Monday, November 21, 2011

Beaujolais Nouveau Night 2011!

Note:  This post is also a wine lesson:)

First, a little background:  For those of you who are not wine aficionados, Beaujolais Nouveau (“BN” for the rest of this paragraph) is red wine from the Beaujolais region of France, made from Gamay grapes.  BN is sometimes considered “immature” by critics as it is typically bottled 6-8 weeks after each year’s harvest, and is fermented in the bottle for only 3 weeks.  This process does leave BN without much complexity and with much fruitiness, but that’s the point!  There are other wines which critics can drink if they want “earthy undertones”, “hints of cherry and smoke”, etc.  BN is always released on the third Thursday of November (Beaujolais Nouveau Day), and is intended to be drunk (drank? drinken?) immediately (rather than fermenting further by storing in your wine cellar).  Thus, all the hype surrounding Beaujolais Nouveau Night/Day.

Moving forward:  Bistrot du Coin is a French restaurant in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of DC that looooooves Beaujolais Nouveau, and loves to celebrate it.  If you call them at exactly 10am two weeks prior to the Wednesday before Beaujolais Nouveau Day, you might be lucky enough to snag a reservation for Beaujolais Nouveau Night at Bistrot du Coin.  You get a seating at either 7pm or 9pm on Wednesday, the day before Beaujolais Nouveau Day, for a $40 prix fixe three-course dinner (“prix fixe” means “fixed price” for all you non-sophisticated people out there… aka, people other than me… just kidding, people exactly like me!).  In this case, the food isn’t really a deal… the deal is that you’re issued a wristband so that you can leave the restaurant, then come back at midnight (so it’s now Thursday) for free all-you-can-drink Beaujolais Nouveau until the wee hours of the morning!

Bistrot du Coin, note the discoball for the later festivities!

And that, my friends, is Beaujolais Nouveau Night:)

Some of my friends (the “PartyBus”) partake in this event every year and even plan their work schedules/take time off around it.  (I can painstakingly remember that I was in Alabama for a business trip last year for a technical assessment of a vendor that only had one day available to host me.  Lame.)  Thus, this was my first experience with Beaujolais Nouveau Night.  FYI, I did not do any of the reservation calling, I just got to reap the benefits:)

For my first course, I had the Salade verte au Roquefort (Green salad with Roquefort cheese and walnuts).  As happens frequently, I was so hungry that I dove right into my salad without taking a picture.  That just means it was really good:)  Here are the remnants, though!

For my entrée, I had the Cassoulet du Bistrotier (White bean stew with sausage, pork, lamb and duck Confit), a very classic French peasant dish.

Yummy Cassoulet that tastes even better than it looks in the picture

Tarcy's steak

It was amazing!  And an incredible amount of food (which I totally couldn’t finish because I scarfed down my salad so fast along with the endless bread baskets that kept appearing at our table).

For dessert, Classique Crème Brulee (this one should be pretty self-explanatory, but just in case, Classic Crème Brulee with Vanilla Beans).

All-in-all, a very classic (and delicious) French meal.  I applaud you, Bistrot du Coin.  Even though this night was to celebrate wine, I also got to indulge and enjoy and amazing meal (along with a few bottles of non-BN wine… don’t worry, there were 13 of us, it wasn’t all for me!).

Anywho, we had the 7pm seating, so we were kicked out at 9 for that seating.  As we were walking down the street to seek out a bar at which to kill the next 2 ½ hours, we passed by a nail salon when my friend Shawn exclaimed, “Hey, this place gives you free champagne when you get a manicure!”  (P.S. Shawn is a girl.)  Still a little tipsy from dinner, most of us girls decided, “Hey, why not?  They’re open until 11.”

Rachel and Shawn

Me and Allison (aka, wifey) P.S. Note the wristbands.

So $17 later (tax and tip included), I’d had 3 glasses of champagne and my nails done:)  Still having about an hour to kill, we met the boys and Tarcy at the Irish bar a block away.  (Side note:  Poor Jarrett (who’s a CPA) has a 9/30 year-end client with a filing deadline that’s always the day before Thanksgiving, so he was working.  He’s now considering a career change so that he won’t miss out next year.  Just figured I’d explain the non-existence of him in any pictures.)

We got back into Bistrot du Coin just before midnight, when the bottles were released and you just make your way up to the bar and they give you one (an entire bottle, that is).  Along with plastic cups.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Me, Tarcy, Allison

Misha and Travis

Right before the Beaujolais was brought out

Beaujolais Party!

The bar

Ryan, Shawn, Misha, and I... a few plastic cups of Beaujolais in

Charles loves his Beaujolais!

Some of the PartyBus:)

More Beaujolais!

And now that you know what Beaujolais Nouveau is and when it’s released, you can find/organize your own BN Night/Day wherever you are!  Or check out Bistro du Coin in DC!

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