On a regular night, Abnormal Wine Company is a place to wind down with friends while surrounding yourself with an old world, rustic ambiance. It’s a hidden gem in Rancho Bernardo that brings character to North County like no other. In true “abnormal” fashion, they decided to do something that many people in the area haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing. They combined two fun concepts: a fine dining/wine event and a pop-up restaurant. Thing is, this was not just any fine dining and wine event.
On November 17, 2012, Abnormal Wine Company partnered up with The Lab Dining Sessions to present, “Abnormal ColLABoration.” The Lab Dining Sessions, lead by Chef Mike Arquines is a committed group of culinary professionals that work almost obsessively to provide guests with an uncompromised and unadulterated dining experience. They pride themselves in using products in the time and season that Mother Nature intended, as well as staying true to the seasons in order to insure the high quality and abundance of top quality product. After a wine tasting, The Lab skillfully created a delicious degustation menu to pair perfectly with the wines of Abnormal Wine Company. These innovative and wonderful dishes consisted of top quality, gourmet ingredients like wagyu beef, crab, black truffle and so much more! For those who aren’t familiar with a degustation menu, here’s an overview.
Most times, especially with degustation menus, you are getting a sampling of the chef's best skills and signature dishes. The word degustation means: the action or instance of tasting especially in a series of small portions. The term also encompasses ideas like savoring of food with all the senses, appreciation of ingredients and the chef’s technical skills, and enjoying food with good company. In fact, degustation menus are a popular option in restaurants today, particularly high-caliber establishments. Degustation dinners are so popular that for some restaurants, you must plan far in advance and for others you might have a better chance of winning the lottery versus getting in. Thomas Keller's three-Michelin-starred restaurant, French Laundry in Napa, is one of the hardest restaurants in the world to get in. Doing a degustation dinner was perfect for a place like Abnormal Wine Company because wine pairings are often included. Much like the courses, you will try wines you never heard of or thought of ordering and it opens your mind and palate to whole new experiences.
Degustation events do not often run cheap. The 16 course dinner at Robuchon in Vegas will set you back nearly $400 a person before you order any wine. The prices can be steep, but the food is typically high quality gourmet ingredients that are not inexpensive to source. This first event, “Abnormal ColLABoration” was an eight course tasting menu for $85/ person including all of the wine. Lots of food and lots of wine! Future events that will support a specific charity or just consist of an even more elaborate menu will be priced higher. You are paying for the culinary skills of the chef and have to experience it to really understand the attention to detail, artistic presentation and the reason as to why one dish is served before the next. A beautiful pop-up restaurant was created to pull off a full blown dining experience at Abnormal Wine Company. It really is the perfect place to host a classy, intimate, private event. Surprisingly, eight dinner tables fit comfortably within the wine bar.
As the event was coming to an end, Chef Mike handed the reigns to another chef and stepped out of the kitchen to make his rounds from table to table. Overall, they raved about which dishes were their absolute favorite and how they couldn’t get enough of AWC wine! People loved it so much that they didn’t leave without buying bottles of the types of wine that they tried that night. Thank you to The Lab for the beautiful food and wine pairings! It was such a success leaving people ready for the next event!
Degustation dinners are often associated with special occasions. It is a great way to spend a romantic night out with your significant other or get together with a group of friends or a way to bond with a potential business partner or client and enjoy a gourmet multi-course dinner. The environment is elegant, conducive to conversation, and it provides an excuse to get dressed up! Keep checking back for future fine dining and wine events at Abnormal Wine Company! AWC is available for parties, business mixers, private events and charity fundraisers. Also, we can even incorporate your very own degustation dinner with your private event. It is undoubtedly an experience that you and your friends will not forget!
***Special shout out to The Lab Dining Sessions: Chef Mike and your team! It was such a pleasure to have such a professional, talented and fun group of people working at Abnormal Wine Company. This team prepped all of the food for about 3 days before the event for 12 hours a day. It was inspiring and impressive to witness your passion for food and customer experience.