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  1. Couldn't agree more. Nice to get out of the city and have a decent meal, but neither the food nor the service was so great as to have me aching to return.
  2. Miguelito

    Cab Franc?

    Had occasion to crack open a bottle of '96 Beringer "Third Century" CF last weekend with steaks. Yummy. Some age on it but still plenty of fruit. Nice spice notes and maybe a little menthol.
  3. Miguelito

    Triple H Day

    Vinho verde, vinho verde, vinho verde!!! Nothing wrong with a gin & tonic, either.
  4. Sam's (huge retail store in Chicago) appears to meet your criteria. www.samswine.com.
  5. Arucola has never impressed me, in terms of either atmosphere or food. I live about 10 minutes away, but haven't been to Arucola for three years (after several mediocre meals). SOOOOOOOO much better Italian available at Sergio's in Silver Spring or Liliana at Van Ness.
  6. If Pepperton is in the case, it's a favorite of mine, FWIW. White stilton coated with cracked pepper. Mmmmmmmmmm.
  7. Did you ever notice how its not always the beer that was so bad, but the circumstances under which you drank that leave the bad taste in your mouth? Along that line, the worst--ugh--six beers I ever had were Coors Extra Gold after absorbing a massive, humiliating, public rejection from one of the, erm, objects of my youthful affection. Consumed in one sitting with an enormous bag of barbeque chips, if memory serves. Better off without her though!
  8. Miguelito

    Corkage fees

    Probably because the consumer has no realistic opportunity to purchase wine directly from the importer, supplier or distributor, but is well versed in the prices he would be paying at a retail shop. I would imagine that the entities who buy from importers, suppliers and distributors (i.e., retailers and restaurateurs) do plenty of grousing about similar issues, e.g. tie-ins and allocations. I think the sense of resentment -- justifiable from some points of view, less so from others -- arises out of feeling that otherwise-available choices have been constrained in a way that strikes some as artificial. It's kind of like the outrage some feel when paying $5 for a bottle of water at a concert or sporting event -- you know that you could easily buy the same product more cheaply from another seller outside the stadium, but you are not able to access that choice in the venue in which you find yourself. Of course, it is not illegitimate to view the arguably high prices for wine in restaurants and the arguably high prices of water at event venues as simply one component of the price you pay for the overall experience. But then the drinkers in either place feel like they are subsidizing the non-drinkers. Not meaning to take any side in this, just meaning to observe that the consumer views restaurant wine price through the lens of his experience, most often, retain wine shop prices.
  9. I second the recommendation of Gattinara. It's a kind of under-appreciated region, and good values can be had as a result. Travaglini is a reliable and well-known producer (now part of Beringer, I think); I look for the "Tre Vigne" selection, which is a bit spicier and more intriguing to my palate than the generic or reserve bottlings.
  10. I would humbly and respectfully suggest that you simply state your desires, your likes and your dislikes (and what your constraints are) simply and plainly to the sommelier in whatever terms make sense to you. It is the sommelier's job to translate that discussion into wines that you will enjoy, and that will fit within the parameters you identified. No sommelier worth his or her tastevin is going to treat you poorly because you do or do not already know everything they know about wine, or because you do or do not speak about wine in the same, often arcane, terms others might use. It may seem obvious, but it would probably be best to call and have this conversation at least a day in advance of the big event, so that you can ponder and fine-tune the recommendations if necessary. In any event, if you are going to Tosca, I can vouch for the approachability, knowledge and helpfulness of the sommelier -- she will take good care of you.
  11. Please, please, please continue to badmouth the Kracher TBAs--so that more will be left for me!
  12. My top three: 1. Bassin's Macarthur Beverages (great selection of harder to find bottles, including some gems you will not find elsewhere, e.g. a few RM champagnes; very knowledgeable staff) 2. Schneider's (great selection - almost bewildering; an experience; gotta have eagle eyes or a periscope to see what they have on the upper shelves in those narrow aisles though) 3. Circle (closest to my house; decent selection; less emphasis on bargain-priced plonk; Kumar is great; Mr. Park and the older woman who works with him can be a little heavy handed in their sales efforts, though; also a bit pricey unless you buy off the specials only.) Honorable mention: Bell (great selection; helpful staff; am I the only one who thinks it smells funny in there?) Wide World of Wines (agree with all comments above, but it is off my beaten path) On the outs: Central Liquors (changed ownership about three years ago, selection went way down and prices--which were never that great anyway--went through the roof).
  13. Miguelito

    First Varietals

    Three of my "house" wines seem to fit the profile Chard: Catena SB: Mulderbosch Riesling: Trimbach Course sounds like it will usefunand fun, btw.
  14. Random speculation: It seems to me that there is less risk of spoiling the soup if it goes directly into the fridge. The soup is obviously going to cool down more quickly in the one-step direct-to-fridge process than the two-step counter-then-fridge process. I take it as an article of faith that nasty pathogens are more likely to be found on my counters than in my fridge, so not only is the one-step process faster, but it is taking place in a safer environment. There is probably some risk that the residual heat in the soup will warm up the inside of your fridge, especially the nearby items, though. The materiality of that risk will depend upon several factors, including the amount and temp of the hot soup, the size and configuration of your fridge, and what else you have inside it, and where realtive to the soup.
  15. Miguelito

    Bad Home Cookin'

    Love my Mom, especially for raising raise four boys born within 5 1/2 years of each other. Love her ability to put filling and reasonably nutricious food on the table every night. Not so enthused about her sweet and sour pork -- cubes of pork cooked to a tire-like consistency swimming in some sort of goo made from canned pineapple chunks. Coming in a close second -- pepper steak. Sliced flank steak maninated in soy sauce mixed with Lipton Onion Soup, cooked for a very long time with slices of green pepper. The whole thing kind of melded together until the meat and the peppers were darn near indistinguishable. Also gaining honorable mention status -- creamed hamburger. Served over rice, devoid of flavor. Fit for prisoners and/or conscripts -- maybe.
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