Thursday, August 26, 2010 Ravioli & Wine Tasting 5 Course Dinner at Stage House - Good Vibes, CoolVines


On both September 14th and on the 28th CoolVines is pairing with
Stage House Restaurant and acclaimed Chef Eric Hambrecht to bring to you a 5 course wine dinner that features the Italian wines of A.I. Selections and cuisine from that Stage House’s new ravioli kitchen. Click here to see the fantastic new ravioli menus and superior wines that will be presented and paired with each course.

Stage House Restaurant keeps reinventing itself. It gets bigger and better and bolder. The expansive outside bar area has a totally different vibe than the 40th birthday dinner for ten in an upstairs private room. Both experiences are enhanced with a sophisticated yet traditional menu. One night we sat in the Tavern's front dini
ng room and we regularly felt a rumbling from below. Was it the nearby Fanwood train? was it a refrigeration system below our table? or just more good vibes from what is becoming my favorite go-to tavern?
Last weekend I had the pleasure to meet Tom, the owner. He gave my friends a big hello - I didn't realize they were such regulars. Stage House has a lot of regulars. I asked him why they removed the lavender vinaigrette from the menu. The plants were destroyed when the patio was paved. I felt like I was trapped in the middle of a Joni Mitchell song, until I realized I really love the patio. So chalk it up to progress and business: my fresh herb inspired dressing was replaced with a ballsy new concept: all you can eat free bbq.

Get this: you get heaps of free bbq, pay what you feel like paying, and in return they make money on the bar tab and you walk home with a certificate in that amount for the elegant dining room that you may or may not use. Click here for their free bbq ten commandments. Somehow it is win-win and Stage House emerges once again as the place to have fun and eat well. And it's a night to dine alfresco in a cool setting, sometimes with live music without sitting right next to the dirty filthy street, which is always a plus.

Let's add drink expertly and a new ravioli menu as 2 more reasons join one of the special 5 course pairing menus with CoolVines, the most pleasurable wine store in Westfield. CoolVines has regulars too, and their wine purchase information is stored on a database. From this data they can make guided recommendations to the purchaser and remember what wines you loved, even when you can't remember the type or name of the wine yourself. What I thought was a pinot noir with a name that had something to do with happiness proved to be a biodynamic shiraz called Hedonist, that I highly recommend.

At the pairing dinner, learn firsthand from wine guru Damon O'Gara about the selected Italian wines and how they were chosen to complement each course's tastes and textures. I'm more than curious to taste how the oaky Moroder Rosso Conero 2006 will play off the creaminess of the smoked chicken ricotta ravioli. Or how the "ruby red color, intense bouquet and well-structured flavor" of the Vaona Valpolicella Ripasso 2007 might possibly enhance the richness of a butternut squash ravioli in a frangelico pecan brown butter sauce.

If the combination of wine and flavor can bring out the best in each other, I am there. And if it's that good I'll do it twice. I love ravioli and I love wine but the combination of the two promises to deliver. While Stage House is not an Italian restaurant, nor is the chef, and Damon is as Irish as they come, I am betting on this to be a night to venture out into new territory and try something different. The Italians may have invented ravioli and planted the original vines, but I feel this meal will be the reinvention of the traditional and expected, and it's happening right here in our town.

Click here for information and to register.