I woke up Monday morning, 7:30am sitting straight up on the couch, fully clothed, makeup still clinging to my puffy face with fingertip sized bruises and a rather rustic drawing, (in marker no less) of a naked woman on my forearm….awesome. Just another Sunday at, “The Vortex”.
We got the email on Thursday, “We want everyone to come over for football and food. You be in charge of the snacks and I will make my bacon wrapped meatloaf and creamy mashed potatoes” the email was from Amy and being that I was off on Sunday I knew the hubby and I would be “all in” as it were. Now as lightly as I tend to take these invites I know going in that I am setting myself up for at the very least, a looonngg evening but more likely a long evening and an entire day of recovery. A little over a year ago I renamed Amy’s house, “The Vortex Of Evil” which has since been trimmed down to just, “The Vortex” in an attempt to poke fun at the fact that the second you cross the doorway all common sense and desire to behave flies right out the window….or more truthfully gets killed by shot after shot or glass after glass of wine.
I don’t mean to make it sound so dark, no one is biting the heads of live chickens or anything, but you know those moments when something in the back of your mind says, “Um, maybe I shouldn’t? Yeah, those don’t happen there….no, when any question pops up at The Vortex the answer is always, “Hell yeah, why not?!” We are a work hard, play hard bunch….we behave most of the time but when it is time to play….oh man, do we ever and when we all gather at The Vortex there is complete understanding of one another, and trust….which of course seems to inspire even more, behavior.
Sunday morning I fired off the last of my, now two days late newsletter stuff to Randy and began to gather my fixins for the snacks we were in charge of. I hit the wine fridge to grab a bottle of older Champagne that has been in the back of mind since I got it….not sure if football Sunday was the best showcase for it but I figured I would take it just in case, hell if we didn’t drink it, (and come one….who was I kidding) I could just leave it there for our next shindig. One last task before crossing the threshold, get my hinny over to The Wine Country for a few bottles of wine, if experience has taught me anything these football days tend to start with booze, which can make for craziness before 3:00 so I figured a few bottles of wine might keep things on the mild side…..did I mention the drawing on my forearm, yeah….”Why not?!”
I showed up at Amy’s with a bottle of 1998 Agrapart Mineral, 2007 Sylvain Bailly Sancerre Rose, ($21.99) and a bottle of 2007 Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Vezelay, ($23.99) as well as all my makings for fried won tons, two kinds; cream cheese and scallions as well as ground pork and cabbage, various dipping sauces and makings for pork pies, (can be found on the dim sum post from a few months ago). It was warm in the kitchen while I was assembling my soon to be fried snacks so I popped the bottle of Rose to quench my growing thirst while we stuffed, applied water and folded our little packets of goodness and that Rose was just stunning, full of tart fruit and racy minerals that made the sides of my tongue water and kept me reaching for my glass, each tangy snap making me more hungry…a wine built for food. While I sipped on my wine Amy made me a new Bloody Mary from a recipe she had stumbled upon, she had been telling me about this drink for days so how could I refuse? She went on to tell me that there was more Vodka than tomato juice which you know…kept it from being too heavy and she was right but damn did that little sucker pack a wallop, tasty but yowza.
As I pulled the now crispy, brown triangles from the hot oil and deposited them on a cooling rack I started thinking about that Champagne….”Yum, Champagne with crunchy, salty fried treats” poor bottle never stood a chance. We got a call from another friend whose wife was out of town at a trade show, he was all alone but had some leftover Prosciutto, cheese and bread and “did you want me to come over and make Panini’s” ….when faced with the option of more pork, cheese and bread like substance and hanging with a bartender friend, the answer from the crew…you got it, “Why not?!” I tried to hold off on the bubbles….I really did but the group was devouring my crispy won tons so I made a beeline for the fridge and asked Amy’s husband to open it for me….I had just washed the cooking residue off my hands and applied lotion, not optimum for opening a bottle of Champagne.
My hubby was busily assembling his pork pies but he got a glimpse of the bottle and piped up, “Hey I want a glass of Mineral!” his favorite Champagne, but neither of us had tasted the 1998 so he was not going to let me slink off with the bottle….damn it he is getting sly in his old age. Pork pies in the oven and there we all sat crunching, dunking and sipping….I know I talk about Agrapart a lot but they are really that good and this 1998 while not as wicked as the 2000 and the 2002 was deep, sultry and packed with roasted nuts. The bubbles were very fine and the linger was beguiling, absolutely amazing and the pure decadence of drinking Champagne with fried bits of food….kinda Rock Star. Our buddy Wade arrived in time for a won ton or two and managed to pry the bottle from our, “greedy little beasty” hands….I’m happy for him….really, (insert grumpy face here).
Once the bottle was drained I reached for the Cadette Vezelay Bourgogne, a lovely little Chardonnay that I have had many a happy moment with but what was to happen next made me think of one of the readers of this blog, (she is a customer too) and it prompted me to blurt out, “Hey this is what happened to Heather!”. She had posted an experience she had after drinking Champagne at dim sum, when the bubbles ran out she moved on to one of her favorite white wines, a Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc but after the bubbles her beloved wine was flat and plain boring, same damn thing happened to my little Bourgogne! This wine that was delicately layered with apples, toast and holiday spice was now just kinda wet and simple, such a bummer, threw the cork back in the bottle, although Wade seemed to be enjoying it and tossed it back in the fridge for later.
Pork pies out of the oven to cool and Wade started making his pressed sandwiches, lots of yelling about the game and this was the first time the tequila and shot glasses made an appearance….here we go. I was a team player, I took my shot but then asked one of the guys to make me a Gin & Tonic, the plan was less booze so tonic sounded like it might save me…yeah, (shaking the head) naïve and in a cozy little pork coma. The hubby’s pies were the best ever, loaded with pork, pepper and gooey cheese, a perfect football treat and I finished my piece just in time for a pressed pork and cheese sandwich, also fantastic but….ugggg.
Stuffed I stumbled out onto the back deck for a lounge in the warm sun, (again the pork coma or Vortex were messing with me….hot sun and a belly full of wine, food and now booze, sheesh what was I thinking?) The warm sun on my skin, the relative quiet outside and my feet up on the chair across from me a few hits on my post munchies cigarette and I damn near fell asleep….that was until Amy came running out hooting and hollering that she had just won a football bet with her husband and she could buy 4 bottles of 2000 Camille Saves Grand Cru Brut Champagne, ($75.99)! I leapt up and joined in the rejoicing, so happy for her and truth be told I had a feeling I might get to have a glass or…five from the winnings! Hooray Cardinals.
I made my way back inside, took a seat on the couch and pulled the kitty’s blanket up to my nose, I spent the next 5 minutes sneezing and picking cat hairs off my chap stick. I tried to take a nap my the natives were NOT having it, another drink was brought to me and the board games came out….needless to say I lost…pout. Amy made the call to The Wine Country asking that Ronnie put two bottles of Champagne in the cold box, one NV Camille Saves Grand Cru Brut Rose, ($72.99) and a bottle of the 2000 vintage….don’t know why she didn’t ask him then to bring it over when he got off from work, no, that call would come later. Merritt came by to help the inebriated prepare dinner….more shots, more Bourgogne Blanc which amazingly, was tasting much better at this point, there was a squirt bottle fight, must be where the bruises came from….someone grabbing my arms leaving behind fingerprint sized bruises and then the markers.
Amy called the shop and after promising a glass got Ronnie to bring by the Champagne, the second those bottles arrived my, “whatever” cocktail was quickly dumped down the drain. Even in our, “state” those wines were humbling. The Rose was deep, sexy and full of wild strawberries, cream and buttered toast. It was plump in the mouth and had a long almost sweet berry fruit finish. The 2000 was massive, complex and had a texture that seemed beyond Champagne, more like a red wine in fact and the finish….it went on forever.
We managed to finish dinner, the girls hovering over the island in the kitchen the guys being a bit more civilized eating at the table outside, Amy’s meatloaf was hands down the best I have ever had and I took the leftover pork and cabbage mixture, added more soy, Sake, onions and some chili sauce, sautéed it and we stuffed that into crispy Romaine leaves. Pick, slurp, “Oh my God I am so full” pick and slurp some more. My tummy was swollen, my head was fuzzy, my shirt wet from the squirt bottle fight and I had this naked lady drawing on my arm….now, one would think this would be a good time to head home right? Turned up the radio and the ladies started dancing….Amy’s husband was wise, said goodnight and headed upstairs while the rest of us cheered our truly porktastic day!
Two days later I am still not 100% and have no idea where my glasses are….naked lady is gone though….hooray me. Just another Sunday at The Vortex!