Why is it that when I have no plans I hear from no one and when I do have plans, inevitably a friend suggests we get together? Is that Murphy's law of social inadequacy or something? I had plans to meet a friend for drinks at Ipanema and then meet someone else for the wine dinner at Acacia, so naturally two other friends called and asked for my company this evening.
The Ipanema stop was with a friend I haven't seen since September, so we had months to catch up on. Weddings, concerts, restaurants, we both had a lot of stories to share. Once again, I had to listen to the "why don't you have a cell phone?" rant, which is to be expected from this particular friend, addicted as he is to his Crackberry. We shared the Zucchini Fritters, which were perfectly fried and nicely seasoned while enjoying happy hour wine, possibly the best wine deal in all of rva. What I learned is that Twitter is already passe' and that my next platform of choice should be Foursquare. Duly noted, and given my extensive social calendar, I will probably do quite well on it.
The Wine/Beer dinner at Acacia offered attendees the choice of wine or beer pairings, although far fewer people chose the beer pairings apparently. We began with Frog Legs in Garlic Butter inside Crispy Potato and by "inside," it meant a Slinky-shaped crisp potato tunnel surrounding the sauce-covered legs. It was paired with 2008 Bastgen Riesling Blauschiefer, with the acidity of the wine cutting the richness of the dish beautifully.
Up next was a Seared Salmon Pave, Warm Haricot Vert Salad in Brown Butter Almond Parsley Sauce and the 2008 La Zerba Gaui Tassarola. I commented that the salad and sauce were even better than the salmon and my friend agreed.
Last up was the Beef Cheeks Braised with cocoa nibs on Lemon Risotto and the 2006 A. Jaume Lirac Rouge Clos de Sixte. Quite full from the first two courses, it didn't stop me from appreciating how this dish was a masterful pairing of the rich beef and the lemony risotto, each contrasting the other perfectly.
Our dinner reservation was for 9:00 and there was still quite a crowd when we arrived. No doubt it is because of the unusually low wine dinner price of $35 and that there is no set seating time, as was obvious with our later dinner. The wine representative, in this case Emily Papach of Kysela Pere et Fils, moved table to table to enlighten guests about the pairings. Without a set schedule for the wine dinner, guests were free to wine and dine at their own pace and not on the schedule of the kitchen. This concept clearly holds a great deal of appeal given the nearly full house.
Very full and sipping wine afterwards, my friend decided to play matchmaker for me. She stopped only when she saw my "heart jumping out of my dress," as she put it. Even as I calmed down, I had to admit that the rush of adrenaline was a powerful way to end our evening.