Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 25, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:9



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 25, 2017 

One of the most common questions that I get 
as a restaurant advocate/food Influencer (fancy 
name for critic on line) is where is my favorite 
steakhouse? The Answer: My house, nothing 
beats heading over to Pavilions or Howie’s for 
a filet and bbq’n at home. Wine by the glass another story. At a restaurant that can be a very 
tricky situation. To this, I say “buyer beware” from the get-go. Wine by the glass can provide a 
huge revenue stream for your favorite restaurant. In fairness to the restaurant (and before you start 
calculating how much the restaurant is paying for a bottle of wine and charging for a glass), let’s 
remember that there is often some waste once a bottle is opened. For instance, sparkling wine 
can’t last for more then 24 hours once opened. I have sent back many an old wine back and asked 
for a fresh bottle, and to my surprise, without much resistance. Local sommelier and wine geek 
Russ Meek tells me that even reds and whites, once opened, can easily lose their luster after just a 
few days. My advice is to ask the server/bartender to open a “fresh” bottle - it will make you feel a 
whole lot better about paying that premium price.

Chardonnay is the best selling wine by the glass here in California, and one that stands out to me is 
Rambuer Chardonnay. Hailing from the grape-rich area of Napa Valley, this higher end chardonnay 
satisfies those of us who like a bit of buttery and oaky chardonnay. I found this gem at one of 
my favorite non-home restaurants, Taylor’s Steak House in La Canada. Taylor’s has consistently 
offered a very good wine by the glass program; they aren’t giving it away, but you won’t feel like 
you’ve been gypped. Rombauer Chardonnay is light gold in color, well balanced, and the finish is 
crisp and clean. Some of my wine snob friends have called it “overrated” but I don’t agree. This 
is a fantastic special occasion wine 
or a treat at a medium to higher end 
restaurants. The supply is ample, 
and you should have no problem 
finding it at your local market. 

ALC Content 14.4%

Closure: Corked

Dills Score 91

Retails around $34; on sale for $30

Each week I will give you my Dills 
Score. Starting with a base of 50 
points, I added 8 points for color, 8 
points for aroma or “nose”, 8 points 
for taste, 9 points for finish, and 8 
points for my overall impression, which includes my value rating.

Email Peter at and follow me on Twitter @KINGOFCUISINE. Listen 
to Dining w/Dills on KLAA 830 AM on Sundays at 5PM. Join me also on “Meet Up” where we 
meet at local restaurants for delicious wines. 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills




1. One 7-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut (2 cups), finely chopped

2. 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

3. 1 large egg white

4. 2 cups all-purpose flour

5. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6. 2 teaspoons baking powder

7. Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

8. Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

9. 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

10. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

11. 3 large eggs

12. 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

13. 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

14. 1 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt


1. 1/2 cup sugar

2. 1/4 cup water

3. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

4. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. MAKE THE GLAZE Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour an 8-cup Bundt pan. In a small bowl, 
mix the chopped coconut with the condensed milk and egg white. Transfer the coconut mixture to a 
large sheet of plastic wrap. Using your hands, roll the coconut into an 18-inch rope. Wrap and refrigerate 
until slightly firm, at least 20 minutes.

6. In another small bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large 
bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. 
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla and 
beat until the batter is smooth. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the yogurt.

7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Unwrap the coconut rope and join 
the ends to form a circle. Lay the coconut rope on the cake batter, centering it in the pan. Press the 
coconut into the batter until it is submerged in 1 inch of batter. Bake the cake for 1 hour, or until a 
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a 
rack to cool completely.

8. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil; stir to dissolve the sugar. 
Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla and let cool. Brush a thin layer of the glaze over the cake and let dry 
slightly. Repeat 3 more times, letting the glaze dry slightly before brushing the cake again. Refrigerate 
until the glaze is set and slightly cracked before serving.

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