Final Lunch Porter wine dinner returns to Chef’s roots

This weekend is your last chance to savor the Lunch Porter’s wine and food pairings before the closing of the Manchester restaurant at the end of this month

This weekend is your last chance to savor the Lunch Porter‘s wine and food pairings before the closing of the Manchester restaurant at the end of this month. Chef Ellie Basch started the wine dinners two years ago this April with sommelier Carol Colby with the goal to “create a wine dining experience that’s affordable, fun, educational, and downright delicious.” Surprisingly, the pair never literally tested the food/wine pairings, trusting each other’s judgment in their respective areas of expertise.

Remembers Basch, “I’d send Carol my menu ideas and describe the taste, spices, herbs, texture of each dish and Carol would pair the most exquisite wines to highlight or contrast with each dish. Or, if Carol decided she wanted to feature wines of a certain region, she would email me the ‘wine notes’ describing the nose, palate, body of the wines and then it’s my turn to dream up dishes to play off of the wines.”

The chef honors her native Indonesia this weekend with a wine dinner aptly named, “A Journey Back Home.” Two chances to taste are offered: Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 6.30pm. Basch reminisces about the time her mother came to help in the cafe last year, and recalled an early food-memory from her childhood:

Feeding a gaggle of 5 hungry kids, with little money, Mom used to get a day-old loaf of bread from her brother’s bakery (bread is expensive in Indonesia since it’s not our staple food), then she would slather margarine (butter is not the norm, either) and put chocolate sprinkles on them. Those were after-school snacks when Mom had extra money. Even then, we’re told not to gorge ourselves, limited to 2 slices each, to “remember the starving children in Ethiopia.”

She was pleased to hear I’m making Indonesian food for this last wine dinner. Always a Mom, she managed to slip in some advice on how I should remember this critical step and that necessary important move. When I said, “Mom, I know that!” she said, “Just making sure. You messed it up a few times when I taught you last year.”

I can assure you that from my last experience at her wine dinner, you won’t have anything to worry about, just tasty food, quality wine, and friendly service. Plenty of seats are still available at $45/person and Basch requests RSVPs by Tuesday 4/19 (today).


  • Lemongrass Fish Cake with jicama slaw • Paired with Remy Pannier Vouvray, 2009, Loire Valley
  • Ginger Sweet Potato Soup • Paired with Columbia Crest 2 Vines Gewurztraminer, 2009, Columbia Valley, WA
  • Mom’s Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and pickled cucumber-carrot salad • Paired with Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Mendocino, CA
  • Indonesian Beef Rendang (slow braised beef in dozens of spices and coconut milk
    sauce), served with jasmine rice and bak choy • Paired with Root 1 Carmenere, 2009, Colchagua Valley, Chile
  • Fresh mango shortcake • Paired with M. Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti, 2010, Italy

The Lunch Porter
201 West 7th Street (inside the Corrugated Box Building)

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Holly Gordon

Holly Gordon spends her days working with Richmond’s hearty nonprofit community and her nights singing in a community chorus. She loves her feminist book club, and is always distracted by shiny things.

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