Expect the Unexpected
August 1st, 2013
Peggy Fiandaca

Sometimes you have an opportunity to experience the unexpected. Recently on a perfect summer Friday evening I was sitting on a patio at Asti Italian Restaurant in San Diego’s Gas Lamp District enjoying a Super Tuscan Italian wine with homemade cappellini pasta topped with scallops and crab in a subtle garlic olive oil sauce with fresh basil.

Watching people stroll by as the weekend kicked into high gear my attention became fixed on a man wielding a 5’ tree across the street.

As I watched, twirled pasta, and sipped wine, police cars came from all directions sirens blaring, uniformed men leaped to the curb tackling the man, and apprehended the tree. As I watched this scene unfold and the man and tree were safely tugged into the police car, I thought how odd and unexpected to observe this particular urban street drama.

When I returned my attention back to my meal, I realized how odd and unexpected my wine pairing might seem.

Typically this type of seafood dish would have been paired with a lighter wine maybe a Pinot Grigio or Viognier.
  LDV - Scallops, Crab & Pasta

Why did I pick a big Italian red? After sipping and pondering the pairing I would have to say it was quite nice. The earthiness and well rounded depth of fruit flavors complimented the richness of the crab and balanced the light garlic olive oil sauce. Honestly, there is something truly magnificent about a chiffanaide of fresh basil and red wine. But as I continued to contemplate the pairing and watch the sea of people walk by, I tapped the waiter for red pepper flakes. Adding the flakes of spiciness made the pairing even better.

So what did I learn from this snippet of life on this particular July evening? First and foremost, wine rules are made to be broken. Take a chance and experiment with unusual wine and food pairings. Taste it one way and then add a little extra to the meal like my red pepper flakes and see how the pairing evolves. And the second important think I learned that evening was don’t wield a tree as a weapon unless you want to be tasered and hauled off in hand cuffs. But in either case be open and enjoy the unexpected where ever it may appear.