Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'm Gonna Be an Optimist about This

I don't often make the rounds on Saturday night.

But when a friend suggested a progressive evening, and pink at that, I signed on for the sheer novelty value of it.

I chose a thrift store find my friend Pru had procured for me (for a whopping $3.50) and made my way to our first point of congregation, Pasture, mainly because one of us had never been.

The music was safe- "Under Pressure" and "Safety Dance"- and the service was wildly variable considering the bar wasn't that crowded. One of the guys observed that men seemed to merit better service than women.

Not much I can do about my girl parts.

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
cause your friends don't dance
And if they don't dance
Well, they're no friends of mine

The five of us made the most of a couple of bottles of Le Petit Balthazar, a Cinsault Rose the color of pink diamonds while crowds filled the tables and booths around us.

We tried a few nibbles - chips and dip (the chips being stellar) and meatballs with redneck romesco, more or less so-so.

Holmes told us about his post-tax day revelry, which involved alternating whiskey with tequila, as sure a recipe for disaster as any I've heard. Today they'd spent lunching on the Potomac.

Before we knew it, it was time to hit Rappahannock, where we fell hard for Commanderie de Peyrassol Rose, a wine I first had back in 2011 and bonded with immediately for its earthiness and delicacy.

A blog reader had been so taken with my prose about Peysarrol then that he'd commented about it, forever bonding us on the subject of great Roses.

After Old Salte oysters, my personal favorite, oysters and pearls (Rappahannock oysters with trout caviar) and wood-grilled octopus in piquillo pepper sauce with blood orange that had the Frog and me in raptures, we had to conclude that the food far surpassed the service. A pity, really, especially considering the noise level in the room.

If you're going to be noisy, at least be efficient.

One in our group opted for the Thibaut-Jannison blanc de Chardonnay, a perfectly beautiful expression of Virginia sparkling, offering me a taste and cementing my opinion of Claude's talent with bubbles.

Yes, ma'am, I could drink that all night long. But tonight was all about the pink.

We eventually abandoned Grace Street for Manchester, since the Frog had proposed Camden's as our final resting place and we were all about following his lead.

Someone has to be in charge or we'd forget all about the dining portion of the evening.

We arrived to find the last of the leftovers from Legend Brewery's 20th anniversary celebration, a drunken lot if ever there was one.

Ignoring the slurring remains, my party of five headed straight for the wine cases, choosing three sparkling Roses to accompany our dinner.

All three of the women in the group are rabid fans of bubbly pink, meaning we were suckers for the chilled array we found waiting for us.

Monmousseau Brut Rose kicked things off as we discussed the perils of Easter on Parade, the upcoming restaurant week and how to get to Merroir. Hint: not Route 360.

We got the party started with appetizers of seared scallops followed by roasted pork with banana, a perfect pairing of sweet and savory.

The lovely Monrovia Farms beef was all over the specials menu and two in our group chose the Monrovia Farms pot roast, reveling in the long-cooked and flavorful meat and veggies.

When we moved on to Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace, I decided on steak frites, a bavette of bottom sirloin with horseradish sauce, fries and a salad, a sweeping representation of all the food groups on one plate.

With the Killers and Bastille playing overhead, we tackled our final bottle of Gruet Brut Rose, an ideal pairing for our chocolate pate with walnut crust, a necessity for the women in the group and of negligible importance to the guys.

But if you close your eyes
does it almost feel like
nothing's changed at all?
Does it almost feel like
you've been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

I usually try to keep Saturdays to a dull roar, unwilling to join the weekend amateurs, but sometimes you just gotta put on a $3.50 dress and let it your pink freak flag fly.

Especially when you don't want your friends to leave you behind.

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