This is one of the many reasons why you should be dining at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. All we can say is what a fantastic dinner event! Thank you for hosting us.

Each month, the Council Oak Lounge at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa hosts a themed dinner. This enables guests the opportunity to experience food and drink at its finest. Council Oak chose Cakebread Cellars Wine for one of their ten themed dinners.


We began our evening with a smooth Sauvignon Blanc from Cakebread Cellars Wine, accompanied by Black Mission Fig Bruschetta, Iced Kumamoto Oyster, and Baked Camembert as Hors D’oeuvres.


Our marvelous 1st course was Wild Burgundy Escargot En Croute, with Parsley-Garlic Butter, Cakebread Chardonnay, Puffed Pastry, and a glass of Cakebread Chardonnay Reserve.


For our 2nd course, we were spoiled with Cakebread Pinot Noir Two Creeks Vineyard and Pinot Noir Braised Oxtail Risotto. The Pinot Noir Oxtail Risotto with Caramelized Shallots, Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, and Shaved Parmesan Reggiano was splendid.


In case you didn’t know, Pinot Noir is one of the hardest grapes to grow, thin-skinned, temperamental. This Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir Grape. The Pinot Noir Two Creeks we enjoyed from Cakebread is from a 1,000 acre vineyard. Two Creeks is just outside of Napa Valley, right on the ocean. We learned that Pinot Noir grows best on the ocean, and that Two Creeks is two single vineyards. With the magic of combining grapes from two vineyards with higher and lower elevations, thus different sun exposure and slightly different climate, you get the magic in a bottle that is Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir Two Creeks. As we were told, take the best of these two vineyards and you have ‘Audrey Hepburn” in a glass – a wine both elegant and austere. In this super elegant wine, we could taste the rose petals and light cherry flavors. It was velvety.


For our next course, we enjoyed delicious Dry-Aged Colorado Lamb Chops with Ratatouille of Brussel Sprouts & Cipollini Onions, Potato Fondant, Rosemary Jus and a glass of Cakebread Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon, grown on the western mountain side, which separates Napa and Sonoma. This was also 100% – 100% Cabernet. This wine was big and bold, described as an iron fist wearing a velvet glove. It had a smooth finish, and we could taste dense dark berries, and black fruit.


We learned that grapes don’t necessarily mind drought, and that their roots go deep into the soil to find water and pick up all the nutrients in the soil’s layers. This array of layers was described as a “lasagna”, creating a spice rack so to speak. We were notified that the 2012 – 2014 wines will be outstanding, due to the drought situation during that time period in California.


For our 4th course, we had gorgeous Lemon Cello with Lemon Cello Mousse, Brie Sable, Morello Cherry Caviar, and a glass of Cakebread Napa Valley Merlot. The Merlot had a great, long finish. There were notes of ripe Black Cherries and Toasted Banana.


Interestingly, we learned about the story behind Cakebread Cellars Wines, which was a fascinating one. Cakebread, is the actual name of Jack Cakebread, founder. Mr. Cakebread was trained to be an auto mechanic, and wanted to be a photographer. In the 50s, while in the military, he became friends with Ansel Adams. He later worked and studied with Ansel Adams.

Afterwards, he returned to an Oakland garage, and Adams had a studio in San Francisco. Around this time, the wine movement began to accelerate in Napa Valley. Adams was commissioned to do a job in Napa Valley. He was too busy at the time, and called Mr. Cakebread to see if he would like to take the job. He did. While Mr. and Ms. Cakebread were there, they offered to buy the Sturdivant Ranch in Rutherford. That was the beginning of Cakebread Cellars Wine. Being food friendly and as leaders in the industry, they were among the first to introduce a culinary program with their winery.

This dinner at the Council Oak Lounge at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa was wonderful, and these dinners are occurring monthly. Chef Michael Balles never disappoints, and surely stunned with his ingenuity.

Is your mouth watering yet? It should be. Experience these incredible monthly dinners at the Council Oak Lounge each month. March 10th will be a Jameson Whiskey Pairing Dinner.

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