Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Retro Drinks and Faded Eccentrics

I suppose it goes without saying that all "naughty weekends" must come to an end. We'd reached our final night in NYC and, for the last dinner out, we decided to go old school and visit El Quijote at the historic Chelsea Hotel. Who wouldn't be intrigued when their guide book (in our case City Secrets - New York City) has two separate entries, the first exclaiming that "the Quijote is a survivor, and the better part of its patrons - writers, catalog models, hospital workers, legitimately eccentric denizens of the Chelsea Hotel - appear to be among those who have gone too far down their chosen road to contemplate coming back...[and is] the best spot to take in the underlit defunct elegance of the place."

The second entry extols that the restaurant and bar are "one of those places where 'old' New York isn't re-created - it simply never left...The spirits collection includes crème de menthe, Dubonnet, and sloe gin - things you'd think no-one has ordered in years until the night you come in here for a perfect Manhattan and you see a woman of tattered beauty - maybe a 1948 Miss Nassau County or a former showgirl nursing one of those retro drinks in the curve of her arm."

The lure of a renowned paella didn't hurt either.

1971.  2014 Bodegas Faustino VII Tempranillo Rosado (Rioja DOC - Spain)

I just know that, if there's some variation of squid or calamari on a menu, Boo will order it. With chorizo and paella completing our dinner table, I figured a Rosé would be a nice fit. There was something about the deep pink hue of the wine that just seemed to say that the wine belonged here. The acidity was noticeable and helped counterbalance the richness of our chosen dishes. While not as elegant as the Whispering Angel we drank yesterday in the park, we had no problem finishing the wine long before we had to call it an evening with our paella.

Like the vintage cocktails that were hailed in our guide book, Faustino wines could very well have been served here at El Quijote for decades. The Chelsea was built between 1883 and 1885. Faustino has been making wine for over 150 years and the restaurant opened its doors in 1930. Something tells me that Rosados have been on the wine list here regardless of the favour or disdain Rosé wines may be experiencing at any given time.

It was a unique glimpse at New York and the vibe certainly lent itself to the conclusion of a naughty weekend. It also left us with a craving to make our way back to NYC, hopefully sooner than later.

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