Total Toad

By Jeff Harding

By

Jeff Harding
Toad in a Hole: Mushrooms, Salsa Verde, Winter Greens, and Parmesan paired with Enderle & Moll, Auxerrois, Asti, German
Toad in a Hole: Mushrooms, Salsa Verde, Winter Greens, and Parmesan paired with Enderle & Moll, Auxerrois, Asti, German

This is not the toad in a hole you made at camp, an egg fried in a cut out slice of bread. This is a dressed-up multicultural composition, with local market ingredients and the fusion of unusual flavor combinations that reflect Fundamental L.A. and Chef Jeffrey Yuguchi’s style. Pickled mushrooms, herbal sauce, bitter greens, toasted egg, and funky Parmesan sounds like a lot, but with Yoguchi’s light touch, it works. It works so well that it kind of stands alone as a complete dish. So, what’s a sommelier to do?

Alicia Kemper doesn’t fear the egg pairing, as many somms do. In fact she loves it with white Burgundy. But with this fancy egg sandwich, she wanted more richness and an oxidative component, but with less acid. She has found that wines with extended skin contact work with Yoguchi’s menu, “often complex and difficult to pair with, but skin contact wines provide aromatics and acid, with richness to cut through, and a little sweetness to balance heat,” she says. A bright and funky Auxerrois, a sibling of Chardonnay, provides fruit to add complexity to the dish, but it also pulls out the nuance of the mushroom, cheese, and herbs. A great wine match can be a bridge or a mirror, but here it’s more of a key to unlock and understand this riddle of surprising textures and flavors.

Fundamental’s roots are as a sandwich shop, and Kemper has embraced this part of the business with a wine club. She uses the sandwich delivery staff to run her monthly selections to savvy local wine club members. Focused on indigenous and obscure old-world varietals, mostly biodynamic and organic, Kemper is able to sell more wine with her retail license, and is constantly rotating new wines into the restaurant and wine club catalog

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