Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Biggest Crack in America

Dinner last night at Twenty 21 on Market Street in the City of Brotherly Love.

The city where you can eat a cheese-steak on the sidewalk for breakfast on the way to work. The city with a taxi driver strike. The city with a subway line called the
Septa, whose name makes me think of an underground cesspool. The city who appears to have succeeded with a waterfront redevelopment to balance working industrial ports with leisure and tourism.

Twenty 21 is one of the hot trendy places these days and it was quite lovely. The bar features one of the tallest walls of booze a few of us had ever seen.

The wine list was extensive and highly imaginative. Sheena was a guest this evening and didn't get to pick the wine, which is probably a good thing because it would have taken an hour to make a decision. The odd and eclectic wine list was a perfect foil to the odd and eclectic menu. Chicken Liver Terraine in a perfectly-scalped egg cup? Yum... kind of like haute Toast Soldiers... Stinging Nettles and a smoked oyster in the vichyssoise? Ok, what the hell. Medium rare duck breast in a cabbage roll? Bring it on. Oxtail risotto? Hmm... can you hold the oxtail, one of my companions asked.

Most of the evening I sipped on a Lodi CA Zinfandel. The 2003 Earthquake Zin is not something I would have selected. It was a massive wine, and I was stunned to see it listed as 15.9%. It needed to sit in the glass for at least a half hour to settle down and open up the dark fruity hotness that almost burnt my mouth. A bit much for the duck, but enjoyable as the evening progressed. A decanter would have been nice.

Lodi is a central Californian region, known mostly for el cheapo jug wines. Very dry, hot, usually needs irrigation. But a few premium wineries have begun to emerge. Probably worth throwing on the to-do list next time I'm in California, looking for the Big One.


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