Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Getting Into the Holiday Spirits

Before Mr. Nice Guy leaves town and heads back north to rejoin the lovely Phoenix, we have some serious eating to do.

This evening we piled into his car and headed east to visit some of our favorite local treasures: a wonderful winery, a fabulous gourmet market, and an Indian restaurant that always has good food.

Naturally, we had a mission in mind at each of these stops. Having been thoroughly pleased with the wines I'd bought at the Winery at Wolf Creek earlier in the year, I was eager to review their list and stock up on more. Of course, at this point in the year their list of wines is on the slim side, since last year's vintage is mostly gone and they're only beginning to create this year's wines. Still, I found a few palate-pleasers: the Vignoles, one of their classic sweet white wines; Blind Faith, a dry but fruity white; and a small bottle of Redemption, the semi-sweet red that had so pleased me earlier in the year.

We moved on to West Point Market, where I bought the usual suspects: a collection of favorite teas by Taylor's of Harrogate (Scottish breakfast and Spiced Christmas teas) and a pair of cheeses (the luscious Prima Donna and a pear and apple Stilton). I also indulged in a recent discovery: the spice-laden Christmas Ale by our own Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Company.

After having been encouraged by the Gentleman to sample this brew at a local pub, I decided to find a six-pack for myself (which speaks volumes because I almost never buy beer) as well as for the Gentleman's next visit (whenever that may be).

Our shopping complete, Mr. Nice Guy and I headed for the Indian restaurant and kicked back to enjoy spinach ghota for an appetizer, aloo gobi and paneer Akbari for entrees, some very garlicky naan, and an intensely flavored pistachio kulfi for dessert. Happiness!

Once Mr. Nice Guy leaves, I'll have to find some new people who'll be up for dining out with me at such wonderful places. I'm sure I won't have to look far. Once you visit one of these places, you definitely want to return again and again.

And what a spirited way to start the holiday season!


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