We decided to go out for dinner after over ninety days of lockdown. In my old school, pre-Common Core math that is like six periods of quarantine and as great of a cook as my Bride is, even she needs a night of someone else cooking. Where we live, by the time we got a carryout from any of the restaurants that we enjoy, we would have to reheat the dinner and then it is like having leftovers, so we decided to stay home and cook. It felt rather awkward walking up to the restaurant while we slipped on our masks. As we were getting to the door there was a man with a big carryout bag and that was good to see, for those so inclined. Usually when we walked in the bar area was packed, it was now every other seat or so, unless you were with your spouse(?) and the people that were bellied up to the bar, were not wearing their masks, because they were drinking and having some lively conversations. I noticed that the bartenders, waiters, waitresses and other service people had masks on, but once you were at your assigned table you could remove your mask, because the disease knows that you are having dinner. I also saw a photo op, that depending on who does them are despicable or brave and that is not for me to say, but I did see that the governor of Michigan desecrated one of my great “joints” Lafayette Coney Island in Downtown Detroit, pretending that she was a cook, I noticed that she had gloves on, but no snood on her coiffed hair and I thought that was a requirement by the Health Department and not a political fiat; but she does not have to abide by the laws, she only mandates. I am sure that the media missed that Health Department protocol. I really wish that she had done it next door at American Coney Island, because I don’t go there, because they serve salads along with Coney Islands.
We went to one of our favorite haunts near our home that we have been going to almost from the time that they opened and that I have written about over the years. We went to Rocky’s in Northville, that is off the beaten track and it looks like a structure that should be found in Northern Michigan with its rustic appearance. Rocky is one of the surviving members of the great chefs in Detroit that studied under Milos at the old Golden Mushroom, and most of those chefs have died or retired, but Rocky’s still maintains the quality from Day One. It did seem odd to be seated at tables that had no linens, but I guess that is a small price for dining out. The menu was the same, but it was printed on paper, instead of a cardstock, which was no big deal. We both knew that we wanted the Black Bean Soup and it had been so long, we had both forgotten to request that we didn’t want the dollop of Sour Cream, but we lived, I mixed it in and my Bride scraped it off the top of the soup. To this day, I have never had a better bowl of soup compared to Rocky’s. My Bride had the Great Lakes Broiled Whitefish with Rice Pilaf and Asparagus; she claims that she never sees Whitefish at the market, which is why she always seems to gravitate towards it as an entrée. I also went with a dish that we don’t have at home, and I think it is just because it requires all day to make it, and that is a Half Slab of Baby Back Ribs and Four Jumbo Battered Dip Shrimp with Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Corn on the Cob. It has been ages since I have had Shrimp prepared like that, I guess because my Bride has me eating healthier, though my figure belies that fact. The food was so rich, and so delicious that we both had to ask for a doggie bag, because it had been so long since we have eaten food so rich, we couldn’t handle it all in one sitting. I joked that I guess we have become Senior Citizens and we passed on dessert.
As for the wine, we have been opening some great forgotten bottles of wine from the cellar, that I had to think about what we were going to order. We had a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay Sonoma County 2017. This a far and away better than what is normally offered in most restaurants for a basic Chardonnay, but it is not the House Chardonnay. Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards was founded in 1973 by Brice Cutrer Jones and the main estate vineyard is two-hundred-fifty acres planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They have several other vineyards in the Sonoma region and they produce five different Chardonnay and four different Pinot Noir wines, all in the Continental style. This particular wine is a blend of maybe a dozen different vineyards. The wine is pressed whole-cluster and the juice is free-run and stored in a tank for a few days, before being aged in either new French Oak and neutral French Oak sur-lie and Stainless Steel for the balance; and aged for eight months. We are partial to this wine and this vintage offered aromas of pear and apple, with some balanced acidity and a nice finish mixing in some smooth buttery notes without being overpowering. As we were half-way home, when we realized that we should have probably ordered a couple bowls of the Black Bean Soup to go for when we had the leftovers, oh well, we have to get used to dining out again.