It's a Chef Meili Christmas

Wednesday, December 26, 2007










Chef Christian Meilinger's restaurant, Chef Meili, knows how to make people feel like a celebrity. On Christmas Eve I went to his restaurant with 8 of my friends to indulge in roast goose, turkey, duck confit, and gluvine.

We started with gluvine: warmed mulled wine spiced with cloves and oranges. It, as my friends said, tasted like Christmas.

We also had the house Austrian wine: medium dry with hints of currants and black cherries. It was also a refreshing addition to the meal.

First course was the beet soup with horseradish threads. Beet soup? The consensus at the table was that it was "divine." The slightly tangy and sweet beets not only had a brilliant shade, the taste was bright in the mouth like a red balloon flying up towards gray clouds. The horseradish threads accented the dish with a inquisitive bite and a realization that "horseradish" was definitely misnamed- this root vegetable was more like a fine fennel with a tidbit of licorice.

The main course brigade came like Desert Storm. We had turkey, duck confit, and roasted crispy goose. We had saffron mash potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin/vegetable medley. We had cranberry sauce, red cabbage slaw, and gravy, Gravy, GRAVY.

It was all...divine. But, I must admit, the roasted crispy goose won first prize and it's taste has embedded itself in my taste library. This goose's skin was like crispy, braised unagi- the elusive flavor that encapsulates taste buds, yet eludes words, is what the Japanese call umami. This goose has it. The meat was richly flavored, like the savored dark meat on the thigh bones on turkey. The taste was like a mixture of duck, turkey, and- strangely enough- mackerel. Call me crazy but the slight fishy taste made me curious about the life of the goose: what kind of life did it lead to be so delicious? I imagine it lived a full life filled with literature, exotic travels, and wonder.

And we finished off the meal with more wine and gluvine and pumpkin pie and nougget mousse with sour cherries. The nougget mousse is always a firecracker and each bite is like a the single trumpet blare in a Mozart-layered symphony.

It was all divine.

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