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Tastemakers: Stafford‘s Perry Hotel Titanic Dinner/ Sexy Red 4/11/11

Rick Coates - April 11th, 2011
Stafford’s Perry Hotel Titanic Dinner
This time of the year “Titanic Dinners” pop up all over the place in honor of that final dinner served on April 14, 1912 before the “unsinkable ship” sunk to its demise 12,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean. The story of the Titanic is well documented in articles and books and the 1997 film that won 11 Academy Awards and to date has grossed almost $2 billion worldwide (second all-time to Avatar which is closing in on $3 billion). There were 706 survivors and 1,516 who perished in the sinking 99 years ago.
Stafford’s Perry Hotel is hosting their 6th Annual Titanic Dinner on Saturday April 16 in their H.O. Rose Dining Room. Plenty of history will be shared that night as Titanic expert David Kaplan will give a visual presentation of the ship, its events and the affect it has had on history. Plus there will be models, original newspapers and artifacts on display. The service team will be dressed in period attire and Stafford’s even encourages dining guests to dress the part as well if they so choose.
The dinner will include a six course offering that will feature a table setting representing the first, second and third class dinner settings. Several artifacts have been recovered from the Titanic, including two of the menus from the final dinners served including the 10-course first class menu. Those menus resulted in the 1997 cookbook (pictured) “Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes From the Great Liner.”
“Our chefs carefully created the evening’s menu to accurately represent the ship’s cuisine. The event has become very unique to Stafford’s Perry Hotel,” said Angie Whitener of the hotel. “The evening will also include live entertainment from Stafford’s Society Band.”
The Perry Hotel version of that final dinner will include Smoked Shrimp Toasts, Asian Bulgogi Beef Wraps, Polenta Fries, Tomato Marmalda, Potato Seared Ahi Tuna and Tuna Tataki, Petite Herb Seared Filet of Beef and Roasted Loin of Lamb en Croute in a Tahitian Vanilla and Bordeaux Demi Glace, Tempura Caprese Salad, Vanilla Meringue Cake with Chocolate Orange Nuance.
The Titanic was well stocked with the best wines, champagnes and liquors of that time period and the sixth course of the first class menu was Punch Romaine made with champagne, white wine, white rum, orange juice, simple syrup over crushed ice (an elegant sorbet style cocktail).
With Michigan’s smoking ban, the after-dinner cigars enjoyed by many on the Titanic will not be allowed, though weather permitting a stroll along the sidewalk overlooking Little Traverse Bay would suffice for those looking for as much authenticity as possible.
Seating is limited and reservations are required and may be made at 231-347-4000. To see the complete menu go to where you may also make a room reservation; after all, the Perry was built in 1899 and the decor throughout the hotel is very reminiscent of that era. --Rick Coates

America’s continued fascination with wine is quite evident as sales and consumption continue to grow every year. American wine drinkers are a very explorative group, embracing wine regions from around the world. Several years ago Australian wines burst onto the scene and in recent years the popularity of wines coming out of South America, South Africa, Spain and Portugal are among the hottest trends. One of those wineries making an impact with U.S. wine drinkers is Fita Preta Vinhos winery from Portugal.
At 29, winemaker António Maçanita is a rock star within the Portuguese winemaking community. Maçanita will be visiting Northern Michigan this week, introducing his portfolio of wines that reflect the best Portugal has to offer.
Much of the success of Frita Preta comes from their philosophy and innovative approach. For example, they use aerial infra-red photography to identify where the best grapes in the vineyard are growing.
In the winemaking process Maçanita draws from both old and new world techniques. “The style of wines which I produce reflect experience gained both at home and abroad and express my feeling for the varieties and the climate of Southern Portugal,” said Maçanita. “I feel wines should be a genuine interpretation of the regional terroir, highlighting the grape varieties, without attempting to mask either their true qualities or hide any weaknesses.”
Last year their SEXY wines gained international attention when Russian supermodel Anne V posed with a bottle in one of her Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue photo shoots. But while the name may seem a little gimmicky, the wine is far from it. SEXY is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 25%, Syrah, 25% Aragonez and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, all grown in southern Portugal. This medium to full bodied red is anchored by the Touriga Nacional variety considered to be among the best grapes grown in Portugal. It is used to make high-end ports.
SEXY comes in three versions, white, rose and red with the latter pouring a very deep ruby-violet with intense wild blackberry and other woodland dark style fruit aromas with just a hint of black licorice. As with its name, this is a seductive, provocative wine. Pair with a summer sunset beach bonfire with friends. At dinner consider roast leg of lamb or grilled salmon with a red wine BBQ sauce.
Other Fita Preta wines to look for include the ‘08 Fitapreta Red and the ‘07 Preta Red and for an everyday drinking red seek out Carta. Look for SEXY Red and other Fita Preta wines throughout Northern Michigan at wine shops and restaurants. To learn more about Fita Preta and their approach to viticulture and winemaking check out and yes, they have an English version of their website in case your Portuguese is not up to par. --Rick Coates
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