Wednesday was my last night in Philadelphia for a while, maybe for a long while. The part of my work project there ended. I felt sad and didn’t tell anybody at La Terrace on Sansom Street, where I again dined; or tell the girl at the Black Cat gift shop next door to it, from whom I bought another White Dog T-Shirt; or tell the familiar old black bellman at my hotel, who immediately recognized the White Dog Logo and thought it was cool that I was wearing it, and thought he now knew something about me, that I wouldn’t be returning.
For my last supper, I dined Spartan. When the waiter put the French American menu in my hands, I gave it back unopened and said I would have a hamburger and a bottle of 2000 Petit Figeac.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that I read about the Fleur Burger in the Agony Airlines Magazine. I now order a slight modification of it almost every meal. It comes in an infinite number of variations. The better the restaurant, the better it tastes; and there is always an appropriate Right Bank wine to pair with it, if not always a Pétrus. (Actually never a Pétrus,–God help me if I ever saw one on a wine list and had had a couple of drinks under my belt. My limit on my credit card would permit it, even if my marriage wouldn’t.)
The hamburger lets the wine to talk in a way that a fine, complex dinner wouldn’t. A $5,000 lesson. I know this for a fact because I am starting to have conversations with wines like I never had before – even little wines. They don’t have to be great wines: every one has something important to say. I’m reminded of one time when I drank fine Champagne in stems on the concrete steps of a fine restaurant at four in the morning. Homeless people joined me in finishing off the bottles and I had conversations with them that I would never have had from a table in Le Cirque, or something like that.
The little Figeac told me things about the 2000 vintage that were truly remarkable, but very subtle truths which have not yet bubbled to my consciousness so that I can talk about them. But I feel them strongly and they have almost surfaced and I can’t wait to relate what I have found. To be continued…