Let the Food Lead the Way

After yesterday's post about sake drinking after sushi, I was surprised by how many emails I received asking: "David, when the hell do you have time to drink sake with all the spirits and wine you're already consuming?"

I understand the sentiment. There are people out there who feel overwhelmed by just whiskey, let alone the multitude of other spirits out there and the combination of cocktails that can be derived from them. It's the same thing my assistant Kyle said to me when I integrated the sake department on to the spirits shelf in Redwood City: "Great, another thing I have to get into?!" The truth is: I don't make time to drink any particular wine or spirit, nor do I have to force them into my already hectic schedule. I simply eat such an eclectic menu at home each week that these diverse and radically different beverages just naturally fit into that calendar. Don't understand what I mean? Let me break it down:

I hardly ever cook anymore. Not because I don't like to, but because I don't get home until 7:45 on most nights and I'm not someone who likes eating dinner at 9:00. I want my food ready right when I get there, so most nights it's takeout, DoorDash, or we go out. Last night, for example, I got burritos from Pancho Villa Taqueria in San Mateo delivered, so I made margaritas and then after dinner sipped on a few shots of mezcal. That was my agave fix for the week. The night before I went out for sushi at Sushi Sam's and ended up drinking sake until late into the evening. That was my Japanese entry. Wednesday night was Pronto takeout (and if you haven't done the chicken combination dinner before you're truly missing out on one of the great deals in all of Bay Area cuisine), so that meant pinot noir, i.e. Burgundy. I killed a bottle of 2005 Morey St. Denis and ended up reading more about the region on the French Vins de Bourgogne site (one of the coolest booze-related sites out there if you can speak a little French), before moving over to the Armagnac later on. Tuesday night was delivery from Little China Kitchen so that meant cold riesling and gewürztraminer with my spicy cuisine. Monday night I cooked since I was off, so we drank a really fancy bottle of white Puligny-Montrachet and sat there staring at each other in a stupor because the wine was so freaking delicious.

Tonight? I'm doing steak, but I don't feel like cooking it so I'm going for Tannourine on DoorDash (which is my secret spot in old San Mateo on 25th—I'm actually feeling a bit uncomfortable telling people about it now). This Lebanese place is simply to die for and they make such a huge menu of different things that it's my absolute go-to spot when my wife and I can't agree on what to eat. I definitely feel like Bordeaux tonight, so I'm going to peruse the K&L shelf and come up with something before I leave work today. Then I'll order the filet mignon skewers and drink myself into a steak and claret coma to celebrate the weekend. I'll probably follow that up with a snifter of Cognac to really get that whole French regional dynamic going. The 49ers are playing Arizona at 1 PM on Sunday, so I'll need to load up on beer as well, and maybe some bubbles depending on who I watch it with.

So there it is. That's an average week for me and I've included white wine, red wine, Champagne, beer, sake, brandy, tequila, mezcal, and God knows what else. It wasn't meticulously-planned or forced. It's all about taking a few minutes to think about what you want to eat and then making sure you've got the proper pairing in place. That's why building a cellar and having space at home is important. If you're someone impulsive like me then you need options. And, let me tell you, I drink each and every option available to me.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll