Pago Rose Wine Dinner and Why I Love Food

Rose wine pairing dinner at Pago in Salt Lake City.
A table full of great people and rose, doesn't get much better.

“There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.”  – Brian Andreas

This is one of my favorite quotes.  Sometimes I start thinking that maybe I’m a little too obsessed with food and I should rethink my priorities.  After all, it’s just food.  Just something to consume in order to stay alive.  And then a dinner comes along like this Rosé Wine Advocacy Dinner at Pago that reminds me that no, this is not just food.

Domaine Maestracci E Prove Rose, Quivira Granache Rose and a 1997 Solar de Randez Rosado Reserve.
Domaine Maestracci E Prove Rose, Quivira Rose and Solar de Randez Rosado Reserve.

I’ve been a fan of rosé wine since the moment I first tasted it.  It’s like nectar of the gods to me, pure loveliness, especially in the summer, especially when enjoying it in the fresh air.  When I heard about a wine pairing dinner focusing on rosé wine on the patio of one of my favorite restaurants, Pago, it sounded like a slice of heaven I couldn’t pass up.

Rose wine pairing dinner at Pago in Salt Lake City.
A table full of great people and rose, it doesn’t get much better.

So a few Sundays ago my friend Meagan and I ventured to Pago’s patio for an evening of summer deliciousness partnered with rosé and when we showed up the whole table was full of friends and familiar faces from the Salt Lake City food community :: fellow restaurant-goers and writers, servers and chefs, industry people and enthusiasts.

Fleur de maquis and basil risotto lollipops at Pago in Salt Lake City.
Delicious bites :: basil lollipops and lavender fleur de maquis.

Wine pairing dinners, especially when served on communal tables, have a way of producing friends out of those you sit next to.  But at this dinner, most of us already knew each other and those that didn’t quickly became friends by the end of the first course :: basil risotto lollipops and fluer de maquis with pine nut lavosh and lavender shallot jam, paired with Domaine Maestracci E Prove Rosé.  It felt like being at friend’s house for a dinner party, not a restaurant.

Rabbit rillettes and seared watermelon at Pago in Salt Lake City.
Rabbit rillettes and seared watermelon, a mind-blowingly amazing dish.

Some of the dishes were passed around, like the rabbit rillettes with honey-berry jam and house pickles (paired with Schlossgut Diel Rosé de Diel) and the seared watermelon and summer squash salad with avocado puree, jalapeno and cucumber (teamed with Quivira Rosé).  Extra bites were handed down to opposite ends of the tables, odd numbered extras were split among neighbors.

Porchetta with mushrooms at Pago in Salt Lake City.
Amazing porchetta with sausage and polenta.

The larger courses were served family style.  By the time the porchetta and sausage with hazelnut gremolata, roasted mushrooms and creamy polenta arrived with an almost unheard of 1997 Solar de Randez Rosado Reserva, we had spent the previous hour laughing with one another, telling stories of the weekend and gushing over how incredible the rosés were.  Soon we were practically sharing bites of food off each other’s forks.

Sweet biscuit with raspberries at Pago in Salt Lake City.
The biscuit was lightly sweet but refreshing with the rose.

The sun slowly set and the finale course was brought out, a Sweet Biscuit with Snowy Mountain Creamery “Strawberry Peak” Chantilly with Bear Lake raspberries paired with a slightly fizzy De Stefani Metodo Zero Marzemino Rabosco.  Almost overwhelmed with the amount of good food I’d had and overjoyed with such a great evening, I realized that no, food is not just something I consume to stay alive.

Quivira Rose 2012 Granache Dry Creek Valley, California
The Quivira Rose, a Granache from California.

My obsession with food has connected me with so many wonderful, amazing people and I’ve made great friends through those connections.  That obsession has also given me some incredible experiences and opportunities.  It may make no sense that I’m obsessed with food and take pictures of everything I eat.  My blog makes me no money but I sure do love sharing what I eat with all of you who read it.  And that’s why I do this.  Food is just a passing feeling, but when it’s done right, like at Pago, it’s such a great feeling, especially in the company of great friends.  Why wouldn’t I want to document it and hold onto it just a moment longer?

So maybe that quote is my favorite because I believe it.  Maybe this really is why we are here: to love each other’s company and to eat each other’s cooking and to say damn, that was good.

The Rosé Advocacy Dinner at Pago was a wine pairing dinner featuring exclusive rosé wines never before seen in Utah picked by Pago’s sommelier, Evan Lewandowski, and owner Scott Evans, with expertly paired dishes created by chef Phelix Gardner.  The five-course dinner and wine pairing was $75/person.  Sign up for Pago’s email newsletter (via their sister restaurant) to hear about upcoming wine events. 

Related :: Last year’s Rioja Wine Pairing Dinner at Finca, Pago’s sister restaurant. 

More from Kelli Nakagama

R&R Barbecue in Salt Lake City

There are few foods that provoke the controversy and rivalry like barbecue...
Read More

1 Comment

  • Delightful post!
    …and one of my favorite local restaurants, as well. Pago’s food is wonderful and their wine selection is always a treat. I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for the next pairing event.

Comments are closed.