First and foremost, I would like to extend a super huge, special thank you to Chef Joe Richardson and Lara Hooper, owners of Lucilla, for jumping in on a “new to me” promotional moment for our Patreon subscribers! And to Tallahassee Foodies, you all are simply the best! I had a wonderful time dining with you all at the Lucilla Autumn Wine Dinner last night!
Our Patreon subscription services just kicked off two weeks ago, and I contacted Lucilla early October, weeks before our launch to say, “Hi Lucilla, I was wondering, would you be interested in hosting a wine dinner for Tallahassee Foodies, and also, would you be willing to offer my Patreon subscribers first access to sign up for your wine dinner, and also, would you be able to offer them a little something special in exchange for their subscription?” Their answer to all of the above was (thankfully), YES!!!!
And guess what my Foodie Friends, the parking lot was packed, the tables were all seated, there were familiar faces mixed with several Lucilla newbies, and although I arrived on time, luckily I was the last one there! I say luckily because my “prompt, yet after everyone else’s arrival” earned me a spot right near the kitchen where all of the action was taking place. Chef Joe, previously of Cafe Cabernet, Andrew’s Downtown, and Sage, granted me permission to snap a few pics of their plating in progress, and wow, what an amazing experience to watch as it all came together.
There were two waiters with, what would seem like quite a heavy workload, as each course came out at the same exact time for the entire restaurant, yet everyone working the event, front and back of house, was so calm and cool, making conversation with patrons, and cracking jokes with each other. They are all true pros at what they do, and their system was so on point!
It was just an all-around wonderful evening! I’m not sure if I was just so happy to be out and about, so happy to be at a wine dinner, so happy to be amongst foodies, so happy to eat Lucilla’s always amazing food, or maybe it was a combination of all of the above that nearly brought a tear of joy to my eyes a few times!
Chef Joe worked on this incredible menu for about 3 to 4 weeks before our big night, and each course was perfectly paired with fine wine and spirits, courtesy of the talented and super knowledgeable, Adam Foster of Winebow Fine Wines and Spirits.
Please allow me to share with you the amazing Lucilla Autumn Wine Pairing menu, every course in pictures…
We started with Crispy Fried Oysters served with a creole aioli-datil pepper and cocktail sauce, layered over the best ever fried green tomatoes paired with a Dibon Cava, Brut Reserva from Spain! Everything was seasoned and cooked to perfection! I believe you can order either of these options on their appetizer menu, we’ve had and loved both before, and HIGHLY recommend! My husband knows to pass me his fried green tomato, every single time!!!
Next, we moved on to the Seared Sea Scallop served over a sweet corn and chestnut risotto, with a citrus butter chive oil paired with Enrico Serafino, ‘Gavi di Gavi’ Cortese, Piedmont! How did Chef Joe know to pair all of these amazing ingredients together??? The combination of savory, “perfect for fall” chestnuts, balanced out by a citrus and butter chive oil was magical. I think this was the first moment I nearly shed a tear lol. My husband and I LOVE risotto, so this was yet another amazing dish on their Autumn Wine Pairing menu.
We moved on to the Maple Miso Glazed Ōra King Salmon over bacon sweet potato hash, with a side of garlic spinach paired with Dupeuble, Beaujolais Rouge, Gamay. Oh my, the maple miso glazed salmon was incredible! Do you see that glaze layer pictured above? A guest said to a waiter, “this was the best dish I’ve ever had in my entire life”. I heard this repeated in the kitchen, and in true Chef Joe fashion, he jokingly responded, “they must not get out much”, as the kitchen and myself all began to giggle. He’s humble and hilarious! Lucky me to get, what I’m dubbing, “the chef’s table experience”, right next to all the action.
At this point, I’m trying to save room for the dessert Lucilla teased earlier in the day on Instagram, but I needed to work in a few bites of the most tender steak ever!!! This course was the Cast Iron Seared Filet Mignon, served with a side of perfectly salted mushroom toast and roasted brussel sprouts with a house-made steak sauce paired with Matthews, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley WA. The steak was high-end perfection, and Adam Foster knew exactly what he was doing with every single pairing!
Just when I thought I couldn’t fit another bite of anything in my stuffed belly, I somehow managed to scrape the beautiful dessert dish of every last crumb! The Pumpkin Pots de Creme was served under a toasted marshmallow with a side of shortbread, and paired with Emilio Hidalgo, ‘Morenita’ Cream Sherry, Jerez. We were all talking about every dish after dinner, and especially that dessert!
Thank you so much, Chef Joe, Adam Foster, and all at Lucilla for your amazing hospitality! I am so forever grateful for you all, jumping right in as our very first “perk partner”, and offering up a fun and tasty menu for my new subscribers. I know there were a lot of familiar faces at the Autumn Wine Dinner, as well as some newbies, and we’ve already compared notes that we can’t wait to go back again soon! So again, a super huge thank you for everything!
If you’d like to follow along with me at Patreon, I hope you’ll join in on all of the fun. We have more exciting perks coming up for the rest of November, and ideas already lined up for December. Beyond the perks, funding helps pay for this blog (that hosts this article, our holiday directories, announcements, events calendar and more), as well as our newsletter! To those of you that have already subscribed, thank you so very much! Your support is so appreciated to help keep this passion project alive!