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January 07, 2009

Can I sample your chicken flavored wine?

January 7. Day 191.

Mr. A and I headed to Mr. A's -- a venerable restaurant in San Diego with a really good bar. It's old school. Usually frequented by couples in their twenties celebrating a birthday or proposal and couples in their nineties celebrating they're still alive.

We go for the cocktails and truly magnificent rooftop sunsets.

It was too cold for the terrace, so we sat at the bar. While chatting about -- What were we chatting about? Oh yes, the couples in their nineties and couples in their twenties sitting nearby -- we overheard the bartender describing a wine to one of the waiters.

"Creme brulee, pineapple," he was saying. My ears perked up. A chardonnay that "tastes" like a yummy dessert? Sounds scandalous. Scandalously good, that is.

"Creme brulee?" I asked him when he turned our way.

"Yes. That's what the bottle says."

"Could I could try it?"

This wasn't a strange or risky thing to ask for, granted. It's an excellent bar, as I said, and tastings are part of the schtick. But I promise that were it not for this project, I would have kept my mouth closed and decided I don't need to know that much.

"Of course."

He poured half a glass, and I smelled it first.

"Chicken," I pronounced.

"Really? Chicken?"

"That's what I'm getting. Chicken soup."

Feeling less curious now, I took a swig. Let it sit in my mouth for a few seconds, like they teach you you're supposed to do. Once I swallowed, that familiar flavor of caramelized butter and sugar actually did creep out, eventually. The bartender and Mr. A were waiting for a reaction.

"Wow. There it is. I'm getting it. Twenty -- no, 18 seconds later."

"Now you feel it. Exactly 18 seconds later? That's tongue in cheek, right?" the bartender asked.

"No, I really do feel it now. That's so strange."

I took another sip. That time the sweet flavor surfaced immediately and, fortunately, overpowered the chicken. Weird.

Gained: $7 -- estimate for half a glass of wine in a ritzy restaurant. If you're still interested after this review, the wine was Berenger's Private Reserve Chardonnay, 2007.
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