40th Birthday Dinner #1: Dean and Doug

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005 | 40th Birthday, Food, Friends

Dean and Doug arrived promptly at 7:00 and swept me away to the Mission and my first intimate 40th birthday dinner. They chose Maverick, one of the “new American” restaurants popping up in the neighborhood. Maverick is on 17th Street, where Limon used to be before moving around the corner, and Panchita’s before that–2 of my former favorites haunts. We started with a bottle of Prosecco, from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region instead of the Veneto, and thus a new experience for me. It was bubbly and dry, with just the right amount of fruit. The sommelier is a young guy, but with a very sophisticated palette favoring brash and bold flavors. But not in the way that the French scoff at—brash and bold, but restrained. The prosecco was paired with a salad of greens, figs, and pomegranate, beautifully presented and just as tasty. For my main course I had a duck breast served with wild rice and mushrooms, paired with a completely marvelous Sonoma pinot called Duckbill (? not Duckhorn or Duck Pond, I’ll find out…) that knocked my socks off with its smokey herby cherry lightness. For dessert I had the Apple Crisp with a late-harvest Viognier from Sonoma that was okay, but was overshadowed by the sample of an “Ice” Wine that our waitress, excited by our enthusiasm for the wines, brought for us to try. It was made of grapes that were left on the vine until after the first frost, harvested, and then pressed while still frozen. The result is a wine that has very highly concentrated fruit and aroma, but that is balanced by a high alcohol content. I want to marry that sommelier, or at least force myself upon his wine cellar.

A most enjoyable and delightful beginning to the birthday season and the new decade: excellent food, stimulating conversation, hearty laughs, dynamite wines, and dear sweet friends.

Birthday Suit #1 Dean & Doug

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