Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day at Restaurant Gougé


It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Don’t panic. There are still plenty of tables available here at Restaurant Gougé, and we’ve got something very special planned for you and your Valentine. Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein has created a special menu, which will be paired with wines from our famous Wine Spectator Grand Award of Markup Excellence. Restaurant Gougé is very proud of our wine list, which has received countless kind reviews on Yelp.

“When we asked Sommelier Larry Anosmia, MS for a Champagne recommendation, he asked if I was going to use it to christen the old tugboat I was with. Nice touch.”—Barry M. Enema

“I didn’t recognize a single bottle of wine on the list. When I mentioned that to the sommelier, he said I should be grateful not to know how much the wines were marked up. ‘Imagine how happy you’ll be when you go to a wine shop to buy another bottle and it’s 80% cheaper!’”—Sam N. Ella

“I asked the sommelier to describe what Trousseau Noir tastes like. He said, ‘Like you’re an utter failure.’ He was right.”—“Red” Blotch


Your Valentine’s Day dinner at Restaurant Gougé begins with a celebratory glass of sparkling wine. Let’s hope you’re the one who gets here first and gets to drink it. Latecomers get a celebratory handshake. Then you and your Valentine will be treated to Chef Oberdelein’s signature appetizer of candied vinegar, water and cranberry juice—that’s right, his legendary Amuse Douche. Now you’re ready to steal a kiss!

You’ll love the romantic ambience of Restaurant Gougé. All the rooms are candlelit, and, so you know, we did, too, pay our fucking electric bill. And for Valentine’s Day, we’ll have strolling street musicians wandering the restaurant for your enjoyment. All we ask is you remember to check the back seat of your car before you drive home. The valets often let the street musicians sleep there. Yes, your Valentine’s Day will be one to remember if you’re wise enough to make a reservation at Restaurant Gougé.

Valentine’s Day is a day we look forward to every year. Yes, it’s a lot of extra work printing up menus with higher prices, and Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein spends all morning making certain the portions are smaller than usual, but it’s all worth it to see the looks on the faces of the people who don’t know any better and dine out on Valentine’s Day. It’s that stunned look of recently bolt-gunned cows, perhaps the very ones you had for dinner, that restaurant folks really enjoy.

We strongly recommend that you choose to order Master Sommelier Larry Anosmia’s wine pairings to go with your Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu. Working with Chef Oberdelein, Larry has selected only the finest Natural, Authentic and Certified Sensitive® wines to accompany each dish. But we’ll let Larry tell you a little bit about how he selects the appropriate wines.

 
“As Restaurant Gougé’s sommelier, it’s my feeling that most of the people dining with us on any given evening are here to meet me and be educated about wine. Dining, and conversing with loved ones or business associates, is obviously secondary to learning all I have to teach them about wine. So I’ve assembled a list of wines that guests are certain to be unfamiliar with in order to insure that they spend their money on the right sorts of wines, wines I like. I don’t buy wines based on scores, or cult status. I buy wines that make me look smart to other sommeliers. I could give a shit what customers think of me. For the wine by-the-glass program, I select only the finest closeout wines. Receiving deep discounts from importers and distributors eager to move wines otherwise dead in the water allows me to expose customers to wines they’d never be able to taste otherwise, because local wine merchants and prestigious discount chains won’t buy that crap. Our guests taste adequate wines, and Restaurant Gougé upholds its long tradition of outstanding profit margins. It’s a Win-Win!

“For Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to acquire some seriously discounted wines which are all from Natural Wine producers. What’s important when it comes to pairing wine with food is inconsistency. Just as every course from Chef’s kitchen comes out quite a bit different every time, a tribute to his ability to substitute lesser ingredients at the last minute, so will each bottle of these Natural Wines taste very different. Yes, occasionally two bottles in a row will taste remarkably consistent, but, for the most part, each bottle retains the right to taste different from the others in the case. By not adding sulfites to their wines, these fine Natural Wine producers take the guesswork out of trying to figure out what wines from their appellations taste like, no need to wrestle with that ol’ bugaboo Terroir, while at the same time providing a kind of Wine Lottery—and we all know humans enjoy a lottery! Heck, even I’m not sure what these wines were intended to taste like. Aside from bacteria soup.”



You and your Valentine are in for gustatory Nirvana here at Restaurant Gougé. Many of you have called asking for a copy of the Valentine’s Day menu. We’re guessing it will be exactly the same as last year’s menu, but for slightly higher prices. We’ve asked Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein for the menu, but he’s busy defrosting several courses from the deep freezer labeled “2/14/2013.” Rest assured that your Valentine’s Day feast will be one you’ll remember for a lifetime, and one your soon to be ex-Valentine will eventually laugh about.

Just remember, you have been gougéd until you’ve been Restaurant Gougé’d.



23 comments:

PaulG said...

Here's a tune the chef might recognize: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8tdmaEhMHE

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Paul,
Always a classic! You get the feeling Lawrence Welk had no idea what "toke" meant.

Hey, did you officially quit your wine blog? You haven't posted in so long, I took down the link from my recommended blog list. What's up? Too busy making wine? Or too busy making actual money? Not like this sucker.

Steve Lay said...

Ate there last Valentine's Day. It was also a treat to dine with everyone trying to order Alley Cart with a hint of French accent. Isn't Rosetta Stone a wonderful invention. And all the fellow and fellowette diners had memorized the latest tasting notes from Wine Spectator and mentioned them often.
My chicken lips went well with a 2013 screw cap Cab...they didn't have anything newer on the wine list.
Everybody has to make a buck I guess.
Ron, hope you and your valentine have a nice evening at The Gouge. There seem to be more and more affiliate Gouge restaurant's nowadays. Maybe they are becoming a franchise.

PaulG said...

Been traveling - a lot - since November. Glued to football. Exploring other (non-blog) wine-related options. And yes, new vintages of Waitsburg Cellars are now resting comfortably in bottle. But I'm not "officially" quitting anything at the moment. Actual money? Well, do bitcoins count?...

David Pierson said...

Getting gouged on Valentine's Day.. what a shocker! Never mind the whole scam that VD is.. c'mon Ron.. fess up, what was your most stomach turning moment on VD at the restaurant??

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Steve,
Oh, no, there's only one Restaurant Gouge--though often imitated, it's never matched. As a longtime restaurant employee, I never go out to eat on Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day or New Year's Eve for that matter. Amateur nights, we used to call them.

Paul,
That sounds like fun. But, hey, it's not like your blog posts took very long to write...

Congrats on the Seahawks victory. I noticed after the game the players were pouring Waitsburg Cellars Riesling over each other's heads. Those Stelvins are great for that!

David,
Well, Valentine's Day is one of those days when guys decide to pop the question. That's always a little annoying. One of the couple always ends up teary-eyed. The woman who says yes, or the guy when the girl says no. One Valentine's Day, the woman said No, the guy excused himself to cry a bit in the rest room, and the woman grabbed a taxi while he was inside. Ahh, romance.

David Fish said...

I worked in restaurants and resorts for nearly 30 years and valentine's day ALWAYS proved to be more of a pain in the a** than it should be.
Too much pressure, too many people in too short a time, owners/somms trying to wring $$ out of gullible guys who are betting a year's worth of romance on one over-hyped night...

thanks for the bittersweet memories of working on "V.D."...

Mark D said...

Magic Ron. Amuse Douche. Love it. Tart and inviting. A veritable refreshment for Barry M Enema

Ron Washam, HMW said...

David,
I always thought Mother's Day was far worse in the restaurant business. At least on Valentine's Day most of the tables were deuces, everyone was on their best behavior, and all dressed up. That said, an awful lot of lousy tips on VD.

Mark,
Thanks. You know my motto--when in doubt, go tasteless.

Marcia Macomber said...

Love the much needed laughs for the big VD. Larry Anosmia’s assumptions are hysterical. Hope that defrosting in the kitchen is going smoothly...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
I have a fondness for Larry Anosmia. I knew a lot of sommeliers much like him back in the day. These are the same sorts of boneheads who nowadays talk about Unicorn wines. As it turns out, only virgins see unicorns, while only buttholes see unicorn wines. I thought Restaurant Gougé would be the perfect employer for Larry Anosmia MS. He seems happy there with Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein. They are a formidable duo, like Michael Mina and Raj Parr, only they're less adept at overcharging.

Thomas said...

Larry Anosmia stinks.

Wait: is that possible?

Marcia Macomber said...

You are so right about R. Gougé being Larry's perfect employer!

I was hoping to hear more in RG's invitation to dine there tomorrow about those Sensitive(r) Wines. Do tell in an upcoming post. (I bet they're just perfect to order on VD!)

Charlie Olken said...

Ive always wondered what the most likely thing to get on VD was?

Thomas said...

Charlie: sometimes you need a topical, sometimes something more powerful. I don;t suppose you ever saw those military films.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,
Like all of us, Larry Anosmia thinks his shit don't stink. As a sommelier, he has a nasty nose.

Marcia Love,
When I started writing this piece, which I slapped together yesterday and it reads like it, I was, in fact, going to spend more time on the Certified Sensitive, Authentic, and Natural wines. But I got distracted by the presence of arch-villain Larry Anosmia. Oh well, when I write I try to stay out of my own way.

Charlie,
VD is all about nuts and chews.

Charlie Olken said...

Any day that my favorite Hose character, Larry A, appears is worth living as long as it does not involve VD.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
I'm thinkin' maybe Larry should start dating Lo Hai Qu. She'd eat him alive.

Charlie Olken said...

I heard that Larry already had his chance with LHQ but that he muffed it.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
You made me laugh! Congrats! You're common tater of the month!

I don't know, Larry's been in a lot of trouble lately. Time for him to start layin' Lo.

Your joke was better.

G-Man 1868 said...

I can't believe I actually got reservations. I'm looking forward to emptying my wallet for the latest release from Franzia Estate.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

G-Man,
If I were you, I'd order Splooge Estate by-the-glass. At least for your Valentine.

Charlie Olken said...

If you want Splooge Estate, you have to teach your date to whistle.