Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
This could be just me.
But that's why we write columns, of course. To see whether anyone else feels as we do.
Or whether everyone else thinks we're a sad case of twisted myopia, in equal parts witless and brainless.
Anyway, we're gathered here today to talk about restaurants.
I tend to eat out quite a bit, perhaps more than I should.
Often, it's for business reasons. Occasionally, it's because I really like going out to eat.
Lately, there's something that's been driving me to the brink of shaving my eyebrows.
It's something that, I suspect, has always been there but I've reached the stage when Really? has become Oh, Purleeze.
Over the past three months, I've likely eaten in 30 or more restaurants.
(I know, I know. )
These have included exalted -- some even Michelin-starred -- establishments such as Angler and In Situ in San Francisco, Roister and Next in Chicago and Spoon and Stable and The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis.
Around half of these have done that thing that drives me bananas.
They've served red wine that's warmer than a hug from the Dalai Lama.
Please, I know this is subjective. (Disclosure: I'm a Wine Ambassador at Napa's Honig Winery.)
But I've never had a warm red wine that did anything other than make me wince like a medical student confronted with their first goiter.
My warm may be your just-right. Every mouth is different. Everyone's innards operate in a slightly different way.
That's why science is now suggesting that diets might have to be enacted in a far more individual way than was previous imagined.
Still, this hurts.
I don't want to point any fingers. However, the fancy, Michelin-starred restaurants are doing it -- in my entirely unrepresentative sample -- just as much as the more humble places.
I know you'll tell me there might not be sufficient room to store the wines during the summer.
I know you'll tell me that red wine should be served at room temperature.
The apparent experts tell me that lighter, fruitier red wines should be served at 50-60 degrees.
While the more full bodied reds and ports deserve serving at 60-65 degrees.
Then again, many restaurants seem to have their room temperature set to 70 degrees. Do they really keep their bottles of red wine out on the bar -- especially those served by the glass -- ready to be swiftly brought to the table?
I fear they might.
Now it's not as if I carry a thermometer with me and stick it into my glass of Pinot as if it were a pale child's mouth.
Yet I've recently endured Nebbiolo at the temperature of English beer, Burgundy bordering on boiling and a Cab that was almost as warm as my armpit on the beach.
And there was no difference between the fancy restaurants and the less fancy.
I'm always grateful to be eating out and would -- generally -- only send back a wine if it was corked or not the wine I ordered.
Yet the warm red wine thing has me on the verge of becoming one of those people.
Which, of course, I am if a hot meal is served cold. (I'm awfully polite, I promise.)
Thank you for allowing me to unburden my pain.
Restaurants are one of my great pleasures.
They have been the location for so many lovely nights and now I find myself fearing warm Willamette or a 70-degree Syrah.
It's just me, isn't it?
Or is it?