Sybaritic Resolutions.

As an antidote to a two-week unbroken string of work days, I willfully decided that the evenings of this hectic stretch of quasi-purgatory were to be mine to craft into a hedonistic array of delightful happenings. Not having tasted how the other half lives for some time, it’s been an absolute pleasure this week to spend every night in the company of dear friends and unbelievable foodstuffs. A boy could get used to this kind of lifestyle, but I try to take it all in stride and savor every moment as paramount, every sensory input as the most important thing in the world – even if just for a moment. It gives one a feeling of being so fortunate, so delicate, so temporal…but it affirms that the only thing that really matters is that we’re alive and healthy and safe and sound. During such a time of unassuredness and speculation about the future of country, economy, and doctrine, it is sometimes necessary to jettison the fear and replace it with indulgence. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to do this.


Take this Tuesday past, for example.

The Say Yes Gang put on an extemporaneous display of ghetto gourmet at Dear Jeffy’s house, and once again, we couldn’t say no. Some of us pulled together our own representations of what we believed to be exemplary cuisine and it all just came out wonderfully. There’s nothing like the tangy zip of tastebuds-in-training – pocket patricians who are keen to develop on the fly. And if we can’t be elitist and snobby about our tastes amidst the last vestiges of our youths…well, who wants an old, wrinkly aristocrat of the aromas, peerage of the palate?

The beauty that we wrought centered around nearly $200 worth of fine red wine, partitioned into four bottles of varying locales and flavors. To break up the monotony of a projected alcoholic fervor, some excellent cheeses were purchased from Cowgirl Creamery (in this case, a marvelous organic Parmigiano Reggiano and a very robust Pecorino Romano), which paired perfectly with our selections of canapes – fresh spiced monster green and pitted Kalamata olives, garlic and basil bruschetta on warm sourdough toast, and organic fresh pear slices. To this we added a bitter green salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and a plate of accompanying penne in a light red sauce to give the wine a fine shelf on which to sit.

To the strains of the best new band in the world, we delighted in every conceivable combination of all the above, first held captive by the 1998 Zanna Montepulciano. Having long been a proponent of Italian reds over any of my Californian wine freaks, I was virtually titillated into molecular resonance by Jeffy pointing out dutifully that a good Italian is simply made for a meal due to the fact that it touches every part of the mouth and tongue that the food does not. A sip of Sangiovese, Dulcetto, Chianti Classico – all created to clear the palate for the next bite, and to fill out the flavors not captured by the meal at hand. The true meaning of a full body is found in these lovely blossoms.

We then popped a 2003 Waugh Zinfandel, which is perhaps the most jammy and aggressive Zin I’ve ever experienced. It felt like a sickly-sweet assault on the palate after the robust buffet we just enjoyed. If one could call such luxury tortuous, it might have been an accurate term. Some even debated pitching full glasses into the sink until the Venezuelan chocolate came out. Then it was never more obvious that certain wines should be selected for very particular morsels, and these two were a perfect match. Danny came by with the quince jelly for the remainder of our pear slices, and all hell broke loose. Jeff pulled out my nemesis – a bottle of 2002 Miner Cabernet Sauvignon. Just last month he had tried to kill me with a 2003, and it goes to show how much of a difference a year makes. I’m usually accosted by the peppery, high-school flavor of California Cabs – I feel that I’d outgrown them years ago when I threw my eyeliner in the garbage for the final time. I swear that I would have never picked out that this treat was a Cabernet, and it’s still possible, I suppose, that my friend was cruelly lying to me. It was a delight! Vive le Miner!

We closed out the evening with a 2003 Belle Glos Pinot Noir, which really put a finish on a delectable selection of tastes, and was also a perfect coupling to a few competitive rounds of multiplayer Halo 2. When you open a Pinot, you know it. The initial nose is reminiscent of barnyard, mud, and horse ass – but, boy, it feels nice when it hits the tongue. Back to the earth with us! As a couple of the boys went forth to search for fine porn and some mean games of darts were played upon the wall, I think we all knew the evening was something special. It’s worth it to work hard for this; to blow out tastebuds, to spend bigger money on it, and to sleep well at night, full and content, with the taste of fine things in your mouth and thankfulness on your mind.

It might become a habit, this sybaritic bacchanalianism. As long as we don’t take it for granted, and as long as time allows…

Tomorrow: back to McDonald’s and Jolt!

16 Responses to “Sybaritic Resolutions.”

  1. catness Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 12:34 am

    pocket patricians!
    savor every moment as paramount, every sensory input as the most important thing in the world – even if just for a moment. It gives one a feeling of being so fortunate, so delicate, so temporal…but it affirms that the only thing that really matters is that we’re alive and healthy and safe and sound.
    Yes! Oh, yes!

  2. velvetdahlia Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 12:34 am

    Wine parties– when I lived in SF my roommate worked for The Wine Spectator– there was all this free wine floating around. Amazing stuff, but I had no idea what I was drinking– only that it spoiled me for any wine I could actually afford.
    I loved the wine in Italy– cheaper than water and served from earthen jugs or glass carafes, and always perfectly good- modest.
    I like Gordon's in London– a Dickensian, subterranean den where you can get a decent bottle of wine and a saucer of strong olives, sit in the dark in candlelight and watch the lichen on the walls.
    But I do miss the sunny summer SF parties– will I ever see them again, me thinks not.

  3. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Gordon's sounds like the perfect locale for a keen advent of alcoholism. I shall endeavor to see it one day.
    You and SF seem to have that tumultuous, on-again/off-again relationship. Perhaps you can forgive each other and have a friendly rendezvous someday in the future again?

  4. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 1:01 am

    wow! makes me hungry and happy just reading this post.
    btw, coincidence? i was just trying to get my sister to try quince jelly again. it (more like a paste and jell-o) was one of those things we ate, spread on bread, when we were kids in Chile.

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 1:23 pm

    Yes, I am now a quince fiend. I say it's okay to put it on pretty much everything in sight – animal, vegetable, or sexual!

  6. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    i see that the next dinner party shall have a theme- DIY quince poarty, bring your own animal, vegetable, or naughty bits…..

  7. hermiston Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 6:41 am

    "The initial nose is reminiscent of barnyard, mud, and horse ass " Dontcha just love those old world pinots! Ah've never heard it put better, i might steal that phrase fer a wine I occassionally try to sell!

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    As long as you can pay me royalties, my friend, you may use it as you like. 🙂
    I'd be very keen to get your opinions on these wines and more, seeing as you frequent the wine shop both as a connoisseur and an employee. Of course, we'll have to do most of it in person upon our next meeting. I figure we won't get much touring done, for all the fine spirits to ingest…

  9. thistlelurid Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 10:06 am

    oh d, "a two-week unbroken string of work days", that is intense…
    but as you once disclosed…"The anticipation is often as pleasurable
    as the event itself"
    and it would seem this lovely evening described
    above with "tha boiz" was both worth the anticipation AND most
    pleasurable. I have envy…wine envy!
    I attempted to say'sybaritic bacchanalianism' three times fast…
    now Im searching for my tongue on the floor….thanks!

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 1:30 pm

    Look at you, pulling out the old quotes and shit. 🙂
    The positive runoff of this self-indulgent elitist foray upon which we've been embarking is that we get to really enjoy some good tastes. Even Danny's been dipping into the ol' juice from time to time!

  11. tallboi Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    Might i strongly suggest the Miner Viognier the next time you're in the mood for a white. Its simply marvelous.
    Glad to hear of tastes being so wonderfly satisfied. As for me, after 36 or so hours at the hospital covering trauma, i'm content to smooth the transition to the outside world with a glass of 2 buck chuck.

  12. angledge Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 8:42 pm

    don't be fooled ….
    …. by all the glam-wine talk, above. Two-Buck Chuck is the house red at le Chateau.

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 14th, 2005 at 1:33 pm

    Oh, man. Anything Miner is fair game around these here parts. I'm duly impressed at their near-consistent array of fine tastes. With the exception of that one year of Cab, I've really enjoyed everything I've tried thusfar. I'll keep your good suggestion in mind, and thank you.
    And Ang is right, of course. We swill Ol' Chuck like it's going for…well, for $2 a bottle.

  14. kittynitro Says:
    August 15th, 2005 at 2:35 pm

    Delightful wine & food porn, D. The combined forces of giving my liver time off for bad behavior and giving the bank accounts a break after the nuptial and other events of the past year have led to a very sober August for this girl. Your entry has been both torturous and lovely.

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 15th, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    Thank you kindly, Miss Kitty (Mrs., now?) – but I think you've got a special day coming up right at the end of this fine, summer month that explicitly begs a liver-shredding good time directly ahead! And I'm just the man to help you do it.
    Thanks to Auld Scotia's Pull, I've now missed two of your b-days in a row, and it's time to make up for lost time. Besides, I'm missing you muchly. We don't have to wait until then!

  16. dichroicynosure Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 6:44 am

    Pecorino Romano! Drool. Food porn is right.

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