So, for the second time, TSB welcomed guest reviewers to our Sunday ritual.* As mentioned in last week’s post, our guest was to be Briar, our friend and compatriot, Valkyrie and poetess, philanthropist and volley-ball enthusiast. At the last minute Cara invited our other friend, Michael, so we had an even six-and-a-half for dinner, because we count our baby as a body at the table. Only, a very small body.
Last week, when I went on at length about taking it easy and not planning and how it is awesome and makes everything taste fantastic and everything work out like you’ve got a team of culinary elves working for you in the kitchen, and I went on to spend the rest of the blog waxing poetic about the fucking jungle and how it sings us to sleep in our hammocks woven out of hemp … well, I was pretty drunk when I wrote that. And it was mid-week. And it was nine in the morning. (Did I mention that I was drunk?)
Well, you’ll be glad to read that everything went back to normal this week.
We had planned on making sliders (mini-hamburgers) three to a person, each burger a different flavour. That was to be Megan’s contribution. Mine was going to be barbequed yam and potato French fries. There was to be some kind of salad to accompany this. There was going to be some kind of dessert. It was all going to be so simple and easy, that we were going to have the blog finished and posted Monday morning, and everyone would be sending us congratulatory emails and our readership was going to increase by a thousand-million percent.
How’d it turn out? Fucking incredible.
Short version: Briar arrived at four o’clock – right on time. I showed up three minutes later, having torn around Walmart picking up virtually all of the groceries for the night in a mad dash reminiscent of the shopping spree craze of the seventies and early eighties. (Mehh, when you don’t plan, mehh, everything turns out awesome, mehh.) We opened a container of dip that was goat cheese, with a layer of pesto, with a layer of sundried tomatoes, which was awesome, which we didn’t make, which required beer, which was all because we were making mini-burgers and French fries on the barbeque? (Really? Barbequed fries? Is that even a thing?) We required beer also because, truth be told, we were stalling going outside because it was raining. And we didn’t … have … rain … coats. Okay. It sounds very wussy-ish, I know, but what would you rather: cold beer, or wet hair? So then, when we finally got our asses in gear, I put the yams on first, only to check on them moments later and find them charred to cinders. Yum! So ended the barbequed fries debacle. Then Megan put her burgers on, which we test ran two nights earlier, which went very well, only something seemed to be wrong with the barbeque, since it charred her burgers as well. Not like, burnt on the outside, but like, charred beyond all recognition as food, like, “Hey, who put turds on the barbeque? Come on, guys!” charred. So, we started from scratch – me trying to make regular French fries and Megan redoing the burgers and staying on them like hawks over mice. No jungle pet sounds for us tonight! No, sir! Our easy-going barbeque turned into an insane sprint to the finish, with Megan and me slinging burgers and fries (that STILL don’t turn out well) and our guests taking turns telling funny stories, getting tipsy, and wondering when they could eat. So, after all our careful planning to not have to plan, we wound up eating at 7:30 again.
But, the pictures look nice, don’t they?
On the menu: Sliders (two kinds – the third got ixnayed when we started to run out of time) – #1 Rosemary and Feta; #2 Smokehouse Dry Rub (Williams-Sonoma); French Fries; Steamed Anxiety and Mashed Stress
K. Back to the wines. Right around Operation Desert Yam and Burger-gate, we thought, “Okay, let’s get drunk.” We opened the first bottle of wine of the evening. A charming little bottle that Briar brought with her.
Wine: Bianchi Particular, Malbec, Argentina, 2007, $495 MXN
Rating: A Solid Two Bottles
The story behind this Particular selection (nyuk-nyuk) is that the Bianchi family chooses certain wines that they set aside for themselves. A reserve, if you will. Now, they probably don’t eat it with sliders and fries. But, hey, neither did we, since we were through this bottle before we’d had a chance to serve dinner.
We really liked this wine. Lots of deep, red, and fruity flavours. Plums and black cherries, this is a very rich wine, yet very smooth. This wine would probably go very well with burgers and fries, but we’ll never know, because no one is to make burgers and fries at our house again. Ever.
What we did drink with dinner was a wine that Megan and I had picked up from Costco the week before. (Our maybe it was Megan picked it up, on her own, from City Club … who cares?)
Wine: Wente Vineyards, Estate Grown, Louis Mel, Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2008, Price Unknown, Let’s Say … A Million Dollars. Impressed?
Rating: One-and-a-half Bottles
Good, but a little tart. Also, strangely, a little too sweet. The salient flavours of this wine were lost on all of us. We tried to determine what we were tasting, but the combination of sweet and tart confused us. (Have we mentioned that we known nothing about wine? We have? Oh, good.) After the Bianchi, the ol’ Louis Mel went down like water, but in a good way. We all liked this wine; we just couldn’t figure out exactly why. Being that there were five of us drinking the wine, the bottle didn’t last long.
So, we scrounged around and came up with …
Wine: Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007, $269.95 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Is the name of that wine really Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007? In French. Yes. But more accurately, no, it is not. It is, however, on the label, so I thought, you know, for comedy, I’d include the whole thing. The real name of the wine is only “Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007.” Much shorter.
What did we think of this wine? “Peach!!” was what, quite literally, sprang from Briar’s mouth when at first she sipped from Père & Fils. It’s label sure is busy, noted another. Yes, observed someone else. I like wine, said I. My handwriting is messy, says my notebook.
Okay, so, we may have overdone the drinks this week. Is our review of Bouchard Père & Fils, Grand Vins de Bourgogne Depuis 1731, Grand Vins de Bourgnone, Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée, 2007, fair? No. Good? Certainly not. Honest? Yes, it is that. In all honesty, by the end of the evening, we were exhausted. More to do with the laughing that went on. We traded jokes throughout the night, Rene especially. Groaners for the most, but in a very good way. Jokes you could tell almost anyone. Unless they were German. It kept our spirits aligned and didn’t let us take the evening too seriously. Megan and I died slow, culinary deaths on our cutting boards, but everyone had a good time, and that’s what matters to us most.
(Plus, if we say that’s what matters most to us, then we don’t feel quite so bad for sucking in the kitchen.)
Next week, we have no guests. Next week will be different. I promise, back to reveries in the backyard, gazing up at the stars. Not a bunch of semi-incoherent rambling about burgers and barbeques.
* The first guest we had was Canadian celebrity, Sahara MacDonald, which we have yet to post for legal reasons. Sahara’s publicist, Damian, told us that they are still approving the post content for release, and that it may be some time before we get it back. Celebrities!*
*Sahara is actually a really down-to-earth, grounded person, and one of our best friends. The truth is that we got really lazy for a couple of weeks and haven’t gotten around to writing the post in which Sahara appears. We can tell you, however, that it is juicy.*
* Spoiler alert! Sahara picks a fight with our dog, then they make up, then the dog tells Sahara a funny joke, then Sahara pets the dog, then they are friends … but that’s all we can say .. okay, one more thing: Sahara is awesome!