The first meeting of Scott Joseph’s Supper Club was called to order at 7:02 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, by the self-appointed president of the club: me.
Prior to taking their seats for the five-course dinner with wine pairings from Wattle Creek Winery, guests sipped sparkling wine, nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and took in the view from our temporary clubhouse, the Citrus Club on the 18th floor of a downtown Orlando highrise. As the sun was setting, we could spot landmarks such as the Orlando International Airport and the resort hotels at Walt Disney World.
Citrus Club executive chef Scott Haegele started us off with cream of Zellwood corn and truffle soup, which also had some bits of bacon buried in the creamy broth. It was paired with Wattle Creek’s 2007 chardonnay from Yorkville. Winery rep Doug Howell was on hand to tell us about the wines and the winery. Most interesting note was that Wattle Creek is the winery formerly known as Pat Paulsen Vineyard. For those of you under 40, Paulsen was a comedian, best known for appearing on the Smothers Brothers’ weekly variety program and for his quadrennial presidential campaign. He took up winemaking, quite seriously, but sold the winery in 1988. He died in 1997. Wattle, by the way, is the Australian name for the Acacia tree.
Next on the agenda was the cumin seed crusted scallops, with avocado, tomato and cilantro salad, dressed with a citrus
butter sauce. Howell selected the 2010 sauvignon blanc from Mendocino. I liked that the wine wasn’t too grapefruity, as s.v.’s can tend to be.
Following a palate cleanser of raspberry sorbet with grapefruit foam (grapefruit is fine in foam), served the main course of grass fed beef filet with a side of steak tartare. The dish was rounded out with baby vegetables and a celeriac puree. It was delicious, and the 2009 Triple Play red blend played nicely with it.
Haegele, who is formally trained, chose to serve the salad after the entree, in the European tradition. That move took a few of the charter club members aback, but I don’t think anyone complained about the arugula and frisee lettuce or the warm goat cheese souffle. I sure didn’t.
The final wine of the evening was the winery’s 2010 rose, served along with the chocolate tart with Grand Marnier ice cream.
After Supper Club was adjourned, some members took the opportunity to tour the beautifully renovated Citrus Club or to have an after dinner sip at the bar, the twinkling lights of Orlando all around them.
Thanks to all who made the first Supper Club possible. Special thanks to general manager Steve Alden, dining room manager Ed Hopkins and the entire staff of Citrus Club — as well as some CC members who joined us. They all made us feel most welcome.
The location for the next Scott Joseph’s Supper Club will be announced shortly. As always, newsletter recipients will be the first to know, so be sure you’re signed up.