Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Accademia di Vino: A Divine Dining Experience

Last night, I caught up with my good friend and Delaware native Shane over a decadent three-course meal at Upper East Side hotspot Accademia di Vino (

Accademia di Vino, the latest incarnation of a cavernous underground space that has housed various restaurants over the years (including the bistro where I celebrated my Sweet 16), opened last year to sold out seatings. Refashioned as a swanky wine cellar with arched room dividers, Accademia has more than 500 bottles—just the right amount of variety for discerning oenophiles like Shane and me.

After selecting two different white wines (Sauvignon Blanc for Shane, Gavi di gavi for me), we savored a pair of tasting plates that served seven kinds of cheese and four varieties of Italian meat. Over an equally satisfying entrĂ©e — seared tuna in a pesto-drenched vegetable & herb ragu — Shane and I talked about this year’s historic presidential election, the merits of Australian and New Zealand wines, and the distinctive charm of New Orleans. Also on our conversational menu, the high’s and low’s of life in the TV news business.

A talented photographer, Shane and I got to know each other during my days as an on-air reporter at the Dover bureau of Maryland-based CBS affiliate WBOC. His brilliant camera work brought my words to life on screen, while his friendship helped make my stint in small town USA a much more enjoyable one.

At dinner, we kvetched about the unpredictable hours that go along with a TV news gig, and lauded the unusual experiences that it affords you. For an upcoming segment, Shane will be participating in a Survivor-esque boot camp that includes no showering for a week. I recalled a less rustic activity from my reporting days -- soaring over a field at sunset in a go cart powered by an electric parachute.

We capped off our meal with olive oil pound cake and a dollop of fresh Mascarpone cheese. As we toasted with our Limoncello aperitifs, I smiled at my good fortune of living in a city that offers such fantastic dining experiences – and of having such a wonderful friend to share it with.

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