“At this moment you should be with us / feeling like we do, like we love to, and I will again….” — Perry Farrell, Jane’s Addiction
This comes to mind over and over as I consider three recent days strung together over two coasts and fueled largely by too much great wine, good friends and fun.
Day one of the current odyssey really began as the sun set on Miami Beach. I was to meet my partners Dennis and Debra Scholl along with best-selling author Jay McInerny. I had just finished rereading Jay’s book Bright Lights, Big City, which is a classic, as well as a ton of fun. As the book is written in the second person, I couldn’t help but slip into a pattern of thinking it was me, especially when reading about repeated overindulgences—“you…”—yes, it was me, I’ve been there!
Anyhow, we met at Michael’s Genuine in the Design District in Miami. This place has some of the most exciting food in all of Florida, and it’s nowhere near the beach. Instead you’ve got to drive over the bay and north of downtown. This part of Miami is on fire right now, with real energy and a dearth of tourists. If you make the trip, you will be rewarded, as we were, with some of the most creative food and drink out there. Succumbing to the fun, we dove into the high-energy hedonism and ate and drank our way to familiarity and a barrel of laughs.
From here, this part of Miami rolls (as did we) north along both North Miami Boulevard and Biscayne Boulevard up toward Miami Shores, and it has some of the coolest food, drink and moxie in the country. We managed to take a party onward to Brosia, One-Ninety, and out past another favorite, Michy’s, to the newly completed Red Light, which is attached to an old ’50s road motel overlooking a manatee-inhabited canal. Everything culinary in each of these places was super-real, interesting, delicious and not overdone. Furthermore, all of this food and fun is served up by a bunch of food-and-drinkies that could not be more excited about what they are creating in an area that is just about the opposite of Ocean Drive.
After going to the far side of the night, I am (forever) surprised when morning comes (way) too early. The next morning I only had to manage to get aboard an American Airlines flight to NYC. Not ordinarily a tall order, but that day it required a little more dancing as flights were full and cancelled and reservations lost but, in the end, I was flying … again.
What’s not to love about New York? It is a place where one’s feet tend to never hit the ground amid a whirlwind of friends, food and fun. The stated purpose of my visit was to pour my own wines at our distributor’s spring trade show. This is always a ton of fun, and you can connect with hundreds of friends old and new in a single afternoon.
Soon enough though, the afternoon would give way to the evening, and we had cooked up quite a plan for those p.m. hours. For this, three friends enlisted one another to see what trouble could come. Roberto Conterno of Giacomo Conterno (the very best Barolo producer, period), Robert Bohr (sommelier to the stars at Cru and wine professional extraordinaire) and I got together with a group of dedicated collectors and drinkers to take a peek at some of Giacomo Conterno’s older wines.
The setting was a private room at Del Posto, and the irreplaceable Joe Bastianich was at the helm as host this evening. Wells Guthrie, fun friend and awesome winemaker at Copain, was also in attendance. Vintages of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino enjoyed were: 1941, '43, '45, '47*, '49*, '52, '58*, '61, '68, '69, '70**, '74 and '78. (The asterisks are my stars.) The chance to enjoy any of these would be a very special treat, but to do so with terrific friends, including Roberto, was among the most special.
After the supply of fine old Barolo was exhausted, the crew launched into a magnum of ’64 Krug Collection, a mag of 1945 Vogüé Musigny (the label marked #1,375), a mag of 1929 Romanée-Conti, a mag of ’62 Vogüé Musigny, ’49 Leroy Musigny, ’64 Romanée-Conti and ’80 Ponsot Clos de la Roche. Needless to say, this was all very special—even before the group headed off to Crif Dog for a little extra fortification.
Day three-plus-one. This was a long one as it called for a trip back Down Under. From NYC, a stop was necessary in Aspen to switch suitcases before proceeding onward. Onward always includes a few hours between planes in Los Angeles, and instead of availing myself of the fine eats in LAX, we dial up the sister and meet her curbside to speed off to perhaps the most complete of any restaurant I know.
It is called Mori, but there is no sign out front, only a little white marquee with a black stick-figure fish on it. This, however, is only part of what you’ll experience inside. If you have a chance to sit yourself in one of the 20 or so seats, you’ll truly get to experience Mori, the man, the chef, the creator. Everything you eat, eat off of and drink out of comes from his hands. Mori makes all of the ceramics that are used, and if this weren’t enough, he also mills all of the rice each and every day. Without belaboring the issue, I can say that it is indeed special and you will find it right across from the San Francisco Bar and Grill on Pico Boulevard. You leave Mori feeling the quiet meditation that comes from experiencing such thoughtful work and are now prepared—as best you can be—to return to the confines of the 747 for the next several hours. All in all, I am feeling as fortunate as one possibly could. More from Australia soon.
Christopher Hood — April 22, 2008 1:25pm ET
John Osgood — New York, NY — April 22, 2008 4:49pm ET
Richard Betts — denver airport at present — April 22, 2008 11:12pm ET
John Osgood — New York, NY — April 23, 2008 9:17am ET
Eric — 2 years NZ, orig, from USA — April 27, 2008 11:05pm ET
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