The Tavern hosts Wine and Swine Banquet pig roast, wine seminar
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Scene Writer
Thursday, April 12, 2012
4/12/12 at 4:45 AM
The Tavern owner Elliot Nelson and chef Grant Vespasian had talked about staging a pig roast since the restaurant opened a little more than a year ago.
"We never got around to doing it that first year, so this year we said, 'Let's do it,' " Vespasian said. "I ordered the pigs, and it was a done deal."
Well, not quite. A wine event was added to the equation, a celebrity chef from Oklahoma City signed on to help, and before you knew it, the first Wine and Swine Banquet was born.
It will be a white tablecloth dinner, set up on the streets outside The Tavern, formerly Brady Tavern, at 201 N. Main St. on Wednesday night near smokers where Vespasian and chef Kurt Fleischfresser of the Coach House in Oklahoma City will be preparing the pigs.
"I ordered two 80-pound heirloom Yorkshire pigs from a farm near Big Cabin," Vespasian said. "Kurt will pop over Tuesday, and we'll dress the pigs, season them and get them ready. We'll fire up the smokers Wednesday morning and hang out there all day.
"One of the pigs we will prepare whole, and the other will be cooked in pieces."
Scott Large of Thirst Wine Merchants is co-sponsoring the event and bringing in Ray Coursen of Napa Valley's Elyse Winery.
Coursen, who specializes in big, velvety, complex, vineyard-designated red wines, will conduct a pre-dinner seminar on Rhone-style wines that will include a tasting of five wines. Coursen also will provide wines for the dinner. Participants may sign up for the seminar, the dinner or both.
The menu, to be served buffet style:
First course - passed hors d'oeuvres, served with sparkling wine
Second course - crispy pig ear salad, served with Elyse Sonoma chardonnay
Third course - slow-roasted pig, warm potato salad, grilled local asparagus, duckfat heirloom beans with pork belly and sous vide glazed baby carrots, served with three Elyse red zinfandels: Morisoli Vineyard, Korte Ranch and Howell Mountain
Fourth course - blueberry lavender cobbler with ginger strudel and vanilla bean ice cream, served with a wine cocktail created by The Tavern mixologist Tony Collins
Coursen is a big, jovial man with a white mustache who moved his family from Cape Cod to California in the 1980s to learn winemaking.
"When we made the move, we left Cape Cod in an old car, with $6,000 in our pocket and a cat that kept trying to commit suicide by shedding hair all the way to California," Coursen said during a 2007 visit to Tulsa.
"About our sixth year out there, (wife) Nancy said if I told her one more time that next year we were going to make some money, she would kill me."
Elyse Winery, named after his daughter, eventually developed into one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley. Coursen also makes wines under a small-production label named after his son, Jacob Franklin.
The Wine and Swine Banquet will benefit the McNellie's Group Charitable Foundation.
ELYSE WINE SEMINAR
Where: The Tavern, 201 N.
When: 5 p.m. Wednesday
Cost: $25 per person, plus tax
WINE AND SWINE BANQUET
Where: The Tavern, 201 N.
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Cost: $75 per person ($60 for
wine seminar participants),
plus tax and gratuity
Original Print Headline: Wine and Swine
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463