Style and Stories: Constantly Corinne

In mid-April1, I had dinner with my friend Corinne in Midtown Sacramento.  Although we practically communicate almost daily through social media, I have not seen Corinne since January 2016, when, thanks to my generous sisters, we celebrated my birthday at Ponte Winery‘s magnificent Wine Barrel Room in Temecula Wine Country. For my Gala Birthday Dinner Party2, I wore a midnight blue Calvin Klein tuxedo and a discreetly sparkly3 pair of Ted Baker oxfords; and she, an elegant black dress from London whose designer I sadly do not remember. That April evening in Midtown Sac, we were not in Black Tie Formal attire anymore: I wore a pair of J. Crew jeans, an Express shirt, an H&M blazer, and a pair of Lacoste sneakers. Corinne wore an Anne Taylor blouse and skirt ensemble, In Extra Small4, and a fabulous pair of shoes she snagged from one of her European shopping sprees. Fine Wine Poet has not turned into a Fashion Blog, but the brand enumeration was essential, as style appreciation served as prelude to dinner and a cheeky companion to our cocktails. Corinne is fabulous and unapologetic about it; and so am I.  That is why we are dear friends.

But we are friends beyond harmless vanity.  Corinne has an exuberant spirit and through the years, she has significantly influenced my travel philosophy and my general approach to life, especially in overcoming challenges and welcoming opportunities for incredible lightness of being. My friendship with her is one of the most profound and honest relationships I have. We celebrate the physical translation of our aesthetic values, which is almost spiritual. We find a common responsibility and joy to celebrate beauty bestowed on us and we both understand how style, taste, and occasional science5 enhance our natural gifts.  I believe that there are other men far more good looking than me, and I used to be so insecure about my appearance. I no longer am. I feel good6 with how I look, and I feel exceptionally well with my personal style, especially with my non-celebrity budget.

At the Hock Farm bar, I was somewhat disappointed that the Russian Mule I ordered did not come in the usual copper mug the drink usually comes in7; but my disappointment was momentary and immediately drowned by giggles as I listened to Corinne’s Millionaire Matchmaker dating adventures in the desert.  With every sip of her whiskey-based cocktail, her stories got spritzier and my pre-dinner giggles blended with the lively laughter and chatter that filled the restaurant.

A table was ready by our 7:15 PM reservation, but we laughed and lingered at the bar until a corner booth was available for us.  As we walked to our table, I felt like I was floating.  It must have been the giggles paired with the pre-meal cocktails, a combo I so needed after weeks and weeks of stressful work days.

For wine, I selected the County Line Syrah from Sonoma County.  The bottle was moderately priced and I thought it would pair well8 with both of our meals. The Syrah was an approachable juice – I remember the fruit notes to be evident, but not too tarty to be alienating. This Syrah, also, was not as “bacony” and boisterous as other Syrahs I like; it was definitively Syrah in its profile, but with a sense of calm for solitary sipping and it also plays well with food. Our original server switched with the bearded Eli, who was delightful, as most Eli’s9 are, and was attentive to our needs. The more wine we sipped, the more people finished their meals and the restaurant’s volume became more conducive for conversation.  By 9:00 PM, the restaurant was almost empty, and although we appreciated how we could hear each other better, it puzzled us that there were not a lot of diners, especially since the dishes were delicious, reasonably-priced, and the ambiance was good.

Corinne ordered the Llano Seco Pork Chop- which lay on her plate with carrot puree, fava greens, cipollini onion, and pickled mustard seed.  I ordered the Charcoal Grilled Prime Sirloin, joined with grilled asparagus, Yukon potato puree, oyster mushroom, and horseradish gremolata.  The meal was wonderful, but as always, it is company that significantly affects the tone of a dining experience.  In the nine years I have lived in Sacramento, Corinne and I have had many wonderful dinners together spaced out on moments when we were both in town and our schedules allowed for us to meet.  Although bound by our silly obsession for dressing sharply, we are magnetized, too, by our common love for family, friends, and faith that strengthens such love.  Oh, and we are both enchanted with the uplifting moments with fine wine and fabulous food, whether it be on our travels or in our hometowns10Yes, plural.{/note]; on whichever hometown our stylish shoes land.

  1. Yup, it is about time I am writing about it.
  2. I still need to write about that magical night.
  3. That’s a bit of an oxymoron, huh.
  4. Yes, typographical emphasis needed.
  5. Wink, wink.
  6. More often than not.
  7. Oprah would not have approved.
  8. I was right.
  9. Of course I would say that!

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