One of the great joys of being into food and wine in a place like Marin County is the ability to put blind faith in local food-and-wine purveyors and see where that faith leads you. I did just that last weekend, as more than an journalistic exercise.
It was my husband’s birthday on Saturday, and with a new baby in the house, we were grounded, so I thought take-out Indian from Avatar in Sausalito and some special wine to go with it would be appropriately festive. First stop: Vintage Wine and Spirits in Mill Valley, where I asked for two recommendations. I needed a great Barolo (this was the only gift Peter had asked for), which we’d stash in the wine fridge to drink later, and something that could stand up to Indian cuisine’s strong flavors. I left with an ’04 Mauro Molino Barolo, an ’07 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc, and a nonvintage Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Sherry, and headed straight to Avatar, where I plead my case to Ashok, the restaurant’s owner and chef. He didn’t even take an order—just noted our likes and dislikes and told me to return at 5 on Saturday for pickup.
Come Saturday night, Peter chose the sherry over the Pinot and we sat down to our feast of samosas, blackened chicken and vegetables, and pumpkin enchiladas, with generous sides of naan and papadum. Hard as it was, we managed to save room for dessert from yet another local proprieter: Mill Valley’s Frosting Bake Shop. At the bake shop, I didn’t ask any questions—I just ordered what the kid in front of me ordered. One Chocolate Obsession cupcake later, I can assure you that’s a fine strategy in its own right.
(For the record, Peter’s not sold on the sherry-Indian combo, but I liked the way the light, dry fortified wine cut through the sweet and smoky flavors. I’ll report back on that Barolo.)