The Capital Grille's Generous Pour Summer Event

Friday, August 7, 2015
You may not know this about me, but I like wine.

So when I got an invitation from the Urban Swank gals to attend a preview of The Capital Grille's summer wine event, Generous Pour, my RSVP was a no-brainer.

The event was held earlier this week at their City Centre location, and it was led by Master Sommelier George Miliotes.

The awesome food/wine/travel writers sitting at the table with me were Morgan, Sandra, Amy, Shanna & Felice (of Urban Swank), Ellie, Renia, Hank, Valerie, and Dominique. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend checking out their sites, as they are all unique, fascinating, and talented folks!

So here's the deal: Until August 30, The Capital Grille is holding their annual summer wine event called Generous Pour. For $28 a person, you are able to experience 8 highly rated different California wines, all of which were created by women. You can mix and match, stick with one, the sky's the limit folks!

The Capital Grille is also participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks, so if you pair that with the Generous Pour, you're going to eat and drink like royalty for under $100!

We were able to sample all three whites on the menu, and we received a thorough explanation from George on each of them:
  • Barrymore Pinot Grigio - Monterey: Created by Ms. Drew Barrymore herself, this unoaked pinot grigio was light and crisp. I was able to taste the notes of lemon and honeydew melon most notably. It was a refreshing wine, definitely one that can really be appreciated during these hot summer days! 
  • Galerie "Naissance" Sauvignon Blanc - Napa Valley: Although this wine was aged in oak barrels, it did not have a too prominent of an oaky taste. George explained that there's a certain airing process in the making of this wine, resulting in a crisp, clean, richness. Also, it is made from mountain fruit, which gives it a papaya/mango aroma. Again I could mostly taste lemon, but maybe I just have heightened lemon senses?
  • Stonestreet "Bear Point," Chardonnay - Alexander Valley: George told us that when you buy this bottle anywhere, it's usually going to run you $80+ (so think about the value you're getting when you participate in Generous Pour!). I took one whiff of this oaked wine and instantly thought I wasn't going to be a fan, the oak smell was so strong. I predicted that the pinot grigio would be my favorite. But when I took a sip, I was greeted with beautifully creamy, oaky, bold, and nuanced wine. It actually ended up being my favorite of the three!
The prixe fixe menu for our dinner did not have any non-meat appetizer or entree options. So when the server asked me what I would like to order, I told him I was a vegetarian, and that I would just feast on bread (which, by the way, there was some sort of caramelized onion bread in that basket, and it was FANTASTIC) and sides. Well they would hear none of that, and I was presented with a beautiful, plump, juicy, fragrant caprese salad. The basil and syrupy balsamic were divine, and the generous hunk of fresh mozzarella on top was intoxicating. 

Interestingly enough, while the sauvignon blanc was my least favorite of the three white wines on its own, I enjoyed it the best with the caprese!

Wine, you are a trickster, you.

Next up they brought me tofu, cooked in a porcini rub.


For all the tofu haters out there, I feel you. It took me a very long time to come around to tofu. And then it took me a very long time to actually cook tofu. But here's the big secret nobody is telling you: If you don't like tofu it's because you haven't liked what it's cooked in and/or how it is cooked. Since tofu takes on the flavor of whatever its cooked in, it literally can taste like WHATEVER YOU WANT. And if it's properly drained and cooked (which really is not a high maintenance process at all), the result can be beautiful.

Like with The Capital Grille's porcini-rubbed tofu. The unique rub was spicy, gritty, and earthy, and the tofu was firm and wonderfully encapsulated by the crispy rub. The preparation definitely gave it a meat-like quality.

The little roasted fingerling potatoes up there were also a hit - wonderfully herbed, and cooked perfectly, I couldn't stop eating them!

But if I had to pick a favorite spud of the evening, it'd have to be their mashed potatoes. Lordy, were they good. Although incredibly creamy, they still managed to have lumps in them (I'm on #teamlump when it comes to mashed potatoes, who's with me?), as well as pieces of potato skins, which gave them a lovely texture. They were rich, silky, and sinful. If I could eat this masterpiece all day every day, I totally would, but my thighs would probably be none too pleased.


Oh yeah, there were some green things too. We were presented with sides of  simple, pretty, fresh green beans with burst tomatoes, as well as grilled asparagus with lemon misto (pictured with the tofu). I appreciated that they didn't try to reinvent the wheel with the green beans, but instead let their ripeness shine through with their basic preparation. Crisp, and slightly acidic from the tomatoes, I preferred these to the asparagus.

Our server selected two wines to go with my meal:

  • Cambria "Julia's Vineyard" Pinot Noir - Santa Maria Valley: Described by George as "silky, smooth, and sexy," this wine was selected to go with my tofu because of its light tannins. In general, I love pinot noirs, and this one was no exception
  • Kinton Syrah - Santa Barbara: This was far and away my favorite wine of the evening. This 2007 wine (George explained to us that 2007 is the greatest year in Napa Valley vintages), was incredibly peppery and bold (IMO), which I absolutely adore. And it went PERFECTLY with my spicy tofu. My tastebuds were singing hallelujahs. George referred to this one as the "Michael Jordan of the wine world," and I couldn't agree more. 

Mr. Miliotes also wanted all of us to try the two cabs on the menu. You know, for the sake of research:

  • Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon - Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley: This bottle is considered to be the best cab in 2011 from Napa Valley. The vineyard is located 1,500 feet above the cloud line, so while 2011 was a cloudy year for most Napa winemakers, the Mt. Brave grapes were able to receive sunlight. Additionally, George explained that mountain fruit vines struggle at the top of a mountain, so they work harder, and the result is often a higher quality wine. I personally am not a huge cab fan, so this one wasn't my favorite, though I was able to appreciate its bold complexity.
  • Arrowood Reserve Speciale Cabernet Sauvignon - Sonoma: George wanted us to compare this wine to the Mt. Brave cab because 2% of its juice is made from 100 year old vines. This mere 2% has a major effect on the wine, making it richer, creamier, and more powerful. I definitely could taste the difference, and I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. Though I am not a typical cab-drinker, I could happily buy a bottle of the Arrowood Reserve Speciale cab. And it generally runs about $175-$200 a bottle, so this is a likely (HA!) scenario.<~~~ (yet again, see where the value of the Generous Pour event comes into play?? Eh??)
Because we hadn't eaten or drank enough (I keed, I keed!), we were then greeted with three gorgeous desserts.

The coconut cream pie was my favorite of the three. It was light, fluffy, and garnished with a big ole' crispy cookie! Count me in.

The flourless chocolate espresso cake was more on the bitter chocolate side, and with a fudgy middle, it was the most dense of the three desserts. It didn't wow me like the coconut cream pie, but it did contrast it nicely and went very well with my cup of coffee.

Last up was this pretty little cheesecake with seasonal berries. The top of the creamy cheesecake had a hint of a playful, glass-like, creme brulee effect. The berries were fresh and juicy and paired fantastically with the creamy cheesecake.

I've been telling basically everyone I've come into contact with since that night how they have to run-not-walk on over to The Capital Grille to participate in the Generous Pour event. The quality and the value of what you're getting is insane. It also doesn't hurt that the service is incredible, and the food is outstanding!

Did I mention I like wine?

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  1. Great article and pics and it was really nice meeting you!

    1. Thank you, and likewise Sandra! I look forward to seeing you at more events. :)

  2. Great article and pics Kim. It was great seeing you last night!

    1. Thanks Renia! It was so lovely running into you not once but TWICE this week!

  3. I will have to put this restaurant on my list to visit. The list is so long Thanks for the review.

    1. It's definitely a spot that's worth a visit, among all the other great places around town!

  4. This is fantastic! So informative and engaging. Wonderful read. :)

    1. Thank you Ellie! I'm so glad to have been a part of the event with you!

  5. LOVED THIS. Looks like an amazing meal and you made me want to go out and buy ALL THE WINE. Definitely putting this on my list for birthday dinner contenders...

    1. Thanks Girl! Your birthday seriously falls at the PERFECT time, smack dab in the thick of Restaurant Weeks. And now... "Wine Month." :) Glad to hear Capital Grille is in the running!


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