Reviews

IW&FS honors Chris and Idie Hastings at OvenBird wine dinner.

By Jan Walsh

Little did I know this would be my last dinner in a restaurant for a long time…

Chris and Idie Hastings’ relationship with the Birmingham Chapter of the International Food and Wine Society (IW&FS) dates to Spring 1995. And it predates Hot and Hot Fish Club’s opening in Fall 1995. Local member, Paul Nagrodski’s hosted a “Trial Dinner,” wine dinner at his home, of a proposed menu for the soon to open Hot and Hot Fish Club. Longtime members, Wimberly Miree and Paul Samuelson were guests. Since that time, Hot and Hot Fish Club has held 17 IWFS wine dinners and this dinner being the third one at OvenBird. The Hastings graciously closed the main dining room to the public for the event.

The dining room is packed and lively. We begin with a first course, hors d'oeuvres of by catch ceviche and beef fat candle paired with Txomin Txakoli Blanco and Palacios Corullon Cierzo. Members mill about tasting and visiting until Birmingham Branch President, Brad McGiboney calls for the group to take their seats at the dinner tables.

At this time, the Silver Medal is presented by McGiboney and Miree, who received his own Silver Medal at an IW&FS wine dinner at Hot and Hot Fish Club in 2017. Chris shares fond memories of past dinners and how much the group means to he and Idie.

Next a tapas dinner is served in generous portions—family style. This second course includes fresh green salad, savory mushroom conserva, succulent seafood fideos, and spicy shishito peppers paired with Avancia Godello 2007 and El Puntido (Paganos) Gran Reserva Rioja.

The third course is served paired with member wines. Spanish wines were suggested. Many of the members have wine cellars, some very deep, from which they pulled wines for tonight. In our own home cellar, I found no Spanish wines, but pulled food friendly Burgundy that is ready to drink— Domaine Francois Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin 2011. In addition to the McGiboneys, Kev and I are also seated at the table with Miree who always brings memorable bottles—and generously shares with the table. And tonight, Miree’s 1996 bottle from France's Northern Rhone, Cornas is another beautiful example of the treasures that lie in his cellar. These and other beautiful wines are paired with Hastings’ third course offerings: tender boast beef shoulder complex, scrumptious spit roasted duck, and fabulous, fresh Gulf fish.

The evening ends with two delectable desserts, chocolate layer cake and seasonal fruit panna cotta, paired with plenty more lovely wine, as other members stop by our table offering pours of their bottles.

The Birmingham Branch of IW&FS was founded by Dr. Stacy Childs in 1988 with 22 charter members. The group typically holds member wine dinners at the best restaurants in the Birmingham metro area, wine tastings, and a holiday party. Membership is by invitation only.





 

 




Both Hot and Hot and OvenBird are currently offering curbside pickup during the emergency lockdown.

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