Met with fellow WineShop at Home colleague and friend, Ally C., at the Café del Rey in the Marina. JD and I worked several LearnAboutWine events there, and always thought about staying and dining, but we were usually so tired by the end of the event, we'd just go home. This time it was our turn to be waited on.
We got there early, of course. After the adventures we've had going south, we always give ourselves too much time to get someplace. But I can't be late! In my family that is the BIGGEST sin! On time is late - you have to be there 15 minutes early!
So we waited for a while in the car and then went inside, where we were shunted to the bar because the restaurant wasn't actually open yet. We ordered a couple of glasses of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut from Australia at $8/glass. A yummy way to start the day! The wine had large, golden bubbles, with lots of citrus-y fruit at the front and a soft finish.
Ally arrived - on time - and we were seated. She ordered a glass of the Brut to keep up with us, and we talked and talked and talked, and finally got around to ordering our lunch. We looked over the wine list, which was diverse and interesting, and seriously marked up. We finally decided on a lovely 2008 Babcock Pinot Noir. One of the more affordable bottles of wine on the list at $43.
JD's choice - moroccan lamb burger with sheep’s milk cheese, tzatziki, harissa spiced fries $18. The fries were yummy, and JD didn't leave any evidence behind, so I'm assuming the burger was, too!
Ally's choice - grilled cheese and tomato soup - toasted brioche, mozzarella, parmesan, $15. She was very happy with her meal. The sandwich looked great!
Denise's choice - dungeness crab cake, kataifi, cucumber and dill tzatziki, toasted cumin (small plate) $9. I also had the soup of the day which was delicious and creamy, but I can't remember what was in it! We were so busy talking, I didn't write it down!
We talked about our business and how to improve it. We talked about wine education and how to get more of it, and incorporate it into our business - or turn it into our business. We're both a bit frustrated with WSAH right now. The economy has definitely affected peoples' willingness to host tastings and buy wine. And the company is making some changes that I think will be for the best in the long run, but the transition is a bit difficult right now. We'll see how things turn out.
In the meantime, we compared notes, told stories, strategized, gave our waitress a big tip - because we sat there a long time - and parted ways.
JD and I drove up the coast to Malibu, turning on Kanan Dume Road, with the intent of visiting our friends' wine shop, the Cornell Winery, but to our dismay, it was closed! We had checked the web site, but there was nothing to indicate they weren't going to be open on Friday, so we drove home disappointed...sigh...Still it was a lovely day.