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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not 'The Dinner of Champions'

So the good news is that I've been pretty good at sticking to my New Year's money-saving resolution; the bad news is, I drank the worst sparkling wine money can buy tonight.

Bravo's crackers, Tradition de Belmont Brie and André California
"Champagne"

It was my day off and I had to go to the restaurant for a mandatory "front door" (maître d' and hostess) meeting and on my way home I thought to myself: I deserve some bubbly...

The thing is, I was strictly limiting myself to not spending more than ten dollars (it had been a rather extravagant month). I thought that, maybe, I could pick up a half bottle or split of Veuve or Moët,--something I wouldn't normally do--but to my disappointment, those bottles were out of my fixed-budget price range. (I was only trying to fool myself...) It turned out, the least expensive bottle of sparkling they had was a $5.99 bottle of André California "Champagne." (no fooling there--it's definitely not champagne!)

I selected the bottle of André thinking: Maybe it won't be so bad--in which case I'll always have a highly affordable go-to bottle whenever the mood strikes me!

A short walk later found me home and I decided that I'd be frugal with my dinner as well, breaking out "Bravo crackers" and a wheel of Brie, from Fine Fare. I poured myself my first glass of André and at first taste, the gaudy, gold foil wrapper came to mind--the wine had the essence of metal! In addition, I noticed, which I'd never noticed in my champagne flutes before, a rainbow-colored sheen within the glass...

At least the Bravo crackers were satisfying (I actually prefer them to Ritz) and the Tradition de Belmont Brie had, nearly, no fault. Total cost: less than $15. But the biggest farce of all was the American Culinary Chefs Best Award for best taste. Absolutely ridiculous!

Really?

Not only did they get away with labeling the bottle as champagne, (I'm not familiar with any region in California named "Champagne") but they've also added the "Chefs Best Award" for "Best Taste," no less, on the bottle! I googled the 'award' to see if it was as legitimate as those açaí berry diet "news" sites and, to my surprise, found that www.chefsbest.org does, in fact, exist. It seems that the moral of tonight's dinner is to never, ever buy anything labeled with the "Chefs Best Award."
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