Every now and then, you go out with friends for dinner, and with a group, it is fun, but not everyone likes the same stuff. That is just human nature. On occasion, you also have to make arrangements with the server, if the bar tab is coming to you, or if you want to treat with a special dish or appetizer. Why, should the server get broadsided with little things.
We went out to eat the other night, and I am glad to see that restaurants are filling up again, even if they are still using abbreviated hours. We started with a couple of appetizers, they chose Fried Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Syrup, Bacon and Bleu Cheese (of which I refrained). So, I also ordered Salmon Pâté with Pickled Eggs and Sesame Crackers. Three of us had soup, and one had a salad. The other couple’s wife had Fruit de Mer with Scallops, Mussels, Salmon, Shrimp, Fettuccine with a White Wine and Garlic Provencal Sauce and he had a Grilled New York Strip Filet with Parmesan French Fries, Vegetables, Red Wine Sauce and Casino Butter. My Bride had Blackened Mahi Mahi with Spinach Fettuccine, Italian Sausage, Bell Peppers, Onion, Baby Kale, with a Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Parmesan Cheese. While I had Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables, Crispy Onions and a Red Wine Reduction Sauce.
Many times, people get gun-shy when looking at the wine carte, because there is usually a big gap between the “expense account” wines and the next plateau. Some get hesitant and fall back and just order a glass of wine from the bar. I like to find a diamond in the rough, if I may say. We had a bottle of Rodney Strong Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2018 from Sonoma County. Rodney Strong was a former professional dancer and founded the winery in 1959 and he is regarded as a pioneer of Sonoma wines. Originally buying bulk wine to be bottled and sold as Tibouron Vintners. In 1962 he bought a winery and vines and formed Windsor Vineyards and it was later changed to Rodney Strong Vineyards. In 1989, the Klein family bought the winery and Strong was kept on as a consultant until his retirement in 1995 and he passed away in 2006. The wine had a pretty ruby color and notes of plums, brown sugar and spices. On the palate the wine had moderate tannins blended with baked cherries and spices, with a medium finish. Just a nice pretty and easy to understand wine.