My dinner club has been slowly getting back into a real schedule, for almost two years, a society that has been in existence for getting close to one-hundred-fifty-years was almost scuttled by the harridan that can’t fix the roads that she promised. The club has slowly but surely been picking up steam and getting more members back to the fold, each successive meeting. My group’s turn was coming up, and the club secretary contacted me, to see if there were any changes for the meeting. I contacted the restaurant, first of all, they have a private room and second, they have good food. I am talking to the manager and he eventually found our reservation, and then he told me that he was going to charge me a hundred dollars just for the enjoyment of having the room, which I refused. He said that he had to make sure that the waitress would get compensated, and I told him that with about twenty-five men having dinner and drinks, with the mandatory group tip rate, the waitress would be finely rewarded.
The entrée selections for the evening were a New York Strip Steak with a choice of starches and vegetables, Chicken Piccata or Broiled Whitefish. The meal would begin with a house salad, except for me, as I love the Black Bean Soup and I even ordered a quart of it to take home, after I paid the group’s tab. When the manager saw the menu selected, he said that he knew that the evening would be beneficial to the waitress and dropped the idea of a room charge (a good business man, seeing that the group goes to the restaurant about four to five times a year). I guess I was in sticker shock when I got the bill, I didn’t expect a New York Strip Steak to be over forty dollars, thank God it wasn’t Kobe or Wagyu, as I might still be washing dishes.
My wine drinking partner in crime was in attendance, and we usually share a bottle of wine, as it is more advantageous compared to the offering by the glass from the bar. He prefers Pinot Noir, and he is a regular at my local wine shop as well, so we can usually agree on a wine. We handicapped the wine carte and, in the past, I have won him over with a couple of Merlot selections, that he would have never tried, if it weren’t for my insistence. We ended up having the Celani Family Vineyards Robusto Napa Valley 2019. Celani Family Vineyards was established in 2005 at the foot of the Vaca Mountains. Seventeen acres of vineyards planted on twenty acres of land, originally planted in the Nineties with Merlot and Chardonnay. The original Robusto was a Proprietary Red Wine, but it now is pure Merlot and aged for nine months in a mix of French Oak barrels. I have never denied that Merlot is one of my first loves, back in the Sixties and Seventies when I first started learning about wine. This estate wine is just a deep inky wine with notes of red and purple fruits, strawberries, cherries and some pepper. A nice wine with balanced tannins and a nice medium finish. I drink Robusto before meals, as well as during meals, it is great with appetizers and conversations, and I like it with pizza, as well as fancy elaborate meals and my wine partner now agrees as well
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