“Cooper’s Hawk: A Gluten Free Mecca” Cooper’s Hawk Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

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This weekend, Sonja, Titus, Zooey and I were in Kansas City for our annual trip to the Hospital Hill race (read more on yesterday’s blog post). It was a terrific weekend, full of running, friends, barbecue, and walks through Country Club Plaza where Titus and Zooey took in the amazing fountains. And, of course, when in KC we always attempt to make a pilgrimage to Cooper’s Hawk, a restaurant that Sonja and I have discovered to have hands-down the best gluten free menu we’ve ever found.

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The thing about gluten free food is that it doesn’t have to be bad, but so often it is. I think people get lazy, or try to be cheap. There are restaurants that will tell you they have a gluten free burger, and then deliver it without a bun. Really? Not Cooper’s Hawk. The GF options are killer — they bring pretzel bread to the table for normal (just kidding) people, and then their own special gluten free rolls for Sonja and others with similar intolerances. The pretzel bread is great, but the GF roll is equally solid, flaky and warm and delicious. This trip, Sonja ordered pasta as her entree, a dish similar to mine with Italian sausage, dried tomatoes, and other nice things. GF pasta is almost always faulty somehow; maybe it’s too sticky, too starchy, crumbly, flavorless, etc.  After trying Sonja’s dish, I was reminded that their GF pasta is every bit as good as regular, if not better. If you, like Sonja, require gluten free options, I can’t recommend Cooper’s Hawk strongly enough.

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I like their food, but to be honest, I go to CH for the wine. My review of their Nightjar fortified wine from a few years back has been the most read review on our blog so far in 2018.  Every time I’m there, I try new things, and I’m generally impressed by what they’re making. This time around, I was extremely excited to see that the wine of the month was a Cab Sauv from Washington State — my recent stint at Taste of Washington making that a must try venture.

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Full in body with somewhat restrained aromatics, the Cooper’s Hawk Washington Cab Sauv, which like their other wines is not vintage dated, is velvety and smooth with hints of chocolate and the unmistakable blueness of our northwestern-most state’s terroir upon the palate. Brighter hints of something like raspberry appear later underneath layer after layer of blackberry, blueberry, and black currant. A somewhat delicate structure offers longevity and lengthens the finish.  I’ve recently become quite familiar with Washington’s Cab Sauvs, and I can vouch for this one being a worthy expression of the varietal and the region for a very reasonable $8/glass.

Sometime during the course of the meal, Zooey got bored and started using her napkin as a bonnet, which I encouraged by photographing her, and at one point Titus started screaming, which turned out to be a logical reaction to having bitten his tongue. The other dinner guests around us politely ignored the crying child, however several did turn to look when Sonja extrapolated upon her understanding of toddlers biting their tongues by saying “I think sometimes you’re just not quite sure where your tongue goes.”  I couldn’t stop laughing for a moment, and the kids, of course unaware of the unintended innuendo, giggled happily along with us. It’s the little things.

If you dig wine, Cooper’s Hawk, which had dozens of locations nationwide, is certainly worth checking out. They make numerous varietals and blends from various regions, and generally I think do a nice job with all of them. I tried the Super Tuscan on this trip and was truly impressed. If you’re gluten free, however, then your sense of urgency for visiting Cooper’s Hawk should be even higher. In five plus years of being married to a woman who can’t eat many of my favorite foods, I’ve found no better place. Enjoy!

Cheers to figuring out where your tongue goes,

Mark

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