Who doesn’t love dining and dancing? Of course that is a term that was used more in my parent’s time. Last night I got home, and there on a counter in kitchen was a pizza carry out box, which was empty. I smiled when I saw the name on the box, which was Bigalora, which originally was Pizzeria Biga. This location was the fine Italian restaurant Il Posto, and before that and what caused me to smile, was I thought of the restaurant that I first dined at, at that location, and it was John Laffrey’s Vineyards. In its day, it was a lively spot, table linens, stemware and the proper place settings, and they also had music and dancing several nights a week. It was a wonderful place for dates when I was in college, when I had a few extra dollars for entertainment.
The house specialty was a one pound center cut pork chop, which I never had, because it was done in a sweet and sour sauce, and that did not sound appealing to me, and I was too young and naive to know that I could have probably requested it done in another fashion. So back then I had to suffer through courses like Filet Mignon, Alaskan king crab, Veal Oscar, Scampi and Duck a l’Orange. It does sound like I had a very poor diet as a student.
It was always fun to look at the wine list, even back then. I was a greenhorn, but an avid student of wine, so as not to make myself look silly on a date. The wine list was well thought out by the restaurant; while it was not large it hit many of the right notes. I remember that I even popped once for a Fourth Growth Bordeaux, when wine prices were not astronomical, though still dear for a college student. I once had a bottle of Chateau Prieure-Lichine 1973 from the Margaux district. This wine had the distinction of being owned by the famed wine writer and authority Alexis-Lichine and for awhile even after his death; his son maintained the winery, until it was sold. The wine is a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. After fermenting in cement and stainless steel vats, the wine is then aged in oak for about a year and a half. I remember that it was pretty heady stuff for me at the time, and I am sure that I would feel the same way about it today. All of these memories from a pizza box.