Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a take-out clause.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 9:29 PM

click to enlarge Rocket Science

Our nanny had a Caribbean cruise planned for Gustav Monday.  After much agonizing (and despite confirmation by the cruise company that no, her cruise would not be cancelled) she opted for forgo the steel drums and tropical (force) breezes and instead drove 28 hours to her boyfriend's family's home in Washington D.C.  She evacuated the Saturday before Gustav and, continuing with her planned vacation, returned to New Orleans, and to work, 10 days later.   We stayed.

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After 3 days of hurricane prep, 5 days with no power, 2 vertical evacuees and a week's worth of limb and leaf pick-up, we had had enough grilled meat, tuna sandwiches and, with all due respect our two favorite locals J'anitas and Juan's, enough eggs and burritos.  We needed to wear cologne and high heels.  Restaurants were opening and we needed to be in them.  The problem was that Kristina, our nanny, was to be away for an indeterminate amount of time - so anywhere we went, our 11 month old son was coming with us.  We did what any other thirty-something couple with an adorable baby who can be bribed to keep quiet with a bag of cheerios would do: We took hot showers, put on expensive jeans, dressed the little guy up, grabbed a box of breakfast cereal and made our way, by foot, to the fanciest local restaurant that was open.  Houston's it was.

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As I have mentioned before, Nick and I love Champagne so naturally we began the meal (and the Cheerio popping) with Kir Royales as we toasted everyone who had made it out, and back in again safely.  We also wanted a wine that was more special than their selections by the glass but I was not sure we should have pre-dinner drinks and a bottle of wine with Cheerio in tow.  So I did my new favorite thing:  I ordered a bottle of wine, we each had a glass and we took the remaining half bottle home to have later that night after Cheerio went to sleep.

There are probably two reasons you have not done this.  First up, the pesky "open container" law that frowns upon you tossing a couple of half drunk bottles of vino on your passenger seat and cruising home from dinner.  Secondly, wine (and wine people) can be intimidating, so you may think it improper to ask for the rest of your Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon in a doggie bag.

As for the law, RS 32-300 actually states that it is illegal for the vehicle operator to be in possession of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.  What that means is that open containers of alcohol can be transported in the trunk, or behind the last seat or in a locked glove compartment of a vehicle if you do not have a trunk (mini vans, SUVs, estate cars / station wagons).  As for the snobbery of wine...remember, servers in restaurants are frequently more intimidated by the wine list than you are.  Just being friendly and asking honestly will get you far.  And unless the restaurant has a policy against customers taking their wine with them, everyone wins if you order a bottle of wine and take the remainder home with you.  Restaurants make more money, servers make more money, you get a better wine and you can drink it at home that evening or the next day - when you are not driving.

We did this again last night with a bottle of Rocket Science at Emeril's Delmonico Steakhouse.  As it happens, they do have it on the list by the glass, but we were on foot (yes, we do have a car) and were not sure just how much we would have, so we opted for the bottle.  Not only were they happy to oblige, they even provided a bag for us to take the wine out of the restaurant with us.

Caldwell Vineyard's Rocket Science 2005 is 33% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot.  Do not worry about remembering that.   Here is what you need to know:  This is a wine with ripe black fruits, black pepper, tobacco and chocolate.  The tannins are well balanced and even though it is so rich, it is still really fresh.  This wine is GORGEOUS with red meat and I have a sneaking suspicion it would even make your in-laws like you if you served it at Thanksgiving.

Rocket Science runs about $40 in retail stores and about $60 in restaurants.    I have purchased it retail from W.I.N.O. (610 Tchoupitoulas St.) and had it at Emeril's Delmonico.

Cheers!

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