Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wine-Less Weekend

Last night I was getting caught up on some of the other blogs that I read, and when I read the latest post from Benito, a blogger in Tennessee, (check him out he is on my blogroll) that writes about wine, cocktails, cooking adventures and has been extremely helpful to me, (offering lots of advice, putting me on his blogroll and even mentioning this blog as a fun read to his readers…so cool!) I read that for his, “I’ve been blogging for 4 years” celebration he drank….beer, I had to giggle a bit as this past weekend found me drinking FAR less wine than usual. Benito celebrated with beer and crabs and that too made me laugh because my “less wine weekend” started on Wednesday with king crab legs and an icy cold Sapphire Martini at The Outback….don’t know for sure when I added the “The” to the name but something about it just seems to fit as in The Wallmart or The Food For Less….kind of poking fun of the low brow of it and before anyone gets offended keep in mind that I loves me some The Outback.

Merritt felt like getting a cocktail on Wednesday, she had been under the weather and it was the first day she felt like having a drink. She and I share an obsession….The Outback’s house salad….dude, those croutons, so salty, crunchy and loaded with butter sitting atop a pile of iceberg nuggets with big rings of purple onion all covered in, blue cheese for me, honey mustard for her, not fancy but damn tasty….so I figured we would kill two birds with one stone, cocktails and yummy salad so to The Outback we went! We got a late start as it was Wednesday and my non T.V watching hubby would not leave the house until he saw who got kicked off Top Chef, (and for those who watch the show I thought the one that got the axe was the most deserving…this speaking as a front of the house girl, she failed) so Merritt and I sipped on a glass of Las Brisas, a tangy little white from Spain with tons of citrus and melon with a tiny little $8.99 price tag that got our palates ready for dinner. We set out for the dinner after 8:00.

We were seated right away….sign of the times, used to take like 40 minutes to be seated, a fact that really tested my limits as I loathe waiting for mediocre food….but that salad…”what to do?”…we all ordered drinks as soon as we were seated, their wine list is pretty weak so for me, Sapphire Martini straight up, Mandarin and Tonic for Merritt and the hubby went with his standard, Sapphire and Tonic. We skipped snacks, (really a waste of space as they are not good) got our drinks and ordered our food, the one thing I get without fail at The Outback, the king crab legs, they do them very well even though I find it odd that it is served with a baked potato…or do I just pick that as my side…hmmm, not sure but my Irish blood sees a potato as an option it’s what I get, so it’s probably me…but like I said, they do the legs well and I always leave feeling very satisfied but this time, with the Martini sighhhhhh, perfect! Knocked back another round and dunked my sweet crab into the accompanying melted butter, (oh and it’s salted butter….we never have that) that I had loaded up with tons of lemon juice and picked away at the oddly chosen baked potato. We dropped Merritt off at her car and I finished the evening with a glass of 2005 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Clos de Chateau, ($29.99) which as I sat all snuggled into my couch I realized would have been fantastic with the crab legs as well…all that lovely citrus, crushed nuts and opulence but whatever I was just as happy drinking it post crab legs as well.

Thursday night was our standing “Date night” with Amy and we found ourselves first sharing a bottle of 2007 Azo Chablis, ($21.99) always one of Amy’s favorites, with all its white stones, tangy lemon like flavors and balance between richness and acidity, a great little aperitif but we were going to be spending the evening in the home of the “Marioita”, Mario’s. I have such a hard time either recommending or not recommending this place, the food is old school Mexican and by old school I mean everything is covered in sauce and cheese, half the gigantic plate is rice and beans…and it is at your table in 5 minutes…yeah, not hateful but not good either but the chips and salsa are addicting and the Marioita, (basically a Cadillac Margarita but stronger) is soooo good and soooo evil!

You drink one and think, “Oh that was refreshing in that sweet-tart kind of way, I think I might just have another” half way through the second and you feel yourself gripping the barstool with your thighs, holding on for dear life and saying things like, “Why is the room so spinny?” either that or something really stupid like, “I’ll have another!”.(Just a tip here- if there is a very friendly older gentleman with gray hair behind the bar….we call him Don Julio but his real name is Ramon, only get two…seriously) Thursday night we had three, (Damn you Don Julio)….went back to my house, (which is thankfully across the street) finished the Chablis and tucked into a bottle of 2008 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, ($11.99) tart, tangy and in your face, which is what we needed as our taste buds were now numb. Amy crashed in Jeremy’s room for a bit and the hubby and I toddled off to bed.

Friday night I wanted to eat at home, my food…and it was one of the only “just wine” nights of the whole weekend. Merritt was coming over for a humus and marinated tri-tip night and my hubby kept making comments about me bringing women every night…har har, she ended up bagging out at the last minute but it was fine by me, I ate slightly over salted meat, garlic heavy and lemon scented humus and drank a bottle of 2007 L’Hortus Rose, ($12.99) and the ripe but gentle fruit in the wine was a perfect match for my strongly seasoned food. Ripe strawberry and watermelon with serious minerals and a very brisk, clean finish.

Saturday night we were out again but ended up getting wine off the list, (with the in laws) at the restaurant, easy night with very little damage done. Simple little Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet, (could not tell you which of either…not worth straining the brain cells over) that were fine with the meal.

Sunday we were back at play with Merritt, this time joined by her boyfriend. First at my house for a bottle of NV Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs ($55.99) which went down wicked fast, toasty, bursting with red apple and all with those sexy as hell tiny bubbles…rawr! We checked out a new steak joint….well, not at all new but kind of new to us called The Arbor on Warner in Huntington Beach. This joint was right out of the 70s except for the diners there, no those people were right out of the 20s…it was magic and the kind of place that just screams COCKTAILS! I started with my Martini but quickly moved on to the Gin & Tonics….to keep myself in check. The food was really tasty, the vibe was super fun, they even had live music….when we walked in there was a guy that looked like Joe Dirt and was both playing the guitar and the kazoo…I shit you not, awesome. We kept the cocktails rolling and finished the night with cheesecake and chocolate mousse, let me say that again….chocolate mousse, now when was the last time you saw that on a menu?! A really cool place for food and entertainment. Got home and of course had to have just one glass of wine so I killed the leftovers in the bottle of Oyster Bay.

So now that I wrote this all out I guess it isn’t a non wine weekend as much as a less wine weekend…oh man and I didn’t even tell you about Monday where I met a friend at the movies where I snuck in two bottles of wine…..and from there? All downhill!

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