Friday, October 9, 2009



I love champagne in the same way dogs love stew bones. There is the shiver-inducing pop of the cork, the rapid spill of the wine over the lip of the bottle, the hurry of glasses to capture the fizz. Thlock!

Oh my, a girl blushes.

It might be the cheapest of choices, the sort of wine that can only use "champagne" with the lower case "c". It might be the tender yet insistent pull of Vieux Clicquot, the yeasty bubbles bursting forth with promise and celebration.

Oh, my. Call a party and I'm there.

has a series of courses for the enthusiastic yet non-professional drinker. I'll be taking the Champagne course ($45 a person) on December 3. (

It's fun, I'm taking it with a friend who shares my love for bubbly and it's the perfect pre-Christmas treat.

There was no champagne at 4 Teakwood, at least not when the kids were awake. But I have always loved the stuff for the sense of possibility and celebration. When my daughter and I were in Paris three years ago we made our way to Bar Hemingway at the Ritz.

The bathrooms had gold swans in the sinks. Colin, the bartender, is a legend. Johnny Depp allegedly drank there, just not on the nights we were in town.

Colin created -- because that's the only correct word -- champagne cocktails for the ladies. They came with a perfect red rose slid down the flute, a couple or three ounces of excellent champagne and some other nectar of the gods.

We met a man the first night, an American, who was in Paris on some dreary business or another.

But his interest, his calling card, was a collection of lucite and other rings. He carried them in his jacket in much the same way as a thief would a set of watches.

I admired his pink plastic pinky ring. He opened his jacket.

For Colin, there was a wonderful ring that flashed colors when he struck his hand on the bar. That went on the shelf where the other devotees had left tributes.

For Kate, a lovely pink flower for innocence. For me? I chose a large ring, black and imbedded with what looked like diamonds. Every time I wear it I hope someone asks me where I got it.

"From a man in the Bar Hemingway in Paris," I'll shrug. "We had champagne cocktails. At the Ritz."

No one has asked.

From the priceof the MLCC tasting, I assume we're popping the good stuff. If there's a Baby Duck in sight I want a refund.

If there's a ring and a Colin it will be money well spent.


  1. Great blog.

    There are a lot of good food blogs on the internet, yours stands out because it is personal and well written.

    I live in Winnipeg, so "I get" a lot of the food you are talking about eg. Hunky Bill's Perogy Maker! That thing was a pain in the ass.

    So, carry on. I love it.

  2. What a great blog!! It's beautifully and evocatively written. I feel like I was there. And although food is the topic at hand, it's not so much about the food as it is about what it represents...the home-made bread at 4 Teakwood, the champagne at the Ritz, the falafel in Israel...the memories, the experience, the excitement. Wonderful stuff.