Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It Takes One to Know Me

Once a winemaker invites you to Uruguay, you never really lose a taste for his wines. And with the frequency with which you see Uruguayan wines on wine lists, you never miss a chance to revisit them. Or maybe that's just me.

So after taking a seat at Acacia's bar (where the stranger next to me asked, "Are you Karen?"), the wine list immediately captured my attention with Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie."

I'd fallen in love with Francisco Carrau's wines here, and told my friend what an interesting and handsome man I'd found him to be that evening, in the hopes that that would be enough to convince her ("We're drinking his wine because he's attractive?" she asked. Only partly, my dear).

It worked. Anyway, once she tasted the lovely citrus notes and that creamy texture, she was a goner. Everything was working out according to my my master plan.

What with it being half-priced bottle night, I felt sure sure there were a couple of bottles in our future ( there were) and a discussion followed with bartender Arthur of geography when my friend acknowledged not knowing where Uruguay was.

Before long, Arthur kindly let us know that "the bus had just arrived" referring to the sudden influx of customers to the restaurant, should we want to consider food before the masses did.

We took it as a cue to order, no small challenge for my finicky friend who can belabor a menu like no one on earth. I, on the other hand, slid right into a mounding salad of apple, raisin, cashews, mixed lettuces, bleu cheese and celery seed vinaigrette.

When she finally did decide, her roasted yellow pepper soup with crab and creme fraiche was exquisitely rich and flavorful; she guiltily gave me half the bowl and I devoured it, cream be damned.

All around us, the place was buzzing, partly due to the pulsing house music (if you close your eyes, it's hard to believe you're in a Richmond restaurant) and partly due to the ever-changing bar crowd (most people ultimately end up at a table) that kept new faces and conversations around us all evening.

For dinner, I had the tuna ceviche Peruvian-style with cucumbers onion and avocado. The squared-off serving with fried leeks atop it was bound in creamy avocado with crispy bits of onions and cukes for textural contrast.

The Peruvian heat infused every bite and I patted myself on the back for how well my Sur Lie complemented the spicy dish. Francisco would have approved the pairing, I feel quite certain.

Her flounder, kale and cheese grits went just as well with it (I know because I tasted it), but I seemed to be enjoying my dinner choice far more than she was. Picky is as picky does; I feel sure someone's grandmother said that.

Our evening out had been necessitated by her being out of town the past two weeks and me having my most active personal life in two plus years during the same period, so there was much to discuss.

I'd even been late to our dinner plans because I'd been chatting on the phone with, well, someone worth chatting with on the phone.

And my distaste for the phone is legendary amongst those who know me (those who just want to get to know are merely perplexed), if that tells you anything. The lovely Sur Lie greased the wheels for all of it.

We finished up with peach Melba bread pudding with brown butter ice cream and, given the chance, I could have eaten an entire bowl of that ice cream.

As a child, I could never understand my mother's obsession with butter pecan ice cream. Only now do I see how butter and cream are made for each other, kind of like Johnny and June.

That's all I need: someone to be the Johnny to my June, the butter to my pecan. How hard can that be to acknowledge?

Looks like I'm finding out.


  1. It takes one to know me is my favorite Johnny Cash song in the world! I must of listened to that record a thousand times but I hadn't thought about it in years - until I saw your blog today. Bravo!!

    it takes one to know me...
    I guess, you're the one...

  2. We're in agreement on what a great song it is then!

    Thanks for stopping by...