Mosel Riesling and conch ceviche, simply brilliant

conch cevicheMention to nearly anyone in the wine business that you’re heading to Las Vegas and she/he will invariably tell you that you must visit the Lotus of Siam, an otherwise unassuming Thai restaurant with a phenomenal Riesling-heavy list.

I’m not a gambler but my band has played Vegas a handful of times. And each time I’ve visited, I’ve been thrilled by the pairing of Riesling and the spicy flavors of the restaurant’s menu (and it’s actually the only place in Vegas, in my experience, where I can afford to get an interesting and satisfying meal).

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Lotus of Siam when I visited Caracol in Houston with a buddy on Thursday night.

grunhauser kabinett priceThe match of conch ceviche (in the top photo; one of the restaurant’s de facto signature dishes) and the 2011 Grünhaus Herrenberg Kabinett was simply one of the most brilliant marriages of aroma, flavor, and texture that I’ve experienced this year.

The wine, however youthful, was so pure in its white fruit notes and its elegant sweetness and delicate unctuousness played counterpoint to the measured acidity and supple chewiness of the thinly sliced conch.

tlacoyo chick peaOf course, I can never resist the tlacoyo de alberjón (above), a blue masa de maíz flatbread stuffed with puréed chickpeas (and another of the restaurant’s signature dishes).

My friend and leading Houston sommelier Sean Beck has put together a superb list of German-speaking wines at this “Mexican seafood” concept by Houston legacy chef Hugo Ortega.

I love LOVE this restaurant and it’s a place where Spanish is spoken in a spectrum of cadences that stretch from South to Central America by guests and staff alike, a perfect example of Houston’s cosmopolitan vibe and one of the reasons I love living here.

Chapeau bas, Sean, and THANK YOU for this awesome list…

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