Saturday, June 19, 2010

BLD Tweet A Dish

When I found out that one of my favorite restaurants, BLD, has an on-going Twitter contest for free food, I knew I had to enter.  I really like BLD.  It's just one of those great neighborhood places where you can go for good food and good wine, where the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the atmosphere both fashionable and relaxed, where you're perfectly free to dress up or dress down — you can even bring your kids.  Unfortunately, it's not the sort of place I can go to too often because most of the entrees are in the $15-$27 range, and when you're pinching pennies, even a $6 hamburger can seem formidable.

So how does the contest work?  You go on Twitter and suggest a dish that BLD might want to make for its Thursday night special.  Past winning dishes have included chicken and dumplings and Moroccan tajine.  I suggested that yummy Portuguese dish of pork and clams.  Well, much to my surprise, I actually won.  I mean, I never win anything, and I'm one of those poor suckers who enters everything.  I can't tell you how many stupid hoops I've jumped through, from writing slogans for lawn mowers (we really needed one) to designing t-shirts with eco themes for a hopeless chance at a Smart car.  Well, finally!  Who knew all those hours of reading cookbooks would pay off!

The prize for Tweet A Dish is a complimentary 3-course meal for two!  And that includes wine!  I was in heaven...!  Originally, I thought part of the deal was that you had to have the special you suggested, but, no, the staff said we could both order anything we wanted!  BLD is just so generous.  Absolutely no fine print involved.  As our waiter Peter said, "We just want you and your guest to have a good time."  And boy did we.  The featured wine for the night was this incredibly fun, delicious white from Slovenia called "Jarenincan" (Crnko winery), an interesting blend of riesling, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay which made for a slightly sweet flavor with the most floral, fruity aftertaste — starting off with that how can anything go wrong?

Of course I couldn't wait to try my special.  I'd noticed that on the menu, the dish had become "Portuguese sausage and clams".  I hadn't realized that there were two similar Portuguese dishes, one with pork and clams done in an Alentejo style, and another with sausage and clams called cataplana, which is a specialty of the Argave region and is more like a bouillabaisse with lots of seafood.  BLD did the cataplana version, only with their own spin, making it more like a risotto, or, paella, I suppose.  The dish was very delicious, full of flavor from the shrimp stock, and with plenty of nice heat.

It was such a wonderful evening, with all my thanks going to BLD.  They really go all out to make the Tweet A Dish winner feel special, and it's that kind of graciousness which makes L.A. a fantastic town.