Thursday, November 29, 2018

Tawdry and Forlorn Hope

A wine dinner is really just a good excuse to talk trash.

Acacia was the setting, Pru (in a faux fur coat) and Beau were my companions and all we were looking to do was enjoy three courses and talk ourselves silly.

Mission accomplished.

The first wine to be poured was Eola Hills Pinot Gris, a wine I first tasted nine years ago at the now-defunct Avalon, and every bit as tasty in its 2016 iteration. Or, as Pru so eloquently put it, "I could drink this wine with every meal," although she doesn't eat a lot of meals - certainly not my 3 squares a day plus snacks - so that's not as big a deal as it sounds.

Pairing it with butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and chives only made the Willamette Valley wine more attractive but as Harry, the wine rep, pointed out, Oregon knows does how to do Pinot Gris. Beau is just as savvy, deciding to order a case of it to accompany Pru's future meals.

I can't run into Harry without asking if he's still taking his daily outdoor shower and nothing could have made me happier than hearing that he is. That said, he has learned to run the water in the kitchen first before going outside to ensure that he doesn't have to wait, shivering, for the water to get hot

Let's just say I admire his devotion to al fresco showering. He cracked us up with a story about adjusting his shower times recently because of next door neighbors having a tree taken down and his not wanting to be seen by workmen high up in a tree overlooking his lathering. Talk about your shrinkage.

We were schooled by Harry that Forlorn Hope Wines had been started by a skateboarder named Matthew in an area near Sacramento. Their Chardonnay was paired with pasta carbonara with housemade black pepper pappardelle, cubes of bacon and Parmesan, a dish Pru declared to be "sooo good," but in reality was nothing like good.

It was downright obscene, the rich sauce clinging to every wide noodle.

While Beau claimed he could have eaten another plate of it, the womenfolk agreed that anyone who did would either be asleep or on the way to clogged arteries, so what would be the point? Still, no one left so much as a cube of bacon or scrap of pappardelle, either.

A discussion of compliments given turned out to be a revelation for Beau, who wasn't clear on the difference in complimenting an un-showered women in a sweatsuit and a woman who had spent two hours getting ready to go out. This led to a dialog about the pleasures of leisurely preparation - bathing, making up, dressing (which inevitably involves trying on multiple ensembles), accessorizing - preferably with an accompanying dressing drink and, at least in my case, good music.

Listening to the pearls of wisdom falling from our lips, Beau had a light bulb moment. "I'm really frightened about how close this is to my routine."

No shame in making an effort to impress, friend.

Of course, he wasn't always this way. It was only once he began seeing Pru, who saw his potential, that he took her advice about his hair and wardrobe. "I am the man you made," he said with not a little pride.

Given the "before" photo he showed me, he'd be the first to admit he was in need of some making.

We parted ways when it came to main courses, with me going for the swordfish medallions over sunchoke risotto with a side of radicchio and bleu cheese over sweet red pepper sauce, accompanied by Fableist Winery Zinfandel from Paso Robles. Kudos to the kitchen for the medallions since swordfish is easy to overcook, but just as impressive was the killer combination of radiccio with bleu cheese, sharp and rich at the same time.

The happy couple preferred the braised Moroccan lamb shank over pumpkin/tomato mash with crispy Brussels sprouts and lamb jus with Field Recordings Winery "Pets," which is their cutesy shorthand for Petite Syrah.

As it turned out, Pru wasn't fond of the Pets, not a problem for me since I've been to Field Recordings Winery and met Boomer, the winery dog, so we traded and everyone was happy.

With enough wine in our systems for everyone to feel merry, Pru began sharing how desperate she was for some time alone, away from everything - Queen B, contractors and endless manse chores. She went so far as to suggest she take a brief holiday by staying at Beau's place, conveniently located two doors down. Getting dramatic (she is, after all, a former thespian), she declared, hand to forehead, "I guess I could always stay at a Motel 6," to which I responded, what, with all the other tawdry occupants?

Not bloody likely.

Although dessert wasn't part of the wine dinner, the dynamic duo never passes up a chance for French press coffee, so I made do with chocolate cremeux while they mainlined caffeine and Pru had another glass of Pinot Gris. "Nobody doesn't like a wide-awake drunk," she opined.

You can't get this group together and not discuss communication at some point, or, more likely, often, because communication is the bedrock of relationships and Pru and I, at least, have strong feelings about sending mixed or unclear messages.

Citing the early days of their relationship, she asked if he even remembered what unclear messages had been in his early texts when he'd been trying to win her. "No," he admitted, "but I have them all saved." Of course he does. Beau is nothing if not a romantic at heart.

Other information gleaned tonight: Pru was traumatized as a teen by having her rabbit fur-lined jean jacket stolen at Skate Park; that what used to be known as "key parties" are now euphemistically called "lasagna parties" (although no one could tell me whether or not any actual lasagna was involved); and that as recently as last month, she'd been attempting to make sugar shards of glass dripping in blood for cupcakes.

You think you know a person...

And while you might expect that that would be the end of the conversation, instead Beau regaled us with stories of his roommate making fake blood with Karo syrup and leaving hand prints and drips from the apartment building entrance to their apartment door.

Some people's college memories are positively magical.

Although we'd originally talked about an afterparty at my place, plans were postponed because everyone has a busy day tomorrow. So instead, we lingered over the remaining wine and coffee, with Pru eager to remind us that no matter where we were, it's a guaranteed good time.

To prove it, she decreed it so. "We are a party! We are a menage!"

A trois, no less. I'm really frightened how people might take that. Wait, no, I'm not.

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