after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Dinner #3 and Wine #3: Thamee and 2014 Lutum Pinot Noir (Bien Nacido Vineyard)

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t says: “Cheater! Two in the same post, but you didn’t have them at the same time! Cheater!” Yea – I’m a cheater. But if I’m also the one making the rules, I might not be an actual “cheater”, right? Something hating the game and not the player …?

We went out to dinner with our new DC friends to Thamee on H St. Boasting Burmese food, I was cautiously excited. Was it going to be like Rangoon (in Philly)? Or Burma Superstar (in SF/Oakland?) The website made it seem “elevated”, but the prices didn’t scream “fancy”. So we just zipped up our blizzard-ready jackets (no, it wasn’t snowing, but we were cold) and braved the Friday night.

Dinner for 4. Friday, February 2020. From the moment we stepped in, we knew that the service experience was going to be amazing. The very pleasant hostess was very accommodating, even though we showed up 20 minutes early. We were shown to the bar and invited to have a drink while we waiting for our table (and the rest of our party). No huddling by the door, bracing ourselves as each cold draft ripped through when anyone opened the door? How civilized!

The drinks we had were a-mazing. I had a vodka-laden mango lassi that was incredibly addictive. I’m surprised I stopped at 1. g’s mixed drink was artfully done – head and shoulders above whatever she had at Kitsuen recently.

As our friends arrived and we took our seats, we ventured a smorgasboard of Burmese food. But what “is” Burmese food? How do you explain it? The waiter did a good job: “it’s a combination of a variety of nearby Asian influences, resulting in a flavor all its own”.

And yet – we took no photos. #bloggerfail. Can’t believe I forgot AGAIN. The biggest disappointment is that the food was delicious! We enjoyed nearly everything, but, as the cuisine was fairly unique, I know my words will fail me, so we’re just going to have to go back, take pics and copious notes. One thing is for sure: the “Ma Jo Tofu” was incredible. I love Ma Po Tofu – and the way this dish recalled that flavor exactly, but then made it deeper, more savory, and then incorporated a cube of ?chickpea? in lieu of tofu … That was my favorite. 100% doing that again.

Also: the wine list was incredibly nerdy (bonus!). The staff continued to be amicable. It was another fantastic restaurant recommendation by our friends – perhaps even better than Emilie’s because this time, the restaurant felt more like an original concept unique to DC. Bravo!

Now for wine #3 (because I’m too lazy for a separate post):

2014 Lutum Pinot Noir (Bien Nacido Vineyard)

This was a “bargain” purchased on one of the last Last Bottle marathons before we left San Francisco. No – don’t take “marathon” literally – there was no running involved. LastBottle.com is a flash-sale site that usually puts a different wine on “sale” one at a time. During their “marathons”, they change up the bottle hourly (or even faster if an offering sells out) so you gotta be quick with the trigger finger if you see something you like. This bottle popped up with a rave vinous.com review and a serious discount (something having to do with the owners divorcing and having to liquidate all the leftover bottles in the cellar?), so I jumped on it. That said, rarely does Last Bottle actually deliver a bottle that lives up to the hype … EXCEPT this one!

This bottle was all the luscious dark/black cherry wrapped up in all the dirty/loamy earth that we love. It was dirrrty. In the best way. It was actually far closer to an Oregon pinot than a California pinot, which traditionally for me, gives off a cough syrup flavor (when over-ripe) or a bitter green, “stemmy” flavor (when extracted too hard) or an alcoholic burn (once again, when over-ripe). As a not-winemaker, I actually have no idea if these are the real reasons why CA pinots taste this way to me – they’re just a guess. Meanwhile, g and I both liked and praise Lutum for producing this pinot that pushes the fruit without being “too much”, while not being afraid to let the earth show. It finished with good acidity, porcelain tannin. Great stuff. And, when I went back to check the vinous review, it lined up pretty well with the reviewer’s palate:
“Hints of earthiness, crushed leaves, dark wild cherries and licorice … this is an especially virile, masculine expression of Bien Nacido.”

Not sure if I agree with ever calling a wine “especially virile” (I mean, really? “virile”?), but I understand what the reviewer meant, even if the language is absurdly dated. We have another bottle of Lutum in the cellar so I’m excited to see where it goes!

So here we are – a bit over a month in and we have done 3 and 3 of our 20&20. Gotta keep up the pressure!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

18 February 2020 at 8:45pm

Posted in Happenings

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