Don't let it get around, but I was a Rose rebel.
As a charter member of Richmond's annual Rose crawl, I was ready for a variation on the theme so when my original date got sick, I punted.
After a replacement date dropped in my lap. we decided to follow the Rose route but on our own time table, meaning just as we were pulling up to Acacia, we saw a gaggle of pink-clad people making their way down the sidewalk.
Inside, there were still some crawlers sipping the last of the their pink and we took stools near them to show our solidarity.
From a menu of five Roses and seven bar snacks, I picked the elegant 2013 J. Mourat Collection Rose and Surry sausage onion rings to get the party started.
When our delightful bartender asked how we were doing, I informed him how happy pink and rings made me.
"And onion rings with sausage!" he reminded me. You got that right.
Over newspaper articles, stories of missing people and unanswered e-mails, and pink sipping, we made short work of our snack
It was a lovely walk over to the VMFA, a chance to look at people's gardens and notice how many people were sitting on their front porches on this fine June evening, a testament to Richmond's southern charm.
Once upstairs at Amuse, the small bar was still crawling with people in pink even though the first wave had already left for destination #3. We heard from the staff that this year's crawl numbered close to 60, a remarkable testament to the pink inroads that have been made into RVA's drinking habits.
But it was here that we discovered the downside to doing it our way. They were already sold out of the Barboursville Cuvee Brut Rose.
But we Rose lovers are nothing if not intrepid, so I looked to the other four choices and chose the peachy Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rose to assuage my loss.
Sitting at the end of the bar was a wine geek friend who was also doing the crawl her way which meant Amuse was her only stop. But she was doing it up right with a Cocchi Americano Rosa and duck pate, so it seemed to be working for her.
We tried to convince her to join us at our next stop but she said she couldn't because she had to get home for a phone date at 9:30.
Color me out of the loop because I'd never heard of phone dates. Then again, I hate talking on the phone so what do I need to know about phone dates?
She told us that she'd already been trading e-mails with this guy and his written language had been impressive enough to venture a phone date.
I knew exactly what she meant. I can tell by reading a man's e-mail whether or not he interests me because skill with the written word matters to me.
My date jumped in on the conversation, sharing that he spends untold time editing and proofing his e-mails to certain women for that very reason. His hyperbole extended to saying he takes three hours writing one e-mail, but we got his point.
During a discussion of, what else, wine, the wine geek took a sip, smiled and said, "I could drink nothing but Rose and Riesling all summer." I agreed with an amendment: bubbles have to be the third leg of that stool.
So it's decided: Rose, Riesling and sparkling until autumn.
As we left the museum walking through the sculpture garden, we couldn't help but admire the sky, still blue despite it being after 9:00. We walked down Sheppard Street so I could show him a favorite screened porch, one I've been admiring since I first lived on Floyd Avenue back in the '90s.
When we got to Secco we had a choice of going into The Room where the pink people were or staying on the bar side and we opted for the latter. We weren't the only ones because the trio of women next to us and the community table were all like-minded outliers.
Secco always has the largest Rose selection so it didn't matter as much that a couple of offerings had already been crossed off the list (in pink chalk, no less) as we decided on "Mr. T," also known as Tegernseerhoff Zweigelt Rose, a lovely and tangy pink that made our server beam at our choice because it was her favorite.
Proving yet again that you can drink pink and still be badass, I glanced down the bar and every glass was filled with pink.
As you can imagine, by this point, more food was in order and in rapid succession, we munched through decadent fried Sicilian olives stuffed with Gorgonzola, barley salad with yellow beets, shaved fennel, mint and feta - a new dish and so clean tasting it was almost bracing- risotto carbonara with chunks of pancetta, peas, Pecorino and a gloriously soft cooked egg on top and finally a cleverly conceived dish of a monster sea scallop with pastrami broth, napa cabbage, garlic scapes and coriander.
That meal made Karen a happy camper.
Dessert was a shared glass of the heady Moutard Champagne Brut Rose with its exquisite long finish, the cherry on top of our Rose evening.
A trio had replaced the pink girls next to use and they let it be known that Secco was not their first stop. After one of the guys was poured a taste of Moscato, he took a sip and pronounced it "girly wine."
Come on, that's far too good an opening for me to let pass, so I called him on it and his friends, a guy and girl, backed me up.
I told him it was okay to call Moscato breakfast wine but not girly wine and he was very fond of the thought of breakfast wine. We encouraged him to try another sip and eventually shamed him into recanting and happily drinking Moscato.
Just call me a warrior for the cause.
We left there finally to reclaim the car and call it a night, another pink notch in my Rose lipstick case, but as we were strolling down Cary Street, I heard my name called and saw a handsome musician/bartender with friends.
When I asked what he was doing, he said they were on their way to Bamboo. Date #2 looked at me and asked if we should do the same and I couldn't think of a reason to say no.
I didn't have to be up early in the morning, he did. So if he was game, I was along for the ride.
Walking out as I was walking in I bumped into another musician/DJ friend and taking the last bar stool, I looked at the bartender and recognized him as the bass player I'd seen in Miramar Monday night. He smiled modestly when I told him how much I'd enjoyed his playing the other night.
All of a sudden, I'd shifted from my wine world to my music world and all the characters are different.
Some would say only a depraved person would end her night with Cazadores after so much lovely Rose, but I prefer to think that as a Gemini, I'm just adaptable like that.
Suddenly there was a face two inches from mine. Moscato Guy had shown up and spotted me.
"Just wanted to say hey!" he said grinning.
It might be my first Rose crawl where I made a new friend.