We had to pleasure of being asked by our good friend, Nick Floulis of Pushback Wines to join him as he launched the Pushback Dinner Series, Inaugural event held at Don Pisto’s in North Beach. This is a very unique and fun restaurant, created by our friend Pete Mrabe, which is serving modern Mexican cuisine with classic flavors in a traditional Italian neighborhood in San Francisco.
The event was the first of its kind, bringing together 4 wineries and their wines, 4 chefs and pairing their wares with 4 different animals, to create a out of this world wine dinner and event. Once the concept was introduced to the public, it was sold out in 4 days! This is amazing and blew everyone away that would be participating that night.
The evening’s chef were Travis Cook, Sous Chef at Park Tavern; Paolo Guisti, Sous Chef at Firenze by Night; Eric Corbin, Sous Chef at Tony’s Napoletana and Pete Mrabe, Chef/Owner of Don Pisto’s & Chubby Noodle; the wineries represented were Nick Floulis of Pushback Wines; Tom Rees, Owner/Winemaker Pine and Brown Winery; Juri McCorkle of City Cellars along with myself and the animals were Duck, Boar, Goat and Lamb.
To kick off the event, each of the wineries brought out their wines, to introduce them to the guests as they arrived and set the mood. Once this successful ice breaker was introduced, guests then made their way to the dining room and were introduced to the evening by Nick, which is when he then let everyone know of the ‘surprise’ course that they would be enjoying. This bonus course, which was actually the 1st course of the evening, was each of the chef’s interpretation of Albacore Tuna as a welcome paired with the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Pine and Brown.
Second course was a Duck Salad that included three different presentations and preparations of the duck on the plate, along with the delightful Pushback Wines, 2011 Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon; a perfect combination.
Finally, it was our turn to come to the plate and we introduced to the guests, our Labor Wines, 2010 Pinot Noir that was being paired with Pete’s Faux Pho – a Pork broth, topping Smoked Pork Shoulder and white beans served with Bacon Cracklings. I know that this was our course to participate in, but let me tell you – the dish was amazing and the pairing was fantastic!
The most creative dish of the evening was a fantastic interpretation of Goat Sugo served with Grilled Polenta Sausages. I had never thought to, nor had I ever heard of anyone stuffing casings with polenta, however Chef Corbin decided to try it out and it was a delicious success. The City Cellars, ‘Gianna’ 50/50 blend of Malbec and Petit Verdot from Paso Robles had a wonderful structure and tannins to complement the richness of this dish. I promise you that I will definitely look to try this in the future on a menu or in my kitchen.
The final savory course of the evening was by Chef Guisti – Grilled Lamb Chops, Heirloom Tomato Salad with Cucumbers. The lamb was cooked perfectly, presented beautifully and guests were blown away by the composition of the dish. The Pushback Wines 2007, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon had great flavor and backbone to complement the dish overall.
Another surprise of the evening was the final course. There was no sweet course on the original menu, so a plan was hatched with the great folks of 15 Romolo, a Speakeasy/Cocktail & Dessert Bar down the street, who decided to offer guests a complementary dessert and a pairing of 3 different cocktails to wrap up the night. After a short walk, guests were delighted by a true San Francisco treat and a nice, mellow vibe to finish the evening.
Overall, it was an amazing experience to be with all of these gentleman who are so caring of the North Beach community and to be invited to participate in the first one. The real highlight of the evening was the donation of all of the proceeds from the night’s dinner to the Salesian Boys’ and Girls’ Club of North Beach. The chance to make a real difference in the area with children who deserve it was fantastic!
We look forward to continuing to support the Pushback Dinner Series and learning about the many chefs and wineries who are going to follow in the footsteps of the inaugural event. They’ve already decided, since the first one sold out so quickly, that they’re hosting a 2nd one in October! Fantastic and best wishes to the guys.
If you have a story, pictures enjoying Labor or would like to place an order, feel free and share with us on Facebook or via Twitter. As well, you can always email me directly, Corey@LaborWines.com or call on cell, 702.466.0987.
Everything takes Labor to accomplish. Labor Wines – A Labor of Love.