Dionysis Would Approve
I owe an apology for the belated Christmas wishes, but of course, I have what I consider a fairly fool-proof alibi. Em and I had been stocking up wine for about a week before our Christmas lunch and dinner. The boyfriend, who is usually the voice of moderation in all matters alcoholic (given that he doesn't drink anything besides a few gulps of Bailey's Irish Cream) went off for a two-week vacation to see family for Christmas. So here I was free to pick up a California Riesling here and a New Zealand Chardonnay there.
I snagged up two Italian wines as well, made with grapes that I for the life of me cannot remember. Even if I did, how were you going to track them down? The Italians are the largest wine producers in the world (yep, not the French, mon ami), and most of the varietals are restricted to small areas and many are so obscure that perhaps many Italians living in other regions wouldn't have heard of them. The sheer variety of wines classified under the DOC/DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata/Denominzione di Origine Controllata Garantita) is mind-boggling. And these unfortunately, weren't particularly worth tracking down. A pity, because the Italians do make excellent wine.
Anyway, so it's pretty obvious that I'm building up to something here, and the dominant theme happens to be wine. On Christmas Eve, which is when I should have been sending out my "Joy to the World" wishes to everyone, curiosity and the romance of my new adorable wine glasses get the better of me and I open up the bottle of Riesling. Not the sort of stuff that made Riesling the king of aged wines, but woo-hoo 12 per cent alcohol, here I come! A second glass definitely tastes better, and I had decided a long time ago that emailing while drunk isn't exactly the best mail etiquette.
The next day was the big day. Our annual ritual of Christmas lunch and dinner had shifted to my apartment this year, and Em and I spent all morning getting the rotisserie chicken and cake. One of these years, I'll definitely try and roast a chicken at home, but as things stand buying a rotisserie chicken is incredibly cheap and hassle free. Besides, I don't own a rotisserie, and as anyone who's ever made a rotisserie, tandoori or barbecue chicken would tell you, the oven's definitely an inferior option.
And then the lunch began. We had a three guests bailing out, because the person they were coming with, Frid, called in sick. But there was Em, me, Soto and AI, another friend who's recently moved back to LA. And guess what, besides all the bottles amassed by Em and I, Soto and AI brought more wine. We started eating and drinking at 2, stopped eating some hour and a half later, moved on to dessert and coffee, but kept up with the wine. Bottles magically opened, and I still had my corkscrew by the end of the night, unlike previous parties where my corkscrew always mysteriously disappeared (the fact that folks are lifting corkscrews gives you an indication of how humble my abode is). And glasses seemed to fill up magically as well - well not so magically, we were hellbent on getting drunk and getting the others drunk as well. The conversation was fabulous, which it would have been even without the wine, given that my lunch companions were three great guys.
My choice for the evening? Definitely the California Pinot Noir brought in by AI. I swear I had no idea what it was before I took a sip and felt that it was very smooth and a very pleasant wine. Although I have seen Sideways, I'm honestly not one of those who contributed to the 12 per cent jump in Pinot Noir sales after the movie came out. In fact, after seeing Sideways, I unconsciously censored many a desire to pick up a Pinot Noir at stores for fear of "The Look", the one that fellow wine shoppers give you, that seems to say, "You saw Sideways, didn't you?" Actually, it's more than that. I'm a bit of an adventure-seeker in food and wine (to a point, I draw the line at monkey brains), and love tasting obscure grape varietals. Besides fairly good wine from not so well known wine producing regions like Greece can be had at great bargain prices, unlike even middling Burgundy (the finest manifestation of Pinot Noir) that comes with a price tag befitting its scarcity value and name recognition premium.
After all the food, wine and happy conversation, there was only one thing left to do. Round off the evening with a light-as-souffle chick-flick, a breezy finale to a great day. Unfortunately the choice of film, Rumor Has It, left much to be desired. I had rooted for Pride and Prejudice, but I was the only Austen fan there. Apparently most Austen fans are disproportionately spinster cat owners, I don't own a cat, but can check off the spinster box. So off we went to see "Rumor Has It", a movie that very strangely tries to cast Pasadena as some sort of tiny, suburban, conservative bastion. Now, Pasadena isn't the most interesting part of town, and most of my friends would rather drive to the Westside or South Bay or weekends, but that doesn't mean it's teeming with vanilla-bland country club members. It seems the LA Times agrees, for they too noticed how laboured the Pasadena spiel was.
But then you might say, what was I doing for three days after Christmas? I could have said hangover, but I'd be lying. No, I think I was in a sort of post-holiday stupor. And amused myself with inane surfing that yielded this gem. For those too lazy to click, this is a feature section on IndianTelevision that interviews executives working in the television industry about their lifestyles, choice of books, etc. In case you are wondering about those who make Indian television what it is today. Pay special attention to the favourite books listed by the executives. Bless Ajay Chacko and Zarina Mehta, there's still hope for the book lover in the Indian television industry!