Friday, August 17, 2007

Pole Position

Guest commentary by Beatrice Russo

Do You Wanna Dance?

Ziff and Dale invited me to lunch today. It’s Restaurant Week and they are heading off to Austin, for the Texsom conference that they are in charge of. I am staying behind. Like I said, it’s Restaurant Week and someone has to answer the dumb questions that the R.W. amateurs ask. Like last night, I heard this one: “Do you have an Italian Pinot Noir?” Yes, and I also can recommend to you a Vermentino from France, but why? Another one I heard this week (these people must have driven in from Tyler or Longview): “What’s your best Texas wine?” How about the one that doesn’t make me puke (which, by the way, wouldn’t be some overpriced Palomino-Chardonnay from a wine-bully.)

As I said, we are at lunch, kinda celebrating. One of the restaurants took pity on some of the locals and opened up for lunch. Peaky toe crab, awe-inspiring okra (you heard me) with fried green tomatoes and a whole, grilled Branzino. Family style. Me, I’m always hungry. Ziff was watching his weight and Dale was loosening his belt. They brought a bottle or two of Burgundies for fun, A Rully and a Santenay. Look guys, anytime you want to raid the cellar, I’m there for you.

At a table nearby, one of IWG’s gulag-mates was entertaining a chef. He stopped by on his way in, asking where IWG went this time. I said Fort Worth and acted like I didn't know what he was talking about. They had some cool stuff in their bag, sent over a taste of Camartina. IWG loves Querciabella. The wine was tasty, especially with the lamb.

We finished with incredible slices of Pecos melon (not cantaloupe) and some German shots that were bitter and gave me a headache. But hey, it was a 2 hour business lunch.

Nice Melons

I sent the boys on their way. They had to be in Austin, and tropical storm Erin was racing to meet them.

The gulag-mate called me over to come taste some Priorat. It had been opened about 4 hours earlier, so it tasted almost bearable. After Santenay, Sangiovese and bitters, Garnacha and Carignane were maybe too much in the same day. And it’s like 102°F outside.

The chef we sat with had a funny story about Spanish wines. I gathered he ran the wine program and the kitchen at this place where he worked, a gentleman’s club. You know, pole dancing, scantily clad girls, and plenty of smoked salmon on the buffet. And bubbly, lots of bubbly, you get the picture?

Last Call

Anyway, chef likes Spanish wine, been to Spain a couple of times lately. Likes it a lot. So he gets real sore when he goes to the tapas restaurants in town and the Spanish wine selection is lame-o, like a liquor store in some river bottom area. His line, “I have a better selection of Spanish wine in a topless bar than a tapas restaurant,” really nailed Dallas with another bulls-eye. That ain't the wind, folks, that’s the sound of the wine business sucking, this time with Spain. He was right when he said, “Buy good wines and sell them, push your customers, make them drink something besides Silver Oak or Coppola.” I know IWG says that and Ziff and Dale too. So, I’m on board, guys, even if you never see me in a gentleman’s club. I leave the testosterone and pole-positioning to the other species.

To the Moon, Alice

1 comment:

Ann said...

Ohhhh. Let's hear it for the wine bully. I mean, he's, like, the only "wine expert" in the state, right? The rest of them are making wine with mushrooms and OKRA, as far as he's concerned. I mean, he INVINTED Texas wien, right? Puh-leeze.

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