Gerry Klaskala and Andrés Loaiza came out swinging with their entry into "Riding Dirty" The Atlanta Wine Pairing Challenge.
aria has been an Atlanta favorite for a long time, but it is known more for fine dining versus a place to saddle up to the bar and grab some grub. With their entry in the challenge, there is no way I can call it "grub", but man, they put together a killer dish that is perfect for a casual, soul-satisfying, meal.
I like the bar area at aria a lot- it is intimate, almost lounge-like, and you'll receive the stellar service that their dining room is known for. (as a note- we shot the video in the dining room due to lighting)
(photos by the master of midnight madness Broderick Smylie!)
aria's Riding Dirty Entry-
Wine: Bodega Colomé Malbec, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina 06
Food: Zinfandel Braised Painted Hills Ranch Natural Beef Short Rib with tender parsnips, celery whipped potatoes crispy parsnips
When Andrés first emailed me his pairing into the challenge, I emailed him back, and said "are you sure"? I've had the Short Rib at aria before- it is wonderful, classic, and it loves wine, but there was no way they were getting in at under $25 (one of the rules for the pairing). Andrés emailed back that they serve a 1/2 portion of the dish in the bar and that it would fall within the parameters.
Texture, Texture, Texture!!!!! The creamy potatoes, the Short Rib that doesn't need a knife, and then a glass of wine that is like a velvet curtain with a pie crust edge (crazy smooth, with enough chewy tannin to work with the beef). This pair warms you. Bright fruit, earthy veggies, and a killer piece of meat---it reminds me of the short title of a song by jazz fusion group- Shakti -- "What need have I for this, what need have I for that, I am dancing at the feet of my lord, all is bliss, all is bliss" But musically- this is Raphael Saadiq's 100 Yard Dash (check it out!) Soul, Elegance, Power, and Confidence. This is cold weather, grab your partner, let's chill,romantic, super-food.
Sitting about 400 miles away as I type this, I want to go back to my ATL and eat this again...