Monday, September 18, 2006

Eat, drink and learn

I hope everyone had a weekend of great food and wine like I did, but mine was pretty tough to match. My girlfriend’s son turned sixteen this weekend, and she treated him, his girlfriend and me to dinner at Mr. Friendly’s in Five Points. Not a bad deal, huh?

Friendly’s is on my short list of favorite restaurants in Columbia. The food is excellent, the service is solid and the wine list is exceptional.

Let me be clear — I am not a restaurant critic. I know what I like and I’ve been around enough good restaurants to know when things are done well, but I’m not one to assign points or stars. I'll leave that to others.

So anyway, we enjoyed some mouth-watering French Quarter fillets and a wonderful bottle of 2004 Owen Sullivan O-S Red. If you haven’t eaten at Friendly’s you really should check them out. The same people also own Gervais & Vine in the Vista and Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar out in Northeast Columbia.

Saturday night, we got some beautiful shrimp from Palmetto Seafood Company and I whipped up shrimp and grits. It was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. But the real treat was the Casteller Cava brut rosé we enjoyed with dinner. That is some seriously good stuff, which, incidentally, I acquired through the newly-introduced Mr. Friendly’s wine club.

I even made some unexpected discoveries from my weekend of tasty food and wine. The Owen Sullivan Red is predominantly lemberger, a grape variety that is grown (in the U.S.) mostly just in Washington and New York. Never heard of that one before. The Casteller was most trepat with some garnacha. Now garnacha I know, but trepat? Turns out it’s pretty much exclusive to the Pira region and especially used for the cava rosés.

You really do learn something new everyday.

1 comment:

kristian said...

Lemberger is the grape that Jed Steele has been using for years to make his Shooting Star Blue Franc. It's called that because lemberger has connotations to the stinky cheese. Some winemakers in Austria refer to it as "Blau Frankisch" or Blue Franc.

When Jed was working with Columbia Crest, he found that Washington had a lot of lemberger plots in Yakima, so he started making wine with it and calling it Blue Franc.

We've poured it by the glass on numerous occasions and its always well received. AND the price is always nice!