I had dinner with a friend the other night who has recently become excited about the wonderful world of wines out there just waiting to be tried. He said he never realized how many different kinds of wine there were, and how good they could be. I told him welcome to the club!
We met at Macaroni Grill, which has a so-so wine list but we were looking to just catch up on the few months it had been since I'd last seen him, and we didn't want to spend a fortune on anything anyway.
Here's some pictures of the food. First is a Sicilian combo pizza that Mike had. Looks yummy, doesn't it?
MG has six different $11.99 specials - you have your choice of three kinds of salad, six entrees and three desserts. I asked the waiter if the portion size was different for the special than ordering it a la carte and he said no, so I figured why not order the special.
Here's my caesar salad. Nothing exciting, but it did taste good and was fresh and crisp.
And I ordered pollo magro (or something like that) for the entree. It was the lowest-calorie item on the entire menu, something I decided to get because (a) I had about 10,000 calories in soul food over the weekend and thought it best to recover; and (b) I had looked at MG's menu online that afternoon along with the nutritional info and it was horrifying. I got scared into ordering the pollo! Here's a picture of it. It wasn't bad although the chicken was a little tough and the chopped tomatoes on top did nothing at all for the dish because they had no taste. But the sauce was good and the veggies were fresh and tasty.
The wine list is a little better than average for a chain restaurant. Mike ordered a glass of Penfold's Shiraz, which he liked, and I orderd a glass of Chalone chardonnay. No vintages, not much detail and we didn't ask. I am sure mine was the Monterey County bottling and not the estate. It cost $7.99 for a glass, that glass being one of those "cheater" glasses that has a pointed bowl. I'd guess there was about 4 or 5 ounces of wine in it. Not a bad profit margin for them considering the wine must be below and maybe well below $10 a bottle their cost. The Penfold's was $7.29 for a glass.
The Chalone got better as it warmed up. It was lemony with ginger, spice, pear and oak in pretty good balance. I was satisified with it.
Mike mentioned a few of the wines he's tried lately, all from Costco: The Marquis Philips Sarah's Blend, a Nebbiolo, a couple that I can't remember, and the one he said stood head and shoulders above the others, the 2005 Caronne St. Gemme. That one I have sitting in my collection and I've been looking forward to trying it although I wasn't sure when to open it.
No accompanying YouTube for the Chalone; I was focusing more on our conversation, which was a very good one!