I don’t like Chardonnay. More specifically, I don’t like oaky, buttery Chardonnay. It’s the malolactic fermentation, the lingering buttery mouth-feel that gets me. It reminds me of a crappy gas station donut, the film that’s left on the roof of your mouth after you eat it. I can absolutely taste a Chardonnay that’s been oaked and tell you it’s Chardonnay. That’s not hard. But I swear I’m getting to the point where I can smell a wine and tell you it’s Chardonnay. Continue reading
I was halfway through a blog post about a recent wine tasting when I started to ponder how trivial a blog post about wine tasting is. I’ve wanted to be a writer for years and I’d like to think I have something to say worth listening to. But when writing about crowds of drunk people at a recent wine tasting and I how I had to carry a swag bag so I didn’t have a hand free to take any notes about the wine I was tasting, I was struck with the sudden realization that I’m a whiney white girl complaining about having to carry a bag of coupons.
This begs the question: can I write about wine and still be a writer of consequence? Can I write about the plight of not liking oaked chardonnay and not come off like a spoiled rich girl? Can I learn everything I can about wine and feel like I’m having a positive impact on the world?
I suppose the first step is to actually do the writing and worry about the aftermath later. You can’t be a writer of consequence if you aren’t writing anything.
Or I could just embrace the whiney white girl thing and write about how my biggest complaint at the wine tasting I went to last week was that my purse wasn’t big enough to hold my swag bag and it started to hurt my hand after several hours. What is that?
And does Robert Parker ever have doubts about his career choices? Does he stop to think about how in another life he could have been the U.S. Attorney General but instead he rates wine on a 100 point scale? Or does he fall asleep completely happy knowing he followed his bliss?
I grew up a part of the generation raised on the notion we could grow up to be whatever we wanted. We were told to dream big and follow our hearts. But as I get older, I watch my friends and former colleagues making an impact on the world. Becoming doctors, joining the Peace Corps, starting their own businesses and what am I doing? I drink wine and talk about the mouth feel and terroir. Is that important? Can that have an impact?
Can the impact simply be it makes my life better, happier, more worthwhile? If I value that, does that make this work valuable?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do have a bottle of nonvintage Gruet Blanc de Noirs and I’m more than happy to sip on that while I figure this stuff out.
I do yoga sometimes on Monday nights, with a group of girls and a couple of bottles of wine. I meet up with girlfriends at the wine bar for happy hour and regardless of what restaurant I’m at, I’m far more apt to be interested in the wine list than the 100 beers you have on tap. Conversely, Chef Boyfriend takes a six-pack over to his buddy’s for Friday night poker and would never think of grabbing a bottle from our cellar.
Saturday was the first day Chef Boyfriend didn’t work in weeks. And it was glorious.
We slept in, drank coffee, had drinks with lunch and took an afternoon nap. It may not sound like much, but for two people who’s schedules rarely align, a whole Saturday together is amazing and just being together is better than anything.
Though the whole day was nice, far and away the best part was lunch at Revival. If you’re in the Twin Cities and haven’t checked out Revival yet, get off the internet right now and jump in the car or on your bike and get there. Seriously.
Revival opened earlier this year and is the quirky little sister of Corner Table and Chef Thomas Boemer gets it right. It’s hoity-toity Southern cuisine and it hits the spot. Fried chicken, a solid selection of sauces, grits, beans and biscuits…I loved everything we ordered.
And the wine list? Fantastic. Created by people who get that nothing pairs better with fried food than sparkling wine. Five by the glass and 11 by the bottle; this girl couldn’t have been happier (though I’m curious as to who is ordering the $210 a bottle Pierre Gimmonet “Special Club” Chardonnay from Champagne, France with their fried chicken).
We started with fried chicken livers and the pigs ear salad.
As I pierced the delicate coating on the fried chicken livers with my fork, I thought about how lucky I am to have found someone who enjoys food as much as I do. Someone willing to order the weird stuff on the menu: pigs ears, chicken liver, sea urchin, headcheese, offals. Someone who isn’t afraid of any animal, any cut, any part. We are exploratory eaters and we’re on a journey together.
We have our favorites, sure. And sometimes they’re safe. But if there’s an unusual charcuterie option on the menu, we’re ordering it. If sweetbreads are in something, we’re ordering it. And I will eat absolutely any animal’s liver. Which made the fried chicken livers my favorite menu time at Revival. The batter is delicious, the livers, tender and they’re served with sweet potato barbecue sauce. Go ahead and use extra sweet potato barbecue sauce.
The fried chicken itself is tender and juicy and wonderful. The white cheddar grits are unctuous. The banana cream pie, perfection. All served with three glasses of Spanish Muscat with the slightest effervescence.
It was a wonderful lunch and we will absolutely be returning. And if you’re planning a trip, invite us along.
My mother’s collection of cookbooks was pretty standard. Better Homes & Gardens. The Joy of Cooking. Various local organization cookbooks with spiral binding. And I used to spend hours flipping through them. The words alone mesmerized me. Mince. Chop. Sauté. Broil. These verbs fascinated me. What did it all mean? Continue reading