Dec. 19: Freakshow Wine Dinner and Live Performance

Michael David Wine Dinner

Menu designed by Mary Beth Harris. (Click to enlarge.)

How often do you get to see a sword swallower in action? Heck, how often do you get to see the words “sword swallower” in a sentence? Very little I would imagine. So read on for a chance to fix that!

I’ve got another five-course wine dinner planned, but t’s one with a twist. I thought that just a food pairing would be too tame for the tastes and labels of California’s Michael David Winery.

One of its wines, Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon, to be exact, (see label on the menu above) was just wild enough to inspire me to host our very own, live, in-person freakshow right here on the AVA stage!

That’s why I’ve paired up with local performance maven Carmel Clavin, who hosts her own show — Spectacle & Mirth’s Teacup Cabaret — at roving places about town and beyond.

This Saturday, December 19th, she’s bringing a show called Devour Vaudeville to AVA, an event she describes as,

“…a mini variety show that will charm the pants right off you. Featuring sword swallowing beauties, enchanting musicians, and unforgettable variety performers.”

Clavin’s dynamic floorshow begins at 8pm. (See more details about the show on Spectacle and Mirth’s Facebook event page.)

Those who’ve come for the Michael David five-course wine dinner (all wine dinner reservations will be for 6pm that night) will stay on to see Devour Vaudeville, as it’s included in the price of the dinner, at $95/per person. But reservations are a must for the wine dinner portion of the evening— call 540.886.2851 to make them.

If you’d like to come just for a wine tasting of the full Michael David wine offering, tastings are available for $35, which also includes the price of the Devour Vaudeville floorshow.

That Saturday we will be serving our regular menu as well, but only until 7pm. If you’d like to stay after the show begins, or come in at 8pm just for the show, the cover charge is $20.

Our featured spots

There’s more than a few reasons to be excited for this wine dinner event. Obviously there’s the menu, which I’ve planned for an awesome punch of flavors, textures, and seasonal tastes. More about that later.

But there’s also Michael David wines themselves.

As fifth generation growers, Michael David comes out of a long tradition of family farming in the Lodi, California area.

They’ve farmed so long, in fact, that modern organic-like approaches come naturally. As they tell it on their website, Michael David

…strives to use all natural methods including integrated pest management, beneficial insects for pest control, trellising, leaf pulling and natural mined sulfur for mildew control.

We’ll get five pours from their various wines to go with the Friday night menu. So let me tell you about the eats.

The menu

First Course

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup. Wine: Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon.

Second Course

Cheese Plate. Wine: Petite Petit Sirah/Verdot blend.

Third Course

Bouillabaise. Wine: Rage Zinfandel.

Fourth Course

Duck Breast with Mashed Pumpkin and Caramelized Onion Casserole. Wine: Gluttony Zinfandel.

Fifth Course

Dark Chocolate Torte. Wine: Sloth Zinfandel.

A knockout night!

This is shaping up to be one of my most adventuresome and warm wine dinners yet. With an emphasis on shades of red, along with hearty fall flavors, subtly sweet and savory accents, a wine rep from Michael David on hand to answer any of your questions, and a floorshow of the most stupendous, most inventive, most outrageously engaging nature, I’m sure it’s going to be a night of culinary and theatrical passions that you’ll not soon forget!

Remember, this special menu begins at 6 pm, with two hours of leisurely eating before the show begins at 8, but you do need reservations. I can do vegetarian or vegan substitutions as long as you have made reservations and given advance warning about the changes. Make reservations by calling 540.886.2851.

I hope to see you there!

— Mary Beth Harris, Proprietress, AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar