco
- Pineto Brachetto d’Aqui
- Grahams Six Grapes Port