I’ve been having Martha Stewart moments for a while now. The doctor says it’s perfectly normal, especially given my age. My wife and daughter insist anything vaguely odd or quirky is strictly a result of being born and raised in London and dismiss my peculiarities at gatherings by suggesting: “Just ignore him, and he’ll go away.” Martha Stewart moments are an important feature of my “wine-tertaining,” and I’m often the first to admit: ”And that’s a good thing.” It has nothing to do with recommendations of brilliant stocks to trade or what color nail polish to wear when serving Chilean Merlot. Embroidery, flower arranging, cake decorating and making a quintessential Mr. Potato Head out of a deformed sweet potato rarely find any currency at my soirees. Martha Stewart moments are nothing more than intermezzos filled with brilliant tips that I concocted to make wining more fun and more affordable. And perhaps out of sheer boredom, I devised them to abuse restaurant staff when they weren’t attentive or when they approached table sour of face and dour of disposition. So today I thought I’d share a few of my “Martha” moments with you, which you can use liberally before, during and after meals as circumstances warrant.
If you’re dining at a BYOB, I suggest always asking for an extra glass. If you enjoyed the meal, always pour a glass for the chef and send it back to the kitchen with your compliments, just before dessert. You’re probably thinking to yourself: “What a thoughtful, kindly chap this Silverstone is.” Well, I am indeed, but my intentions aren’t entirely honorable. Nine times out of 10, the chef will reciprocate with a couple of desserts “on the house” or better yet, a couple of glasses of special elixir hidden away in a secret part of the restaurant. Either way, if you’ve brought a $10 bottle along with you, the return on your investment is substantial (and Martha would say: “And that’s a good thing).
If two of you are dining out and you each normally drink two glasses of wine respectively with your meal, and one of you wants a white for fish (how traditional-yawn!) and the other wants red with meat (ditto), here’s a way to save wasting your money on two separate bottles. Order a Pinot Noir. Then ask for two glasses for the red wine drinker, and fill each with this red wine. Then (and this really creates a bit of a scene) ask for an ice bucket, and whack the half empty bottle into the ice for about 15 minutes. When it chills down, it will have the personality of a white wine: very fresh, very chilled and a good partner to any white wine food.
There! I’ve finally had a “Martha Moment” in a column. And … that’s a good thing. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is heard worldwide anywhere and anytime on Tunein Radio. On their app search: Phillip Silverstone or on the web at http://bit.ly/1kqcRmk . New podcasts are available every Saturday. For more information about Phillip: http://www.thesilverstonecollection.com