I hate seeing people eating alone at a nice restaurant. It makes me sad. I know it's not possible to always eat with someone, but it still seems to me that a lovely meal should be shared with friends and family.
The other day I was having lunch with my girlfriend and friends at Cracco in Milan. This is one of the top starred restaurants in the city, and the food is innovative and delicious. Sometimes the chef gets it incredibly right, like a game-and-fruit pie that was rich and decadent, clearly fit for a king. (Other times, I think he's off base; dishes such as persimmon with raw oysters make me cringe just thinking about them.)
Anyway, I was drinking a young 2004 Barolo from a small producer called Ressia, and I saw two tables with single diners. So I sent them each a glass. They were friendly and thankful. One of them, a Ukrainian, came over at the end of the meal to join us and he shared a bottle of Billecart-Salmon's 1998 Blanc de Blancs. The Champagne was amazing. It was powerful, with loads of applelike, almost tropical fruit. It was full, rich and layered, with an ultrafine bead. I gave it 95 points, non-blind. People talk a lot about the classic 1996 vintage for Champagne, but the outstanding 1998 vintage also delivers. Whenever I drink that wine again, I will always think about that pleasant Ukrainian.