The day Ave & Al tried to kill us! (#MWWC5)
I chose FEAST as the theme for the November Monthly Wine Writing Challenge… My post won’t be included in the voting but I wanted to share this perilous tale with you…
I am very excited. I am also very scared.
November has struck and the Christmas countdown has begun. The weekends between now and Xmas are full and I’m looking forward to the various seasonal feasts and get-togethers; catching up with friends and family, eating great food and drinking magical wine. In fact, the diary filled up so quickly that one of the celebrations will have to wait until January. It’s actually a blessing in disguise; January is largely dreadful so having a post-Xmas lunch with friends should be the silver lining to a cloudy month, especially when that lunch is at the River Café, my favourite restaurant in London. So why the trepidation? Two reasons: Ave and Al.
Ave and Al are a wonderful Scottish couple – their Burns’ night celebrations are legendary. I worked with Ave for a few years and she is one of those people who just makes you laugh. She’s cynical, sceptical and very, very funny. Al is great too; a lover of all things foody and drinky, he has a constant grin on his face and is enthusiastic and excitable about most things. But they are a dangerous combination. Together they pose a great threat to your health…
About 18 months ago we arranged to meet the guys at their favourite local eatery, Restaurnt Michael Nadra in Chiswick. The place is fantastic – the food is clever, delicious and plentiful, and the wine list has plenty of choice without being daunting, with many options under £30 (although we didn’t play there!). We started with a bottle of very nice Prosecco and ordered a deliciously crisp and mineral Alabrinho to accompany the starters… Ok, we ordered 2 bottles of Albarinho to accompany the starters (Adegas Valminor Torroxal 2010 I think). For the main course we all went for meaty options and Al suggested a suitably meaty wine; he was going through a “massive-wine” phase at the time and selected the Juvenile Zin 2007 from Turley Wine Cellars in Napa. It was certainly a fruit-bomb and a half but it was soft and silky, and hid it’s 15.5% of alcohol rather too well. This is where things start to get hazy. There was definitely pudding and there was definitely sweet wine… It was certainly a feast of gigantic proportions.
“One for the road?” asked Al… that’s when it got scary. Six bottles to the good (yes, we managed 3 of the Zins!) we found a pub on Chiswick High Street and ordered a bottle of Corbieres. Was it any good? I’m surprised I can remember what it was! Then another. “Who fancies a cocktail?” Off we traipsed to the Old Fire Station; here I was very good. I don’t like spirits, never got on with them. So while the other 3 were working their way through the cocktail menu, like a good boy I sipped my way through a bottle (another one!) of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Then it was back to their place for a night cap… I had a vague memory of another stop on the way and a receipt found the following morning for another couple of bottles of red wine at their local confirmed the act. I think we got a taxi home.
I didn’t get up the following day. My hangover lasted until Thursday. It was a feast at Restaurant Michael Nadra. It was a feast of booze throughout the day. I vowed after that day never to go for lunch with Ave and Al, to insist on a dinner reservation. Our January reservation is for 1.30.
I should’ve chosen a different theme this month… It should’ve been “Ouch!”