Friday, June 3, 2016
DINNER OUT IN A SMALL TOWN
A Church of the Open Road Report
about family, food and bigger things…
The restaurant is called Scopa (http://www.scopahealdsburg.com/). Tucked into a narrow space across from Healdsburg’s town square, the venue seats about thirty inside and, through the window that opens onto the street, another eight at a common table on the sidewalk patio. Intimate. Italian. Perfect for the evening. Our dinner was in celebration of the 24th anniversary of Candi’s 39th birthday. Attending would be our wine-making daughter, Jessica, a young professional who knows her way around this wine-centric town and its wine-centric wine lists.
After some small talk with the waitperson whom she’d known through various encounters in the industry, she settled upon a Piedmont Gio Dominico Negro Arneis for the salad course to be followed by a “big” 2012 Aglianico from friends Ryan and Megan’s Ryme Cellars (https://rymecellars.com/). Both bottles would arrive at the same time with the red decanted in order to breathe, volatilize and do other stuff a country boy like me lacks sufficient sophistication to fully understand. The red would accompany a rib eye which was ordered not rare or medium, but “perfect.” And it would be enough for three.
About halfway into salad, a group of thirty-something gents hailing from Dallas, we were to discover, sidled into that outdoor table just though our open window. As Californians, we’re supposedly not ‘spozed to think much o’ Texans, now are we? Cultural differences? Conservatives versus liberals? They’d brung a couple of magnums of something red purchased on the square. Overheard were questions about which white wine from the list that might precede their repast.
“Try this,” Jessica said as she handed the half-full remains of the Gio Dominico through the opening. “Really.”
After a bit of Dallas Cowboys / San Francisco 49er ribbing, the Texans learned, thanks to the waitperson, our daughter’s roots in viticulture and our celebration with three became, for a time, a celebration with ten. They were visiting the area intent upon checking out some of the area’s 400 wineries and, as a result of our cordial chitchat, at noon the next day, they’d be visiting Jessica’s Passalacqua by-appointment-only winery. (https://passalacquawinery.com)
Dinner came. Salted, peppered, seared, barely transitioning from red to pink on the inside, and accompanied by crisply roasted Yukon Golds, the rib eye was, indeed, perfect. (“Bet they can’t find steak this good where they come from,” I said just loud enough to elicit chuckles from the guys out the window.) Ryan and Megan’s Aglianico paired perfectly, and to top it off, a mysterious man-about-town, sitting deep in the recesses of the restaurant’s narrow footprint divined that this was somebody’s birthday and provided a molten chocolate soufflé which proved to be dessert. Again, perfect.
Dinner out in small town America – where everybody knows everybody else, or soon will.
Concurrently, a couple of hours south, in San Jose, protesters engaged in a violent confrontation at a rally for a rather polarizing political figure. Made the front page. A yuge unflattering image, to say the least.
Sad. Counterproductive. Unnecessary. Behavior that makes ‘Murica look doltish.
Better, might I opine, had those factions sat down and shared a delicate Arneis or a big Aglianico with something chocolate and, I don’t know, chitchatted…
Church of the Open Road Press