Chef Susie Jimenez recently returned to wine country for a unique winemaker dinner hosted by HipLatina and Hendry Winery. We gathered at Ramekins Culinary School and Inn located in Sonoma, where lovers of fine wine and local foods came together in stylish and lovely fashion. Chef Susie created dishes that were inspired by her mother’s time in the kitchen and the access she always had for fresh and local ingredients. Mama Jimenez was present to give her blessings, share in the delicious fare, and see Susie in her element. It was a spectacular evening shared with friends from disparate walks of life, which made for a memorable experience for all.
The partnership between Hendry Family, HipLatina, and Chef Susie felt right because of the common commitment to family. Many of the people who work at Hendry Winery have been there for decades, including Chef Susie’s cousin, who has worked with the winery since the early 80’s and is master of the vineyards.
The evening’s 5-course menu started with a meet and greet with a glass of 2014 Pinot Gris paired with the delicious empanadas, which led to the 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay paired with portabello carpaccio with crispy shallots and red bell pepper salsa. The courses progressed into deeper flavors that expressed Susie’s penchant for taking risks and experimenting with her twist on heritage comfort food: the 2012 Pinot Noir was served with Tumeric potato tacos with fennel cabbage slaw and fire roasted tomato sauce. The entree of short ribs with molé, pea cilantro polenta and watercress went so well with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. And finally, dessert consisted of 2012 Zinfandel with a chocolate torte cake with chile de arbol cranberry sauce.
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