We’d talked about it for years. Bringing the women blogger gang together for a weekend trip outside of the madness associated with the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. January is usually a tough time of the year for me. Traditionally it is a time of Sales Kickoffs, annual marketing planning and budgets as well as kick-starting the marketing lead generation efforts that will lead to future software sales. This year was different. I had just left my paying gig and I actually had the ability to exhale.
When the Omni Barton Creek Resort (which is known for great wine and food) invited us to stay at a great discount, the deal was sealed. Liza Swift, Thea Dwelle and Amy Corron Power caravanned from Oakland, San Francisco and Houston to make the trip. We checked in to a welcome note from the Omni marketing team and the most amazing welcome drink. The glass contained brandy infused local apples, crack habit inducing honey and tea accented with local herbs. There was also a bottle of Topo Sabores apple soda and a cute bottle of crown royal to make a delicious pre-dinner drink.
Alissa Leenher and her husband Derek generously agreed to host us for the first night. It was a night of amazing wines, incredible food and great company. Ryan Snedegar brought the supersize Cards Against Humanity and a plate of ribs. Matt McGinnis came bearing Texas wine and spirits. I think I had more beef that night than I had in the last six months. It was a belly laughing, wine drinking kind of night.
Chef Andre Natera
The next day we were hosted by 8212 Wine Bar & Grill which featured creative dishes from the very talented Chef Andre Natera. You may remember Natera from his awesome rebuild of the Pyramid Restaurant and Bar and then at Village Kitchen. Let’s just say that Dallas has suffered a great loss with this talented man moving to Austin. He’s now responsible for all seven restaurants at this Omni location. He talked to us about his whimsical but clean approach to food and wow it was delicious! We were joined by Tim Holloway from DE Fine Wine Group who encouraged us to taste the wines blind.
Here was our line up:
Clam chowder with chive potato puree and smoked bacon paired with the 2014 Zocker Gruner Veltliner. This Napa Gruner contrasted nicely with its citrus, floral notes and mineralogy with the creamy soup.
Seared branzino, artichoke barigoule and preserved lemon vinaigrette with the 2014 Lemelson Dry Riesling. This also worked incredibly well.
Mushroom tortellini, chives and butter paired with the 2013 Li Veli Susumaniello. This was earthy, delicious and absolutely a perfect pairing. It was also the one that stumped all of us.
Dry aged ribeye, pommes puree, cippolini and a thyme truffle sauce with the 2011 Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds. Yin and yang.
Chocolate tart with a caramel creameux with NV Verve Clicquot Yellow Label. It took every ounce of willpower to cut the small corner and not inhale the entire dessert.
We were the first audience to try the new wine and food culinary series that the Omni is debuting in January. #obcwine #wineanddine. The Omni is still building out the list of events, but right now the line-up appears to be something like this (the dates after February may move a date or two):
January 26 – Niman Ranch Dinner.
February 29 – A celebration from Chef Alice – touching every creation of food along with Texas wines
March (tentatively 21st)— Celebrating the Wines of Germany – Riesling and Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Blanc – German themed food
April (tentatively 25)– Sparkling wines – Cava, Prosecco, Asti, Champagne and Espumante – French, Spanish and Portuguese food theme
May (tentatively 23) – Italian Regions and the difference between the North, the Center, the South and the Islands paired with regional food.
June (tentatively 27) – Grill and Smoke with pinots and rosé
July (tentatively 25) — Tomatoes from Salsas to Sauces with Sauvignon Blanc and Sangiovese
August (tentatively 22) — Peaches and Nectarines with Moscato and Pinot Gris
September (tentatively 26) — Celebrating the Wines of Napa Valley and Harvest Theme
October (tentatively 25) — Day of the Dead with South American Wines
November (tentatively 17) Vintage wines with Charcuteries
These events are reasonably priced at a $85-95 range for the food courses (averaging 5-6 course) with the wine pairings being another $35-45 and will be scheduled monthly. The first event benefits a charity so the kick off is officially in February.
The hospitality of the Omni, the quality of the food, the fantastic wine pairings and the gorgeous rooms and views at this location, makes it the perfect getaway, staycation or a local’s food/wine experience.