So I’m sitting in a bathroom in New York City, staring at a shelf full of really cool wine books and listening to Jimi Hendrix being piped in through speakers, and I’m thinking two things: A) I really need to rethink my bathroom at home and B) this evening could not have been any better than it was. But before I tell you whose bathroom I was sitting in, let me hit rewind.
It was our anniversary, and we had decided to head into the city to celebrate (although honestly we look for any reason to head to NYC and celebrate—National Plumbers Day would have sufficed). I get to the George Washington Bridge and made what my husband claimed was a mistake by pulling up behind a motorcyclist, because apparently they take forever getting their cash out, etc. On this rare and glorious occasion, my husband had the distinct honor of being correct—proof that miracles do still happen. But instead of losing my cool and honking, I sat silently and waited. Mind you every nerve ending in my body was tingling with anxiety because I REALLY wanted to nab a seat where we were headed, and if I didn’t get there when the doors opened, I knew I’d be shit out of luck. Anyhow, after 4 very long minutes the dude left and gave me a thumbs up. I immediately thought to flip him the bird figuring he was being sarcastic, but I stopped myself. When I pulled up, the toll collector told me the guy had paid our $8 toll as well, and in one fell swoop this dreadlock-headed, green jumpsuit-wearing stranger single handedly saved my faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.
OK, so we tarry through cross-town traffic, get to within 1 block of where we’re headed and FIND A FREE PARKING SPACE. I was actually looking around for a hidden camera figuring this couldn’t possibly be happening to me. We walk across First Avenue, and down 12th Street but when we get to the big glass door outside of Terroir wine bar a note stuck to it said that there was a private party going on and we’d have to wait until 7:45 to get in…and I was stupid enough to complain about the wait (it was 6pm). I told my husband that the restaurant Hearth a few doors down was also Paul Grieco’s place so why not head over there for a drink and a bite while we wait?!? And this is why I truly believe there are no accidents in this life—the place was absolutely fantastic. We sat at a little cozy table near the bar, with a view outside. The food was amazing: I had the foie gras torchon served atop a brioche with concord grapes and almonds, and my husband had an heirloom tomato caprese salad with fresh, moist mozzarella. The staff was attentive, knowledgeable, friendly as hell, and the bartender made a killer Old Fashioned. Two hours later we walked out, thanking everyone by name at that point, and headed back over to Terroir.
We nabbed a seat just at the end of the bar by the front door, and I perused the wine list (which looked a whole lot like my binders did back in high school) but a few seconds later I did what any intelligent person should do when they step foot inside Terroir, and closed the wine list. I looked at Mark behind the bar and said “I like a lot of funk in my wine…you know, earthy, mushroomy, barnyard kind of stuff. Is that enough to work with?” And with a nod and a smile he skipped away (ok, maybe it wasn’t a skip, but the dude was happy to be in the driver’s seat) and retrieved a bottle of 2002 Primitivo Quiles “Raspay” made with 100% Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre). That was 1 of 4 different wines he served me that night, and not one was a miss. The food there is not your average wine bar noshies, either. My husband had a duck breast panini and I had some lamb sausage with fried sage. The panini started a conversation with our neighbors about duck fat that would have seemed nearly pornographic to an outsider, but I’ll leave that for another post. I also fell in love with the t-shirts they had for sale, each with a different “terroirist” on it. Unable to resist, I bought the one with Bartolo Mascarello wearing a Che Guevara hat. My only complaint would be that Grieco needs to get some chicks on those tees—think Lalou Bize-Leroy or María José López de Heredia, Paul! Anyhow, three hours later was when I found myself sitting on the john, looking at the shelf of wine books, bopping my head to “Hey Joe” and actually being envious of a restroom in NYC…how often does that happen?