Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crashing and Burning

No matter how you start out, if you end up dancing, it's a good night.

For the record, I began with a worthy opponent and a bottle of Gabrielle Rause Vin Gris, which, because it's made from 100 % pinot noir, is the ultimate sipping wine for a warm day like today.

Yes, it was a perfect day for white pinot noir.

So we sipped and discussed philosophical matters while admiring the skill required for an Italian winemaker working with Virginia grapes.

Gabrielle, I am your obedient servant. Especially where your Vin Gris is concerned.

Acacia was our ultimate destination, and by our, I mean any number of successive dinner companions.

The first was the best, eager to prove compatibility, but also funny and complimentary.

We chose the Gavi to sustain us and were soon joined by a friend who is soon to depart for points north.

She went with bubbles, while we ordered everything on the small plate menu.

Hush puppies with lobster, scallions and jalapeno relish were first, followed by empanadas of sweetbreads, mushrooms and leeks.

I won't even gush over fried bread, but  the addition of lobster was a whole new level of pleasure for fried bread.

The empanada  if served in a more generous portion could have been a meal with its earthy flavors.

The smoked duck ham had an apple and ginger salad with enough spice to speak to the strongest of plates.

A vegetable terrine done in aspic with smoked tomato sauce was notable since your rarely see it on menus.

The soon-to-be departed ordered the Tocco Prosecco (notable for my beloved friend Mike Tocco...we'll say Miami, Matthew Sweet and leave it at that) and Thai-flavored parsnip soup with roasted mushrooms, peanuts and lime.

It's fascinating watching friends meet for the first time, not sure if the common thread of me will be enough to make them appreciate one another.

Once the musical one departed, the girlfriend and I were joined by a favorite couple who are always looking for a good time,

They immediately ordered more Tocco Prosecco as well as dinner (sauteed scallops for her and  sauteed snapper for him) while I enjoyed a sweet course.

After four small plates, I was ready for something dessert-like and happily got the Black Forest, a chocolate sponge cake with Luxardo cream. Kirsch cherries, cocoa streusel and (most awesome of all) a sour cherry sorbet.

The only thing missing was another dessert hound to share it with me.

I managed all by myself before the female half of my favorite couple insisted we indulge in some Green Chartreuse.

My last green chartreuse was in the summer of 1998 and involved an after Jumpin' in July party in my backyard, temperatures of 97+ and humidity of about the same.

No one who came to that party and imbibed of the chartreuse was ever quite the same.

Mine is not to explain why that was.

Tonight's foray reminded me of the allure of chartreuse. Made of 130 herbal elements, it's one liqueur that continues to age and improve in the bottle.

Because, let's face it, not every one thing improves with age.

But green chartreuse is the exception and  the two of us savored it while discussing the new French street photography exhibit at the VMFA.

When it became clear that we were the last customers in the house, we moved on, them to home and me to Balliceaux.

I hadn't intended to. Really.

I was just minding my own business driving home up Lombardy when I saw the crowd and remembered that Black Girls were playing.

Since I first saw them in the overcrowded back room at Sprout in February 2011, the crowds have just gotten bigger and the band has only gotten tighter.

That said, the music is still the same.

So much so that one of the band admitted last night that, "We've been playing the same six songs for the last six months."

But their groove is so infectious that even as many times as I've seen them, I was one of many dancing before long.

Meanwhile I ran into a favorite mixologist who joined me in the center of the dance floor.

Since I was a late arrival, before I knew it, their set was over and replacing the white boys known as the Black Girls was a DJ playing "Word Up."

Surely Cameo couldn't have anticipated the staying power of that song.

I, however, having been around in 1986, wasn't nearly as caught up in it as some.

Besides, I'd had a most pleasurable nine-hour evening and there's really nothing better to do after dancing than crashing.

Unless you can find someone who wants to start a conversation at that hour.

Surprisingly, it's not as difficult as you might think.

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