Food Inspired from Sideways for Food n’ Flix

The Food n’ Flix pic for this month was Sideways.   Thanks to Tina at Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor for hosting.


When did “bromance” enter the lexicon.   I don’t think it was as early as 2004 because if it had been a common word then, certainly it would have been used in reviews of Sideways.    I could go on and on about the psychology behind the characters of Miles and Jack and their relationship.

But, I would rather talk about my thoughts on wine.

We saw Sideways shortly after it originally came out.   We loved it.   Since 2004, we have had a lot of wine education—classes at the local community college, fun workshops through the local art museum, and we even took a wine making class at a local winery.   (We have also had a lot of wine!)  We love to visit small wineries when we travel.

But, what have I retained?   I know just enough to be dangerous.

We can talk about the legs of a wine, the viscosity, and the nose.   We love to be ridiculous about the bouquets we get—cat litter, diesel, pencil lead, dirty socks.

Seeing Sideways again made me smile.   It made me remember a lot of conversations we overheard in our wine classes.

  • “Ah, yes, I do smell a bit of roasted cauliflower in this bouquet.”   (That would be the elderly gentleman in the plaid pants.)
  • “I prefer an oaked vintage over an unoaked.”   (That would be the “arts patron” type who is wearing pearls and the perfect black dress.)
  • “I just drink wine to be happy.”   (That would be the unassuming couple—wait, that was us.)

So, as I viewed the film again, I really saw Miles as some of our wine classmates (and sometimes even the instructor).

Miles is like wine class squared on crack.


But, enough pretentious wine-snob bashing.

Let’s get on to my inspiration.  I knew I had to cook with wine and I was inspired by Jack’s comment at the awkward meal with Miles’ mother:   “Is this chicken?”   (I am assuming he was being served leftover mystery meat.)

So, here is my meal inspired by Sideways.

White Wine and Dijon Braised Chicken with Tarragon
Inspired by Chicken in Riesling and Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken

2 bone-in chicken breasts (or your favorite pieces, about 2 1/2 lbs.)
1 t. fine sea salt
3/4 t. fresh ground pepper (or more to taste)
1 T. olive oil
2 T.  unsalted butter, divided
1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 T.  finely chopped shallot
2 1/2 c. baby  carrots
1 c.  dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs.  small (2-inch) red potatoes
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 t. tarragon, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a wide 3 1/2- to 5-quart heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until butter just starts to brown.   Add chicken and brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Onions from the garden.

Add onions and shallots and cook about 5 minutes.    Add wine and deglaze pan.   Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes.   Add chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, carrots, and potatoes.

Ready for the oven.

Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through, 45 minutes to one hour.

Remove from oven and remove chicken, potatoes and carrots from pot to a serving platter.   Heat pan juices on stove top over medium heat.

Tarragon from the herb garden.

Stir cream, Dijon, tarragon and final tablespoon of butter  into pan juices and stir until incorporated and bubbly.

Whisk to incorporate.

Drizzle remaining sauce over chicken, potatoes and carrots.


My intent was to find a nice California Chenin Blanc but I came away from the liquor store with Kitchen Sink White Table Wine.      This is my new favorite cheap wine and I am sure Miles would say it tasted like the back of a school bus.

A great summer wine.

This wine made a great sauce and was delicious to drink with the meal.

I started thinking why we like wine.   I have to say that it is the romance of it.   I would like to say that I enjoy learning about it and the intelligentsia-side of being a oenophile, but I have to side with Maya:

I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity…..And its so f***ing good.

We may never be able to visit Bordeaux or Tuscany or Napa, but we can still taste the essence of these places in the bottles.

And besides, its so “f”ing good!

If you’re still reading after my rambling review, rant and recipe, thank you.   Cheers!

14 comments to Food Inspired from Sideways for Food n’ Flix

  • Thanks so much for participating. This looks fantastic. All your meals do but I am a huge fan of chicken dishes.

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Tina. I was afraid I was not going to get this post done. I actually rewatched the movie yesterday afternoon! And a big thank you for hosting!

  • “If anybody orders merlot, I’m leavin. I am NOT drinking any merlot!” Bwahahahahaha! I want to see the movie just for that scene. Wine class squared on crack. BWAH!! Your chicken looks good, and I’m laughing imaginging what Miles would say about your kitchen sink wine. hehe!

    • Eliot

      I can just imagine Miles’ tirade. A mixture of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Gewuztraminer? A sacrilege!

  • This looks delicious, and “Sideways” is one of my favorite movies. Good inspiration for a dish!

    • Eliot

      Thank you. After not seeing the movie for 8 years, it is interesting the new things you notice.

  • great post! we love that movie 🙂 the chicken sounds delicious!

  • Beautiful post! My view on wine is much the same. I’m slightly educated, but mostly I enjoy the romance of it all, as well. And the f’ing good part. Dish me up a plate of this chicken, it sounds SO tasty.

    • Eliot

      Thanks. Just went to a fun fund raiser last night with a “wall o’wine” where you upped $30 and picked a mystery bottle. You were hopefully going for the few $100 bottles out there. Somebody at our table actually got one worth $75. Alas, ours was valued at $26.99. 🙂 I am sure it will still be good!

  • Great post and terrific dish–I love your inspiration of the dinner with Miles, his mom and Jack. 😉 I am with you and Maya just enjoying the romance of the story behind the wine.

  • Your post tickled me no end! I decided I needed a little wine education, and picked up on a on-line wine class. The book we used was worth the whole thing. We followed that with a couple vineyard tastings, and then learned about a monthly wine-pairing dinner…we got to taste at least 5 wines each dining experience…incredibly fun! I think most of our table-mates drank the wine for the sheer enjoyment as well! Your chicken looks wonderful! I tend to cook with sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio for whites, and cabs for reds. Unless I’m cooking Italian…then it’s definitely chianti. I think your statement about tasting the area in the wine is very true…must be why I love coastal wines!