A very quick post on a wine I might forget otherwise. I took a friend out to dinner at Leopold’s Kafe a week or two ago. Leopold’s, which is a modern Viennese-style cafe/bar/restaurant, is one of my favorite places in DC: it offers very well-executed, delicious food at reasonable prices, as well as outside seating and the best Euro eye-candy you can find in Georgetown. It is especially good for brunch or dinner and is a great place to take a date, parents, or people you wouldn’t want to entertain at a TGI Friday’s.
I had the steak frites, medium rare. The “steak” in question was skirt steak, which is often used to make carne asada. It wasn’t the most tender cut of meat, but it was tender enough and very, very flavorful. It came with what I took to be caramelized shallots and a sort of creamy chimichurri on top, as well as Leopold’s breathtakingly good frites. She had the roasted chicken which came with potatoes, warm escarole, and some sort of mustard sauce. Both dishes were very good and very filling. After dinner we shared a topfentorte (cheesecake with passionfruit gel, mango, and berries) and each had a kleiner Brauner, which is basically like an Austrian machiato.
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.
Yet another tasting at Mission Wines, this time with my co-workers: Erica, who resembles a surly Irishman the more she drinks; Denny, the soft-spoken yet outrageous DJ who somehow lost his way coming back from the restroom to his turntables at some dark club and found himself working in a cubicle on the ground floor of LegalZoom.com; and Katherine, a newbie whose only distinguishing feature to me at the present time is her being Korean. And female. (Kidding, Katherine! You’re not female.)
Manning (Peyton? Eli? Archie or Cooper?) or, if you will, womanning the bar was Debbie, a delightful woman who crossed over years back from Colorado to pursue a love of wine. Heck, I would drive hundreds of miles for wine. In fact, that’s the primary reason I head up to Berkeley so often (sorry Jonathan!). She served us the five wines on the menu, as well as two more “bonus” pours.
The wines were:
J. Hofstatter “De Vite” Pinot Grigio | Alto Adige, Italy | 2005 | $11.99
We took turns writing tasting notes. My notes for this wine were “uber-light.” Kat’s notes were a star surrounded by a circle, along with the word “unfabulous”, which I’m not even sure is a word (thanks, spell check!). This pinot grigio was too light, too insubstantial. It was citrusy, which isn’t a bad thing, but to my palate at least it also seemed to have that plasticine taste I abhor in whites. As Mark Oldman notes in his Guide to Outsmarting Wine, much pinot grigio is “often like experiencing an IKEA rug, Ben Stein’s voice, or a dose of Paxil: neutral, monotone, and devoid of highs.” And watery. The region of Alto Adige is apparently home to some more “interesting versions” of pinot grigio, but this particular bottle was not one of them.