La Tupina- Best Dinner in Bordeaux
After an amazing day of wine tasting around Saint Foy la Grande, we headed into the center of Bordeaux city for Jeff's birthday dinner. It was a little over an hour away, but we'd heard such wonderful things about La Tupiña from our friends that we had to try it.
It's nestled humbly on a side street about 4-5 blocks from the central cathedral and square, and the outdoor patio was full when we arrived. A huge grill greeted us as soon as we entered the building and not only gave us the first hint of what was to follow, but doubled as the host stand.
We had reservations (recommended!) and were offered a prime two person table technically inside the restaurant, but perched out on a small, open-air patio. This was perfect as we had all the pleasure and fresh air of outdoor seating, but a little more privacy for our intimate evening.
We started with Champagne, of course, which they brought out with a complimentary amuse bouche of freshly cured meats, cherry tomatoes, radishes, foie gras and bread.
We then moved into the entrée (which is actually the starter in France): Grilled tomato and green pepper brushed with extra virgin olive oil. This was amazing! The vegetables were perfectly grilled so the sweetness of the tomato lightly balanced the slight spice of the green pepper (chili I think). The drizzle of olive oil along with vinegar, salt and pepper and could not have been better with the heat of the evening sun.
After this, Jeff chose a half bottle of to pair with our main dishes. It was the 2005 Chateau Haut-Beauséjour rouge from Saint Estèphe. The age on this wine was apparent as its color started to go from deep purple and red to more of a brick-red color. The tannins had also integrated beautifully and kept getting softer and softer as we sipped away. This was the most memorable wine of the night.
Speaking of main dishes, this was where dinner went from delicious to downright heavenly! I ordered the duck breast, which came with, wait for it...HAND-CUT FRENCH FRIES FRIED IN DUCK FAT!!! Whoa, whoa, whoa and WHOA! This was decadence to the -nth degree and with the wine pairing, I had a serious food-gasm right then and there.
It gets better, believe it or not, Jeff ordered the lamb shoulder which was topped with a homemade gravy of lamb jus, small potatoes and onions, and served with a side of beans, similar to cassoulet. It literally fell apart in your mouth and the light gravy and vegetables perfectly complimented the lamb without drowning it out. His dish, too, went marvelously with the wine selection, and with each bite he seemed to melt into his seat.
As you can see the portions were very generous and we were definitely full after the main dishes, but for a birthday celebration there is always room for dessert!
Just before our mains came out, Jeff chose another half bottle: 2007 Chateau de Chategrive from Graves. We tasted it when we were eating the duck and lamb and it was delicious, but we both agreed it needed some time and the baked blackberry flavors would be perfectly paired with dessert. We were right and our patience was graciously rewarded.
We paired the Chantegrive with something a little out of the ordinary for us, prune ice cream with Armagnac and a little biscuit. The response we've gotten from family we've explained this meal to is usually "What?! PRUNE ice cream? Yuck!'
Now, we're both HUGE chocolate people, and probably would have said the same thing had the tables been turned, but we got a little crazy and decided to try something different. Success! It was absolutely delicious and perfect with our wine!
Completely stuffed and sufficiently buzzed we took to the streets for a mid-night stroll along the Gironde River. It was surreal to be on the border between the Cabernet-strong left bank and Merlot-smooth right bank of Bordeaux and we couldn't help but take pictures to mark the occasion.
What a meal, what a night, what a birthday! One Jeff (nor I) will ever forget!