Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to suck. For years I was a bit of a loner so I didn’t have to battle for dinner reservations and overpriced roses, and I never went to Jared. Now, it’s not so bad. I still don’t buy cards, and Carey doesn’t care about chocolate. But when February rolls around, my mouth does start to water at the thought of plumping goose livers and grass-fed beasts. I realized this is a holiday I could truly enjoy, and I can still avoid Build-a-Bears, pajama-grams, heart-shaped anything (most importantly, gold-dipped roses). Basically, any hyphenated gifts.
This year we went to the Reluctant Panther in our new hometown of Manchester, Vermont. The Panther has been around as long as I’ve been alive, and despite rave reviews, I’ve just never been. I realized it was a perfect place for Carey because she loves cats. Yup, that’s basically it—the reason I picked the RP over any number of great restaurants.
“Why is this panther reluctant, does he feel bad about killing bunnies?” she spoke into my ear in hushed tones as we made our way to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. “Exactly,” I said (lied).
I got a gift, too! I finally filled my last wine journal a few months ago, and since then have lost my organization and purpose, relying on scraps of paper and my memory. My new journal was made from the cover of a vintage book from 1936 called Sight Without Glasses. The covers, title page, edition notes, and table of contents are all original, but the meat of the book was replaced with blank pages. The inside of the back cover still retains a handy folded eye chart. It’s good and sturdy, bound with a heavy metal spiral ring. [An etsy find from TheFancyLamb’s shop.]
From my tasting notebook:
Initially reserved, offering dependable Pinot Noir mixed berries on a creamy platform, almost custard-like in both mouthfeel and delivery of flavor.
Wait and the lean is lost. Staunch thumping textures, bullish for Oregon (not CA) but padded—like boxing gloves. Merges strawberry, rhubarb (or perhaps strawberry rhubarb), and a touch of maple—Vermont appropriate. More could have been written but my focus was spread between foie gras, my beautiful wife, and Colorado lamb 3-ways (as in lamb prepared 3 different ways, not group mutton sex).
[Sineann’s glass cork]
Dinner was exceptional, and the decor fresh, sleek and elegant. I appreciate quaint as much as the next person, and VT has a piles of it—but it also has its fair share of: quaint, an excuse never to update anything—ever. Unless you’re Norman Bates, that gets tiring, so I appreciate the RP’s attention to detail, lack of yellowing doilies, low ceilings, and refrain from serving the foie gras with gherkins.
I hope your V-Day was special!