Sunday, October 21, 2007

Market Research

Wow. I’ve become one of those people. You know the type; the ones that start a blog, tell practically everyone they know about it, and then let it fizzle out after a few months.

Two issues have been hindering my updates. The first being that I still do not have a working camera. I know, I could go buy one. But apparently I’m waiting for a free one to fall out of the sky and into my lap. Plus I’ve been relying on other people to send me their pictures. Which sometimes takes a bit (hint hint Bob!).

My other excuse is that I am taking the CMS course and intro exam later this week. Meaning I’ve been curled up on my couch for the better part of the past few weeks, reviewing and learning. And doing “market research” to better expand my repertoire and palette. I’d like to take a minute to thank all of my friends who have so unselfishly helped me in this quest to try as many wines as possible. It’s been a tough ride.

That being said, I’ve actually eaten out quite a bit this past week. Tuesday we had a family dinner (to celebrate my step bro and his family being in town) at Adriatico Trattoria in College Park. My dad and step mom have been there numerous times with good reports, so I was excited for some authentic cuisine. I didn’t get the whole story but apparently the owner was the Chef at Antonio’s Upstairs for a number of years. The restaurant is small but cozy and quite comfortable. The wine list had a great variety of Italians (and a few random Californians) but Bob jumped the gun (one day he will let me order the vino!) and ordered the Zeneto Ripassa that turned out to be delicious but a bit rich and sweet. I ordered the Veal Rack (I don’t know what got into me, I haven’t had veal in years). Needless to say, it was perfect. Rich and tender, I ate the whole thing. And polished the meal off with a glass of Moscato d’Asti (aka Liquid Crack). Everyone enjoyed the food and company-I’d go back in a heartbeat. One quick note: bring your appetite! The servings were quite large.

Stopped for lunch on my way home from work on Friday at the new Drunken Monkey on Bumby. I’ve been waiting for them to open after seeing the progress over the past few months. Granted they’ve only been open for a few weeks, but it was, um, really really bad. The ordering system was confusing-do I pick sandwiches out of the cooler or off the board? And, I would have preferred to know that my Pumpkin Spiced Iced Tea was going to be flavored with a sickenly sweet syrup. That’s all I want to say, it’s not even worth my energy. Although I will add that if anyone has ever wondered how a cumin spiced black bean burger would taste on a rosemary focaccia, I’ll save you the curiosity. It’s not good.

Friday night we celebrated my step bro’s birthday at Harvey’s Bistro. I haven’t been in quite a few years, and well, have never experienced anything like our server Rocky. Really, it was a dinner show. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, but I’ll just tell you that not only did he come out in a variety of costumes (my fav was the Brokeback cowboy with the stuffed sheep) but actually had props hidden in the plants (I’m not kidding, he spanked the birthday boy with a spatula). Quite the opposite of a stuffy fine dining experience, I haven’t laughed that hard since lunch when I tried that black bean panini. Seriously, I was falling off my chair. I don’t know if I was mortified at the inappropriateness of some of the comments or completely amused. But I’m certainly booking my birthday there this year.

Oh, and the food was pretty food too! I don’t think the menu has changed in the past decade, but the pot roast was still fork tender and delicious. In lieu of birthday cake we sampled every dessert of the menu and I was quite impressed. My fav was the berry (ménage a trios) crumble and their version of bananas foster. Being so close to my place, I’m officially adding Harvey’s to my list of regular haunts, if anything for the pure entertainment value.

That’s it for me for now. It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and I’m enjoying a glass of CA Viognier (market research). I would like to leave you with a wine book recommendation. I just finished Mark Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, which was a smart and quirky take on the subject.

Just for kicks here's a pix of me doing market research at Halloween Horror Nights with the (story of my life) gas clown.

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