Recession Reds: Billy and Grano!!!
...and of course, a hearty greeting to all the rest of you Malbec swilling shower of feckless defermentables!
BITE ME CRANK!!!
So the pleasantries dealt with, let us commence. Normally, I'd be listening to a little Acca/Dacca or Geto Boyz for inspiration, but today it's Glenn Gould all the way. I began with Schoenberg (Voice and Piano) , but there's something about the lilting brutality of the German language that's more counterproductive than contrapuntal. So now it's Gould playing Beethoven's solo piano variations. As many of you know, I'm obsessed with Glenn Gould, even going so far as to place flowers on his grave each year, on the anniversary of his death - and no, I didn't see any of you there. I'm so much a follower of Gould's genius, that I see no point in anyone else ever playing piano again; it's now a closed field, like optics.
But I digress...
2 nights ago was a major blast. The Deaconess and I headed across Egg Lantern Ave. and down Young Street with Don Velouche Brutus and Kathryn the Great, to Grano for a Billy Munnelly speshul event: Recession Reds. Now if you've never checked out Grano, you MUST do so. The owner and host, Roberto Martella, does a truly mega-lurch job. In fact, in a city of great restaurants, Roberto is one of the 3 truly classy dudes who excel in the gracious host department. (The other 2 are of course Sol Benarroch from Sette Mezzo, and John Maxwell from Allen's) Screw the Iron Chef! I think there should be an Iron Host TV show, and these three can take on anybody in the frickin' world...and win!
So Billy arranged this amazing evening with about 20 different bottles of red wine under 10 bucks. The tasting was done blind and was followed by a fantastic spagetti and meatball dinner with more wine included, all supplied gratis. (That's "free of charge" if you live in Keswick) It started out as a small affair for about 20 people and grew to take over the entire restaurant, which Roberto made available for the tasting. We got there about 15 minutes early and the line was right out into the street, which didn't prevent a huge star like your humble Deacon from muscling to the very front. It's actually easy to do. You just alternate yelling "Woman with child" and "I'm having a stroke!" It works every time. Failing that, you can try yelling "SARS!" or "Unclean! I am a leper!" That will get you in almost anywhere ahead of the crowd...
Anywhere except the frickin' ER, it would seem. Your humble Deacon had pneumonia a few weeks back and went to Sunnybrook Hospital Emergency, since I regard the geographically closer, Toronto East General as the Guantanamo Bay of hospitals and Scarlem General more the place I'd pick if I wanted a lethal injection. Well we went to Sunnybrook, which is bright and clean and has everything you could possibly want in a hospital...except doctors. Apparently, you're supposed to bring your own. One poor dude had been waiting since 4PM and it was now nearly 2:30 AM! I kid you not. I checked myself out and we saw my own GP the next day. Your tax dollars at work, folks...I was going to yell "Bite my feverish wand!" as I dragged myself out, but the phalanx of security guards were a bit too serious looking for a man with lungs full of fluid to fight and prevail.
But back to Grano...
Anyway, Billy and Kato kept it all running smoothly (the Grano event, not the ER) and there were 3 rooms full of shouting, drinking, laughing people, some of whom forgot it was a tasting and tried to get their "money's worth". There were a lot of vino heavyweights there too, including The Star's Gord Stimmell, Charles Baker of Stratus (and his own Riesling) fame, Graham Duncan, from Drinksville Media, and the Globe and Mail's Beppi Crosariol, who was very gracious and came over to meet the Deaconess.
"He's much younger in person than he looks in his picture!" she said as he walked away. You hear that Beppi? That's a compliment. Much better than having the frickin' Dorian Gray thing happening...
When it was all judged and tallied, not surprisingly, the plebs didn't get it to a large degree. They naturally went with Ubantu and Obikwa, the smooth, soft, predictable New World offerings. It breaks my heart to see someone take a sip of Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo and crinkle their face in disgust.
Morons...Your bus is leaving.
You're supposed to drink it with food. I complained to Billy about this and told him that everyone at our table was talking about Malbec and how it's all they drink. They still don't understand rustic wines that have a little bitterness and are made to go great with food.
"It's alright Deacon" he said smiling. "They're slowly coming around..."
Kudos to Grano for a total blast. Thanks Billy and Kato. I'll see you at the next one!
Note to Sunnybrook Hospital:
Hire some effing doctors!
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Still alive, despite the best attempts of the Ontario health care system