The second part of this post can be read here.
The author of Vinicultured has been my friend for six years. In counting all of the intersections of our lives, I’d have to say that this cross-post is the culmination of those years. If you think that’s insulting, then you either underestimate the power of food as a social anchor or overestimate my ability to maintain a decent friendship. In any case, one late night trip to Berkeley’s most infamously mediocre taqueria in 2003 has already proven you wrong.
Back then, I was abstinent, and Joon was drunk. I was turning my 20th year on planet Earth and doing a terrible job of it. Joon was trying hard not to start a fight with the neighboring fraternity and doing just as badly. We decided to settle our scores with burritos. That night ended with me playing the guitar and him rambling about life’s unsung battles in the tiniest bedroom on the most unforgiving slope Berkeley has to offer. After that year, I never set foot in a fraternity house again.
Wikipedia reveals the true colors of wine tasting!
This post has nothing to do with wine. It doesn’t even have anything to do with alcohol.
Well, I’ll take that back. There was a magazine article a few years back that brought up the fact that the yeast from beer could basically digest oils, as in the sebaceous oils from human skin. While the research I conducted online yielded just as many counts for as against his hypothesis, the author of that article suggested that acne dropped off after the age of 21 because people drank more alcohol–specifically, beer–once they turned legal.
Well, here I was, 25 years of age and still suffering from moderate acne (sorry, ladies, for destroying your mental image of me). I tried Proactiv and a whole bunch of other treatments–salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide–and had at best mixed results. I even took the author’s advice and tried drinking beer heavily. There’d be periods of time when I’d be relatively clear, and then–BAM!!!!–the same problem spots.
I’ll be leaving for DC very, very soon–I’m flying out there on the evening of August 2. Thus, I’m trying to spend some quality time with SoCal friends before I do.
Jonathan L., my erstwhile LegalZoom co-worker, poet, historian, and future Columbia grad student, was in the neighborhood. We’re both fond of wine, so we decided to have a bit to drink together before we again went our separate ways.
Where else than Lou?
Now keep in mind that we’re both going to be grad students in the near future; not only that, we’re both going to be living in rather expensive metropolitan areas. Personally, I had enough money that day for wine tasting or dinner but not both. Oh well. I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.
We met up at Lou at around 7 pm. The place was dead. There were, including us, seven patrons at that time. No matter. We had a job to do.
My brother and I were going to cook a tenderloin roast yesterday for dinner. This called for a red.
Not just any red–something that could stand up to thyme and rosemary. Something that would accentuate the lovely rareness and juiciness of the meat.
I was thinking of something from the Cotes-du-Rhone, but bleh. I haven’t been impressed with any of my selections from that region lately. I was at a loss as to what to get.
Luckily, Chris at Mission Wines had the perfect wine: the 2006 Tierra Prometida malbec from Bodegas Enosur, which is located in Mendoza, Argentina.
This wine is a solid malbec, dense but silky, tasting of plum and chocolate and a whiff of tobacco. With the roast the wine revealed notes of herb and pepper… very good match with the thyme and rosemary combination. The medium tannins of the Tierra Prometida worked well to cut through the “fat” of the tenderloin. There’s not a lot of fat on a tenderloin, anyway, so any more tannic wine might have been too much.
I tried some of the leftover wine tonight with Korean food: rice, kimchi, kalbi, and even some raw crab pickled in soy sauce. Surprisingly, the malbec went well with the spices and strange textures of the Korean food. There was just enough umami for the crab, enough body to counteract the acidity of the kimchi, and enough fruit for the kalbi. My usual aversion towards mixing sticky rice and wine (in my stomach, NOT in a bowl, mind you!) was overcome, and I had a very enjoyable meal.
I would highly recommend the Tierra Prometida. It might even be better than the Maipe malbec I love so much!
It’s funny how seemingly different things are related. For instance, it’s been well-documented on this blog that I love Intelligentsia Coffee. I was reading more about this specialty coffee roaster online when I came across this New York Times article on the interior design of Intelligentisa:
I really like the blue and white tile. (Thanks to the Times for the picture!)
At any rate, Intelligentsia’s space was designed by a woman named Barbara Bestor. I found that she had also designed the interior of a quirky wine bar / restaurant called Lou, which happens to be in a seedy strip mall–sandwiched between a Thai massage parlor and a 24-hour laundromat–off of Melrose and Vine in Hollywood.
I did some more reading on Lou and liked what I read: a fair-sized and eclectic wine selection? Check. Hip interior? Check. Good food? Check. All I needed was to actually go.
After a long, involuntary hiatus from the drinking of alcohol I have again been getting my liver “wet”. I am ashamed to admit that my tolerance has gone way, way down–much too low for the amount of drinking that must needs take place in DC this fall.
I dipped in gingerly a few days ago, having a Firestone Double Barrel Ale after dinner. It got me legitimately “crunk” (keep in mind here, good readers, that I AM Asian, after all… my ancestors weren’t exactly quaffing tankards of beer around some round table in the forests), but it was a delightful feeling. The Double Barrel Ale is a good beer, moderately hoppy, somewhat sweet, a rich amber color. The only down thing about the DBA was that it had an off-putting aftertaste–more like an afterfeel… a bit syrupy, but not in a pleasant way. Oh well. It was a good beer, though not one I’d put into my standard rotation.
Today after work my co-workers and I opened a long-saved bottle of Joel Gott “815” cabernet sauvignon. (Named after the birth date of Gott’s daughter.) Four of us chipped in a few bucks each for the bottle back in MARCH, but there never was any real occasion or opportunity to open it up and enjoy. What better day than the day before the Fourth of July?