Seduction Dinner

Roasted Lobster Tail with Champagne Vanilla Reduction

It's no secret how much I adore My Baby, and I wanted to treat him to something mind-blowingly unique for Valentines Day. I'd been dreaming up this dish for months, ever since I surfed across the 1995 New York Times recipe for Lobster in Vanilla Sauce. I could image a few adjustments to the recipe (I'd want to swap the the white wine for a more romantic champagne, and would rather roast a lobster tail then a whole lobster, for example) and set to planning the rest of the meal, wines and champagnes around this centerpiece.

Oregon and French Cheeses, Rosemary Bread and Toasted Oregon Hazelnuts

Like any good American, I opted for an inside-out Euro-Oregon experience, choosing to serve dessert first: A beautiful cheese plate. From France, lush St. Andre triple-cream and barnyard-y Tomme de Savoie, made urbane with a drizzle of dark honey and a freshly cracked white peppercorn, along side an Oregon Rogue River Blue with a twangy, musty flavor that gives way to an unusual sweetness. The cheeses were surrounded by a wonderful rosemary loaf (from Trader Joe's, this was a really nice bread that you'll see again soon on these pages) and freshly toasted local hazelnuts.

Meriwether 2005 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

Nothing could have been a better match than the Domaine Meriwether 2005 Pinot Noir. Oregon is so very blessed with our impressive selection of classic world-class Pinot Noirs, and this one fits right in. And, this was a good warm-up to the Domaine Meriwether Sparkling Ros


that I had planned for the main course. Still or sparkling, Meriwether produces delightful wines.

Warming Up

Sipping this wine brings to mind dark, ripe cherries, damp peat and mushrooms on a composting Douglas Fir log. A great Valentines Day start!

Rich and Silky Meriwether 2005 Oregon Pinot Noir

Yes, these are the types of things we do for fun out here in the country. Even on Valentine's Day.

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad, Dressed with...
We then moved on to a salad course, again out of step with our European friends.

Champagne Honey Dressing
I wanted champagne and honey to be a gently reoccurring theme throughout the meal, and incorporated both into the salad course.

Using these ingredients...

And these.

Honey Champagne Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons champagne
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
juice of half of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dark honey
sea salt and coarsely ground white pepper to taste
6 tablespoons good quality olive oil

Place all ingredients in a recycled jam jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake well. This is great over a salad of baby greens, sliced avocados and supremed blood oranges.

Champagne and Lobster

I won't bother you with too many details about the lobster dish, other to say that it looked better than it tasted. I usually reserve these pages to pass on only the best of the best, and this didn't hit that mark. Why? Too much vanilla, a poor choice to serve it with saffron pasta, and our lobster tails were overdone. The lobster wasn't stellar, but let me wax on about the champagne.

Domaine Meriwether 1999 Prestige Brut

Rosé Cuvee

Domaine Meriwether's 1999 Prestige Brut

Rosé Cuvee has a lilting strawberry fruit and warm, toasty caramel notes, all wrapped up in a creamy texture. Its elegance is hard to suprass at this price-point.

I've told you how lucky we are to have such culinary and enological delights practically at our doorstep, and Domaine Meriwether is one such joy. Precisely 44 miles from our house, Domaine Meriwether is an easy country drive on a Sunday afternoon, and provides our main source for bubbly. Making sparkling wine via Methode Champenoise is highly labor intense and costly. Only a handful of Oregon wine-makers produce "champagne" (or to be legally accurate, sparkling wine methode champenoise) and it just so happens that we are neighbors with one who makes some of the best. Happy Valentines Day to us!

And Happy Valentine's Day to You!!


  1. Beautiful photos, and lovely meal! I could just imagine how all together tasted!

  2. What a feast!!!n St. Andre triple cream is a favorite of ours- I could eat the whole buttery wedge myself! Your salad looks so refreshing, and I love the combination of champagne and honey! Sorry to hear you were disappointed with the lobster- it really does look beautiful, and the idea of lobster and vanilla is very tantalizing.... but thank God for the champagne. We love bubbly of any kind and it really does make everything better. Is Meriwether available outside of OR? Would love to try it sometime- I really appreciate Rose Champagnes. Happy Valentines!

  3. WHOA! The photo alone is seducing me. What I wouldn't give to just be in the same room as that dish. I don't do wine so I can't relate. But the cheese look awesome. I want to stick my fork and fingers into this. Thanks.

  4. These photos and this got me for sure!

  5. Beautiful photos to match a beautiful meal!! I had a lobster similar to yours on a cruise in the South Pacific last year and it was divine. The blood orange salad would also be one of my favorites! What a wonderful day you must have had. Happy Valentine's Day to the two of you!!

  6. The whole meal from start to finish looks incredible. Even if you weren't to fond of the lobster dish. I'm a real sucker for a cheese plate. Your wine paring looks perfect too. You got one lucky guy with that feast. :)

  7. What a lovely Valentine's Day meal! I'm sure your hubby was quite happy! =)

  8. What an incredible meal! It's unfortunate that the lobster didn't turn out as expected. Regardless, this is definitely the ultimate seductive meal. The photos are stunning.

  9. Looks like you shared an amazing meal! Did the two of you make it through all that cheese? I'll be seriously impressed if you put away that much food before dinner ;-)

  10. It's too bad the lobster wasn't perfect, but everything else looked so amazing, I doubt it mattered. What a fabulous menu!

  11. Oh dear. You certainly seduced me with the lovely pictures, and the mouthwatering descriptions. I think you'd be able to get me to do anything with this amazing meal!!!

    And never mind---the lobster is really all about the magnificent presentation! ;)

  12. The huge lobster tail pretty sucked me in!

    Love all the wines and the cheese course is a nice reminder of one of last week's fun rituals.



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